May To Request Emergency Debate on Canada-China Investment Deal

On Monday, October 1st, 2012 in Press Releases
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Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands, will rise today in the House of Commons following the conclusion of Routine Proceedings to request an Emergency Debate on the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). This follows the delivery of a notice of her intention to Speaker Andrew Scheer on Friday.

In her notice, May stated that the “grave and sweeping implications for Canada’s sovereignty, security, and democracy” posed by FIPA – signed by Stephen Harper on September 9, but kept from the public and Parliament until quietly tabled on Wednesday last week – warrants much greater transparency and debate.

According to the Policy on Tabling Treaties in Parliament, FIPA must be tabled in the House for 21 sitting days before it can be ratified. Then, the Privy Council can, without any public or Parliamentary consultation or review, sign it into law.

“I pointed out in my notice to the Speaker that this is perhaps the most significant trade agreement since NAFTA,” May stated, “and the fact that it can be negotiated and ratified behind closed doors is very corrosive to our democracy.

“I also realize that an emergency debate is far from sufficient under the circumstances, but it might be the only opportunity Parliamentarians have to review and discuss FIPA before we are bound to it for the next 15 years, especially if neither the NDP nor the Liberals focus on it during their Opposition Days.”

Among concerns that urgently need public scrutiny and discussion are:

Article 3, “Promotion and Admission of Investment” – This compels each party to encourage investments from the other, and admit investments as national laws permit. It could oblige Canada to approve Chinese investments that threaten our national security or are of marginal or negative “net benefit” to Canada – a term as yet undefined.

Access to investor-state arbitration and dispute resolution mechanisms – As with Chapter 11 in NAFTA, Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) have the right to sue the Canadian government for laws, regulations, even court decisions that might interfere with or prevent present or future profits. Unlike NAFTA, this can be done in secrecy with special tribunals. China recently claimed 3 Billion Euros in damages from Belgium for an investment failure.

Limited Access to Tribunals – Only the federal government can participate in the secret tribunals. Even if their interests are directly affected, provincial governments, Canadian companies, and others have no right of standing.

Performance Standards – China can impose conditions on foreign investors, such as the use of local suppliers, working with local business partners, training local workers and management, although Canada can’t do the same.

National Treatment Provisions – These prevent federal, provincial, and municipal governments from setting conditions favouring Canadian workers or materials for projects within Canada.

Article 33(2)(c) – This binds Canada to restrict domestic access to our fossil fuels, uranium, forests, fish, and all exhaustible resources in equal measure to any restrictions placed on exports to China .

“Given the pending takeover of Nexen by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company and the subsequent flood of investment by Chinese State-Owned Enterprises, I am amazed that Stephen Harper is willing to thrust Canada into such a vulnerable position with FIPA,” said May. “I know I’m not the only Canadian who feels our prime minister is giving away the store. We need to debate FIPA before it’s too late.”

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  • http://twitter.com/ArcticGoddess1 Patricia Stewart

    You get him, Ms. May.

  • DHaddock

    Elizabeth May I sing your praises. You speak for so many concerned Canadians. For so many reasons I fear for our children’s future, and Stephen Harper and the rest of the corporate state are high on that list.

  • Margo Sheppard

    You are the only one standing up for us. These criminals must be stopped. 7,000 votes doesn’t make them able to dismantle this country or its laws, which is exactly what they are doing. Let’s not forget the robo-calls either.

  • A Vajda Janyk

    Thank you for watching out for all of us.

  • Terry Robinson

    I’m sure that Canadian companies will have Harper’s ear during secret tribunals while Canadians will be left out of the process entirely. This is another move towards creating a consumer pool (formerly referred to as Canadian citizens) for corporations – any corporation.
    I’d like to see provincial governments question the consitutionality of this agreement.

  • doe

    thank you elizabeth. you go girl. (and don’t let the robocall fraud be forgotten)

  • Mike Bray

    There will not be much Canadian sovereignty, democracy or energy security left after the reign of Dear Leader and his false majority.

  • Ellen

    Please let Stephen Harper know that this type of highhanded action just won’t do. I’d never vote for him, but even if I were a supporter, and discovered he had acted in this secretive way, I’d be furious. Please continue to show Canada what is really going on behind the scenes. We cannot tolerate back room deals and secrecy. The Government of Canada MUST be transparent to its people. Keep up the good work! Sock it to em!

  • Jane D. Brown

    I hope that you can encourage the Liberals and NDP to support your concerns and have a lenglthy and much needed discussion regarding the implications of FIPA. Thank you for keeping us all in the know!

  • Friend of Environment

    Can FFIPA be considered legal if the Conservative government was not legally elected because of robo-calls? This is why 3000 EAs were suspended — to open Canada up to Chinese environmental deregulation.

  • Nathan

    I’m getting really tired of supposed model 1st world democracies such as Canada, Australia, NZ, the US and some EU countries using trade agreements to make an end-run around the democratic institutions they serve. If these things are really such a boon for our respective nations then please have the decency to negotiate them in public and in the specific case of the current Harper government show a little respect to your citizenry by not overstepping your meager mandate and straight jacketing Canadian law for the next decade and half.

