You know it has been a long campaign when the mainstream media is forced to talk about trade deals to have something new to say. Fair trade campaigners have been trying to get the next generation of free trade contracts like CETA, TiSA and the TPP on the radar for years. While the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been a threat to Canadian jobs since negotiations started, concerns have been ignored by the corporate media. After all, for big business, Canada is a “trading nation” and therefore can only benefit from agreements that reduce our rights to regulate capitalism – never mind the inequality those politicies have brought.
The long-time focus of socialists has been on the excessive limitations these supposed “free” trade deals place on all levels of government. However, the media does not like to talk about issues that do not fit into sound bites and trade agreements are the antithesis of a sound bite subject. In fact, even the current turn of events – sparked by the NDP – is not about the substance of the deals, but is about democracy and the Conservatives’ disregard of it.
The argument is that the Conservatives have no right to sign a massive trade agreement that will limit future governments in the middle of an election campaign. Signing on now is on par with a six year old yelling “keepsies, no backsies” in a game of tag. It just does not wash when establishing law.
There are many reasons to be opposed to TPP including workers’ rights, the environment, regulatory standards, restraints on procurement, intellectual property rights and copyright issues. However, most activists do not mind why we are talking about trade agreements so long as we are talking about them. Maybe the highlight on trade will bring some to understand that other agreements being negotiated all pose a similar threat as the TPP.