OTTAWA, Oct. 31, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor members from across Canada are in Ottawa this week to warn MPs about the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal and to urge them not to ratify it.
"Unifor is a strong believer in trade, but trade must be fair and it must serve the needs of working people and our communities first," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
"The TPP, like too many other trade deals, encourages a race to the bottom."
Dias pointed to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with Europe, the future of which has been called into question amid rising concerns in Europe and Canada, as another example of a trade deal that fails to meet the needs of working people.
In a series of lobby meetings beginning today and wrapping up the afternoon of Thursday, November 3, Unifor members will meet with Members of Parliament from both the governing and opposition parties to discuss specific concerns with the TPP. Unifor's main concerns with the proposed TPP deal are:
- The Investor State Disputes Settlement (ISDS) system will allow companies to sue governments if they pass laws that hurt their profits, even if those laws are in the public interest;
- Patent provisions in the TPP will drive up the price of prescription medications; and
- Jobs will be lost and local communities hurt. Several studies have found that the TPP could cut jobs throughout Canada, while offering only minimal economic benefit to the country.
Dias said recent debates about CETA and the negotiations with the Belgian region of Wallonia have highlighted the concerns many people have with the extraordinary powers given to corporations in trade deals, as well as the impact those deals have on the lives of all people.
He said that while a deal was reached with Wallonia late last week, the future of CETA and its ISDS remains in great doubt, and the deal itself is still a long way from being ratified.
"Wallonia drew renewed attention to what is wrong with modern trade deals, and to the kinds of trade deals people want," Dias said.
"That can only be a good thing, and we are in Ottawa to make sure politicians are listening."
For more information on the TPP and Unifor's TPP campaign, go to unifor.org/tpp or for French materials please visit unifor.org/ptp.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information: Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at [email protected] or (cell) 647-385-4054.