When President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, he was clear: He supported the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and he wanted Congress to pass it.
|Freeland and Trudeau: appearance is everything
Similarly, during last year’s federal election, Canada’s former Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was unstinting in his support for the TPP. And the New Democratic Party's Thomas Mulcair made it clear that, given what he knew of the deal, he was unlikely to support it.
However, the Liberal Party of Canada, under leader Justin Trudeau, made the false claim during last fall’s election campaign that it knew too little about the TPP to pass judgment. The party was pro trade, but would need to look at the details.
That was dishonest. Those who liked the deal could clearly explain why, and those who had concerns also had no difficulty finding clear reasons to reject it.
The Liberals, now in power under Prime Minister Trudeau II, and with a clear majority, are continuing to pander to the Canadian people, telling them that the government will sign off on the text of the accord next week, but that ratification is not a sure thing.
This is a lie. The Liberals have a majority, and will pass the deal. The only thing that could stop ratification would be mass street demonstrations. The Liberals, being a purely political entity, and with heavily vested corporate interests, will not reject the TPP on its own failings.
Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s International Trade Minister, has stated that “We’re not the government that negotiated this deal,” and that “it is clear that many feel the [deal] presents significant opportunities, while others have concerns.”
This is pure theater. And it will ramp up during the parliamentary debate, when the Liberals will let the NDP and the Conservatives take opposing sides, and then present themselves as the adults in the room – promoting the appearance of consultation, debate, and openness in order to reduce any political fallout when the inevitable ratification happens.
(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)