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Let’s talk TPP! Diverse range of groups empower Canadians to voice concerns about Trans-Pacific Partnership

Canadians can use new online tool to place their concerns about the TPP’s impact on digital rights, the environment, jobs, and healthcare, on the public record

March 24, 2016 Federal Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has promised to consult Canadians widely about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — and today a diverse range of organizations are taking her up on that promise. This morning, the groups launched a new online tool that enables Canadians to place their concerns about the controversial deal on the public record.

The tool submits input from Canadians directly to Minister Freeland, their local MP, and to the recently announced consultation by the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade. Although Canada recently signed the TPP, the government emphasized that “signing does not equal ratifying”, and promised“a robust and transparent examination”.

“Lots of people want to make their voice heard — the more Canadians find out about the TPP, the less they like it,” said Meghan Sali, OpenMedia’s Digital Rights Specialist. “That’s why we created a new tool that makes it easy for Canadians to place their views on the public record. So far, the public have been completely excluded from the TPP process and it’s no wonder we’ve got such a terrible deal. To turn things around, the government needs to start listening.”

"I object to the proposed TPP because it gives multinational corporations more power than government.  We elect our governments to protect us, and with this 'free' trade deal they will not be able protect us from rapacious companies, who would be allowed to sue us for lost profit if Canada were ever foolish enough to ratify it," said Julie Asterisk, of Keepers of the Water.

"The TPP is the biggest corporate power grab in our generation. Corporations will be allowed to sue governments just because they can't make a profit, access to medicine will be severely hampered and our basic internet freedoms handed over to corporate censorship. We can't let this global takeover of corporate power take place," said Ledys Sanjuan, SumOfUs Senior Campaigner.

“For five years, industry insiders have been finessing the agreement: protecting their profits and interests and shielding the deal from the public and any of our criticism. Now, the deal has been made public, and our worst fears have been confirmed. VIP corporate legal rights for investors and corporations. Patent protection for Big Pharma that will reduce our access to drugs. And many powers for corporations to trump our environmental and human rights. We really need to show the government that we care about these trade deals, and that we need to be involved in them,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

The groups launching this morning’s initiative are: the Council of Canadians, OpenMedia, Stand (formerly ForestEthics), and SumOfUs. Supporting the launch are CWA/SCA, Free Dominion, Friends of Public Services / Amis des Services Publics, Keepers of the Water, Leadnow, OpenConcept Consulting, SmartChange, Trade Justice PEI, and the Wilderness Committee. These groups have raised a number of concerns about the TPP, including:

  • It will restrict how we innovate and share culture, and it will overwrite our national laws without our consent. (source)

  • Copyright term extensions will cost Canadians money, and actually make it harder for artists and creators to make new works. (source)

  • Foreign companies could sue the Canadian government for implementing regulations that would protect the environment. (source)

  • An independent study concluded that Canada will lose at least 58,000 jobs because of the TPP. The government has yet to publish an independent economic analysis of how exactly the TPP would impact Canadians (source)

  • Under the TPP, Canadians will pay more for pharmaceuticals, while seeing their healthcare privacy undermined. (source)

Trade Minister Freeland has committed the government to a full parliamentary committee study and a full parliamentary debate ahead of any potential ratification by Parliament. She has also promised widespread consultations across Canada in order to “fully understand the TPP’s impact” on our economy and society.

Canadians can place their TPP concerns on the public record at LetsTalkTPP.ca

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