What Is Happening To Our Country?

On October 17, 2012, a friend of mine on Facebook shared a Leadnow petition informing me about the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement. (From here on out known as FIPA.)

It got me curious, because it said that the Harper government was pushing it through without a parliamentary debate or vote. That didn’t seem right to me, so I picked up the phone to contact my local Member of Parliament, Rick Norlock. When you have questions about things to do with your Federal government, these elected officials are who you should talk to. That is their whole reason for being when they hold that position; to represent the citizens of their riding.

There were several ways in which to connect with Mr. Norlock, (Twitter, Facebook) but being a bit of an organic type, I chose the phone. I decided to do some research, so that I didn’t look like too much of a tool if I was wrong, so I set the phone down and started looking things up. What I found out was that it was all true. The leading papers in Canada confirmed it. I guess it was time to phone.

I spoke with Mr. Norlock’s assistant, Stephanie, and she told me that I couldn’t speak with Mr. Norlock, because he was in Ottawa. I asked if he didn’t have a phone, and was told that he was busy there. I said that I would rather speak with him personally, but she assured me that it wasn’t possible for me to speak with him, and she would send some information to me. I told her that I wanted a real answer as to why the FIPA was getting pushed through, and not some stock answer that wouldn’t tell me anything. She told me that she would contact me, so I hung up and started reading up some more. The rest of the conversations have been via email, so I’ll just copy them over.

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Date: Wed, October 17, 2012 2:55 pm
To: <birdman@changethetopic.com><mailto:birdman@changethetopic.com>><mailto:birdman@changethetopic.com>><mailto:birdman@changethetopic.com>><mailto:birdman@changethetopic.com>>

Good Afternoon;

This is just in response to your phone call to the office of MP Norlock. I just want to ensure I have your correct email and wanted to confirm that you were looking for answers on Canada-China Foreign investment. Please advise at your earliest convenience.

Thank you
Stephanie Campbell
Executive Assistant
Rick Norlock, MP Northumberland-Quinte West
(905) 372-8757 / (613) 392-3382 / 1-800-461-6741
Cell: (613) 483-8181
www.ricknorlock.ca

Yes, Stephanie, this is the correct address. Thanks for checking. You can also reach me at 905-269-**** if it’s convenient.
Chris Bird
Was your Canada-China question in relation to the China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) proposed acquisition of Nexen Inc. ?Thank youStephanie Campbell
Executive Assistant
Rick Norlock, MP Northumberland-Quinte West

Not directly, but I would definitely like to know why we would sell our companies and resources to a Chinese owned company.What I want to know is why the government is trying to push through a deal that is largely one-way, and not for Canada? Sadly, this isn’t my biggest concern.My concern is that a government that I helped get in, is trying to get this deal pushed through, bypassing the democratic process and the parliament. I don’t feel that this is a good deal for Canada at all, and would like to hear more about why our elected officials think it’s a fair and just treaty.

Thanks,
Chris

Date: Mon, October 22, 2012 8:41 am
To: <birdman@changethetopic.com><mailto:birdman@changethetopic.com>><mailto:birdman@changethetopic.com>>Good Morning Chris;Would you be able to provide me with your mailing address?

Thank you
Stephanie Campbell
Executive Assistant
Rick Norlock, MP Northumberland-Quinte West

Yes, it’s box *************** St. Colborne ON K0K1S0. I’d prefer things electronically if possible, as I don’t think it’s necessary to waste a bunch of paper on something that’s new enough to have been created digitally. If you only have it in paper form, then I guess that would be the way you have to send it, but I could come to your office and pick it up if that’s where it is.Is Mr. Norlock still not available to speak to? I’m more of an organic type of person, and prefer to speak face to face when addressing something of this magnitude. It’s hard to gauge someone’s sincerity via letters and email. It’s also a sort of time sensitive issue, as I’m sure that you are aware. I suppose I can contact some members of the opposition to get the facts, as I’m sure, or at least hoping, that they are well versed on what’s happening with this.Thanks,
Chris Bird

Thank you for your address – I will be sending a letter electronically… just wanted to ensure you were in the riding!Thank you
Stephanie Campbell
Executive Assistant
Rick Norlock, MP Northumberland-Quinte West
Sent: 24 October 2012 01:31
To: Norlock, Rick – Riding 1
Subject: RE: request from Rick Norlock’s officeHi, Stephanie. I was wondering when I can expect anything from Mr. Norlock? I’ve already got responses and calls to action from all of the opposition parties. This doesn’t look good for the actual government when you were the first ones I contacted. I was really hoping that it would be easier to get some answers, but it seems that you are stalling me, and the rest of our great country, so you can get this thing pushed through. The fate of our nation deserves at the very least, a parliamentary vote and debate. Don’t you think?Chris Bird

My apologies Chris as I thought this was sent through on Monday.Please see the attached response from MP Norlock.
Stephanie Campbell
Executive Assistant
Rick Norlock, MP Northumberland-Quinte West
(905) 372-8757 / (613) 392-3382 / 1-800-461-6741
Cell: (613) 483-8181
www.ricknorlock.ca

Click to enlarge

Stephanie,
 
Wow! That was a big help. I wish there was a sarcasm font on here.
Thanks for your time.
Chris
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As you can see, I got nowhere after a week of trying to get something out of these people. Luckily I received some responses from the other parties. The first one was from the NDP.
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Subject:
Update: FIPA – reply Tom Mulcair
From:
<thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca> (Add as Preferred Sender)
Date: Tue, Oct 23, 2012 9:14 pm
To: <thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca>
I am writing you because you have expressed concern about the Canada – China Foreign Investment Agreement (FIPA).As you have noted, this deal changes Canada’s long standing policy of ensuring public disclosure and transparency in arbitrations. This deal could have negative effects on the ability of Canadian governments to set policies in the public interest and exposes Canadian taxpayers to expensive litigation and damages. It also fails to achieve full reciprocity for Canadian investors.Despite repeated calls for a public debate and study of this agreement, the Conservative Government has refused to expose this deal to any public scrutiny. As the treaty’s terms will be in force for a minimum of 31 years, we believe this is irresponsible.

