To the Editor:
(Open letter to International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland)
I am very concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and Canada’s future freedom to choose our economic direction.
I live in a rural farming community that is capable of feeding the Columbia Basin of B.C. almost 100 per cent — organically, no less! Citizens are aware and responsible for their water use; protection of our watersheds is a priority. Food security is paramount, as we live in an area that gets closed off from the rest of the world by winter and climate change avalanches. We have local milk, protein, veggies, fruit and grain. The TPP agreement could undo all of our life-supporting work. Many of us happily live with lower incomes; we are farmers, loggers and maintenance workers with a generous portion of intellectuals who traded urban life for a rural quality life. Many of us have set ourselves up with renewable energy systems independently; we are a good example to the rest of Canada, of bringing vision into reality for the good of planetary health.
Having read Jim Balsillie and Chris Hedges’ comments on the predatory domination of the American and Japanese TPP economic laws on the rest of the signature nations like Canada, I believe it behooves Canada’s new Liberal government to set the right tone and reject this TPP agreement in any way it can. Under the TPP agreement, our intellectual ideas will be controlled, we will be forced to accept the TPP highway or no way (be sued). We can kiss any non-binding agreements on climate change made in Paris goodbye.
Many of us Canadians are intelligent and freethinking, and we want to participate in steering the ship of Canada. Canada is more than a “business opportunity”. It is time for Canadians to raise our standards above the pursuit of profit and regain the wholesome Canada that values the health and integrity of the nation’s people and environment as of equal consideration in choices to make economically.
I leave you with a quote of Ralph Nader, told to Chris Hedges, regarding the TPP agreement: “It allows corporations to bypass our three branches of government to impose enforceable sanctions by secret tribunals. These tribunals can declare our labour, consumer and environmental protections [to be] unlawful, non-tariff barriers subject to fines for noncompliance. The TPP establishes a transnational, autocratic system of enforceable governance in defiance of our domestic laws.”
Please, Chrystia, choose the higher ground of economic freedom of choice for Canadians.