"The Trudeau government was severely outplayed in these negotiations. Facing a choice to accept a bad deal or no deal, Trudeau blinked."
OTTAWA, Jan. 27, 2018 /CNW/ - The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal negotiated secretly by the Liberal government will further erode Canada's manufacturing and industrial base, eliminate more middle-class jobs and drive down wages, working conditions and environmental standards.
"While in opposition, Justin Trudeau's Liberals strongly criticized the Conservative government for secretive negotiations on the TPP and its profound implications," said United Steelworkers (USW) National Director Ken Neumann.
"Trudeau has now shown himself to be no better. His government has been equally secretive in pushing through the TPP, keeping Canadians in the dark about the impact of this corporate-friendly trade deal," Neumann said.
"The TPP was a bad deal when it was negotiated by the Conservatives in 2015 and it's still a bad deal now. Other than a cynical change to the agreement's official title, there is little that is 'progressive' about it," Neumann added. He was referring to the Trudeau government's insistence that the TPP be renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
"In its desperation to sign the TPP, the Trudeau government was severely outplayed in these negotiations by other countries including Japan, Australia and Vietnam. Facing a choice to accept a bad deal or no deal, Trudeau blinked," Neumann said.
"The results reflect this government's apparent obsession with pursuing trade agreements that enhance the rights and powers of global corporations, at the expense of Canadian jobs and better labour, human rights and environmental standards."
The TPP weakens protections for Canadian automakers and suppliers, including the steel sector, which will now face tougher competition from cheap labour in Asia, the USW says.
"There are broad concerns for auto, dairy, transportation and construction workers, who face a 'race to the bottom' as they try to compete with cheap labour and lower working, safety and environmental standards in Asia," Neumann said.
The TPP also entrenches so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanisms that allow multinational corporations to sue our government – in secret tribunals – if they believe our laws infringe on their potential profits. Canada has been one of the most-sued countries in the world under this system.
"Aside from a few tweaks and side letters, the Trudeau government failed to achieve the meaningful improvements that were needed to the old TPP deal reached by the former Conservative government," Neumann said.
"On fundamental issues, particularly labour rights, the TPP is actually much weaker than what this government is proposing in the NAFTA renegotiations, or what was achieved in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
"The CPTPP is a 'progressive' trade agreement in name only."
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, [email protected]