I read with interest your news article on Shawn Skinner, “Former minister takes shot at Nalcor contracting,” Sept. 4.
Skinner highlights the benefits of supporting local over foreign companies, in this case an Italian corporation. Apparently, he believes local contractors and workers benefit from the secured work. They know the environment and they understand the importance of building good relationships with the surrounding community. All very good points.
However, instead of focusing solely on Nalcor contracts, Skinner would
be better placed to focus on the provincial and federal governments that are cheerleaders for the new Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).
Should CETA pass, Skinner’s concerns will be quickly outdated as this agreement will guarantee corporations from all 28 European Union countries unrestricted access to such procurement opportunities. And remember, these corporations will have the power to sue for damages should they feel they were not treaty fairly.
In June of last year, under NAFTA rules, Newfoundland lost to Exxon and Murphy’s Oil around the issue of research spending. In 2010, the federal government paid out $130-million to AbitibiBowater after the province expropriated the company’s timber and water rights. This has become the new norm for trade treaties and CETA is no different.
Skinner’s concerns about Nalcor are well placed but they are only the tip of a giant intractable iceberg.
I hope he will join with us in demanding a full provincial review of CETA, legislative and public, prior to Prime Minister Stephen Harper signing the agreement.
Ken Kavanagh, chairman, Council of Canadians — St. John’s Chapter