Saanich council takes pulse on opposition to TPP

Special forum will look at controversial trade deal

Saanich’s new delegation period proved successful for the Victoria Chapter of the Council of Canadians.

Ted Woynillowicz and Neil Mussell of the COC delivered a short presentation Monday on the concerns of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal. They were the latest party to have an impromptu motion put forward following their presentation.

Council supported Coun. Colin Plant’s motion to have Woynillowicz and Mussell deliver a more thorough presentation, and question and answer period, at an upcoming special forum. They’ll speak to a combination of members from three Saanich advisory committees, Environment and Natural Areas; Healthy Saanich; and Planning, Transportation and Economic Development.

“The delegation made an impact on council enough that we decided to send it to three of our advisory committees to review and have them make a recommendation to council,” said Plant.

Coun. Fred Haynes furthered Plant’s support, saying the TPP gives away too many rights.

“I’m for free trade and this is not a free trade agreement,” Haynes said.

“We shouldn’t have to deal with this at a municipal level but we do. This impact on our legislative responsibilities is unexplored and unclear. We shouldn’t sign a document as a nation that impairs the legislative ability of elected officials to respond on behalf of municipalities and the nation.”

Mussell said he had hoped Saanich could send a letter to the federal government against the TPP but believes that can still happen.

“This doesn’t hurt, but sending a letter is nothing [much] and has a great effect [if multiple municipalities do it].”

He said one problem, in particular, is the dispute mechanism for resolution known as the ISDS, takes control away from Canadians and allows an arbitration panel to determine outcomes. This was negotiated behind the scenes, which is problematic, according to Mussell.

The goal is also to also hold an open community forum in September to send feedback to the government over Saanich’s concerns over the TPP, Plant said.

“I’m more than willing to say TPP shouldn’t be ratified but we need to hear it from our residents first,” Plant said.

 

 

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