“This is a bad deal for Canadian workers, a bad deal for Canadian families, and a bad deal for the Canadian economy. There’s absolutely no reason why Prime Minister Trudeau should be endorsing this trade agreement.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (24 Jan. 2018) – The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is joining other North American labour unions in resounding opposition to the Trudeau government agreeing to a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), officially renamed the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
“Changing the name doesn’t make this bad trade deal better, and it certainly doesn’t make it progressive,” says Larry Brown, NUPGE President. “This is a bad deal for Canadian workers, a bad deal for Canadian families, and a bad deal for the Canadian economy,” Brown continued. “There’s absolutely no reason why Prime Minister Trudeau should be endorsing this trade agreement.” He added, “And anyway, Canadians have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the TPP, so the Prime Minister has no public mandate to support it.”
'Serious consequences' — costs outweigh benefits
NUPGE has always opposed the TPP because the costs of ratifying it 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 per cent by 2040, and the costs of not joining would be less than 0.2 per cent.
On the other hand, the TPP will have very serious consequences for health care and access to affordable medicines, public and social services, culture, Indigenous sovereignty, and environmental sustainability.
Perpetuates income inequality
Furthermore, the increased liberalization of trade and investment that comes with the new TPP will intensify and exacerbate all the negative economic consequences we are now witnessing including skyrocketing income and wealth inequality, job displacement, and lower work standards. As other labour unions have argued, the language in the TPP labour chapter is so weak and unenforceable, that it will not protect worker’s rights.
Private investors can sue the government
What’s worse is that the TPP includes the notorious investor-state dispute mechanism which gives foreign investors the exclusive privilege and extraordinary power to sue the Canadian government. The case would be heard in front of a private tribunal of corporate lawyers who can order Canadian taxpayers to give these corporations unlimited amounts of money for any laws or regulations that harm their expected profits.
Strenghtening corporate rights
“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 National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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