NAFTA lawsuit should be an eye-opener for Harper

On Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 in Blogs

On November 15th, 2012, US-incorporated firm Lone Pine Resources announced its intentions of suing the Government of Canada under the North American Free-Trade Agreement’s infamous Chapter 11. Over what? Quebec’s decision to impose a moratorium on all oil and gas exploration activities in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

By announcing the moratorium, Quebec not only made the right decision (the GPC is the only federal party calling for a moratorium on any oil and gas exploration and/or development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence), but it set the standard for every other province. The decision was made by elected officials and with overwhelming support in the population. Every Quebecer still had the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion in mind. Lone Pine argues the decision was “arbitrary”. I say it was not.

This case should be an eye-opener for Harper’s Conservatives in their zealous promotion of the Canada-China Investment Treaty. Thanks to citizens like you, the Treaty has not yet been ratified. If it were, it would allow Chinese companies (including state-owned enterprises) to sue Canada over decisions that can limit or reduce their expectation of profits. China could claim damages against Canada for decisions at the municipal, provincial, territorial or federal level. Even decisions of our courts can give rise to damages.

This is not theoretical. This is happening now with private US corporations. We don’t want to know what would happen if Harper allowed Chinese Communist Party-controlled enterprises this kind of power over our democracy.

I know you already took part in our campaign against the Canada-China Investment Treaty. I invite you to maintain the pressure on Stephen Harper. You can do so by using our new Email Your Friend button on our Action page.

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  • Arnold Gill

    Timely, true. But this has already happened many years ago, when, I believe, a Michigan garbage disposal company, banned by state law from dumping toxic waste in Michigan, sued Canada because it was also not allowed to dump the same waste in Ontario. Both are examples of blatant misuse of terms in the treaty, which emphasizes that those terms need to be modified.

  • Karen Thomas

    THANKS for this info. come on Canada. let’s keep the pressure on P.M Harper not to sign the Investment treaty with ChinaC

  • DanMar Dinsmore

    Thank You Elizabeth May

  • James Fraser

    Damn, girl – you have insight!

  • Stephen Hall

    This is not correct. They filed a Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to Arbitration. This is not a lawsuit, nor have they filed a notice to start a lawsuit as is required.

    • TrishaM

      Is your last name really Harper by chance or are you just a stickler for detail?

      • Dennis J. Hassell

        Wow, so tolerance and debate and questioning is a one-way street? I guess by asking the question, that makes me a Harper spy. Trisha, do you want the Green Party to stay at less than 10% of the popular vote forever? Keep up the accusations, Komrad.

        • craigcantin

          We welcome robust debate and commentary that sticks to the issues and is respectful, including if one disagree’s with Elizabeth. No one is perfect, and we learn from the corporate knowledge of others.

          (Thus, why we have open comments on this site.)

    • MDL

      A notice of intent is enough for me. They are either attempting to change the gov of Quebec’s decision our get some money out of it. That is the essence of people’s opposition so split hairs on terminology if you please but realize it does not change the outcome!

    • Al Wright

      They filed a “Notice of Intent to Sue” under NAFTA Chapter 11 provisions, which permit the US and Mexico to sue Canada is they feel they have been wronged by a Canadian government policy or action. Certainly sounds like they mean to sue the pants off us. I wouldn’t question the research of Elizabeth May. She and her staff are always bang on.

  • Trevor

    The investment deal under section 11 actually creates the perverse incentive to invest in anticipation of harmful legislation that might create opportunities to sue.

  • Jim Bates

    This is a blatant example of the misuse of terminology.No foreign entity should ever be able to control decisions made by another country over it’s resources. If they are able to do this the perhaps Hamas should take Israel to court to demand that the boarders be left open. Every country has the right to control it’s resources. Personal profit should not be the only thing that maters.

  • Memi

    Thank you, Ms May for being a True Canadian who cares and deeply understands that for Canada to continue its world-renowned diplomatic efforts on the world stage, the efforts that gave our former PM Lester Pearson the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1957 for solving the middle-east Suez crisis, we need to be vigilant and not allow any second-rate Benito Mussolini to lead this country backwards….

  • Carol Skanks

    Bad news for all Canadians, he signed the Treaty!

  • Kevin Aubie

    Ahhh Liz, I so wish you were our prime minister.

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