Jean Crowder, NDP Member of parliament
My office continues to receive e-mails, calls and letters outlining concerns about the ongoing negotiations around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
New Democrats share those concerns, and our trade critic, Don Davies (MP Vancouver-Kingsway), wrote to the Minister of International Trade to outline those concerns.
This is an edited version of that letter. For the full text, please go to www.ndp.ca.
Dear Minister Fast:
As the Official Opposition, the NDP wishes to highlight three major themes that we believe should guide Canada’s positions through the TPP negotiations:
1. Increasing the transparency of TPP negotiations;
2. Promoting and defending important Canadian interests; and
3. Supporting strong human rights, labour and environmental standards.
It is our view that Canada ought to aspire to a high degree of openness and accountability in conducting our trade policy.
We call on your Government to release the draft text of the TPP to Parliamentarians on appropriate confidentiality terms; to implement a program of broad consultation with a full complement of significant Canadian stakeholders; and to establish a regular reporting process to inform the Canadian public of the issues engaged by, and progress made in, the TPP negotiations.
We are aware that there are serious pressures being applied in the TPP negotiations to weaken Canada’s supply managed sectors, our intellectual property regime, and our health care system.
It is in Canada’s interests, and reflects Canadians’ desire, to maintain an agricultural policy that supports a strong farming sector in healthy rural communities, with a stable system that produces safe, healthy and balanced creator-user structure and timely access to cost-effective prescription medicines.
We believe it is critical to preserve unequivocally the ability of domestic governments to legislate in the public interest, particularly in the areas of social policy, environmental regulation and resource development.
In a number of countries involved in the TPP negotiations, there is a lack of democracy, and an absence of normative freedoms. Child labour, forced labour, detention of political dissidents and draconian laws targeting the LGBTQ community are among the human rights violations that have been identified.
In our view, the Government ought to ensure that Canadian representations publicly advance democracy and respect for human rights, and require meaningful improvements as a condition of participation in the TPP.
Finally, we call on the Government to place any final agreement before Parliament and the Canadian public for a comprehensive analysis of its benefits and costs prior to formal commitment by Canada.
Don Davies, MP