Chinese companies can sue BC for changing course on Northern Gateway, says policy expert

The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA), which will come into effect at the end of October, is Canada's biggest foreign trade treaty since NAFTA. What are its implications for BC?

china canada oil, fippa canada
Graphic by Craig Fleisch (craigfleisch.ca) for The Vancouver Observer

A Canada-China investment treaty known as FIPPA will stop BC from negotiating a greater share of profits and creating regulations related to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline for the next 31 years once it comes into effect at the end of October, an international investment law expert warns. 

"This treaty, in effect, will pre-empt important elements of the debate of the Northern Gateway pipeline and may frustrate in a very significant way the ability of the current BC government or any future government—if the NDP were to win in spring—from stopping that pipeline or bargaining a better deal for BC," said Gus Van Harten, an Osgoode Law professor who specializes in international investment law.

Van Harten noted that arbitrators in foreign investment agreement disputes will most likely judge in favour of Chinese investors in cases where the host country attempts to impose new or updated regulations that may interfere with the investor's bottom line.

"If this treaty comes into effect, and there's any Chinese ownership whatsoever in assets related to this pipeline—minority ownership, ownership we generally don't know about—then Canada will be exposed to lawsuits under this treaty, because the BC government will be discriminating against a Chinese investor, which is prohibited by the treaty." 

The treaty will protect investors' rights for 31 years as of November 1.

The Northern Gateway is a controversial pipeline project proposed to run from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta to the northern coast of British Columbia. It would build a twin pipeline running from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, BC. 

The eastbound pipeline would import natural gas condensate and the westbound pipeline would export bitumen from the oil sands diluted with that condensate to the new marine terminal in Kitimat, where it would be transported to Asian markets by oil tankers.

The project is currently under review from the National Energy Board, which is set to make a decision on whether or not the project will go ahead by the end of 2013.

The proposed pipeline has polarized BC politics. BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark has demanded a "fair share" of its profits for the environmental risks the pipeline could pose to BC's northern coast. Meanwhile, the BC NDP has taken a firm stance against Northern Gateway, asserting a "Made in BC" environmental assessment that would involve consideration for First Nations rights and environmental concerns. 

Disputes can be decided in secret tribunals under FIPPA

Van Harten wrote in another op-ed for The Toronto Star about the unprecedented secrecy that surround the three-person tribunals which judge the disputes between a foreign investor and the host country. Harten called this a reversal of previous Canadian government policy.

"The turn to secrecy is an about-face for the government. Canada was until now a champion of openness in investor-state arbitration," Van Harten wrote.

"The Canada-China deal undermines basic Canadian principles of public accountability and open courts. It raises dramatically the stakes of Chinese takeovers in the resource sector. If ratified, it will tie the hands of future elected governments for at least 31 years."

Canada paid out $160 million in investor-state compensation since 2001 under NAFTA, Canada's last major international trade-related agreement, with another payout pending in a case involving research and development rules in Newfoundland.

"We have lost about half of the decided cases against the government, all by U.S. companies under NAFTA," Van Harten wrote, as a warning against the investor-state clause in FIPPA. 

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Comments

Harper traitor to his country

If this is true, Harper should be impeached for betraying his country. Imagine secretly agreeing to give up our right to protect our environment and economy. How can this be in the best interests of Canada.

a preceeding legal issue.

The legal issues that nobody has answered yet and could make everything Harper has done moot, combined with potentially creating decades of litigation at tax payer expense; Is the Harper Government legitimate? A question that could and should have been answered months ago had there been people fully willing to cooperate.

Treaties?

I doubt any First Nations have signed onto FIPPA, so it cannot trump pre-existing rights and unsettled land claims. I'm sure the lawyers are all rubbing their hands in glee as Chairman Harper tries to trash all feduciary obligations under the Canadian Constitution - unless that becomes null and void in the fine print of the next unread omnibus bill too.

bye-bye Canada

It seems Harper's goal of extinguishing Canada as a sovereign country, has almost been accomplished. He is definitely not working for the citizens of Canada and that leaves no alternative but to have the Provinces withdraw from the confederation of Canada.

treason and contempt

harper is a treasonous worm. he has sold out canada.(if not yet, that is his intent and 'secret' agenda) a foreign country can challenge our laws and therefor our sovereignty. in giving them that power, harper has went against canadian sovereignty (or sense of nation/unity). the fact harper has cut funding to such organizations as PEARL and yet is paying 100 Xs more for public image shows his contempt for everything canadian....

Canada, a subsiduary of China Inc.

a "law" secretly made, with no details given, binding even if later revoked and NOT PASSED BY PARIAMENT is NOT a law. yet we are supposed to swallow it??! IMPEACH HARPER

BC Should Leave Canada

BC Should seperate from Canada, and save its lands.

