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.

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Comments on “Canadian Member Of Parliament, Responsible For Opposition Trade Policy, Denied Access To TPP Negotiations”

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20 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Howard (profile) says:

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.

Haudenosaun (profile) says:

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.?

mattshow (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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 !

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