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Everyone has had a babysitter that overstepped its authority. If not, surely each can recall the moment when the elementary school teacher put a student in charge of the class when she left the room. What happens in these circumstances? The kid starts making crazy rules—the type of rules that no one would ever make for any reason other than to say, “Guess what peons? I’m leader now, so you can all suck it!” As of today, Stephen Harper passed the Canada-China FIPA (Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement). In doing so, he acted like that kid.

In Harper’s government’s words, the FIPA is, “a bilateral agreement aimed at protecting and promoting foreign investment through legally-binding rights and obligations.” That sounds like something a kid might yell from the front of a classroom. In other words, it’s annoying, but we can probably deal with it until the teacher gets back. Unfortunately, it isn’t the whole story.

In practice, this FIPA is an unlimited-use get-out-of-jail free card for Chinese investors. Using “enclave legal status,” Chinese companies can take disputes with Canadian governments or courts outside the normal court system and into a secret arbitration process. Under this agreement, Chinese companies already operating in Canada can dispute any future ruling or legislation by Canadian courts or governments. Chinese companies can also seek compensation if Canadian operating standards (like requirements to use Canadian materials or labour) negatively impact them. Additionally, China can contest future laws regarding environmental and resource management in Canada. If a Chinese company operating in Canada doesn’t like the outcome of a law we pass or a decision we make, it can sue us in a secret court. What’s the best part? While the FIPA gives Chinese companies all these privileges in Canada, it doesn’t give Canadian companies the same privileges in China. The agreement lasts a minimum of 31 years.

 

"Guys, check out my DeNiro Impression."Andrew Cowie/Getty

We’re good as long as I’m still PM, right?
Andrew Cowie/Getty

 

Think of it like inviting a friend over to sleep on your couch. It’s sort of like that, except that if the friend doesn’t like what you’re watching on TV, hates the beer you offer, doesn’t like when your mom comes over for dinner, or thinks it’s unfair when you say “No China, you can’t leave your garbage in the fridge because that’s where we put food,” then your houseguest can take you to court—secret court—and effectively take control of your house. It’s an incredibly stupid agreement, and Canada just ratified it. Go ahead and prepare a seat on your couch, try to find a good beer, and don’t even think of inviting your mom over for dinner. Chinese investors are coming, and they’ve got a lot of garbage to put in your fridge.

Of course, this agreement must be the result of some slick sales pitch, right? No. This agreement became public when it was tabled in Parliament back in 2012. Because it took the form of a treaty, it did not require debate. Unsurprisingly, despite numerous pleas for an honest discussion on its merits, it didn’t receive a debate. After sitting in Parliament for the mandatory 21 days, it was legally eligible for ratification. This, folks, is how our democracy works. We put Stephen Harper, a renowned make-out artist, in charge of the classroom. He took the role very seriously. Unlike most kid teachers or babysitters, who make ridiculous rules that last a few minutes or hours, he made rules that will last 31 years.

Yes, Canada is supposed to be a democracy. Yes, we are supposed to be a sovereign nation with our own government, laws, and courts. No, we aren’t supposed to throw that all out for one night of exotic pleasure with a rich Chinese suitor. Stephen Harper should have kept it in his pants. He didn’t. Now we have to deal with the aftermath of his bad choice for an entire generation. Forget the teacher/student/babysitter comparison—perhaps our Prime Minister is more of a deadbeat dad.

  • Justin Flontek

    Harper is selling off Canadians’ sovereignty to the highest bidders. He is nothing short of a traitor. Canadians need to rise up against this villain and those that support him.

    • Moohamed

      If they had that amount of brains they’d never of voted him in. Those of us with brains and see the lies he spiews for what they are are grosely out numbered by gullible morons.

      • Justin Flontek

        I’ll take brains over numbers, any day.

        • Moohamed

          Sadly the polling stations don’t! There in lies the problem.

          • Janice.Reber

            Next Harper will let every Chinese citizen have a vote in our federal elections!

          • Terry

            Don’t give him ideas.

      • Terry

        We’re not outnumbered, we just keep splitting the votes. We need a democratic voting system that only allows a party to come into power with a MAJORITY of the votes. Next election we need to vote Harper out!!!!!

  • Moohamed

    Not one person should be suprised by this, again I knew this was going to happen with that idiot long befor he was even elected, after watching what bush did to the US and what we do? Put a bush wannabe in office, As one of the people smart enough not to vote for that traiter I am insulted every day he back stabs us canadians and I despise the id 10ts that put him in there!

  • eddieo

    A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor.
    Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as “…[a]…actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war
    against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]”, ie: selling off of our resources against the will of the majority, without even consulting the people.

    Mr. Harper should be charged.

    • Justin Flontek

      I say string him up, lynch mob style.

    • Binder.Rajma

      A traitor indeed! Harper sold Canada for a pat on the back! #HeaveSteve

  • Crowj

    Some senior Harper gov’t MPs are not happy with this agreement.. but will they stand up?? Nope, ’cause they have that gov’t pension to look after. Not a problem, if Mulcair and Trudeau had the stones, they would join forces, present an tru alternative to this traitor and rally Canadians to call! Will they do that?? ..not on your life ’cause they too have pensions and salaries to look after as well. It will take Canadians in the streets to wake anyone of these idiots up!!

    • eddieo

      Elizabeth May has integrity – she is seemingly the only leader that does.

  • Heisenberg

    Harper you are a POS traitor to Canada

  • KathleenWynner

    Vote, him out as soon as possible!!

  • Tomcat56

    Types of Offences Include Criminal Acts Arising from:Foreign influenced activities within or relating to
    Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada
    and are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to
    any person;

    http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/nsci-ecsn/index-eng.htm

    • eddieo

      Well researched and spot on.

      Any lawyers out there willing to take this on?

  • Pingback: Harper Ratifies Canada-China FIPA | Ecocide Alert()

  • Gregory Speers

    With the stroke of a pen Canada as a sovereign nation ceases to exist.
    It seems our uber rich have sold Canada to our new masters, the Chinese.
    You see every law we pass they will scrutinize and if they find
    something disagreeable our government is called to a secret tribunal
    where that law can be repealed. Does this not cede our ability to govern
    ourselves as we see fit? The reality of the matter is we are now in
    essence a province of China.

  • Tomcat56

    Taking apart Tories’ Party Line on China-Canada Treaty
    A Conservative MP’s letter attempting to soothe citizens worried about FIPA is misleading says
    expert Gus Van Harten, who breaks it down item by item.

    http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/11/05/Van-Harten-FIPA/index.html

  • Terry

    Harper is a traitor that has sold out Canadians, in particular, future generations. That’s our children and their children. We need leaders to be good stewards for our planet, especially our clean air and water. Harper should be arrested for treason.