An impending trade deal between Canada and the European Union poses a huge threat to all levels of government in Nova Scotia, says the leader of the local chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says, "With the House of Assembly now open, Premier Dexter needs to explain to citizens exactly what’s being negotiated as part of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Europe.
"If, as a panel of experts suggested in Halifax, procurement powers for local governments are part of that deal, it would eliminate any flexibility those governments have in awarding contracts to local or even provincial companies. In other words, 'buy local' goes right out the window," he says.
"As one dramatic example of this," Cavanagh explains, "leaked documents about how the trade talks are proceeding show that Canada and the provinces have failed to protect drinking water and wastewater services from those procurement rules.
"This would open the door wide to privatization of these public services. Under the CETA agreement foreign companies would have the right to challenge both the process and the terms of covered procurements – creating a significant risk of legal action for public authorities.”
Cavanagh finishes by saying, "It's time for the government to put an end to the secrecy and let the people of Nova Scotia know what's on the table and what's off the table as part of the CETA trade talks."