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"Victory will never be found by taking the line of least resistance." Winston Churchill

If people no longer expect objectivity from their political and legal systems, then all justice will be reduced to a power struggle between conflicting and irreconcilable perspectives, a struggle in which the most dominant and pervasive bias will replace fair and impartial process as the character of justice. But if objectivity in law and politics is everywhere supplanted by conflict between subjective interests, then the side of economic privilege and established authority will always retain dominance. A society in which people no longer expect representatives of its major institutions even to attempt to render objectivity in their professional demeanours is a society whose major institutions are in a crisis of ethical legitimacy. In such a society, there is wide spread cynicism regarding the possibility of fair political process because it seems impossible that impartial, unbiased dispositions could exist to enact such processes.

Robert Nicholls

Language and Logic

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stop the Sellout to China - What has Harper Done

What Has Harper Done?

On September 9th, Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed an agreement with China, the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. The agreement was kept from the Canadian public and Parliament until September 26th, 2012, when it was quietly made public by the Harper Conservatives.

Red Carpet for China

So what is the Canada-China investment agreement? Simply put, it is the most significant trade agreement signed by Canada since NAFTA. Only this time our “partner” is the communist government in Beijing, an authoritarian regime with an appalling record on human rights.
We at the Green Party of Canada believe there are many flaws in that agreement. And we think Canadians should know about them:

1. Open bar for Chinese state-owned enterprises

The Canada-China investment agreement means easier takeovers of Canadian assets, especially in the resource sector. In the context of the possible takeover of Nexen by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), it is crucial that we collectively pause to consider the wisdom of granting Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) such an easy access to our natural resources.

2. Canadian laws vs. Chinese profits

The Canada-China investment agreement would allow Chinese companies (including state-owned enterprises) to sue federal or provincial governments over decisions that can limit their profits. Favorable rulings in favor of Chinese companies mean we collectively have to financially compensate the Chinese investor. It also means Canadian laws can be cancelled.

3. Back room deals

The Canada-China investment agreement would allow Chinese investors to sue Canada outside of Canadian courts. Special arbitrators would take the decisions. These arbitrators, unlike judges, do not have secure tenures or set salaries. Their decision cannot be subject to judicial review.

4. Right to be heard

Only the federal government is allowed to take part in the arbitration process. Provincial governments or Canadian companies, even if their interest are affected, do not gave the right to voice their concerns during the arbitration process.

5. China’s obsession for secrecy

The Canada-China investment agreement allows Chinese lawsuits to be kept secret. At any time, we will not know if we are being sued and who will decide the case. We will not know what our government is saying on our behalf. We will not know if Canada has been ordered to change government decisions. This is a complete U-turn for Canada who has always insisted on complete openness in investor-state arbitration, for example when signing the Canada-US-Mexico free trade deal.

What the Greens have done

The day after the Canada-China investment agreement was made public on September 26th by the Conservatives, Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May held a press conference to warn Canadians on the dangers of the agreement. The following day, Elizabeth wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons demanding an emergency debate about the deal. Speaker Andrew Scheer, Conservative MP for for Regina-Qu'Appelle, turned down May’s request.
So far we are the only party raising the issue, demanding debate and alerting Canadians to the threat -- reduced sovereignty, reduced democracy, all for more Chinese ownership of Canada's resources.
We now call on Canadian citizens to also demand a democratic process for Canada’s ratification of FIPA while we still have time.

To take action, spread the word on social media and check the link at the top of this posting.