Same as the old boss: Justin Trudeau ready to sign Harper's EU free trade deal


#1

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#2

But… JT campaigned on the platform that he would would be happy to go through with the TPP if it met “Canadian’s Interests”. So he’s just waiting to get his palms greased I’d assume. Unless I’m missing something.


#3

Signing the agreement only means that the Government of Canada agrees that the final text represents what was negotiated. The government has stated that signing does not equal ratification. There is a huge amount of pushback against this in the “influential” tech sector in particular. Not a done deal in the U.S. either. The pressure must be kept up though.


#4

Wow, two comments from two newbie accounts. That was fast!


#5

Newbie here maybe!. The topic is important so I overcame the inertia of signing up!


#6

I’m not terribly surprised that the Canadian government supports this. The Canadian government doesn’t have a long history of inventing safety regulation that effectively bar foreign competition. (There haven’t been, for example, a ton of suits under the NAFTA version of this process.) However, there are a number of nations that have used arbitrary safety and other regulation as a means of disabling the competition to local firms (who are, for example, far more likely to contribute to local politics).

The U.S., being larger, has far more levers than Canada to discourage countries from discriminating against American companies. On the other hand, Canada is insignificant enough that eliminating Canadian competition through legislative means is essentially risk free.

Hence I understand why the Canadian government has incentive to give Canadian companies a legal means of redress.

Of course, it doesn’t mean the mechanism won’t be abused, but at least support makes sense in the context of a country that depends on relatively free international competition for its prosperity. Effectively, this is how the government believes it is protecting Canadian workers.


#7

What did you say? “Just the tip?”

Oh, well, I guess it’ll be okay then if it’s just the tip


#8

But seriously, Justin Trudeau & his ministers have stated clearly that there will be no renegotiation with any signatory of the TPP individually or as a body. Thus the agreement, as it is, as it stands and as it was negotiated by Harper, is what Justin Trudeau will ratify with his majority. Why would anyone expect a difference for CETA?

Freeland has “consulted” many Canadians, and did so after stating that there would be no renegotiation. Hollow is the operative word here.

But they were quite quiet about the TPP & CETA in the last session, the promises they made amounted to “We’ll read it first, I guess?” and were only even then had because polling told them it was an election issue, probably thanks to the NDP.

So this is no surprise. “Liberal” is right of centre and has been for some time. “Campaign Left, Govern Right” and Canadians fall for it every time.

edit - & btw, Any pressure, effort exerted to try and sway this govt is a waste when it could be spent on MEPs that might actually do something besides working to become the world’s darling lickspittle to the 1%.


#9

The current crop of leading U.S presidential candidates are showing very little enthusiasm for this deal. Ironically, Obama has been pushing very very hard for Canada to sign the agreement. I expect and hope the liberals will at the very least sit on this until the U.S presidential elections are over. The Conservative wanted a deal very badly before the election which weakened their negotiating position in this already flawed and opaque process. A slight majority of Canadians were in favour based on two polls I saw taken around election time which probably prompted Trudeau’s general motherhood statement about being “in favour of trade”. When articles criticizing the TPP start appearing in the Globe and Mail you know that a lot of powerful people are having serious doubts. These likely delays are a blessing as public opinion turns on a deal that the liberals are not enthusiastic about either. The U.S may very well force the process to open up again.


#10

The current crop of US presidential candidates are in election mode and will pander to the public. There are 2 standouts that might do something differently, Sanders and Trump, and one of those is batshit crazy.

Polls in Canada are a boom industry and election season is bonanza time, they reflect the wishes of the establishment/drive opinion at least as often and probably more often than they reflect the opinion of the public. Trudeau voted for C-51 despite large public opinion polls showing as high as 86% disapproval of his doing so.

He’s a celebrity, rich, elected and a legacy, polls don’t matter to him as much as others.Trudeau’s statements pre-election and during were just as much a message to his peers as it was a shroud to his electors. Anyone with 10 minutes to examine the recent history of his party would know that he would accept the TPP and CETA of his predecessor with no changes.


#11

Given how negotiations take place, is there any reasonable mechanism that a government can take at this point to change TPP and CETA? My impression is that it’s now pretty much a take-it-or-leave-it proposition at this point. Am I incorrect?

