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St. John’s chapter makes submission on the TPP to House of Commons trade committee

Chapter activists Ken Kavanagh, Andrea Furlong, Marilyn Reid.

The Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter has made its submission on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the mulit-party House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade.

Chapter activists Ken Kavanagh, Andrea Furlong and Marilyn Reid highlight, “We have read the TPP briefs submitted to the International Trade Committee over the last few months and are confident that both the purported pros and cons of the TPP have been comprehensively addressed. …Not surprisingly, the pro TPP submissions came from Big Business. …It is in the anti TPP camp that you will find the family farmers, the unions, civil society groups and, above all, ordinary citizens. …Overwhelmingly, these submissions assert that trade agreements like the TPP constrain government’s ability to protect the quality of life of Canadians. …The big question is: Which perspective is government going to favour?”

They argue, “We cite two reasons for our inclination to think the voice of ordinary Canadians will not win out. …Roughly one third of Canada’s trade with the European Union (EU) is with Great Britain, a country whose citizens have just voted to exit the EU. In light of this development, one might have expected our federal government to choose to reassess CETA. Instead, Canada, along with the unelected European Commission, has pushed for the preliminary or provisional ratification of CETA as quickly as possible. …[In addition], we can’t help wondering whether the International Trade Committee, (and this is not a critique of the hard work and integrity of individual members) will ultimately be required to toe the line. International trade was the top lobbying topic for Canada in 2015. Clearly, powerful business interests want this deal to go through.”

They also note that studies suggest that the TPP would:

  • not only increase unemployment in Canada, but will do so at a higher per capita level than in any other country,

  • increase inequality worldwide,

  • cause a 26% drop in Canada’s value added exports.

They then comment, “It seems irrational to us that any democratically elected government, aware of all of the above, might want to ratify a deal as huge as the TPP. Unfortunately, we Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans have learned the hard way how easy it is for bad deals to irrationally proceed. Our province has a hydro-electric project in Labrador that is massively over budget, is economically unfeasible, will extravagantly raise NL electricity rates, and could come close to bankrupting the province. It was imposed on us by a provincial government that chose to refuse any meaningful consultation process with the public but listened intensely to the advice of powerful business interests.”

The deadline to send your comments to the Committee is October 31.

Those comments can be emailed to ciit-tpp-ptp@parl.gc.ca

The Committee is expected to study the TPP until about January 2017. The Canadian Press has reported, “After that, [trade minister Chrystia Freeland] has promised that only a vote in Parliament would ratify the deal.” The Hill Times adds, “It’s unlikely the TPP deal will be put before the House for debate and a Commons vote until next fall or winter [meaning late 2017]…” In November 2015, the leaders of the TPP signatory countries put a two year limit on the ratification of the TPP (meaning the deal would need to be ratified by the Trudeau government by November 2017).”

For more on our campaign to stop the TPP, please click here.