Ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would seriously impede Canada’s future prosperity, according to Jim Balsille, the former co-CEO of Research In Motion and co-founder of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
?”We’re in an innovation deficit in this country and when you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is stop digging. What TPP does is it locks in that competitive advantage [for other countries] which makes it much, much harder for Canada to become an innovation nation,” Balsillie told host Chris Hall on CBC Radio’s The House.
She reminded her 11 TPP counterparts that Canada’s approval process will begin with broad consultations on the agreement before the government considers formally ratifying the agreement. “We are committed to a full parliamentary committee study and a full parliamentary debate ahead of ratification,” she said.
The Toronto-area minister refused to answer questions last week about whether the consultations could yet shape the contents of the already-negotiated deal, saying it was “not very wise to answer hypotheticals.”
“If you look at it, Canada comes into TPP with an innovation deficit in commercializing our ideas. What TPP does is enshrine the in-club and the out-club of innovators, because it advantages those with pre-existing positions of owning [intellectual property] and sophisticated capacities both in their economy and companies,” he said.
Balsillie’s position is in stark contrast to B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who warned in a separate interview with Hall that not ratifying the TPP will leave Canada “shut out” of international trade with Asia for a generation.
“Our innovation outputs have not grown in 30-plus years, in spite of hundreds of billions of input, and we’re now competing, really, by lowering the dollar, which I think is a race to the bottom. And then we’re entering into agreements where we lock in our competitive disadvantage,” he said.
“If you don’t get it right, Canada’s prosperity will continue to erode,” he said.
The final text of the TPP has been legally “scrubbed” in English, French and Spanish and posted online by New Zealand.