Secondly, I suspect that Canada will be a net winner from wide-spread acceptance of TPP/CETA. We produce a fair amount of intellectual property, and thus it’s protection likely helps Canadian companies, and as a country that lives or dies by trade, almost anything that benefits trade generally benefits Canadian companies.

It’s less developed countries that have a more difficult balancing act between the benefits of increased access to markets and forcing greater respect for intellectual property (which prevents cost-free copying of innovations that might promote growth).

(Personally, I find the lot of what is protected by IP laws ridiculous, but I’m fully aware that without IP, there’s almost no justification for any North American earning more than world mean, which is what, $5K/year? That might be more just, but I’m not that kind-hearted.)


#12

Wrong. Canada and Canadians will receive no net benefits from:

  • Oversightless website blocking
  • Infinity+1 copyright length
  • Corporations being allowed to sue the Canadian government for “potentially lost profits”.

Only corporations stand to benefit. Corporations are loyal to no country, pay less taxes than I do, yet are hailed as heroes.

If elected, I’d introduce and push a bill limiting copyright to 25-to-life, whichever comes first for human authors. For corporations, 30 years is enough protection, especially considering that trademarks protect their characters/worlds/etc.

You’re either with Canadians or with Corporations. Me? I’m with Canadians.


#13

If the government in question is so eager to adhere to a completely arbitrary timeline that…? Your question isn’t reasonable. As for take it or leave it, that isn’t an option being presented to Canadians despite the recently elected government subtly suggesting otherwise during it’s campaign.


#14

Okay, I’m not familiar with this treaty, but I do know that most treaties have teams from every member country negotiate the treaty and then the result is a straight take or leave it for each individual country’s legislature. I honestly cannot conceive of a multiparty deal that could operate any other way.

While I voted NDP (and my MP lost, sob!), I assumed that the Liberals pussy-footing around made it clear that they would be ratifying it as is. I don’t think it’s fair to expect any party to be open about their plans for international treaties given the general population’s fear of foreigner’s wiles.

And yes, I’m pretty certain the NDP, had they pulled a miracle, would have ratified it as well. Canada does not want to be sitting on the sidelines for any multilateral trade deals, and the NDP wouldn’t want to be the party to oversee our best hope for reviving our resource-based industries dashed.


#15

A line for a Donald Trump of the left!

Indeed corporations are this semi-mystical evil that… No, they’re collection of people for a single purpose, usually to make money. Since almost every job I’ve had involved being paid by a corporation, and almost every item I’ve voluntarily bought has been sold by a corporation, I don’t see them as saints or sinners. I see them much the same way I see individual Canadians. Mostly law abiding, mostly doing what’s best for themselves, sometimes stupid, sometimes far-sighted.

More to the point, while a corporation’s success doesn’t have to translate to the success of its employees (if I come into money, I don’t automatically stop looking for the best deal for my groceries), I can pretty much guarantee that if a corporation is not prospering, it’s bad for the employees, and likely bad for those who wanted to purchase their products…

Nor do I think it’s immoral for a Canadian or a Canadian corporation to obtain the best deal they can from me. I’m trying to obtain the best deal for me and my family as well.

Now let’s look at the 3 items you listed:

Not to put too fine a point on this, but this is so much a first (or zero-th) world problem. Since this is a treaty, we need to weigh the costs of these provisions against the perceived benefits to Canadians (by being employed by corporations with more secure access to foreign markets). While I am (for the moment) fairly secure in my employment, it would be a travesty for me to weigh the inconveniences of web site blocking and idiotic copyright extension against the possibility of jobs that tend to be concentrated is poorer rural centres. Priorities!

As for the last point, I dealt with it above. If history is any guide (see NAFTA), this will mean a lot more jobs gained that jobs lost.

Honestly, I’m a bit surprised that people aren’t bringing up the real cost of the treaty - the dismantling of Canada’s agricultural supply management system. Now that’s a point in which the positives and negatives of the treaty can really be debated. That’s real people losing jobs, not us privileged types whining about losing access to Pirate Bay.

By the way, I agree that a copyright time of Min(25 years, author’s lifetime) is sane. But treaties are a mix of good and bad. That’s why they’re not called “free lunches”.


#16

I don’t think anyone is whining about losing access to piracy, since people are still pirating things and will continue to do so under any treaty. Intellectual property law is not a small matter for health of the country.

