Rumour has it that CETA -- the Canadian-European Trade Agreement -- is in trouble. The problem is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism. Germany doesn't like it. Jim Stanford writes:
Germany's limited experience with ISDS (it was recently sued by a Swedish company for billions in lost profits resulting from its phase-out of nuclear power) has heightened these concerns.
Canada has had lots of experience with ISDS -- and it has not been good:
As Scott Sinclair has demonstrated through his detailed, careful research for the CCPA, Canada has been sued far more under NAFTA's Chapter 11 than its North American neighbours: some 35 times in total, with claims totalling many billions of dollars. Enough of those claims have been successful (either through awarded judgments or through out-of-court negotiated settlements) to make any politician think twice before passing a measure which could spark this corporate counter-attack. Indeed, Canada may be the nation most targeted by ISDS actions. The docket of cases against Canada under Chapter 11 constitutes an offensive grab-bag of corporations' willingness to put their own profits ahead of the public interest. On topics as diverse as regulations on harmful gasoline additives, to generic drugs, to handling of toxic substances, to Quebec's recent ban on gas fracking -- in every case, the ISDS system is another potent club with which business can intimidate governments into accepting their economic and political dominance -- and punish those which do not.
Yet the Harper government has insisted that such a mechanism be included in all of its trade agreements. And if if ISDS were to be taken out of the agreement with Europe, Harper's other trade agreements would be in trouble.
Harper has always been dedicated to making the world safe for capital. But the world is catching on.