“The TPP is about strengthening the rights of corporations at the expense of citizens, workers, and the environment. The costs of ratifying the TPP far outweigh any small benefit that may be gained. -- Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (02 May, 2017) — High-level negotiators from 11 countries are meeting in Toronto in an attempt to resuscitate the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The meetings will take place behind closed doors at an undisclosed location on May 2 and 3. The proposed mega-trade deal appeared to be dead after public pressure prompted the U.S. to withdraw from the pact.
Strong public opposition
The TPP sparked strong public opposition in all 12 countries. In part, the criticism of the deal which could have covered 40 per cent of the world's trade, was that it was negotiated entirely in secret and without public input. But as details of the deal began to leak out, opinion polls in most of the participating countries tracked growing public opposition.
The renewed talks have sparked protests from the Trade Justice Network (TJN) and other civil society groups who warn that because the TPP was created without citizen input, it cannot be the basis for Canada’s future trade relationships with Asia-Pacific nations. The groups say it’s absurd and undemocratic for the federal government to host secret talks at a secret location on a deal that will dramatically impact the lives of Canadians.
Strengthening the rights of corporations at the expense of citizens and workers
“The TPP is only marginally about trade. It is about harmonizing standards and regulations across countries and strengthening the rights of corporations at the expense of citizens, workers, and the environment. The costs of ratifying the TPP far outweigh any small benefit that may be gained. We urge the Trudeau government to stand up for Canadians and against the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
“Deals like the TPP never truly die. Their destructive nature — killing jobs and the environment — lives on in other forms,” said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Even without the U.S., other countries are trying to revive the dubious legacy of the TPP. It’s time they got the message: People are tired of these agreements, and we must do better.”
Unfair, undemocratic, negotiated behind closed doors
“The TPP is an unfair and undemocratic deal that was negotiated behind closed doors without any meaningful public participation,” said David Christopher, communications manager with OpenMedia. “Such a flawed and unpopular deal cannot be the basis for Canada’s future trade relationships. Instead of hosting secret talks to resurrect the TPP behind closed doors, the government needs to go back to the drawing board and ensure any future trade deal is shaped by citizens every step of the way.”
The recently published Let’s Talk TPP report, crowdsourced from nearly 28,000 Canadians, found that the most common reason for opposing the TPP was the failure of the federal government to consult with the public during TPP negotiations. Canadians also highlighted concerns around digital rights, corporate overreach, democratic accountability, healthcare and public services, the environment, labour issues, and the economy as reasons they opposed the deal.
The TPP has been criticized as a transfer of power from democratically elected national governments to multinational corporations that would result in higher drug prices, a dumbing down of national environmental and health regulations and would give corporations special rights to sue national governments without having to go through the established court system.
Condemned by respected citizens and groups
The TPP has also been condemned by respected citizens groups including the Sierra Club, Doctors Without Borders, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Internet advocacy watchdog Open Media, and even Jim Balsillie, a Canadian business tycoon, and Mark Buzzell, the head of the Canadian division of Ford Motor Company.
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