Regina chapter unimpressed with Liberal government's TPP 'consultation'

Twitter photo from Canada Trade
Saskatchewan trade minister Jeremy Harrison, parliamentary secretary Lametti and Saskatchewan agriculture minister Lyle Stewart in Regina yesterday. Twitter photo from Canada Trade.

The Council of Canadians Regina chapter is unimpressed with the Liberal government's so-called 'consultations' on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Regina Leader-Post reports, "[Liberal MP David] Lametti [the parliamentary secretary to the minister of trade] said the new [Trudeau] government decided to proceed [with the TPP even though it had been negotiated by the Harper government], but consult with stakeholders and provinces — as he did Thursday [Jan. 21] in Regina." The article adds, "Next come Parliamentary hearings."

But despite the Liberal government's promise to consult, the event in Regina wasn't well publicized. The newspaper highlights, "Unimpressed is the local branch of the left-leaning Council of Canadians, whose chair, Jim Elliott, said he didn’t know about Thursday’s consultation until 10:30 p.m. Wednesday [Jan. 20]. He said this 'corporate rights-protection agreement' will mean higher prices for drugs, prevent a climate-change action strategy and tie the hands of municipalities and provinces in developing policy and under the TPP’s investor-state dispute-settlement provision."

Elliott also expressed his concerns about the TPP in this CTV Regina interview here.

The Council of Canadians believes that the Liberal government should commit to a full public review of the TPP including public hearings in each province and territory, separate and meaningful consultations with First Nations, and a comprehensive and independent analysis of the TPP text by the Parliamentary Budget Officer that would assess the deal’s impact on human rights, health, employment, environment and democracy.

That's not what the government is doing though.

The Council of Canadians Vancouver-Burnaby and Delta-Richmond chapters were present for a panel discussion on Jan. 12 in Vancouver with trade minister Chrystia Freeland. Chapter activist Penny Tilby tells us that the minister did not provide much real content in her speech, but rather indicated that she would be listening to academics on the panel. Council of Canadians trade campaigner Sujata Dey was present for Freeland's 'consultation' in Montreal on Jan. 14. At that event, Dey told Freeland that the TPP was a deal for "plutocrats", a reference to Freeland's book about the world's super-wealthy.

Our Prince Edward Island chapter tried to attend an 'information session' on the TPP, featuring the director general of Trade Agreement Negotiations at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, on Jan. 21 in Charlottetown. But they were told by PEI Agriculture & Fisheries that, "The Thursday [Jan. 21] meeting is not a public meeting, it is by invitation only and is specific to the agricultural aspects of the potential Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The Council of Canadians has not been invited to the meeting on Thursday, therefore I'm declining to accept your registration."

That note from PEI Agriculture & Fisheries added, "Global Affairs Canada has established [this] website for consultations concerning the TPP... In addition, the following email contact is also provided for Global Affair Canada specific to the TPP: TPP-PTP.consultations@international.gc.ca."

The Council of Canadians continues to demand that the Liberals hold a genuine consultation on the TPP. To add your voice to that demand please go to our Let's have real public consultations on the TPP! action alert. More than 6,000 people have already done so, but we need more people pressing the government on this. We are also asking that, as limited as it may be, you send your comments to the government through TPP-PTP.consultations@international.gc.ca. We encourage this, but caution, as iPolitics writer BJ Siekierski has commented, "The Global Affairs Canada website provides an email address and invites comments from the public on TPP, but doesn’t give a deadline or say what it plans to do with them."

The Council of Canadians Chilliwack chapter has already written the federal government using this e-mail address.

Council of Canadians Prairies organizer Brigette DePape will also be at the TPP 'consultation' in Winnipeg today, more on that soon.

Further reading
Trudeau offers an e-mail address to hear from you on the TPP (Dec. 28, 2015)
Vancouver-Burnaby & Delta-Richmond chapters attend TPP "consultation" in Vancouver (Jan. 13, 2016)
Council of Canadians tells trade minister TPP is a deal for plutocrats (Jan. 14, 2016)