Today, Monday, October 5, 2015, is a day of shame: trade ministers from the twelve countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement announced that they had concluded negotiations, “the details of which will probably only be revealed after the federal election”, according to the Council of Canadians.
“The Harper government has signed a deal that will lay off thousands of auto workers and put thousands of dairy farmers in jeopardy while giving even more foreign corporations the right to dictate Canadian policy. Stephen Harper has no right and no mandate to sign a deal that we are just learning about during a federal election. On October 19, we urge Canadians to vote against the TPP,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.
As I said in a previous post, when he launched the longest Canadian election campaign in recent history, Stephen Harper knew something we did not: he positioned himself to be able, on his sole authority as sitting Prime Minister, to bind Canada to this ruinous international agreement while Canada has no sitting Parliament nor government.
What baffles me (and maybe is should not) is that the Canadian mainstream media and the political class as a whole act as if there is nothing out of ordinary or objectionable in an unelected Government agreeing to such a far-reaching agreement. They are all debating the finer points of an agreement they haven’t read in its entirety (remember this deal has been negotiated in unusual secrecy) as if this was all business as usual. This is so Kafkaesque.
As Maude Barlow says, “Just what are we supposed to make of a deal that has been kept secret from the Canadian public? Our own legislators don’t even know what’s in it. Stephen Harper negotiated the TPP during an election when his mandate is simply to be a caretaker government. Parliament now has the ability to vote on the TPP. We strongly encourage the next government to reject it.”
New Low In Corporate Dominance
“The recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents a new low in corporate dominance of our nation’s [the United States] trade agenda,” stated Tom Buffenbarger, President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Buffenbarger further stated that the TPP was negotiated in secret by multinational corporations that have no allegiance to any country, which will provide jobs to nations that lack basic human rights and labor standards such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Mexico.
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone also stated that the TPP deal will harm US workers, their families, jobs and the United States as a whole.
“This deal will most likely fail to address currency manipulation, offer big pharmaceutical corporations unacceptable protections that will limit access to life-saving medicines, and threaten every hard-working American family with job losses and lower wages,” Perrone said in a statement.
If Canadians voters had any inkling as to the awful implications of this agreement for the future of their country, they would realize that agreeing to it is reason enough to oust the Harper clique in the upcoming federal election.
■ Henri Thibodeau 😞