Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Another Reason


The Harper government hopes that concluding the TPP deal will be its October Surprise. Constitutional convention dictates that, in an election campaign, the sitting government becomes a caretaker government. But this government is contemptuous of all constitutional conventions. Scott Sinclair writes:

This would not be the first time this government has run roughshod over constitutional convention. Prorogation of Parliament, contempt of Parliament, misleading Parliament, omnibus budget bills … the list of abuses is long.

But, more importantly, an election campaign  is no place to consider the trade deal. Even if Barack Obama gets the version of the trade deal he wants, Congress will have to put it under the microscope:

Even if an agreement is hammered out in Atlanta, the president must give Congress 90 days’ notice before signing anything, and that only starts the legislative clock ticking. Congressional consideration would extend well into 2016, making the TPP a political football during the U.S. elections.

Which means that nothing is going to happen until well after the election is over. And there are a lot of things we should be concerned about in the proposed treaty:

At the last meeting, the U.S. secretly cut a side deal with Japan to allow Japanese and other automakers to sell cars and parts with high levels of Chinese content duty free in North America, undercutting the Canadian and Mexican industries. Economist Jim Stanford estimates this could cost the Canadian auto sector 24,600 jobs.
With energy and commodity prices in the gutter, many Canadians understand it is not a good time to be sacrificing well-paying jobs or weakening struggling manufacturers that are the main hope for reviving our stagnant economy.
These high-profile issues are just the tip of the iceberg. The TPP could mean major changes in matters ranging from access to medicines to the weakening of privacy protections. Unfortunately, there is no way these and other potential surprises buried in the massive text would be properly aired in the closing days of the campaign.

The Harperites, however, will not take any of these concerns into consideration. Another reason they must be tossed from office on October 19th. 


Rural said...

And we have yet to learn if there are 'investor state' provisions in this 'agreement' which give away our right to choose our own suppliers over a cheaper foreign supplier for municipal and other government projects as per the Chinese deal. These secret deals are made for the multinationals to get richer and the Canadian consumer to pay the price IMHO.

Owen Gray said...

There's a reason for keeping the details secret, Rural. If they leak out, there will be a full scale rebellion.

Anonymous said...

Yep, they have to be tossed from office for this, and other, reasons.

But who is going to do it? Now that the Liberals, and Conservatives, have successfully reduced the previous significant lead the NDP had, especially in Quebec, Harper can play his games again if he ends up with a minority government and the most number of seats (e.g. he can again claim that losers do not get to form government if the Liberals and NDP try to topple him with an accord or even a coalition). He would not have been able to do that had the NDP won the most number of seats(the NDP was previously significantly ahead both in popular votes and projected number of seats). Instead, most polls now have the Conservatives ahead or tied with the Liberals but definitely ahead in the number of projected seats.

Look, I am not saying that the NDP is blameless (it has to shoulder some of the blame too for its attacks on Trudeau) but the attacks by Trudeau on the NDP especially on the Clarity Act has apparently had an effect in Quebec. Polls are now showing that the loss of NDP votes in Quebec have gone to both the Conservatives and BQ without affecting the votes going to the Liberals. And it is unlikely that it is the niqab issue that is significantly affecting the loss of NDP votes because the Liberals and NDP are on the same side of this issue and the Liberals had not lost votes significantly in Quebec (despite its clear opposition to the ban on the niqab). Thus it is more likely the combined effects of the unfortunate Liberal attack on the Clarity Act and the BQ/Conservative attack on the niqab, that is causing the drop in NDP support in Quebec.

Unless the Liberals are going to surprise us and win the most number of seats and remove the Harper scourge (we will see), this increase in the number of seats for the Conservatives especially in Quebec could be enough to ensure a strong minority or even a weak majority for Harper. In that case, the apparent effort of the Liberals to topple the NDP so that it can lead the hoped for Liberal-NDP accord government could end up saddling us with another 4 years of Harper, in which case, it will surely swear some of us, even non partisans, from ever voting for them again. But then again, after another 4 years of Harper, it may not matter anymore as we may not even have a working democracy left. Sad.

Owen Gray said...

I wouldn't downplay the niqab issue, Anon. What's interesting is that Harper and Duceppe have formed a "separatist coalition" -- which Harper railed against not so long ago.

Hugh said...

The TPP is described as 'NAFTA on steroids'. Well, gee, maybe it should get a thorough examination before it gets rammed through?

Drug company Eli Lilly is suing Canada for $500 million under ISDS in NAFTA:

I guess we taxpayers can expect more of that, with TPP, China-FIPA, CETA etc.

Owen Gray said...

If we knew what was in the deal, Hugh, we'd revolt. We couldn't have that, could we?