2016-01-26

An Open Letter to My MP Before February 4th

Dear Ms. Qualtrough,

I am dismayed to learn that the government of which you are a part may sign TPP on February 4th.  This without the free and open consultation with Canadians that Mr. Trudeau promised.

During last Fall’s election, at the announcement of successful completion of TPP negotiations, none of you, your leader, nor the Liberal Party of Canada raised Canada’s participation in this agreement with its sovereignty attacking investor/state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision as the fundamental issue it should have been.  I really do not understand why our sovereignty did not take front and centre as THE issue through the election campaign and I asked you on more than one occasion to address the issue before the vote.  After all, if international corporations can sue Canada in SECRET when the government of which you are a part takes action to correct the damage inflicted by the previous government, then we will find ourselves impotent to act.  I have no problem with free trade, as such; I do see that betraying Canada's sovereignty as entirely another matter.

The now departed so-called loyal Conservative government negotiated in secret, then signed and eventually ratified the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) which goes far beyond simply providing for freer trade but, in effect, diminishes Canada to a resource colony of the Communist dictatorship in Beijing for the next thirty years. With the inclusion of the ISDS provision, Chinese firms (which are merely arms of the Chinese Communist dictatorship) with investments in Canadian business now have the right to sue Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal governments in secret trials if new environmental, labour, health and safety, business practice, etc. law impinges on their investment. That is to say, Canada now has to clear such new laws, regulations, and court judgements with Beijing in order to bring them into effect.

Similarly, that government negotiated in secret, then signed both the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), both now awaiting ratification. It also brought Canada to participate in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSAsecret negotiations and has signed other so-called free trade agreements, all of which include provisions for ISDS by which international corporations can turn to the International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID) to sue sovereign nations, Canada included, in secret trials by tribunal outside of any national judiciary to overturn new law enacted out of a nation’s sovereign right to govern itself. Thus, Canada will have to clear such new laws, regulations, and court judgements with corporate head offices in order to bring them into effect and hope to remain safe from attack.

As I understand it, the evil of ISDS lies in its capacity to defeat the sovereign right of nations to govern themselves. With its secret trials and no recourse to appeal, the ISDS provision raises international corporations from the subjects of nations to, in effect, non-territorial kingdoms equal with or superior to no-longer fully sovereign nations while reducing participating nations, Canada included, to resource and labour colonies of those corporations.  For suborning Canada’s sovereignty to international corporations through ICSID, former Prime Minister Harper and those of his ministers involved in these negotiations should be called to answer to the charge of treason.

I have deliberately placed links throughout this letter to commentary by others, both domestic and international, on the danger of these modern so-called free trade deals with their inclusion of ISDS through the ICSID.  If my understanding of this very fundamental issue is not sound, please educate me and your constituents as to just how it is that:
•Canada submitting to ICSID and its ISDS secret trials may not constitute suborning of our sovereign right to govern ourselves;
•ISDS proceedings may not raise international corporations from being subjects of nations to, in effect, non-territorial kingdoms, equal with nations;
•ISDS proceedings may not be SECRET TRIALS, utter anathema to a free and democratic society, but be open and public;
•Decisions by ICSID tribunals in ISDS suits may be appealed to a higher court;
•ISDS suits may be in either direction to allow nations to sue corporations, not just corporations to sue nations; and
•ICSID tribunals made up of corporate lawyers (one selected by the suing corporation, one selected by the defending nation, and one so-called neutral, but all drawn from corporate legal practice and vested in corporate interests) may be fair and impartial judges of ISDS suits.

Instead of ISDS, Canadian operations of international corporations that find themselves at issue with our governments at whatever level should bring the matter to an open and public Canadian court within the Canadian judicial system for decision under Canadian law in the same way as Canadian corporations and Canadian citizens must do. If an issue exceeds the competence of Canadian courts, an international corporation should be required to publicly request its home nation government to pursue the matter in an open and public international court on a sovereign nation versus sovereign nation basis that clearly holds international corporations as subjects of sovereign nations and not as equals with sovereign nations.

I can only hope that Mr. Trudeau will do the right thing and refuse to ratify TPP on February 4th and CETA when it comes up for ratification unless the sovereignty destroying ISDS provision gets stripped from them and that he withdraws Canada from the secret TTIP and TiSA negotiations as long as they remain secret (after all he promises to be open with Canadians) and also contain the sovereignty deleting ISDS provision.

If you cannot educate me satisfactorily on every point above and the government of which you are a part does ratify TPP to confirm the previous government’s abrogation of Canada’s national sovereignty, may I respectfully suggest that you resign your position in cabinet and cross the floor of the House of Commons to sit as an independent MP or with the one caucus that seriously strives to retain our sovereignty.

Please share your thoughts on this vitally fundamental issue in cabinet, in caucus, and publicly with your constituents.

Thank you for your attention,
Edwin M. Hopkins,

Cc: The Delta Optimist, The Council of Canadians, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Foreign Affairns St├ęphane Dion, Minister of International Trade Chrystia Freeland, Interim Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Green Leader Elizabeth May.