Request for Emergency Debate – Foreign Investment

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to request an emergency debate on an issue of great importance to the future of Canada.

During the Prime Minister’s visit to China in February 2012, we learned of the existence of the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, an agreement with far-reaching implications for Canada’s sovereignty, security and democracy.


This agreement that we first learned of in February was then signed by the Prime Minister in Vladivostok at the APEC summit on September 9 but tabled before the House on September 26, the first time any parliamentarians had the chance to see the text.

A 21-day clock is running on sitting days, which means we are now down to 18 sitting days before, as a matter of automatic decision-making within the Governor in Council, an agreement with far-reaching implications for the sovereignty of the country will become law. It is a treaty with the effect of legal force for a minimum of 15 years. If any future government wishes to get out of the onerous terms of this agreement with China, it would take a written notice of one year. It is not reciprocal but lopsided in the interests of Chinese rights to overturn and challenge Canadian laws and to seek damages from us. If any future government serves a one-year notice to get out of the agreement, any existing Chinese investments at the point of that notice would be further protected for another 15 years.

The agreement is sweeping. I know that with 18 days remaining one might say where is the urgency. The urgency is that the governing party plans no debate in the House. There will be no vote in the House. I note that the official opposition has an opposition day motion tomorrow touching on one specific deal, the proposed takeover of Nexen by CNOOC, but that will not touch at all, in pith nor in substance, the far-reaching implications of a mandate for the Government of Canada to encourage Chinese investments in Canada. It is a mandate for the Canadian government to give national state-owned enterprises of Communist China equal treatment to any Canadian enterprises, but to give Chinese state-owned enterprises superior rights to any Canadian corporation in the case of any laws passed in our country and to have arbitration over claims for damages that will remain secret. The Canadian public will not know of them.

I am shaken to my core by the depth and breadth of this motion that will not come before this House but merely before cabinet, and bind Canadians, municipal governments, provincial governments and federal governments for 15 years,

Mr. Speaker, I beg of you to allow an emergency debate in the House.

The Speaker: I thank the hon. member for raising this issue. I appreciate the importance she attaches to the issue, but I do not find that it meets the test set out for emergency debates.