Tackling the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now a top priority for the 3.3-million-member Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).
The CLC’s governing body agreed to the change last week after being urged to do so by CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon.
“Now that the federal election is over, I'm writing to urge that we reassess our goals and make stopping the TPP a top priority,” O’Hanlon wrote in a letter to the CLC’s Canadian Council.
He added that advancing the cause of working people “must include stopping or revising the TPP.”
With the newly elected Liberal government confirming it will repeal two anti-union bills — C-377 and C-525 — that were rammed through by the Harper Conservatives, O’Hanlon observed that labour no longer has to be on the defensive and can turn its attention to the TPP.
So far, the campaign against the TPP in this country has been led by the Trade Justice Network, a coalition of civil society and labour groups, largely directed and funded by CWA Canada.
“We now look forward to convincing the new government that Parliament must not ratify the TPP without fundamental changes,” O’Hanlon said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to “consult” on the TPP and hold a debate in Parliament at a future date.
The TPP would cost thousands of Canadian jobs and force our workers to compete with 65-cent-an-hour wages in Vietnam and slave labour in Malaysia.
One of the most troubling aspects of the TPP is a sweeping investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision that would give multinational corporations the power to override Canadian sovereignty by suing governments if they feel our labour, environmental, health or other standards contravene the TPP and could lead to a loss of future profits.
And they wouldn’t have to use our courts, they could use special secretive trade tribunals that have the power to rule against our government.
CWA Canada has been supported in the campaign by its international partner, the 500,000-strong Communications Workers of America, which has been spearheading opposition to the deal in the United States. The over-arching AFL-CIO has made killing the TPP its top priority.
For interviews or more information, contact Martin O'Hanlon (email / 613-820-8460).