Letter: Stand up against the TPP

There is an incredible injustice that these issues bring forward, writes Peter Brown.

I’m mad again!

With the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) coming up in the news as part of the discussions on Prime Minister Trudeau’s recent trip to Japan, and the recent decision to release genetically engineered alfalfa in Ontario and Quebec, it made me think of the injustice of two of my favourite peeves: the TPP and genetically engineered (GE) crops.

There is an incredible injustice that these issues bring forward.

First of all, these “beneficial” trade agreements like the TPP contain a provision, called the Investor State Dispute Settlement (or ISDS), for corporations to be able to sue a country because of their laws may cause that corporation to lose profits, or potentially lose profits, by way of a tribunal that stands above the laws of that country. All for the good of the corporation.

When it comes to the matter of the GE issue, which some of those same corporations would benefit through that trade agreement process, they also stand in a position of being unable to lose.

It is well known that genetically engineered crops can cross contaminate conventional and organic crops.

You see, the corporations that own the patents on those GE crops have developed techniques for determining the precise DNA signatures of their patented crops.

It is very easy for them to determine if their genes are in a crop that has been contaminated. But, and the big BUT is this, these corporations, rather than being able to be sued for contamination of a farmer’s crops and causing him loss of profit (and even his livelihood if he is an organic farmer), can sue the farmer for having possession of their patented gene on their farm. All for the good of the corporation again.

This is injustice and shows how totally upside down our laws have become. In the first place, for corporations to have the power to influence a country’s ability to protect itself, especially in environmental laws, which the ISDS provision does, is wrong.

Secondly, for a corporation to be able to “trespass” on another’s property with their dirty genes, and not only get away with the trespass but also to gain financially from it, is wrong again.

I encourage your readers to stand up against the TPP when possible, and to push our politicians to enact laws to protect our farmers against these trespassing genes.

– Peter Brown, Grand Forks