Government wants your input on the TPP

Screenshot 2016-03-11 12.59.31Canada’s parliamentary standing committee on trade will be travelling the country to get regional perspectives on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), “to assess the extent to which the agreement, once implemented, would be in the best interests of Canadians,” according to a press release.

The committee, which normally only leaves Ottawa for international travel related to Canada’s trade negotiations, “expects to hold hearings across Canada over the coming months.” Information about dates and locations will be provided later.

Furthermore, the public is invited to submit written comments on the TPP (max. 1,500 words) to [email protected], with a deadline of April 30, 2016.

Cross-Canada hearings are a good idea the CCPA has proposed here and here, among other places. Though the Liberal government claims it is no longer possible to make changes to the TPP, the hearings provide an opportunity for people to learn about the deal (including its many downsides), and for the all-party trade committee to gauge the level of public acceptance or antipathy outside of Ottawa’s media bubble.

The Alternative Federal Budget, released yesterday by the CCPA, describes the 12-nation TPP as “an archetypal trade and investment liberalization agreement built on the NAFTA model.” It identifies (see page 137) the following three aspects of the agreement as especially problematic for Canada:

  • The TPP contains an ISDS (investor-to-state dispute settlement) mechanism that will allow foreign investors from TPP parties to sue governments before international arbitration tribunals. The deal will deepen and widen Canada’s exposure to these cases, especially from investors in Japan and Australia, where foreign direct investment to Canada is highest. (For more on ISDS, see the July-August issue of the CCPA Monitor or play our video game, State Invaders.)
  • The TPP will extend and entrench intellectual property rights—through longer copyright terms, stricter trademark protections, and longer patent terms in particular—that will reduce access to medicines, restrict Internet freedom, and stifle tech innovation in Canada. The TPP will require amendments to Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act, among other laws, mainly to the benefit of multinational (U.S.) media corporations.
  • The TPP will create serious challenges for key Canadian industries. The automotive sector (and tens of thousands of its employees) is threatened by a tariff phase-out that will allow cheaper Japanese imports, with higher levels of parts from China and other low-wage countries, into Canada without increasing Canadian auto exports to Japan. The dairy sector is threatened by quota concessions and other provisions that undermine Canada’s supply-managed agricultural system.

The AFB also called for a public consultation on the TPP, which should satisfy the following conditions to be meaningful:

  1. It must be conducted with the understanding that Canada will change and/or abandon the TPP if it is found unsatisfactory. It cannot be merely a symbolic process.
  1. It must be completed before Canada proceeds to ratify the TPP. The government cannot advance the implementation process until the consultations have ended.
  1. It must be empowered to apply the conclusions and recommendations of the review to other existing, pending, and future trade and investment agreements. If, for example, the review determines that the TPP’s ISDS mechanism is problematic, other agreements containing an ISDS mechanism, including NAFTA and the pending Canada-EU deal, should be publicly reviewed.

As part of the debate over whether Canada should ratify the TPP, the CCPA has introduced a new series of reports—What’s the Big Deal: Understanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership—to demystify the complicated trade deal and clarify its ramifications. There are two reports up there now, both on the health impacts of the TPP, but expect more shortly on culture, the environment, the quality of Canadian trade, and the investor–state dispute settlement regime.

You might find these reports helpful in developing comments for the trade committee if you plan on participating in its consultation process.


Stuart Trew is the editor of The Monitor, the CCPA’s national magazine, and a co-editor (with Teresa Healy) of The Harper Record 2008-2015. Follow Stuart on Twitter @StuJT.

16 comments

    1. The TTP is definately not good for Canada. And as a Canadian I am sick and tired of giving away our country to companies, countries and multi-nationals that only think of their own well being and not whats good for Canada. Harper had no business signing this agreement. He did it out side of the law of Canada during an election, which kicked him the hell out as Prim Minister. Its now up to the Liberal government to kick this TTP agreement out of Canada too! With the influx of new Canadians we are going to need all the jobs that are available and all the new potential jobs that we, as Canadians, will create. This TTP will take jobs from this country and thats totally wrong. Even the European governments say this is the worst agreement they have ever seen and Canada does not need it.

