Trans Pacific Partnership and Election

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jerrym
Trans Pacific Partnership and Election

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jerrym

The TPP failed to reach final agreement in Hawaii on Friday but this does not mean that it won't be completed as the Cons try to ram it done Canadians throats even if they are not reelected.

 

Quote:

Talks to create a massive Pacific Rim free trade zone went into overtime Friday but failed to reach a hoped-for deal in Hawaii, raising the likelihood Canada's Conservative government may find itself negotiating this controversial accord while on the campaign trail.

Trade ministers from 12 Asia-Pacific countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan and Mexico had spent four days at a luxury Maui resort trying to clinch a broad-ranging agreement that would unite about 40 per cent of the world's economy in a single pact. It would cover everything from farm trade to the behaviour of state-owned enterprises to labour standards and auto imports.

Even before the U.S. officially called an end to the Hawaiian round of Trans-Pacific Partnership talks Friday afternoon, Australia’s trade minister Andrew Robb lamented the lack of result, telling reporters: “The sad thing is 98 per cent is completed.” ...

Canada came under heavy pressure before and during the talks to significantly open its protected dairy market to more foreign imports and was blamed at times for acting as a laggard -- a stance that prevented a chain reaction of concessions from other parties from happening.

Speaking at the end of the day on Friday, New Zealand trade minister Tim Groser said he didn't want to point fingers at any country, for fear of causing "difficulties for my negotiating partners," but said he wanted "commercially meaningful access" to other nation's dairy markets and said this was a sticking point.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast, in an interview, said it's inaccurate to pin the blame for the lack of a deal on any one issue and said Canada had come to Maui prepared to conclude a deal.

He said the expectation among trade ministers is that they will reconvene "very soon" to try and clinch an agreement.

The U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership talks are trying to establish North American-style trading regime as the dominant set of commercial rules in Asia, an agreement partly aimed at establishing a counterweight to Chinese influence in the region. ...

A deal would likely increase protection for patents and copyrighted goods and place new constraints on the conduct of state-owned enterprises; it would also open up the once-protectionist Japanese market to more foreign imports of items such as Canadian beef and pork.

Mr. Froman said countries will keep talking "intensively" but nevertheless did not name a date for ministers to reconvene. ...

This delay raises the possibility that Stephen Harper’s government will be obliged to negotiate on a controversial matter such as foreign dairy imports while fighting an election campaign.

After the writ is dropped, the party in power has a caretaker responsibility to manage the affairs of Canada but whether the Conservatives have a legitimate mandate to negotiate concessions that would bind a future government is another question.

 “I think what everybody would agree is that once the writ is dropped, that without a TPP deal, the Conservatives’  bargaining position certainly is weaker,” NDP trade critic Don Davies said.

"Their ability to close and sell a deal is weakened."

Mr. Fast rejected this, telling reporters that the Conservative government would continue to negotiate toward a deal.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tpp-talks-go-into-overtime-...

Sean in Ottawa

Certainly the mandate to negotiate a final deal after a writ has dropped will be raised.

jerrym

 

Trade issues still in dispute are important in Canadian trade. 

Quote:

Three sources involved in the talks told the Reuters news agency that a last-minute breakthrough had been viewed as unlikely due to issues with dairy and auto trade and a standoff over biologic drugs made from living cells.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the problem lay with the "big four" economies of the United States, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. "The sad thing is, 98 percent is concluded," he said. 

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/08/pacific-trade-talks-final-pact-tpp...

 

 

jerrym

If the TPP is agreed to, the price will be very high for Canada, as well as other nations, including in medically related fields.

Quote:

However, the deal has drawn critics from various spheres. Among the loudest are analysts concerned by how the deal will affect the availability and price of medicine. ...

One of the key components causing alarm among opponents of the TPP is the changes to intellectual property laws.

It's hard to see a link between the price of medicine in New Zealand and legal TPP jargon, but they are connected. At the moment, pharmaceutical companies get a 20-year patent right over medicines they develop. Once that period expires, generic versions of the same medication are then created by other companies and sold at cheaper prices. Although of the same molecular makeup, the medication often costs only four to 10 percent of the original price. Using a tendering strategy whereby it awards a company offering the best price for the subsidised supply for a fixed term, PHARMAC  in New Zealand claims to save the taxpayer about $30m each year. ...

Monasterio co-authored a report published in the leading medical journal, The Lancet, which warned "the  new proposed agreements for trade and investment threaten the ability of governments worldwide to provide affordable healthcare and to put in place health and environmental laws that protect public health and mitigate health inequity".

The authors pressed for an independent Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to establish what risks the TPP poses to healthcare systems. Those calls were echoed by the New Zealand Medical Association, but the request was rejected by the government. 

Monasterio fears the TPP will delay the entry of generic medications into the market which will then limit PHARMAC's ability to deliver the best value for money. ...

But while taxpayers and the public have not been consulted on the agreement, there are about 600 advisers who have, the vast majority of whom represent corporations.

Celeste Drake from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is one of a handful of trade specialists who saw the US proposals and she is alarmed. "Based on what I have seen of the text, it repeats the mistakes of prior trade agreements," Drake told Al Jazeera. "And in some cases doubles down on rules that promote the interests of global corporations and economic elites. It is not designed to share prosperity or rising wages and does not have the public interest in mind," Drake said.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/07/pacific-rim-free-trade...

jerrym

Europeans are, at least to some extent, standing up  and rejecting such deals. 

Quote:

On June 9, the European Parliament failed to agree on an important trade resolution and postponed voting on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that the EU is negotiating with the US.

