Whoa!Canada

laurel l. russwurm's political musings

What happened to Canada’s #TPP Consultation?

with 7 comments

 
The Trudeau government won’t be pressured by the Conservatives or business lobbies into ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal until the public has been consulted about it, says Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

She told Conservative trade critic Gerry Ritz in the Commons that the deal is not even open yet for ratification or a signature. A tentative agreement was reached among 12 countries during the Oct. 19 election campaign.

Trade experts have said the TPP deal, which hinges on U.S. congressional approval, likely won’t have to be approved until 2017.

The Liberal government supports free trade, Freeland said. “We understand that on a deal this big, it is essential to consult Canadians and have a full parliamentary debate.” The Liberals have yet to indicate how they plan to consult the public.

Conservatives call on Liberals to move forward on TPP

Did I miss something? Because suddenly Ms. Freeland is saying:

   
Canada Will Sign TPP Deal, But That Doesn’t Mean It’ll Ratify It: Freeland

“It is clear that many feel the TPP presents significant opportunities, while others have concerns,” Freeland wrote.”Many Canadians still have not made up their minds and many more still have questions.”

Um. Well, of course Canadians have concerns and questions… although it’s been in negotiation for 5 years, it’s been in secret– well, at least to most Canadians, citizens and parliamentarians alike. But while we are all scrambling to catch up with this, big industry has been not only involved but fully informed from the start. They’ve had years to study and influence the content of the TPP. But for the rest of Canada? We’ve been given no opportunity at all to influence the thing, it’s thousands of pages long, it’s only just been made public and we have been presented with an ultimatum. Either Canada can sign on to the TPP as is, or we can pass.

While it’s true the new Liberal government did not negotiate this deal, the Conservative Party that did continues to support it, its current leader claims:

  
 “The Trans-Pacific Partnership offers huge opportunities.” —Rona Ambrose

The reality is that it doesn’t actually matter which government negotiated the TPP, if Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government signs the TPP, it will bear the brunt of the responsibility for the thing. And I have yet to hear any evidence that this agreement will be beneficial to Canada.  Oh, sure, I have no doubt Ms. Ambrose is correct–there will be enormous opportunities to be had by signing the TPP. Just none of them will benefit the public good. If Canada signs the TPP, we will be on the hook.  The government that signs it will effectively abdicating our sovereign power to unaccountable corporate tribunals (via ISDS)

Michael Geist talks about TPP at CIGIBut Michael Geist disagrees.  Michael is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University, and he’ so concerned about the TPP that he’s been blogging a daily series about its many pitfalls:

The Trouble With the TPP

If that’s not enough, we know Jim Balsillie fears TPP could cost Canada billions and become worst-ever policy move

And then there’s the just released Tufts’ Global Development and Environment Institute report which estimates “the 12 countries involved in the proposed free trade deal would lose a net total of 771,000 jobs in the 10 years after the deal comes into force.

All of this raises many many questions.  All the evidence I’ve seen suggests signing the TPP will cause actual harm to Canada, so I can see no good reason to sign the thing. And besides, didn’t we just vote out the government that got us into this spot?  Didn’t we vote for real change?

And what happened to the promised consultations?

7 Responses

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  1. “…Michael is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University.” What university?

    Buster

    May 2, 2016 at 12:33 pm

  2. Let’s be fair about this. What are the benifits to Canadians? What are the benifits to Canadian corporations and Government?

    Aashima Elizabeth Mathias

    May 2, 2016 at 1:50 pm

  3. Is it true that the American gov’t has been pressuring European countries to relax standards in food and agriculture to make issues in the TTP easier on companies doing business in those countries?

    Gena Madigan

    May 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm

  4. The TPP must be put before the general populace in a form of a referendum and only the public should determine if Canada should sign this deal. That is true democracy and true change.

    Peter

    May 2, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    • The TPP has been signed, the justification for it (like the justification for Canada’s participation) is that if we didn’t we wouldn’t be allowed to later.

      Although it has been signed, it won’t go into effect until Canada has changes any law we have that is in conflict with the TPP, and the TPP is then ratified. The TPP would fold if enough of the participants back out. If the US backs out (fingers crossed they elect Bernie Sanders) the deal collapses.

      Laurel L. Russwurm

      May 2, 2016 at 9:45 pm


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