Erin Weir and Marc Lee, on their Blog - Relentlessly Progressive Economics have done some preliminary analysis of documents posted to the Saskatchewan Provincial Government's web-site regarding the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).
One very interesting quote from the analysis of Dr. John Helliwell is as follows: (from page 4)
“The most important feature of TILMA in [respect to increasing mobility and reducing subsidies] is to forbid providing any enterprise subsidy that results in a material injury to a competing enterprise of another party. To take an example not in the short list of explicit exemptions, this apparently means that a professional football franchise in one province could launch an objection, subject to binding panel arbitration, against the government of a city in another province if they were to provide government subsidized infrastructure for the local team. This perhaps takes the concept of a level playing field further than the parties intended. In general, the combination of unrestricted private access to the dispute mechanisms combined with a commitment to neutrality of treatment, would make almost any provincial or municipal programme subject to attack. This is no doubt part of the appeal of TILMA to some. However, using expensive legal procedures to advance particular private interests is surely not the best way of providing a non-intrusive and efficient network of trade-supporting public rules and institutions.”
In other words - "Sign TILMA and Kiss the Saskatchewan Roughriders Good-bye".
I know that at a recent "Pro-TILMA" forum sponsored by the C.D. Howe Institute and a local business developer the sponsors put a gag order on the media and asked reporters not to "record or quote anything said in the room".
So, here's a little nugget from me - quote away:
"Any political leader who would sign an agreement that reduces and relegates democracy to the status of some irritating exemption in a corporate bill of rights (i.e. TILMA) does not deserve to hold the office to which he or she has been elected.
It is totally irresponsible and it is a betrayal of trust for any politician or any elected leader to abandon democracy in an attempt to placate a narrow ideological special interest (i.e. Trans-National Corporations). TILMA is a massive assault on democracy" - Larry Hubich, April 26, 2007.
And finally, check out Gary Schoenfeldt's report of the Secret TILMA meeting entitled (Not) talking about TILMA at Straight Goods.