Friday, January 31 is an Intercontinental Day of Action Against the Trans Pacific Partnership. You are warmly invited to be part of the Comox Valley Council of Canadians’ event, at 12:30 in the parking lot at the corner of 5th and England, Courtenay. We expect that Brenda Sayers from the Hupacasath First Nation will be with us to speak about their court challenge to the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement. We will be joining actions across Canada, the US, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia.
The Courtenay event will be a media conference that we hope will become a quick, fun ‘teach-in’ about Canada’s trade agreements and their implications for the Comox Valley. Bring your ‘reporter’ hats, cameras, and your best questions. Bring signs, banners and posters about issues that concern you about these agreements.
Time: Friday, January 31, 12:30 PM. Location: 5th and England in Courtenay.For more information:
The TPP is another trade agreement , negotiated in secret ,which allows trade disputes to be settled by a secret tribunal not accountable to the public. A key issue is that Canada is supporting investor-state dispute agreements in all of its trade agreements which provide foreign investors with the right to challenge the policies of our governments. This threatens our ability to make local, democratic decisions that are good for our health, our environment, our local economies and our human rights.
Examples of trade dispute claims not serving the health and well-being of citizens;
· Canadian taxpayers have paid $160-million in NAFTA claims and are facing another $2.5-billion in current NAFTA claims. Eli Lilly is using the NAFTA to sue the Canadian government for $500 million for invalidating one of its patents, claiming, among other things, that the company’s expected profits were “expropriated”.
· Lone Pine Resources, an American natural gas company is suing Canada for $250 million for blocking its right to profit after the Quebec provincial government imposed a moratorium on fracking.
· Philip Morris Asia is suing the Australian government for damages over plain cigarette packaging legislation.
We are concerned that these agreements will make it more difficult for people in the ComoxValley to protect and strengthen our public services and our environment. At risk are public water services, clean water provisions, fish habitat protections, lower health care costs, GMO-free policies, human rights, stronger health and safety legislation and stronger local social license requirements for resource development projects.
The Hupacaseth Band has challenged the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPPA) in court and we are proud to stand with them today to support their initiative.
We want Canada to allow the public and our governments to:
- review these secret agreements in terms of our common good,
- participate in fair trade, not the current model that subjects our laws to the threat of litigation governed by unaccountable tribunals,
- to refuse to participate in investor-state dispute mechanisms,
- encourage trade that recognizes and supports the rights of people to have a say in choosing governance models that are good for our human and environmental health.
Canada is negotiating the TPP, in the face of concerns that it would:
· increase our health care costs by extending pharmaceutical patents and reducing our access to lower-cost generic drugs
· add another layer to a growing set of corporate rights that over-rule our democratic governments and courts.