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WIN! Victoria city council passes resolution on the TPP

The Council of Canadians Victoria chapter spoke in favour of a motion at their city council last night on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The background to the motion, introduced by Councillor Ben Isitt, states, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed multi-lateral trade and investment agreement that involves 12 countries in the Pacific Rim. Canada has participated in negotiations since 2012. Civil society organizations including the Council of Canadians have expressed concern over the implications of the TPP on democratic governance, local procurement practices, worker rights, environmental regulations, the agricultural sector, social programs much as Medicare, and regulation of financial institutions.”

The recommendation (wording to be confirmed) states, “That Council request that the Mayor, on behalf of Council, write to the Prime Minister of Canada, requesting that the Government of Canada undertake meaningful consultation with local government on the draft terms of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, to ensure that local government autonomy is recognized and protected prior to any further steps being taken toward Canada becoming a signatory to this agreement.”

The Victoria chapter will also present to Saanich council on September 12.

The Saanich News has reported, “Ted Woynillowicz and Neil Mussell of the COC delivered a short presentation Monday [August 15] on the concerns of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal. …Council supported Coun. Colin Plant’s motion to have Woynillowicz and Mussell deliver a more thorough presentation, and question and answer period, at an upcoming special forum. They’ll speak to a combination of members from three Saanich advisory committees, Environment and Natural Areas; Healthy Saanich; and Planning, Transportation and Economic Development.”

Councillor Plant commented, “The [Council of Canadians] delegation made an impact on council enough that we decided to send it to three of our advisory committees to review and have them make a recommendation to council.”

The TPP could have major implications for municipalities.

University of British Columbia political science professor Michael Byers has warned, “There’s the very real possibility that large cities could pay millions of dollars in arbitration and they have no say in the matter. This is being imposed on them.”

And 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.”

The Council of Canadians Vancouver, Kelowna and Yellowknife chapters have all called on their city councils to pass resolutions in opposition to the TPP. On April 26, Nanaimo city council unanimously passed a resolution that stated, “BE IT RESOLVED THAT: Nanaimo Mayor and Council express its opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement and communicate this to Prime Minister Trudeau, Cabinet Ministers and every Member of Parliament.”