  1. TPP benefits large Multinational Corporations and will leave even more Canadians unemployed or working multiple minimum wage jobs!
    There is NOTHING good in the TPP for the Canadians who voted for this Liberal government.
    To ratify it, will be a slap in the face to the same voters.
    Please do NOT ratify the TPP!

  2. There is nothing our trade partners could offer us as precious as our clean water and air. NOTHING. Leave our resources alone. Canada is transforming to a green economy. Whatever Stephen Harper signed and agreed to is null and void. Stephen Harper’s agreements are treasonous and will not be honored.

  3. Why is the world’s second largest economy, China, specifically excluded from the TPPA?
    Is the TPPA a US political move rather than an economic programme? Is it an attempt by the US to box China in? Does the US fear that competition from China is too great to be tollorated in a treaty that they want to control?

    What ever way it is sliced, China is big in the world and big in the Pacific basin. The US ignored China, pretended that it did not exist, from 1949 to 1975. Are they doing that again? Is the TPPA yet just another US myth?

  4. I’m glad I can express my opinion . #1 why Canadian government would give a ultimate power to forien investors to run our economy? = as I underestand they ( international and foriegn companies ) can bring their workers , take our resources with out sharing profits and still sue as Canadies for loss of business or what ever they decide on . How in right mind do that . I guess closest think to this it would be going to your house and tell you guys how to live and have access to your bank account. #2self sustain economy = agriculture, forestry, mining , light and heavy construction , the list goes on . #3 we have to keep Canada for our children and their families. Sincerely Lubo Blazek

  5. It seems to me that most Canadians will not benefit from this agreement. There was just about no discussion of this deal under the previous government, but that’s what everyone expected from the Harper regime. Now Trudeau seems anxious to have the deal ratified with as little debate as possible. Yet, the deal would apparently mostly benefit multinational corporations and China, not the majority of Canadians.

  6. Just another sell-off of Canadian sovereignty, engineered by Harper and now to be managed to acceptance by Trudeau. I’m sure his new BFF, President Obama is strongly urging him to make it so. Nothing in the TPP is good for main-stream Canadians but it would be another in the string of coups for the trans-national corporations, bankers, lawyers and the rest of the elite that now govern Canada. Scream like hell and protest in the streets against this looming catastrophe.

  7. Canadian citizens must stand together and demand that our elected representatives do as they are supposed to have been doing all along. Protecting our jobs, our resources & our rights to be an independent nation. This is a democracy. (Perhaps there are some who need to refresh their memory as to the definition of that word.)
    The best interest of every Canadian person should be at the forefront of each decision made by those we choose to represent us. Any and all dealings should ensure that control of our rights, resources, and our future stays with us. Too many jobs have been lost to other countries.
    I as a Candian citizen ask that my representatives cease and desist entering into any agreements including but not limited to the TPP that have potential to result in the loss of Canadian jobs, controll over our resourses, and put our right to remain an independent nation. We have a great country, let us keep it!

  8. No to TPP!

    The ISDS is a slap in the face of all citizens, essentially allowing corporations to steal our tax contributions, our money. So wrong, why is this not clearer to politicians who are supposed to have the best interest of Canadian citizens in mind?

    The system is failing us.

  9. The history and repercussions of “free” trade deals that include investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms are easily researched.

    Canada is the most sued country under NAFTA and one of the most alarming cases provides a direct threat to you, and your children’s health (Ethyl Corp.) (1997)

    There is nothing free about free trade and when a government sacrifices its citizens welfare in the name of trade, that is a price no Canadian is willing to pay so why is our government even considering the TPP?

    The lessons of history are plain to see and the government of the day is plain see through.

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