Trade agreements can carry negative consequences

Resource “harvesting” is increasingly automated, requiring less and less people to pay wages out to

Mr. Fletcher, in his self-appointed role as cheerleader for trade deals, this time around the TPP, asks: “Can we compete in health sciences, engineering, architecture, digital media, and information technology? Do we want to?”

I recall something that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney allegedly uttered upon the signing of the original FTA.  It went something like this:  “Why should we make it when we can buy it?”  So, using this criteria, the answer to Mr. Fletcher’s question is “No”.

We should continue, and at an ever more frenetic pace to chop down, dig up, pump out, dam up, or trap out our resources, believing them to be “inexhaustible” (as was commonly thought 200 years ago).  And the reason we should continue doing this?  Well, if we adhere to Mr. Mulroney’s dictum, we will need money, lots and lots of money, to buy the goodies and services that other countries produce.

Mr. Fletcher seems to think this acceptable.  But Mr. Fletcher should take note that resource “harvesting” (some would say pillaging) is increasingly automated, requiring less and less people to pay wages out to.  Uh oh, this seems to be presenting a bit of a conundrum:  less and less money for increasingly fewer people to pay for everyday living expenses, never mind the “goodies” taunting us from offshore.

And one more thing:  Mr. Fletcher has neglected (or has been careful not to) research the history of trade deals Canada has signed, the “big one” up to now being NAFTA.  This is just a snippet of a Huffington Post article on the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, and concerns the U.S. economy:

Such outcomes include a staggering $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada and the related loss of one million net U.S. jobs under NAFTA, growing income inequality, displacement of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and a doubling of desperate immigration from Mexico, and more than $360 million paid to corporations after “investor-state” tribunal attacks on, and rollbacks of, domestic public interest policies.

Does Mr. Fletcher consider this a “successful” trade deal?  Is so, for whom?  I leave you with these questions, Mr. Fletcher.

Richard Weatherill



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