An open letter to Stephen Harper: Canada - China FIPPA abrogates rights of Indigenous people

| November 1, 2012
An open letter to Stephen Harper: Canada - China FIPPA abrogates rights of Indigenous people

Prime Minister Harper: 

On behalf the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, we are writing to firmly express, advise and direct the Government of Canada to reject the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China as the Government of Canada has breached its fiduciary duty to consult First Nations on our respective constitutionally-enshrined and judicially-recognized Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights. 

Furthermore, as both Canada and China have adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both countries are bound by Article 19 which states: "States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned … in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them." 

As designed, we believe that through the ratification of this agreement, China will be granted protection and would thus greatly increase their investment in the development of the Alberta tarsands, pipelines, mining projects and possibly future offshore drilling projects, all at a great cost to our Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights. 

Specifically, the agreement provides far superior protection for Chinese investors' interests than for our First Nations' Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights. The agreement prohibits the Government of Canada from offering special treatment to any Canadian investor that it does not offer Chinese investors. We believe the agreement would enable Chinese investors to challenge Canadian regulations, policies and/or legislation designed to protect the environment as well as current reconciliation negotiations, accommodation measures and treaty negotiations. 

To recklessly disregard our Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights is an affront. Our rights are human rights. The Government of Canada continuously champions the fundamental principles and values of human rights and democracy. Yet Canada repeatedly violates them when our rights are ignored. 

This agreement will adversely impact our rights and territories, and we urge you to immediately cease and desist and to indefinitely postpone the signing of the Canada – China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. 

Regards, 

[Original signed] 

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip 
President 

Chief Robert Chamberlin 
Vice-President 

Chief Marilyn Baptiste 
Secretary-Treasurer

CC: 
UBCIC Chiefs Council 
BC First Nations and Tribal Councils 
First Nations Summit 
BC Assembly of First Nations 
Assembly of First Nations 
Members of Parliament of Canada 
Members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia 
Council of Canadians 
Mr. Zhang Junsai, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Canada 
Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver 

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