Elizabeth May: Canada-China Agreement is a Threat to Canada’s Sovereignty

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, denounced Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s unprecedented move to ratify the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).  Ratification of the international accord by Cabinet was made without debate or public consultation.


“At no time since 1867 has the sovereignty of Canada been significantly undermined,” stated Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May.  “This deal is one-sided and will never benefit Canadians.  Stephen Harper has now committed this country and future governments to an agreement that has locked us in for a minimum of 31 years – more than a generation.”

When news came of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Hu Jintao of China witnessing the signing of the Canada-China Investment Agreement on September 9th, 2012 in Vladivostok Russia, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has continued to raise the alarm about the threat to Canada’s sovereignty.

Details of the agreement were kept secret from the Canadian public and Parliament until September 26th, 2012, when it was quietly made public and tabled in the House of Commons. The treaty was never subjected to study in any committee, other than one hour before the trade committee.

In a recent article in the Tyee entitled, Harper Gov’t ‘Conceded to China’ under Pressure, associate professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School and an expert in investment treaties, Gus Van Harten, was quoted saying that “FIPA is practically a one-way deal in favour of China.”

“Cabinet’s signing of the deal behind closed doors, instead of giving Parliament a say, is not just undemocratic, it is also a profound attack on Canada’s sovereignty as a nation.” added Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer. “The Conservatives have now allowed for Chinese interests to sue in secret tribunals if they don’t like our laws. In effect, Stephen Harper has allowed for a foreign state to rewrite Canadian law in order to protect their interests.”

Andrew Weaver, Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, expressed his concerns, stating, “The consequences of this decision will reverberate down to the provinces. Why did the federal Conservative not consult with the provinces and why has the BC government not been asking the tough questions as to whether this is in the province’s interest?

“New Brunswickers want to know why our laws can now be challenged by the Peoples’ Republic of China. Where was the premier? Was NB even consulted?” asked NB Green leader David Coon. “This is a deeply disturbing development.”

“This agreement is one that Canadians will come to regret for generations,” concluded Elizabeth May.

Backgrounder: What is an Investor-State Agreement?