Monday, August 17, 2015

Canada at the TPP? The Time to Talk is Precisely During an Election

Michael Geist has just posted an important blog, following his important column in the Toronto Star on "How Canada Caved at the TPP Talks in Hawaii".

I posted a comment on his blog in turn which is as follows:

Hi, Michael:
There an old convention in trade law negotiations that still applies, which is that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. I’ve just confirmed with the redoubtable Jamie Love of that this is still the case. Jamie has been involved with the #TPP negotiations all along and has been to nearly all the meetings. He was also in many ways the driving force behind the Marrakesh Treaty for the blind. So, if Canada decides to get back to hanging tough, there’s no reason why we can’t revisit previous positions, including concessions and capitulations. According to Jamie, the Americans and others have done this including during the last round in Maui, and whenever they reach the conclusion they made a mistake, or have to accommodate an influential interest group. As I understand him, not all of the issues the US raises later in the negotiations are necessarily bad, or good, but they reopen topics whenever they want. 

What Canada needs now is some sort of public discussion about the really big issues at stake, which include investor state dispute resolution (#ISDS) – i.e. whether a foreign corporation can concoct a dispute, invoke a secretive arbitration process with three private arbitrators (likely lawyers and/or professors), and overrule Canadian laws as passed by Parliament and interpreted the Supreme Court of Canada. That’s a serious threat to the rule of law and to Canadian sovereignty itself. With all due respect to Kim Campbell, this is precisely the type of issue that not only merits but requires discussion during an election, particularly when the issue is very much a live and urgent one that could be decided during the election period.


 So, politicians, please provide answers.....