“Canadians have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the TPP, so the Prime Minister has no public mandate to support it,” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (10 Nov. 2017) – According to several news reports, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given his blessing to the latest attempt to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Deeply concerning development
The National Union is deeply concerned about this development. This was another negotiating process that excluded the public — we are demanding that the Trudeau government release the details of this new agreement. But we also strongly assert that Canada should never have gotten to this point, and should now withdraw from the TPP-11 talks once and for all. “Canadians have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the TPP, so the Prime Minister has no public mandate to support it,” says Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees.
What is especially troubling is that Trudeau said the government would take its time to get the deal right, but now it appears that he was pressured into accepting a deal at any cost.
Unanswered questions, negotiated in secret
It has been reported that the 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries have reached an agreement on "core elements" of the trade pact, including that all countries will adhere to strict labour and environmental standards. But there are still no details about what exactly has been agreed to, so there are lots of unanswered questions. Essentially, there is no public information about the many other contentious aspects of the agreement. Even with the changes being reported, this is still a corporate driven trade deal that will not benefit Canadians.
It looks likeTrudeau capitulated under pressure
Foreign ministers had agreed on Thursday night to revive the TPP after the original agreement was rejected by U.S. President Donald Trump days after he took office. Talks appeared stalled when Prime Minister Trudeau failed to participate. But after a barrage of pressure, it seems he caved, and accepted the agreement.
The Trudeau government had previously never fully committed to the TPP, and spent months consulting the public on the agreement. During those consultations it was clear that the people of Canada did not want this deal.
"We are very concerned that the Prime Minister has signed on to this highly regressive economic agreement," said Larry Brown.
'Serious consequences' — costs outweigh benefits
It is clear that the costs of ratifying the TPP far outweigh any small benefits. Even the government’s own estimates admit that the benefits will be very limited. A 2016 study of the TPP released by the Office of the Chief Economist of Global Affairs Canada acknowledged that joining the TPP would lead to a very tiny increase of GDP of approximately 0.1% by 2040, and the costs of not joining would be less than .2%.
“The TPP is only marginally about trade,” says Larry Brown. “It is really about harmonizing standards and regulations across countries, and strengthening the rights of corporations at the expense of citizens, workers and the environment.”
“The TPP will have serious consequences for health care, public and social services, Indigenous sovereignty and environmental sustainability. So it’s time for the Trudeau government to stand up for Canadians and stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE