Canada’s PM Designate Trudeau Expresses Support for TPP

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s next prime minister, will be armed with the backing of a Liberal Majority government. Some have hoped that he really did represent change from the Conservative party, but a phone call with a Japanese prime minister suggests that, like outgoing prime minister Stephen Harper, Trudeau may be supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canada’s Prime Minister designate Justin Trudeau reportedly had a phone conversation. While details are scarce on what was discussed, one major point did come to light: they both apparently are leaning towards support for the TPP. From the report:

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canada’s prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau agreed to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), both seeing the free-trade deal as beneficial to the region, Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The two leaders exchanged views on the pact during a 15-minute telephone call on Friday, Japan’s foreign ministry said.

This support on Trudeau’s part isn’t necessarily new. Prior to Canada’s election, we did a party-by-party analysis on issues including the positions of various parties on trade agreements that restrict digital rights. In it, we found that Trudeau supported such agreements. After the election, we posted a follow-up on what the next government has in store knowing where the party stood on digital rights.

Some digital rights advocates held out, hoping that the campaign promises were honest this time around. Michael Geist commented that the Liberal government “points to real change and the chance for a fresh start on Canadian digital policy in the years ahead.”

This latest development, however, strikes a blow to that sentiment and is a sign that a more pessimistic view is justifiable. Agreeing to promote the TPP as a benefit to everyone is certainly a step in the wrong direction if advocates are hoping that the Liberals are taking a progressive stance on digital rights. After all, our analysis on the final draft of the TPP points to this agreement as rolling back progressive copyright laws and instituting much more extreme measures that crack down on digital rights.

What’s significant about this latest signal is the fact that this marks the first time post-election that Trudeau has signaled any leaning on the issue. Given Harper’s support of the TPP before leaving office, Canada could very well see more of the same with Trudeau and the Liberal government.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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