Salam Toronto

February 22, 2018 Salam Toronto Weekly English 79 Ontario Liberals bring in bill retaliating against Buy American provisions Proposed legislation would respond to “Buy American” procurement policies Ontario’s governing Liberals kicked off the last legislative session before June’s election on Tuesday by introducing a bill that, if passed, would allow the government to take measured actions in response to discriminatory American procurement policies. The proposed Fairness in Procurement Act would allow Ontario to take responsive action to address unfair government procurement practices that are being implemented in New York State and Texas, and considered in other states. These policies represent a worrying trend towards protectionism and prevent Ontario businesses from accessing cross- border procurement opportunities. The proposed legislation would give Ontario the flexibility to choose whether and how to respond to discriminatory actions, by creating regulations to address those actions. The responsive regulations, if made, would be pursued when a U.S. subnational jurisdiction enacts legislation or adopts an unfair, discriminatory policy. These regulations would be designed to be in proportion to restrictions made by public sector purchasers in the opposing U.S. jurisdiction. “Ontario is committed to free trade, while maintaining fair procurement practices between our province and the U.S.,” said Eleanor McMahon, President of the Treasury Board, in a statement. “Our proposed legislation would allow the government to respond when necessary to any unfair actions taken by the U.S. that limit competitiveness for our local business and threaten Ontario jobs.” The New York Buy American Act, which is Bombardier may lay off hundreds at its Quebec railway plant Montreal - The railway division of Bombardier Inc. says losing out on a large electric train contract in Montreal may force it to lay off workers this fall at its plant in La Pocatiere, Quebec, unless it wins some new contracts. Spokesman Eric Prud’homme describes the situation for the facility as perilous once the contract to make new subway cars for Montreal’s metro system end. He says it is “five after midnight” for the plant over the next 12 months, putting at least half of the plant’s 600 jobs on the line. Local elected officials and workers are calling for an emergency meeting with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard on the future of the plant. They asked Couillard Monday to update his recent comments that there would soon be work and other contracts for this site, even though Bombardier was not selected for the contracts of the Metropolitan Express Network Photo: Bombardier (REM). The Quebec multinational was excluded from the contract to supply trains, which was won by a consortium involving Alstom Transport Canada and a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin. No local content requirement was set by CDPQ Infra, the subsidiary of Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, which is leading the $6.3 billion project. Bombardier also lost out last year on a contract to build cars for Montreal’s commuter transportation network, which ordered 24 new train cars from the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation after lowering Canadian content requirements to 15% from 25% in prior contracts. Prud’homme says La Pocatiere could benefit from an extension of the Montreal Metro contract, which is replacing aging cars on only half the subway network. The Canadian Press scheduled to be implemented on April 1, 2018, could prevent Ontario iron from being supplied for New York State public works contracts over $1 million (USD) for surface roads or bridges. The Texas Buy American Act, enacted on September 1, 2017, requires that all construction contracts awarded by all state government entities require the use of U.S. made iron and steel, with some exceptions. Bills tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario undergo three readings (votes) before receiving Royal Assent from the Lieutenant Governor and becoming law. Traditionally, between second and third reading, bills are referred to a legislative committee that solicits public feedback on the bill and considers amendments to the bill. Ontario Newsroom

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