Canada Officially Joins Pacific Trade Talks

by Terry Wilson
October 10, 2012

Less than a week after a “gala” event, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the free trade agreement between Canada and America. That took place in Toronto Ont. on Wednesday October 3 2012. Canada has now officially joined talks aimed at achieving a Pacific free-trade deal.

The pacific free trade deal now has 11 countries signed on, in the talks. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

The advocates of the pacific deal say it could prove a useful way of counteracting the growing clout of China in regional trade and be extremely beneficial to average Canadians. Boosting the Canadian middle class.

This is the same type of rhetoric that was said when when the FTA was signed, and ultimately NAFTA a few years later. How true was the advocates hype with the FTA and NAFTA?

In a report from the Toronto Sun, published on the university of Toronto’s website. The numbers show how free trade has severely hurt Canadians.

“Diversification in Canada’s industrial base has been disappointing, said Campbell, with the average unemployment rate in the last 15 years remaining about the same as the previous 15 years. Big business, though, has done well. A study of 40 non-financial member companies of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives found their combined revenues jumped 105 per cent between 1988 and 2002 while their overall workforce shrank by 15 per cent.

The wealth hasn’t trickled down, said Campbell, despite steady productivity growth in the Canadian economy. “If free trade was supposed to usher in a new era of rising living standards, reversing the sluggishness of the 1980s, the record reveals quite the opposite.”

Annual growth in average personal income per capita was at 1.55 per cent a year in the 1980s but slid to 0.63 per cent a year between 1989 and 2005. Meanwhile, Americans were enjoying a personal income growth rate of almost twice that during the same period. Massive cuts to Canadian social programs haven’t helped, said Campbell, and tax cuts and transfers didn’t offset the difficulties as
they did in the past.

Federal non-military spending cuts in the second half of the 1990s were the largest in Canadian history, bringing spending down to the level of the late 1940s. “Growing wealth and income inequality and a shrinking Canadian social state have been hallmarks of the free trade era,” Campbell said.

The bottom 20 per cent of families saw incomes fall by 7.6 per cent during 1989 to 2004, while incomes of the top 20 per cent rose 16.8 per cent. While the average Canadian wage increased eight per cent between 1990 and 2000, the top one per cent of wage earners made 64 per cent more. “The first free trade decade saw overall income inequality increase for the first time since the 1920s,” said Campbell.
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Since this report, things have not improved. This was published just today: Canada must move on income inequality

“What’s concerning is that inequality is getting worse instead of better, and while Canada has the financial means to turn this around, those steps aren’t being taken”

As we can see the only Canadians benefiting from North American free trade are the rich. Or as the occupy movement dubbed them the “1%”. The rest of us got the shaft after being told it would be amazing! (big surprise)

Will this new trade deal be legit? Will it help common Canadians? I wouldn’t count on it! This trade deal along with many others including CETA (Canadian and European trade agreement), which is also being negotiated at this moment. Is only furthering the globalized consolidation of wealth into the hands of a few billionaires.

And for those who like to pin all of our woes on Stephen Harper or the Conservative party. Stop before you even try to blame them solely for this. Conservatives began the FTA and NAFTA, Liberals continued them and started the negotiations for CETA, and now the conservatives are continuing CETA and starting this new Pacific deal. You see an emerging trend? It does not matter which politician or party is in office. The same agenda continues. Harper, Martin, Chretien, Mulroney all puppets doing the bidding of their corporate masters.

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