The so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – the slightly reformed Trans-Pacific Partnership – has passed third reading after very limited debate in the House of Commons.
This is a dangerous move. “Most of what has changed in the CPTPP is the branding. The Trudeau government is now pretending that it is progressive, but it still has the toxic Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanisms that allow companies to sue countries over public interest legislation,” says Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.
“If this deal comes into force as is, corporations from seven new countries would have the right to sue Canada. Ironically, these are the same provisions that Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland claimed ruined our ability to regulate in the public interest. She erroneously claims that Canada was responsible for taking ISDS out of the new USMCA.”
“Even in Global Affairs consultations, 99 per cent of those writing in said they opposed the agreement,” says Barlow. “The Liberal government promised that they would do trade differently and listen to people. But instead of listening, they shamefully steamrolled the bill through parliament.”
As a result, the Council of Canadians and its members will be urging the Senate to do the job that the House of Commons failed to do, and conduct proper public consultation and independent analysis before even considering ratification.
“The House of Commons gave a blank cheque to the CPTPP. It is now the Senate’s role to look at it properly and democratically,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “Giving a free pass to the CPTPP is not what democratic debate looks like. With our farmers, workers, and economy on the line, Canadians deserve better.”
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