MP Report for Okanagan-Coquihalla for the week of October 29th: Canada is not for sale.
If you believe everything you read on the Internet and in some
letters to the editor, you have likely heard false and erroneous claims that
Canada is essentially being given away to China as a result of a secret FIPA
(foreign investment promotion and protection agreement) that has been hastily
put together solely to give away our Country’s natural resources. Let me state
for the record that such claims are complete nonsense, and in many cases are
intentionally fabricated falsehoods that use fear-mongering and misinformation
in order to mislead others. While stating personal opinion is an important and
fundamental aspect in our free and democratic society, I remain concerned how
online information, or in this case misinformation, is increasingly being used
in an effort to deliberately deceive Canadians. My report this week is not in
any way intended to seek support from those who oppose measures that encourage
trade but rather to provide factually correct information so citizens can have
a more informed point of view.
What is a FIPA? Contrary to what you may have read, a FIPA is not
a formal trade treaty but rather is an agreement between two different countries
that outlines the rules, obligations, administration and dispute resolution
mechanisms that can both protect and promote foreign investment in each other’s
respective country. In essence a FIPA agreement establishes important guidelines
that promote a fair and transparent process for those investors looking to do
business in another country. FIPA agreements are not new, in fact the current
proposed FIPA agreement with China actually began negotiation almost twenty
years ago back in 1994. Further, these agreements are not “secret”! The current
31 page proposed Canada-China FIPA is publicly posted online with 24 other FIPA
agreements that have been reached with various countries over the past two
decades. Please contact me if you are interested in viewing any of these
Does a FIPA agreement “hand over” Canada’s Natural resources?
Absolutely not and any claim that it does is patently false. Acquisitions of
Canadian resources by foreign investors are subject to the Investment Canada Act
that cannot be over ridden by a FIPA agreement. Further, it is specifically
written into the Canada-China FIPA agreement that decisions made under the
Investment Canada Act cannot be subject to the dispute settlement provisions in
the FIPA agreement. I will be happy to share the exact language directly from
the FIPA agreement on this or any point to confirm this information to anyone
who is interested. With respect to the Parliamentary process on a FIPA
agreement, these agreements must be tabled in the House of Commons for 21
sitting days of Parliament. During this time the Opposition, through Opposition
day debates, has the opportunity to debate a FIPA agreement or any other issue.
To date the Opposition parties have decided not to debate this particular FIPA
agreement. I should also add that this particular FIPA agreement was brought
forward and reviewed by the Standing Committee on International Trade at request
Why pursue a FIPA Agreement with China? Canadian exports to China have increased
more than 27% since 2010 and as a result, China is now Canada’s third largest
export merchandise market. Over the past five years Canada’s exports to China
have increased by 77%. This past year British Columbia actually exported more
lumber to China than to the United States. Several large scale employers and
even some small business operations in Okanagan-Coquihalla are now exporting
into the Asian marketplace. As China has one of the fastest growing economies in
the World there are increasing opportunities for Canadian companies to grow and
expand into China. However agreements like FIPA are necessary to protect
Canadian investments and business dealings in foreign countries such as China to
ensure our interests are protected by due process. I spoke to an owner of an
industrial company several weeks ago as I wanted to know if he saw China as a
potential market for his Canadian made specialty equipment for mining. He said
that he thought it was a big opportunity but due to what he viewed as a lack of
patent and investment protection, he wasn’t interested at this time. Currently
Canada has an excellent reputation internationally for a safe place to do
business and invest, largely due to our stable way of life and commitment to the
rule of law. If we are to expect Canadian companies to grow and expand on their
expertise, Government must build that certainty so our we and future
generations can benefit from increased investment and expanded trade. I
appreciate that there are always those individuals who oppose trade, however it
should not in my view be overlooked that we have employers throughout
Okanagan-Coquihalla who depend on access to foreign markets that help provide
jobs locally and support our regional economy.
Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1(800) 665-8711.
4/24/2013 01:09:38 am
If you can please tell me where to access these FIPA agreements that you mentioned (to be found on line), I would like to read these agreements and then if I have questions, I could phone you for clarification.
In case someone would like to see some background information on FIPA's in general please see the following:
8/27/2013 07:21:35 am
If Canada, for what ever reason has to change some boundaries that affect ANY FIPA with ANY country..there will be financial repercussions. Tax payers WILL pay. We can not foresee every aspect of our future economy and where it will lead..
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola