Prevent the ratification of the Canada-China FIPA without ANY public consultation

Here is a last ditch attempt to prevent the ratification of the Canada-China FIPA without ANY public consultation.  This email from Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada is an update and call for all Canadians who care to do something:

On September 9th, Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed an agreement with China, the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA). The agreement was kept from the Canadian public and Parliament until September 26th, when it was quietly made public, tabled in the House of Commons. No press release. No technical briefing.

Given his extreme attempt at secrecy, it is possible that the the Prime Minister could have succeeded in quietly passing this dangerous treaty into force without the public knowing had Elizabeth May not been waiting and watching for the treaty to surface.

This treaty would give China the unacceptable power to secretly challenge Canadian laws that infringe on its business interests, and Prime Minister Harper planned to ratify it without any public consultation, meaningful debate, or vote in the House.

Although he could have ratified the Agreement months ago, huge public opposition from Canadians of all political stripes and walks of life has caused many Members of Parliament, including many Conservatives of good conscience, to reconsider the wisdom of turning over this much power to a foreign government. We suspect that it is precisely this massive public outcry that has succeeded in forcing Prime Minister Harper to reconsider ratifying this treaty for the time being.

Thankfully, Members of Parliament will finally have an opportunity to vote on this secretive and dangerous Agreement, and we need your help to make sure that all MPs stand with the majority of Canadians who do not want this treaty ratified.

On Monday, there will be a vote on an NDP motion to demand that Canada not ratify the Canada-China FIPA. We strongly support this motion and believe that it represents the will of Canadians.

Currently, both the Conservatives and Liberals have promised to vote against the NDP motion. However, the Liberals have proposed a compromise motion, which we also support and which we believe could represent a starting point for real dialogue and consultation on the Canada-China FIPA across party lines.

Please take a few minutes of your time to call or write to your your NDP and Liberal Members of Parliament ask them to reach a compromise to prevent the ratification of the Canada-China FIPA without ANY public consultation.

Most importantly, please call or write to your Conservative Members of Parliament and ask that they stand up for Canada and vote to prevent Prime Minister Harper from ratifying this Agreement behind our backs. We only have a few days left.

There is also an online petition to sign if you choose at http://www.greenparty.ca/stop-the-sellout/online-petition , it reads as follows:

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada draw the attention of the House to the following:

THAT,

Whereas the Canada-China Investment Treaty was announced in February and signed by the Prime Minister in Vladivostok on September 9th, 2012,

but kept from the Canadian public and Parliament until September 26th, 2012;

Whereas as early as October 31st, 2012, the Conservative-controlled Privy Council could enact this treaty into force without any public consultation or Parliamentary debate and, once ratified, Canada will be bound by the treaty for 15 years. Should any future government wish to withdraw from these onerous commitments, one year written notice is required, and any existing Chinese investors in Canada would be protected for an additional 15 years;

Whereas such investment treaties are essentially corporate rights pacts, that provide foreign corporations access to secret arbitration hearings with the power to challenge and overturn democratically passed Canadian laws or regulations that infringe on their “expected” profits;

Whereas similar provisions in NAFTA Chapter 11 have resulted in the Canadian government being forced to pay out millions in settlements to US corporations, the Canada-China Investment Treaty will provide Chinese state-owned enterprises, essentially arms of the Chinese government, with the ability to claim damages and complain to the Federal government of laws or regulations made at any level of government that reduce their expectation of profits (“tantamount to expropriation”);

Whereas such agreements, and the secretive way they are negotiated and ratified, are deeply corrosive to Canadian democracy, and this Government is keeping Canadians in the dark on an agreement that could impact Canadians for generations;

THEREFORE,

Your petitioners call on the Government of Canada to,

Decline to ratify the Canada-China Investment Treaty, take immediate steps to limit the influence of state-owned enterprises over our democracy, in the interest of ensuring that the power over Canadian laws remains in Canadian hands.

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