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

Q & A with Rio Tinto Operations Director

Inflows between July, 2018 and June 2019 has been the second lowest since 1956

Fraser Lake business offers equine therapy to deal with life stressors

The idea is to have diverse businesses that provide more options to residents and tourists says Kim Watt-Senner

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

First Nations push for massive conservation area in northern B.C.

Includes ancestral areas of three Kaska Dena First Nations, just shy of the B.C.-Yukon border

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Family frustrated Terrace dad with advanced cancer must wait weeks for treatment

‘We can see his health declining every day,’ daughter says

Most Read