What Has Harper Done?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 ChinaSo 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 enterprisesThe 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 profitsThe 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 dealsThe 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 heardOnly 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 secrecyThe 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 doneThe 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.