An open letter to my newly elected Member of Parliament, Carla Qualtrough

2015, October 21.
Dear Ms. Qualtrough,

Please accept my congratulations on your election.  Through the campaign you impressed me simply as the person you are and by what you said and did.  But for your silence and the silence of the Liberal Party of Canada on the issue I considered most vital for Canada’s future, I could have readily given you my vote.

With 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 ISDS provision as the fundamental issue it should have been (although the Council of Canadians suggests that the Liberal Party actually supports TPP as negotiated).  I really do not understand why our sovereignty did not take front and centre as THE issue through the election campaign.  After all, if international corporations can sue Canada in secret when the new government takes action to correct the damage inflicted by the previous government, then we will find ourselves impotent to act. The ISDS provision in the now, unfortunately, ratified Canada/China FIPPA, in TPP and CETA awaiting ratification, and in TTIP, and TiSA still under secret negotiation, permits international corporations to sue us in SECRET if we act on any of the many other issues in a way not to their liking, as though such corporations are equals with Canada as a nation rather than the subjects of nations.  I have no problem with free trade, as such; I do see that betraying our sovereignty as entirely another matter.

The now departing 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 investor-state dispute settlement (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 by tribunals outside of our justice system 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), now awaiting ratification. It also has Canada participating in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) secret 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 tribunals outside of any national judiciary to overturn new law enacted out of a nation’s sovereign right to govern itself. 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.

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 sovereign nations while reducing participating nations, Canada included, to resource and labour colonies of those multinational corporations.  For suborning Canada’s sovereignty to international corporations through ICSID, departing Prime Minister Harper and those of his ministers involved in these negotiations should be called to answer to the charge of treason.

All through the election, Mr. Trudeau and the entire Liberal party remained silent on the evil of ISDS and that silence makes me suspicious that Liberals may be complicit with the Conservatives in betraying our sovereign right to govern ourselves. To alleviate that suspicion, I can only hope that Mr. Trudeau will do the right thing and refuse to ratify TPP and CETA 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.

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 equals with sovereign nations.

Please share your thoughts on this vitally fundamental issue, both with your leader and with your constituents.

Thank you for your attention and, again, congratulations,

Edwin M. Hopkins,

CC: The Delta Optimist
The Liberal Party of Canada
The Council of Canadians