NAFTA Chapter 11 Threatens Health and Safety of Canadians

OTTAWA--The Green Party of Canada has consistently called for renegotiation of Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that this part of the agreement is detrimental to Canadian interests and exists solely for corporate profits. The latest threat is to increasingly popular cosmetic pesticide bans, now enacted in Quebec and Ontario, which the chemical companies say are cutting into their profits.  Chemical giant Dow AgroSciences is now filing under NAFTA for loss of profit of $2 million due to Canadian pesticide bans.

“Laws put in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians are at risk whenever a corporation based in the US loses profits.  Chapter 11 of NAFTA operates to give US and Mexican corporations the right to sue the Canadian government for any decision impacting its profits, regardless of the scientific evidence supporting our decision.  The investor-state provisions of NAFTA are profoundly anti-democratic," says Green Leader Elizabeth May.  “It is very evident that this flawed trade agreement must be renegotiated.”

Problems with Chapter 11 of NAFTA have been apparent for more than a decade.  The Canadian law restricting the use of MMT, a neuro-toxic gas additive made by Ethyl Corp. of Richmond, Virginia, was repealed in an out of court settlement by Canada in a NAFTA suit in which Canada also paid out $13-million to Ethyl Corp.  Canada also was forced in a Chapter 11 suit to pay millions to Ohio-based S.D. Myers for a short term ban on the export of PCB contaminated waste.  Mexico has also lost suits brought by large US polluters.

Under the Chapter 11 dispute resolution, corporations can request compensation for actual and future earnings losses, as well as for the cost of repairing their public image.

“The threat of these suits is preventing more stringent environmental laws from being passed in Canada and this is an unacceptable situation,” says Sharon Labchuk, Critic on Agriculture GMOs, Pesticides and Transition to Sustainable Organic Agriculture for the
Green Party of Canada.

“There is no investor-state language in either the GATT or the EU trade agreement.  We need to fix NAFTA in the same way,” said Ms. Labchuk.

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Contact:
Michael Bernard
Communications Officer
Green Party of Canada
613-562-4916 ext. 244
(c) 613-614-4916
michael.bernard@greenparty.ca