With Brexit in the Rear View Mirror, What Lies Ahead for NAFTA and TPP?
Prince George, B.C.- As Prime Minister Trudeau huddles with U.S. President Obama and Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto to talk about strengthening NAFTA, the question about the benefits of such agreements has been underscored by the “Brexit” referendum which saw British voters call for Britian to pull out of the European Union.
“I think some of these trade deals are in some trouble” says Skeena-Bulkley MP Nathan Cullen “simply because they , over time, have not delivered on their promises, particularly to middle class working Canadians.” He says while investment increases, the wealth continues to concentrate at the highest levels.
He says the Brexit vote was a mix of issues but adds, “One of the concerns was from ordinary people saying ‘my life doesn’t seem to be getting anymore affordable’. Middle income, lower income folks in Canada haven’t had a raise in a generation. Theses deals were meant o make us all more prosperous, but they seem to favour the few at the top.”
He says when the Prime Minister, or others, talk about making the trade deals larger or going into new ones like the Trans Pacific Partnership “There’s always winners and losers in these deals, and it seems too often working people are always in the second category.”
So, would he support a national referendum in Canada on staying within these trade deals? There is no simple answer says Cullen “One has to be very careful with any referenda, because just as we saw in England, it opens up a whole bunch of other questions other than the one that you were asking. NAFTA I think is a deal that would have to be dramatically improved on to gain larger support from Canadians. As you can see from recent polling, many Canadians are not feeling the benefit from these deals and can too easily spot some of the things we’ve had to give up in terms of our sovereignty. So this is the nature of trade deals. As there are winners and losers in certain industries and categories, it also comes down to the individual and the deals are often trumpeted as being great for everybody and that’s never the case.”