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Canada and the TPP

Written By: - Date published: 7:06 am, October 21st, 2015 - 19 comments
Categories: Globalisation, International, leadership, trade - Tags: , , ,

From NZ’s point of view one of the interesting issues arising from the Liberals’ victory in Canada is whether that country will now drop out of the TPP. (This was discussed in comments following yesterday’s post, but I think it bears a bit more examination). What has Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said about the TPP?

October 4th:

A new Liberal government would take a long look at any trade deal signed by the Tories before deciding whether to uphold it, party leader Justin Trudeau said Sunday.

“We will of course evaluate and look at what’s in the deal,” he said in Brampton after a boisterous and crowded rally with dozens of Ontario candidates. “The problem is that (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) has been secretive and non-transparent in this and we need to make sure that we’re actually creating a trade deal that is good for Canadians.”

A major statement on October 5th:

“The Liberal Party of Canada strongly supports free trade, as this is how we open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, create good-paying jobs, and provide choice and lower prices to Canadian consumers.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it. Liberals will take a responsible approach to thoroughly examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Harper Conservatives have failed to be transparent through the entirety of the negotiations – especially in regards to what Canada is conceding in order to be accepted into this partnership.

“The government has an obligation to be open and honest about the negotiation process, and immediately share all the details of any agreement. Canadians deserve to know what impacts this agreement will have on different industries across our country. The federal government must keep its word and defend Canadian interests during the TPP’s ratification process – which includes defending supply management, our auto sector, and Canadian manufacturers across the country.

“If the Liberal Party of Canada earns the honour of forming a government after October 19th, we will hold a full and open public debate in Parliament to ensure Canadians are consulted on this historic trade agreement.”

October 6th:

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says he would consult both Parliament and the provincial premiers before ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

October 7th:

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will not allow his MPs a free vote on the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Another statement on October 19th:

“The Liberal Party of Canada strongly supports free trade, as this is how we open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, create good-paying jobs, and provide choice and lower prices to Canadian consumers,” said the Liberals in a statement released within hours of the announcement of the deal. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it.”

Summing up, Trudeau has been critical of the secrecy surrounding the TPP, he is committed to consulting widely on it, and he has strongly stated his party’s commitment to free trade. Some see this as casting doubts on the TPP, but I don’t have that reading. I think it’s pretty clear that Trudeau and The Liberals are going to support it. There is one big variable left, however, and that is the farmers:

Canadian farmers plan to lobby any new prime minister to reverse TPP deal

Canadian farmers have vowed to pressure a new government to abandon the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, because it will remove protection for dairy farmers.

National Farmers’ Union president Jan Slomp said the Canada’s dairy industry could disappear in 10 years without protection, with Quebec dairy farmers worst affected.

“We will revisit the TPP under any new government and say it is achieved under false pretences, and also the Liberal Party has spent significant amount of time stating support for supply management,” Mr Slomp said.

“The one thing coming to our rescue hopefully is the province of Quebec, which fervently supports supply management. “Their agriculture sector depends on it more than any other province,” he said.

“Assuming we get a Liberal Government, (they will be pressured) to somehow back-peddle on this secretly derived TPP agreement.” …

With his big election win Trudeau can afford to ignore the farmers and press ahead with the agreement. But – conservatives in rural seats just got massacred. Farmers are angry. If Trudeau decided to work with farmers and scrap the TPP, he could lock in their newly mobile support, and give the Liberals a very broad base. The temptation to set themselves up as the “natural party of government” for the foreseeable future could be a strong one!

19 comments on “Canada and the TPP ”

  1. Disabled Liberation Aotearoa NZ DLANZ 1

    Thanks for this very informative item. It appears the same with NZ Labor Party comments, though ‘the slide’ of Trudeau’s statements is so transparent, one could call it a 2 way mirror,

    DLANZ Disabled have shared the same concerns about the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and still do today. It seems one should recall an old Maori proverb ”He kuku ki te kaianga…He kaka ki te Ngahere”….means..as a cooing dove at home, so is a parrot in a forest… say one thing first and say something else, somewhere else (paraphrase). Disabled, Maori, Workers etc have all seen this before.

    Regards and keep smiling
    Doug Hay
    DLANZ Cordinator

  2. Ross 2

    I suspect Canada will ratify the TPP, just as Labour would here.

    The new Canadian PM is a big supporter of free trade. I am not a fan of Tim Groser but I agree with him that it’s inconceivable that Canada will pull the plug on TPP.

