That proverbial elephant, when it comes to the federal election, is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which is currently being negotiated by the Harper Conservative government. Some have called it NAFTA on steroids, because it could have much more far reaching implications for Canadian society than our free trade pact with the U.S. and Mexico ever did. The problem is, it’s a trade negotiation shrouded in secrecy and the few things which have become public knowledge about the items on the negotiating table are worrisome.
Three items stand out for me: the potential for a severe curtailment of our Internet and freedom of expression rights; the possibility that under TPP our crown corporations — CBC, Canada Post — will go the way of the dodo; and the threat the deal could pose to access to generic — and cheaper — pharmaceuticals.
These are all changes which would have tremendous impact on our lives. And, not one of the candidates in our riding has made any comment to suggest the TPP is a topic for conversation.
Now that we have a Conservative candidate nominated for our riding, Martin Barker, I would like to ask Mr. Barker to share with the constituents of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford his stand on the TPP and his opinion on the pros and cons of the deal as it stands at this point.
I would also ask the other candidates to comment on the issue. I would particularly like to know if any of the other parties have decided on a course of action if the finalized TPP should prove to be less than beneficial to our Canadian way of life.
Meanwhile, I would urge every one of you to search the Internet for information on how the TPP could impact your life. The deal hasn’t been finalized yet but it will have repercussions on Canadian society on many levels and it’s undemocratic for the content of the negotiations to be kept from us.