Recent letters from Trudy Thorgeirson and Liz Newton are right to point out the dangers inherent in the two major trade deals that the Conservatives are touting as proof of their economic acumen.
Both the TPP (Transpacific Partnership) and CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) will have very real negative economic consequences for farmers, prescription drug users, local firms competing against large multinationals for local municipal contracts, etc. However, one of the most harmful clauses included in both treaties, is the one that gives companies the right to sue governments directly, through international trade courts, for compensation for laws that they say threaten their business interests.
As well as costing our governments hundreds of millions of dollars in payouts to these companies, these investor/state clauses also subvert the democratic right of people to make laws that reflect the things that are important to us, like clean air and water, an unpolluted environment, jobs for local people, and so on. In effect, these clauses give foreign corporations the power to overturn our laws.
The Harper government has also demonstrated this disregard for democracy in many other ways over their time in office: proroguing Parliament when faced with the probability of defeat; the use of huge omnibus bills, supposedly about the budget, but which, in reality, have gutted environmental laws, etc., that are rushed through Parliament with no time for proper debate; the “Unfair” Elections Act, that made it harder for many people to vote; the robocalls scandal in the last election, where non-Conservative voters were directed to the wrong polling booths, and on and on.
This election, we must regain control of our democracy by voting to ensure that we defeat the Harper Conservatives.