People increasingly care about where their food comes from.
The topic of the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP has ramifications right here in Chilliwack, says Suzy Coulter, co-chair of the Chilliwack Chapter of Council for Canadians.
As a major dairy farming region, with dairy farms making up about half of the $360 million in annual gross farm receipts, there is growing concern in some circles about how the proposed deal of Pacific Rim countries came together.
“But the concerns are more than economic. The potential impacts of the TPP are as personal as the food we eat — and milk we drink,” she said.
Former Health Canada advisor Shiv Chopra will be speaking on the TPP at Yarrow Community School on April 14, at 7 pm, hosted by the local CoC.
The public health advocate will be presenting his case against the TPP agreement.
“Being in the heart of B.C.’s farmland — and dairyland, we in Chilliwack should know and care about where our food comes from and what’s in it,” said Coulter. “The TPP would make that impossible. And the only time to stop it is now.”
It been a hot topic in national politics.
The TPP is a trade agreement among 12 countries signed in February 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, after years of negotiations. It has not entered into force. The 30 chapters of the TPP Agreement have to do with public policy and a stated goal to “promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections,” according the the agreeement.
Chopra posits there are serious threats to public health and food safety with the advent of the TPP.
One of the main criticisms is that it would force open the door to American milk and dairy products from cows that have been injected with synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), an artificial growth hormone developed by Monsanto to increase milk output from dairy cows.
Previous attempts to introduce rBGH milk into milk supplies in Canada were unsuccessful. Communities mobilized and prevented the inclusion based on public health concerns.
Chopra helped lead this fight.
“One of the conditions of the TPP is that U.S. dairy farmers will be entitled to market rBGH-induced milk in Canada without labeling the country of origin”, says John Jones, executive director, Canadian Council on Food Sovereignty & Health (ccfsh.org). “The U.S. is the only developed country allowing the use of rBGH to increase milk production and under this agreement, the Canadian public will not know which dairy products they are consuming.”
Also speaking at the April 14 event will be, Paul Finch, treasurer of the BC Government Employees’ Union.
The TPP was negotiated behind closed doors by lawyers and lobbyists, not by duly elected representatives. The proposed trade deal includes an investor rights protection agreement that will permit corporations to challenge and overturn public decisions around food safety and will handcuff municipal and provincial food sovereignty policy.
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