More than 150 people gathered outside federal government hearings into the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Windsor this morning, urging the new Liberal government not to sign the deal.
“There are winners in this deal, but it’s not us,” said John Toth, First Vice-President of Unifor Local 195. “End this deal now”
The rally was organized by the Windsor and District Labour Council and was attended by many Unifor activists, as well as members of other unions and social justice groups. The rally was held outside the hotel where the hearings into the deal were taking place.
“We are demanding that the Liberals come clean and listen to Canadians,” said Unifor Local 200 President Chris Taylor.
Inside the hearings, Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo said the deal would lead to job losses and gives too much power to corporations – who would be able to sue governments for passing laws that hurt their profits, even if those laws are in the public interest.
Just this week, for instance, the American company Windstream Energy launched a $475-million lawsuit under NAFTA, after Ontario cancelled a series of wind farm projects in 2011 while more research is done into how to build them properly.
Chiodo noted that under NAFTA, Canada has been subject to numerous lawsuits from corporations, and the TPP promises only more of the same.
“This is a deal we simply cannot accept. The potential damage this will bring to the Windsor community in the long-term is severe,” Chiodo said.
Chiodo noted that the deal provides for eliminating auto tariffs in Canada over six years, while similar tariffs in the U.S. would be eliminated over 25 years. That, he said, will cost thousands of jobs in Windsor and across Ontario.
“These rules will simply encourage automakers to explore new sourcing arrangements from lower-wage jurisdictions. How does this benefit auto parts’ workers in Ontario and, specifically, in Windsor?”