- Negotiations towards TPP and similar so-called free trade treaties have not been, and are not being, conducted in secret with the only people granted access to Canada’s government trade negotiators being representatives of international corporations but rather, the Canadian public is openly kept informed of progress through these negotiations and that:
- wholly domestic Canadian businesses with interest in how international trade may affect their own business operations,
- organizations concerned about environmental issues and how international trade may impact the Canadian and worldwide environment,
- labour organizations with concerns about how international trade may affect working Canadians,
- Canadian agricultural organizations with concerns about Canadians’ capacity to feed ourselves while also trading internationally,
- organizations attentive to health and safety issues and concerned with the effect of international trade on those issues, and
- others with interest in the effect of international trade on Canadian society
- 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, or even masters of, nations;
- ISDS proceedings may not actually 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 by the defending nation, and one so-called neutral, but all drawn from corporate legal practice and vested in corporate interests) may actually be fair and impartial judges of ISDS suits.
The now departed so-called loyal Conservative government secretly negotiated, 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.
Although the ICSID with its ISDS has existed for quite some time, I, along with most of the Canadian public, was not aware of this danger to Canada's sovereignty. This may, in part, result from international corporations only recently taking to exploiting ISDS to their advantage, challenging national governments more frequently than through previous decades. I did not recognize the danger back when NAFTA was negotiated, signed, and ratified. Recently, I learned that, as a consequence of ISDS in NAFTA, Canada is already the developed nation most frequently attacked with ICSID suits. Only with publicity of controversies at the time of the Canada-China FIPPA announcement and eventual ratification did I came to understand the threat Canada faces. ISDS forms part of very many modern so-called free trade agreements and through that provision international corporations now seek to detach themselves as subjects of nations and hold themselves as equals with, or masters of, nations and attack nations' sovereign right to democratically govern themselves.
- Capital replaces land as the feu;
- International banking replaces the Church as the outside power;
- Non-territorial international corporations replace kingdoms as the fundamental holders of the feu;
- Corporate CEOs replace kings as the authorities by which the feu gets distributed and to whom loyal attachment must return;
- Major corporate internal divisions and subsidiaries replace baronies, earldoms, dukedoms, counties, etc. as subordinate holders of the feu;
- Corporate vice presidents, very senior managers, and subsidiary CEOs replace the various Lords of the Realm;
- Corporate managers and highly skilled technical professionals replace knights;
- Contractors replace the freeman peasantry; and
- Ordinary common working people are reduced to the new serfs;
- All while the role of sovereign nations and democratic decision making diminishes into insignificance.
Instead of ISDS, Canadian operations of international corporations that find themselves at issue with our governments at any 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 publicly request its home nation government (by home nation, I do not mean that nation within which an international corporation locates its corporate head office, I mean that nation in which the plurality of the corporation's equity capital ownership resides) 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, nor as masters of, sovereign nations.