Letter: Beware the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
On December 7, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made history. He announced he will allow CNOOC Limited, China’s state-owned energy company, to take over Canadian fossil-fuel giant Nexen. This deal is terrible for Canada. It puts three to six billion barrels of tar-sands oil in CNOOC’s hands. If CNOOC exploits Nexen’s reserves to their fullest extent, it will be detrimental to the global climate.
Any day now, Harper could decide to approve the secretive and extreme Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, a major new trade deal that would grant unprecedented powers to Chinese corporations that own Canadian natural resources. If this agreement passes, the CNOOC will be able to sue Canadian governments in secret tribunals if our governments (municipal, provincial, or federal) do anything to counter its growing interests—including common-sense environmental protections and job-creation efforts.
This would be like the North American Free Trade Agreeement, but way more dangerous. Canada has already spent hundreds of millions on penalties from lawsuits launched under the NAFTA, and is currently being sued by a U.S. corporation because Quebec placed a temporary moratorium on fracking to study its controversial health and safety impacts. If the agreement passes, the door will be open for CNOOC and other Chinese corporations to do even worse.
Harper must protect Canadian democracy and its natural resources from corporate greed. Now that the Conservatives have allowed this damaging Nexen takeover, they must not pass the secretive and extreme agreement.
> Alison Stewart / Surrey