The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter and the Guelph Wellington Social Justice Committee recently met with Guelph Liberal Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and C-51, the Harper government’s anti-terrorism legislation.
The chapter left Longfield a written summary of their concerns which includes, “Both the CETA and the TPP were negotiated without public consultation although specific business sectors were consulted on how an agreement would affect their balance sheet.” They also raised concerns about the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision in both deals.
In his Nov. 2015 mandate letter to trade minister Chrystia Freeland, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directed her to, “develop strategies to implement [CETA] and consult on Canada’s potential participation in the [TPP]. This will include working with relevant ministers and provinces and territories to support adjustment in sectors including agriculture, the auto sector, and compensation for incremental cost increases to public drug plans arising from CETA.” With respect to C-51, the Liberals promised during the election to “repeal the problematic elements of Bill C-51, and introduce new legislation that better balances our collective security with our rights and freedoms.”
The Council of Canadians has expressed concerns about CETA, TPP and C-51.
An October 2010, a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report found that a free trade agreement with Europe could cost between 28,000 and 152,000 Canadian jobs. A recent study by Tufts University found that the TPP will cost Canada 58,000 jobs and increase income inequality. The Huffington Post reports, “In all, the study estimates that the 12 countries involved in the proposed free trade deal would lose a net total of 771,000 jobs in the 10 years after the deal comes into force.” We have also highlighted the problems with the ISDS provisions and pharmaceutical drug patent provisions in both deals.
In Nov. 2015, the Council of Canadians signed an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau that stated, “Your government has made a commitment to address some problematic elements of Bill C-51, and we are encouraged by that pledge. However, we are concerned by indications that you will seek to introduce a Bill C-51 reform package before engaging in public consultations. The case for Bill C-51 has never been made to the public, and Canadians have not yet been provided with an opportunity to provide meaningful input regarding its faults. Such consultation must precede any further legislative initiatives.”
Council of Canadians chapters across the country continue to meet with their MPs on a range of key issues, including proportional representation.