Thursday, September 01, 2016

More Of The Same

In Europe, resistance to CETA -- the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement -- is growing. The reason? The Investor Dispute Settlement Mechanism. Linda McQuaig writes:

The Harper government insisted that the IDSM be part of the agreement. The Trudeau government has altered that mechanism slightly. But special privileges for investors are still at the heart of the deal:

Investors will still be able to bring lawsuits over government policies they don’t like, and their lawsuits will still be decided by special tribunals where they will enjoy stronger legal protections than are available to any other group in domestic or international law.

Thus, despite the revisions, CETA will undermine Canadian democracy, handing foreign corporations a powerful lever for pressuring our governments to, for instance, abandon environmental, health or financial regulations, while leaving Canadian taxpayers potentially on the hook to pay billions of dollars in compensation to some of the wealthiest interests on earth.

Gus Van Harten, who teaches law at Osgoode Hall, has been warning about the IDSM for years:

The absurdity of that special privilege is highlighted by Van Harten. He notes that, under CETA, a foreigner tortured by Canadian authorities wouldn’t be able to bring a lawsuit against Canada – unless he was also an investor with assets in Canada, and the torture negatively affected his assets.

But the Trudeau government is not inclined to take on corporate interests. It's more of the same.



Lorne said...

I'm glad you wrote about this today, Owen. One of the things that has always bothered me about the investor rights protections put into these trade deals, beyond the obvious objections, is that I have never heard a defence of them by anyone, least of all our 'leaders.' Journalists have to start asking uncomfortable questions and demand answers.

Owen Gray said...

You get the impression, Lorne, that your politicians have been bought and paid for.

Steve said...

meet the new boss same as the old boss. The margins may shrink and swell but the body is always made for the Kings and court.

Unknown said...

Hi Owen. When describing the CETA "trade" deal Freeland called it gold plated. She has enough knowledge to know this is a lie, yet she continues to con the Canadian people.

What I find truly astonishing is Trudeau and the liberals specifically Freeland's complete disregard for what the impact of CETA will have on the Canadian public.

The threat to our democracy, if this deal is ratified, does not seem to bother them. What kind of Canadian PM sacrifices the rights of Canadian citizens in order to secure an unconstitutional "trade" deal?

We just threw out a Tyrant who was constantly operating in secrecy and giving the finger to Canadians. A tyrant who was continuously attempting to violate our rights.

I don't see where Trudeau is any different. What I've seen in the 10 months of Trudeau's governing is that the future of our democracy is in serious trouble.

By putting in the investor protection clause, they can bypass our constitution, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Isn't that the point regarding why this clause was put in CETA and other "trade" deals in the first place?

The question is, what has Trudeau and the liberal government to gain by doing this?

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Steve, that appears to be the case.

Owen Gray said...

This has always been about scratching each others' backs, Pam. Unfortunately, ordinary people are left with the itch.

Steve said...

In defense of CETA I lived seven years in Europe and honestly if you ask me Austria is a better country than Canada. So I do not fear being yellow belly seared suckered by Europe.

Owen Gray said...

Given the opposition to CETA in Europe, Steve, it sounds like the Europeans fear they will be snookered by us.

Steve said...

Given that we are the US poodle in every case when the CONS are in charge they should be afraid
we are but a proxy for the US empire. Just like Julian Assage is wanted for rape, sure.
On the light side if your a man you will enjoy this woody story.

John B. said...

I recall a vigorous defence, provided by Professor Ian Lee on one of the financial chat show discussions, of the necessity for inclusion of solid I-SDS provisions in "trade" agreements . He said that the provisions are required in order to protect "our companies". End of discussion. My question still is: What's a "our company"?

These mechanisms can open the field for investment interests to adopt any national identity of their choosing by either buying into or selling off a minority interest in order to avail themselves of advantages associated with whatever agreement or convoluted set of agreements might be applicable to a project. Again: what's a "our company"?

"There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rands, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. ...

"Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?"

Harper? My estimation always was that the boy was using the opportunity and his position to stooge for the potential future clients of Harper & Associates and, in the process, accumulate some deferred earnings for the firm.

Owen Gray said...

Mr. Lee's take on things is always the same, John, and therefore not surprising. Your speculation about Harper's motives is interesting.

Hugh said...

ISDS appears to be turning into a money-making business, for the companies, and the lawyers.

TILMA (between BC and Alberta)

They all have ISDS.

Owen Gray said...

Exactly, Hugh. That's because the money barons are in charge.