Canada-EU trade deal still gives foreign companies upper hand

(OTTAWA) March 1, 2016 – The “legal scrubbing” of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – announced today by International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland – does little to prevent foreign investors from suing governments through a custom-made tribunal process.

“Under CETA, foreign investors will still be able to attack state decisions in areas ranging from agriculture to consumer protection to public health to the environment. This means tribunals can still order vast payouts to foreign investors without having to go through Canadian courts. We’ve already seen the results of these devastating tribunal rulings under NAFTA. This is a bad deal for Canadians,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).

Ms. May noted today’s announcement includes improvements to the appointment of arbitrators and in providing a clearer affirmation of the government’s right to regulate, but said dispute process itself remains flawed.

“Trade deals need to respect labour rights and environmental rights, not just corporate rights,”said Paul Manly, Green Party International Trade Critic. “Under CETA, foreign investors can sue federal, provincial and municipal governments using a custom-made judicial process. But no one has made the case why we can’t settle disputes using Canadian courts, which are reliable, accessible, independent and vastly superior to Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS). The Canadian Labour Congress knows this is a bad deal for Canadian workers, one that will give foreign investors the upper hand at the expense of Canadian sovereignty.”