Contribution to the public hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, convened by the House Standing Committee on International Trade in Montreal, May 10th 2016
Thank you for letting me speak today. My name is Johan Boyden and I am the Central Organizer of the Communist Party of Canada, which has a 95 year history fighting for social progress.
I would like to begin, if I may, by making a reflection. A reflection on who is here, and who is not. Many of us in the audience today found out about these Parliamentary Committee consultations at the last minute. But the representative of Bombardier, who you invited to speak at length just now, seemed very well prepared, as if knowing about these consultations a long time ago.
I couldn’t see one Trade Union listed on your agenda for this morning. Yet I saw countless representatives of big corporations invited to speak for several hours.
Meanwhile, the public at large is given just 120 seconds to voice our opinion.
I think this is a reflection not just on your consultation, but on the agreement itself.
The Trans Pacific Partnership amounts to a Bill of Rights for the big corporations around the world.
And I would ask – where are the Mechanics from Avios today? Where are the Mohawk and Huron peoples? And why are so many of us in the audience speaking English today, in La Belle Province?
This is measure of the quality of outreach that has gone on, and the pre-conclusions of this consultative committee. A consultative committee process that I think is something of a sham.
As you have skirted even just briefly across this country, you have encountered many communities continually suffering the social pot-holes and scorched earth created by Free Trade and NAFTA.
The destruction of hundreds of thousands of good manufacturing jobs.
This is our reality and, I would suggest, you cannot pull the wool over the eyes of the people about Free Trade any more. It has become harder and harder to convince people that Free Trade is of any benefit to working people.
That is why, as the people learn more about this massive corporate behemoth, more and more voices are demanding that Parliament reject the Trans Pacific Partnership.
We are demanding instead Fair Trade, based on respect for sovereignty and democracy. Based on the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Based on solidarity, high environmental standards, raising living standards and creating good union jobs.
Trade agreements that reinforce peace and disarmament, instead of facilitating militarism and war.