Ottawa – With the “three amigos” – U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto – meeting in Ottawa today, representatives of groups from the three countries urged them to not ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The groups placed a 10-metre tall inflatable Trojan horse at the Human Rights Monument (near Parliament Hill), symbolizing the growing concerns about the TPP’s insidious effects on the environment, health and labour rights, amongst others. Victor Suarez, former member of the Mexican house of representatives and representative of Mexico Better Off Without the TPP, and Arthur Stamoulis, from the U.S. Citizens Trade Campaign along with Canadian and Quebec groups reminded the leaders of NAFTA’s devastating effects.
“More than two decades under NAFTA have taught working people in Canada, Mexico and the United States what to expect from trade deals that put corporate profits ahead of human needs: lost jobs, suppressed wages, displaced families and attacks on democratically-enacted environmental and social protections,” said Stamoulis. “The TPP is NAFTA on steroids, and would accelerate the damage that’s already being done by NAFTA.”
Mr. Suarez and Mr. Stamoulis are also available for interviews during their visit to Ottawa on June 28 and 29. Their visit has been organized by Réseau québécois sur l’intégration continentale (RQIC), Common Frontiers and the Trade Justice Network.
“Before NAFTA, Mexico was a developing country. But now it’s an underdeveloping country, with 70 per cent of people in rural areas and 85 per cent of the indigenous population living in poverty,” said Suarez. “The TPP represents the final nail in the coffin for Mexican farmers as it would cement the complete loss of food sovereignty. Our governments are abandoning rural communities.”
The TPP has sparked controversy in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., and has become a central issue in the American election. The corporate rights pact is expected to go to the U.S. Congress in November for a vote during a lame-duck session.
“The TPP is about everything but trade, with 97 per cent of TPP markets already free of tariffs. The secretly negotiated deal is a Trojan horse treaty that aims to give unacceptable powers to big business at the expense of the public interest,” said Pierre-Yves Serinet, RQIC spokesperson. “The TPP is a slap in the face to democracy. It’s an obstacle to what people want, like sound actions to reverse climate change. The Three Amigos can’t ignore this reality.”
“The TPP is just one more international corporate constitution, sought by corporations, useful to big business, but destructive to people, the environment and democracy,” said Larry Brown, co-chair of the Trade Justice Network.
“The TPP, like other corporate-led trade and investment agreements, forms part of the broader neoliberal framework which seeks to shift power away from governments and towards the corporate sector through deregulation, privatization, and elimination of public services through smaller government,” said Raul Burbano of Common Frontiers.
For more information:
Raul Burbano: Common Frontiers, 416-522-8615 (cell), email@example.com
Pierre-Yves Serinet: RQIC, 438-396-6284 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Dylan Penner: Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685 (cell), email@example.com