Signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is delayed again, and perhaps that is a Good Thing.
Unlike many protesters, I am not against a broad trade deal in principle. Free trade can be a good thing for all involved. And frankly, if the dairy or the auto sector has issues with the TPP (these, reportedly, were among the main obstacles) they have their armies of lobbyists to hash it out with politicians.
However, there is another aspect of the TPP that I find deeply troubling: its leaked provisions about intellectual property, specifically copyright.
Canada modernized its copyright legislation recently. The result is far from perfect, but at least it was a result that followed extensive debate and public consultation. The TPP threatens to introduce Draconian new copyright measures, negotiated in secrecy, and upsetting the balance, however imperfect, that was achieved by the current copyright law.
For this reason alone, I argue that the TPP must be rejected. Trade is a good thing, but if the price of trade is further criminalization of everyday behavior (like, ripping a legally purchased DVD to a hard drive for easy viewing, or heaven forbid, breaking a badly designed digital lock to facilitate legal, fair use of a work) then I say bugger off, stuff your deal where the Sun doesn’t shine.
One reason why I am seriously contemplating (for the first time in my life!) voting NDP in the upcoming election is precisely this: the Conservatives obviously like the TPP, and I don’t think the Liberals have the guts to do anything about it. The NDP might… or maybe not, but they are the best hope that there is.