In Debate: Speaking Against the TPP

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  

     Madam Speaker, we know, especially in my community of London, Ontario, that we have experienced devastating losses as a result of globalization, corporate greed, and simple lack of will on the part of Liberal and Conservative governments to protect our manufacturing sector.

     When factories move offshore with not so much as a “sorry to see you go” from government, the residual effects on our communities are devastating. Governments have the capacity to resist or at least mitigate these effects by making progressive choices, and by exercising sovereignty over our natural and human resources.

     Without scrutiny, trade agreements such as the TPP have the potential to bargain away programs, services, products and even the values that we as Canadians hold. Our experience with NAFTA should be a lesson to all of us. According the CCPA, the impact of NAFTA has been devastating. It says:


    The agreement has destroyed more jobs than it has created, depressed wages, [increased] poverty and inequality, eroded social programs, undermined democracy, [weakened] governments, and greatly increased the rights and power of corporations, investors, and property holders.

    The study goes on to conclude that the promises of free trade to increase productivity, investment, employment and prosperity were either greatly exaggerated or remain unrealized.

    Corporate Canada argued that social programs would need to be cut for Canada to remain competitive under NAFTA, the most stark example of which is what has happened to our employment insurance plan.

    There is evidence that companies have attempted to use the threat of investor-state charges under NAFTA's chapter 11 clause to discourage governments from considering legislation in the best public interest. It is shameful. Lobbyists have more power than citizens with their own government.

    Since signing NAFTA, Canada's ability to navigate international trade disputes has diminished. Remember softwood lumber? Although agricultural exports have almost tripled, net farm income has fallen by 24%. Social inequality has increased in Canada, not decreased, and while there are other contributing factors, NAFTA has contributed to this unacceptable reality.

    In the last election campaign, the Liberals promised full scrutiny before signing the trans-Pacific partnership. They have done a complete about-face on that promise; imagine promising full scrutiny after the agreement was signed. It sounds like a case of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

    I am aware that the Standing Committee on International Trade has launched a public consultation process on the TPP, but my question is this. How effective is the voice of Canadians who bring their concerns about this deal to committee when the deal is already signed, sealed and delivered? This consultation amounts to nothing more than lip service

    The New Democrats and progressive Canadians are concerned that the TPP will have negative impacts on the auto industry, the dairy industry, on supply management, on our ability to provide affordable pharmacare, and on intellectual property rights.

    Mayors of 20 Ontario communities oppose the deal. It is outrageous that this government did not analyze the impacts of the TPP before signing on the dotted line, especially when we know the deal could have serious consequences for Canadians: tens of thousands of jobs lost, higher drug costs, stifled innovation, and rising inequality.

     Where is the scrutiny? Where is the transparent and open review of the TPP that the government promised?