Filename: Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Date: 7 Aug 15
By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St.,
Burlington, ON L7R 2B5
905 634 9538
For: MP Mike Wallace
Re: The Trans Pacific Partnership
Good afternoon, Mike.
I was once a member of the PCPO’s Cornerstone Club (CC). For a non-trivial annual fee, CC members get to do neat things like dine with cabinet ministers in high-falutin’ locations such as 191 Front St. (“May I take your coat, sir?”).
Over a series of CC meetings, I learned that the CC was heavily influenced (dominated?) by Big Pharma. At a policy breakout table, my call for business cards would often reveal that several of the seven to ten members at my table would be Big Pharma reps. My suggestion to a series of PCPO Presidents that all CC meetings require sharing of business cards went unanswered. I withdrew from the CC: my picayune fee paid out of household accounts was no match for the time-and-expenses-paid plus probable corporate donations of the Big Pharma oligopoly. Similarly, I recall back decades to Bill C91 (I think it was) which permitted Pharma companies to repackage standard drugs to a much higher per-unit price, thus capturing big unearned profits (“rent”, the economists call it, made possible by “exclusivity or scarcity”).
Writing in today’s Spec, columnist Tom Walcom raises this same risk and threat regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated, mentioning also our managed marketing of dairy products.
Now, being a good small-c conservative, I am all in favor of free trade. But I also recognize the big potential for oligopolistic abuse of it by entities like Big Pharma. To the extent that the TPP opens any such door, it must not happen. Remember, slavish, uncritical devotion to free trade was no small contributor to the demise of Canada’s once-vigorous manufacturing industry, in which I and thousands of others made good, productive, challenging, socio-economically sound livings, not the trivial, stack-the-imports-over-there jobs of which we seem to have so many now.
A few years ago I would not have believed I would hear myself saying it, but: fair free trade may involve, for instance, customs duties to protect vulnerable Canadian industries. Thus, fair, level-playing-field free trade, yes. Biased, oligopolistic, so-called free trade, no. Please see that the TPP does not degenerate into this.