If you haven’t already, you will soon hear plenty of discussion about whether the Trans-Pacific Partnership is good for Canada.
One of the problems about all this discussion is that no one, other than the Conservative negotiators, actually know what’s in the trade agreement. So really, most of what we’re hearing is conjecture.
Conservative leader Stephen Harper it telling us it’s the best thing since sliced bread. They negotiated the agreement, so expect no less, regardless of what it contains.
NDP Thomas Mulcair is puffing his chest out and saying he won’t be bound by any deal the Conservatives sign. However, it’s the government of Canada that signs the deal, which it has, so it’s not as simple as saying we’re not playing anymore. I’m sure aspects of the deal will still need to be worked out so whoever is prime minister October 20 will have time to put their own stamp on the deal.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says he wants to see the fine print before saying ‘yay’ or ‘nay,’ which is the most reasonable response from someone on the outside of the negotiations.
Will the deal be good for Canada? At this point no one really knows. It will take years for the dust to settle.
It’s too bad we don’t have any government researchers left, because it would have been nice for someone to track, really track, the impacts of the Free Trade Agreement and then the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Following both of those there were plenty of stories of companies packing up and heading south. There weren’t too many stories of companies coming north … but it might have just been easier to hear about the ones that were affected.
If we learned anything from previous trade deals it’s that there will be winners and losers. Some sectors will flourish and others will wither and die. Governments who negotiate these deals know that and the goal is for a net gain over time.
With this deal, though, Canada is already more than $5 billion in the hole. The government has announced $4.3 billion to aid dairy farmers and poultry producers and $1 billion in ‘partnership’ money for the auto sector. The government knows those sectors will be hit hard.
So, two days into the deal and other sectors need to bring another $5 billion into the country just to even the books.
That economic gain happen, but it’s still a tough pill for those whose livelihood disappears. It’s no solace for a dairy farmer in southern Ontario, who has to close up shop and sell the family farm, to know that his hardship is so an engineering firm in Calgary can prosper.
In unrelated news, the day after the TPP was signed, the International Monetary Fund downgraded Canada’s economic growth projection to one per cent, down from 1.5 per cent. Whose hand has been on the economic tiller?