In a liberal democratic country such as Canada, each individual is equal to another. So how can you protest against the protection of individual rights in trade agreements?
In capitalist society, many individuals do have formal political rights, such as the right to vote, to associate, or to be treated equally under the law. This makes us some of us citizens in a liberal democracy. But in fact, as citizens, we must continue to fight to protect these rights.
In the weeks before the Peoples Summit and the March at Quebec City, the authorities tried to intimidate us by releasing media reports of riot control training by the police, as well as stocks of plastic bullets, tear gas and pepper spray brought to Quebec City. We have witnessed the militarization of Quebec City, as well as the erection of a barricade to keep the democratic leaders separate from the people they are supposed to represent. Meanwhile corporations were permitted to buy their way into private receptions with the political leaders.
Not only do we have to fight to protect our political rights, we do not all have access to the same economic rights. Individuals who own and control factories, banks and other economic resource have the means to gain an advantage over the rest of us. 1
In law, a citizen, a household, or a corporation all can be defined as an individual. So, if a law protects individual property rights, we must recognize that it is the rights of wealthy citizens and corporations that are protected most of all.
1.Gibbins and Youngman, 92.