Saturday, September 13, 2014

The March Of Folly Continues


On Friday, the Harper government announced that it had ratified the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China. It has taken awhile. Apparently, several Conservatives were wary of the agreement. But, with the prime minister heading to China, they decided (or were told to) sign on to one for the Gipper.

Jeremy Nuttall writes in today's Tyee that Gus Van Harten  -- who specializes in foreign treaties at Osgoode Hall -- believes that Canada will  lose big with this agreement:

Van Harten said FIPA is practically a one-way deal in favour of China, and Ottawa needs to acknowledge the non-reciprocal aspects of the deal and explain why they would ratify it two years after it was first signed.

"It seems to me the federal government has conceded to China under pressure to give them this treaty," said Van Harten. "My guess is this is the price China has demanded to open its purse strings for investing in the resource sector in Canada."

He said China had ratified the deal right away and seemed to be getting antsy Canada had taken so long, even speculating the recent detentions of two Canadian coffee-shop owners in the country on accusations of spying may have been part of Beijing's pressure.

The government claims that Canadian and Chinese investors will operate under the same rules:

But Van Harten doesn't buy that line.

"One aspect of the treaty is it has an exclusion of all existing discriminatory measures in Canada or China," he said. "China, it's safe to say, has far more existing discriminatory measures than Canada does."

Local government rules or different tax rates will now be locked in under the agreement, giving Chinese officials a tool to punish any Canadian investors it wishes to, he said.

Nuttall prefaces his report with the story of Mark Kitto a British publish, who -- until recently -- operated in China:

In 2005 his business was taken from him by a partner who was Chinese, at the time a legal necessity for foreigners, in cahoots with the Chinese government in what has become one of the most fabled stories of expat anguish in China and the subject of Kitto's upcoming book That's China.

During his day in court during the dispute, Kitto managed to prove the conspiracy against him by producing a letter from the public relations arm of the communist party to his business partner instructing him to fabricate evidence for the case.

"In the letter that went from the state council of information office to the person they were asking to fabricate evidence included the line 'We need to teach this foreigner a lesson,'" Kitto said on the phone from England, where he now lives.

The judge sided with Kitto, but after taking a phone call came back and reversed the decision. 

Apparently, Mr. Harper believes Canadians will not suffer the same fate. The March of Folly continues.


Edstock said...

IMHO, the Glitch Goddess has yet to appear. By this I mean that all it will take is a few minor improvements to our technology (let alone any major breakthroughs) and the Chinese may wind up with a lot of expensive tar that nobody needs for the price they have to charge to process it . . . caveat emptor.

Then there may be other surprises. The Chinese believe they are fire-proof. They are not, and these times may prove to be exceedingly interesting for them.

My 2¢.

Danneau said...

March of Folly, Barbara Tuchman's study of cases where nations seemed to act contrary to their own interests. The hitch was that, if I'm not mistaken, there was always a party that cashed in, and in whose interests these policies were implemented. Ditto Harper and Big Tar.

Owen Gray said...

Precisely, Danneau. Welcome back.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Ed. Eventually, as the world moves to greener energy, the tar sands are going to become a stranded asset.

It will be interesting to see what the Chinese do when they figure out that they've been sold a pig in a poke.

Rural said...

This is not the first, nor will it be the last, trade agreement to have “Investor State” sections in it and any and all ministers that sign off on such clauses should be charged with Treason. Any agreement that allows for foreign states or corporations to challenge the domestic laws of Municipal, Provincial or Federal governments or their choices of suppliers is so clearly antidemocratic that it becomes clear that there is little regard for the Canadian public in such agreements. That this agreement is with a country where most of the corporations are state owned and run means that for the next 30 years China will be in control of many of our resources and major government projects. Next up the EU agreement, who else can we give away our rights to?

Owen Gray said...

Rights, Rural? What are those? It's capital that Harper is protecting. It's there in the title of the agreement.

Kim said...

I believe it is Power Corp, among others, who stand to gain.

Owen Gray said...

Money is power, Kim. And Power has money.

thwap said...

Of course, the anti-democratic scum who run our corporate media will give harper a pass for both his treason and his hypocrisy (with regards to China's human rights abuses).

Because that's how they roll.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ.

Communist China is cashing in on BC's vast resources, big time.

China has been after BC's ancient forests. They are hacking down 400 year old Douglas Firs, near Port Alberni.

Communist China is also taking the jobs, for building the LNG plant near Prince Rupert. BC people warned, Communist China had purchased over 10 hectares at Prince Rupert.

China is also taking the mines in BC's high north.

China also owns the Enbridge pipeline, being built with China's own cheap labor.

Harper and Cabinet are giving China, a massive resource project in our High Arctic. That is why Harper needs no military up there. Chinese Military Brass, have been visiting Herr Harper. Or perhaps, Chairman Mao Harper? Harper just had, another sneak meeting with Communist China. China will also need to guard, their Enbridge pipeline.

Harper's police state, is already operating. The RCMP had snipers trained on F.N. that were guarding their sacred waters. Imperial Metals is the same mining company that were responsible for, the catastrophic dam burst at Mount Polley mine.

I could go on forever, on the evils Harper is doing to our country.

Harper has given Communist China permission to sue Canada if, anyone tries to block China's huge inroads into Canada.

All I can say? Let us give Communist China many reasons, to sue Harper's Canada. This country is not our country, anymore anyway.

Owen Gray said...

Harper rails about the evils of Communism, Anon. But with China -- one of the last officially communist countries on the planet -- he seeks closer business ties.

Owen Gray said...

Human rights, thwap? They make doing business more difficult.