Ontario: One of Canada`s largest unions wasted no time Monday voicing opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), just one day after the country signed a landmark free trade deal with the EU.
Unifor, which represents more than 300,000 workers in several sectors across the country and is generally supportive of free trade, urged lawmakers to vote against ratifying the TPP deal between 12 Asia-Pacific countries.
"Unifor is a strong believer in trade, but trade must be fair and it must serve the needs of working people and our communities first," said Unifor president Jerry Dias.
"The TPP, like too many other trade deals, encourages a race to the bottom," he said, alluding to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) signed Sunday with the EU as another example.
The landmark CETA was finally signed after Belgian regional parliaments lifted their opposition to the pact seven years in the making.
Wallonia with its population of 3.6 million had held up the deal in the final weeks until it won concessions for regional farming interests and guarantees that international investors would not be able to force governments to change laws.
"Wallonia drew renewed attention to what is wrong with modern trade deals, and to the kinds of trade deals people want," Dias said.
TPP could result in Canadian job losses and "extraordinary powers given to corporations," he said, adding that the trade deal`s patent provisions would drive up prescription drug prices.
The TPP would open up trade between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. China has been notably excluded.
Both US presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said they oppose the TPP, raising questions about the pact`s future come November elections.