• Nelson Guedes

On the Unconstitutionality of the TPP Trade Agreement

The following is a letter I wrote to my MP, Murray Rankin, NDP Justice Critic, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the TPP trade agreement.

The TPP public consultations are about to close and, given the history of "public consultations" in Canada, I am concerned that such consultations are merely cosmetic. For that reason, I would like to ask you to please bring this issue up in Parliament. It would be helpful if you read my comments below in Parliament.

In my view, the public is not truly consulted unless Prime Minister Trudeau can listen to every single issue raised by the public and respond to every issue publicly in Parliament, where he can be accountable to the People of Canada. The issues raised must be acknowledged and answered with logic and supporting evidence, failure of which the consultations are clearly merely cosmetic. If the Prime Minister signs the TPP trade agreement as it is despite widespread opposition to the clauses we disagree upon, then the Prime Minister's consultations are merely politically aesthetic, with no real value. The Prime Minister cannot legitimately ratify this agreement without answering to the issues raised and demanding necessary modifications to the agreement from other signatories in order to resolve those issues, failure of which his government becomes illegitimate and not truly representative of the Canadian public. In addition, given the nature of this agreement, its length and its impact in Canadian society, if modifications can be made through negotiations, the Canadian public needs to have access to the trade contract and make the final decision through a referendum.

I strongly believe that the government must also consult with constitutional lawyers in order to ensure that the agreement is constitutionally legitimate and accountable. Having said that, by their very nature, such trade agreements are unconstitutional because they supersede national law. There should be no law in Canada above the laws made in Parliament. Trade agreements overturn Canadian laws, taking precedence over the decisions that are made by the Parliament and by our communities and, thus, they threaten our sovereignty. The Federal Government has a responsibility to protect the interests of the People of Canada and of all Canadian Cities. If the Canadian Federal Government fails to protect us and, instead, gives preference to multinational corporations over Canadians and our communities, the Canadian Government betrays us and becomes constitutionally illegitimate. Failure to protect the interests of Canadian Cities and the People of Canada, therefore, forfeits our mutual constitutional contract, threatening the very legal fabric that holds this nation together.

It is clear to me that the TPP agreement is unconstitutional. If the Prime Minister is so sure that it is constitutional, then he should have no trouble asking it to be reviewed by constitutional lawyers. I recommend constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati to lead the review.

I hope that the Prime Minister and his government does not treat these serious matters with levity.


Nelson Guedes

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