Did Canada sell out its labour market in the TPP talks?


Ottawa, ON


Article by Christopher Smillie.

Canada is not an economic giant. Former Australian PM Kevin Rudd told a policy crowd in Ottawa last week that Canada (like Australia) best occupies the “creative middle power space” in world affairs.

Canada’s GDP is less than half the size of Germany’s. By any stretch of the imagination, our economy is small when compared to the giants we’re playing with in the global sandbox. Strategic involvement in selective trade deals can benefit us; our products need markets and our people need products at reasonable costs. But signing trade deals where the benefits for Canada are opaque — or, at best, unconvincing to ordinary citizens — is not a good idea.

Making the middle class stronger means jobs. No middle class can improve any social or financial performance indicator without robust and sustained employment. No middle class can improve without policies which actually strengthen opportunities for the middle class. Making the middle class stronger means demonstrable opportunities for higher wages and lower taxes. Making the middle class stronger comes from industrial investment, from profitable farming communities and farms, from more construction jobs, from training opportunities linked to employment, from access to entrepreneurship and small business financing opportunities.

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