OTTAWA – According to a document leaked on Wikileaks, the CBC and Canada Post could be jeopardized by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement being negotiated this week in Maui by Canada and 11 other countries. State-owned enterprises in the TPP could be severely restricted and subject to rules that force them to give up their public service mandates in order to become purely profit-driven organizations. They would also be prohibited from buying services exclusively from local or national sources.
“The TPP will hinder our state-owned enterprises from acting in the public interest,” says Sujata Dey, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “The very mission of the CBC – telling the bilingual and multicultural story of Canada – will be reduced to simple profit making. Likewise, Canada Post will no longer function as a nation builder, but as a private company. The essence and mandate of our crown corporations are being traded away in favour of private corporate profit.”
Garry Neil, the Council's executive director and a cultural policy expert says, “because of a long string of government funding cuts, the CBC is already acting too commercially and straying from its essential public service mandate. Forbidding it from giving preference to Canadian producers undermines the Canadian content rules that ensure it remains an essentially Canadian service. All of this sets the stage for the privatization of the CBC, which has been the goal of the Harper government since it was first elected.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the largest economic trade agreement in the world, comprising more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP.