Feds push FIPA without concern for democracy

In 1988, a far-reaching trade agreement was considered an important enough issue to base an election on it.

In 1988, a far-reaching trade agreement was considered an important enough issue to base an election on it.

Not so anymore.

It was in 1988 that Brian Mulroney of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party called an election, in part, because of the Free Trade Agreement proposed for Canada and the United States. In fact, the election was dubbed by some as the Free Trade Election, with the agreement being the dominant issue of the campaign. It was a very controversial agreement, possibly the most controversial agreement of its type in Canadian history.

In 2012, another controversial trade agreement is in the making, set to be signed today, Oct. 31. This time, the public doesn’t get a say. In fact, the public receives no information announcing its importance to Canadians.

The Canada China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPA) is expected to be ratified today, without a single debate or public discussion of this 31-year deal.

According to a Toronto law professor who specializes in international investment law, and others who have studied and oppose the agreement, the deal allows Chinese firms to sue in special tribunals to protect themselves from Canadian government decisions, whether they be municipal, provincial or federal. The same is true for Canadian companies in China.

However, no Canadian companies nor governments will be able to sue a Chinese investor for breaking laws – whether they be environmental, labour-related or other. And, in a new and particularly disturbing twist, the Chinese lawsuits can be kept secret.

With the increasing investment in Canada by China, and the environmental concerns around major projects in this country, Canadians deserve better than this cynical approach to democracy. At the very least, the public has a right to hear details of this agreement before it’s set in stone for three decades.

 

Just Posted

UBC researchers want to hear from rural Shuswap residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Truck rollover west of Sicamous disrupts traffic for hours

The evening rollover on May 25 temporarily halted highway traffic near the Bernie Road intersection.

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Thunderstorm possible for South Okanagan

The rest of the region will enjoy a sunny day.

Photos: Over 80 competitors took part in 3D Archery Shoot

The event is hosted by the Salmon Arm Fish and Game Club

Girl, 9, out of ICU after carbon monoxide poisoning in Shuswap tent

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

KFD, COSAR rescue injured Okanagan hiker

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail in Kelowna after woman injured her leg

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Neighbours help save Okanagan garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire enough before BX-Swan Lake firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Letter: Sicamous Bike lanes going unused

This letter writer feels too many people are forgoing bike lanes to ride in the street

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Most Read