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

Vancouver artist rocks to fight opioid crisis

Jeremy Allingham is set to bring his guitar-focused rock ‘n roll to Kelowna April 6, Vernon June 9

Update: Driver of minivan suffers non life-threatening injuries

The accident took place at approximately 1 p.m.

Tracing their family tree

Sisters searching for Summerland connection

City warms to solar power

New Shuswap solar society receives enthusiastic response to alternative form of energy.

Armed robbers use fake police lights to pull over victims

Information wanted on North Shuswap robbery, police impersonation, burnt vehicle, motorhome theft.

Crook’s Corner

Arts and entertainment highlights this week across the Okanagan

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Kelowna celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

More than 50 people gathered in Kelowna to bring awareness to diversity and difference

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Shots fired in Kamloops

Kamloops RCMP are investigating a report of shots fired and a possible explosion at a trailer court

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Most Read