The Liberal "consultation" on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is raising concerns.
In this comedic video commentary, Scott Vrooman says, "The Liberals can now ratify the TPP any time they want, but in the meantime they say they're 'open to consulting with Canadians'. Consulting us in the same sense you consult an alarm clock set to 6 a.m. with a giant snooze button. Justin Trudeau said that the 'Liberal Party of Canada is a pro-trade party'. As though being against the TPP means you're anti-trade. Anti-TPP is not anti-trade."
He highlights, "It remains to be seen if the Liberals pro-trade stance means pro-TPP, but for now they'll listen to Canadians, so that Canadians feel listened to. Because when we believe that our feelings have been felt, we'll think our thoughts have been thought and believed, even if listening isn't hearing and seeing isn't believing and the Liberals are going to do whatever they can get away with."
The Council of Canadians has both raised concerns about the limited 'e-mail consultation' process offered by the Liberals on the TPP and the form letter responses being sent back to those who write the government. This is what the government has been saying on key TPP issues of concern:
"Our government supports free trade – it will help to open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, create good-paying jobs, and provide choice to Canadian consumers."
(And yet a study by Tufts University found that the TPP will cost Canada 58,000 jobs and increase income inequality. An EKOS poll in October 2015 found that 61 per cent of Canadians believe the TPP will mean job losses in Canada, with just 24 per cent disagreeing with that statement.)
"With respect to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), the TPP will not impair the ability of Canada or its partners to regulate and legislate in areas such as the environment, culture, safety, health and conservation. Our experience under the NAFTA demonstrates that neither our investment protection rules nor the ISDS mechanism constrain any level of government from regulating in the public interest."
(And yet Canada has been subject to 35+ NAFTA investor-state claims since the deal came into force on Jan. 1, 1994. Sixty three per cent of those claims have involved challenges to environmental protection or resource management measures.)
"Regarding drug patents, the TPP affirms the World Trade Organization Doha Declaration on the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement and Public Health to ensure access to life-saving medicines in public health emergencies."
(And yet the TPP establishes for highly-profitable transnational pharmaceutical corporations a five-year minimum period of exclusive rights to sell expensive life-saving bioligics. In her comments on the TPP, the director-general of the World Health Organization has stated, "If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all.")
"With regards to bovine growth hormone (rBST), Health Canada has determined, in 1999, that rBST does not pose a health risk to humans. There is no scientific basis for restricting trade in milk or dairy products from trading partners that have approved rBST. ...All food products, both domestic and imported, must meet Canada’s robust health and safety regulation."
(And yet it's illegal in Canada to administer BGH to cows to boost their milk production, whereas in the United States there is no such restriction. The TPP opens up 3.25 per cent of the Canadian dairy market to milk imports that could be tainted with BGH. There is no plan to separate or label this milk. An Environics poll in July 2015 found that 87 per cent of Canadians were either very or somewhat concerned about the TPP lowering Canadian food safety and quality standards.)
To email the government about the TPP, send your questions and comments to TPP-PTP.firstname.lastname@example.org.
To demand a real public consultation on the TPP, add your voice via this action alert.
Trudeau offers an e-mail address to hear from you on the TPP (Dec. 28, 2015)
Trudeau disagrees with Canadians expressing concerns about the TPP (Feb. 3, 2016)
Dear Liberals: Do better. Listen to concerns about the TPP. (Feb. 3, 2016)