Green Party fighting to prevent expansion of foreign corporate power in CP-TPP

(OTTAWA) Canadian sovereignty is once again being threatened by an agreement to create a major new trade zone currently moving through Parliament. Bill C-79 will allow Canada to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (CP-TPP), including its Chapter 9, that like Chapter 11 of NAFTA, gives foreign corporations superior rights to domestic companies. 

The agreement, once ratified, will make Canada subject to complaints from corporations from Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam (Mexico already enjoys investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) privileges through  NAFTA). Corporations from these nations can bring claims against Canada for government decisions at the municipal, provincial/territorial or federal level.

“We have an advanced judicial system and judges who are qualified to interpret Canadian and international law,” said Paul Manley, Green Party critic on International Trade. “Private investor-state arbitration panels made up of corporate lawyers with conflicting interests should not be allowed to subvert or override Canadian law or the laws of any other nation.” 

"The so-called ISDS measures have nothing to do with expanding markets or tariffs,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “ISDS only does one thing – expand the powers of foreign corporations to seek damages if their expectations of profits are reduced. Canada's experience in losing case after case under NAFTA makes it clear that decisions of our governments need not be offensive to trade disciplines in order to leave Canadians paying out millions in damages. These corporate rights agreements are antithetical to democracy."  

Increasingly, countries around the world are recognizing that ISDS agreements are in no one's interests. The Australia-China trade agreement has no ISDS, several EU nations have opted out of ISDS in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and India recently decided that ISDS agreements are unnecessary. Canada is the most sued industrialized country in the world, mainly thanks to NAFTA’s Chapter 11. And yet, inexplicably, Canada continues to  reject President Trump's proposal to remove Chapter 11 from a renegotiated NAFTA. 

Last week, Ms. May brought forward amendments to Bill C-79 that would allow Canada to opt out of the ISDS provisions when ratifying CP-TPP.  The Green amendments were defeated, despite support from the NDP.  Ms. May will raise the matter again when C-79 returns to the House at report stage, expected some time this week.

"It is not too late to remove these damaging ISDS provisions from the CP-TPP," she said.


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Rod Leggett
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