Ratifying FIPPA = Abdication of Responsibility

The Canada-China Trade Deal

To get a deeper understanding of why ratification of the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments [China-Canada Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA)]  is such a bad deal for Canada, I recommend Christopher Majka’s series:

and

Open letter to Stephen Harper: Fourteen reasons the Canada-China #FIPA needs a full public review
This trade treaty is often called the “Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement” (FIPA)

Canadian Flag (cc by laurelrusswurm)

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May suggested that:

All Liberal and Conservative MP’s should ask their party the following questions:

    1. Why does this treaty lock Canada in for 31 years, when NAFTA allows 6 month notice to exit, and even the investment treaty with Benin, tabled in the House after the China Treaty, allows exit in 16 years?
    2. Why does the China treaty give the State Owned Enterprises from China a six month window for diplomatic wrangling, within which Canadian governments and businesses can lose in behind-closed-doors pressure by China on the Canadian government? No other investment treaty includes a 6-month nation to nation diplomatic process.
    3. Why is this the first treaty in years that allows the entire arbitration process to remain secret, allowing Canada only the option of making it public?
    4. Why has Australia, with a 10-fold larger volume of two-way trade with China than Canada, refused to enter into investor-state agreements, including refusing to negotiate one with China. Why has Canada not conducted a study, as Australia did, to determine whether these treaties do more economic harm than good?

“Unless every Member of Parliament can get satisfactory responses to these questions, any vote in support of this treaty will be an abdication of our responsibility as Canadians to ensure we are not giving the Peoples’ Republic of China the right to challenge our laws – whether municipal, provincial or federal, or court judgments – claiming billions even for measures taken with no intent or evidence of trade discrimination,” said Ms. May.

Happy Earth Day: House to vote on Canada China Investment Treaty Today

Gerry James adds:
5. Why can we as a nation leave nation to nation dispute settlement mechanism to a three person arbitration board for final judgments of such magnitude and gravity. While I understand arbitrators can effectively resolve many international commercial differences, to leave the fate of nation to nation trade conflicts under this pact to a panel of 3 arbitrators with binding decisions is willful recklessness.

Canadian Flag surrounded by cables

majority

Stopping a Federal Government with a majority from doing exactly as it wants is problematic. Absent the real democracy Canada might have with a proportional electoral system, public opinion is one of the few checks we have on our government. Sometimes the most powerful dictator can be swayed from pursuing an ill advised path if faced with unified public opinion.

The various opposition parties have been fighting FIPA in their various ways all along, but at the end of the day, the Liberal Party chose not to stand with the NDP in voting against FIPA ratification. Instead, the Liberal Party chose to support FIPA.

The volume of partisan blaming online is deafening. NDP blame Liberals for not supporting their scrap FIPA motion, while Liberals argue that the NDP behaved just as badly as Liberals by refusing to support the Liberal motion to amend FIPA. Are the two motions equal? The NDP answers that its motion could have stood a chance had all opposition united behind it, but that the LPC motion merely repeated an NDP motion previously quashed by the government.

I sumbit that there is merit to the NDP side.  If the LPC had voted with the NDP, there was a chance some CPC backbenchers would have voted for the NDP motion because it was so clearly in the public good. Had that happend, a majority vote against ratification would have killed the treaty. But there is no reason to expect any CPC MP will commit pointless party suicide by voting against party dictates without a real chance of accomplishing something — in this case protection of the public good.

Whether you buy into either partisan tale or none, the fact remains that partisan special interests trumped the public good. The inability of the opposition parties to work together is not good for Canada.

Trade deals can be good or bad, but it seems pretty clear that this incarnation of FIPA will be very good for China, and very bad for Canada – for am unprecedented 31 years.

The only thing now standing between Canada and the FIPA steamroller is that the Hupacasath First Nation Filed Notice of Application Against Canada – China FIPPA

Since our government has let us down, the only thing the rest of Canada can do is support the Hupacasath First Nation in standing up for Canada’s future.  Leadnow is raising donations to help with the legal bills.  If you can, please Donate to the First Nations legal challenge that could stop FIPA in its tracks

FIPA: The Greatest Threat to Canada’s Future

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Post Script:

If the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (FIPPA) is ratified, Canada will be stuck with it for more than three decades. That is an awfully long time for an entire nation to suffer the consequences of an ill advised path that was negotiated in secret.

It may be too late for us to do anything that will work, but at this point, it is too important to let go. Anything is worth a try if there is any chance at all we can salvage our children’s future. The government has not yet ratified the Canada-Chinese Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (FIPPA).

Canadians must keep on letting them know we are not willing to accept this travesty.

Leadnow and SumOfUs have already delivered their digital petitions. If you have not yet signed any petition, here are the three I know of:

The Council For Canadians Petition
NDP petition
Green Party Paper Petition

Other things we can do:

Leadnow’s call-your MP form Although the vote has already transpired, you can continue to call your MP, and use the talking points on this Leadnow page. When speaking directly to your MP, an excellent strategy is to remain calm and firm, and repreat what you want to say until you get verbal acknowledgement that the person on the phone has heard you. They are most likely to respond with party “talking points” that don’t actually answer your questions or concerns. Stay focussed on your points… have notes written down in front of you if it will help. Under our antiquated and inequitable system, most MPs have very little more power than we do. But if they continue to receive calls telling them that their constituents are not willing accept this, it may encourage thekm to do the right thing.

Note: The Green Party digital petition is no longer online, but we can still download and sign – and get our community to sign – paper petitions we can then mail (postage free) to Ms. May and/or our own MPs, of whatever flavour.

The Green Party also makes available online forms to:
Green Party Write-A-Letter to your MP
email your friends
Green Party Write-A-Letter Form

Finally, you may want to read or re-read Elizabeth May’s article:

The threat to Canada’s sovereignty — what we are giving to China

Trade with China should not mean handing over the keys to Canada.

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