OTTAWA — Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay—Superior North voted last night to protect Canadian industry and sovereignty, and to oppose the lopsided Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Hyer and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May were the only MPs who voted against the deal, which would increase Canada’s trade deficit with Korea and put Canadian industries at a disadvantage.
“Canada already has a $4 billion annual trade deficit with Korea. The relationship is unbalanced – we import more than twice the amount we export there. This deal will only make matters worse,” Hyer said. “It is good for South Korea and Hyundai, and good for Alberta beef producers. But overall, it is very bad for Canada.”
Hyer thinks that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the governing Conservative Party are trying to cover up recent economic decline. Bloomberg reported this week that the Canadian economy has weakened over the past year, with half as many jobs being created compared to previous years.
“On the Conservative watch, the Canadian economy has been in decline, even as the United States has been improving. They are touting this agreement to look busy on the economy, and distract from the reality that they are mismanaging it,” Hyer said.
“What’s more, the opposition parties have dropped the ball on this one,” Hyer said. “The NDP used to oppose all free trade agreements without hesitation. Now, they are all too happy to support them, in an effort to appear more like the Liberal Party.”
“I was also disappointed that in an effort to score political points, the Liberals stood right behind the Conservatives. They didn’t mention the worrisome investor-state provisions in the agreement, which would allow Korean corporations to take the Canadian government to court if they feel a law hurts their bottom line,” Hyer said. “This could leave taxpayers on the hook for billions. It also restricts Canadians’ ability to determine their own policy on important issues like the environment and workplace safety.”
“I’m disappointed that the Conservatives, NDP and the Liberal Party saw fit to sell out Canadian interests for political gain. But I’m proud that the Green Party is standing up for the kind of trade that benefits Canada and Canadian workers,” Hyer said.