TILMA town hall to debate trade pact

The Yukon Federation of Labour is hosting a town hall meeting with Canadian labour experts to discuss a controversial trade agreement Wednesday night.

The Yukon Federation of Labour is hosting a town hall meeting with Canadian labour experts to discuss a controversial trade agreement Wednesday night.

The federation is campaigning against the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), a trade pact between Alberta and BC, who’ve invited the Yukon to sign on.

The territorial government is studying the good and bad of TILMA, which has labour activists and concerned citizens organizing against the agreement.

The federation launched its Stop TILMA campaign earlier this month by sending out postcards arguing the trade pact is a bad deal for the Yukon and will take away the democratic rights of governments to enact legislation and make policies.

Proponents say a labour crunch in the Yukon requires an agreement like TILMA to bring more workers to the territory.

The deal demands “no obstacles” block the movement of investments, goods and people between signatories, and requires the elimination of incentives and regulation to create a competitive atmosphere for business.

Removing trade barriers would make it easier for labourers to relocate and businesses to invest outside of their home provinces, says the agreement.

Three labour experts will be on hand at the town hall meeting to answer questions from the public.

Canadian Labour Congress economist Erin Wier has worked in the federal finance department and the Privy Council Office and has authored two reports critical of TILMA.

Larry Hubich, president of the federation’s Saskatchewan chapter, campaigned against TILMA in the prairie province, which declined to sign on to TILMA in the summer.

Yukon Federation of Labour president Alex Furlong and Council of Canadians employee Carleen Pickard will also be answering questions.

The federation is hoping to raise the other side of the debate for the forum, but so far hasn’t had any luck.

The town hall meeting is at the High Country Inn at 7 p.m. (JW)