This highlights the growing divisions in the European Union about TTIP, and comes in the midst of an unprecedented global debate about the potential threats posed by so called "free" trade agreements, or "trojan horse" trade deals. ...

Increasingly, citizens are demanding answers, and news headlines focus on controversies surrounding  trade agreements almost daily (for instance in the past days on the BBCand in The Guardian).

'Trojan horse' deal with US

The three planned global trade agreements that are getting the most attention at the moment are the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). Together these would affect roughly 1.5 billion people and effectively set a "Gold Standard" for deregulation and investor rights, triggering a race to the bottom that might be copied in future trade deals.

In response to strong interest from the public and civil society organisations, the EU's Executive Commission launched a public consultation on investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in trade deals. ...

Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others continue to promote TTIP as bringing $100 billion in economic benefits for Europe, people have stopped believing them.

Change in public sentiment

This profound change in public sentiment is because these deals no longer have much to do with trade. Rather they are about reshaping and limiting the ability of governments to regulate in the public interest. Essential rights that protect citizens and the environment - such as regulations on pesticides or fuel quality controls - are considered as "trade barriers". For instance, on May 18, it was revealed that drafted EU regulations to ban 31 hormone-damaging pesticides linked to cancer were dumped due to pressure from US TTIP trade negotiators.

Across the Atlantic a similar trade debate is raging, and a similar coalition of trade unions, environmental groups and internet rights advocates are leading the fight against Obama's corporate-driven trade agenda.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/06/trade-debate-reaches-bo...

Sean in Ottawa

Canada is not well positioned to benefit from these deals.

First, we are focusing more and more on resources that will sell regardless. Secondly, when it comes to manufactured products we stand to lose more than we can gain given our competative positions and domestic market. We have a decent domestic market and access to many other markets now. Giving up what few protections we have left is not offest by a realistic opportunity to make that up in new access that we do not have now. Free trade is being pusued as an ideology rather than based on any presumption of practical advantage in a market or group of markets. This deal is designed to impose on Canada permanently a vision the current government holds but cannot ensure permanently as it faces election losses. In that sense it has a clear conflict of interest in any negotiation.

jerrym

Because the United States has a law preventing it from signing trade agreements with countries on its most severe human trafficking list, Obama this week has had Malaysia upgraded from a Tier 3 to Tier 2 violator so that it can sign the TPP agreement.

In neoliberal countries, corporate desires trump everything.  

Quote:

The Obama administration outraged human rights advocates on Monday by removing Malaysia from its list of the world's worst human trafficking offenders -- a move that the activists said damages U.S. credibility -- simply to boost the president's trade agenda. 

"The Administration has turned its back on the victims of trafficking," Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a written statement. "They have elevated politics over the most basic principles of human rights."

Hundreds of Democrats and a handful of Republicans had previously urged the State Department to maintain Malaysia's ranking as a "Tier 3" human trafficking violator. For years, the Malaysian government has largely turned a blind eye to sex slavery involving men, women and children. Forced labor is rampant in several sectors of the country's economy, particularly the electronics industry. In April, mass graves holding more than 130 human trafficking victims were discovered near the country's northern border with Thailand. That same month, the U.S. ambassador to Malaysia said the government needed to take human trafficking prosecution more seriously.

Nevertheless, the State Department officially upgraded Malaysia's status to Tier 2 on Monday.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/malaysia-human-trafficking-tpp_55b66...

 

 

jerrym

Only five of the 29 chapters of the TPP deal with trade; the rest deal with giving global corporations more privlieges that they have been unable to obtain otherwise. Furthermore, the text of the agreement will not be revealed to the public until four years after it is ratified because, according to one American negotiator, if the public knew what was in it they would never accept it.

I guess the Cons and other neoliberal elite politicians and corporate leaders are redefining democracy. 

Quote:

The text of the TPP includes 29 chapters, only five of which are about trade. The remaining chapters are focused on changes that multinational corporations have not been able to pass in Congress such as restrictions on internet privacy, increased patent protections, greater access to litigation and further financial deregulation.

So far, all that is known about the contents of the TPP is from documents that have been leaked and reports from NGOs and industry meetings. Unlike other trade deals, the White House refuses to make the text available to the public. In fact, the negotiators refuse to publish the text until four years after it is signed into law. Why are they being so secretive? Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he opposed making the text public because doing so would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/06/201361711230432720.html

 

 

jerrym

Leaks from the TPP negotiations show that Canada Post and CBC are part of the agenda. 

 

Quote:

According to a document leaked on Wikileaks, the CBC and Canada Post could be jeopardized by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement being negotiated this week in Maui by Canada and 11 other countries. State-owned enterprises in the TPP could be severely restricted and subject to rules that force them to give up their public service mandates in order to become purely profit-driven organizations. They would also be prohibited from buying services exclusively from local or national sources.

"The TPP will hinder our state-owned enterprises from acting in the public interest," says Sujata Dey, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians. "The very mission of the CBC -- telling the bilingual and multicultural story of Canada -- will be reduced to simple profit-making. Likewise, Canada Post will no longer function as a nation builder, but as a private company. The essence and mandate of our Crown corporations are being traded away in favour of private corporate profit."

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/council-canadians/2015/07/tpp-leaks-show...

 

jerrym

Harper is in a bit of a dilemma because rural ridings have traditionally one of his strongest bases of support, yet TPP threatens the interests of dairy and poultry farmers, who are primarily found in Ontario and Quebec, because it threatens to overthrow the supply management system that has helped stabilize their incomes. There have been suggestions from some Cons that they might accept ten year phased end of this system with government subsidies in the hopes that they can hold onto much of the vote they already have in these groups. 

