NEWS RELEASE · 29th October 2012
Green Party of BC
On Oct. 23 I sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark urging her to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper “not to sign the Canada‐China Investment Treaty without provinces, MPs and the people of Canada having an opportunity to understand and challenge the risks this agreement poses to our sovereignty, security and democracy.”
The Green Party of BC is not alone in raising concerns about the implications of a document that will give Chinese state‐run corporations “Most Favoured Nation” and “National” status for the next 15 years, then grandfathered privileges for 15 years after that, even if the treaty is not renewed. An expert on International Investment Law Gus van Harken at York University’s Osgood Hall Law School has voiced grave concerns of the lack of analysis and consultation.
Many British Columbians and Canadians would like to know more about this agreement before it is finalized, possibly as early as Oct. 31 because treaty‐making is a ‘royal prerogative’ that can be concluded by cabinet order in council without debate in the House of Commons.
Questions have been raised because China is not a democracy, and companies like the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation are not ‘free’ enterprises. The communist government of China exerts a direct and coordinating influence on corporations like CNOOC, and can organize investments based on national, strategic interests.
We believe BC stands to lose significant control over its economic and environmental decision‐making if this agreement is ratified.
Rather than address issues that have been voiced by many citizens, and ask for an open and transparent review of the possible implications of this sweeping agreement, Premier Clark once again abdicates responsibility. “The provincial
government has been involved in the process that led to this agreement and we are confident the new Agreement will provide a framework through which greater economic prosperity will come for British Columbians and for British Columbia’s business sector,” she says.
Lasting, sustainable prosperity can only be achieved through treaties that recognize the importance of the environment and respect the views of British Columbians. This deal, which was not made public until Sept. 26, does not even come close to satisfying those imperatives. It is being bulldozed through without any chance for Canadians to understand its full implications.
Leader of the Green Party of BC