Canadian MPs Join International Legislators to Oppose “Certification” in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, say it Endangers Country Sovereignty

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Canadian MPs Join International Legislators to Oppose “Certification” in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, say it Endangers Country Sovereignty

WASHINGTON - The debate rages in the United States over President Obama’s fast track powers to approve − the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a “free trade” agreement of 12 countries including Canada.  Today, in Canada, NDP trade critic Don Davies and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May joined in the debate by joining 40 parliamentarians from the other countries in writing a letter encouraging trade ministers to oppose the United States’ certification process.

The certification process allows the United States to vet the other countries’ sovereign laws ensuring they “conform” with the trade agreement, before the United States obligations would come into effect.

The open letter states, “If applied to the TPP, this practice would infringe on the sovereignty of our governments to determine the meaning and extent of the obligations they have agreed to and adopted under the TPP; it would impugn the constitutional authority and responsibility of legislatures and lawmakers; and it would constitute interference by a foreign government in the sovereignty of our countries.”

The letter was sent to International Trade Minister Ed Fast and his counterparts in the other countries. From Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand, the signatories include ministers, prominent former parliamentarians as well as current leaders of political parties, spokespersons for trade, and members of committees with responsibility for the TPP.

“We have been saying since Free Trade 1.0, the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement, that free trade agreements undermine the right of nation state governments to regulate in the interests of their people and the environment ,” says Maude Barlow, Chair of the Council of Canadians. “This agreement diminishes the  democratic rights of citizens to hold their governments accountable.”

According to news reports, for example, Canada is being pressured by the United States to end supply management for farmers. The original Canadian provisions allowed farmers to produce efficiently according to the demand, and to preserve the livelihood of small family farms.

In Peru, the Deputy US Trade Representative “helped” the Peruvian government in 2008 to finalize 35 new laws to better suit the US. As well, two teams of US government lawyers assisted Peru on drafting environmental and business laws. The laws covered data protection for pharmaceuticals, investor arbitration, changes to indigenous land ownership and the education system.

This week, to international surprise, the TPP received a major blow from Obama’s own party: Senate democrats temporarily successfully filibustered Obama’s Fast Track bill. The bill would have given him executive authority to sign the TPP. 

The open letter to International Trade Minister Ed Fast can be found here.

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SIGNATORIES 

Australia

  • Kelvin Thomson MP, Deputy Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Australian Labor Party
  • Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Spokesperson on Trade, Australian Greens

Canada

  • Don Davies MP, Critic for International Trade, New Democratic Party
  • Elizabeth May MP, Leader, Green Party of Canada

Japan

  • Yukio Hatoyama, former Prime Minister of Japan and former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Masahiko Yamada, former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Megumu Tsuji, former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Susumu Saito, former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Tomohiko Mizuno, former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Hiroshi Kawauchi, former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Kazuo Takamatsu, former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Tsutomu Takamura, former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Seiichiro Dokyu, former Member of the House of Representatives
  • Mizuho Fukushima, Member of the House of Councillors, former Minister of State for Special Missions, Social Democratic Party
  • Takashi Shinohara, Member of the House of Representatives, former Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Chairperson of Diet Member’s Caucus to Cautiously Consider the TPP, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Katsumasa Suzuki, Member of the House of Representatives, former Secretary General of ‘People’s Life First’, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Takeshi Maeda, Member of the House of Councillors, former Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Kumiko Aihara, Member of the House of Councillors, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Akio Fukuda, Member of the House of Representatives, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Takako Suzuki, Member of the House of Representatives, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Kaoru Tashiro, Member of the House of Councillors, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Toshio Ogawa, Member of the House of Councillors, former Minister of Justice, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Teruhiko Mashiko, Member of the House of Councillors, former Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Eri Tokunaga, Member of the House of Councillors, Democratic Party of Japan
  • Shizuka Kamei, Member of the House of Representatives, former Minister of Transport, former Minister of Construction, former Minister of State for Special Missions, Independent
  • Taro Yamamoto, Member of the House of Councillors, The People’s Life Party and Taro Yamamoto and Friends
  • Tomoko Kami, Member of the House of Councillors, Japan Communist Party
  • Yoshiko Kira, Member of the House of Councillors, Japan Communist Party

Malaysia

  • Yang Berhormat Tuan Wong Chen, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Member of the Malaysian Bipartisan Parliamentary Caucus on TPPA
  • Yang Berhormat Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, Parti Sosialis Malaysia, Member of the Malaysian Bipartisan Parliamentary Caucus on TPPA
  • Yang Berhormat Puan Nurul Izzah binti Anwar, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Member of the Malaysian Bipartisan Parliamentary Caucus on TPPA
  • Yang Berhormat Senator Tuan Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Member of the Malaysian Bipartisan Parliamentary Caucus on TPPA.

New Zealand

  • Hon Margaret Wilson, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Attorney General, New Zealand Labour Party
  • Andrew Little, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
  • Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Hon Te Ururoa Flavell, Co-Leader of the Maori Party
  • Marama Fox MP, Co-Leader of the Maori Party
  • Russel Norman, Co-Leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa
  •  Metiria Turei, Co-Leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa
  • Jeanette Fitzsimons, former Co-Leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa
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Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s leading social action organization, mobilizing a network of 60 chapters across the country.

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