Thursday, 8 November 2012

Canada-China FIPA: The Facts

Source:... | Canada-China FIPA: The Facts

At any moment, Prime Minister Harper could pass the most secretive and sweeping trade deal of a generation.

This deal would pave the way for a massive natural resource buyout and allow foreign corporations to sue the Canadian government in secret tribunals, restricting Canadians from making democratic decisions about our economy, environment and energy.1
Most Canadians have never heard of FIPA, the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, because Prime Minister Harper is trying to sneak it through without a single vote or debate in Parliament.2,3
Canadians have a right to determine our future, but this agreement will undermine our democratic rights and lock us into an inescapable path of foreign-ownership and resource extraction until at least 2040.
The Canada-China FIPA could be approved as soon as November 2nd unless we get the word out now that the Harper Conservatives are trying bypass Parliament and sneak this deal by Canadians. That’s why we partnered with on this campaign – if enough of us raise our voices now, we can create a massive public outcry to stop this devastating deal in its tracks.
Send a message to Prime Minister Harper and your MP: stop the Canada-China FIPA and the Nexen takeover.
Alongside this deal, the Harper government is trying to sell off Nexen, a major Canadian oil and gas company, to the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), one of China’s massive state-owned oil companies.4 The $15 billion-dollar Nexen takeover will open the floodgates to a wave of foreign buyouts of Canada's natural resources.
If FIPA passes, a Chinese company can take over Canadian resources and then sue Canadian governments in secret, if the government does anything that threatens the company’s profits
Any Canadian law or government decision – even ones that protect Canada’s environment, create jobs and stop dangerous projects – could be fought in secret tribunals outside of our legal system. Arbitrators unaccountable to the Canadian public would have the power to award billions in damages to foreign corporations if we do anything that hurts corporate profits, like improve environmental standards or slow down the export of cheap, unprocessed resources.1,5,6
Time is running out. We have days before FIPA is set to pass into law, and the Nexen takeover could be approved at any time. Canadians, including many Conservative MPs, oppose the Nexen takeover, and Prime Minister Harper has just asked for a 30 day extension to regroup. We need a massive public outcry now.
And let’s remember: this isn’t about Canadians vs. Chinese, it’s about people having a right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

Additional Information

The ability for corporations to sue foreign governments in private courts, called “investor-state arbitration,” is a controversial practice built into many trade deals like NAFTA that has cost Canada millions and over-ruled democratic decisions, but none impose the level of secrecy in the Canada-China FIPA.
Incredibly, if BC tries to regulate or block Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline, Sinopec, another Chinese state-owned oil company with investments in Canada’s natural resource infrastructure, may be able to sue for damages, and we may never even hear about it the case or the details of the results.5,6
Other countries like India, South Africa and Australia are moving away from this kind of trade deal. Last year Australia rejected investor-state arbitration due to concerns that it would “constrain the ability of Australian governments to make laws on social, environmental and economic matters”.7,8
The BC Union of Indian Chiefs has also written an open letter to Prime Minister Harper condemning the Canada-China FIPA. They begin their letter: On behalf the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, we are writing to firmly express, advise and direct the Government of Canada to reject the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China as the Government of Canada has breached its fiduciary duty to consult First Nations on our respective constitutionally-enshrined and judicially-recognized Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights.9
The Chiefs of Ontario have also written to both Prime Minister Harper and China's Ambassador to Canada advising that the Canada-China FIPA investment deal violates First Nation Treaty rights and international law, and should be postponed indefinitely, pending nation-to-nation discussions between Canada and First Nations.10,11
Why is Canada moving backwards?


  1. Canada-China Investment Deal Allows for Confidential Lawsuits Against Canada (Toronto Star)
  2. Tories quietly table Canada-China investment treaty (Globe and Mail)
  3. Battle over CNOOC’s proposed Nexen Takeover Heats Up In Ottawa (Financial Post)
  4. Ottawa extends it review of CNOOC’s nexen bid (The Globe and Mail)
  5. Chinese Companies Can Sue BC for Changing Course on Northern Gateway, says Policy Expert
  6. Chairman Harper and the Chinese Sell-Out (The Tyee)
  7. Trading our way to more jobs and prosperity (Government of Australia)
  8. Multiple Countries Rejecting Investor State Dispute Settlement (Janet M Eaton, PhD)
  9. Open Letter: Canada – China Agreement Abrogates Rights of Indigenous People (Union of BC Indian Chiefs)
  10. China Canada FIPA - Chiefs of Ontario Letter to PM Harper
  11. China Canada FIPA - Chiefs of Ontario Letter to China's Ambassador