Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Keeping the TPP Under Wraps


If there is one thing that distinguishes the Harper government from its predecessors, it's an obsession with secrecy. And that obsession is glaringly apparent in Mr. Harper's refusal to release any information about the Trans Pacific Partnership. Tom Walkom writes:

Exact details of the proposed 12-country deal remain secret. Leaked draft chapters suggest that the pact, like most modern trade deals, will cover far more than trade.
It will give foreign multinationals the right to challenge domestic laws and regulations that interfere with their present or future profitability.

It will give multinational pharmaceutical companies greater patent protection, thereby putting upward pressure on the price of drugs.
It will promise environmental protection but include no real enforcement mechanism.

Like NAFTA and other trade deals the Harper government has signed, the TPP is a corporate juggernaut. But, it's also an octopus:

What distinguishes the TPP from other economic pacts is its sheer size and scope.
Unlike the recently signed pact between Canada and the European Union, it will include both developed and developing nations.

Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Singapore, Brunei and Japan are parties to the TPP. But so are Malaysia, Vietnam, Chile, Mexico and Peru.
The new deal will also effectively replace the 22-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement linking Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, as well as more recent agreements tying Canada to Peru and Chile.

NAFTA has strangled Ontario's auto manufacturing industry. There will be other casualties. That's why the Harperites are trying to keep it under wraps.


Lorne said...

I read the article this morning, Owen. The future effects are indeed chilling, but I guess when you view the world as one big financial opportunity, the sacrifice of national sovereignty seems but a small price to pay.

Anonymous said...

Mr. job maker Harper is destroying jobs with his secret deals. Under the European agreement municipalities towns provinces even the Canadian government have to give the Europissins a chance to bid on any infrastructure improvements or new even things like road signs sidewalks streets highways well pretty much all of the things a county city town province country used to manage. No more no thanks to Harper for selling out my Canada.


Owen Gray said...

As Mr. Harper used to say of Mr. Ignatieff, Mogs, he's not doing it for you.

Owen Gray said...

It all depends on whose interests you champion, Lorne.

Anonymous said...

Honda is looking to build a 'greenfield' plant in the US south, or perhaps Mexico - no mention of Canada.

What does it mean when a multinational company would consider building a new plant in a country terrorized by murderous drug thugs for the last 15 years rather than Canada?

Thanks Harper !

Owen Gray said...

It tells you a great deal about who Harper's working for, Anon.

Toby said...

While Harper wants to open Canada for foreign business will foreigners open up to us? The Koreans and Germans wouldn't shop at Walmart which had to withdraw from both. Canadians didn't shop at Target.

It gets more complicated. A relative who has lived in Korea for many years can't get a Korean credit card or a Korean mortgage; the banks refuse because he is not Korean. It's not a law; maybe bank rules. Regardless, Koreans won't reciprocate. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of customs in Asia that Canadians cannot ever hope to negotiate because the locals won't; they just won't.

The only way Canadians can defend their interests is to do it here. We can't do so on the other side of an ocean no matter how much Harper may pretend.

Hugh said...

The case of pharma company Eli Lilly suing Canada for $500 million under ISDS in NAFTA is apparently still ongoing.

Isn't it great to know where our tax money goes.

Owen Gray said...

They have no trouble spending public money to fight their enemies, Hugh. But they don't have money to keep vet offices open.

Owen Gray said...

It's an old story, Toby. The world is much more complicated than Stephen Harper believes it is.