REGINA – Canada has seen a change in government since the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) terms were agreed on, but one thing hasn’t changed; our provincial government’s support.
Representatives from the federal government were in Regina on Thursday as part of their nationwide TPP consultation effort. They met with Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison and Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart at the legislature.
The ministers re-enforced the province’s support of the agreement, but the concerns of dairy farmers also entered the conversation.
“We know that there would have been, or will be an impact in dairy, but the compensation package seems to be something that is well thought of by that industry,” said Harrison.
The Liberals are including that $4.3 billion compensation package, made by the previous Harper government, in their TPP review.
Harrison described Saskatchewan as “the most trade dependant province”, and Stewart pointed to increased export opportunities.
In 2014, the province exported $25 billion in goods to the 11 other TPP countries, including the United States and Japan.
Stewart said the province has the transportation infrastructure in place to meet increased demand, but it will need time to prepare.
“It won’t be like it hits us like a brick,” he explained. “It’ll be a more gradual process and the railways and others will have some years to ramp up.”
On Wednesday, New Zealand announced they are inviting the 11 other signatory countries to a meeting in Auckland on Feb. 4th to sign the deal, but this doesn’t mean the TPP is a done deal for Canada.
Once signed, all participating countries will have two years to domestically ratify the deal.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade David Lametti said the government sees the signing as a “technical step” and remains focused on consultations.
“On really illuminating every single corner of the agreement, and then making a decision on whether it puts Canadians in a better or worse situation as a whole,” he said after the meeting at the legislature.
Once the consultations are complete the government will form a committee to digest the data, and it will then move through the parliamentary process.Follow @davidbaxter_