Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – Today David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, is holding “consultations” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at 2 pm ADT at the Delta Hotel and 3:30 pm ADT at the University of Prince Edward Island. The Council of Canadians is holding a rally to protest the so-called “consultations” at 1:30 pm ADT outside the Delta Hotel and is available for comment on the controversial corporate rights pact.
“The Council of Canadians is requesting an independent analysis of the TPP by the Parliamentary Budget Office that considers the impact on environmental, human and labour rights,” says Leo Broderick with the Charlottetown chapter of the Council of Canadians. “The government needs to hold full and proper public consultations with First Nations, provinces and municipalities. So far these so-called consultations are just smoke and mirrors.”
The Council of Canadians opposes the TPP and has highlighted that the deal would mean job losses, greater income inequality, further powers for transnational corporations to challenge public interest legislation through its investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision, higher costs for medicines given its extended patent protections for pharmaceutical corporations, Bovine Growth Hormone-treated milk entering Canada unlabelled, and the further exploitation of temporary foreign workers.
“For this so-called ‘consultation,’ the government provided just a few days notice. In many similar events across the country less than 24 hours notice has been given. Are these stakeholder meetings really just a smokescreen for a deal the government already intends to sign?” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “There are many questions about the threats the TPP poses to the public interest, the environment, health care and our democracy. The big question is will the government actually listen?”
Despite limited notice, Council of Canadians chapter members in Vancouver, Montreal, Regina, Winnipeg, Guelph, St. John's, and Fredericton have been able to make their way to these “consultations.” The Council’s PEI chapter had also previously tried to attend a January 21 “consultation” in Charlottetown but were told it was “by invitation only” and “not a public meeting.”
“The government says it is consulting on TPP and the environment, but it’s not possible for the government to protect the environment and support the TPP,” adds Dey. “TransCanada’s NAFTA challenge of the U.S. decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline shows how corporations will be even more empowered by the TPP to sue over sensible environmental protections.”