Canada to Sign TPP Now, Ask Questions Later

The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) signing is expected to take place tomorrow where all 12 countries are expected to sign off on the agreement. For its part, Canada has apparently taken a “sign first, ask questions later” approach to the agreement.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has grilled the government over the TPP for the last several days. He even went so far as to ask if Trudeau often signs off on things he doesn’t yet have an opinion on. It turns out, the answer seems to be yes.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, industry minister Chrystia Freeland has gone to New Zealand to sign off on the agreement. After that, the Canadian government is suggesting that they might start asking questions about the agreement. From the report:

In the meantime, the government is taking a closer look the TPP’s potential consequences, Freeland acknowledged Wednesday in a conference call from Auckland prior to signing the agreement.

“That is a very important part of the analysis and of the conversation that Canadians need to have,” she said.

“It’s a big job and we are working on it.”

Freeland has also requested a thorough study of the agreement by a parliamentary committee and has conducted public consultations. Once the deal is signed, only a majority vote in Parliament would seal its ratification.

Of course, as we’ve said all along, signing the agreement basically means that the government promises to ratify the agreement within two years. After signing off on the agreement is far too late legally to start asking questions about it. Many Canadians have demanded that a thorough study of the agreement should be done and thoroughly debated before signing off on it. That call has clearly been ignored.

If anything, the Canadian government has basically said that they have no idea what is in it and don’t understand what the major consequences of even signing off on it is. The comment that signing is merely a technical step and not actual ratification is extremely misleading. If a country signs off on the agreement, that country is legally bound to ratify the agreement within 2 years (and some provisions, even one year). As Freeland herself has admitted on several occasions, the TPP is an all or nothing treaty that cannot be changed.

For now, many Canadians are left with a government that appears to have taken the same approach as Stephen Harper when it comes to these treaties. Harper started the job and Trudeau intends to finish the job.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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