OTTAWA – Trade ministers from 12 nations have chosen a casino and convention centre for the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), leading to criticism from fair trade advocates like the Council of Canadians that governments are gambling with their citizens’ futures.
“By signing the TPP, our governments are playing roulette with our environmental protections and social standards,” said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “In Canada, we will be doing our part to stop the high rollers behind these deals, the billionaires, from rigging the rules in the interests of a small group of corporations.”
The Council of Canadians points out that the TPP is more concerned with protecting corporate rights than with lowering trade barriers. Out of the 30 chapters in the TPP, only two focus on tariff elimination and six deal with traditional trade issues.
Further concerns with the TPP include:
- The TPP is a bad bet on jobs: According to a study by Tufts University, the TPP could result in 58,000 jobs lost in Canada. The auto industry has also been hit by the TPP’s rules of origin, which could jeopardize 28,000 jobs, according to Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union.
- The TPP rolls the dice on corporate lawsuits: TransCanada’s recent NAFTA lawsuit against the U.S. government for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline illustrates the dangers of investor-state dispute settlement provisions that allow corporations to sue states over decisions that affect future profits. These provisions curtail environmental and social policy by imposing financial penalties on countries for anything from banning fracking to raising the minimum wage.
- The TPP gambles with Canadians’ health: The TPP extends pharmaceutical patents on new life-saving drugs, raising profits for pharmaceutical companies while making public health care less affordable for governments.
“We’ve been dealt a bad hand with the TPP,” concluded Barlow. “People in all the TPP countries are coming together to say it’s time to fold on this deal.”