Thursday 31 May 2007

TILMA: Northwest Territories Association of Communities passes resolution urging Territorial Government not to sign trade agreement

The Northwest Territories Association of Communities (NWTAC) has voted to reject the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

Opposition to the agreement signed in secret between the Premiers of Alberta and B.C. continues to grow as more and more organizations and ordinary citizens read and become familiar with this anti-democratic TILMA scheme.

What is also abundantly clear is that the corporate elite, and the main-stream media they control, will continue to ramp up their campaign of misinformation, distortion of the facts, and fear mongering in attempts to justify this massive assault on democracy.


Stephane Dion booed by workers rally

Friday 25 May 2007

TILMA: Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall's shameless promotion of trade deal at Leader’s Dinner in Saskatoon and Regina

Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters" blog does another great job of analysing and exposing the position of the Sask. Party on the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

Check out his latest installment by clicking here.

It's clear, given the chance, that the Sask. Party would sacrifice the democratic rights of the province's citizens in favour of pandering to the "good old boys" in the corporate boardrooms of companies headquartered outside of Saskatchewan.

Just read what they are saying about TILMA.


Olbermann: The President Has Failed - Congress Has Failed

Thursday 24 May 2007

TILMA limits city's actions

Yesterday the Regina City Council received the Report of the City Soliciter respecting the potential impact on Regina of the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), if Saskatchewan was to sign on to the anti-democratic scheme. Leader-Post reporter Neil Scott filed this story.

There's a lot more to TILMA than just the fact it prevents cities from giving Tax Breaks to Businesses. That's the least of our worries. In fact, if that was the only thing TILMA did, I'd say "sign the sucker" - certain businesses have been getting a free-ride for too long already anyway.

But that's not all TILMA does - TILMA strips away Government's ability and responsibility to regulate and legislate in the public interest and it hands control of our democracy over to the corporate boardrooms of trans-national companies. It does this by giving corporations the ability to sue governments for up to 5 million dollars, if the corporation thinks some action by government impairs their ability to make a profit.

There isn't a company on the planet that would sign an agreement that gave that kind of control to their workers.

How about that, how about we sign an agreement that gives workers the ability to sue the companies where they work for $5 million dollars per employee if the company closes up shop and moves to Mexico?

After all, such an action by a company, because they can pay workers sweat-shop wages in certain countries, is a barrier to workers in Canada. It's a barrier to our ability to invest our time and labour to make an individual profit. It violates a workers' individual ability to trade, to invest, and (as a result) to his/her own labour mobility.

TILMA is a Massive Assault on Democracy. KNOW TILMA!

Wednesday 23 May 2007

Big Business, Big Union, Small Town - Global TV Documentary - Coming May 26

Image courtesy

This coming Saturday, May 26, 2007 - Global TV will be airing: Big Business, Big Union, Small Town.

Click here for more details, including video clips and photos.

The show is advertised as a documentary about the unionization of the global corporate giant - Wal-Mart - in small town Saskatchewan (Weyburn).

A North American Currency?? - "The Amero" - Deep and Total Integration with U.S.A.

After you view the video above - check out this link on the EU/US Merger: New Global Order By Stealth

Tuesday 22 May 2007

Scare tactic employed by StarPhoenix to convince public on TILMA

Here is a fantastic letter to the editor of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix by Gary Schoenfeldt.

Gary's letter challenges the StarPhoenix for their use of scare tactics to try and convince readers that the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) is good.

But of course, they can't name the benefits of this anti-democratic agreement - because there are none that are worth the cost. Just like they can't (or won't) name any of the "so-called" barriers they are proposing to get rid of with this agreement.

What I've said in the past bears repeating here:

"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.


TILMA: City of Regina identifies potential impact; report says trade agreement “vague and general,” may weaken standards and regulations

This coming Wednesday (May 23, 2007) Regina City Council will receive and discuss a report from the Office of the City Soliciter on the Implications of TILMA on City Operations.

The eleven page report analyses the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) and discusses what the potential effects on the City of Regina would be if the Province of Saskatchewan was to sign on to the anti-democratic trade agreement.

While the report attempts to diminish the potential negative impacts of TILMA, it offers no guarantee that what opponents of TILMA are predicting won't in fact materialize. Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters" blog has done a more comprehensive analysis of the Regina City Soliciter's Report.

TILMA strips away the right and responsibility of City Councils to act in the best interests of the citizens of the city. This "so-called" trade agreement is a Massive Assault on Democracy.


Sunday 20 May 2007

Lou Dobbs Tonight - 05.07.07 - Canadians & the SPP & NAU - Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow on Lou Dobbs Tonight

Larry Brown (NUPGE) and Erin Weir (CLC) respond to Ottawa Citizen endorsement of TILMA

On Tuesday, May 15, 2007 the Ottawa Citizen, in an editorial piece, endorsed the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) -- surprise, surprise.

The Spin Doctors over at the corporate media are working overtime to please their masters.

The flawed methodology and baseless support relied on by the Ottawa Citizen has been responded to and criticized by a couple of folks from the labour community:

Larry Brown from the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) in: Beware downside to latest trade deal.