 

Quote:

Canada has previously expressed interest in the TPP, but supply management has proven to be stumbling block. The practice which has been in place for decades sets production quotas for dairy, egg and poultry farmers and protects them with import tariffs. In a recent speech, New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser raised questions about Canada’s application to join TPP negotiations. He admitted that, “Dairy will be very challenging for Canada. This is a statement of fact. Canada follows a policy that many Governments used to follow but most have moved forward. It is called ‘supply management.’ It is completely inconsistent with tariff elimination.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/nafta-of-the-pacific-and-the-trans-pacific-...

 

jerrym

The TPP is also a lynchpin of the United States strategy to contain China's growing power, as Professor Jane Kelsey noted in this 2011 article. 

 

Quote:

The real agenda behind the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) came into the open at this month’s APEC meeting in Honolulu. As we have always assumed, the driver has very little to do with commercial gain and everything to do with revival of US geopolitical and strategic influence in the Asian region to counter the ascent of China. The US aims to isolate and subordinate China in part through constructing a region-wide legal regime that serves the interests of, and is enforceable by, the US and its corporations – and in the TPPA context, what the US wants is ultimately what counts.

The TPPA is one limb of a multi-faceted strategy. For a meeting of APEC member “economies”, US foreign and security policy had a tellingly central role. The fiction of that APEC is a community of “economies”, not states, has long served as a fig leaf to avoid the “3 Chinas” diplomatic quandary and to exclude incompatible social, indigenous, human rights and environmental obligations and constituencies. By contrast, economic and geo-strategic policies have been viewed as indivisible since East Timor dominated the APEC agenda in Auckland in 1999 and even more so post-9/11. ...

The US aims to employ the TPPA as the economic limb of “American statecraft” over the next decades to “lock in a substantially increased investment – economic, strategic and otherwise” in the Asia Pacific region through “a more mature security and economic architecture that will promote security, prosperity, and universal values”.

The synergy between the TPPA and US military realignment towards the region, dubbed the new “Obama doctrine”, was a central theme at the Moana Nui counter-meeting held at the University of Hawaii’s Hawaiian Studies Centre. Speakers from Okinawa, Guahan (Guam) and South Korea told how the history and renewed expansion of US military dominance has displaced indigenous and local communities, destroyed self-sufficient resource-rich economies, created toxic environments for human health and ecosystems, and caused a litany of human rights violations. Local resistances and international peace movements are proving impotent against a resurgent US imperialism.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1111/S00171/tpp-as-a-lynchpin-of-us-ant...

 

NDPP
jerrym

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Canada is not well positioned to benefit from these deals.

First, we are focusing more and more on resources that will sell regardless. Secondly, when it comes to manufactured products we stand to lose more than we can gain given our competative positions and domestic market. We have a decent domestic market and access to many other markets now. Giving up what few protections we have left is not offest by a realistic opportunity to make that up in new access that we do not have now. Free trade is being pusued as an ideology rather than based on any presumption of practical advantage in a market or group of markets. This deal is designed to impose on Canada permanently a vision the current government holds but cannot ensure permanently as it faces election losses. In that sense it has a clear conflict of interest in any negotiation.

Basically I agree with you. However, I disagree that this is a free trade deal; it's a corporate rights deal. The identification of what the deal is by name is not trivial. Who doesn't like "free", whether we are talking goods or freedom? By insisting that it is a corporate rights deal (with a few tariff removals added to pretty up the pig), those campaigning on this issue in the election can start the process of relabelling what we are dealing with. It is also a strategic military deal as described in post # 11 .

jerrym

Here's more information on the privatization of CBC, Canada Post and Crown Corporations in Canada.

Quote:

A letter leaked by WikiLeaks reveals that CBC, Canada Post and other Crown corporations could be forced to work solely for profit under the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement (TPP) currently being negotiated in Maui, Hawaii.

TPP could have the power to force state-owned enterprises such as news organizations and postal services to abandon their public service mandate and embrace a profit-only approach, says the leaked confidential letter titled ‘State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Issues for Ministerial Guidance’. 

“Even an SOE that exists to fulfill a public function neglected by the market or which is a natural monopoly would nevertheless be forced to act ‘on the basis of commercial considerations,’” WikiLeaks said in a statement that introduces the document. “Foreign companies would be given standing to sue SOEs in domestic courts for perceived departures from the strictures of the TPP, and countries could even be sued by other TPP countries, or by private companies from those countries.”

 

Sean in Ottawa

I am calling it a free trade deal because that misnomer applies fairly equally to all of these globalization deals going back to the FTA for Canada which was also nothing to do with Free Trade (was highly managed trade).

These deals are limitations agreements on national government in many respects. They are long term imposition of laissez faire policies on future governments-- no matter what the will of those countries may be.

The FTA was one of the first to tout the lie that you can get out of it later. The reality is that by going in you destroy whatever policies, businesses, institutions that are incompatible. Then if you want to get out, you then have to destroy whatever you had left over that may have benefited.

This is a little like having a savings of $100 and someone comes and takes your $100 and gives you back $20 promising you can make a further $100 to net $120. They make it clear (in the fine print) that if you want out of the arrangement you have to give them back the $20. So when you discover that the future $100 will never come, your option is to hand over your last $20 or try to preserve what you have left by making another deal giving another person your remaining $20 and letting them give you back $2 promising you that you will eventually get back $35. But if you discover that the $35 is not coming and you want out, then you have to give back the $2.

jerrym

Dairy farmers are deeply worried about the future of their industry, especially in Quebec, where half of them reside. However, there political clout is greatly reduced because the number of dairy farmers across Canada today (12,000) is only one twelfth of what it was 40 years ago, making Harper more willing to sacrifice them.

