Open letter to Minister of Trade Chrystia Feeland on the TPP

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Open letter to Minister of Trade Chrystia Feeland on the TPP

Open letter to Minister of Trade Chrystia Freeland

On the TPP

The Honorable Chrystia Freeland

Minister of Trade

House of Commons, Ottawa Ontario

February 19th, 2016


Dear Ms. Freeland:

 I find it necessary to write you as we are once again facing  passage of another trade deal in a time when too many have been stampeded into existence without proper scrutiny and without regard for their consequences.

 After all these years the devastating social and economic consequences of existing  deals are manifest and well documented yet governments repeatedly refuse to address them. Their only response is to acquiesce to more deals.

Going back to the time of the Brian Mulroney’s FTA these have been presented to the public as “free trade” agreements. In fact this is a parody of their real intention.  A cursory review of them reveals they are about much more.

The TPP is presented as a “partnership.” Here again this is a disingenuous term. A partnership implies all participants are roughly equal in standing.  With the TPP, the world’s largest economy is really conscripting much smaller satellite economies under its dominance. It follows the major benefits of any such agreement will accrue to the dominant partner.

The actual origins of the TPP have less to do with free trade and more to do with trade wars. The TPP was born out of America’s “Asian Pivot” and the 2011 manifesto   America’s Pacific Century (APC).  The APC is a strategic plan for military and economic and military dominance of the Pacific and China is the target. Tensions between these two powers are rising.

The TTP might more accurately be described as a conscription of smaller economies as ”foot soldiers” in America’s trade war with China;  just as NATO countries are conscripted into its military wars in the Middle East and beyond.   Foot soldiers in any type of warfare are  among the first casualties.

The TPP is made in America to serve American transnational corporations. It is an economic instrument to advance US global hegemony.  It certainly will not serve the American people. The history of the US in the past few decades has seen the public good enslaved to corporatism.  The rapacious ascendance of neoliberalism and agreements like the NAFTA have devastated the fabric of American society.

It is noteworthy three  of America’s most prominent economists; Michael Hudson,  Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Reich have come out strongly against the TPP. Their advice is compelling.

For Canada this is one deal too many. Over the last forty years we have seen an incremental loss of our sovereignty.  Successive governments had been led blindly into too many deals. The time has come where real leadership must prevail and the integrity of consultations is irrefutable.

Canada must be so bold as to set its own ratification process.  This should include cross country public hearings no later than next spring and a binding national referendum no later than June 30th, 2017. On such important matters the decision must be the unequivocal choice of the majority of Canadians.  It is also a unique opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to genuine democratic values.


 Robert Billyard,               

 Mission BC

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