North Vancouver District Public Library Board

Motion on the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Canadian Libraries

Whereas, the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Seattle last November which were to initiate "The Millennium Round" of trade talks, brought public attention to the importance of trade issues to the quality of life people experience in their local community… While the meetings did not reach agreement on an agenda for the next round of WTO trade talks, discussions on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) will still take place over the next three years as part of the "built-in agenda" agreed to at the founding of the WTO in 1995.

And whereas, the proposed changes to GATS are of concern to local governments as they could affect existing jurisdiction and authorities (including the provision of public library services), and also could result in significant administrative burdens and costs;

And whereas, the current GATS is a "bottom-up" agreement (i.e., each affected sector is identified), but proposed changes to the Agreement 's structure (to a possible "top-down" or "horizontal" structure) would expand the Agreement's application to all services unless specifically exempted;

Therefore, be it resolved:

1/ That the North Vancouver District Public Library Board urge the Government of Canada to consult widely and in depth with the people of Canada before taking any further action on the GATS;

2/ That the Library Board urge the Government of Canada to file a permanent and explicit exemption in the GATS to ensure that sub-national jurisdictions maintain local flexibility and control over the delivery of public services, including libraries;

3/ That the Library Board urge the Government of B.C. to convene the Legislative Committee to hold public hearings on the impact of the WTO/GATS on British Columbia municipalities and services, such as libraries, provided by those municipalities.

And be it further resolved that a copy of this motion be:

1/circulated to Members of Parliament and members, B.C. Legislative Assembly, representing North Vancouver District residents

2/circulated to B.C. Library Trustees Association and Canadian Library Trustees Association for endorsement

3/circulated to Mayor and Council, Corporation of the District of North Vancouver for their information.

Motion passed by North Vancouver District Public Library Board, 11 May 2000.

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