Stephen Harper is a man of inconsistencies. But, if there is one thing he's been consistent about, it's putting his signature to free trade deals. Each of those deals contains an ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) clause. Murray Dobbin writes:
This is not hyperbole -- that is the actual, stated objective of ISDS: if a new law affects the expected future profits of a foreign-owned company, it can sue the federal government for damages. And the decision is made by a panel of trade lawyers whose bias is, naturally, in favour of facilitating corporate interests -- because that is who they normally work for. They aren't environmental lawyers or labour lawyers or human rights lawyers. They're trade lawyers. Foxes judging the right of other foxes to kill chickens.
ISDS arrangements trump democracy. And a lot of that has been going on:
The rate of challenges is increasing and the rulings are actually getting worse. In 2007 the Nova Scotia and federal governments rejected a proposal to create a huge quarry in an environmentally sensitive area important to local communities. The company won before a NAFTA tribunal and is seeking damages of over $300 million. But the reasoning was even more outrageous than usual. The company successfully argued that an environmental review panel relied on "community core values," which company lawyers argued was unacceptable. Adding insult to injury, the panel ruled on the basis that there was a "possibility" the review panel's decision might have been overturned in federal court. Effectively, the company just did an end-run around Canadian environmental laws and the Canadian judicial system by going straight to NAFTA.
Corporations know they have a friend in Mr. Harper. Citizens by now should know that the prime minister doesn't work for them. At every turn and everywhere Stephen Harper seeks to sabotage rule of the people, by the people, for the people.