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Grewal speaks at rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal speaks against the TPP at a rally in Vancouver this evening. Photo by Richard Schaeffer.

Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal spoke at a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Vancouver this evening.

While US president-elect Donald Trump has said that the United States will withdraw from the TPP on “day one” of his presidency, Council of Canadian chairperson Maude Barlow has commented, “I’ve watched these trade agreements for a long time. The TPP is not dead til it’s dead.” It has also been reported that Canada will not withdraw from the TPP until February 2018, the two-year deadline that had been set by TPP countries when they signed the deal in Auckland in February 2016.

In the outreach for tonight’s protest, Grewal stated, “This action will also be organized in direct opposition to the Donald Trump election in the US. Trump has been vocal in his opposition to the TPP but we do not stand with his bigoted and racist values that inform his opposition. Our oppositions is based in values of social justice, environmental stewardship and solidarity with people around the world. We stand for justice and united with all workers, including ‘off shore’ and migrant workers. We reject Trump’s message as firmly as we reject the TPP.”

Grewal adds, “The TPP includes an investor-state dispute settlement provision that allows transnational corporations to sue governments over legislation or policies made in the public interest. The TPP will extend pharmaceutical patents so that Big Pharma profits while public health is compromised due to higher drug costs.”

And he notes, “The agreement promotes the continued exploitation of workers around the world by moving manufacturing to where they can find the lowest wage and exploiting workers with unequal status and rights. The TPP undermines local family farms opening up the dairy market to multinationals while also lowering health stands in the industry. The agreement will expand their rights of corporations on the internet to control information and data while limiting public access to cultural knowledge. Simply put: the TPP is about giving more power to corporations and limiting the power of communities to defend themselves. We must stand together to stop it.”

The protest was endorsed by numerous groups including: BC Government and Services Employees Union, BC Health Coalition, BC Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Leadnow, Mining Justice Alliance, OpenMedia, Sanctuary Health, Trade Justice Network, Unifor, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, and Vancouver District Labour Council.

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