Labour critics full of hot air

Members of the Yukon’s labour movement are spouting off against an inter-provincial trade deal without doing their homework, says a municipal…

Members of the Yukon’s labour movement are spouting off against an inter-provincial trade deal without doing their homework, says a municipal leader.

Rhetoric surrounding the impact BC and Alberta’s Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, or TILMA, would have on the Yukon may not be warranted, said Doug Graham, president of the Association of Yukon Communities.

Some of the information being thrown around by the Yukon Federation of Labour is false. And that undermines the credibility of the union’s arguments, said Graham.

“I was really interested to hear Alex Furlong’s statement the other day about TILMA and how the municipal governments should be very concerned and we apparently weren’t — I heard that on CBC,” he said.

“One of the things I have heard him say is that it will take decision making on zoning out of municipal governments’ hands, yet right in TILMA it says municipal zoning bylaws are exempted,” said Graham.

“It’s frightening to think those kinds of people, in this case Alex (Furlong, the president of the Yukon Federation of Labour), is leading the charge against TILMA when he obviously either hasn’t read it or doesn’t understand it and he makes irrational statements about that.”

Yukon’s municipal authorities are going to talk with their counterparts in BC and Alberta before taking any position on what effect the trade agreement will have on the territory, said Graham.

Alberta and BC politicians signed TILMA in April and the agreement is currently undergoing a two-year “transition period” where stakeholders from both provinces provide input and propose exemptions.

The deal’s operating principles call for the removal of trade barriers, reducing costs, increasing employment mobility, and a dispute-resolution process.

The agreement applies to both governments and their “entities,” meaning all legislation, regulations and policies of provincial governments are included alongside those of municipal governments, according to the agreement, which is available at www.tilma.ca.

The agreement also states businesses do not have to maintain local offices or be residents of the province they are doing business in.

Under the agreement, companies can bid on an expanded range of government contracts.

The deal would roll back previous thresholds applied by municipal governments.

For example, TILMA proposes that tenders be let for any work worth more than $10,000 for goods. Currently, that tender threshold is $100,000.

Service contracts drop to $75,000 from $100,000 and construction contracts drop to $100,000 from $250,000.

Commercial vehicle permitting and registration requirements are also to be relaxed and governments are not to provide businesses with subsidies that offer a competitive advantage except in cases of calamities, academic research, assistance in recreation programs and/or support for non-profit organizations, according to the agreement.

Other exemptions include First Nations, water, taxation, municipal zoning bylaws and height restrictions, social policy including minimum wage, renewable and alternative energy and royalties.

Furlong could not be reached for comment this week.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read