For both general and particular reasons the MLPC calls on Canadians to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and all other free trade agreements as part of the battle for a new direction for the economy within a nation-building project under their control. Free trade agreements during this period when global monopolies dominate the economies of most countries can only be seen as serving class privilege and narrow private interests, and not the broad public interests. The downturn in manufacturing in Canada during the last two decades, especially in Ontario, Quebec and BC in part can be traced back to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Free trade agreements introduce the competition, power and control of the global monopolies as the dominant element in both international and domestic trade. This stands in opposition to trade and movement of social wealth based on mutual benefit and development, and friendship amongst peoples to serve their well-being and security.
The loss of sovereign decision-making to control the Canadian economy because of free trade agreements, specifically the public’s right to restrict monopoly right, is a consideration in opposing free trade agreements in general. A modern nation-building project must have a public authority accountable to the people in control of trade and the movement of social wealth into and out of the country. Unless restricted, the owners of great social wealth will gain control of the natural resources and production of any country.
When assessing the TPP, several specific issues bear consideration beyond general opposition to free trade agreements in this period of economic domination by mostly unaccountable monopolies. This U.S.-led initiative for a free trade agreement in the Asia Pacific region excludes China. Several trade organizations and bilateral and multilateral economic partnerships or agreements already exist in northeast and southeast Asia such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its associated members. The TPP would introduce the monopolies of the U.S. and its military ally Japan into the legal mix as dominant participants whose private interests would seek to be considered in most existing economic relationships. This stands in opposition to the peoples of Asia and their independent efforts to move forward from the colonial era.
The TPP comes within the context of the U.S. military pivot to Asia, specifically to East Asia and Southeast Asia where the U.S. plans to base 60 per cent of its overseas military forces. The pivot is well underway with construction of new and expanded U.S. military bases in Japan and south Korea and introduction of the latest weaponry such as the Osprey, F-22 and F-35 aircraft. War preparations are intrinsically linked with economic considerations and the penetration of regions to control trade, labour, natural resources and political affairs.
Rejection of the TPP is linked to opposition to Canada’s participation in U.S.-led predatory wars, and the need for an anti-war government in Canada to extricate the country from the aggressive U.S.-led NATO and the U.S.-dominated Fortress North America.
The TPP in the immediate term would destroy Canada’s supply management regime presently in place for most dairy products. This would be a coup de grâce for Canada’s dairy producers, as monopoly-controlled dairy production in the U.S. and New Zealand would soon wipe out Canada’s smaller producers.
The key issue in the TPP and other free trade agreements is control over the country’s economy within a nation-building project. Through free trade agreements, the global monopolies legally gain direct control over key aspects of the economy and deprive the people of their right to exercise control over those affairs that affect their lives. This lack of control by the people runs counter to the modern trend towards democracy where the people through democratic renewal struggle to gain the legal will to exercise control over the economic, political and social affairs that affect their lives.