Unifor launches TPP campaign


Unifor launched one of its largest national campaigns at the recent Prairie Council, with a simple message to the federal government: Trade the TPP.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership isn’t really even a trade deal. It’s a corporate rights deal,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.

Dias pointed to the TPP’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement system, which would give companies the right to sue the government if it passes laws that hurt their profits - even if those laws are in the public interest.

“Unifor believes in trade - trade that improves the lives of working Canadians, protects public services and enhances each country’s ability to promote its culture and pass laws in the interests of its own citizens,” Dias said. “The TPP, unfortunately, is not that kind of trade deal.”

Unifor’s TPP campaign was launched at Prairie Council on April 30, and will ramp up over the coming months as the federal government holds public consultations across the country on the deal.

“The federal Liberal Government has said it wants to hear from Canadians about the TPP - and Unifor will be there to tell them the deal just isn’t good enough,” said Roland Kiehne, Unifor’s Director of Member Mobilization and Political Action.

The TPP is a proposed new “free trade” between 12 Pacific rim nations: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States of America and Vietnam.

Negotiations were completed in October 2015, during the last federal election. Kiehne said that Canada was late to join the negotiations in 2012, after 15 rounds of talks had already taken place.

“That put us in a position of weakness at the negotiations, and the results of that weakness can be seen in the threat the TPP poses to many sectors of our economy,” Kiehne said.

Unifor activists across Canada will be mobilized to make sure politicians at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels know the threats posed by the TPP, Kiehne said.

A dedicated web page was set up for the campaign at unifor.org/tpp as part of the campaign. There are already several documents on the site, with many more coming - including sector-by-sector analyses of the TPP’s impact on Canada’s major industries, including dairy, auto, health care, the media, and more.

Unifor trade policy paper, Imagining a Fair Trade Future, outlines 12 essential elements of a fair trade deal.