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Federal NDP wants China investment treaty postponed and studied by Parliament

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Opposition continues to build against the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA), which could become law as early as November 1. Harper signed the deal at a meeting in Russia in early September, tabled it a few weeks later, and unless we can stop its ratification, the investment treaty will give Chinese investment in Canada at least 31 years of excessive protection from environmental, health, conservation, labour or other provincial and federal measures that get in the way of profits. No wonder over 50,000 people have signed a letter opposing the FIPA.

Lawrence Martin asks why we’re not debating this deal in the Globe and Mail today. The federal NDP is asking the same question. The party has tabled a motion “calling for the Government to postpone the implementation of this agreement until there has been a full study, input from Canadian stakeholders, and a debate and vote in Parliament.” I’ve pasted the full motion below.

The NDP is encouraging people to write to the Conservative members of the trade committee to support the motion. I think it’s a very good idea, and you can draw from our Action Alert against the investment treaty for ideas if you need them, and for more information on what the heck a FIPA is! Or just watch the above video by Caitlin Dodd, Heather Libby and Kai Nagata of Deep Rogue Ram.

Conservative committee members include:

- Rob Merrifield (Mayerthorpe, Alberta): rob.merrifield@parl.gc.ca
- Ron Cannan (Edmonton, Alberta): ron.cannan@parl.gc.ca
- Russ Hiebert (South Surrey - White Rock - Cloverdale, British Colombia): russ.hiebert@parl.gc.ca
- Ed Holder (London West, Ontario): ed.holder@parl.gc.ca
- Gerald Keddy (South Shore - St. Margaret’s, Nova Scotia): gerald.keddy@parl.gc.ca
- Bev Shipley (Lambton - Kent - Middlesex, Ontario): bev.shipley@parl.gc.ca
- Devinder Shory (Calgary Northeast): devinder.shory@parl.gc.ca

The days of handing investors corporate rights above and beyond what Canadian courts offer to anyone else should be over. Unfortunately our government has an addiction to signing FIPAs — to protect Canadian mining projects abroad from community resistance, environmental assessments, etc. But the flip0side is that Canada has been one of the biggest losers under this investor rights regime, with at least 18 disputes filed against the government under NAFTA, costing us $160 million in cash payouts or settlements.

The latest, largest award, which the Harper government hasn’t made public yet (probably close to $65 million), is to ExxonMobil and Murphy Oil — because they don’t want to put some of their profits into research and development in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Canada-China FIPA invites an explosion of similar attacks from Chinese investors on important public policies here in Canada. We can’t afford the risk.

To send a note to all MPs saying you oppose the Canada-China investment treaty, click here.

The NDP motion, which will be voted on in trade committee this Thursday, reads as follows:

- Whereas the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (the Agreement) is regarded as a major economic initiative that will affect billions of dollars of investment,
- Whereas this deal has been negotiated for some eighteen (18) years,
- Whereas this deal could have negative effects on the ability of Canadian governments to set policies in the public interest,
- Whereas this deal changes Canada’s long-standing policy to ensure public access, public disclosure and transparency in arbitrations,
- Whereas this deal fails to ensure reciprocal access to Chinese markets for Canadian investors,
- Whereas this deal will expose Canadian taxpayers to expensive litigation,
- Whereas the Government of Canada failed to consult with the Canadian public and on this deal,

Moved:

- That the Standing Committee on International Trade conduct a study on the Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments,
- That this study hear from a broad cross-section of witnesses, including investors, provinces, trade groups, legal and Constitutional experts, and Canadian citizens,
- That the Committee report its findings and recommendations to the House,
- That the Committee immediately recommend to the Government that it postpone the implementation of the Agreement until the Committee has reported its findings and recommendations.

Stuart Trew, trade campaigner for the Council of Canadians http://canadians.org/action/2012/Canada-China-FIPA.html

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