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.