However, a TPP deal by Harper could cost him a few close ridings in rural Quebec.

 

Quote:

 Quebec has very few “no-worries” dairy farmers this week. ...

Foreign access to Canada’s heavily protected dairy industry is said to be a core issue. ...

Canada’s reluctance to make concessions in its supply management system for milk production is blocking other countries from cutting deals as they wait to see whether the Canadians will budge.

But far from being emboldened by the delays, many in the industry sense that the federal government may be on the verge of trading away a chunk of their prosperity. While the talks in Hawaii fell short on Friday – a temporary win for the dairy industry – it means the Harper government could be negotiating during an election campaign. While that might appear to be good news for farmers, letting them use their votes to protect their livelihoods, they are a shadow of the electoral force they once were.

That the negotiations are being held in secret only adds to the sense of foreboding. Sébastien Robert, who owns a 70-cow farm near the Gosselins, says he checks Facebook for news on the trade deal almost as often as he checks the weather – and he gets weather updates 20 times a day on his iPhone. “I’m very afraid,” he said. “I’m very afraid.”

Dairy is big business in Quebec. The legendary soccer striker Didier Drogba signed with the Montreal Impact recently and was introduced to the city’s media on Thursday at Saputo Stadium – named for a provincial dairy powerhouse that raked in more than $9-billion in revenue last year.

Almost half of Canada’s milk farms are in Quebec, and on average they are smaller than the 77-cow national average. ... 

The sector’s political power has fallen off dramatically. Canada has about 12,000 dairy farms today, down from about 145,000 in 1971. And they are widely dispersed across the electoral map. A 2012 report by former Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay – a touchstone for critics of the dairy regime – found that just 13 federal ridings contained more than 300 milk farms. ...

Industry representatives in Maui could scarcely escape the anxiety in southern Quebec. ...

“Definitely our members, the farmers, are preoccupied,” he [industry rep Leduc] said. “If we were not worried, we would not be here.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/anxiety-pervades-quebecs-da...

 

jerrym

This article discusses what advantages supply management has survived in Canada. It also discusses reasons 2-7 in more detail within the article

Quote:

1. No bailouts

Supply management makes food consumers pay for the cost of producing it. By matching supply quotas with market demand, the industry sets stable, predictable prices.

These farmers don't need government subsidies or bailouts.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair toured a southwestern Ontario dairy farm last week and listed the ways New Democrats would support farmers, including - you guessed it - defending supply management at trade talks. (Hannah Yoon/Canadian Press)

Price comparisons for food can be fraught due to variable factors like transportation costs and retail competitiveness. But some studies suggest Canadians don't pay any more for milk than consumers in unregulated markets.

When Australia ended supply management, the consumer price for milk went up.

Other studies find small price differences. But unregulated farm prices in the U.S., for example, make taxpayers pay twice: the last major farm bill passed in Congress authorized some $1 trillion US in subsidies to keep American agriculture afloat. 

2. Food sovereignty ...

3. Sustaining the little guy ...

4. Trade threats empty ....

5. Who can afford a buyout? No one ...

6. Who wants a constitutional fight? No one ...

7. Who needs votes? Everyone ...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supply-management-in-canada-why-politici...

 

DLivings

I imagine this would need to be ratified by parliament...   which will undoubtedly happen with a Harper majority or a majority made up of Libs and Cons.  This is simply a further extension of corporate rights that supersede those of you and I that have occurred over the last 40 years.  It certainly underlines the importance of this election!  (I was just critical of E. May on another thread...  I believe she'd be on the right (left) side of this issue.)

jerrym

Harper is promising to continue negotiating TPP throughout the campaign even though governments traditionally do no more than caretaker operations during an election, in case they are not reelected.

As the article below shows, this is important because the Cons came close to getting a TPP deal last week by conceding more dairy imports, but it was not enough to satisfy other countries. Harper dearly wants a deal, not only for ideological neoliberal reasons, but because he needs some economic "win" (aka complete surrender) to put forward to those who idolize modern free trade deals (aka corporate rights deals). This is especially so when it is all but guaranteed that when June's economic numbers come out at the end of August, Canada will officially be in a recession right in the middle of the election campaign. 

In view of the Liberal party's support of free trade deals since Laurier in 1911, including Chretien's so called I will reform anti-NAFTA campaign, there credibility on proposing to overturn such a deal is virtually zero. 

 

Quote:

Stephen Harper says he won’t let his marathon ballot battle keep Canada out of a massive international partnership billed as the backbone of future global trade in the Pacific Rim.

Talks to establish the long-promised 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership will continue and Canada will be there, Harper promised — notwithstanding the protracted 11-week election campaign triggered by the prime minister himself. ...

Officials say last week’s talks in Hawaii came close to reaching a deal — indeed, sources said the Conservatives were hoping to make an agreement a central feature of the party’s campaign kickoff on Sunday.

Canada had offered to allow more dairy imports, but the offers were far from what New Zealand and Australia were asking for, officials said. Dairy-market access was one of several sticking points at the 12-country negotiations.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/tories-will-k...

 

mmphosis

(theguardian.com)

Don't forget about investor-state dispute settlements in all of these corporate rights deals.

We need human rights in Canada.  I believe that many of these corporate rights may be unconstitutional. 

CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982 wrote:
The Charter is founded on the rule of law and entrenches in the Constitution of Canada the rights and freedoms Canadians believe are necessary in a free and democratic society.

I think Canada needs to require future governments to have referenda on all past and future corporate rights deals.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Given this discussion here are the terms a government can function in  during an election. Pretty much the only penalty is punishment at the polls -- this is of course irrelevant now since the Harper government is immune to this as their supporters long ago decided to forget about ethics and rules. This is a government whose support is founded on what ti will do for them and nothing else matters.

