Council of Canadians activists in Winnipeg presented arguments against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the House of Commons standing committee on international trade, while also protesting outside the hearing today.
Winnipeg-based organizer Brigette DePape tells us, “Activists from Migrante Manitoba, No One Is Illegal, the University of Winnipeg Student Association, Solidarity Winnipeg, the Public Services Alliance of Canada, and the Council of Canadians chanted and distributed leaflets outside the Delta Winnipeg Hotel where the hearing was taking place.”
Then DePape, Winnipeg chapter activist Douglas Tingey and other allies presented to the committee.
DePape and Tingey stated, “We are here because we are concerned that this deal would be a major loss for the environment, jobs, and good public policy making. Our concerns include: increased drug costs, a global race to the bottom in wages, reducing environmental protection and Indigenous sovereignty, encouraging a carbon intensive economy, undermining community and government efforts to buy local.”
They highlighted, “Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) causes concerns for much needed action on climate change. We are concerned about the community of Lelu Island, for example, as we described in a recent Winnipeg Free Press article. If the government decides to be smart and compassionate and stand with Indigenous communities defending the earth and future generations from oil & gas development, they could be sued with ISDS. This puts pressure on Canada to side with corporations and interferes with public policy making.”
And they noted, “A study from Tufts University predicts the loss of 58,000 jobs. Farmers in particular could lose out. We are also considered labour rights and the impacts for temporary foreign workers.”
They also asked the committee a series of questions including:
– How many impact assessments has the committee had access to and if any on what topics?
– Where are all of the reports and assessments done by government specialists (in trade, health, intellectual property, environment and climate change, the professions, agriculture, energy etc) on the con side?
– Are any assessments underway that will inform the ratification decision? What topics? Will these be made public?
– Who is assessing the cumulative impacts of the various “trade and investment” deals negotiated by the previous government?
– Who is assessing the consequences of not ratifying and waiting to join later?
Radio Canada reports, “Three of the 12 participants appearing expressed fears about the potential impact of the TPP on Canadians.” That appears to be the consistent ratio the committee has been accepting of speakers opposed to the TPP.
The Tyee adds, “Although the committee did choose to hear from some applicants [at the hearing in Vancouver on] Monday, as for 170 other members of the activist group Leadnow who had applied to address the committee, they learned last week, without explanation, that they would not be heard. ‘They were all rejected’, said the group’s Vancouver organizer, Jolan Bailey. ‘They didn’t even tell us when they did. We only found out when they published the list of who was speaking — we noticed that none of our people were on there.'”
The committee has now completed its 1-day hearings in Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Radio Canada notes, “The Standing Committee on International Trade of the House of Commons will continue its tour of Canada to hold public consultations on the TPP. The date and place of these consultations are not known at this time. Canadians who want a written submission must do so by June 30, 2016.”
To send your (maximum) 1500 word submission to the committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Along with today’s activities in Winnipeg, the Council of Canadians also rallied outside the hearing in Vancouver, were present at the hearing in Calgary, and protested outside the hearing in Saskatoon.
For our critique of the TPP, please click here.