Erin Weir from the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in: What Internal Trade Barriers?

TILMA strips away Government's ability to regulate and legislate in the Public Interest. It is a Massive Assault on Democracy. KNOW TILMA!

TILMA: Saskatoon StarPhoenix editorial board lacks credibility, adopts Saskatchewan Party hypocrisy

On Friday, May 18, 2007 Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters" blog responded to a recent editorial in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

The StarPhoenix editorial was entitled "TILMA gives clout to Sask" and as Kuchta points out - that editorial was seriously lacking in balance and credibility.

There is fear mongering going on around the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) alright - but that fear mongering is coming from the likes of the corporate elites and the special interest groups they control. Aided and abetted by the mainstream media they own.

If you're looking for a counter balance to the corporate manufactured hysteria around TILMA you'll only find it on blogs such as this one, "Owls and Roosters", "Relentlessly Progressive Economics" and a few others.

Get educated, read the agreement for yourself, and KNOW TILMA!

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Certain elements of the business crowd resorting to Blackmail

In today's (May 15, 2007) editorial the Saskatoon StarPhoenix attempts to argue that those opposed to the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) are using "Scare Tactics".

Oh there are "scare tactics" being employed alright. But they are not being employed by people who oppose TILMA.

These "scare tactics" are being used by the pro-multi-national corporation types who are attempting to blackmail Saskatchewan into signing this anti-democratic so-called trade agreement by threatening that if we don't sacrifice democracy and sign on - the world will pass us by.

It's just so much more of the constant barrage of negativity coming from certain elements of the business crowd. They oppose community, they oppose public interest, they oppose democracy, they oppose unions, they oppose medicare, they oppose crown corporations, they oppose anyone making a decent living, they oppose any increase to the minimum wage, they oppose improving the lot of those most vulnerable in our society.

And they support secrecy, backroom deals, war and George W. Bush.

Monday 14 May 2007

CNN- Lou Dobbs Outs Those Involved in N. American Union

Lou Dobbs: North American Union Orwellian Brave New World

Annual General Meeting reveals cities and towns NOT consulted about TILMA

The Annual General Meeting of the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) held May 9 - 11 has revealed clearly that cities and towns in B.C. were never consulted when their provincial government entered into the B.C./Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters" blog has prepared a comprehensive report and analysis of the resolutions debated at the LMLGA regarding TILMA.

More questions raised about the legitimacy of the Anti-Democratic TILMA.


Saturday 12 May 2007

TILMA: Canada West Foundation and Canadian Federation of Independent Business misleading people when they omit important facts

I recently did an interview with National Post columnist Kevin Libin on the potential negative impact of the anti-democratic B.C./Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA). You can read the resulting column by clicking here.

Joe Kuchta over at the "Owls and Roosters" blog has submitted a letter to the editor in response to Libin's column.

My opening comment to Libin in the interview was this: "To set the record straight, the labour movement is in favour of Trade, we are in favour of Investment and we are in favour of Labour Mobility. What we are opposed to is TILMA, because it's not about any of those things". I pointed out examples of how labour, unions, and our members invest heavily in small, medium, and large businesses - through our pension plans, labour sponsored venture capital, and our own personal savings and RRSP's.

The telephone interview lasted approximately 1/2 hour and covered many areas, including the broad and sweeping nature of TILMA, and how it usurps the democratic responsibility of governments (at all levels, provincial, municipal, etc.). And how TILMA strips away government's ability to act, legislate and regulate in the public interest. The column leaves the impression that those of us who oppose TILMA are just crazy lefties.

I didn't expect any different orientation from the National Post, it's just that these right wing rags never point out the fact that workers, through their pensions and other financial instruments, have invested HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars in small, medium and large enterprises and businesses.

The millions of union members in this country play a huge role in keeping the economy humming. And we contribute in a very significant way to our communities and to society.

To us, Democracy is more than some "irritating exemption" in some corporate oriented trade agreement. An agreement that was signed in secret - in the backrooms - without public consultation, without public input, and without public oversight.

What are they hiding?


Wednesday 9 May 2007

Johann Hari: The real scandal at the World Bank - The Bank is killing thousands of the poorest people in the world

Here's a very interesting column by Johann Hari, entitled "The real scandal at the World Bank - The Bank is killing thousands of the poorest people in the world". It's a compelling and stark view of the policies of World Bank, and what can be done to challenge those policies.

Here are the opening two paragraphs:

"While the world's press has been fixated on the teeny-weeny scandal over whether the World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz helped to get his girlfriend a $300,000-a-year gig next door, they have been ignoring the rancid stench of a far bigger scandal wafting from Wolfie's Washington offices.

This slo-mo scandal isn't about apparent petty corruption in DC. It's about how Wolfowitz's World Bank is killing thousands of the poorest people in the world, and knowingly worsening our worst crisis - global warming - every day."

Tuesday 8 May 2007

TILMA: Professor Eric Howe; the potential risk to Aboriginal people and programs, social policy and non-profit organizations in Saskatchewan

Here is a new critique of Professor Eric Howe's analysis of the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) done by Joe Kuchta.

