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Kelowna chapter to host public forum and rally against the TPP

The Kelowna chapter will rally against the TPP in front of City Hall on May 31.

The Council of Canadians Kelowna chapter has organized a rally and public forum on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for May 31.

Kelowna Now reports, “The lecture will be held at Okanagan College on May 31 at 7 p.m. with the Pacific Regional Organizer for the Council of Canadians, Harjap Grewal as guest speaker. Grewal will explain about the largest multinational cooperate rights agreements being pursued by the Canadian government and 11 other countries.”

Grewal says, “The text has been released and the public is finally learning more about how this far-reaching agreement will impact different levels of government, including municipal governments, indigenous communities, public health, migrants, the environment, internet freedom, food systems and much more.”

Chapter activist Karen Abramsen adds, “Of particular concern is the Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision. ISDS gives corporations the power to sue governments for lost future profits related to public interest legislation, most commonly related to the protection of the environment. The ISDS provision threatens both climate policy and Indigenous rights.”

She highlights, “Here in BC, this provision could affect the First Nations on Lelu Island in their battle against Petronas, a Malaysian company that wants to exploit liquefied natural gas. It’s not just the land and water, but also the fishing economy at stake for future generations. Under the TPP, Petronas could sue the Canadian government if it were to limit LNG exploitation on the island.”

Earlier this month the Kelowna chapter wrote their City Council asking it to take action against the TPP.

University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey has written, “Investors from TPP countries will have the power to challenge local government decisions that damage their commercial interests, including disputed procurement or PPP [public private partnership] contracts, planning and consent processes, or blocking price increases for utilities like water or sanitation. …The contracting out of services, greater use of PPPs, including for water, and asset sales will intensify the exposure of local government to the TPP and heighten the risks of investor-state disputes over disputed contracts.”

But Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran replied to the chapter, “Thank you for your correspondence. It has been shared with City Council. I appreciate your concerns but this is a jurisdiction of the federal government and outside of our mandate. I would encourage you to contact your local Member of Parliament with your concerns.”

Other cities disagree with Mayor Basran.

In British Columbia alone, the City of Vancouver is studying the potential impact of the TPP on city policies and on April 26 the City of Nanaimo passed a resolution opposing the deal.

The chapter will be rallying in front of City Hall to highlight their concerns and the need for Mayor Basran to oppose the deal.

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