Toronto Wants out of CETA

March 7, 2012 Updated: March 7, 2012

On Tuesday, Toronto’s city council passed a resolution that it wanted to be exempt from the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA). The move was welcomed the Canadian Auto Workers and Council of Canadians, long-time opponents of the free trade deal.

“When Canada’s largest city thinks there’s something wrong with the Canada-EU deal it’s probably time for us to perk up and listen to the growing municipal concerns,” Maude Barlow, national chairperson with the Council of Canadians, said in a press statement.

“The truth is there’s no benefit to Toronto from being shackled by international trade restrictions on their local policy and spending powers. Cities are Harper’s bargaining chips—they have a right to say no to CETA.”

The agreement has attracted criticism from municipalities for requiring they consider procurement bids from European companies on equal fitting with those from local companies.

Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, told the House of Commons Wednesday that the association of Canadian municipalities supports the deal and there is nothing in the agreement that prevents local governments from addressing local needs and supporting local businesses through grants, loans, or fiscal incentives.