###

6. Does a government (Cabinet) have full and complete authority during an election, before a new government is sworn in?

If a government held a majority and went to an election at a time of its own choosing (subject to constitutional requirements that a general election be held at a minimum every five years), then it and its ministers continue to hold full and complete authority until a new government is sworn in.

However, such a government might wish to exercise caution during an electoral campaign and the period leading up to the swearing in of a new government. Unless prompted by urgency, controversial decisions, appointments to important positions, or policy decisions that might unreasonably bind future governments should be postponed until a new government is sworn in. If a government were to disregard these restrictions, there is no penalty in law that could be exercised against it. However, the possibility of political sanction in the form of a defeat at the polls would have to be taken into account.

Were a government to be defeated in a clear vote of confidence in the House of Commons, then restrictions on its ability to act prior to the swearing in of a new government would be more intense, even though no legal proscription would apply. Similarly, if a government had lost the confidence of the House yet acted in the areas mentioned above during an election campaign (and thus when the House is not sitting), the chances of it being punished at the polls would be heightened.

The case of a government that has been defeated at the polls and is waiting for a new government to be sworn in is much clearer. As the late political scientist Dr. J. R. Mallory has written, there is “a sound body of constitutional precedent that a government which has been defeated at the polls should refrain from consequential policy decisions and major appointments.”(24) Mallory has summarized the variety of circumstances above in the following way:

When a government has been defeated at the polls or in the House of Commons, it becomes an obligation of all party leaders to assist in the formation of a new government. Until a new government can be formed, it is the duty of the old one to remain in office. While in office it still has the duty and the authority to govern, though a government that has lost the confidence of the people or of the House can only make routine decisions until a government which has the support of the House can be formed.(25)

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/prb0812-e.htm#fin...

DLivings

thanks for that, Sean...   surprising that no ratification is necessary, simply Executive branch approval.

Sean in Ottawa

DLivings wrote:

thanks for that, Sean...   surprising that no ratification is necessary, simply Executive branch approval.

I thought there were more limits as well and wanted to see what they were. I was shocked to see this.

Much of the checks and balances in Canadian Democracy were by convention or up to the voters to address. Unfortunately we have a whole new situation with a party that has no limits and obeys no rules. It is exposing every weakness in the system as it does things of a kind and at a level that have never been done before.

As ac ountry we were never prepared for the rough ride being given our insitutions and democratic processes from a party that is not governed by any sense of ethics.

DLivings

I wonder if the TPP itself (was this the case for NAFTA?) will require some type of legislative approval?   Likely not given the range of nations involved.

socialdemocrati...

I really wish there were more checks and balances against treaties that override our democratic decisions. But once those treaties are ratified, it's hard to reverse.

We could set up more checks and balances -- even a referendum. But guaranteed the first thing the Conservatives would do when they get back in power is repeal the checks and balances, and go back to doing what they want.

Sean in Ottawa

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

I really wish there were more checks and balances against treaties that override our democratic decisions. But once those treaties are ratified, it's hard to reverse.

We could set up more checks and balances -- even a referendum. But guaranteed the first thing the Conservatives would do when they get back in power is repeal the checks and balances, and go back to doing what they want.

Yes, the only treaties Canada seems to be able to get out of are the ones with its Aboriginal peoples.

jerrym

Tom Mulcair says Stephen Harper is 'weak and vulnerable' on TPP talks

Quote:

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair hit back at Stephen Harper today, calling him "weak" and "vulnerable" as Canada continues to negotiate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, after Canada and 11 other countries failed to reach an agreement before the election was called on Sunday.

This was the first time, since the election campaign was launched on Sunday, that Mulcair took questions from reporters. On Monday, Mulcair was said to be preparing for the first leaders' debate this Thursday.

"What's going to be on the table with Mr. Harper negotiating that right in the middle of an election campaign? He's weak, he's vulnerable, he was never a very good negotiator to begin with, but we're concerned about very important subjects," Mulcair said during his first question-and-answer session in Montreal, on day 3 of the federal election campaign.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-tom-mulcair-says-st...

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Yes, the only treaties Canada seems to be able to get out of are the ones with its Aboriginal peoples.

Canada could get out of any and all trade deals and other undesirable international treaties if it wanted to. The problem is that it's considered not politically correct to talk about doing so.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The problem is that it's considered not politically correct to talk about doing so.

You mean that if you do, some university student with blonde dreadlocks and a Che Guevara t-shirt will shout you down?

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
The problem is that it's considered not politically correct to talk about doing so.

You mean that if you do, some university student with blonde dreadlocks and a Che Guevara t-shirt will shout you down?

More like when talking-head such as Amanda Lang and Andrew Coyne treat anything that deviates from neo-liberal economic orthodoxy as the preserve of the far-left fringe.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

CBC wrote:
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair toured a southwestern Ontario dairy farm last week and listed the ways New Democrats would support farmers, including - you guessed it - defending supply management at trade talks. (Hannah Yoon/Canadian Press)

If, despite the best efforts of the NDP, the final deal were to put an end to suuply management in Canada, would the NDP refuse to sign the deal? That's not clear from the above quote.

Pierre C yr

Supply management is only one way to support the industry. If SM had to go Canada would be justified in matching US subsidies which far outweigh canadian subsidies as we have had SM instead. Without subsidies a US gallon of milk is the same price as in Canada showing the milk industry in both countries are roughly competitive.

 

 

Pierre C yr

Left Turn wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Yes, the only treaties Canada seems to be able to get out of are the ones with its Aboriginal peoples.

