For Immediate Release
Harper undermines TPP negotiations with careless remarks
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shown reckless incompetence with his recent remarks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and Canada now has no choice but to step away from the table, says the Trade Justice Network.
The TJN, a coalition that includes labour unions – organizations with tremendous experience in negotiating – says Harper’s ill-advised comments on the auto industry have left Canada with no room to manoeuvre.
“Mr. Harper has already publicly conceded that Canada is prepared to accept a bad deal for Canada’s auto parts manufacturers,” said TJN spokesman Larry Brown.
“Canada’s negotiating team now has no leverage whatsoever with which to defend this crucial industry at the TPP talks. Every other country knows that Mr, Harper has publicly conceded on this point - he will accept a deal that does not protect the industry and its workforce.”
“No one should ever go to a negotiating table saying that reaching a deal is absolutely crucial; the other side knows that they can extract the maximum concessions because you’ve already implied that you will accept pretty much anything to get this ‘crucial’ deal.”
The TJN also questions whether the current government has any moral authority to reach an agreement on such a major issue as the TPP. It is unheard of for an outgoing government to conclude an international treaty of such scope during an election campaign, when they should be just caretakers.
“With no moral authority to conclude a deal and with Canada’s negotiators being completely painted into a corner by Mr Harper, the only sensible option for Canada is to stand aside, at least until the federal election is concluded,” Brown said.
“At that point our negotiators may get the kind of mandate from a new government that will allow them to actually bargain in Canada’s best interests, instead of having their position completely undercut by an incompetent negotiator like Mr. Harper.”
You can find the Trade Justice Network on Twitter (@TradeJusticeNet) and on Facebook.
Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s leading social action organization, mobilizing a network of 60 chapters across the country.