Thanks very much to Joe for taking the time to do this important work of exposing the Anti-Democratic TILMA.


Friday 4 May 2007

The Conference Board's Saskatchewan Survey

The Saskatchewan Government "should demand a refund" from the Conference Board of Canada, says highly respected economist Erin Weir.

In a further critique of the Conference Board's analysis of the B.C./Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), Weir points out "serious practical problems" with the survey conducted by the Conference Board to back up it's analysis of the supposed economic benefits of TILMA.

The Conference Board of Canada simply can't add. There are a number of glaring mathematical errors - which indicate sloppy work. Also, the CBoC's methodology and assumptions are seriously flawed.

As Weir said in commenting about the survey sample used by the CBoC:

"First, more than three-quarters of private-sector entities did not respond to the survey, which suggests that alleged inter-provincial barriers are not an important issue for Saskatchewan business. More generally, this low response rate casts doubt on the survey’s validity.

Second, most of the private-sector organizations surveyed are industry associations or chambers of commerce, which are ideologically committed to deregulation via TILMA and other means."

Hardly a neutral and unbiased analysis of the potential impact of the TILMA scheme. The provincial government "should demand a refund" indeed.


Thursday 3 May 2007

Olbermann: Mission Accomplished Anniversary

TILMA will NOT reduce trade deficits or create jobs in Saskatchewan

According to highly respected economist, Erin Weir, the BC-Alberta Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) will NOT create more jobs in Saskatchewan, nor will in reduce our trade deficit with B.C. and Alberta.

In fact, Weir argues that if TILMA functions as promised the opposite is just as likely to occur - a larger trade deficit and fewer Saskatchewan Jobs.
Below is a direct quote from the Relentlessly Progressive Economics Blog:

"As noted in December using 2002 figures, Saskatchewan imports more from its prospective TILMA partners than it exports to them. The 2003 figures are now available: Saskatchewan’s trade deficit with Alberta was $2.1 billion and its trade deficit with BC was $0.4 billion.

Since there are currently no significant barriers to inter-provincial trade, signing TILMA would not significantly increase inter-provincial trade flows. However, if TILMA functioned as promised and facilitated greater inter-provincial trade, the consequence would be larger trade deficits for Saskatchewan. Others things being equal, this change would reduce Saskatchewan’s GDP and employment.

The countervailing argument, and indeed the orthodox economic argument for free trade, is that higher productivity will increase GDP. However, higher productivity does not create jobs. If productivity gains increased Saskatchewan’s GDP despite higher trade deficits, the result would not be greater employment. Even on a purely theoretical level, the Conference Board’s claim that TILMA would increase both GDP and employment in Saskatchewan is suspect.

In his review of the Conference Board’s work, Dr. Helliwell writes (pages 11-12), “it is surprising to see the Conference Board report, which is intended to show the long term equilibrium consequences of TILMA, reporting a net increase of 4,400 jobs. I gather that this was done by taking the presumed 0.92% provincial increase in GDP and calculating the number of workers it would take, on average, to produce that much GDP. But since the gain in GDP is coming from productivity increases, the increase in GDP is not based on hiring more workers but on reducing the number of workers required to produce a given amount of GDP.”"

Wednesday 2 May 2007

Charlottetown mayor orders halt to bottled water

According to the Charlottetown Guardian, the city has introduced a ban on bottled water.

Would such an action taken by a municipality or city in either B.C. or Alberta violate the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA)?

You tell me.

The agreement says:

Article 3.

1. Each Party shall ensure that it's measures do not operate to restrict or impair trade between or through the territory of the Parties, or investment or labour mobility between the Parties.

A “measure” includes any legislation, regulation, standard, directive, requirement, guideline, program, policy, administrative practice or other procedure.

Now "water" is listed as "exempt" - BUT the agreement defines "water" as:

water means surface and ground water in liquid, gaseous, or solid state, but does not include water packaged in containers with a capacity of 20 litres or less.

Talk about a BIG Hammer!

Image from May 1, 2007 - Regina Rally Against TILMA

Saskatchewan Minimum Wage - $8.60, hook to CPI, proposed

The Saskatchewan provincial government has requested the Saskatchewan Minimum Wage Board to consider setting the minimum wage at the Low Income Cutoff (also known as the poverty level). And then indexing future minimum wage increases to increases in the Consumer Price Index.

Leader-Post Reporter, Neil Scott, has filed this story.

They (the government) are inviting submissions on these topics, with a deadline for submissions being May 31, 2007.

I think both concepts merit serious consideration.

Tuesday 1 May 2007

The Apple iRack

TILMA: Conference Board of Canada impact assessment for Saskatchewan shows flaws similar to BC report; private sector cites just three “barriers”

Once again, Joe Kuchta on his blog "Owls and Roosters" does a splendid job of analysing various Conference Board of Canada documents that support the B.C. Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA).

His comprehensive and clear analysis challenges many of the assumptions used by the Conference Board of Canada (and other supporters of the scheme) in their arguments.

It exposes gaping holes, misinformation, fabrication and numerous outright errors.

And for all you Rider Fans out there - I said, "TILMA is Bad" -- not TILLMAN is bad!

Go Green!