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The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA): an analysis of politics, processes and provisions



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This thesis examines the comprehensive Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) that was signed in 2006 by the governments of Alberta and British Columbia. The central objective is to examine why two successive Saskatchewan governments chose not to sign the TILMA. This thesis also examines the TILMA’s influence on subsequent developments in internal trade policy reform in Canada. The three central research questions are: •What is the TILMA, and how does it fit within the existing internal trade regulatory regime established under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)? •Why did Saskatchewan not sign the TILMA? •What effect, if any, has the TILMA had on establishing a new model or paradigm for internal trade policy in Canada? The key findings are that Saskatchewan did not sign the TILMA because Alberta and British Columbia would not accede to its demands to make exemptions for the procurement practices of municipalities and the subsidiaries of crown corporations. Another factor was the decision by the Saskatchewan government to launch a public consultation process before ratifying the agreement. The public consultation process provided the opponents of the agreement (i.e., municipal government, labour and non-governmental organizations) with an opportunity to organize and express their opposition to the agreement. Their strong opposition to the agreement during those consultations led both the NDP Government and subsequently a cautious Saskatchewan Party Government, which only had a slim majority in the legislature to walk away from what was being portrayed in the media as a very contentious policy decision. Their choice stands in contrast to that of the Liberal and Conservative Governments of British Columbia and Alberta respectively, that chose to sign the TILMA prior to undertaking consultations with the public and community stakeholders. In 2010 the Saskatchewan Party government would sign the New West Partnership Trade Agreement that included almost all of the provisions of the TILMA without public or stakeholder consultation. This thesis reveals that the TILMA has had modest but important effects on establishing a new model or paradigm for internal trade policy in Canada by enhancing the utility and scope of binding enforcement mechanisms and comprehensive interprovincial agreements. It was more comprehensive in scope than interprovincial agreements that had been signed previously to supplement the AIT. Contrary to what some had envisioned or proclaimed, the TILMA did not have substantial transformative effects either in addressing internal trade barriers in Canada or in supplanting the existing framework of internal trade policy established under the AIT.



Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, TILMA, Agreement on Internal Trade, Federalism, AIT, Internal Trade, New West Partnership Trade Agreement, Saskatchewan



Master of Arts (M.A.)


Political Studies


Political Studies


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