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Workers on both sides of Pacific oppose trade pact: Thomas

We the North
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Sydney, Australia – Workers on both sides of the Pacific Ocean oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

“I’m talking to working people on the other side of the world, and they’re echoing the sentiments I’m hearing about this latest trade deal from my members and Canadians at large,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas from a union conference in Australia. “People don’t want to see public services cut and privatized, they don’t want public assets sold, and they don’t want more price-gouging by pharmaceutical companies. Yet this is exactly what the TPP would mean for all of us.”

A guest of the Health Services Union New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (HSU), Thomas is meeting with union leaders and touring worksites to meet frontline health and social services workers.

“Our answer to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is Trans-Pacific Solidarity,” he said. “Working people working together can build a better, fairer world. I truly believe that.”

In a letter today to Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade, Thomas outlined the multitude of ways the TPP would hurt all countries in the areas of trade, jobs, labour protections, and public services. He also pointed out the agreement’s total omission of the subject of climate change.

“While the federal government has committed to studying the potential impacts of the agreement, we have not seen a single update from them. This is not research-based policy-making.”

Perhaps the most ominous parts of the TPP, according to Thomas, are the “standstill” and “ratchet” provisions. The standstill provision requires governments to move only in the direction of greater privatization, while the ratchet provision bans governments from reversing any privatization efforts. 

“Canadians don’t want to see their elected governments giving up power to corporations,” Thomas warned. “Signing on to this deal would set in motion a chain of events that threaten the hard-won victories of the global labour movement. It would have detrimental effects on generations of workers to come.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931