Trade deal flying under radar

The new omnibus bill of the Conservative Government is a carefully timed smoke-screen.

The new omnibus bill of the Conservative Government is a carefully timed smoke-screen.  The Conservatives are ensuring that Canadians are focused on yet another attack on our democratic processes while they slip by a truly frightening trade agreement with China.

While the US Presidential candidates make a cornerstone of their platforms protection of American citizens from misuse by China, the Harper government is secretly giving away Canadians rights for the next 31 years.

This agreement, poised to pass quietly Nov. 1, will allow China’s powerful state-owned enterprises such as Sinopec, (Asia’s largest refiner) the Kailuan Group (a coal conglomerate) and CNOOC (a national oil company) to control the pace and scale of resource development in Canada.

If you are one of the many who look forward to restoring some of the environmental protection and other laws that have been recently gutted, think again. The deal, in effect, gives risk insurance to Chinese companies borne by Canadian taxpayers. Taxpayers assume major liability for business losses of Chinese investors due to legal or regulatory changes in Canada.

When the Northern Gateway Project is rejected by British Columbians it will allow its Chinese backers to sue the provincial government.

British Columbians won’t even be able to follow what’s going on, as the agreement allows for quasi-secret arbitration that doesn’t even fall under Canadian jurisdiction. The treaty clearly states that documents may be withheld from the Canadian public in these cases.

The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) also gives China’s state owned enterprises, already under fire for corruption and inefficiency, the right to contest any Canadian standards that might stipulate the use of Canadian labour and materials in resource projects. Watch for floods of Chinese workers as companies are legally allowed to bring in their own workers and materials.

While we discuss the omnibus bill the Harper Government is in the process of giving control of our future away to China.

 

Sandra Forbes, Chilliwack