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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2020-03-10 11:58 [p.1860]
Madam Speaker, I am going to go back a little ways to a process that some might remember around what was referred to as the security and prosperity partnership, SPP.
One of the really frustrating aspects about those negotiations was that we did not know the full extent of them. In one of the minority Parliaments that preceded 2011, there was an attempt to get documents, just for Canadians to get some basic information about what the government was doing at the negotiating table with the United States on that file. A Conservative chair of the committee at that time stood up and walked out of the room, lest emotion pass demanding information about what was going on at that table.
What we have negotiated with the government and what should be different is at least Canadians will know that a negotiation is taking place. That sounds really basic. It does not sound particularly exciting. It sounds like the kind of thing that of course we would know, because the government always tells us. However, the fact is that there is no requirement for the government to tell us. The SPP was a great example of a time when it refused to tell us.
Not only would we know that that negotiation was happening, but we would have, at the very least, the high-level negotiating objectives, which were presumably were different for the SPP than they were for the TPP or CETA.
This is one of those things that are easy to understate. It sounds like it is not that big of a deal, and that the government was already doing that. The point is that it was not. People in the trade justice network, labour unions and other parts of civil society know that these trade agreements can have a real impact on the lives of working people, not just corporate tycoons who are going to make more money but real Canadians who have a real potential to lose out on things that matter to them in their lives. This is going to give them a window in, to know where to start looking and sniffing around to find out what is going on and how it is going to affect people, whether they are members of unions or organizations, or just ordinary Canadians whose welfare they are concerned for.
That is why it is a really important starting point.
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