Without a single debate or vote, our prime minister is planning to commit our country to the most sweeping trade deal in a generation.
Many Canadians do not think this deal is in our best interest, but it seems that possibly Stephen Harper thinks that he knows what’s best for us.
Maybe he does, but maybe he doesn’t, and I believe that we still do live in a democratic country, so at the very least there should be opportunity for our leaders to discuss the pros and cons thoroughly and even listen to what ordinary Canadians have to say on the subject before such a commitment is made.
As I understand it, 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 us dearly in taxes.
If the Canada-China FIPA passes (and time is very short to prevent this), it will pave the way for China’s massive companies to spend billions buying-out Canada’s natural resource companies.
Under this agreement, China’s companies can sue Canadian federal, provincial, or municipal governments in secret tribunals, outside the Canadian court system, if those governments do anything that would limit the Chinese companies’ profits in Canada.
Canada has already spent hundreds of millions on penalties from lawsuits launched under the NAFTA and right now Belgium is facing a $3-billion suit from one of China’s companies because of a similar foreign investor agreement.
Some people feel that Harper is attempting to lock us into this secretive and extreme deal for short-term gain, but it looks to me that it will not be worth the long-term pain.
Besides, Canadians and Chinese alike have a right to have a say in the decisions that will shape our lives.
This may be a foreign idea to the Chinese government, but it should not be to Canadians.
Harper, please stop the rushed ratification of this agreement!