Saturday, 21 April 2007

My Open Letter to Premier Calvert on TILMA, and thoughts of a Corporate Gag Order

Click here to view my April 19, 2007 Open Letter to Premier Calvert on TILMA. (PDF Format)

Also, on April 20, 2007 the C.D. Howe Institute and a local Regina businessman hosted a forum on the B.C.-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) where the guest speakers where a couple of government officials from B.C. and Alberta (1 from each province).

The two speakers were from those provinces' respective equivalents of the "Industry and Resources/Economic Development/Trade" departments, and were advocating and supporting the virtues of TILMA in an attempt to convince the audience that TILMA is a good thing.

Two representatives from the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) attended the event (after paying their $40 each to get in) and get this - they advise me that the sponsors of the event actually asked any media and the others present "Not to quote, broadcast or report on anything said at the forum."

Talk about a cloak of secrecy. Talk about arrogance, elitism, and anti-democratic behaviour. Is it normal practice in corporate circles to put a "Gag" on the media, and for the media to agree to this type of censureship?

And finally, why do the supporters of TILMA find it necessary to hide their true intentions and then for them to go out of their way to keep it from the citizens?

More on this later, complete with a detailed report of the "so-called" forum.

TILMA is a Massive Assault on Democracy.

KNOW TILMA!

5 comments:

John Murney said...

Wow Larry, there is a huge agenda at work, to get TILMA passed.
Why do you think they imposed a gag order?

Larry Hubich said...

John,

Perhaps they are embarassed by the depths to which they are prepared to sink in order to try to sell this anti-democratic secret deal.

It certainly raises a number of questions in my mind about their credibility.

I also think it speaks volumes about the strength of the case they are trying to make in favour of it. Asking people "Not to quote them" suggests to me that they are not confident that the agreement and the arguments they make if favour of it can stand up to public scrutiny.

Gary Schoenfeldt said...

I attended the CD Howe Institute's TILMA presentation. The collegial even "good ole boy" atmosphere that I witnessed was not what I would call overly offensive. There were in fact one or two women present. But it was there, and it contributed the casually patronising attitude that seemed to emanate from the sponsors and organisers. I can only describe the phenomenon as one in which a certain social and business establishment simultaneously uttered repetitive, discredited and foregone conclusions to what appeared to be a loosely organized group of peers, combined with a simplistic and incredibly weak message of persuasion. This latter was of course, aimed at what one can only assume would be anyone in the audience that might be thinking of back-sliding. Strangely, the only piece of evidence offered to the luncheon attendees was the position paper of the City of Saskatoon, and that document was handed out courtesy of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. There was not a single copy of the TILMA provided to the 80 or so guests.

It was a like a revival meeting that had already spewed out its sad but impotent trickle of enthusiasm several meetings back. There wasn't even a representative from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, one of TILMA's most ardent cheerleaders. The surprise of the day, of course, was the firmly stated and then restated "request" that attendees be bound by their honour, if not the $40.00 plate of overpriced and anaemic chicken, to respect some sort of non-negotiable secrecy pact.

I wonder if it even occurred to the organizers that the cone of silence imposed on their little love - in might seriously compromise the integrity of the very people they hoped to rally to their lost cause?
After all, they were asking elected MLAs from at least two parties, senior civil servants, civic politicians, members of the media, trade union representatives and others with varied allegiances, to join in the conspiracy of silence, to keep quiet about anything said at the meeting that could possibly embarrass the two guest speakers --senior government representatives from BC and Alberta -- "in the news, back home".

It was quite a display. But what was this big secret we were supposed to keep? The "fact" that TILMA is harmless? The "fact" that the governments of Alberta and BC are "unaware" of any dissent from within their own provinces? Every argument that was presented, from "Nobody has to be worried about people or companies suing their governments" (oh really?) to the long - discredited claims of massive job creation in BC, consisted of the same old line that has been debated in the newspapers for months. The biggest secret that I heard uttered was the requirement that everything said at the meeting should be kept quiet. I wonder what secrets would have been revealed had representatives from Labour not been present?

Brian B. McArthur said...

Larry;

I enjoy your BLOG and good work as always.

However, it would be useful in the future to allow readers to know at the beginning of you articles what the "TILMA" is or what the accronym stands for as it vertually impossible for someone not in the know to figure it out without a proper reference point at the outset.

Again, I enjoy your Blog and keep up the great work for the people of Saskatchewan!

Larry Hubich said...

Brian,

Thank-you. I'll remember that for future posts on TILMA (BC.-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement).

Larry