Canada could get out of any and all trade deals and other undesirable international treaties if it wanted to. The problem is that it's considered not politically correct to talk about doing so.

Some easier than others. Some trade deals have long time periods to give notice of withdrawal. I have a problem defending what are now multi millionaire milk producers who are all basically medium to large businesses vs the need of canadians and others to be able to afford staples. Egg prices match us egg prices but milk is 2x the price. Food prices overall rise fast of late while incomes dont. Short of telling me theres lots of employment at play here I dont see why canadian farmers cant have access to much bigger markets than Canada's. I think regulation like forbiding food grains from being used to make ethanol is more important to keep prices in check. And while free trade is ideological trade is historical and we rely on it for 40% of our economy and that has been the case long before the ideological free trade mantra.

 

Id rather move to the idea of professional, whats best for our economy, and fair trade, but negociating trade deals wont stop under an NDP gov.  Withdrawing from chapter 11 from nafta should be  a top item post NDP majority. Itll set the pace to tell CETA we wont accept the 'investor protections provisions' that the europeans also have issues with anyway but that Harper pushed.

 

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

I have explained in greater detail the issue of withdrawing from so-called free trade deals. The penalty is so high that it makes it almost impossible to withdraw from them from a political point of view. This is an issue raised way back with the FTA in 1988. These agreements are designed to be permanent and the statement that you can just pull out later has always been a lie.

First there is no withdrawal process for considerable time. Once the this time has passed the damage is done and the adjustment creates dependencies thatmake later withdrawal exremely costly. The result is hat the claim that you can go in and try such deals and back out later is bogus.

josh

Left Turn wrote:

CBC wrote:
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair toured a southwestern Ontario dairy farm last week and listed the ways New Democrats would support farmers, including - you guessed it - defending supply management at trade talks. (Hannah Yoon/Canadian Press)

If, despite the best efforts of the NDP, the final deal were to put an end to suuply management in Canada, would the NDP refuse to sign the deal? That's not clear from the above quote.

I'd bet a fair amount on them signing it. The current leadership, if not the rank and file, has bought into the neo-liberal agenda. And would want to impress the VSP (very serious people) in the corporate, financial and media world.

socialdemocrati...

I think the question is less "will they sign it" and more "what will they negotiate before they do?" Supply management for the dairy industry looks to be a sticking point, at the very least.

Pierre C yr

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I have explained in greater detail the issue of withdrawing from so-called free trade deals. The penalty is so high that it makes it almost impossible to withdraw from them from a political point of view. This is an issue raised way back with the FTA in 1988. These agreements are designed to be permanent and the statement that you can just pull out later has always been a lie.

First there is no withdrawal process for considerable time. Once the this time has passed the damage is done and the adjustment creates dependencies thatmake later withdrawal exremely costly. The result is hat the claim that you can go in and try such deals and back out later is bogus.

 

We could pull away from free trade deals with retrograde countries like Colombia with little to pay for it. Its the big trade deals that as you say once we become adjusted to it would be difficult with or without a long term warning period. But I think  you can adjust those deals without pulling out of them.

NDPP

Federal Leaders' Debate: Trade Justice Network Says Canada's Trade Deals Need Independent Analysis, Not Corporate Cheerleading

http://nupge.ca/content/12505/federal-leaders-debate-trade-justice-netwo...

"On the cusp of Thursday's federal election debate on the economy, the Trade Justice Network, a coalition of Canadian unions, environmental groups and citizens' groups is calling on federal leaders to mandate the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) to do real fact-based analysis before they sign 'free-trade' deals that are destructive to Canadian jobs."

Although minimally reported, TPP is moving forward.  There is a concerted rush by POTUS and the Harper government to resolve difficulties and complete it...If TPP goes through we're truly toast folks.

#tpp

JKR

The signing of the TPP could change the trajectory of this election if the NDP responds effectively.

bekayne

So are people here hoping the thing gets signed?

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

bekayne wrote:

So are people here hoping the thing gets signed?

I presume it will be signed, either before or after the election, unless the NDP becomes the government (and possibly even then). So, it would seem preferable that it be signed before the election when there is a chance that it will give the NDP a bounce.

jerrym

I double posted this because I suspect that TPP could be central to the remaining weeks in the election.

I think Harper is going for the homerun with the Trans Pacific Partnership, which could be signed as soon as Friday. He realizes that a Con minority government is highly likely doomed to quick defeat, so he's pushing to win a majority with this neoliberal deal. However, there is a chance this deal could backfire. It needs to be attacked as a corporate rights deal, not a free trade deal. Its only to a very limited extent meant to reduce tariff barriers. 

What else would you expect when 600 corporations have been involved in negotiating the deal for decades, but nearly all politicians in all the involved countries have almost no information on what it contains?

Quote:

An agreement that you are told will be great, but could either cost you your job or boost your pay, help or hurt your working conditions, and allow you to be sued if you break the rules you haven't yet seen? Of course not. That would be insane.

But that's exactly what Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government wants to do -- sign a deal we can't see that affects trade with 11 other countries, including major partners the United States and Japan. ... However, big business sure knows the TPP -- and loves it. ...

The only real details emerging from TPP talks came when WikiLeaks published a secret draft chapter in January detailing how foreign companies would be able to directly "sue" governments through an Investor State Dispute Settlement process outside of Canada's legal system.

That means multinationals could force taxpayers to compensate them for any health, environmental, land use, financial or other government policies that they claim don't give them "fair and equal treatment."

The biggest possible threats to Canada include our dairy and poultry industries, where "supply management" regulations protect domestic farmers -- that is, marketing boards that regulate domestic production and put high import tariffs on foreign producers.

