Citizen Action Monitor

Liberals inch towards TPP ratification, confirming that corporate lobbying efforts are paying off

Leadnow calls for “a massive, strategic public mobilization” to demonstrate the public won’t stand for it.

No 1799 Posted by fw, October 12, 2016

“2,266. Two thousand, two hundred and sixty-six. That’s how many communications lobbyists have registered with government to lobby on trade since the last election. And those are only the ones we know about. A recent freedom of information request revealed that fracking companies have been secretly communicating with the government on trade since November; meeting and exchanging notes with the government without logging them in the lobbying registry. In other words, we actually don’t know the full extent of corporate lobbying efforts on the TPP. What we do know is that it seems to be working, since Trade Minister Freeland is ‘edging towards public endorsement of the TPP.’” Leadnow.ca

If, after the overwhelming opposition to TPP, both here and abroad, Trudeau ratifies this corporate power grab, crippling our national sovereignty, will Canadians ever trust him again? He has played us for fools with his repeated promises of “Real Change”, “open and transparent government”, and his façade of “public consultations.” If approved, will there be any doubt that Canada, like the US, is an oligarchy run by neoliberals beholden to the ruling class?

As Leadnow puts it –

We need to make the TPP so politically toxic for the Liberals that they’ll feel scared to ratify it. We need to show the new government that ratifying the TPP would be a game-changing betrayal of trust for hundreds of thousands of progressive voters — one that will follow them all the way to the ballot box in 2019.”

Here is a repost of Leadnow’s email. (Endnotes to be added later).

**********

Secret Trade Lobbying by Leadnow.ca email, October 11, 2016

Dear Frank,

This is not your ordinary email. This is an email to update you on what’s going on with the TPP this fall, and to bring you into the loop about how we’re going to work together to beat it.

Here we go:

2,266. Two thousand, two hundred and sixty-six. That’s how many communications lobbyists have registered with government to lobby on trade since the last election. [1]

Many of the most active lobbyists — representing Big Pharma, the mining industry, and fracking companies — admit that the TPP is one of their top priorities. [2]

The worst lobbyist of them all? Lone Pine Resources, the fracking company that’s suing Canada for millions under NAFTA because Quebec banned fracking, has met with government officials 13 times in the past 6 months. [3]

And those are only the ones we know about. A recent freedom of information request revealed that fracking companies have been secretly communicating with the government on trade since November; meeting and exchanging notes with the government without logging them in the lobbying registry.  [4]

In other words, we actually don’t know the full extent of corporate lobbying efforts on the TPP. What we do know is that it seems to be working, since Trade Minister Freeland is “edging towards public endorsement of the TPP.” [5]

You might be asking: “Wait– what?!? What the heck is going on??”

Over the past few weeks there have been a bunch of big developments on the TPP, and all signs are pointing to a decision coming down the pipe very, very soon.

Why this fall matters: TPP update and current political context

  1. Global Affairs Canada — which houses the office of International Trade — just released its study on the TPP and it wholeheartedly endorses TPP’s ratification. [6]

The report, which emerged two weeks ago could easily have languished on the government’s website, a victim of the “Friday night dump” perfected by Harper’s Conservatives — but instead it was publicly released in what analysts are saying is laying the groundwork for TPP ratification. Why else flag for the media an internal Global Affairs Canada study that fully supports ratification? [7]

  1. The US election: President Obama spent his summer shoring up support for TPP from members of Congress, while he and his trade representatives have been meeting with other governments pushing for the TPP’s swift ratification in those countries. [8-9]

The scoop is that Obama is getting ready to ratify TPP after the election, but before a new President takes office — so either in November or early December. This is because both Trump and Clinton are opposed to the deal and Obama wants to get it ratified while he can. For whatever reason, the TPP has become a legacy project for Obama, and he’s been pressuring the Liberal government to join it since they were elected last year. [10]

If Obama ratifies the TPP in November, political analysts are saying Canada will soon follow suit unless the Liberals feel like there will be a massive public backlash. [11]

  1. CETA, or the Canada-EU Trade Agreement – what we like to call the TPP’s dangerous cousin – is slated to be signed at the end of October. The Trudeau Liberals have never been on the fence about CETA; they have been staunchly in favour since taking office. [12-13]

The government has never promised TPP-style consultations to help decide whether or not we should ratify, even though CETA includes toxic ISDS mechanisms, and will have similar impacts on our jobs, medicine prices, and policy making.

