Why should we trust Stephen Harper on the backroom trade deal?
In less than a week, the prime minister could commit Canada to the most sweeping trade deal in a generation without a single debate or vote.
If the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement passes, it will pave the way for China’s massive companies to spend billions buying out Canada’s natural resource companies. Even a majority of Albertans are alarmed and oppose the Chinese takeover of oil companies.
First Nations have not been consulted on this proposed treaty though the federal government has a duty to consult.
Under the agreement, China’s companies can sue Canadian governments, federal, provincial or municipal, in secret tribunals outside the Canadian court system if those governments do anything that would limit the companies’ profits in Canada.
The agreement would tie our hands for up to 31 years, making it possible for China’s companies to challenge Canadian laws that create jobs, protect our environment and build healthy communities with billion-dollar lawsuits that would cost taxpayers dearly.
Canada has already spent hundreds of millions on penalties from lawsuits launched under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and right now Belgium is facing a $3 billion suit from one of China’s companies because of a similar foreign investor agreement.
Why would Prime Minister Harper lock us into this secretive and extreme deal? It’s short-terms gains for long-term pain, and Canadians and Chinese alike have a right to have a say in the decisions that will shape our lives.