Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am astonished by the parliamentary secretary’s presentation. Let me quickly clear up one thing. There is no misinformation in the following statement: The treaty itself does not require transparency, only Canadian policy in place. So it is a discretionary decision by either China or Canada to decide to make the proceedings transparent. There is no requirement for transparency in this agreement, and that is a departure from previous treaties.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice has spoken of the benefits of an agreement with Senegal and Benin and Tanzania. Those countries are not likely to take Canada to court for billions of dollars because they simply do not represent the economic clout. It is unfortunate that Canadian mining companies may take them to court if they improve their environmental laws, but it is simply unacceptable if the People’s Republic of China is invested in the right to sue us.
This agreement does not open a single new market with China. It can still refuse Canadian investors’ interests in its energy sector or its IT sector. However, we are wide open to investments from the People’s Republic of China, and if this agreement is ratified we will be sued for billions of dollars if we improve our laws to protect the environment, health or labour standards.
Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay: Mr. Speaker, as I have said, this investment treaty will fundamentally help protect the interests of Canadian investors. I also point out, and we so assert, that it is our government that brought greater transparency to the treaty review process. It was our Conservative government that, in 2008, introduced a formal tabling policy that requires international treaties to be tabled in the House before their ratification or coming into force. In this case, the opposition parties simply chose not to debate it, despite having had several opportunities to do so.
The Canada–China FIPA is similar to the 24 other investment treaties Canada has signed with key trade and investment partners. This is yet another demonstration of how our government is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for hard-working Canadians and protecting their interests.