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By: Haoda Yan
What’s the most important political issue of 2015? Is it global warming? The Syrian refugee crisis? Increasing rates of Islamophobia in Canada? Donald Trump as President of the United States?
The biggest issue of 2015 is brought to you by the letters T, P, and P, an international trade agreement which will directly affect the average citizen. If you thought the Stop Online Piracy Act — an American bill proposed to control internet activity — was troublesome, you’d be surprised at how much damage the Trans-Pacific Partnership could do.
Although it is being promoted by governments as a way to foster innovation, encourage economic growth, and create jobs, the TPP instead benefits corporations, who aren’t necessarily in the business of serving citizens. Although it is clear that the TPP intends to increase corporate profits, nobody is willing to explain just how it intends to accomplish that. The main question is why nobody involved is willing to divulge any information about the arrangement. Canadian citizens should really be concerned about an agreement where the only documents the public was privy to during its drafting were the ones released by Wikileaks. Many things become less regulated under this trade agreement including environmental policies, food safety standards, and labour laws. Food safety legislation would become moot as the TPP allows any corporation to sue any government over policies that could “impact expected future profits.” Factors that would impact profits include things like package warnings and virtually any other policy that exists to protect consumers.
Under the guise of defending innovators from thieves, the TPP intends to snuff out smaller businesses by creating monopolies for almost every product. Ironically, although supporters of the TPP claim it will create jobs, the agreement will actually ship jobs overseas. With no more trade barriers, corporations would be entirely free to outsource labour to countries with lower wages. This is bad news for workers, consumers, and especially students, robbing them of learning resources, job opportunities, and much more. Are we just going to stand idly by as this policy threatens to hurt everyone but big businesses?
The TPP would give multi-national firms an incredible amount of international power. Individual politicians come and go, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership has no expiry date, which is why it has to be sunk before it reaches the Pacific shore. Given that the public is still largely in the dark, the only groups currently influencing this legislation are the same self-serving corporations. Canadian citizens need to respond quickly and loudly if we want to stop this trade agreement from being fast-tracked through parliament. The TPP is a Trojan Horse, and much like the Trojans happily inviting this threat into their walls, we will all suffer for it.