Ongoing concerns regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its impact on Canadian workers

Letter from Ken Neumann
Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Canadian Minister of International Trade

Dear Minister Freeland,

Re: Ongoing concerns regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership and its impact on Canadian workers

As Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers, the largest industrial union in North America, I write to you on behalf of our over 250,000 active and retired members in Canada to request a personal meeting to discuss our ongoing concerns with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), which you signed in Auckland last week.

By way of background, our members work in virtually every tradable sector from mining and metals, glass and rubber, paper and forestry, automotive and aerospace and countless other areas including services, university, healthcare and security. Along with other Canadian workers, USW members have suffered for far too long under the bad trade policies, flawed enforcement mechanisms and misplaced economic priorities of your predecessors.

We believe that the TPP will not resolve the most important challenges that have decimated our manufacturing base in recent years. In the TPP text, we see little to suggest the deal will provide a net benefit to ordinary Canadians. The TPP, if ratified, will further bind our economy to a currently-flawed global economic system that has not only hurt Canadian workers, but one which will also undermine our democracy, environment and national autonomy.

Under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, TPP negotiations were conducted largely behind closed doors, with no real input from civil society. We commend your commitment to consulting the public in advance of making a decision to ratify the treaty. We recognize that you and your staff have already engaged in more public consultations on the TPP than the Conservative government did during years of negotiations. But your government can and should do more, especially considering the broad impact that the TPP will most certainly have on the Canadian economy and on Canadian workers and families.

In the pages below we outline some of our more detailed concerns with several aspects of the deal. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. We hope that you will give these concerns thorough review and we look forward to discussing these issues with you at a future date.

Read the entire letter