The Mid-Island Chapter Council of Canadians will hold a presentation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in Nanaimo on April 8.
The TPP is a free-trade deal between Canada, the United States, Mexico, and nine other countries, representing 40 per cent of the global economy. Of the deal’s 26 chapters, two have to do with trade.
The remaining chapters discuss issues such as how a government regulates corporate activity, what Crown corporations can and cannot do, how long pharmaceutical patients or copyright terms should be, how the internet is governed, the sharing of personal information across borders, banking and taxation rules, and when a company or investor should be compensated when environmental or public health policies interfere with profits.
Critics say the TPP threatens access to medication for the public, environmental protection measure, access to knowledge and the open internet, and community-led public policy. On the other hand, advocates of the deal say it will create more liberal trade to deliver higher productivity, higher GDP, and higher incomes for citizens.
Speakers at the April 8 presentation will include several critics of the deal: Canadian microbiologist and human rights activist Dr. Shiv Chopra, local documentary filmmaker Paul Manly, and member of the Hupacasath First Nation Brenda Sayers.
Dr. Chopra is also a former Health Canada scientist who lost his job after raising alarm about dangers posed by bovine growth hormones, and his work is partly responsible for making it illegal to use drugs to boost milk production in Canada.
Dr. Chopra told CBC News he is worried what the trade agreement could mean for US dairy products, which have fewer restrictions, coming into Canada. “The damage that occurs to the milk, to the cows…Ultimately, it translates into human health hazards.”
Manly has been studying the effects of investor state dispute settlements (ISDS) provisions in trade agreements for the past decade. He says ISDS provisions allow foreign corporations to sue governments in secretive tribunals for policies that limit the corporations’ profits.
In 2009, Manly also completed a feature film about the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) entitled, You, Me, and the SPP.
Sayers was a Director of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council, and the Hupacasath’s national portfolio holder for the Canada China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement court challenge.
The presentation will take place April 8 at 7 p.m. at Bowen Park. Admittance is by donation, and questions from the audience will be welcomed after the presentation.