  • Brad

    I feel like she is one of the only ones who actually cares about the well being of this country and the people in it especially. This is very distrurbing, why is Stephen Harper continually doing things that are good for other countries and corporations but possibly devastating to us and this country and its resources. He just wants to trample all over everything and do things in the interest of others. People in this country (not me) voted this idiot in and he doesn’t do anything we want or they want.

    • Bgilgoff

      Here, here!

  • Donna

    Thank you for being the push for democratic actions/behaviours in the house.

  • powderflask

    You are a true Canadian Elizabeth – and your fellow citizens thank you for looking out for our interests in that den of thieves you find yourself in.
    with Gratitude…

    • bgilgoff

      Elizabeth May needs more than just our gratitude. She needs our full support for the amazing job she is doing. Come on people..donate, volunteer, let’s get involved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.d.munro.3 Mark David Munro

    If I had a time machine I would abort the conservatives and liberals HA HA HA.

  • Diane Voripaieff

    The ONLY Canadian with any guts! What is wrong with this country..Or should I say the Canadian Parliament. There are no answers to this question except the next time you go to the ballot box..Don’t forget; You hold the power; support this woman.

  • Steve Garnett

    I wish we had a hundred of you Elizabeth. Currently the only federal politician that is thinking about Canada first!

  • Eisha

    Dear Elizabeth, what can we do as citizens to make noise about this? to be heard? So that Harper and CHina don’t just do whatever they want with out land?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ART2heARTist ART2HeARTist

    Elizabeth, thank you for caring about Canada on an international sovereignty stage; Go get ‘em! Please care about Canadians at an in utero sacred gestational stage too…

  • http://www.facebook.com/sinead.89 Sinéad O’Brien

    Frightening. The negative affects of NAFTA are already so easily seen through income equality in Canada. I can’t even imagine what this has the magnitude to do. Thank you so much for fighting for us.

  • Feather

    Woman Warrior

  • Peter

    Openess and transparency are obviously damaging to democracy in Harpers’ thought process. I hope you succeed in your efforts to somehow bring “His Lordship” to heel.

    You are one of very few voices of decency, honesty and sanity in that Place which is almost void of those honourable qualities.

  • Steve Elves

    Ms. May:
    Thank you for raising these important and vital considerations. I have written to my MP and to Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Rae to voice my concerns and urge them to back you in this regard. Please keep us posted.

  • wabsey

    It’s 4:47 in the morning, I was a little tired but now I’m just pissed.

  • Valerie Forest

    Whatever happened to public referendums? This is supposed to be a democratic country, where the people rule. The populace should be consulted in any decision this far-reaching, and OUR word should be law. Thank you, Elizabeth May, for your courage and belief in democratic government.

  • Henry Greenhow

    Thank you Elizabeth for all your efforts to try to preserve Canadian democracy. As for the Omar Khadr case, Harper must realize that Obama’s re-election is assured, so that repatriating Omar K. now won’t be a further offense to the U.S. administration.

  • kuranator

    Thanks elizabeth… at least someone is standing up to them

  • Maxiview

    Thank you Elizabeth for taking action. The fact that PM Stephen Harper seriously considers this China – Canada investment deal shows not only is he a terrible economist, but he is a traitor to the Conservative mandate of creating jobs for Canadians, in their jobs action plan bull. This government is ruining Canada and is out of control.

  • http://www.facebook.com/virginia.howard2 Virginia Howard

    We’re on a runaway train heading straight to Corporate hell, where’s the *%&@ing brake?!

  • M & J Bremner

    Keep up the fight!! This deal is bad for all canadians. To allow off shore companies this much control destroys everything canadian. WAKE UP CANADA!

  • margsview

    Okay, I am starting to receive confirmations from various MP’s claiming they will stand and demand debates on trade issues in question. Also sent email to Kevin Page, and others whom purport to stand against the despicable way this government ignores proper procedure and disclosure of said policies and trade negotiations. Too bad there wasn’t a separate island nation for all multinationals—-banks and their fellow 1 % ‘s.

  • Jenny

    I am appalled at what is happening to Canada under Harper’s Government. Thank you for standing up for Canadian rights. I hope others will follow your lead.

  • Carol

    God help us, if you can’t Elizabeth!!

  • http://twitter.com/MelindaJHuntley Melinda J. Huntley

    thank you Elizabeth! This is awful news!

  • Leonard N. Giles

    Congratulations on your efforts to protect Canadian resources from takeover by China. When you have a golden goose, sell the eggs, not the goose! As a former member of the RCMP and CSIS I specialized in China and am the author “Wearing Red, Tracking Reds: What a Ride!” which speaks of Canadian security issues and the growing influence of China from recognition in 1970.

  • Barry Kingdon

    Ms. May must be applauded for addressing such an important issue in defence of Canada’s sovereignty and national security. The People’s Republic of China is a clear threat to our national interests through political and cultural interference, as well as economic and technology espionage. We must not place corporate interests ahead of the safety of our Nation.

  • Krista

    Thank you for always keeping us informed. I really hope you take over and change things in the right way. You always have my vote!

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