Conservatives mum about trade deal with China

Dear editor,

The silence from conservative quarters regarding the Harper government’s proposed FIPPA is deafening and confusing.

Dear editor,

The silence from conservative quarters regarding the Harper government’s proposed Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA) is deafening and confusing.

The proposed act runs so contrary to conservative financial and political principles that one would assume it would be the conservatives in Canadian society who are the most offended by it.

The agreement, one of the most sweeping free trade agreements ever to be negotiated, is about to be signed off without any debate, or even discussion, on the floor of the House of Parliament. This does not seem to fit with fundamental conservative democratic values.

The agreement provides for compensation to the Chinese government for the loss of “expected profit” if a proposed deal is challenged by any provincial or local government. Decisions on the amount of the settlement would be negotiated in secret and the amount of the settlement would not be disclosed. All settlements would be taken from the taxpayers of Canada.

This portion of the FIPPA violates at least three fundamental principles of good conservatism as far as I can tell: the right of provincial and local governments to make their own decisions, the right for taxpayers to know where their own money is being spent and the desire of conservatives to not give governments a blank cheque on the spending of tax dollars.

If this isn’t enough, this agreement is being negotiated with the world’s largest dictatorship. Conservative responses to Libya, Sudan, Burma, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Syria, even Russia have indicated that conservatives don’t support dictatorships as a matter of fundamental principle.

How odd and confusing that conservatives don’t see China the same way.

Where’s the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, who cry out when government “wastes” tax dollars on health care and social programs here in our own country? Where’s the Fraser Institute, who clamour endlessly over the misuse of taxpayers’ dollars? Where are our local and national business leaders who constantly complain about high taxes?

Wake up, conservatives! This deal could cost you hundreds of millions, possibly billions of your tax dollars and if it’s approved, you won’t even be able to find out how much of your money they took.

Canadians need your help here and now. Talk to the people you voted for. Tell them this deal is bad for you and that FIPPA must not be approved.

Kel Kelly

Merville

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