Civil society protests outside the House of Commons trade committee hearings on the TPP in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Saskatoon.
The House of Commons standing committee on international trade will be in Montreal, Quebec City, Windsor and Toronto this week to hear testimony on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
And civil society will be there to let them know that they want the TPP stopped and that the hearings themselves are not as inclusive or welcoming to the public as they should be. At the previous committee hearings in Vancouver (April 18), Calgary (April 19), Saskatoon (April 20), and Winnipeg (April 21), members of the public had to produce identification, have their bags searched, and be frisked. Only 12 organizations were allowed to present at the 1-day hearing in Vancouver, even though 175 people had registered to testify.
The hearings will take place this week in Montreal (May 10), Quebec City (May 11), Windsor (May 12) and Toronto (May 13).
In Montreal, the Council of Canadians, Citizens in Action, and the Raging Grannies will be outside the Queen Elizabeth Hotel (900 René-Lévesque West) this Tuesday at 8:30 am with placards, banners and images of what they hold dear that would be threatened by the TPP.
In Windsor, the Council of Canadians Windsor-Essex chapter will be outside the Best Western PLUS Waterfront Hotel (277 Riverside Drive West) this Thursday at 8:45 am. They will be setting up a speakers corner for anyone wishing to send a video message to the House of Commons committee.
And in Toronto, the Council of Canadians, OpenMedia, LeadNow, the Trade Justice Network, Common Frontiers, and others are organizing an action outside the Ritz-Carlton Toronto (181 Wellington Street West) on 9:00 a.m. this Friday.
Unifor has also just announced this morning that it will hold rallies in both Windsor and Toronto at 10 am outside the hearings, as well as help fill the hearing rooms in these two cities.
Presumably in response to criticisms that the committee has only heard from a small number of organizations and not concerned individuals in the cities it has visited already, the committee has now scheduled one-hour at the end of each of day for “Spontaneous Presentations”. NDP MP Tracey Ramsey, a member of the committee, says, “Members of the public who wish to speak at these sessions must register on-site. The list of speakers will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis. The Committee Chair will decide how much time each speaker will be given based on the number of speakers.”
The hearings have already been met with protests.
In Vancouver, the Council of Canadians Vancouver-Burnaby chapter joined with OpenMedia, LeadNow and other allies to unfurl a large banner outside the hotel where the hearing was taking place. The banner said, “170,000 Say No To TPP”. The groups also organized to have a 16 foot high Jumbotron outside the hotel with messages of concern from people across the country.
In Saskatoon, the Star-Phoenix newspaper reported, “Members of Climate Justice Saskatoon and the local chapter of the Council of Canadians set up placards and protested outside the Radisson Hotel during a public consultation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.”
And in Winnipeg, Council of Canadians organizer Brigette DePape tells us, “Activists from Migrante Manitoba, No One Is Illegal, the University of Winnipeg Student Association, Solidarity Winnipeg, the Public Services Alliance of Canada, and the Council of Canadians chanted and distributed leaflets outside the Delta Winnipeg Hotel where the hearing was taking place.”
Beyond attending the hearings, you can also email your comments on the TPP to the committee via email at firstname.lastname@example.org The committee is accepting written submissions (of no more than 1,500 words in length) until June 30. Media reports suggest that the House of Commons will vote on the ratification of the TPP in the fall of 2017, just before the November 2017 deadline set by the 12-signatory countries.
For our critique of the TPP, please see our campaign web-page here.