After the Mayflower spill, make our voices heard
The Harper government in Canada has been working on a trade deal with China that would turn Canada into a resource colony for foreign investors. There has been no debate in Parliament and very little media coverage for the deal, just the way the government wanted.
Well, today ForestEthics Advocacy shined some light on the agreement that is due to be ratified on November 1. At a press teleconference today, and in a press release, ForestEthics Advocacy challenged Prime Minister Harper to delay enacting one of the most controversial and binding investment agreements that Canada has ever considered signing, the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPA.)
“The Canada-China investment agreement threatens the very fabric of Canadian democracy,” stated ForestEthics co-founder Tzeporah Berman. “Creating a deal that allows the Chinese government or corporate investors to sue Canadians because they don’t like the strong laws we put in place to protect our environment is not just absurd, it’s wrong. A deal like this makes one wonder whom Harper’s working for.”
Audio from October 30 press conference with ForestEthics Advocacy board members Clayton Ruby and Tzephora Berman
To download the 12MB .mp3 file, right-click the above link and select 'Save Link As...'
This investment agreement differs from other similar agreements in that the complaints take place behind closed doors without ever having to be made public. A three-person arbitration panel (made up of a Canadian, Chinese and likely World Bank affiliated representative) would decide whether new regulations or government decisions were “necessary” or “justifiable”.
“This secretive and unprecedented treaty is the next step in PM Harper’s plan to make it impossible to challenge his government’s agenda, an agenda ruled by foreign oil companies and investors. He’s prioritizing investors over citizens, and attempting to stun dissenting opinion. Canadians won’t stand for it,” said ForestEthics Advocacy Board Chair, Clayton Ruby.
If passed, this investment agreement would cripple provincial power to determine how to proceed with projects like the highly unpopular Enbridge pipeline, which is funded in part by foreign investors who, under FIPA, would have the right to sue in a secret tribunal if British Columbia denied the pipeline based on environmental risk.
ForestEthics Advocacy is also challenging the Prime Minister to accept all financial responsibility for any future lawsuits by foreign investors against provincial and local governments that result from this investment agreement.
Our campaign also ran a full-page ad (pictured below) in the Ottawa Citizen today to call attention to this deal.