Sunday, September 14, 2014

Clampetts clownshow distracts from FIPA

Gosh, was it only five years ago that Alberta Energy spokesman Tim Markle said "Chinese takeover is good news for Alberta", even as Harper was blowing off the Kyoto Accord, supposedly due to China's crappy environmental record, and pledging to build a monument to victims of communism? 

Beginning Oct 1 for the next 31 years until 2045, under the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement Harper just ratified on Friday, Chinese corporations will be able to directly sue the Canadian government for any public interest measures that interfere with their ability to make a profit in Canada. 

Do you think China-owned Nexen, Sinopec, and PetroChina just might consider Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipeline to be somewhat integral to getting their $30B investment in the tarsands home to China for refining?  
Think Steve can count on Christy Clark to ensure no BC environmental protection laws might harm China's assets?
Think it's an accident Steve released this news on a Friday during the Ford brothers' Clampett Dynasty pitch?

Two years ago in Vladivostok, Harper announced his signing of the FIPA deal with China. MP Don Davies introduced a motion in the House to not ratify it. His motion failed. All the Libs and Cons voted against his motion not to ratify FIPA, including 24 Con MPs from Alberta and 19 from BC.  
You can contact those quislings through this HoC page showing that vote.

NDP Petition : Stop FIPA Now     
Green Party Petition : Stand Up to the Sellout to China          
LeadNow Petition : Stop the Secretive, Reckless & Binding Canada-China FIPA

Council of Canadians : Harper government sneaks through Canada-China FIPA despite ongoing court challenge

The Tyee : FIPA 'is the price China demanded to open its purse strings for investing in the resource sector in Canada.' and 

Harper's Sneaky, Undemocratic, Terrible Deal with China 


Hugh said...

Email sent.

I'm wondering what happened with that Eli Lily suing Canada for $500 million under NAFTA case.

Anonymous said...

BC warned for year? Harper and ex Premier Gordon Campbell are snakes in the grass. Fadden of CSIS even warned Communist China was making huge inroads into Canada. However, no-one listened.

We know we will never get China out of Canada. China fouled their own country and now we will have dead pigs floating down Canada's rivers, as they do in China. They can't even feed themselves so, China will also take our food crops.

Just imagine Canada an occupied country by, the most hated country on the globe. As Harper has given China permission to sue Canada? Let us give China thousands of reasons, for Communist China to sue evil scum Harper's Canada. Why in the hell should we care? This country isn't ours anymore. Canada belongs to Communist China.

However, we know Harper signed a deal with, the Red Communist China Army. China's evil government machine guns their students down. And, that hateful country is, right on our Canadian soil.

Anonymous said...

Justin Trudeau's campaign manager Daniel Gagnier is the former president of oil/energy lobby group EPIC and his chief of staff Cyrus Reporter used to be a lobbyist for Nexen. No surprise all Lib MPs voted for this monstrosity.

Anonymous said...

Excellent rant from Rick Mercer at your link - you should post it in full.

Alison said...

Anon@5:34 : Done!

Anon@5:31 : "No surprise all Lib MPs voted for this monstrosity."

Trudeau's personal staff issues aside, during the debate prior to the vote, Lib Wayne Easter indicated the Libs would vote against the NDP motion not to ratify and all 31 Libs in the House did indeed vote against it. However it would not have passed even if they had voted in favour - Final vote : YEAS - 88; NAYS - 170.
Easter argued the FIPA should be amended rather than just turfed altogether as the NDP wanted. The NDP countered that China had already signed it so no further amendments were possible, and besides the Cons had shut down debate on it in committee after only one hour of hearing experts so further discussion unlikely.
Not the Libs finest hour. I am a bit surprised to read liberals coming out strongly against this agreement now, apparently unaware that the LPC supported it. IMO the LPC supported it in order not to get smeared with being anti-trade by the Cons, who always accuse the NDP of this.

Anon@10:56 : China-hating - anti-Sinoism? - is one of the Cons' main accusations against opponents of this deal, a deal which is completely detestable for very good legal reasons having nothing at all to do with China. Let's not help them out, ok?

Hugh : Eli Lilly vs Canada case still ongoing.

Anonymous said...

Holly Stick, off-topic

Interesting story from Arthur Porter's new book:

West End Bob said...

