DEADLINE TO SUBMIT A BRIEF ON THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP HAS BEEN EXTENDED
The House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade has decided to allow individuals and groups to submit briefs in the context of the Committee’s public consultation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement beyond the October 31 deadline and until January 27, 2017 at 23:59 EDT.Read more
See Elizabeth May's latest article, Fighting the TPP, on the Trans Pacific Partnership, published February 11, 2016 in Island Tides for compelling reasons on why Canada should not ratify this agreement.
What is the TPP?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is promoted as a trade agreement to reduce trade barriers among 12 Pacific Rim nations - Canada, the USA, Mexico, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The TPP is criticized, however, as an agreement that will significantly affect Canadian sovereignty. As Elizabeth May writes in her compelling piece in Embassy magazine, When is a trade agreement not a trade agreement?, the TPP is yet another investor state agreement that will increase corporate control of the global economy.
Most of the TPP agreement has little to do with trade, only 5 of the over 30 chapters in fact. Plus there is concern that the TPP will have a negative effect on the Canadian economy.
What the TPP does affect has broad implications for Canadians and Canada. It will:
- Increase drug cost for Canadians by extending patent protection for pharmaceutical companies.
- Require revision of copyright laws in ways that limit access to the Internet.
- Affect Canadian laws that control data transfer and protect privacy
- Significantly affect supplied managed agriculture and Canadian food sovereignty
- Increase opportunities for companies to choose to employ foreign workers over Canadians and move their operations to lower-wage countries.
- Intensify income inequality as the proportion of income increases to businesses and decreases for wage earners
- Limit environmental regulations, including action on climate change to ensure they do not 'hurt' trade and investment
A June 2014 article, Where is Canada’s national debate over trade dispute panels? by David Schneiderman, a professor of law at the University of Toronto highlights the problems with trade dispute panels using the example of the Bilcon company challenge:
"A recent decision of a NAFTA tribunal should give Canada and the other states reason to pause negotiations. In March, the Bilcon company of Delaware succeeded in its claim against Canada for having followed the advice of an independent environmental review panel. Under review was a proposal by Bilcon to build a rock quarry, together with a processing and ship loading facility, on the shores of Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy for export to New Jersey."
Dr. Schneiderman's conclusion is that Canada is asleep at the helm on investor state treaties and in particular the power of the trade dispute panels, commenting,
"Remarkably, the investment tribunal found that under the terms of NAFTA, it was competent to review the environmental panel’s decision – as if the tribunal itself were a Canadian court."
TPP: The Dirtiest Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed international trade agreement between Canada and 11 other nations, is a bad deal for Canadians and deserves far more scrutiny.
The Conservatives and Liberals support it, and NDP leader Tom Mulcair is “enthusiastically in favour.” The Green Party is the only Canadian party that fully opposes the TPP.
Read about the Green Party's policy on trade: Vision Green 5.16 Trade and sovereignty
For a brief overview of the significant implications of the TPP, watch this video: TPP: The Dirtiest Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of
On September 12th, 2014 the Harper administration quietly ratified the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) by a Cabinet vote. This treaty is bad for Canada, bad for the climate and bad for democracy.
Through an investor-state tribunal, FIPA allows state-owned Chinese investors to sue Canada for any government action (municipal, provincial,First Nations', federal) that could impede their capacity to make a profit. Suits are decided in secret tribunals, and the decisions apply to all levels of government. These secret tribunals are inherently biased in favour of the larger economic power.
Elizabeth May is an outspoken critic of Canada’s loss of sovereignty implicit in FIPA, speaking against it since the treaty was first signed in 2012. She supported the Hupacasath First Nation’s legal challenge. You can help re-elect Elizabeth May by making a donation to her re-election campaign here.Read more
Why Should Canadians Care About Investor-State Treaties?
First published in Householders Spring 2013 Newsletter
One of the issues that was frequently raised in the last round of town hall meetings I held with constituents in January 2013 was the threat of the Canada-China Investment Treaty. As I write this, the treaty has still not been ratified. While this is very good news, the treaty could be ratified at any time by a decision of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. If ratified, the treaty would be binding on Canada and on future Canadian governments for a minimum of 31 years.Read more