Regarding MP Cathy McLeod's recent letter about the government's perspective on Canada's Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China (FIPA Will Serve Canadians Too, The Daily News, Nov. 2).
It is interesting that she would use the word perspective as this only indicates the government's stand on the issue and does not necessarily mean that her ensuing argument is based on actual facts or historical data, which if it was, would clearly demonstrate that these international trade agreements are anything but beneficial for the citizens of this country.
This particular investment will lock us into legally binding agreements with China for a generation, which means that the entire legislative framework pertaining to environmental regulations and processes that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has recently gutted will be locked up for 30 or more years.
If a future government decides to restore the environmental laws that our federal government has scrapped, it will be sued and if it decides to scrap the FIPA it must give one year's notice. Each and every investment ratified during this time will be protected automatically for an additional 15 years with the agreements intact.
Future governments will be reluctant to make changes due to the millions and possibly billions of dollars in fines that could result.
What does this mean for Canadians? It means we will lose our sovereignty, the ability to control and make decisions about our land and water.
We will no longer have a say in what happens to our resources, nor even what takes place in our own backyards (88 per cent of land in B.C. is controlled by large timber, mining and oil companies).
International trade agreements take precedence over provincial and federal laws and as stated by McLeod: "Foreign investors cannot bring lawsuits against Canadian municipalities or provinces, although it is true that decisions made by these levels of government could potentially result in legal action being taken by the investor against Canada."
Though McLeod mentions that there is an investor-state settlement process, China is a behemoth in comparison to Canada and the likelihood of Canada winning any dispute is remote.
And who pays for the devastation and pollution left behind by foreign corporations? We do, our children and all future generations of Canada, and as stated in an article by researcher Kevin Logan, they will be left in the cold "as virtual bystanders, literally legally stranded as voiceless squatters in their own land."
Consultations have been extended to Nov. 11, and comments may be submitted to EAconsultationsEE@international.gc.ca
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