Stop the Secretive Corporate Power Grab! Make this Agreement Public!
August 22 - 31, 2013
Do you know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Most people don’t. Yet this huge 12-country corporate rights deal is a cornerstone of the Harper government’s neoliberal economic agenda for Canada. And it’s almost done deal! As is typical with this government, the TPP is being negotiated in secret, as quickly as possible, so that we, the people, cannot affect the outcome in any way.
There have been 18 rounds of TPP negotiations. The next round in Brunei, from August 22 to 31, could be the last. We won’t let it be the last word. On August 29, we will begin to Flush the TPP out of the shadows. It is time to speak out against excessive TPP secrecy, and against another corporate power grab that threatens our public health, our access to knowledge and affordable medicines, our local democracy, and the Earth itself. These agreements encourage corporations to extract resources from Indigenous lands, displace people, exploit migrants, transfer wealth from the poor to the rich and commodify the planet. Such broad-based impacts require a united response.
We are asking people concerned about this secretive agreement to demand that the text be made public immediately. Here is how you can support this call:
- Organize a rally or demonstration in your community at a public square or outside the offices of a Member of Parliament. See a list of events on Facebook.
- Write letters to the editor or submit an Op-Ed to local and national media outlets that have largely been silent about the TPP.
- Help spread the word by sharing, forwarding and retweeting links and messages on Twitter (follow @CouncilofCDNs and hashtags #StopTPP, #TPP, #TPPA, #FairDeal #TPPTuesdays) and Facebook.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is 12-nation (and counting) free trade and corporate rights deal that is being led by the United States but also includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Thailand, the Philippines and South Korea have also expressed interest in joining the talks, which would eclipse the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the ways democracy would be constrained in the interests of multinational corporations.
Of the 26 chapters currently being negotiated in the TPP, only two have to do with trade. The other 24 deal with issues as diverse as how a government regulates corporate activity, what Crown corporations can and cannot do, how long pharmaceutical patents or copyright terms should be, how the Internet is governed, the sharing of personal information across borders, banking and taxation rules, and when a company or investor should be compensated when environmental or public health policies interfere with profits.
From leaked chapters we know the deal threatens:
Public health and access to medicines: The U.S. is using the TPP to push for excessive patent protections that are guaranteed to make medication much more expensive and even inaccessible to the poorest countries involved in the negotiations. Across the world, health advocates are saying it is a matter of life and death that we say no to these changes.
Access to knowledge and the open Internet: The U.S. wants TPP countries to change their copyright laws in ways that restrict the open Internet, make it illegal to circumvent digital locks on copyrighted material even for non-infringing purposes, stifle innovation, raise prices of books, CDs and movies, and reduce economic opportunities to businesses, creators and the public.
Community-led public policy: The TPP will include an investor rights chapter and investor-state dispute process that will let companies sue governments in secret tribunals when public policies get in the way of profits. The policy can be legal, fair and not discriminatory in any way and still face corporate lawsuits demanding hundreds of millions, and sometimes billions of dollars in compensation. This powerful tool of corporate rule, designed to undermine communities, is alone enough to demand the dismantling of the TPP, NAFTA and the thousands of bilateral investment treaties globally that include investor-state dispute settlement.
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This call to action is endorsed by Canadian Union of Public Employees, Common Frontiers, the Council of Canadians, OpenMedia and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. We encourage other organizations and groups to add their endorsement to this call to action and circulate it to their members. Endorsements can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org