The federal Green party teamed up with its namesake from New Zealand on Tuesday to underscore their mutual opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
Green Leader Elizabeth May and candidate Paul Manly hosted a news conference in Nanaimo, B.C., with elected members of the New Zealand Greens participating via the Internet.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has hailed the Trans-Pacific deal — the actual text of which has yet to be released — as a means of ensuring Canadian market access to nearly 800 million people.
Critics have raised concerns about what the agreement will mean for Canada's dairy and auto sectors, the price of medicine, copyright protection and the ability to ensure sensitive data does not cross borders.
"This is a deal negotiated in secret, agreed to in secret and now it is being kept a secret. How can any citizen trust this process?" May said in a statement. "This deal will have far-reaching impacts on our economy and our sovereignty and we deserve to have an open and forthright debate about it."
In 2012, May signed a joint statement of Green party parliamentarians from New Zealand, Australia and the United States, among others, to outline concerns.
James Shaw, New Zealand Greens co-leader, voiced opposition to the deal's proposed investor state clauses that he says would restrict the ability to enact regulations to protect health and the environment.
Manly agreed, calling them clauses that would allow foreign corporations to launch suits in private arbitrations if government decisions are considered bad for profits.