The Current

TPP would be disastrous for Canada's innovators, Jim Balsillie warns

Jim Balsillie says future and present innovation in Canada will wither under the weight of the just-signed Trans Pacific Partnership. The former co-CEO of Research in Motion speaks out against a deal he says will see Canadians generating prosperity for others.
"We're in a hole, and signing this agreement makes it even harder to get out, " says Jim Balsillie on TPP. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Read story transcript

Canada has just put its signature to the biggest free trade deal ever negotiated. Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland was at the formal ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand, where the Trans Pacific Partnership was inked. 

The TPP, as it's known, links together 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the United States and Japan, in a broad trade pact representing 40 per cent of the world's economies. Though that's if all member countries ratify the pact. And there are plenty of voices urging Canada not to. 

One of the TPP's most vocal critics has been Jim Balsillie. The former co-CEO of Research in Motion, now known as Blackberry, helped create Canada's most successful technology company ever, before leaving in 2012 over strategic differences. 

(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Balsille, co-founder of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, is adamant ratifying the TPP would be Canada's worst-ever foreign policy move. He fears signing the deal would cripple the innovation sector, which he adds is already lagging behind the rest of the world. 

What do you think the TPP deal would mean for the country, or your industry?

Send us an email. Find us on Facebook or tweet us @TheCurrentCBC.

This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli.

Jim Balsillie spoke to The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti about the TTP, and his opposition to the trade deal. But before he left, Anna Maria asked him about the iPhone, and how Team Blackberry reacted to its arrival on the smartphone scene.