Ottawa – Today, as the House of Commons resumes, the implementation of the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will be the second bill on the House of Common’s agenda. With a few changes, this is the same Trans Pacific Partnership agreement which 99 per cent of those writing to Global Affairs opposed, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians objected to.
“Don’t be fooled,” says Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “This is the same Harper agreement with new Liberal management. It doesn’t even have the weak gender and Indigenous clauses the Canadian government said it would champion. Despite some small changes, it is still a corporate giveaway, bending and shaping our regulations in order to suit big business. It will result in job losses, more corporate lawsuits against our public interest regulations, and will put farmers in danger. Calling it progressive is simply Orwellian.”
After Donald Trump pulled out of the TPP, the 11 remaining countries hatched the CPTPP using the TPP as the base. They removed pharmaceutical patent extensions which would have increased drug costs, but kept much of the deal intact.
The debate on the CPTPP falls on the first anniversary of the implementation of CETA (the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). Preliminary data from Statistics Canada shows that Canadian exports to the EU did not grow since CETA’s implementation.
“The government will argue that with NAFTA on the ropes, we need this agreement desperately in order to diversify trade. It is as if a trade agreement is a magic bullet that will solve all of Canada’s woes,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “But after our deal with South Korea, our exports decreased. Also, our trade has grown more with countries with whom we don’t have agreements. We need a real debate, independent numbers, and not magical thinking.”
The Council of Canadians is urging the House of Commons and the Senate to ensure that there is a vigorous debate, and not a rubber stamp of the agreement.
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