Canada and the other 10 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have reached an agreement. But adding “progressive” to the title doesn’t make it so, when the agreement fails to address the many serious concerns that experts and everyday Canadians have about this enormous trade deal.
The government claims it’s made gains on culture, as well as labour and environmental standards. But those changes are only included in the introductory remarks and side agreements, rather than in the core deal, and the details are still secret.
The Trudeau government hasn’t shown a shred of evidence the deal will benefit Canadians. Instead, they continue to operate in silence, keeping Canadians in the dark about this far-reaching trade and investment pact.
It’s no secret that the TPP threatens Canadian jobs, public services and culture – even with the United States out of the deal. The TPP has been negotiated without adequate transparency and is strongly opposed by the Canadian public.
“Public consultations on the TPP were crystal clear: Canadians don’t want this bad trade deal,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “But instead of listening, the prime minister has rushed ahead. It’s not too late to walk away from a deal that threatens our jobs, culture and democracy.”
CUPE is particularly concerned with protecting Canadian and Quebecois cultural productions.
“Our culture is the bedrock of our identity,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. “Canadian negotiators want us to believe we’re protected. But they’ve settled for individual letters with each of the 10 countries – and haven’t released the text. That’s far from reassuring.”
The TPP endangers public services, including health care. Experts warn that the TPP will “obstruct efforts to renew and expand public health care,” including being a barrier to a much-needed national pharmacare program.
The TPP’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement rules remain virtually unchanged, giving foreign multinationals the right to challenge public policies adopted by democratically-elected governments.
Rushing to sign the TPP in the middle of tense NAFTA negotiations undermines the possibility of a progressive strategy on NAFTA and future trade deals.
According to reports, Canada and the other 10 countries will sign the final TPP in March.
- Check out “What’s the big deal?” – resources on the TPP from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives