Opinion Column

Trust issues and the TPP

Bill Tieleman

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

Stephen Harper has defended signing onto the TPP agreement. 
REUTERS

Stephen Harper has defended signing onto the TPP agreement. REUTERS

“Politics are about people, elections are about choices.” - Enda Kenny, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister)

Elections are indeed about choices – deciding between political parties with different policies and track records, as well as leaders.

Elections determine who forms government – and your vote should be based on your values and important issues.

Most Canadians want change – to remove the Stephen Harper Conservative government – and for good reason.

From showing contempt for Parliament, scientists, labour, the environment and First Nations to shamefully exploiting racial stereotypes in this election, Harper must be defeated.

The Green Party simply can’t win many seats.

That leaves the New Democratic Party official opposition and the Liberals.

And on critical issues, they have dramatically different positions.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau admitted the Conservatives’ repressive and widely condemned Bill C-51 security legislation was wrong.

But then Trudeau and his Liberal MPs voted for it. The NDP opposed C-51 and voted against the Conservatives and Liberals.

Now Harper has signed a secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal – with the United States, Mexico, Japan and other countries.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair opposes the TPP as damaging details from Wikileaks and others indicate the harm it would cause Canada’s auto, dairy and medicine sectors and to intellectual property, privacy and Internet access.

The NDP “will not be bound by Harper’s secret deals,” Mulcair said Sunday on Vancouver Island.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both against the TPP, as are many unions, farmers, civil rights and consumer advocates.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank chief economist, warns about the TPP.

“The real concern is that the whole thing is being written by corporations behind closed doors ... the consumers, who are not at the table, get screwed,” Stiglitz says.

But Trudeau is neither concerned nor opposed, saying last week: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities.”

So on TPP, Harper says “trust me” while Trudeau says “trust Harper” and trust free trade.

Trusting Trudeau on C-51 didn’t work – neither will it on the TPP.

If fundamental issues like C-51 and the TPP are important to you, vote for your values – vote for the party that shares your view, not one that will say anything simply to get into power.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com or Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman  

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