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Trade minister Chrystia Freeland announced that Canada will sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, but made clear that it would not come into force until it was ratified in Parliament. They'll say their vows, but they won't say "I do" until Canadians get a chance to speak up or forever hold their peace.
But they can only speak up with a yes or no because the Liberals said they won't renegotiate this deal that the Conservatives negotiated in secret. So it's like having a ballot with only two options, except it's different than a ballot in that nobody has to count it.
The Liberals can now ratify the TPP any time they want, but in the meantime they say they're "open to consulting with Canadians." Consulting us in the same sense you consult an alarm clock set to 6 a.m. with a giant snooze button.
Justin Trudeau said that the "Liberal Party of Canada is a pro-trade party." As though being against the TPP means you're anti-trade. Anti-TPP is not anti-trade. I'm fine with California oranges. I'm not fine with giving an oil company the power to sue my government over rational environmental policy.
It remains to be seen if the Liberals pro-trade stance means pro-TPP, but for now they'll listen to Canadians, so that Canadians feel listened to. Because when we believe that our feelings have been felt, we'll think our thoughts have been thought and believed, even if listening isn't hearing and seeing isn't believing and the Liberals are going to do whatever they can get away with.
This video originally appeared in the Toronto Star.