Trade deal with China viewed as a Harper sellout
Like an errant teenager sneaking home well past curfew, Stephen Harper announces at 5 p.m. on a Friday that he will allow CNOOC, China’s state-owned oil company, to take over Nexen [“ Foreign takeovers may lead to more fracking”, December 13-20].
It can only be described as an act of desperation, since it was Harper who stated in 2006: “I don’t think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values: our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights. They don’t want us to sell that out to the almighty dollar.”
Speaking of Canadian “values” such as a belief in human rights, did you know that last month, 25 Tibetans set themselves on fire? Most were in their late teens and early 20s, with the youngest, a nun named Sangay Dolma, just 17 years old.
Harper has truly sold himself and Canada out as he mutates from a Chinese critic to a Chinese puppet. With the economics of bitumen looking uncertain—imagine drinking beer by sucking on a bar rag—it is cold comfort that the government’s secretive negotiation of a one-sided investment treaty with China could make CNOOC able to sue Canadian governments in secret tribunals if our government should do anything to counter China’s growing interests. That includes protecting Canadian jobs and outlawing controversial health and safety practices.
Now that Harper has allowed this Nexen takeover, he must not be allowed to pass the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.
> Susanna Kaljur / Courtenay
This takeover 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 the fullest extent, it will be detrimental to the global climate.
Any day now, Stephen Harper could decide to approve the secretive and extreme Canada-China trade deal that would grant unprecedented powers to Chinese corporations that own Canadian natural resources. If it passes, the CNOOC will be able to sue Canadian governments in secret tribunals if our governments do anything to counter its growing interests, including common-sense environmental protections and job-creation efforts.
The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement would be like the North American Free Trade Agreement, but way more dangerous. Canada has already spent hundreds of millions on penalties from lawsuits launched under NAFTA. This country is 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 Canada-China deal passes, the door will be open for CNOOC and other Chinese corporations to do even worse.
> Alison Stewart / Surrey