Vancouver Island North MP’s explanation of trade deal ‘naive prattle’

Dear editor,

Regarding the letter by MP John Duncan, it has to be said that this is naive prattle, at best.

Dear editor,

Regarding the letter by MP John Duncan (Record, Nov. 16) MP explains FIPA agreement), it has to be said that this is naive prattle, at best.

People much smarter than our MP (and indeed than our prime minister) have analyzed the terms of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) and found it desperately wanting in advantages to Canada and dangerously open to interference in our economy and sovereignty by China.

One of these critics is Gus Van Harten, an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, who has urged Premier Christy Clark to take legal action to delay the Canada-China FIPA:

“There is a strong case that the federal government must obtain provincial consent before ratifying the treaty. The treaty clearly impacts on provincial authority over natural resources, land and property rights, and other matters. It applies to any legislation, regulation, or court decision that affects Chinese-owned assets, with limited exceptions. There is a real possibility that, over the lifespan of the treaty, Canada will face billion dollar-plus awards, due to provincial decisions, that are not reviewable by any Canadian court.”

But Christy Clark has already stated, at the Canada-China Investment Summit held in Vancouver last month, “I very much look forward to the ratification and implementation of the China-Canada FIPA so that two-way investment between our countries can be mutually beneficial for generations to come.”

The entire letter can be read at http://lailayuile.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/christysellout.jpg.

Citizens of B.C. who have written to the premier, exhorting her to beware of the dangers of this agreement, may not realize that their concerns have already been dismissed and that the FIPA is coming at us like the HST did (under the radar).

If it’s unconstitutional for the Government of Canada to ratify this agreement without approval of the provinces, it appears that B.C. has already, quietly, rolled over.

Describing the deal as a “31-year ball and chain” on Canada (http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/19/Chinese-Trade-Deal/), Van Harten elaborates on the intentions of China to exploit Canada’s mineral and petroleum resources and the inability of Canadian governments to protect our country from international arbitration and an influx of foreign workers.

It would allow Chinese companies to challenge our democratically evolved regulations (those that still exist after the gutting of environmental protections) through arbitrations that would happen privately — we would never know anything except how much it costs us to pay up, and maybe not even that.

The Conservative government line, to which Mr. Duncan has affixed his signature, is that the FIPA is “designed to protect Canadian investors in China … without diminishing Canadian governments’ ability to legislate for Canadian purposes.”

Even if this were true, why should a questionable advantage be handed to Canadian investors at the expense of our economy and sovereignty at home?

Mr. Duncan’s assertion that it is the government’s policy to table these treaties in the House of Commons to enable a 21-day period of debate is just more hogwash. They have been secretive, unresponsive to requests by Elizabeth May for an emergency debate on FIPA, avoiding consultation with First Nations and other Canadian citizens, and unwilling to discuss it in the House.

This is an extraordinarily bad deal for Canada, which our politicians seem unable to comprehend. It’s oddly appropriate that Stephen Harper has been bought off with two live teddy bears — a babe in the woods negotiating with the Chinese dragon, to give him every benefit of the doubt. His incompetence is breathtaking.

It really is time that every person who voted for this government started to think about the consequences of having elected the Conservatives. I hope everyone who voted for John Duncan or knows him personally will tell him we need him to stand up to Harper, cross the floor, and make his constituents heard.

In case that seems unlikely, they can e-mail the prime minister and premier directly at stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca and   premier@gov.bc.ca.

Anne Bauman,

Cumberland

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Courtenay Elementary is the latest school on a growing list that has COVID-19 exposures. Google Maps photo
Courtenay Elementary latest school on growing list of COVID-19 exposures

Exposure dates at the school on McPhee Avenue are Feb. 22, 23 and 24

A decision to terminate the CVEDS contract aligns with the CVRD board and municipal partners’ interests to pursue economic and community development initiatives at a more local level. File photo of CVRD office in Courtenay
Comox Valley Regional District board votes to terminate CVEDS contract

The Comox Valley Regional District board has decided to provide the Comox… Continue reading

Island Health has announced a COVID-19 outbreak at Glacier View Lodge, a long-term care facility in the Comox Valley. File photo.
Island Health declares a COVID outbreak at Glacier View Lodge in Courtenay

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a long-term care facility in… Continue reading

The Village of Cumberland and the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) are offering two new spring break camps, open to children ages eight to 13. Photo supplied
Village and Cumberland Community Forest Society co-hosting spring break camps

Submitted The Village of Cumberland and the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS)… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read