Duncan – First of all I would like to thank Nancy, Trudy and Donna for bringing this very important issue to the public light.
The Trans Pacific Trade Agreement or TPP is a very complex and diverse issue so let me try and briefly sum up what the treaty encompasses and how it is going to affect you, the general public.
So the TPP is an ongoing free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated by 12 countries, representing 40 per cent GDP, making this the largest economic trade agreement ever.
It encompasses everything from trade, medicine and even Internet regulation. A lot of this has to do with law around intellectual property, to quote one of the objectives from the leaked IP chapter of the TPP, to “reduce impediments to trade and investment by promoting deeper economic integration through effective and adequate creation, utilization, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, taking into account the different levels of economic development and capacity as well as differences in national legal systems”.
There are already some great examples of “protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights” under some other trade agreements previously mentioned by Nancy; the NAFTA agreement that allowed U.S paper company AbtitibiBowater to file a lawsuit against Canada in 2008 resulting in a $130 million payoff that came right out of your tax dollars.
Or there is the more recent pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly hitting, once again, the country of Canada with a $500 million suit for invalidating American patents for two of its drugs, opening the door for cheaper generics.
These are two great examples of injustices that are already happening under current trade agreements; the TPP would only further open the door for companies (just in case you missed that) to sue an entire country for essentially getting in the way of them making a buck (or several hundred million more bucks). Now there are many more issues we could address within the TPP, and I really do encourage anyone reading this to get online and find out what’s going on because it’s really scary stuff. But there is a larger issue at hand here: we were not even supposed to know this was even going on! At all! This entire agreement was meant to happen completely out of the eye of the public, who, by the way, it directly affects.
And this isn’t an isolated case of playing keep-away from the public. It literally happens all the time.
In what functioning democracy is the public not only unable to give input in their government’s decisions, but not even informed at all? There needs to be an immediate public inquiry into what’s going on behind the curtain regarding the TPP and furthermore there absolutely has to be a demand that we as the general public have the means and access to keep ourselves informed on what the government is doing.