Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act (Bill C-41)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am a little confused about the question on the investor state provisions in the Canada-Korea free trade agreement. I agreed with my hon. colleague when he said that these agreements by definition would give corporations the ability to sue Canada in arbitrations. They would allow them to sue for damages, for bills and for laws that are passed municipally, provincially or federally. It is anti-democratic.

I do understand that the trade critic for the official opposition, the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway, feels that this investor state agreement is acceptable because there is a level of transparency in the six month opt-out clause, but in principle, it would do the same thing that the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour finds objectionable.

I wonder if he is not troubled that we would pass any further bilateral trade agreements that would create these additional powers for foreign corporations.

Robert Chisholm:  Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely sensitive to this issue and to any agreement tying the hands of any government. However, I am sufficiently confident, as a result of the analysis that we have done on this, that this free trade agreement would not apply to provincial, territorial or municipal procurement or crown corporations, where most Canadian procurement is located.

Secondly, under the investor state provisions, we understand that not only would the process, for the first time ever, be laid out in a transparent matter, but we would be able to cancel this provision within six months. While it is certainly not what we would negotiate, which I indicated off the bat, and I do have concerns in those areas, in this case I would suggest to my hon. colleague that I am sufficiently convinced that the concerns that she raised are not at issue in this agreement.