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Trudeau signals Canada will ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Young workers turn their backs on Trudeau today.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given “his strongest indication yet” that he will ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), according to Bloomberg News.

Earlier today, Trudeau stated, “It’s difficult to imagine a world where Canada would turn its back on three of its top five trading partners. We established very clearly during the campaign that we’re a pro-trade party.”

He made the comment at the Canadian Labour Congress’ National Young Workers’ Summit in Ottawa. He was presumably referring to the United States, Japan and Mexico as three signatory countries to the TPP. And as noted in his comment today, Trudeau did say the Liberals are a pro-free trade party during the last federal election.

On October 5, 2015, Trudeau stated, “The Liberal Party of Canada strongly supports free trade, as this is how we open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, create good-paying jobs, and provide choice and lower prices to Canadian consumers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it.”

Soon afterwards, on November 10, 2015, Trudeau’s agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay stated, “‘I suspect when I evaluate the whole thing, it will be something I support. I see nothing today that would make me not want to support the whole package.”

More recently, in April 2016 during a visit to Washington, D.C., Trudeau commented, “In our conversations with Canadians, with industries which are ongoing, there are a lot of people in favour of it and there are a few who have real concerns and we’re looking at understanding and allaying certain fears and building on some of the opportunities.”

The Council of Canadians opposes the TPP for key reasons including:

  • JOB LOSSES – A study by Tufts University found that the TPP would cost Canada 58,000 jobs and increase income inequality. The study estimates that the 12 countries would lose a net total of 771,000 jobs in the 10 years after the TPP comes into force.

  • CORPORATE RIGHTS – Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says the ISDS provision is the “worst part” of the TPP and that the deal would prevent Canada from moving toward a low-carbon economy. Canada has been subject to 35+ NAFTA investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) claims since the deal came into force on Jan. 1, 1994. Sixty three per cent of those claims have involved challenges to environmental protection or resource management measures.

  • HIGHER DRUG COSTS – The TPP establishes for highly-profitable transnational pharmaceutical corporations a five-year minimum period of exclusive rights to sell expensive life-saving bioligics. In her comments on the TPP, the director-general of the World Health Organization stated, “If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all.”

  • BGH – The TPP opens up 3.25 per cent of the Canadian dairy market to milk imports that could be tainted with BGH. There is no plan to separate or label this milk.

  • INDIGENOUS RIGHTS – First Nations are extremely concerned the Government of Canada signed the TPP without consultation or consideration of the constitutionally protected, judicially recognized, and internationally enshrined rights of Indigenous peoples.

Back in October 2015, Trudeau promised, “If the Liberal Party of Canada earns the honour of forming a government after October 19th, we will hold a full and open public debate in Parliament to ensure Canadians are consulted on this historic trade agreement.” That consultation – being conducted the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade – concludes on October 31. We have been encouraging people to send their comments on the TPP to this committee. More than 14,000 people have done so. To send your letter before their October 31 deadline, please click here.

The twelve countries that have signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership have set a deadline of November 2017 to ratify the deal.

Bloomberg notes, “The TPP is opposed by both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, making its fate unclear.”