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NEWS: Council critiques Canada’s entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership talks

The Globe and Mail reports that, “Canada has been invited to join the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, an announcement that comes one day after Mexico was also asked to join the nine member group. Each of the nine TPP states must now have the two invitations approved domestically, meaning it will need the approval of the U.S. Congress. …Canada expects that by early this fall, its participation in the TPP will be confirmed. The next round of TPP negotiations will take place from July 2 to July 10 in San Diego. …Current members of the TPP talks include the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. …At the G20 conference, Mr. Harper’s main message is that freer trade is the best way to promote economic growth without building up additional debt.”

The Globe and Mail article notes, “The Council of Canadians, a regular critic of international trade deals, is vowing to fight Canada’s participation in the TPP. ‘Once again the Harper government is forcing Canada into a major trade negotiation that will only benefit the 1 per cent,’ Maude Barlow, the council’s national chairperson, said in a statement. ‘Like the Canada-EU deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership could force Canada to change its drug policies, its copyright policies, its environmental and public health rules – all without going through the normal parliamentary process.'”

The Toronto Star adds, “Critics fear the deal will be of little benefit to average Canadians and could lead to changes in domestic policies governing things like drugs, copyright law, the environment and public health to suit other partners. The deal ‘will only benefit big business, and Canada will have less say than Brunei in what the final deal looks like,’ said Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. ‘We commit to fighting this deal and Harper’s other economic pacts that have nothing to do with jobs or trade and everything to do with limiting what we can do as a society to live sustainably and equitably.'”

And Postmedia News reports, “There are also political risks ahead for the governing Tories. Groups such as the Council of Canadians already have come out strongly against the TPP — warning that Canada could lose out at the negotiations by being forced to change its policies on drugs, copyright, and environmental and public health rules.”

To read Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew’s blog on this development, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15815. To read his media release, http://canadians.org/media/trade/2012/19-Jun-12.html. Our campaign web-page is at http://canadians.org/trade/issues/TPP/index.html.