Two topics: The TPP trade agreement, good or bad? And, is it fair to ban the niqab in some situations?
Election round-up: Two issues this week set the election campaign abuzz. We'll look at both.
Hour 1 - Is the TPP trade agreement a good deal for Canada?
Hour 2 - Is it fair to ban face coverings such as the niqab in some situations?
With guest host Susan McReynolds.
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Two issues lit up the election campaign with fire and consequence this week ...and they couldn't be more different. The first was the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal ...the culmination of years of negotiation between 12 countries comprising 40 percent of the world's economy (GDP). The deal promises to lower trade barriers while offering consumers lower prices, and manufacturers and producers new opportunities. But some say wait a minute ...the deal will damage some parts of our economy and reduce Canada's ability to act independently in certain matters. This is without question a substantial issue with real consequences for all of Canada and it appears Canadians are split on whether they like it or not.
The second issue was the re-emergence of the debate about the place of face coverings in an open and democratic society. The nub of the matter: Does the niqab belong in a public citizenship oath-swearing ceremony? Does it belong on the faces of public servants dealing with the public? And should the government get involved in setting rules on this? These are questions that directly affect only a tiny number of Canadians, but they carry a symbolic value that seems to vault it into a realm of strong emotion. They also single out a very small minority.
Those in favour of banning the niqab -- in certain specific instances -- say it is necessary to show your face in an open society especially while swearing a solemn oath. Those opposed to any such law say a free society ought to respect the desire of people to dress according to their wish, and that to force them to do otherwise is a profound disrespect and a breach of civil rights. Polls suggest a majority of Canadians favour unveiling, but it's also clear there is a level of discomfort with even discussing the issue.
Is it a distraction from what an election campaign should be about, because it involves so few people ...or is it central to the kinds of decisions citizens must make about the nature of their country?
We will delve into both of these issues today on the program, one at a time. First, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It would create the largest trade zone in the world. At this point it involves 12 countries but several more are expected to opt in. But also at this point it is not clear how many of the current 12 countries will ratify the deal. The NDP promises to rip it up if elected to govern. In the U.S., Hilary Clinton has come out against it.
Our question in this first hour of the program: Is the TPP trade agreement a good deal for Canada? And in the second hour: Is it fair to ban face coverings such as the niqab in some situations?
I'm Susan McReynolds ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius XM, satellite radio channel 169 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.
Canada's ambassador to the United States from 1989 to 1993 and directly involved in negotiating the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement. Co-author of Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World.
Columnist for Bloomberg View who writes on economics, business and public policy. She wrote a recent column titled "One cheer for the TTP" and is author of The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success.
Author of Of Hockey and Hijab: Reflections of a Canadian Muslim Woman. She writes a monthly column for the Globe and Mail. Her column "Fifty years in Canada, and now I feel like a second-class citizen."
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
- Highlights: What's in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement?
- TPP deal 'in best interests' of Canadian economy, Stephen Harper says
- Mulcair mocks Harper over TPP deal negotiations during Essex stop
- TPP: The disaster that didn't happen for dairy and auto sectors
- Mickey Mouse protection, the TPP and why America remains unequal, by Don Pittis
- Canada's auto industry could lose 20,000 jobs because of TPP trade deal, union says
- Harper sells out consumers on TPP, caves in to farmers, by Terence Corcoran
- How the TPP deal could signal a 'slow erosion' of dairy supply management system
- Canadian mining sector cheers TPP signing
- NAFTA is not TPP
- Any suggestion that supply management should remain is strategically futile
Globe and Mail
- Editorial - TPP: Less than hoped for, less than feared.
- Canada to pay out $4.3-billion to farmers in wake of TPP deal
- TPP deal could mark start of the end for supply management in Canada
- Campaign Notebook: Canadians worried about TPP impact on farmers, auto sector: poll
- Fate of Canada's auto industry unclear as TPP eases Japanese import costs
- The ABCS of TPP
- Niqab ban for public servants would be considered: Stephen Harper
- Mulcair: Harper "trying to hide his record behind niqab" (video)
- Charter of Rights and the niqab collide in views on 'Canadian values'
- TPP politics and why the niqab won't go away (podcast)
- Niqab position of NDP and Liberals not shared by some Quebec candidates
- Why Zunera Ishaq fought for her niqab - and became an election issue (audio)
- Harper doubles down on possible niqab ban in public service
- 'No election win (is) worth pitting Canadians against Canadians': Trudeau says of niqab debate
- Zunera Ishaq might get to vote as court rejects government motion to stay niqab decision
- Harper Conservatives' niqab controversy is a carefully orchestrated piece of politics, by Michael Den Tandt
- Ten reasons to ban the niqab — in the public service, by Barbara Kay
- 'There are no rules': A look at the niqab and other Islamic coverings in Canada
- To uncover or not to uncover — why the niqab issue is ridiculous, by Andrew Coyne
Globe and Mail
- Harper's proposed niqab ban among civil servants draws condemnation
- Woman at centre of niqab debate says she's educated, not oppressed
- Fifty years in Canada, and now I feel like a second-class citizen, by Sheema Khan
- Harper's culture war appears to have defined Tory campaign, by Adam Radwanski