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NWT chapter challenges TPP at parliamentary trade committee hearing

Brenda Sayers speaks at a NWT chapter public forum on the TPP and Indigenous rights, October 12. Photo by Bob Wilson.

The Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter spoke against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade (CIIT) by video conference today.

Chapter activist Lois Little tells us, “The Mining Association of Canada and the Yukon Chamber of Commerce presented prior to the chapter. The standing committee used the question period to support assertions by the Mining Association and the Chamber of Commerce that the TPP will greatly benefit northern communities, especially Indigenous nations.”

On October 12, the NWT chapter held a public forum featuring Brenda Sayers speaking on the TPP and Indigenous rights.

Sayers led the Hupacasath First Nation court challenge against the Canada-China foreign investment promotion and protection agreement. She is now working with the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs defending Indigenous rights against corporate rights deals like the TPP and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

The chapter notes, “The TPP and associated processes threaten Aboriginal rights, title, and treaty rights. Advocates of the rights of First Nations are extremely concerned the Government of Canada signed the TPP without consultation or consideration of the constitutionally protected, judicially recognized, and internationally enshrined rights of Indigenous peoples.”

The chapter highlights, “Trade agreements prioritize corporate rights over Aboriginal and citizens’ rights.”

Numerous chapters – including most recently from the Saint John, PEI, St. John’s and North Shore chapters – have presented to the parliamentary committee. We have also been encouraging people to send their comments on the TPP to this committee. To send your letter before the October 31 deadline, please click here.

The twelve countries that have signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership have set a deadline of November 2017 to ratify the deal.