Cheapest labour will win when TPP agreement goes through

Editorial

Wednesday, October 14 2015

Supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are frequently the same political leanings of those who say if the minimum wage is raised in BC, then labour and manufacturing will move to a lower wage province.

Sorry supporters, the logic can’t work both ways.

If one argues that jobs and economic growth go to those who have the lowest wages, then when it comes to the TPP, one must admit those same jobs and economic growth are going to go where labour is the cheapest.

Sure, Canada will keep resource extraction jobs. 

And whatever jobs are required to middle-manage said extraction.

Upper management jobs will be gone overseas as Canadian corporations are bought up.

There might possibly be a few jobs left to provide entertainment for those employed in resource extraction.

But anything in between extraction and middle management, which requires turning those resources in to a sellable good, that’s going to head overseas. 

Because the savings in labour will be so high, companies will happily ship raw resources one way - and then the finished goods the other.

Oil goes out of Canada - plastic comes back in.

Apply same principle to raw wood exports, or any other resource.

Look how many manufacturers in both Canada and the U.S. moved their facilities to just south of the U.S./Mexico border after NAFTA was signed. Where the labour is cheaper.

In almost every other department (facility materials, shipping costs, et cetera) companies can do business anywhere they want in the world. But labour is still a major factor in deciding where to make something.

And with TPP, there is no question every company in the partner countries will be moving their labour costs to wherever it is cheapest. Because there is no requirement in TPP or any other so-called Free Trade agreement which requires partner countries to maintain the same standards of minimum wage, work week hours, or basic labour standards, as the ones we have legislated in our national and provincial laws.

Make no mistake - no party in favour of TPP is in the election race for the sake of Canada. The end goal is to put money in the hands of international corporations which do business in the TPP partner countries. 

Those international partnerships are the ones pushing the buttons. This October 19 federal election is not a choice between the economy and the environment. This is a chance for Canadians to take control of the government, and to protect the labour ideals many of our grandfathers and grandmothers tried so hard to put in place.

If we’re doing business with a country, it needs to either have those same expectations of workers’ rights and wages which Canada has.

If it can’t hold up to those standards - the ideals of a Free Trade agreement won’t stand up to the realities of ‘just doing business.’