No need for FOMO: Canada would be better off ditching TPP

We’ve consistently argued that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will bring high social and environmental costs and few economic benefits to Canada. The deal privileges multinational corporations and foreign investors while failing to protect the public interest and promote inclusive economic growth here at home.

A new report from the C.D. Howe Institute adds fuel to the fire, suggesting that the TPP will create little to no economic growth or economic welfare in Canada. According to the study, the TPP will grow the Canadian economy by just 0.068% by the year 2035, which is effectively nothing at all. The authors even admit that the assumptions in their model are “overly generous” to the deal and more a conservative approach “reduces the estimated gains for Canada considerably.”

More importantly, the study predicts that the costs of not ratifying the TPP will be even smaller: a mere 0.026% hit to Canadian GDP over the next 20 years. In fact, according to the study, a number of Canadian industries will be better off if Canada abandons the deal, including, ironically, fossil fuels and forestry.

Why are we doing this again?

We already knew that the TPP’s economic benefits, if any, would be small for Canada. The government admits as much. But business groups and other TPP cheerleaders have maintained that we can’t afford to miss out.

As it turns out, the economic costs of ditching the deal aren’t so bad after all, and the supposed benefits remain elusive. Yet ratifying the TPP would mean permanently implementing some highly destructive policy choices, including:

If we take the consequences of these provisions into account, the Canadian case for joining the TPP falls apart.

Taking consultations seriously

Considering how poorly Canadians were consulted during the TPP negotiating process under the previous government, it is tempting to dismiss the latest round of government and parliamentary consultations as political theatre. Admittedly, the government has expressed its willingness to push the TPP through regardless of public opinion and the so-called pre-study has been discouraging.

Yet concerned Canadians would be remiss to forgo this opportunity. As the Standing Committee on International Trade crosses the country soliciting public input on the TPP, we encourage Canadians to speak up and get involved.

After a decade of backroom negotiations, the TPP is finally starting to see the light of day. As decision makers ponder the deal, now is the time for Canadians to make their voices heard.

Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood is a CCPA trade and energy researcher. Follow Hadrian on Twitter @hadrianmk.

14 comments

  1. I agree! This trade agreement will harm more than help what Canadians hold dear, like health care and being able to negotiate drug costs. Please ditch it’s!

  2. In BC our Premier insists we come on side and join her in acceptance of the TPP. Later in the day she admitted to never reading the agreement or knowing what was in it. She suggested all free trade deals are worthy of signing. Yes, we do have a scary Premier. Hopefully she will see the light and step down. No to the TPP.

  3. No trade agreement should be allowed override the Food And Drugs Act Regulations. It is so provided in the SPS clause of every trade agreement but not followed by Health Canada.

  4. Since I came to Canada and became a Canadian citizen, I have seen a lot of big mistakes made by past governments that did not in anyway shape or form help Canadians. I do hope that this government does not disappoint me, and show’s the way to a better and fruitful Canada

  5. I have been against the TPP from the start. It is a deal favoring multinationals, most likely written by multinationals, hidden from scrutiny (a red flag in itself), whose only purpose is to guarantee freedoms and protections for corporations at the expense of citizens and guarantee corporate profits. All these corporations and the people behind them know, and have always known despite taking opposing positions, that environmental regulations MUST be put in place to prevent total environment collapse. The corporate strategy has always been to guarantee themselves pre-regulation profits…. and these international trade agreements with their investor protection clauses (ability to sue for lost profits) are key to accomplishing that goal.

    In addition, these agreements basically reduce the value of labor to the lowest common denominator by allowing these corporate entities to take advantage of poverty stricken areas around the globe without having to worry about tariffs. This, effectively shifts far too many jobs out of developed countries and into underdeveloped areas with little or no worker safety regulations, health benefits, or minimum wage guarantees.

    Furthermore, the TPP will effectively force us to allow the importing of products that do not meet with our health regulations (like milk containing dangerous hormones). It’s a deal that only the most irresponsible public servants would even consider. It should have been rejected offhandedly.

  6. Note: A European proposal to modify The Canada-Europe Trade Agreement (CETA) has a similar offensive ISDS clause that allows a foreign investors to sue a country, arbitrated by an unaccountable tribunal. Some European countries have strongly opposed this. In response, promoting CETA, the EU has proposed a modification – an Investment Court System. It still doesn’t fix the breach of sovereign ability to make laws for the environment and social good. 2 of 5 tested cases are Canadian.
    https://www.tni.org/en/publication/investment-court-system-put-to-the-test

  7. No one wants this except the corporations. Why are we still even considering this deal. If it goes through, then Trudeau will have failed us, and our expectations in getting rid of Harper, will have been betrayed.

  8. Many Canadians have been saying this and fighting to stop free trade agreements since CETA was first introduced, but the governments, then and now seem to want to sell off Canada to foreign corporations and bankrupt the country through corporate lawsuits allowed under these agreements.

  9. I have been arguing all of these points since finding out about the TPP, some months now. Don’t forget we will damage dairy farmers and agribusiness, and will spend more money testing our food supply as we are bombarded by foreign dairy products, which can then be legally added to Canadian milk etc. and food stuffs. There is nothing stopping a predominantly Asian Vancouver, from not carrying BC dairy products in Asian owned grocery and convenience stores. This could put our farmers, already suffering from foreign competition, with a massive market loss that puts them out of business. Canada will then be dependent on foreign milk and dairy products. Our farms will then be covered by foreign condo complexes and supermarkets.

  10. We have been giving away Canada under both Liberal and Conservative governments forever. What else is new under the sun. The Liberals will probably sign the deal as they do not want to bite the hands that feed them.

  11. If there are no real advantages to being part of the TPP I am against it. The down side seems too broad and we definitely don’t want to be in a position to be sued by foreign countries.

  12. Don’t allow our government to ratify TPP and CETA and give up our sovereignty! The Investor-State Dispute Settlement clauses in both of these trade pacts enable corporations to sue governments for measures that may interfere with profits. Dispute settlement is run by tribunals staffed by business-friendly lawyers and not by the country’s legal system. Canada has already lost millions of dollars due to similar clauses in NAFTA with the USA and Mexico. Goverments will be loath to pass legislation that benefits the common good, such as health care, the environment, education, worker protection etc, effectively giving up our sovereignty!

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