Nov. 14 LETTER: We need to know more about FIPA

In recent days we’ve heard about the Canada-China trade agreement, but not enough.


In recent days we’ve heard about the Canada-China trade agreement, but not enough. There are lawyers who dedicate their entire careers to working with constitutional law and there are trade experts who dedicate their careers to investment trade agreements.

Just because members of the public can read the various acts that make up the Constitution or the text of an agreement such as the Canada-China FIPA, it doesn’t mean we’ll understand much about them.

Gus Van Harten, on the other hand, is a global legal authority on investment trade agreements, having been on faculty at the London School of Economics and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.

Dr. Van Harten has published an open letter to Prime Minister Harper and International Trade Minister Ed Fast articulating 14 serious concerns and numerous questions about this risky treaty. Van Harten believes if ratified, it will disadvantage our country in terms of exposure to investor lawsuits.

It will also impact provincial powers on natural resources, taxation, and land and property rights.

And it will, he thinks, threaten federal legislative and judicial sovereignty.

Ratification will bind Canada for a minimum of 31 years to the seemingly dangerous and unconstitutional treaty.

There have been no public hearings or provincial consultations on the treaty. With no debate scheduled before the treaty’s ratification, MP Elizabeth May called for an emergency debate, but was ignored by the Harper government.

So rushed is the approach to finalizing the deal, the government will not have completed an assessment on the treaty’s environmental impacts on resource development until a week after the treaty is ratified.

Van Harten says there remains two ways to delay the treaty’s ratification.

Provinces go to court, calling for an injunction until the constitutional issues are resolved.

Or the public can pressure federal and provincial elected officials to stop the unnecessarily speedy ratification of a dangerous and consequential trade treaty and undertake what should have been undertaken long ago: public hearings, provincial consultation and Parliamentary debate.

Erika Tafel, Rock Creek

Just Posted

Grand Forks council denies pot shop for Weeds Glass & Gifts

The company owns two buildings in the city and is currently renting one to a competitor

Warming centre has until July 31 to vacate 7500 Donaldson Dr.

The landlord of the building sent a letter to operators earlier in July

Christina Lake homecoming welcomes all to the party

Tenth annual homecoming celebrates founders, volunteers and lakers

Residents push Grand Forks council to support with flood buyouts

Staff estimate a $6.6 million difference between pre and post-flood value for Grand Forks buyouts

Boundary District Arts Council folds amid financial questions

The last board took over in November and could not find receipts for $8,000 in spending

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read