Yesterday at the UBCM convention, we had a pretty intense workshop on a BC / Alberta trade agreement called TILMA. The stuff of trade agreements is admittedly pretty dry stuff, but this one is particularly important. The provincial government has basically extended this trade agreement to apply to the City of Kamloops and all other local governments in the province. Many fear, including the UBCM executive, that the language in the agreement is vague and does not protect local government powers enough. For example, there is a provision in TILMA the requires reconciliation of measures between BC and Alberta communities. Does this mean that if we have a higher standard in what we expect from a private developer (for example, a higher contribution to funding parkland), that we would have to drop our standard to the lowest standard present in Alberta.
At the session yesterday, Minister of Economic Development Colin Hansen assured us that TILMA would not effect civic measures or civic authority to plan land use. But, when pressed to make these commitments in writing in the actual text of the agreement, he sidestepped the issue. This made me wonder. Whats more, UBCM contracted lawyer Don Lidstone blew a lot of holes in the Minister's contentions. And a lot of questions followed from council members across the province.
I am all for increased trade and labour mobility, especially within the same country. Makes a lot of sense. But, I think TILMA could be much more than that. And the fact the province actually made municipalities subject to TILMA during a 2 year "transition period", without any meaningful education or consultation is simply bad form, in my humble opinion. We have been in fact subject to TILMA for the past 6 months, without really knowing what it all means.
TILMA does indeed seem to have a lot of holes and can possibly lower standards. Neither of which will help BC, Alberta and Canada in the long-term.
Posted by: Greg | September 29, 2007 at 06:19 PM