During his final years in power Harper participated in secret negotiations to craft an international trade deal known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Several times a year government representatives would meet with lawyers representing the world’s largest corporations.1 In lavish luxury hotels around the world they would spend days on end developing new rules to govern 40% of the world economy.2
The lopsided nature of these negotiations explains why the Harper government never even acknowledged the existence of TPP negotiations until after they were leaked to the media3. Shockingly, the original plan was to keep the details of the deal secret until 4 years after it had been signed into law.4Thanks to Wikileaks the full text of the 6,000+ page TPP deal were made public last year.5
Here are some of the worrisome details:
- The TPP will allow corporations and the super wealthy to sue the Canadian government in secret courts if our laws put public health, safety and economic interests ahead of private profits.6 Canada is already the most-sued country using similar provisions in the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. 7 These lawsuits cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and the TPP will only make this worse. This deal also allows corporations to sue developing countries where the cost of these suits is even more devastating.
- The TPP is expected to cost us 58,000 Canadian jobs and create greater economic inequality.8 Which makes sense since it was negotiated by the 1% amongst themselves.
- The TPP is an attack on the open internet and online freedoms. It has been crafted to increase the power of online corporate monopolies. For example, everything in the TPP that increases corporate rights and interests is binding, whereas every provision that is meant to protect the public interest is nonbinding and is susceptible to get bulldozed by efforts to protect corporations.9