Trudeau agrees with US and Japan on the TPP, to decide soon on LNG export terminal

Trudeau and AbeIt appears that Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau may pursue policies similar to outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper with respect to 'free trade' and liquefied natural gas (LNG) development.

Reuters reports, "Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canada’s prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau agreed to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), both seeing the free-trade deal as beneficial to the region, Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement. The two leaders exchanged views on the pact during a 15-minute telephone call on Friday [Oct. 30], Japan’s foreign ministry said."

The Canadian Press has also reported, "A White House statement on [an Oct. 19] telephone call between Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama said they discussed 'the need to move forward with implementing the high standards' of the TPP. 'I was encouraged to see ... in the telephone conversation between Mr. Trudeau and President Obama they agreed in principle on the importance of the TPP', said [Japan's ambassador to Canada Kenjiro] Monji. ...'I understand that Liberals are traditionally free trade people. So I hope that the new government will approve the TPP', [says Monji]."

In addition, the Canadian Press article notes, "Monji realizes the long election campaign has stalled the federal review of the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project, which the British Columbia Liberals are keen to establish as a natural gas export hub to Asia. But as others in the LNG industry have warned, Monji said Canada's window of opportunity to cash in on the Asian market could soon close because of competition from other countries, including the United States. 'Timing is crucial because many other countries are trying to develop or sell liquefied natural gas to other parts of the world, especially to Asia, whose economy is growing,' said Monji."

In terms of the timeline for a federal decision on the LNG project, the Globe and Mail reported on Oct. 15 that, "The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is expected to rule in early 2016 on the proposal submitted by Pacific NorthWest LNG, a consortium led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas."

Trudeau will meet with Japan's prime minister and the U.S. president if he attends the G20 summit in Turkey (Nov. 15-16) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Philippines (Nov. 18-19) as expected. It is also likely that Trudeau would meet with Abe and Obama at the United Nations COP 21 climate talks that start on Nov. 30.

The Council of Canadians opposes the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership because of its investor-state dispute settlement provision that allows corporations to sue governments for public interest legislation that affects future profits. We have also raised concerns about the impact of the TPP on food safety (it would allow BGH milk into Canada), dairy farmers, auto parts workers and its extended patent provision that profits transnational bio-pharmaceutical corporations. We are concerned about reports that the TPP would mean more foreign workers, exploitation and suppressed wages in Canada.

And we are opposed to the Pacific Northwest LNG project because it contributes to climate change, consumes a massive amount of water, means a high number of export supertankers impacting marine safety, and because it violates Indigenous rights. The project is opposed by the Luutkudziiwus house of the Gitxsan Nation because the pipeline that services the LNG terminal crosses their traditional territory known as Madii Lii. The Allied Tribes of Lax Kw’alaams have also filed a court challenge claiming Title to Lax U'u'la (Lelu Island) in an effort to prevent the terminal from being built on their territory.

For more on our campaign against the TPP please click here, for more on our opposition to LNG projects, click here.

Photo: Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.