Letter: Be aware of Chinese trade agreement

Harper government trade agreement does not sit well

We do not want the Harper government to ratify the Canada China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement next week. It undermines Canadians and offers us nothing.

“Most favoured nation” means Canadian investors get the same treatment from China as any other investors.  The privilege is that investors can challenge government regulations of either nation if they think their expected profits are unfairly reduced.  An appointed tribunal decides the case.  Note that China doesn’t welcome investors and doesn’t have a lot of regulations so will be slim pickings for Canadian investors.  On the other hand, Canada has been a fat goose for plucking.

Professor Gus Van Harten, who is an expert in international investment law and teaches at Osgood Hall Law School, provides the following quote from a trade arbitrator:

“Three private individuals are entrusted with the power to review, without any restriction or appeal procedure, all actions of the government, all decisions of the courts, and all laws and regulations emanating from parliament.”

Canada is already party to similar trade agreements and loses these arbitrations at an alarming rate. The tribunal can put the investor’s hand in the Canadian tax-payer’s pocket. Professor Van Harten has written to Harper and reminded him that “Canada has paid out around $170 million in compensation in four cases to date.”

Write to the Prime Minister and ask him not to ratify this sham of a treaty that Van Harten compares to a “straight jacket” Canadians would be wearing for 30 years.

The proposed Canada China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement provides nothing like a free market—it is a protection racket with the next generation bound to foreign investors making the rules for Canada.

Heather Phillips

Otter Point District