TPP also endangers copyright and privacy protection laws as outlined in The Tyee, with TPP being described as "digital free trade." ...

"The trade deal isn't primarily significant because of the economy. It matters because it's part of the broader American geostrategic goal of containing China -- which pointedly hasn't been invited to join the TPP," writes Noah Feldman, a Harvard professor of international law.

Meanwhile, Davies worries about how well-protected Canadians will be in a trade agreement with Brunei and Vietnam, which are not democracies.

"We are dealing with countries that do not meet normative, minimal standards in labour, human and environmental rights," Davies said, noting that Brunei has imposed a law that can punish same-sex acts with stoning to death. ...

Malaysia is also repressive to gay, lesbian and transgendered people, whose rights are routinely violated by federal and state authorities. ...

The TPP draft chapter released by WikiLeaks shows that the U.S. has classified the text to keep it a secret.

"Even if current negotiations over the trade agreement end with no deal, the draft chapter will still remain classified for four years as national security information," law professor Margot Kaminski wrote in the New York Times.

"National security secrecy may be appropriate to protect us from our enemies; it should not be used to protect our politicians from us," she wrote.

Outspoken U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont agrees.

"It is incomprehensible to me that the leaders of major corporate interests are actively involved in the writing of the TPP, while the elected officials of this country have little or no knowledge as to what is in it," Sanders said.

But U.S. President Barack Obama, with support primarily from Republican legislators, gotapproval to "fast track" TPP negotiations with minimal interference.

Secrecy, violation of human rights by potential partners -- none of this worries big business in the least.

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/07/21/TPP-Another-Secretive-Trade-Deal/

 

From CTV's Question Perios on Sunday and Power and Politics today, it is obvious that the Liberals are totally in favour of TPP and will only attack it for lack of transparency over the rest of the campaign and then implement it.

Mulcair will attack it on the giveaways on dairy products and auto parts (Unifor's Jerry Dias said on Question Period that TPP will quickly cost 26,000 automotive industry jobs) giving them a better chance at rural ridings near Quebec City that are dairy oriented ridings and auto sector ridings in southwestern Ontario, but he needs to go for broke by attacking it full bore, like Turner in 1988 (who only looked at it as a Liberal campaign helper). After all, that helped push third-place Turner from third to first briefly before falling back to second, as the election was polarized on the issue, leaving Broadbent and the NDP in third place with thier cautious approach. However, given Mulcair's record, it is more likely he will take the limited cautious dairy-auto parts route, possibly winning some more ridings, but unlikely to lead to victory over the Cons or surpass the Liberals.

This strategy would obviouslly result in a deluge of corporate ads supporting the deal and attacking the NDP, but this countered with this being merely proof how the deal is for corporations, not Canadians. 

To me the best line of attack, is simple: how much has all these allegedly great "free trade" corporate rights deals improved your life? Are you willing to trust a deal primarily negotiated by 600 corporations with the assistance of their political allies so secret that they won't tell you all of what's in the deal?

 

Quote:

The federal Conservatives have dispatched Trade Minister Ed Fast to Atlanta in hopes of striking a massive Pacific Rim trade pact among 12 nations that could open new markets but also cause pain for Canada’s auto-parts makers and dairy farmers.

In a preview of the political backlash that might follow a deal, dozens of tractors and several milk cows stopped traffic in front of Parliament Hill Tuesday as hundreds of dairy farmers from Ontario and Quebec brandished signs such as “No to imports.” ...

Farmers were protesting against what they fear would result from a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal: a major opening of the country’s heavily sheltered dairy and poultry sectors to further foreign competition.

An agreement in principle could be announced as early as Friday if the United States and Japan, the two most influential players at the TPP, get their way.

On the campaign trail Tuesday with the election less than three weeks away, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper promised he would safeguard the protectionist system of import tariffs and production quotas that underpins milk, egg and poultry industries in Canada. ...

But he didn’t rule out allowing more foreign farm imports into Canada. ...

“Unlike the other parties, we’re not going to walk away from a trade negotiation at the first sign of worry,” Mr. Harper said. “The jobs of the future in a global economy are going to depend on our privileged access to international markets.”

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has questioned whether Mr. Harper has the legitimacy to negotiate for Canada so close to an election. He has vowed to protect the supply management system and would fight for stronger rules to support homegrown manufacturing.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on Tuesday attacked the Conservatives’ record on trade, saying the deal is being negotiated in “secrecy.” He said his party would only support a pact that boosted employment and protected farmers.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-promises-dairy-indus...

 

 

jerrym

In an interview on CBC Radio News today, a NDP spokesperson said the NDP plans to focus on the environment and TPP for the rest of the campaign, especially in dairy ridings in Quebec/Ontario and the auto industry impact of TPP in Ontario.

Aristotleded24

Michael Moriarity wrote:

bekayne wrote:

So are people here hoping the thing gets signed?

I presume it will be signed, either before or after the election, unless the NDP becomes the government (and possibly even then). So, it would seem preferable that it be signed before the election when there is a chance that it will give the NDP a bounce.

[url=http://commondreams.org/news/2015/10/01/secret-trade-talks-reveal-cracks... the deal doesn't collapse first:[/url]

Quote:
"They're getting close, but we can stop them," reads the Citizens Trade Campaign's call-to-action. "If we do, and the Atlanta round fails, many believe the TPP could be knocked off track indefinitely."

High-level officials including Japan's Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key have warned that if the talks do not wrap up this week, the 12-nation trade agreement could be put on ice for years.