With an October approval date for CETA, it’s very possible that approving CETA is one small step for the Liberals to placate business interests and one giant leap in the direction of ratifying TPP.

  1. TPP consultations are winding down. The Parliamentary Trade Committee’s hearings (which many of you spoke out at) have concluded, and it’s closing down its written submissions inbox on the 31st. With the consultation era winding down this month, we’re getting ready for an era of big decisions from this government. We need to ramp up the pressure, and be ready for whatever comes our way.

With TPP consultations wrapping up in mere weeks, lobbyists revving their engines, the US election under a month away, and our government already inching towards ratification with its impact study — the decision on TPP is coming down the pipe and it’s going to happen fast.

We need to be ready, which means we need to build now.

The Plan, crafted thanks to you

The only chance we have to stop this thing in the fall is through a massive, strategic public mobilization. Back in July we asked you what kinds of things we should be prioritizing for a fall TPP campaign. We took your feedback, did a ton of research into the context, and put our collective heads together to come up with a powerful, strategic, and people-powered campaign to win. Here it is:

We need to make the TPP so politically toxic for the Liberals that they’ll feel scared to ratify it. We need to show the new government that ratifying the TPP would be a game-changing betrayal of trust for hundreds of thousands of progressive voters — one that will follow them all the way to the ballot box in 2019.

To do this, we need to get thousands of people into the streets, and amplify a diversity of opposition in a hard-hitting media strategy. We need to make the case that the TPP is a bad deal for Canada, and that the public won’t stand for anything short of a rejection. We want to:

  • Work with partners at other organizations to organize national-scale rallies as well as local actions in strategic Liberals ridings to make our opposition impossible to ignore
  • Flood mainstream media with a diversity of voices opposing this deal, from farmers and environmentalists, to workers and issue experts
  • Launch a national ad blitz highlighting TPP’s various impacts and how it conflicts with Trudeau’s key promises – from First Nations relations, to climate action, to middle class growth and jobs.
  • Stage big, creative stunts to get much needed media attention on the TPP and the public’s growing opposition

Pro-TPP forces including the biggest corporate lobbyists want us — need us — to be silent.

The math is pretty straightforward: with enough numbers and enough noise, we can make this campaign explode in the next 3 months, and shift the political calculus for the new government on the dangerous, costly, and lopsided TPP.

Time and again, the Leadnow community has come together to push back against shady corporate power grabs disguised as trade deals. While we lost some of the battles under Harper, this time is different. This time we have a government that will respond to public pressure if it’s strong enough to make them fear losing the progressives they need to maintain their good standing as well as their seats.

Now more than ever, we need to keep building our movement. A few of us taking action might not make a difference, but if we all came together, we could tip the scales and make sure that the voices of the many people calling for lasting progress are stronger than the powerful interests working behind the scenes to maintain the power of the few.

Together we can win, and only if we do it together. Please stay tuned for ways to get involved in our exciting fall campaign.

Let’s do this!

Brittany, Jolan, Fatin, Logan and Jamie on behalf of the entire Leadnow team

P.S. Our plan is big and it’s bold — it has to be when we’re up against such powerful opponents. To be able to pull this off, we need all the help we can get. Chip in to help turn our plan — the one you helped design — into action. Every dollar counts. Click here to chip in what you can, and let’s launch a massive mobilization against the TPP this fall.  https://secure.leadnow.ca/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1694&ea.campaign.id=56853

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This entry was posted on October 12, 2016 by in evidence based counterpower, NGO counterpower, political action and tagged , , .
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