OTTAWA -- The highly controversial Canada-China Investment Treaty will go to a vote this evening on an NDP motion from the party’s supply day on Thursday.
The treaty has never had so much as a day of committee hearings – one hour was allowed in the trade committee on October 18, 2012. The Thursday motion allowed six hours of debate, but Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who has studied the treaty and led the fight against it, was not allowed a speaking slot. Her 60-second briefing on October 24, 2012, using her S.O. 31 to alert the public and fellow Parliamentarians remains the only briefing to the House. She will rise in the House today at 2 pm using an S.O. 31 to detail why the motion must pass.
“I call on all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation and heedless of whips, to vote in support of the NDP motion today. While I regret that the NDP did not accept Liberal amendments to achieve a compromise on Thursday, the reality is rejecting this particular treaty could still allow negotiation of a better one if the motion carries,” said Elizabeth May, M.P. for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
All Liberal and Conservative MP’s should ask their party the following questions:
1) Why does this treaty lock Canada in for 31 years, when NAFTA allows 6 month notice to exit, and even the investment treaty with Benin, tabled in the House after the China Treaty, allows exit in 16 years?
2) Why does the China treaty give the State Owned Enterprises from China a six month window for diplomatic wrangling, within which Canadian governments and businesses can lose in behind-closed-doors pressure by China on the Canadian government? No other investment treaty includes a 6-month nation to nation diplomatic process.
3) Why is this the first treaty in years that allows the entire arbitration process to remain secret, allowing Canada only the option of making it public?
4) Why has Australia, with a 10-fold larger volume of two-way trade with China than Canada, refused to enter into investor-state agreements, including refusing to negotiate one with China. Why has Canada not conducted a study, as Australia did, to determine whether these treaties do more economic harm than good?
“Unless every Member of Parliament can get satisfactory responses to these questions, any vote in support of this treaty will be an abdication of our responsibility as Canadians to ensure we are not giving the Peoples’ Republic of China the right to challenge our laws – whether municipal, provincial or federal, or court judgments – claiming billions even for measures taken with no intent or evidence of trade discrimination,” said Ms. May.
“While a courageous First Nations community, the Hupacasath First Nation, seeks an injunction in Federal Court against the ratification of this treaty, Canadian MPs should do the right thing and vote to call on the federal Cabinet to refuse ratification.”
Communications Coordinator, Green Party of Canada