- Ben Powless' rabble blog on the investment deals between Peru and Canada & US
- Scott Sinclair's article on the Canada- Colombia FTA (CCFTA)
- CBC coverage of Munk Centre (Peter Munk/Barrick Gold) debate on aid/development with a Peruvian participant promoting 'property rights'/fair laws for Indigenous peoples.
- agitation of PC leadership candidate Hillier et al for Canadian farmer's 'property rights'.
my own confusion over use of the term:
Are property rights the rights of property or people?
When are property rights the rights of corporations and bankers and not residents?
What are the phrases/clauses and contexts in trade agreements and other regulations that undermine resident/public rights and give those rights to bankers and corporations?
On p.4 of Scott Sinclair's article, the CCFTA which Harper tried to pass (thankfully blocked by activists, for now) extended a definition of 'indirect expropriation' beyond actual transfer of real property to include any government 'measures' (laws, regulations, actions of any level of government) which restrict banker/corporate profits. Therefore a banker or mining company could sue any Indigenous government or community that tried to limit it's corporate activities.
Property Rights are not currently in Canada's constitution, as Helen Forsey and others have written earlier at rabble and elsewhere. Hillier and his banker-backers are trying to push this into our Constitution, because it would give bankers and corporations more rights than residents. Hillier is either stupid or paid off.
In any case, I need some clarification of the meanings of terms here. The Peruvian speaker in the Munk debate did at one point clarify his intentions, stating that advocating for residents' 'property rights' maybe wasn't the best choice of words, that really what had to be addressed was the structure of laws which operated in favour of foreign companies, over Peruvian residents and their own sovereignty. So this brings in the issue of context, and other laws, at the UN, and in Canada, with respect to rights, obligation to consult, and to obtain consent, as well issues of dispute resolution.
To bring this down to water level, some years ago we had regulations in place that prioritized domestic water uses over commercial and other uses when it came to giving Permits To Take Water in the province of Ontario. Regulations in the last handful of years have eliminated that prioritization. Decisions are now based on flimsy terms like 'balance' and 'risk of significant harm' - with 'significant' defined any way the corporations like.
So my question is, what else can we call our public/resident/nature's 'rights' to 'what is ours' without giving away the store to corporations and bankers ?