Canadian voters allowed this man to destroy the Canada we used to respect.

Therein lies the problem . . . .

Alison said...

Also here : Arthur Porter dishes dirt on Harper, Couillard

Holly : When I read :
"a "handful" of Canadian agents abroad were "tortured and hanged" in an undisclosed country, and that "we had to keep the truth of how they died from their families, telling them that they fell off a balcony in Dubai, for example"

I thought that, if true, the people told their loved ones fell off a balcony in Dubai will be making some phone calls.

Boris said...

There's a voice inside me saying, OK, fine, let China sue the Canadian taxpayer by way of the federal government. Let us see how long that government stays relevant to the interests of Canadians. Perhaps I'm catching a Scottish bug just now, but governments that stop acting in the interests of the public to such a degree are dangerous to national unity. It is something to consider that Thatcher and subsequent Tory/neoLabour policies helped alienate Scotland and thereby create the circumstances that may break up the UK.

Alison said...

Boris : "OK, fine, let China sue the Canadian taxpayer by way of the federal government. Let us see how long that government stays relevant to the interests of Canadians"

Except that all documents filed or issued in ISA proceedings are confidential unless the respondent state decides to make them public.
Should the Chinese gov exercise their right under FIPA to decline to permit publication of a lawsuit, we would never know about it. Additionally the Cons have retained the right to withhold notice and documents relating to Chinese lawsuits against Canada if it deems it "not in the public interest" to release them.

There's also the fact that China as a state will be able to apply pressure to Canada as a state over regs that China as an investor stakeholder finds irritating.

We are so fucked.

Boris said...

"We are so fucked."

Well, that's unpleasant.

Boris said...

I mean, the whole thing is unpleasant. Wonder if FIPA would still hold if Harper regime was somehow declared unconstitutional.

Anonymous said...

Yes we are, balkanization continues unabated. I've been troubled by a lot of foreign policy decisions recently, much of which seems schizophrenic.

It will be interesting to see if the courts decision holds any sway over the matter. Seems like FIPA will be a boon to Canada's extractive sector investors trading over there.

It would be interesting to see if an argument put forward by the First Nations could argue that since they are not party to this agreement, any and all development that affects their lands can be served with an injunction.

I doubt the optics of the RCMP acting against native protesters in order to support a Chinese development would be very good for any federal government.

We'll....wait and see on that one won't we?

susansmith said...

Great post Alice. To clear up some misunderstanding.
Motion by NDP Davies:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should inform the Government of the People's Republic of China, that it will not ratify the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.
The Liberals suggested amendment to the main motion:
Thus amended motion would read as followed:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should inform the Government of the People's Republic of China, that "prior to any decision and the ratification of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, the said agreement should be referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade to conduct hearings across Canada and report back its findings and any recommendations to amend the agreement to the House."

The problem with the Liberal amendment to the main motion:
1. NDP had previously put forth a motion to refer FIPA to the Standing Committee on International Trade which had failed, thus the main motion amended would fail too!
2. Language in FIPA had already been ratified by the Chinese, and thus there was no mechanism within the agreement to modify or amend it now. (in other words, that horse had already left the barn).

Mr. Don Davies response according to Hansard:
"Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate the spirit behind my hon. colleague's amendment, we will not consent to that amendment. My hon. colleague knows that the New Democrats put forth a motion to have this matter brought before the Standing Committee on International Trade. It was rejected by the government, so we know already that it is not going to happen.
We need to take action on this FIPA now, and we may as well get to the real action, which is that this FIPA in its present form should not be ratified. The New Democrats are going to press the government to make that responsible move."

This is a link to Hansard.

See time code 11:30.

The only option that day in the House was to vote yes or no. There were Conservative MPs who were uncomfortable with the wording of the "agreement" but once the Liberals decided to vote against the motion, those Con MPs fell in line.

So you are right. It appears many Liberal supporters are unaware that the Liberals voted against the only motion that could have stopped ratification.
It could have stopped and started over again, with public consultation and input into this investment agreement.

Alison said...

