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Oct 25 2012

Dear Members of the International Trade Committee,

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Dear Members of the International Trade Committee,

I’m writing to express my concern with the China-Canada Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPA), and request that you pass a motion that allows for rigorous Parliamentary and public debate on this trade agreement that has such huge implications on our sovereignty.

Elizabeth May received (asked for) a technical briefing from the Minister of International Trade on September 27. She only received today, October 24th and you can see her speak about it in the HOC here:

http://elizabethmaymp.ca/parliament/statements/2012/10/24/canada-china-investment-treaty/ She says:

“It confirms that Chinese state-owned enterprises would have the right to complain and charge for damages for decisions in Canada by municipal, provincial, territorial or federal governments. It confirms this treaty will apply till 2027 for a minimum, and potentially till 2042, and China can complain of anything it feels is arbitrary.”

and

“It will be of greater benefit to Chinese investors in Canada than to Canadian investors in China.”

I’m concerned because I hear from Forest Ethics lawyers that: …Chinese companies, even with minority shares, can sue Canada outside of Canadian courts and behind closed doors. These secret tribunals run by three arbitrators, could award hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in damages to these foreign corporations for enacting laws that protect our energy security, environment, jobs or public health.

In essence, the deal provides protectionist policies for foreign profit, not for the well-being of Canadians, our economy or our environment.

So, after reading that, I want you to know that my MP Colin Mayes Conservative denied this in a letter to me so who am I to believe?

This is what MP Colin Mayes said:

“The definition of “net benefit” will be very broad in terms of Canada’s overall interest in this transaction.”
and

“With regards to investor-state dispute settlement, it is Canada’s long-standing policy to permit public access to such proceedings. Canada’s FIPA with China is no different.”

However, MP Colin Mayes also says that:

“…our government has made targeted amendments to the Investment Canada Act to provide greater transparency to the public, more flexibility in enforcement and an alternative to costly and time-consuming litigation. ”

So what has changed in the legislation? Have the changes given the public access to the proceedings? I hope you can sort out this out and let me and the rest of Canada know what is going on with this secret or not so secret litigation process that’s woven into this trade deal.

MP Colin Mayes revealed another fact that I was not aware of: “…since 2006, we have concluded or brought into force FIPAs with 14 countries, and are actively negotiating with 12 others. The Canada-China FIPA is very similar to the other FIPAs that Canada is a party to. It contains all of the core substantive obligations that are standard in our other FIPAs.”

How is it possible that I do not have knowledge of all these trade deals? 26 trade deals with the same problems that this one has? And it’s not been reported in the news or on CBC radio? How transparent is this?

The implications of this deal and the other 26 trade deals are such that it merits much more than twenty-one days of public awareness.

There needs to be debate in the House of Commons, review from your Committee on International Trade with diverse speakers to analyze the deal, provincial consultations and public debate. What about First Nations? Ought they be consulted too? Apparently it is required under Canada’s constitution that Provinces be party to the acceptance of these trade deals and yet… There has not been time or any information on BC debating these trade deals.

Thank you for considering this request. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

Priscilla Judd

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