Debate absent on trade deal

Prime Minister Stephen Harper could commit Canada to the most sweeping trade deal in a generation without a single debate or vote.

Dear Editor:

In one week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper could commit Canada to the most sweeping trade deal in a generation without a single debate or vote.

If the Canada-China FIPA passes, it will pave the way for China’s massive companies to spend billions buying-out Canada’s natural resource companies. Under FIPA, 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 FIPA would tie our hands for 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 (NAFTA), 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. M.P. Albas, how can you in good conscience support this?

K. Staley

Summerland

 

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