Ontario Liberals seek billions in compensation for the TPP rather than opposing the deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

The Ontario government is demanding the Trudeau government commit to $2.66 billion in compensation for the province before ratifying the 'comprehensive and progressive' Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The date for a ratification vote in the House of Commons has not been set, but the deal is to be signed on March 8 in Chile and news reports suggest the deal will come into force at the end of 2018 or the first half of 2019.

The Globe and Mail reports, "Premier Kathleen Wynne on Thursday called for Ottawa to provide $1.26-billion for the province's auto sector and $1.4-billion for agricultural producers that will face loss of sales under the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)."

The article adds, "[When the Conservative government signed the TPP in 2015, it promised] to reduce the impact of lost sales with compensation worth $4.3-billion for Canada's dairy, chicken and other supply-managed farmers over 15 years, and $1-billion for the auto sector. Ms. Wynne on Thursday called on Ottawa to make good on Ontario's share of these commitments, over 10 years, before the current deal is ratified."

Ontario says that under the TPP its farm sector could lose $500 million in revenue over the first five years and that an expected drop in investment in the auto sector would result in an economy-wide reduction of $80 million in the annual gross domestic product as well as potential job losses.

Scrap it and keep the jobs
NDP leader Andrea Horwath has framed Wynne calling for this compensation as a signal that "we’re going to lose those jobs and we just need a cushion". She has highlighted, “To simply throw up your hands and say, ‘well, we need transition funding’ - maybe we need to re-look at those deals and make sure we keep those jobs in Ontario. ...I really don’t think we should give up on those jobs."

Unifor president Jerry Dias says, "Ontario is acknowledging that the CPTPP is a job killer and is asking for measures to offset the known damage that it will inflict. Rather than covering the wound it should be seeking to prevent the injury by calling for an exemption for auto or better yet pushing to prevent ratification."

TPP an election issue?
The provincial election in Ontario takes place on June 7.

Yesterday, the polling firm Ipsos noted, "If an election were held tomorrow, the Ontario PCs would receive 38% of the decided popular vote. The incumbent Liberals would receive 29% and the NDP would receive 26%. Other parties, including the Green Party, would receive 7% of the vote. Seven percent say they’d spoil their ballot or would not vote, while 18% of Ontarians are unsure of how they’d mark their ballot."

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