Council of Canadians at the "Rock Against the TPP" concert in Toronto

Brent Patterson
5 years ago

Trade campaigner Sujata Dey.
Health care campaigner Michael Butler.

Dey, organizers Mark Calzavara and Rachel Small, and Jason Small.

The Council of Canadians was at the "Rock Against the TPP" concert at The Opera House on Queen Street East in Toronto last night.

Earlier this week, The Globe and Mail reported, "A Canadian star is adding her voice to a chorus of advocacy and labour groups in denouncing the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, teaming up with punk rockers and hip hop artists in an effort to reach an audience that might not otherwise care about international trade. Actress Evangeline Lilly, best known for her role in the hit TV series “Lost,” will be speaking at the Rock Against the TPP show in Toronto on Friday, the touring event’s only Canadian stop. Lilly, who is Canadian but lives in the U.S., [says] 'If the average Canadian knew what the TPP was and knew that it was in the process of needing to be ratified by Parliament... they would be up in arms about it'."

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Sujata Dey spoke at the concert. In her speech she highlighted, "The TPP investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision gives powers to corporations sue governments anytime they put in a policy that gets in the way of their profits. In Europe, ISDS is like poison. 3.7 million Europeans have said that they don’t want it in their agreement with Canada or the US. They might be on the verge of crushing their agreement with Canada because of it. So, if they can do it, we can too.  We defeated other agreements before. We can beat this attack on our democracy!"

Health care campaigner Michael Butler commented on how the TPP would impact on public health care. He says, "In many ways the TPP follows the same hollow rhetoric and predacious intellectual property changes that we have seen in the Canada-EU CETA 'free trade' agreement; it is no exaggeration to say that these deals put corporate profits far ahead at the expense of patients wellbeing, regulatory independence, and sound public health policy. It should be highlighted that if you had to pick the biggest loser in the TPP (among many), it is likely patients and providers in developing countries."

And organizers Mark Calzavara and Rachel Small were busy all evening connecting with people, providing information, answering questions and making "Stop TPP" buttons for concert-goers.

The line-up for the concert included legendary Pittsburgh-based punk band Anti-Flag, Bronx-based hip-hop duo Rebel Diaz, tour staples Evan Greer and Taina Asili, and local activists and musicians Test Their Logik, New Tradition, Mineta, and DJ Dynamic.

This afternoon Dey will be at a follow-up TPP teach-in in Toronto on how we can each fight back against the TPP – followed by a postering activity in trade minister's Chrystia Freeland's home riding.

The Council of Canadians has been encouraging people to send their comments in opposition to the TPP to a parliamentary committee studying the deal. To send your letter before the October 31 deadline, please click here.

The twelve countries that have signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership have set a deadline of November 2017 to ratify the deal.

For more on our campaign to Stop the TPP, please click here.