Instead of learning from their mistakes, Conservatives are repeating them. Based on the list of sectors that will be harmed by the TPP, approving the deal will be another step away from a diversified economy.
Ottawa (05 Oct. 2015) — Concessions made by the federal government during negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be costly for all Canadians. Even if people are not directly affected, the cost of the damage to key sectors of our economy will be in the billions.
Secrecy surrounds negotiations
While lobby groups for large corporations seem to know details, what’s likely to be in the deal has been kept from most Canadians. The government’s promise to release the text “in a few days” is meaningless. Releasing several hundred pages just before an election isn’t transparency, it’s a snow job.
Auto industry expected to be hit hard
The TPP removes the requirement that 50 per cent of parts and vehicles be manufactured in North America. Instead all that is required is that 45 per cent of the value originate in one of 12 TPP countries.
The Canadian auto industry is already suffering from Conservative neglect and misguided policies, like lending Volkswagen $525 million of federal government money to expand production in Mexico and the United States. This will be yet another blow.
TPP means a $4.9 billion increase in farm subsidies
Approval of the TPP means that for the first time in living memory we will need to subsidize our dairy, egg and chicken farmers. Currently, supply management means that dairy, egg and chicken farmers don’t need a subsidy.
With the TPP, the federal government is already planning for $4.9 billion in subsidies. If the impact on farmers is more severe than expected, that amount could grow.
“Buy American” restrictions on Canadian goods remain
As the softwood lumber dispute showed, even with a trade deal, Canadian goods can still face barriers. That won’t change with the TPP. “Buy American” provisions that have led to Canadian companies moving production to the United States will still be permitted by the TPP.
TPP enshrines higher drug prices
Decisions by successive federal governments to extend patent protection for new medication have already pushed up prescription drug prices in Canada. Protection for large drug companies in the TPP will make it harder to revisit those bad decisions.
Overdependence on natural resources — again
For decades, federal governments of all political stripes attempted to diversify Canada’s economy. Those governments recognized that relying too much on natural resources left Canada vulnerable to boom/bust cycles.
The current Conservative government abandoned that approach. Its hand-off strategy meant Canada was hit hard when the price of oil, iron ore and other natural resources fell dramatically last year.
But instead of learning from their mistakes, Conservatives are repeating them. Based on the list of sectors that will be harmed by the TPP, approving the deal will be another step away from a diversified economy.
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