Home | Advertising |  RSS Feeds | Contact | Français |
Home > News >

The AMETVS – not convinced by Via Rail’s response

The AMETVS finally got an answer from Via Rail Canada after it requested an explanation from Via Rail for awarding a major contract financed through Canadian public funds to an American supplier. The President and CEO of Via, Mr. Paul Côté, insisted on recalling that in respect of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), any North American company can bid on Via’s calls for tenders. Via Rail has the obligation to “choose the supplier that has proven to have the best qualifications to provide the said products and services, and at the best cost.”

It is not surprising that the AMETVS realizes that Via eludes the real issue of local investment and of quality jobs being maintained here in the country. In fact, the Association believes that in a difficult economic context and unfairness of trade exchanges between Canada and the United States, the vitality of the Canadian economy and the prosperity of the public transit industry must be supported by local buying measures.

Even though Via Rail Canada, as a public corporation, based its decision on the fact that it has to manage public funds wisely while respecting taxpayers, said the General Manager of the AMETVS, Mr. Denis Robillard, we keep saying that since governments can’t seem to agree on how to rebalance fairly commercial exchanges in the public transit field, Canadian companies must act as good corporate citizens; meaning that they have to understand how beneficial investing and buying locally in the short, mid and long term can be, and that they have to take actions to reach that goal. Taxpayers can only benefit from such an approach.”

The AMETVS reiterates that some Canadian companies – whose projects are also financed through public funds – have chosen to include “buy-local” clauses in their calls for tender. Take for instance the Montréal metro case, it required 60% of Canadian content, and the Toronto Street Car case, it required 25% of Canadian content; both show the viability and relevance of investing locally. Furthermore, the American legislation clearly indicates that NAFTA does not apply to transport projects subsidized by the American federal government, added Mr. Robillard.

The AMETVS won’t throw in the towel

Even though Via Rail Canada refuses to admit that local investment is more beneficial for Canadian taxpayers than awarding a contract to an American supplier based on a lowest bid policy, the AMETVS intends to persevere and not throw in the towel on this issue. We have sent 200 letters to federal and provincial Members of Parliament in Québec – still unanswered -- and we have asked AMETVS members to contact their Member of Parliament to support our efforts. We are confident that this will have an impact on deciders and speed things up with governments.

In addition, members and collaborators of the AMETVS are invited to support our efforts in order to raise deciders’ awareness about the importance of implementing fair regulation for North American countries. In fact, you can still show your support by filling out the form found in the following news release.

December 1, 2009 / Anne Turcotte

You would like the AMETVS to publish your news at no cost?

Fill out a request for publication form.