Canadian Member Of Parliament, Responsible For Opposition Trade Policy, Denied Access To TPP Negotiations

from the that-doesn't-sound-right dept

Defenders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in the US like to note that every member of Congress has access to the negotiating documents of the massive trade agreement. Of course, that's not telling the full story. While lobbyist "advisers" like those from the MPAA can simply log into an online account and see the details from their personal computers, members of Congress have to go to the USTR office, where they can see a copy of the document, but they're not allowed to bring any staffers (such as those who are experts on trade policy), nor are they allowed to make any copies or take any notes.

However, it appears that up in Canada, things may be even more ridiculous. Don Davies is a Canadian Member of Parliament who notes that he's been denied access to information about the ongoing TPP negotiations, of which Canada is supposedly a member:
“The TPP is a sweeping agreement covering issues that affect many areas of Canada’s economy and society – including several areas of policy that have never been subject to trade agreements before,” said Davies. “By keeping Parliament completely in the dark on negotiations the Conservatives also leave Canadians in the dark and, for an agreement of this magnitude that is abnormal and unacceptable.

“If the US can allow its legislators to see the TPP text, there is no reason that Canada can’t,” Davies said.
In this case, it's doubly ridiculous. Davies is a member of the NDP party, which is not in power, but his role is as the Official Opposition Critic for International Trade. In other words, he's basically the trade policy expert for the NDP, and as such, you'd think he should at the very least be included in the details of ongoing negotiations. Yet again, though, it seems that the main negotiating parties involved in the TPP have realized that the best way to get across an agreement they like is to keep it as secretive and non-transparent as possible, especially from critics. This is the exact opposite of how democratic governments are supposed to work.

Of course, the addition of Canada to the TPP has always been done in a way to keep our neighbor up north as a silent partner to the US's position. You may recall that the US didn't let Canada join until well into the negotiating process, and as part of the invite, Canada was told that it had to accept all negotiated text without question, even though it wasn't allowed to see it yet. And, related to that, they had to agree to future texts during some meetings where they weren't allowed to attend. To now find out that the Conservative Party, which is currently in power, is going even further and blocking the opposition from having any visibility at all into the agreement is just ridiculous.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Postulator (profile), Aug 29th, 2013 @ 10:58pm

    It's not as if trade agreements are for the benefit of the people, or that their elected representatives have much say in them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2013 @ 11:05pm

    Everything about these policy laundering agreements, is a travesty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2013 @ 11:12pm

    Democracy

    Is there any part still left of the United States that hasn't been seized by anti-democratic powers?

    If the United States government insists on leaving the people out of the loop then it falls to the people to find out for itself. Remember the days when spies used to take microfilm images of secret documents? It's old technology, but it may still be useful in cases such as these.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2013 @ 11:19pm

    Re: Democracy

    I would half expect the next US election to Elect Fred Phelps to the Oval Office.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 30th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    US: please sign this agreement that can interfere with your own laws without ever seeing any details. Trust us.

    Seems very reasonable. We all sign stuff this way don't we? /sarcasm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Guardian, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 4:21am

    germany , UK , canada say no to syrian war

    USA would have gone in there and murdered people cause its done without proof...

    thats the nation you live in.
    OH i agree we should all get along but how can we ...WHEN YOUR SPYING ON US ALL AND WILL NEVER SHOW US ANY PROOF WHAT YOU SAY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Aug 30th, 2013 @ 5:15am

    Negotiated in secret?

    If these people keep this ridiculous standing saying "we'll negotiate it, and you can sign a yes/no after", then senators should just simply refuse it with a "try again, next time transparently" answer, no matter what's in the agreement, how beneficial or cool it is (which I highly doubt).

    I read in an article that they keep telling us that these negotiations couldn't proceed if they'd do it publicly, because people...
    That's the fuckin' point: people don't like it. The don't do it - in their name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Haudenosaun, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 6:19am

    From the Huffington Post Business

    "U.S. members of Congress can request access to the draft documents, but are required to keep secret about what they see. All the same, a few have hinted at what they’ve seen.

    Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, said he had seen the text and said the agreement, as it stands, “hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.”

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 6:34am

    Trade agreements are meant to let the Rule of (US) Industry prevail over the National and Democratic Rule of Law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    Oh Cana-duh

    Canadian Member Of Parliament, Responsible For Opposition Trade Policy, Denied Access To TPP Negotiations

    I say if they don't like the terms of joining into the agreement, don't do it. It's not like they're being forced to become a part of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Aug 30th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Re: germany , UK , canada say no to syrian war

    The US only wants to do "something" for civilians.
    Can't really back either side, 'cause the only thing they have in common is a hatred of the West.

    I'm not really sure what anyone expects out of any military action.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Travis, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Cons in Canada

    Yeah well... I won't be voting conservative next time around; and I don't think many Canadians will either. Harpers done enough, time to change the silly guy in the PM's seat again. And they are ALL silly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    mattshow (profile), Aug 30th, 2013 @ 8:19am

    Re: Oh Cana-duh

    I say if they don't like the terms of joining into the agreement, don't do it. It's not like they're being forced to become a part of it.

    I'm not sure if you're referring to Canada in general or Davis in particular. If it's Canada in general, then I fully agree and I think it's sad the way we kowtow to US interests.

    If you're referring to Davies, the way the headline is worded is a tad misleading for anyone not familiar with Parliamentary system. Davies himself has no power to set trade policy. He's just supposed to keep an eye on (and criticize) the Minister for International Trade, Ed Fast.

    Fast is a member of the Conservative party, who currently have a majority government and can do whatever they want regardless of what the opposition thinks, including signing us up for oppressive international treaties without letting the opposition even see the text.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    fyi, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    NDP party = "New Democratic Party party."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: Oh Cana-duh

    Sorry, was referring to Canada in general. If Canada doesn't like the non-participatory rules of entry- it shouldn't become party to the agreement. Chances are that when the agreement is finalized and fully disclosed it can make an informed decision on whether to join or not. If the door is locked, Canada has to decide whether joining with those restrictions is worthwhile. Personally, I'd wait and see.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    PRMan, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Then show up at the meetings and arrest them

    If they are guilty of treason against the Constitution or against Canada's head of foreign trade, arrest them on the spot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    No

    LOl so Canada is not allowed to know what laws it is agreeing to, now that must be something the American lawmakers are happy with.
    Damn why dont they just tell Canada they are another state and start paying taxes and changing all their laws to be the same as any other state in the Unites States.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    JJJoseph (profile), Aug 30th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    Re: Cons in Canada

    Yes, time to bring forward the trendy pothead dude.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Oh Cana-duh

    There's no Canada deciding anything.. There's one guy, with a couple of others deciding what's good for everyone, and he usually is as receptive as Putin is for the feedback of the people..

    Plus the Canadian government is kinda bad.. I'm not even sure if there's a government anymore given how they rarely come out to say anything.. Only when shit goes bad..

    Not to mention how eager the government is to adopt anything the USA do adopt !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Doug Roberts, Sep 1st, 2013 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: germany , UK , canada say no to syrian war

    They don't hate "the West". They hate the U.S. Because the U.S. has been interfering in the business of other countries around the world- politically, economically, diplomatically and militarily, for well over a hundred years. Don't you think it's time it stopped?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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