Harper’s trade/investment-deal sell-out to China will be locked in

Elizabeth May —

Ever since September 2012, when news of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Hu Jintao of China witnessing the signing of the Canada-China Investment Agreement in Vladivostok Russia, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been raising the alarm about the threat to our sovereignty, implicit in any such agreement.

Tabled in the House of Commons on September 26, 2012, quietly and without any briefings or news release, the treaty was never subjected to study in any committee, other than one hour before the trade committee. Ratification involves a vote of Cabinet, not Parliament.

The treaty has been in a legal position for ratification since November 2, 2012. “As the months passed, I became more hopeful that more thoughtful and concerned members of Mr. Harper’s own Cabinet were constraining the ratification,” stated Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May.

“The brave actions of the Hupacaseth First Nation in challenging the treaty in court also appeared to be delaying ratification. That court action is still unresolved. My fear is that the events of this summer, specifically the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) charging that China had hacked into the National Research Council database, created new pressures to repair the damaged relationship with Beijing in advance of Prime Minister Harper’s visit to China. Rewarding the Peoples’ Republic of China for hacking into our national research database is a double betrayal of our national interests.”

Elisabeth May went on to say, “Once ratified, the Canada-China Investment Agreement will bind Canada, including future governments, for a minimum of 31 years. Unlike NAFTA, with an exit clause of 6 months’ notice, this agreement, also called a FIPA (Foreign Investor Protection Agreement) cannot be exited for the first 15 years. After 15 years, either country can exit on one year’s notice, but any existing investments are further protected for another 15 years. Despite some claims by other politicians that the treaty could be voided by a future government, that is not the case.”

“The only way to exit the treaty would be through negotiations with China in which the government in Beijing agrees. Unilateral withdrawal would trigger a multi-billion dollar claim by the Peoples Republic of China against Canada, with damages open to collection in one hundred countries around the world.”

“Cabinet’s signing of this deal behind closed doors, instead of giving Parliament a say, is not just undemocratic in itself,” added Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer. “It is also a profound attack of Canada’s sovereignty as a nation, and an erosion of the rights of all Canadians to make democratic decisions about our economy, environment, and energy. The Conservatives have now allowed for secret tribunals that will work to re-write our laws in order to protect Chinese interests.”

Green Party Elizabeth May concluded by saying, “This agreement will permit state-owned enterprises (SOEs) of the Peoples Republic of China to bring claims for damages against Canada for decisions taken at municipal, provincial or federal levels if those SOEs believe the decisions will harm their profits.”

“The arbitration process has been shown in countless decisions globally to generally favour the larger economy in the dispute. No Canadian company has ever won a chapter 11 (investor state) case under NAFTA against the US. US corporations have won and wrangled multi-million settlements repeatedly from Canada. I am certain no Canadian company will ever benefit from this agreement. But Canada will lose — not once but over and over again. If ratified this cements our relationship to the Peoples Republic of China as a compliant resource colony. I call on every Conservative MP to block this sell out.”