  3. Chooky 3

    lets hope Trudeau educates Canadians on what their former government signed them up for in secrecy… and pulls the Canadians out

    ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership? Never heard of it, Canadians tell pollster’


    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      A referendum would be the safe way for Trudeau to handle TPPA .

      “It is the people’s decision. It was the people’s decision to join or to reject TPPA. Don’t blame us.”

  4. dukeofurl 4

    A bit away from the topic, but Trudeau has indicated Canada will pull out from bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria.

    That wont go down well with US, and will be an insight about others who ‘want to go home’ in the future (like NZ).

  5. Steve 5

    *crickets chirping

  6. linda 6

    One positive. The new canadian government. Is leak the text. We able see. The john key lies

  7. One Two 7

    Talk is cheap….

  8. NZJester 8

    I think the so called middle ground in politics these days is a lie. That ground is actually right of center.
    The right have moved a lot more right so that the so called middle ground are mostly those with right leaning tenancies.
    Left leaning parties trying to pick up those so called middle ground people have been a boom for the right as they have disenfranchised a lot of left leaning voters by moving to the right. They feel that the former left parties had moved to right of center while trying to get those so called middle voters. The middle left felt betrayed but did not want to give their vote to the extreme left like the greens. The people the parties are picking up by moving back to the left are not the ones from the extreme left but the old traditional left wing voters who felt left out.
    Look at what has happened in places that political parties on the left have shifted back to their traditional left policies. Rather than loosing votes the numbers have actually grown.

  9. Nick 9

    Why are you so excited over the prospect of a newly elected left wing government getting into bed with highly subsidized dairy farmers? Canada’s supply management of dairy products is terrible policy whether you’re left or right.

    • AmaKiwi 9.1

      Nick: “Canada’s supply management of dairy products is terrible policy”

      No it isn’t. It’s a values choice. If the people of Canada are prepared to pay to protect certain types of land use and lifestyles, that is their choice. Many European countries do the same to maintain a rural atmosphere and links to their agrarian heritage.

      If you’re only concerned with profits, yes, Canada’s dairy supply management scheme is expensive. But by that standard we should sell off all our parks.

      A country’s future need not be entirely about making money.

      Excuse me now. I am off to the beach before a multi-national hotel chain buys it.

    • One Two 9.2

      A “terrible policy” for which you provide no qualification of your assessment

      An explanation could be entertaining, so go right ahead

    • Pat 9.3

      left wing???…compared to what?

  10. esoteric pineapples 10

    One of Canada’s leading independent news websites


  11. joe90 11

    Meet the new boss, [almost] same as the old boss.

    Justin Trudeau is going to feel good, for a while, compared to Harper. He will be better. He will repeal some of Harper’s worst policies. He will also not be an offensive creep, and that matters.

    But he is, at the end of the day, a believer in the neo-liberal consensus. He will run a kinder neoliberalism, but it will still be neoliberalism. He is not particularly committed to civil liberties, he was not principled opposition to Harper’s worst excesses (that was Mulcair), and there is no particular reason to believe he will make any sort of radical break from Conservative policies: he voted for a great many of them.

    The bottom line is this: Justin showed his character when he supported C51. Mulcair showed his character when went hard against it with polls showing a majority of Canadians for it (they later changed their mind, but he did what he did when it was unpopular).

    I cannot find any great confidence in Trudeau, either as an ethical man, or as an economic leader.


  12. Jan Rivers 12

    The Harper government actually changed the advice to politicians and public servants to allow them to continue to work as if there was no election period including negotiating the TPPA (aside from formal ratification), http://www.michaelgeist.ca/2015/08/canadian-government-amends-caretaker-rules-to-give-itself-power-to-continue-negotiating-tpp/

    As I understand this is a pretty dangerous change to a Westminster system convention that governments are in a caretaker role during the election campaign. It’s not possible to legislate for this arrangement of course so it has to be an issue of honour and restraint and the Harper government’s decision to continue to negotiate ‘as if there was no election campaign underway’ was pretty despicable.

    The new government has a clear mandate to roll back from what has happened over the last months to demonstrate good process and a more honourable, democratic approach to their governance. In this respect perhaps the final decisions – milk, cars, biologics for example were dealt away while the government had no real mandate might reasonably be open to renegotiation. In doing so the new government would have the opportunity to differentiate itself from the previous administration and as well as to seek a better deal.

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