Harper is Going Down!

It's not too late. There's always time to remedy his agregious decisions and render them null and void.


He can sign things into law all he wants (which he is apparently doing anyway) but at the end of the day cooler Canadian heads will prevail and we will take him down.

The polite demeanor of the Canadian people is beginning to give way to a passionate and emotional ferocity that will bring him and his cronies to their knees.

Revolution is coming, and he knows it, hence the bars around Parliament Hill being put in. Regardless of political stripe, this man has in a short period of time galvanized most of the Canadian people against him and his deplorable policies.

 

It's time for revolution

Not only has Harper waltzed into office through election fraud, he now plans to violate or rewrite every law and regulation that stands in the way of his radical agenda.  This isn't an isolated incident; it doesn't affect just British Columbia, it affects all Canadians, and by no means is it for the better.

Perhaps it's time for a paradigm shift, a complete overhaul of Canadian society guided by none other than the people.  Unlike in many countries, we in Canada have the right to stand up, to speak out, to protest, and that's a right we have to use.  Harper may do what he wills to silence us, but if we unite, we will not go quietly.  We must stand up, and we must change our nation's course while there is an opportunity for us to do so.

Vive la révolution.  Vive le Canada!

BC's options

BC has the  option of seceding from Canada and China would have no special treaty to screw us with.

Seceding might be OK under a Dix government but not by one run in the backrooms of Mr. Patti$on.

 

 

 

What about the Constitutions"Not withstanding Clause"?

Our Province has THE RIGHT TO SAY NO!

Our Province has the to Veto.

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Specious no majority argument is specious

Argulion wrote:

The legal issues that nobody has answered yet and could make everything Harper has done moot, combined with potentially creating decades of litigation at tax payer expense; Is the Harper Government legitimate? A question that could and should have been answered months ago had there been people fully willing to cooperate.

 

  This is a trash argument. Our system is first past the post. Don't like it, change the laws. I note that none of the leftists who love to cuddle up to this argument that %62 of the country didn't vote for Harper never mention that even more didn't vote for either the Lbbs of NDP. And, of course, nary a peep when the PQ got elected with barely %30 of Quebec votes for them. I guess it must be because it is a leftist PQ government that makes it "legitimate". Guess it also makes all the Canadian govs illegitimate too, since hardly any of them ever got elected with over %50, most provincial ones too. Specious argument is specious.

 

That aside, I don't in any way shape or form support letting China buy ANY of our resourse as a source buy. Owning the well, as it were, rather then buying the output. Their companies are just fronts for the Chinese Gov anyway, so I see no reason to let the Chinese Gov buy OUR resources and then get to dictate to US how OUR land is to be used. Not only NO to this deal, but to ANY deal that puts our resources under Chinese control. NO foreign country has the right to tell us how to develop and use our land and resources. Their sovereignty ends at THEIR border, not in ours.

wow

lol, in come the bottom feeding blood sucking attorneys lol.

 

www.at-privacy.tk

 

FIPPA

To paraphrase one of my favourite characters 'I wish rather believe that your story to be wrong'. I know of no more underhanded and potentially lethal deal made by a Canadian government except for Pearson's secret acceptance of nuclear weapons on Canadian soil.  

Specious???

Sleel wrote:

This is a trash argument. Our system is first past the post. Don't like it, change the laws.


I'm not referring to the some what flawed first past the post system. I'm referring to the potential of election fraud. If as you say, it's a trash argument, why hasn't the issue been resovled? Why is Elections Canada investigating? Why isn't a party with known prior election 'problems' not going out of their way to prove innocence? Why does it require a court order for the Conservatives to provide information? Why are there missing access logs in the Conservative's database? If it is a trash argument just provide answers to the above questions.

Oh Canada

This is what happens when the people let the government run the country.  The government takes over and loses sight of who it is they are WORKING FOR.  remember people - YOU are their boss, NOT the other way around.. 

Canada's oil is Canada's oil.  Not China's Not the USA's.  We need to get out of Opec and start using protectionist measures ourselves.  Refine it here, sell it here.  If there's a surplus, then sure sell it to the highest bidder, but NOT until there is a surplus. 

Remember - you put the oxygen mask on YOUR face before you put it on your childs becuase if YOU are not well, then no one else can be through foreign aid or bad sales agreements. 


The people need to throw this treaty out as not enfoceable because the people didn't vote for it.


But that is also what you get in a democracy..  Mob rule and if the majority disagrees with the politics the politics win.. 

travesty for Canada and he people when a no good politician decides his pocket book is more worthy than the guy scrounging for food on Hastings.

I shake my head at once WAS a free country.

