Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, could be the worst trade agreement ever negotiated in history. In an interview with CBC News, he recommended that the government of Canada insist on reworking it.
"I think what Canada should do is use its influence to begin a renegotiation of TPP to make it an agreement that advances the interests of Canadian citizens and not just the large corporations," he said in an interview with CBC's 'The Exchange' on Thursday.
Under the TPP, it's easier for big multinational corporations to sue governments. "It used to be the basic principle was polluter pay," Stiglitz told CBC.
"If you damaged the environment, then you have to pay. Now if you pass a regulation that restricts ability to pollute or does something about climate change, you could be sued and could pay billions of dollars."
Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York, was a keynote speaker at a conference at the University of Ottawa on Friday about the complex trade deal.
International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland put Canada's signature on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, but it has yet to be ratified here. The House of Commons trade committee is studying the TPP — a process that Freeland said could take up to nine months.
Stiglitz described Freeland as "old friend" in an interview with The Canadian Press and said he has explained some of the pitfalls of the TPP to her, among them its potential to reduce workers' rights.
Stiglitz takes issue with the TPP's investment-protection provisions, which he says could interfere with the ability of governments to regulate business or to move toward a low-carbon economy.