"The window of opportunity to complete [the] TPP is closing so you wouldn’t say it’s impossible to complete the deal if it doesn’t take place in Atlanta, but it does become more difficult," Key told the Asia Society in New York this week.

Citing such remarks, organizers of Thursday's demonstration declare: "Very rarely do protests have as much potential for immediate results as this one."

jerrym

If a deal is reached this weekend on TPP, the biggest threat may be in the one section released by Wikileaks rather than on the dairy and automotive industries.

Quote:

The only real details emerging from TPP talks came when WikiLeaks published a secret draft chapter in January detailing how foreign companies would be able to directly "sue" governments through an Investor State Dispute Settlement process outside of Canada's legal system.

That means multinationals could force taxpayers to compensate them for any health, environmental, land use, financial or other government policies that they claim don't give them "fair and equal treatment."

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/07/21/TPP-Another-Secretive-Trade-Deal/

 

TPP could give companies even greater ability to sue governments over policies that reduce their ability to charge whatever they want. In view of the examples of price increases that have come to public attention in the last few days, but have been going on for quite some time, this could quickly become a hot issue during the election campaign. The same issue could of course apply to many other industries.

The following two article illustrates how weak our current laws are in this regard.

TPP could well prevent any attempt to correct this problem in the pricing of products in the drug and other industries because foreign and Canadian firms would have much greater likelihood of winning lawsuits over government regulation under TPP.

 

 

Quote:

Shortly before the onslaught of public condemnation forced his company to backtrack on a 5,000-per-cent price increase for a potentially life-saving drug, Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli went on national television to defend himself, incredulous at the outcry.

“We’re certainly not the first company to raise drug prices,” he said.

And he was right. For years, thanks to a lesser-known U.S. government regulation, what Mr. Shkreli’s company did was not an anomaly, but a fairly common business practice.

The state of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry became the focus of worldwide attention this month after news broke that startup drug company Turing Pharmaceuticals had purchased the rights to a drug called Daraprim, which is used to treat a life-threatening parasitic infection.

After acquiring the drug, Turing immediately raised the price from $13.50 (U.S.) a tablet to $750.

The move to increase the cost of a 60-year old drug by more than 5,000 per cent drew widespread condemnation. But the wave of outrage temporarily overshadows a simple fact about the U.S. pharmaceutical market – massive, overnight price increases happen all the time.

Perhaps the most important factor behind many of the price increases is a quirk in the Food and Drug Administration guidelines, particularly those involving older medications.

Almost a decade ago, the FDA decided to focus more energy on bringing older drugs into its normal drug approval scheme. For years, certain drugs were essentially “grandfathered” into the FDA approval process. To remedy this, the FDA offered pharmaceutical companies an incentive: In exchange for doing the legwork of putting in a new drug application for an old medication, a company would receive from the FDA a kind of limited exclusivity for the new drug. The FDA would remove the older, grandfathered treatment.

Many companies saw a potential gold mine. With limited testing (and often limited risk), a company could quickly gain exclusive rights to an age-old drug – and, perhaps most importantly, charge whatever it wanted.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business...

 

Quote:

Canada’s ability to control the price of patented drug prices could be at risk after a U.S. company challenged the constitutionality of a federal patent drug price regulator.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which has determined the price of the company’s Soliris medication was “excessive.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/the-law-...

 

With the astronomical increase in drug prices fresh in the public's mind, this could become a wedge issue, as the Liberals and Cons fully support TPP with the Liberals only protesting its lack of transparency as a campaign gimmick. If the NDP has the stomach to take on the corporate counterattack it will face for bringing it up, it could be an important advantage for them.

After all, we have seen various companies use this kind of "free trade" (read corporate rights) agreements to attack environmental and other regulation of mining and other industries.

 

 

NDPP

The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/10/02/trans-pacific-free-trade-ch...

"The biggest regional trade and investment agreement in history is not what it seems.

You will hear much about the importance of the TPP to 'free trade'. The reality is that this is an agreement to manage its members' trade and investment relations - and to do so on behalf of each country's most powerful business lobbies.

Make no mistake: It is evident from the main outstanding issues, over which negotiators are still haggling, that the TPP IS NOT ABOUT FREE TRADE..."

And clearly, unless there is a powerful public groundswell of protest, as with C-51, all parties will not resist but collaborate. Especially a Blairite NDP so obviously eager to erase any whiff of 'socialism' and demonstrate its pro-business bona fides.

mark_alfred

NDP won't be 'bound' by Trans-Pacific trade deal, Tom Mulcair says  

Conservatives are negotiating massive agreement with 'no mandate,' NDP leader says.

Quote:
On the eve of what could be the biggest trade deal in history, Tom Mulcair says the NDP would not be "bound" by any Trans-Pacific Partnership signed by the Conservatives.

In a letter to International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Mulcair says the Conservatives have "no mandate" to negotiate the deal so close to the federal election and are stepping far beyond the traditional caretaker role.

If an NDP government is elected on Oct. 19, it would "not consider itself bound" to the deal, he says.

scott16

Do regular people really know about the TPP? How can it affect this election with those who only know a little about it?

NDPP

Sustainable Development Goals Threatened by Secret Trade Deal

http://www.foei.org/press/archive-by-subject/economic-justice-resisting-...

"The TPP would drive a race to the bottom in environmental protection..."

NDPP

If Monster Trade-Deal is Reached, Canada Will Release Details, Harper Says

http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/10/03/if-monster-trade-deal-is-rea...

"It sounds like an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership is close - and when it's done, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says he intends to disclose the details of what he's billing as the largest trade deal in history.

'Let me assure everyone that we will only conclude a deal that is in the best interests of our country."

I am anything but reassured..

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