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Grewal speaks against the TPP in Maple Ridge

Facebook photo by Verity Horwarth.

Vancouver-based Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal spoke against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at a public forum in Maple Ridge earlier this week.

Maple Ridge is a city located in the northeastern section of Metro Vancouver. It has a population of just over 76,000 people.

Prior to the public forum, the Maple Ridge News reported, “[The TPP Action Group] is taking its message to the public with a town hall meeting this Tuesday [April 26] on the Trans Pacific Partnership. …The meeting will feature a five-person panel consisting of: Dr. Amy Ann Lubik, LeadNow, Tri-Cities; Blair Redlin, with the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees; Harjap Grewal, Council of Canadians; local resident Ivan Chow; and Paul Finch, with B.C. Government and Service Employee’s Union.”

Grewal notes, “There were about 60-70 people at the event, with a lot of strong opposition to the TPP.”

Earlier this month, the Canadian Press reported, “B.C. Premier Christy Clark expressed her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal during a visit to a fish market in Victoria on [April 13]. ‘There has never been a trade agreement negotiated by Canada where British Columbia comes out the clear winner like we have in this deal’, said Clark at the Finest at Sea market. …In a letter to International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, Clark’s government is calling on Ottawa to ratify the deal. Clark’s Liberal government also introduced a motion in the legislature endorsing the deal.”

But local opposition to the TPP is growing in the province.

On December 2, 2015, Vancouver/Burnaby chapter activist Penny Tilby told us, “Three people from the Vancouver/Burnaby chapter spoke at City Hall yesterday in favour of a motion by Councillor Adriane Carr, asking City Council to oppose the TPP and urge the Federal Government not to sign on.” The Globe and Mail further explains, “Councillors asked city staff on [December 15] to examine concerns that the TPP’s investor-state dispute settlement provision – also known as ISDS – will compromise the city’s authority by allowing corporations to sue over municipal legislation that results in loss of profits.” A city council vote on this issue is still pending.

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times has reported, “On [April 12], members of the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge TPP Action Group asked Council to consider a resolution to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and continue its support of the environmental and democratic rights, as well as the economic interests of Maple Ridge residents. Led by group members Steve Ranta and Ivan Chow, the duo presented their research on the partnership to Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read and City Councillors. …Councillor Bob Masse said that ‘he thinks the resolutions are good’ but would need more information on what [other] organizations thought of the partnership.”

And on April 25, local activist Paul Manly posted on his Facebook page, “Success! – After a ten minute presentation to Nanaimo City Council about why Canada must reject the TPP followed by a 20 minute Q&A, councilors voted unanimously to support this motion. THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT: ‘Nanaimo Mayor and Council express its opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement and communicate this to Prime Minister Trudeau, Cabinet Ministers and every Member of Parliament.'”

In addition to this, the Council of Canadians Comox Valley chapter has been encouraging people to write the federal government to express their opposition to the TPP. You can email your comments on the TPP to the House of Commons standing committee on international trade via email at ciit-tpp-ptp@parl.gc.ca The committee is accepting written submissions (of no more than 1,500 words in length) until June 30. And Council of Canadians activists were present at the committee’s “hearing” in Richmond (Vancouver) on April 18 to express opposition to both the consultation process and the deal itself.

For more on why we oppose the TPP, please click here.