Randy Kamp aimed to explain the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China in more detail [FIPA gives businesses confidence, Nov. 15 Letters, TIMES].
His comments, however, did not adequately address the concerns that Canadians may have concerning this trade agreement.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has signed a deal with China behind closed doors. His government has accused Enbridge dissenters of being enemies of Canada (the pipeline being necessary to move tar sands oil), slashed environmental protections, and flooded the media with pro-pipeline advertisements.
But Canadians are catching on. FIPA is about the exploitation of Canada’s resources by foreign corporations.
In his letter to The TIMES, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission MP Kamp presented FIPA as a means of protecting Canadian investors in China.
More to the point is whether there is a shred of credibility involved in locking Canada into a 31-year trade deal which will ultimately give control of our resources to a foreign country whose human rights record is abysmal – a country that has no interest in the well-being of Canada, its people, or the protection of the Canadian environment, and a country which is currently involved in trade disputes with other countries.
And although FIPA may include “language on transparency of dispute proceedings,” that is not a guarantee that rule of law and Canadian values are protected (although the Harper government has obligingly lowered Canada’s environmental and democratic standards).
No amount of “language on transparency of dispute settlement proceedings” or providing the public with open access to “dispute resolution” could possibly have any effect in protecting Canadian interests once FIPA is ratified.
How disingenuous of the Harper government to allow Canadians “open” access to information after the deal is finalized!
The Harper government has not been “open” with the Canadian people about FIPA. There needs to be democratic parliamentary debate before the agreement is ratified, because afterwards, there will be nothing Canada can do to effectively protect its interests.
Alas, a lot can also happen in 31 years, including massive resource expansion leading to resource depletion and environmental degradation by foreign corporations, and ultimately the undermining of Canadian sovereignty.
MP Kamp also did not explain why the Conservative government would deny parliamentary debate on this very important issue. Open democratic debate would help Canadians determine if these “deals” are indeed in Canada’s best interests.
Diana Williams, Maple Ridge