"Every other country knows that Mr, Harper has publicly conceded on this point — he will accept a deal that does not protect the industry and its workforce.” — Larry Brown, TJN spokesperson
Ottawa (29 Sept. 2015) — Stephen Harper has shown reckless incompetence with his recent remarks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and Canada now has no choice but to step away from the table, says the Trade Justice Network (TNJ).
Harper has already given in on the TPP
The TJN, a coalition that includes labour unions — organizations with tremendous experience in negotiating — says Harper’s ill-advised comments on the auto industry have left Canada with no room to manoeuvre.
“Mr. Harper has already publicly conceded that Canada is prepared to accept a bad deal for Canada’s auto parts manufacturers,” said TJN spokesperson
Larry Brown. Brown is also the National Secretary-Treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) which is a TJN member.
“Canada’s negotiating team now has no leverage whatsoever with which to defend this crucial industry at the TPP talks. Every other country knows that Mr, Harper has publicly conceded on this point — he will accept a deal that does not protect the industry and its workforce.”
“No one should ever go to a negotiating table saying that reaching a deal is absolutely crucial; the other side knows that they can extract the maximum concessions because you’ve already implied that you will accept pretty much anything to get this ‘crucial’ deal.”
TJN says an outgoing government concluding an international treaty during an election is unheard of
The TJN also questions whether the government has any moral authority to reach an agreement on such a major issue as the TPP. It is unheard of for an outgoing government to conclude an international treaty of such scope during an election campaign, when they should be just caretakers.
“With no moral authority to conclude a deal and with Canada’s negotiators being completely painted into a corner by Mr. Harper, the only sensible option for Canada is to stand aside, at least until the federal election is concluded,” Brown said.
“At that point our negotiators may get the kind of mandate from a new government that will allow them to actually bargain in Canada’s best interests, instead of having their position completely undercut by an incompetent negotiator like Mr. Harper.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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