The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was negotiated in secret by President Barack Obama, then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ten other Pacific Rim countries, over a three-year period from 2010 to late 2015.
Because these negotiations were conducted secretly, organizations representing Canadian and American workers were not allowed to review the proposed texts during any phase of the negotiations.
In the U.S., the AFL-CIO submitted recommendations that were completely ignored. In Canada, there was zero consultation with labour representatives, which was standard practice for Stephen Harper and the Conservative government.
When Stephen Harper’s secret TPP plan was announced in Canada, two weeks before last year’s Parliamentary elections, it became a major campaign issue and contributed to Harper’s historic defeat.
Voters across Canada overwhelming rejected Harper's Conservative Party and their economic failures in the October 2015 election. Harper and the Conservatives won only 99 out of 338 seats – a dramatic loss of 67 seats.
Voters in the U.S. have also consistently expressed their opposition to the secret negotiations, the anti-worker provisions and the non-negotiable “take it or leave” nature of this very flawed trade agreement. Opposition to the secret TPP treaty is expected to be a significant issue in the 2016 U.S. elections.
According to the terms of a secret side-agreement that Stephen Harper negotiated, foreign companies will be able to bid on significant procurement projects in Canada. These same foreign companies will be able to import their own less trained and cheaper workers. That means foreign companies could bid on a Canadian project, and bring in a workforce that is nearly 100% foreign, and deny work to better qualified Canadians.
Harper’s secret trade deal does not have a “Canada First” provision requiring Canadians to be hired before importing temporary foreign workers.
The secret TPP agreement is also a potential disaster for worker safety. The agreement does not require workers on construction sites to be able to speak either English or French. The inability of workers to properly communicate is a serious safety issue and could endanger lives in the event of an emergency.
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