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PEI chapter protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership

PEI chapter activist Leo Broderick leads the protest against the TPP this afternoon. CBC News photo by Stephanie Kelly.


The Council of Canadians PEI chapter protested against a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) consultation in Charlottetown today.


The chapter rallied outside the Delta Hotel this afternoon because of a ‘by invitation only’ consultation on the TPP there with David Lametti, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade. In order to attend this closed door meeting, Global Affairs Canada had said, “Please RSVP to ExportSuccess-ExporterAvecSucces@international.gc.ca by Tuesday, March 29. We would also appreciate if you would include a brief biography for yourself, or your designated attendee, when sending the RSVP.”


CBC reports, “About a dozen protesters rallied outside a Charlottetown hotel Thursday where discussions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership were being held. MP David Lametti, the Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Minister of International Trade, is on P.E.I. to hear what Islanders think of the trade deal.”


“Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians led the protest outside the Delta Hotel on Thursday. ‘It’s going to lower standards for the environment, it’s going to increase pharmaceutical costs in this country, it’s going to increase food insecurity, and certainly it’s going to introduce into the Canadian market American milk which is laced with the bovine growth hormone which we banned many years ago’, he said. ‘Interesting in the United States, the leading candidates for the presidency [Bernie] Sanders, [Hillary] Clinton and [Donald] Trump are all opposed, so that offers a little bit of hope to stop this trade deal. It’s a bad deal for Canadians.'”

In order for the TPP to be implemented at all, both the United States Congress and the Japanese government must ratify the deal.

The article adds, “Lametti said the government realizes opening 3.5 per cent of the Canadian dairy market to foreign competitors will have a negative impact on local farmers. ‘If we decide to ratify we’ll have to sit down with dairy and poultry and turkey and the other supply-managed industries and look at some form of compensation for a transition’, Lametti said.”


The Harper government had promised to provide a $4.3 billion, 15-year compensation package to Canadian dairy farmers. But in November 2015, federal trade minister Chrystia Freeland stated, “We appreciate the importance of compensation to affected sectors [but] it would be very inappropriate for us to commit to specific packages given that we’re actually reviewing the agreement overall.”


And while it doesn’t appear that Lametti commented on the BGH issue, Global Affairs Canada has stated, “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.”


The Council of Canadians has highlighted that the government has no plan to separate or label this milk. We’ve also noted that 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.


The PEI chapter had also previously tried to attend a Jan. 21 consultation in Charlottetown but were told it was “by invitation only” and “not a public meeting”.


The Council of Canadians will continue to speak against the TPP in every way we can.


In addition, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade will be receiving written submissions (of no more than 1,500 words in length) before April 30. You can email your comments to them at ciit-tpp-ptp@parl.gc.ca You can also e-mail the government directly your comments and concerns at TPP-PTP.consultations@international.gc.ca


We encourage you to express your opposition to the TPP in this way.

For more from Brent, follow him on Twitter at @CBrentPatterson