Jan : Thanks for your much more comprehensive version of that day in the House. Thought I'd linked to that exchange in Hansard in the main post but you're right - instead had linked to the final vote twice. Fixed now.
Appreciate your point that Lib caving may have shored up wobbly Cons but to be fair - doubt any motion would have forced Con majority not to ratify actually. If you took the Libs' votes out of the equation entirely, vote would still be 139 to 88. OTOH, the Libs have done fuck all to try to fix this since in their rush to replace the Cons in the good graces of CCCE.

Anon@10:54 "It would be interesting to see if an argument put forward by the First Nations could argue that since they are not party to this agreement, any and all development that affects their lands can be served with an injunction."

Probable that timing of ratification on Friday was due to Harper going to China in November, but for the last two years prior to Friday, Ed Fast had said they would wait for Federal Court of Appeal response to Hupacasath First Nation's legal challenge. Legal challenge still not settled so what changed exactly?
Does Harper know it will fail?
Quite possible FIPA will push through Northern Gateway Project, despite horrible optics of Harper gov legally siding with China against FN.

Either way I fear that unless, as Boris says whole Harper regime declared unconstitutional, international agreement will trump anything that happens within Canada's borders - even FN as separate nation.
As you say, we'll see.
I'm looking up precedents.
Some time back I blogged about a weasley legal argument that attempted to portray FN treaty rights as de facto land expropriation in so far as treaty rights would prevent oil companies from getting product to foreign markets. I'm guessing given the chapter against land expropriation in FIPA, that this is the way they're going to try to go with this.

Anonymous said...

Holly Stick here:

I don't actually feel reassured by John Manly saying there's no problem with the deal.

Alison said...

Holly : No? Why ever not?

Anonymous said...

Alison, the submission in Hupacasath First Nation v. Canada (Foreign Affairs), 2013 FC 900 which is the earlier decision kind of outlines some of the legal rational for rejecting the FN's claim put forward by the gov. The court will likely apply the same rational for FIPA as they did with chapter 11 of NAFTA as they operate under the tenants of international law and thus the duty to consult does not apply. Also, since NAFTA tribunals don't fall under Chapter 96, then it stands to reason that the CCFIPPA tribunals will be viewed in the same light. If they are, and the duty to consult is not required, then the appeal may fail.

There is this though:
"[69] However, I will note in passing that the Respondents’ position on this point is inconsistent with provisions that are included in a number of final agreements that Canada has entered into with First Nations, which require it to consult with those First Nations prior to consenting to be bound by a new international treaty which would give rise to new international legal obligations that may adversely affect a right of the First Nations. (See for example Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, December 9, 2006, at para 1.7.1; Lheidli Final Agreement, October 29, 2006, at para 11; Tla’amin Final Agreement, at para 24; Yale First Nation Final Agreement, at para 2.8.1; and Tsawwassen Final Agreement, clauses 30 and 31 in Chapter 2; see also Land Claims and Self Government Agreement Among The Tlicho and The Government of the Northwest Territories and The Government of Canada, at para 7.13.2)."


Alison said...

Anon@4:32 : Thanks for those - will read after I catch some sleep first.

As you say, hope, but it's going to take a lot more than that. We need every opp minister in the HoC to stand up and refuse to allow any other House business to proceed until this is stopped. And we need us to publicly support them - bbots in the streets. Libs and media would get on board if the wind blew strongly enough that way.

Not going to happen just yet though, is it?

I do think this holds the possibility of support right across the political spectrum for bringing Harper down over this. And then we need rules to ensure nothing like this sellout through an order in council with no public input could ever happen again.

susansmith said...

Agree it may bring down Harper, but I remember 1993 and the Liberals campaigning on amending NAFTA, and instead when they got a huge majority, quickly signed on the dotted line.
So thinking that Liberals are not on board for this investing agreement is using rose coloured glasses into eternity.
And just blowing in the wind.

Alison said...

Jan : "Libs" was capitalized because it was at the beginning of the sentence - not because it referred to LPC. Pretty sure aside from LPC member diehards, traditional small case liberals will not be happy that if they go looking for Lib position on FIPA, the most recent official LPC communique from Trudeau I can find dates from April 2013 and supports it.
The completely p.o.s. obfuscation offered up by former Liberal deputy prime minister and now CEO of CCCE, John Manley won't endear them either.

Anon@4:32 : Further depressing thought ...
"duty to consult" does not translate into "duty to abide by"

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