 

Canada-China Investment Treaty‏‏

When The USA say's Chinese Companies are ineligible for consideration on some Canadian projects, Canada will have to reimburse the Chinese for lose of income potential, as our Defense Agreements with the USA trump Canadian decision making every-time.
Dennis Baker
 
"Providing assistance in consultations under Article 1114 of the NAFTA where a Party considers that another Party is waving or derogating from, or offering to waive or otherwise derogate from an environmental measure as an encouragement to establish, acquire, expand or retain an investment of an investor with a view to avoiding any such encouragement."
I trust this is of assistance to you.dennis baker   

Quisling

Quisling

HARPER IS NOT THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA

There has been proven cases of election tampering (robo-call scandal) that has not yet been cleared up. Until such time, his unhonorable dictatorship Harper is NOT the Prime Minister. He cannot be under all the different laws that protect our elections from fraud, that has been proven to have happened.How this continues I have no idea.. politix is so screwed up in Canada I don't think anyone knows anymore exactly who or what is doing what to whom.

Harper is a traitor, so are his followers. They are a cult, one that is set about to destroy Canada by selling it piecemeal to the Chinese Communist Government. They have NOT secured the same bilateral trading stipulations (allowing Canada to OWN resources in China and dictate who and what will be able to withdraw them, or sue them for breaking the same treaty(s) FIPPA presents for China should it be allowed to pass) for Canada, so this a one-sided deal that benefits noone but China and the few corporations hitched to this project.

 

Another poster suggested Impeachment, and I'm all for it. I think him not being a legal and unquestionable PM also stands for legal action, and all government federal bills and such should be halted and a new election held, and lets do this fast.

Reilly Walker wrote:

Not only has Harper waltzed into office through election fraud, he now plans to violate or rewrite every law and regulation that stands in the way of his radical agenda.  This isn't an isolated incident; it doesn't affect just British Columbia, it affects all Canadians, and by no means is it for the better.

Perhaps it's time for a paradigm shift, a complete overhaul of Canadian society guided by none other than the people.  Unlike in many countries, we in Canada have the right to stand up, to speak out, to protest, and that's a right we have to use.  Harper may do what he wills to silence us, but if we unite, we will not go quietly.  We must stand up, and we must change our nation's course while there is an opportunity for us to do so.

Vive la révolution.  Vive le Canada!

Chinese state-owned ownership is BAD.

why would we let a Chinese State-Owned enterprise who so blatantly does not share our human and environmental vallues have a right to take legal action aganst us for making decisions for our environment and citizens. that country cares not about human rights and indavidual rights and until it does i think they need to be left out of our country. they can buy our oil like every other consumer out there, thats all. im from Alberta and i think Alberta needs to slow the hell down. stop steeling future genarations natural resorces. im disapointed in us and our concervative party.

The government should be in

The government should be in prison merely for tabling this legislation (not withstanding the other illegal legislation they have tabled and otherwise enacted in previous years).  The fact is that only 35% of Canadians voted for the Fascists and barely half of those who did vote for them presently support them.  An election should be called, all the legislation tabled and enacted by the Fascists must be cancelled, and the constitution amended such that sweeping changes to law and government in Canada require a referrendum.  Meanwhile, Harper and his Fascists should rot in prison.

 

impeach harper

I agree with the above person.  How or who do we go to to stop any further actions by Harper.  There must be a way to stop anything pending until the situation is investigated or a new election is called.  The omnibus bill, nexxon, gold mining, way too much controversary and to have one man making the decisions of a whole country without consulting them.   It should not be allowed to happen.  STOP HARPER NOW. 

@kasia yechimowicz

The Conservatives only have the support of approximately 26% of the people on the voters list. 74% of Canadians voted for somebody else or did not vote at all.

I agree, it is a good idea if

I agree, it is a good idea if it doesn't cost too much, but more emphasis should be placed on preventing potholes in the first place. http://www.obdiag4u.com/

FIPPA

Today april 18 is signing day, not a word from the media!

BC First Nations may save the day

British Common Law and our present Canadian constitution still dictate that until treaties are signed in BC with the First Nations already granted title, Harper has no right to sign treaties for lands that are in negotiation under the same laws we hold our homes in "in the right of the Province ... By Her Majesty ..."

Let the Albertans smuggle the oil across BC in their pockets and support the delay of BC treaty talks until Harper is ousted. The First Nations may just save the day in Harper's sellout by nullifying the treaties he manipulates. 

 

China wins one way or the other.

One more CONservative Harper shell game.

Talk about devolving power to the provinces while stealing away their rights to oppose foreign multinationals and state owned companies if it suits his favoured industries.

Goody

Lets give China many reasons to sue BC. What the hell do we care if, China sues the butt off BC?  Why should we give a damn if, Communist China sues the butt, off of Canada either. This country no longer is ours. We are now Communist Canada and Canadians hate Communists and fascists, such as Harper.

china can sue BC

This is not right...BC needs to stop the treaty...