Canada's New Agricultural Minister's Support of the Corporate Vulture Designed TPP Misguided At Best

This morning's announcement by Canada's new agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay that he is likely to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] is troubling in many ways. The most obvious perhaps is the TPP's ISDS clauses that will make any and all attempts by any current or future govt. that tries to adopt progressive agricultural policies - like ending subsidies to industrial ag, helping establish local food production, curtailing the feedlot system, and the future adoption of perennial grassland and prairie restoration, which will soon become a necessary part of meeting any 'real' targets for atmospheric carbon sequestration - subject to the damned secret corporate tribunal's rulings and fines.

What Canada and the world needs is Fair Trade not globalized, corporate profit driven Free Trade. In the agricultural arena there are multiple losers if the TPP is adpoted. For instance, as the Pesticide Action Network concludes the TPP is part of the race to the bottom in the developing nations as well as Canada. The TPP may make a few imported foods slightly cheaper in the short run, but at what cost to the health of the people producing those foods in those far less safety regulated countries? At what cost to the water, air and soil that we all share? At what cost to social justice beyond Canada's borders when land grabbing corporations are allowed to buy up the land with imaginary fiat currency, land that for centuries has fed the peasants sustainably and now will be turned into cash crops for export to the developed world most often in the form of bio-fuels.

Where not long ago, as La Via Campesina points out, peasant agroecology fed their families and their communities with carbon sequestering sustainable local agricultural, now global investors can buy up those lands when the peasants can no longer afford to pay the taxes being demanded by their govts who now claim those lands are worth much more in a Free Trade economy. The peasants are forced to take out loans to pay the taxes, loans that are only granted to those who follow the 'best practices' programs demanded by the banks. Those best practices usually include the use of GMO crops, industrial chemical fertilizers and pesticides - the industrial ag. model. Of course those practices require equipment like tractors, they require costly chemicals and un-replantable seed.

All of these 'inputs' mean more loans the peasants can't pay and soon they face bankruptcy, their land is auctioned off to the highest bidder - the vulture investment funds typically - and the peasants, who have long lived a healthy life, move into the ghettos surrounding some huge city only to find their only option is to go to work at near slave labor rates and conditions for the global criminals. This of course rebounds back here where Canadians lose their jobs in agricultural industries who can't compete with the far lower wages in those foreign lands, just as they have in previous Free Trade schemes. The result, hard working Canadians no longer pay taxes, our communities languish and we all suffer.

Free Trade is a weapon of the 1%, Fair Trade is a tool of the 99%. Our new Prime Minister understands all this, he has spoken about the value of Fair Trade in the past. Hopefully this announcement is just one minister's opinion and not what could be the beginning of the road from Camelot to Waterloo for our new govt. In this, and every modern Free Trade boondoggle like it, i think it's our duty to hold the Trudeau government to its promises of transparency and fair play by standing up quickly to let them know that corporate rule over the planet MUST be stopped.