Opposition Motion – Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement

On Thursday, April 18th, 2013 in Debate

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, over and over again today we have been told by Conservative members that this is a standard FIPA and that they are all the same.

This language is from the current investment treaty with Benin. It will take me a minute to read it:

….except in rare circumstances, such as when a measure or a series of measures is so severe in the light of its purpose that it cannot be reasonably viewed as having been adopted and applied in good faith, a….measure…designed…to protect…public welfare objectives, such as health, safety and the environment, does not constitute indirect expropriation.

That is not bad language. The language in the China investment treaty requires that a country like Canada prove that any measure is “necessary” to protect “human, animal or plant life or health”. We are way less protected under the Canada-China investment treaty than Benin is in dealing with Canada.

Does my friend have any comments?

Guy Caron: Mr. Speaker, my colleague is absolutely correct, and that is why I am perplexed by the comments from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade. This morning, in his first question to our critic, he said that this agreement is no different from previous foreign investment protection agreements. On the contrary, there are some very different and extremely worrisome provisions in this agreement.

Hypothetically, we may have to face a secret administrative tribunal at the request of one of the two partners. That measure does not currently exist in any treaty or accord. The protection given to current investors is different from that given to future investors—those who will invest after this treaty is ratified—and that is one element that differs from past measures. We do not agree with those measures.

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