Heather Conn Blogs

spoutin’ about by the sea

It’s not too late to stop ratification of the Canada-China Investment Treaty

Two days past its ratification deadline, Prime minister Stephen Harper’s Canada-China Investment Treaty (FIPPA) remains unsigned. That’s good for Canadians.

Harper will soon arrive in India, touted as the largest democracy in the world, to wrangle more business deals. While there, maybe he can pick up some democratic principles of his own, rather than ignoring parliamentary procedure in his home country and the views of thousands of Canadians in how he handles Chinese investment.

As Canada’s Green Party leader Elizabeth May has stated on her website, 32,000 Canadians signed her party’s petition against this treaty. Her office received more than 75,000 emails against the deal and 5,000 used her website to send their MP letters to warn of the danger posed by dealing with the Communist government in Beijing. And the organizations Leadnow.ca and Someofus.org had more than 70,000 signatures on their petition against FIPPA.

I won’t recap here the many dangers related to this treaty, from security threats to China’s non-reciprocal powers and legal clout, because they’re amply covered across the Internet. Instead, I’ll quote from journalist Terry Glavin’s recent commentary in The National Post: “It’s the sudden emergence of the most powerful criminal enterprise in world history suddenly establishing itself as the most powerful capitalist entity in Canada by securing its place as the critical and irreplaceable component of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s sole economic strategy, which is to transform Canada into an ‘energy superpower.’”

Glavin points out that China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)’s $15.1 billion pending bid for Calgary’s Nexen Inc. is the biggest-ever overseas acquisition move by a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Petro-China, meanwhile, pumps more oil than Exxon-Mobil. And the annual revenues of the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, known as Sinopec, exceed the entire sum of the annual federal tax revenues of the Government of Canada.

Surprisingly, for a deal that gives the Chinese sweeping control over key Canadian resources and the right to sue any level of government that doesn’t go along with its business ventures, the NDP has done little to condemn this agreement. So far, Elizabeth May is the only politician to take a strong vocal stance against this treaty.

Canadians have made it clear that they don’t want their federal leader handing unprecedented powers to a corrupt, foreign country that will gain massive control over this country’s resources. At the very least, this issue needs to be debated in Parliament in a process that includes provinces, territories and First Nations. Let’s stop FIPPA now.

Click here to read Terry Glavin’s opinion piece. To receive updates on this issue, join the Facebook page of SomeofUs and LeadNow.

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November 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm Comments (0)

Green vision still thrives in Vancouver while Gibsons faces greater Gospel Rock challenge

I am delighted that Gregor Robertson won the mayoralty race in Vancouver, BC and that the Vision Vancouver team can continue its mandate for progressive change. This means that the city’s sustainability plan with its bold goals and target dates will not be shelved or disrupted.

I found it truly offensive to receive an email from Suzanne Anton on Nov. 19 (voting day), which recapped her goals as a potential mayor and what she would pledge to do in that role. I thought that such politicking on voting day was illegal! If so, she and the NPA team need to be censured for their actions.

Hurray for the Green Party grabbing its first council seat. What a great opportunity for the Greens’ newly elected councillor Adriane Carr, who will add her knowledgeable earth-focused perspective. I think that the results of Vancouver’s municipal election show that going green is no temporary fad for residents. Enough people in the city truly recognize that we need fundamental lifestyle changes in how we relate to the environment.

However, I am sad to see that Ellen Woodsworth of the Committee of Progressive Electors did not get re-elected. She has been a grassroots activist for decades in many arenas, from women’s right to choose to affordable housing and poverty issues. I was impressed with the humility, dedication, and passion for helping others that she shared on the Nov. 9 Women in Politics panel in downtown Vancouver, co-hosted by the Minerva Foundation and several women’s business groups.

As for the Sunshine Coast elections, the Gibsons mayoralty results are indeed disheartening. Having lawyer Wayne Rowe at the helm will require an even stronger fight to try and save Gospel Rock. Early congrats to new electee Dan Bouman and re-elected Lee Ann Johnson. They’ll provide a much-needed pro-environment stance on council. Barry Janyk gave the Town of Gibsons a dozen years of fine leadership and eco-minded initiatives as mayor. His contributionss and humor in that role will be missed.

Lastly, I extend congratulations to Donna Shugar in her re-election as director in Roberts Creek. We Creekers and all of us in the SCRD will continue to enjoy the benefits of her extensive experience, open and consultative style, and even-handed way of dealing with so many community issues. Donna, I’m extremely pleased to see that you have received such resounding support: more than three times your closest opponent, Barb Hague (Shugar 599 votes; Hague 167; Hans Penner 142).

In a Nov. 20 thank-you email to supporters, Donna shared her view of her campaign: “I have a better sense of what is important to the community in terms of the person they want to represent them. I hope I can live up to your expectations, especially since there will be several key changes to the composition of the SCRD Board.” Go, Donna, go!

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November 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm Comments (2)