Buy Domestic Policies are Legal Under International Trade Law, PM Acknowledges

February 20, 2009, 3:41 PM EST


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Prime Minister Stephen Harper has finally acknowledged that buy domestic policies are well within the bounds of international trade agreements, including the WTO and NAFTA.

"In both WTO and NAFTA there are. industries and there are ways in which and there are levels of government in which one can have domestic preferences in purchasing policies," Harper said.

Harper made the acknowledgment at a nationally televised joint press conference with U.S. President Barack Obama in Ottawa on February 19.

The Prime Minister's recognition that government can legally enforce a buy domestic policy for publicly-funded purchases flies in the face of many right-wing commentators that have claimed over the past weeks any Buy Canadian policy would breach international trade rules and prompt an international trade war.

The CAW, along with other labour groups, are calling on all levels of government to establish Buy Canadian policies that ensure taxpayer money used to purchase goods and services is spent in Canada. 

So far, eleven Canadian municipalities have signed on to a union-backed resolution that mandates strong Canadian-content provisions for purchases, including 50 per cent Canadian-content for publicly funded transit vehicle purchases.

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