Red Carpet for China

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, held a press conference this morning to warn the Canadian public about the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) made public yesterday by Harper’s Conservatives.


“What we have heard so far about this agreement always concerned Canadian companies’ new rights in China. What we need to talk about are the new rights given to state-owned Chinese companies who want to buy up Canadian companies and resources, like CNOOC in the case of Nexen,” said Elizabeth May.


“This agreement contains measures similar to NAFTA’s Chapter 11 which allows US and Mexican companies to sue the Canadian Government if its laws threaten their ‘expectation of profits’. Chapter 11 has been utilised in Canada, for example when US-based Ethyl Corporation sued the Canadian government because it had imposed a ban on the use of MMT, a gasoline additive, manufactured by Ethyl, which was toxic and harmful to public health. The Canadian Government lost the arbitration battle and was forced to lift the ban on MMT in addition to paying $19 million to Ethyl Corp. This was a private corporation from the United States; what Mr. Harper is doing with FIPA is giving the same kind of power to Chinese state-controlled corporations. This is giving the communist Government of China a veto right over the laws voted by the Canadian Parliament,” added May.

“We do not know if Prime Minister Stephen Harper will ask the House of Commons to ratify the Agreement. It is important they do so if we want Canadians to understand what is hidden in that document. We should consult across the country with Canadians to explain what this agreement means and hear what they have to say. We are the only party in Ottawa confronting the Conservatives on this issue. This Canada-China Agreement is a challenge to Canadian democracy,” concluded May.

May also pointed out during the press conference that:

  • This agreement is for 15 years, and can be exited with one year’s notice, but any Chinese company with investments before the letter to withdraw is filed has 15 years more protection;
  • The agreement gives “national treatment” protection to China, so no Canadian government could insist on Canadian workers;
  • The agreement commits to access to China to Canadian resources and only allows reduced access to China if Canada reduces its own use of the resources proportionally.