Election 2015: NDP, Tories battle over Pacific trade

NDP stepped up attack on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the last days before the Oct. 19 federal election

Tom FletcherBlack Press

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair stepped up his attack on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the last days before the Oct. 19 federal election, rallying union support to oppose Canada’s biggest-ever trade agreement.

The NDP campaign emphasized support from the Canadian Union of Public Employees and health care unions, adding to vocal opposition from Unifor, the union representing auto workers. The NDP has described the TPP as a secret deal that could drive up drug costs and cost jobs by removing tariffs from imported vehicles and other products.

The TPP, agreed to in principle last week by 12 countries including Canada, the U.S., Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, provides only minimal foreign access to supply managed poultry, dairy and egg markets in B.C. and across the country.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast took a break from his Conservative re-election campaign in Abbotsford to conclude the TPP talks in Atlanta last week. Fast said it keeps the government’s promise to preserve supply management in farm products, by offering “modest” import access and paying farmers for any loss of revenue.

Over five years, the TPP would open to imports 3.25 per cent of Canada’s dairy production, 2.3 per cent for eggs, 2.1 per cent for chicken, two per cent for turkey and 1.5 per cent for broiler hatching eggs.

For beef and other farm products, the TPP gives Canada full access to the U.S., Australia and other competitors in the Pacific Rim, Fast said. The NDP’s opposition to trade deals goes back a long way.

“They opposed the Canada-US free trade agreement, they opposed NAFTA, they have voted in the House of Commons against our trade agreement with the European Union,” Fast said in an interview. “They voted against trade agreements with countries like Switzerland and Lichtenstein and Israel and Peru.”

Mulcair has repeatedly demanded that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau take a position on the TPP, and that the Conservatives release the full text of the agreement before the vote.

Fast said the legal text is not completed and requires consent of all 12 countries, which is unlikely before the election. Implementation of the TPP is expected to take about two years, as each government ratifies its terms.

B.C. International Trade Minister Teresa Wat praised the TPP deal, noting it phases out tariffs in Asian countries on B.C. salmon, halibut, herring, crab, geoduck, blueberries, fresh and frozen vegetables, pork and icewine.

 

Just Posted

Stolen truck involved in fatal collision on Highway 16

Wednesday’s two-vehicle crash killed one man, 23, and injured two others

UPDATE: West Fraser to permanently reduce production in Quesnel, Fraser Lake

The move will affect 75 employees in Quesnel, 60 in Fraser Lake

Feedback sought on environmental impacts of New Gold’s proposed Blackwater Mine

Public is invited to comment in final round of consultation

Vanderhoof speed skater makes international debut

Alison Desmarais earned a bronze medal in her first short track speed skating World Cup

Column: the 4-H way of life

Local 4-H member Jacinta Meir on what being a member means to her

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Tinder sex assault suspect charged; additional alleged victims sought

Vincent Noseworthy of Alberta is accused of aggravated sexual assault, unlawful confinement and more

Drug-related deaths double for B.C. youth in care, advocate says

Teens say positive connections with adults key to recovery

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Trudeau pushes for more Saudi accountability in Khashoggi killing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is still seeking clear answers from Saudi Arabia about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi

Most Read