Attention in Canada is finally starting to shift toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and two things are starting to become apparent. The first is that no one in Canada seems to know what the agreement is. As iPolitics has noted, Canadians seem unsure" if the TPP is a trade agreement, rock band or new brand of toilet paper.
We Canadians are writing to you, the Socialists, New European Left, and Greens, because you have the power to stop these dangerous trade deals. With this type of trade agreement, we have a choice: Do we accept rising inequality, unchecked corporate power, and lowered social and environmental standards, allowing the one per cent to become richer at our expense, or do we draw a line in the sand?
How is Canada faring in our industrial diversification? Progress on trade diversification over the past 15 years is likely one of the most remarkable developments in Canadian economic history. A strong dependence on traditional markets was only enhanced by the Canada-US FTA, which saw exports to the US soar to over 85 per cent of the total. But a big shift began in the New Millennium.
Mexico's human rights crisis is staring Canada in the face. According to Amnesty International, there are six times more reported cases of torture and ill-treatment than a decade ago. The 43 disappeared in Ayontizapa are only a needle in the hay stack of more than 80,000 estimated dead and 26,000 disappeared in the last 8 years.
Canada's environment appears to be taking the brunt of NAFTA-enabled corporate attacks. And when NAFTA environmental-protection provisions do kick in, the government often rejects them. According to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, more than 70 per cent of NAFTA claims since 2005 have been against Canada, with nine active cases totalling $6 billion outstanding.
Canada needs to make more use of direct programming with target countries (nearly 80 per cent of official aid went to foreign agencies in 2013, often on a sole-sourced basis). And more should be done to connect Canadian expertise to multilateral development banks and international humanitarian institutions.
By design, free trade agreements tear down the protectionist walls propping up status quo producers. However, even those producers -- at least those who reform, will also find a newfound ability to thrive given increased access to markets with tens of millions, or hundreds of millions, of potential new customers. All of this benefits consumers, most obviously when expensive tariffs on their choices, from Korean cars to Canadian beef, are eliminated.
When concluded, the Canada-Japan EPA would create a year-on-year multi-billion-dollar gain for the Canadian economy. A joint study by Canada and Japan has estimated the annual boost to Canada's gross domestic product from an EPA would be between $3.9 billion and $9.3 billion, while the gains for Japan's economy are estimated to be between $4.5 billion and $5.1 billion.