Chinese trade deal would tie our hands

Chinese trade deal would tie our hands Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski: Your recent travels to China as part of a trade delegation and subsequent public statements indicate that you place importance on the economic relationship with China, parti

Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski:

Your recent travels to China as part of a trade delegation and subsequent public statements indicate that you place importance on the economic relationship with China, particularly in terms of China’s interest in Yukon’s abundant mineral and oil and gas resources.

As premier, I presume you are aware that the federal government is planning to ratify the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement on Nov. 1.

The Yukon NDP Official Opposition believes this investment treaty raises a number of serious issues including:

* If ratified, it will tie the hands of future elected governments for at least 31 years;

* The provisions of this agreement severely restrict the abilities of future governments to change or adapt their legislative and regulatory frameworks in response to changing circumstances;

* The Canada-China deal undermines basic Canadian principles of public accountability and open courts by sending disputes to a secretive arbitration panel;

* It raises dramatically the stakes of Chinese takeovers in the natural resource sector; and

* It raises question about how First Nations’ Section 35 constitutional rights are protected, or whether the requirement to consult with First Nations has been addressed.

Yukon is at the beginning of a long, and one hopes, productive process of resource extraction and development. Government of Yukon numbers suggest that $700 million in Asian investment have entered the Yukon, and that this investment will grow over time.

If this treaty becomes law, Yukon will not be masters in our own house. Any future Yukon government action to get a fair return for our wealth could be subject to closed door arbitration. The same would apply to new environmental rules or employment equity programs or new rules respecting temporary foreign workers.

The ability of federal, provincial and territorial governments to make laws in the best interests of our citizens is undermined by the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). And unnamed and unaccountable panel of arbitrators could direct democratically elected governments. Trade is one thing; but any international treaty should not throw away Canadians’ democratic rights and freedoms.

According to international investment law expert Gus Van Harten: “This treaty will have major implications for core elements of Canadian legislative and judicial sovereignty. It will tie the hands of all levels and branches of government in Canada in relation to any Chinese owned asset in ways that many governments in Canada, I suspect, have not considered closely. The implications will be legally irreversible by any Canadian court or other decision maker for at least 31 years.”

I am calling upon you as premier to tell Yukoners, in clear terms, your views on the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. Will you tell the prime minister that until there has been a full public consultation on this game-changer of a trade agreement that the federal government should not ram it through Parliament?

Liz Hanson

Leader, Yukon NDP Official

Opposition

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

Just Posted

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read