Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
Canadians have voiced significant concerns about the Canada-China Investment Agreement. It is clear that this foreign investment agreement is different from any previous ones that the Conservative government has signed.
There is a provision in this agreement that allows the government to withhold documents from the Canadian public and to conduct hearings behind closed doors during the arbitration process. This arbitration process could be costly to Canadian taxpayers, and could raise serious constitutional questions.
Significantly, this agreement does not guarantee increased market access and investment protection for Canadians in China, which seems counter to the goal of signing an investment agreement in the first place.
The Liberal Party continues to call on the government to have public hearings on the implications of this agreement, yet the Conservatives refuse to defend their flawed agreement to the Canadian public.
Because of a Liberal motion at the International Trade committee by Liberal International Trade Critic Wayne Easter, we were able to force the Conservatives to hold a briefing on the agreement by department officials. However, a one hour briefing is simply not enough for an agreement that could remain in force for 31 years.
Liberals believe in transparency, public consultations, and negotiating agreements for the benefit of the Canadian people. That is why Joyce Murray, Liberal Critic for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, has put forward a motion in the House of Commons that would require the government to send all treaties to committee for a comprehensive public review and debate once it is tabled in the House of Commons. We do not want future treaties to be ratified without public scrutiny, like the Canada-China Investment Agreement.
It is necessary to have this committee oversight because of the significant concerns raised about the lack of a real trade strategy from the government. The Harper government’s approach appears to be that by “signing” trade agreements with virtually any country willing, it somehow translates into a trade strategy. This is simply not the case, and we must ensure that any international trade agreement that Canada signs will be of net benefit to Canadians.
We encourage you to write to the Conservative members of Parliament asking them to support Liberal efforts to change the way the government ratifies treaties like the Canada-China Investment Agreement to ensure public consultation and debate. We want to make sure that Canadians like you have your voices heard on these important issues.