Open Letter to Justin Trudeau: Say No to the Trans Pacific Partnership

Open Letter to Justin Trudeau: Say No to the Trans Pacific Partnership
Posted on January 7, 2016 | Manuel Costa | Written on January 7, 2016
Letter type:

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Congratulations on your election. I like the fresh air I've been breathing since October!
I do have big expectations from your new government, especially in the areas of sustainability, environment, social justice, green economy, climate change which in the end are one and the same.

I want to express my strong opposition to the ratification by the Government of Canada of the proposed TPP agreement. It reflects in my view all that is wrong thinking in what progress should be; it's pure 20th century thinking.
What we need is a new paradigm that will give us all a change of survival in the 21st century, which is nothing but guaranteed.

In essence, Governments should not be overruled by Corporations. Progress is not more physical stuff at the lowest possible sticker price without regards to the longer term consequences. The following are some additional reasons that I copied from a web site although I would not have worded them all the same way. This TPP agreement has such long term consequences for Canada and for the world, that it requires a strong discussion among Canadians and your government needs to explain it honestly to us all.

  1. Loss of democracy – we’d have an unelected corporate government that sits above our elected government, that will sue through ISDS lawsuits for any loss of profit, effectively putting profit above environment, social and health protection
  2. Internet control, criminalizing all downloading, re-writing Canadian copyright law will cost millions.
  3. Extended patent rules for already massively wealthy pharmaceutical corporations will raise costs for medicine world-wide, pricing medicines out of reach of millions of people, increasing health-care costs (raising taxes?) for all Canadians
  4. Job loss – trade agreements make it easy to outsource jobs, puts pressure on wages to compete with wages in developing countries. TPP additionally pressures to allow incoming workers with little oversight even when there is unemployment at home
  5. Agriculture – TPP forces open our markets to accept foreign dairy (which likely won’t be labeled as such), which will cost our farmers billions, lowers our food standards to ‘harmonize’ with lower standards abroad.
  6. Unfulfilled promises: Like other trade agreements, TPP promises jobs and higher GDP. NAFTA raised GDP, but the increase went into the pockets of the 1% not the average worker. Higher unemployment is inevitable under TPP.
  7. Tax loop holes – It is not Canada that benefits from tariff removals – Corporations save money, Canada loses a revenue stream and an ability to regulate markets. TPP makes it easier for corporations to hide profits off-shore, further avoiding taxes.
  8. Canada was not well represented. Other countries cut better deals. Canada hasn’t done the math. For a 3% increase in trade from countries we don’t already have trade deals with, we will lose jobs, trading advantages with NAFTA, billions for pharmaceutical cost increases, internet control, and ISDS lawsuits.
  9. Global trading instability through creating large controlled trading blocks pitted against BRICS nations, effectively creating an economic cold war.
  10. Secrecy. This agreement has taken nearly 8 years to craft, yet it was only made available for Canadians to see in November 2015. We are aware that secrecy happens when activities are unacceptable to ethical people.

Happy New Year! 2016 will be more exciting and demanding that 2015...

Manuel Costa

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