Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership a good thing for Canada, or an economic disaster waiting to happen?
Well, it depends on who you ask.
The West Block’s Vassy Kapelos invited representatives from Canada’s three major political parties to discuss the major international trade deal, which Canada has signed off on, but not yet ratified. If the lively debate that followed is any indication, the road to ratification may not be a smooth one.
“There are certainly positive aspects of it that are coming out from our consultations, and there are also people who are critical of it,” said Liberal MP and Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade, David Lametti.
“It’s up to us as a government to assess whether, on balance, it’s a good thing or not a good thing for Canada, and we’re not there yet.”
WATCH: A West Block Primer on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
But Conservative Randy Hoback said there’s no question the TPP — which will have far-reaching consequences for the dairy and poultry industries, as well as the auto sector — is a good deal for Canadians.
“Let’s face it, Canada’s an exporting country,” said Hoback. “We need markets around the world. Our producers can compete with anybody if given a level playing field. This gives us equal access into Japan, into Vietnam. We’ve gone through a process of consultations as the deal was being developed.”
Launching fresh consultations under the new government “seems to be redundant,” said Hoback, “but I guess there’s never any harm in going out and talking to Canadians about any type of deal.”
The NDP’s Guy Caron said in his view, the evidence is mounting that the TPP might be “a dangerous deal” for Canada.
“I think (with) any deal we have winners and losers, that’s very obvious,” Caron said. “On the other side, we can hardly understand why the government refuses to … even to do an impact study on what it will mean for the Canadian economy and what it will mean on its sectors.”
Hoback said Canada should move forward immediately and not wait to see what the Americans decide to do when it comes to the TPP.
“We’re not showing any leadership. We’re dragging our feet,” he said. “That’s not leadership.”
Watch the full debate above.