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Trudeau Liberals urged to shed light on Pacific Rim deal

Critics note tight-lipped manner is reminiscent of their secretive Conservative predecessors and the TPP deal.

January 24, 2018   by CP STAFF

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is facing criticism for its lack of transparency on what exactly Canada agreed to this week by joining a huge Pacific Rim trade deal.

A day after committing to a revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Liberals are under pressure to release more details about any potential economic consequences at home.

Critics of the deal, including Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff, argue that the Liberals’ tight-lipped manner is reminiscent of the secretive approach taken by their Conservative predecessors a couple of years ago in negotiating the original TPP deal.

Yussuff says it’s particularly troubling because the Liberals criticized the Tories at the time and vowed that transparency would underpin their government.

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A spokesman for International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says the full details of the deal and side letters will be made public once the translation of thousands of pages has been completed.

Joseph Pickerill says the government relied on information it collected from 41,000 emails and letters from interested Canadians as well as from consultations with more than 530 stakeholders from a wide range of sectors over the past two years.

Pickerill says holding the talks in public or through the media would not have been an effective way to negotiate the agreement.