Treaties aren’t called “free lunches” but they ought to be called, “2000 pages of law written by multi-national corporations for their own benefit.” Why do we default to the maximum intellectual property protection and the minimum food safety protection? Because the US government is 99% up for sale. Any other nation that signs this deal is selling itself out to the same people without even getting paid. How’s that for a free lunch.


#17

I think most governments that have signed up have done so because they view the greater access to markets (which is what most of those 2000 pages deal with) for the provisions that are going to cost them. The longer IP laws are part of the reason why countries like the US and Canada are willing to allow greater access to their markets. Nobody is going to get anything for free.

And much as I’d like it if we were all generous and were willing to help the poor, history has made it clear that the only truly effective anti-poverty programs are to allow the developing nations to sell to us (while we try and get the cheapest possible price from them) and allow them to immigrate here (to take jobs at shamefully low wages).

If we’re going to bring the next billion out of grinding poverty into simple poverty, it’s likely to be programs like this, where we attempt to take every advantage of them we can, and they get to progress somewhat, which is, sadly, orders of magnitude better than they did based when we were helping them out of the goodness of our hearts.


#18

So that’s what happened during the golden age in the US - increase in prosperity that was well shared between different income levels happened in the 50s and 60s because the US was trading with a more developed nation.

History largely teaches us that we will be born and die as subsistence farmers. Until, that is, it doesn’t, because that isn’t true anymore for an ever growing number of people. Wealth has increased over human history because we developed technologies that allowed us to be more productive. Poverty has been reduced to the extent the gains from that productivity were shared.

If free trade is the solution to poverty, how do we explain the abject poverty in which so many exist in the US? Tarriffs between downtown and uptown?

Economists never get anything right, and convince themselves this is because no one can ever get anything right, while people giving aid never get anything right and try to do better next time.


#19

Either that, or it had the privilege of being one of the few developed nations on earth not utterly devastated by war while simultaneously having more exploitable natural resources per capita than any nation in the history of man.

And, if we’re realistic, the gains in properity were mostly shared among the white population. From the global perspective, our golden age was really the 1% helping the 1%.

I’m not certain that it’s fair to even compare the deprivation of poverty in the developed world with the abject poverty found in the developing world. The day that millions of Americans and Canadians are begging for sweat-shop jobs because they are orders of magnitude better than their current lifestyle would be when the two levels of poverty of remotely comparable.

Realistically, national poverty is best addressed with decent social and taxation policy (although I despair of how even that low bar proves elusive). Addressing global poverty in a similar, but meaningful fashion is orders of magnitude more challenging in both the number of individuals and the depth of their poverty. To do more than poke at it a little would require us to pauperize ourselves, not something that will ever happen.

Now, I’m certainly in favour of healthy foreign aid, which can save hundreds of thousands, and improve life for millions. But let’s face it: condemning another several billion to die in the hell-hole of subsistence farming over the next century while we see if we can come up with something that might work when we have a tool that has already brought millions out of extreme poverty should be acknowledged for what it is:

A deliberate choice to weigh the millions of losers from global trade in the developed world over the billions of winners across the rest of the globe.

Now, I don’t condemn this choice because I’m not going to claim moral superiority of any particular position. After all, I don’t support open immigration despite the massive benefits to millions of would-be immigrants, simply because the discomfort to me and mine would be too great. I’m a greedy SOB who values my comfort of not having absolute poverty next door over the vast improvement in the well-being of millions.

However, I do think if you are going to take a stand for a policy of less free trade (or, in fact a stand for anything), it behooves you to acknowledge not only the benefits, but the costs to people across the globe as well.


#20

As long as we can admit that this:

Is false, I’m happy. If the trade has raised many people out of poverty, there had to be a first mover - a nation that made itself wealthy without trading with a wealthier nation. In a world where the technology that enabled greater productivity exists, it should be easier for other nations to do the same since they literally don’t need to reinvent the wheel. That’s why trade helps.

So if we could redistribute wealth evenly we’d all be pauperized? I think we would agree that getting to global taxation and redistribution of wealth from where we are today is hard to see, but is there really not enough to go around if we could?

I think if you are going to stand for free trade you have to acknowledge that these deals are not free trade deals. We’ve been talking a lot about poverty, did you notice this is about an EU free trade deal, not a central African one? This is about America exporting American-style economic policies that lead to American-style wealth inequality.