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Council of Canadians delivers 20,000 petitions against the TPP to Parliament Hill

Brent Patterson, Tracey Ramsey, Helene Bertrand

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated, “It’s difficult to imagine a world where Canada would turn its back on [the Trans-Pacific Partnership given it includes] three of its top five trading partners. We established very clearly during the campaign that we’re a pro-trade party.”

Today, The Council of Canadians delivered a petition signed by 20,000 people from across this country who can imagine a world where fair trade is prioritized over corporate rights agreements like the TPP.

Member of Parliament Tracey Ramsey accepted the two boxes of petitions at the doors that lead into the House of Commons.

Ramsey represents the southern Ontario riding of Essex, is the NDP trade critic, and is a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership includes G7 ‘major advanced economies’ (the United States, Canada and Japan), G20 ‘major economies’ (Australia and Mexico), relatively smaller economies (New Zealand and Singapore) and ‘developing economies’ (Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam).

The TPP contains the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says, “It used to be the basic principle was polluter pay. If you damaged the environment, then you have to pay. Now if you pass a regulation that restricts ability to pollute or does something about climate change, you could be sued and could pay billions of dollars.”

It also includes a provision that extends patents for pharmaceutical corporations. In her comments on the TPP, Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization has stated, “If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all.”

And in terms of economic consequences, a study by Tufts University found that the TPP would cost Canada 58,000 jobs and increase income inequality.

Ramsey says, “I have had lots of Canadians telling me they are worried about the TPP. They are worried about their jobs, about impacts on environmental regulations, and about rising drug costs.”

But our Prime Minister has commented, “In our conversations with Canadians, with industries which are ongoing, there are a lot of people in favour of it and there are a few who have real concerns and we’re looking at understanding and allaying certain fears and building on some of the opportunities.”

That’s not acceptable.

The Standing Committee on International Trade has set a deadline of Monday October 31 for public comment. It’s vital that they hear that Canadians are opposed to the TPP. To send your message to them and the Prime Minister, please click here.