That is why the NDP is putting forward another motion at the House of Commons International Trade Committee to conduct a full study on this deal and, importantly, to call on the government to postpone ratification of this agreement until we have heard from a broad cross-section of witnesses.

We are asking for your help in making this happen. Please write the Conservative members of the International Trade committee and ask them to join the call for postponing ratification and support the motion to study the treaty.

NDP International Trade Critic Don Davies’ motion will be debated on Thursday, October 25. To read his motion in full and to see other actions the NDP has taken on the FIPA issue, click here: http://www.dondavies.ca/canada-china-fipa/

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Write to the Conservative MP’s who are members of The Standing Committee on International Trade and urge them to support the motion:

Rob Merrifield rob.merrifield@parl.gc.ca
Ron Cannan ron.cannan@parl.gc.ca
Russ Hiebert russ.hiebert@parl.gc.ca
Ed Holder ed.holder@parl.gc.ca
Gerald Keddy gerald.keddy@parl.gc.ca
Bev Shipley bev.shipley@parl.gc.ca
Devinder Shory devinder.shory@parl.gc.ca

Again, I appreciate this opportunity to update you on our efforts to ensure that all trade deals are done in the best interests of Canadians.

Sincerely,

Thomas Mulcair, M.P. (Outremont)
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada

Follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter
www.facebook.com/ThomasMulcair
www.twitter.com/ThomasMulcair

And I received one back from Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party.
*************************************************************
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Canada is not for sale
From: <Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca>
Date: Wed, October 17, 2012 11:23 am
To: <birdman@changethetopic.com>

Thank you for your interest in the Canada-China Investment Treaty. Although Stephen Harper prefers to keep Canadians in the dark about this Agreement’s grave implications for our sovereignty, security, and democracy, I am hopeful that we can force the issue into daylight. Your letter proves that you recognize the seriousness and urgency of what is about to take place behind our backs.
While the Canada-China Investment Treaty will likely be our most significant treaty since NAFTA, Stephen Harper plans to sign it into law as early as November 2nd, 2012, without any public consultation, any consultation with First Nations, any Parliamentary debate, or even a single vote in the House of Commons. I do not accept such blatant disrespect for either the will of Canadians or for our democratic institutions.
Sadly, in addition to the anti-democratic process to approve this Agreement, it is the actual content of this investment deal with which I am most concerned. For the first time in Canadian history, the Canada-China Investment Treaty will allow investors (including Chinese state-owned enterprises such as CNOOC or Sinopec), to claim damages against the Canadian government in secret, for decisions taken at the municipal, provincial, territorial or federal level that result in a reduction of their expectation of profits. Even decisions of Canadian courts can give rise to damages.
Realizing what the Conservatives were attempting to do, in secret and without debate, and realizing that we will be bound by this destructive Agreement for up to 31 years once it is ratified, on October 1st, 2012, I made a request in the House of Commons for an Emergency Debate to allow Canada’s democratically elected Members of Parliament to study the implications of the Canada-China Investment Treaty.
Although my request for an Emergency Debate was regrettably denied, we have not given up and are continuing to pursue all available options to stop the treaty’s approval. Given what is at stake, we hope that you will join us.
In addition to the tools found on our Canada-China Investment Treaty campaign site at http://www.greenparty.ca/stop-the-sellout, I urge you to push back against this sell-out of our sovereignty, security, and democracy, and help to educate Canadians by talking to your friends and neighbours, writing letters to the editor in local and national newspapers, calling in to talk radio shows, and filling up the comment boards of news website.
Crucially, this is not a partisan issue, and it is only by coming together to stand up for Canada that we will succeed in stopping this agreement.
Sincerely,
Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
(editor’s note – Elizabeth May sent this link to me last night. It’s a 60 second video that you should watch and share http://elizabethmaymp.ca/parliament/statements/2012/10/24/canada-china-investment-treaty/ )
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In short, there are so many things that you can do to help stop this violation of our democracy. You could send a letter to all of the PC MP’s who are members of The Standing Committee on International Trade, like in Thomas Mulcair’s email. Hell, I’ll even write a stock one that you can copy and paste into the emails. I’ll tack it on in a P.S. for you. If that’s a pain, go to your local MP’s office and complain to them, or pick up the phone and call them. You have to do something, because in 20 years, when the state owned Chinese companies are suing for your hard earned tax dollars in a closed-door meeting, you’re going to look back and tell your kids that you could have done something, but you didn’t think it mattered.
Well it does matter. To me, to you, to Canada. I’d say any of those is worth fighting for, let alone a few minutes out of your day.
You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything,
Birdman
P.S. Here’s the letter. Just put your name at the bottom and the MP that you’re sending it to at the top with the date.

[date]
[Name of MP]
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Dear [name of MP],
I am concerned about the future of our country, with the China-Canada Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, and I respectfully request that you support the NDP’s motion at the House of Commons International Trade Committee to conduct a full study on this deal and, more importantly, to call on the government to postpone ratification of this agreement until we have heard from a broad cross-section of witnesses.

I think we can all agree that a treaty of this magnitude deserves at the very least, a parliamentary review and a bit of scrutiny.

Thank you for your help.

Yours truly,
[Name of signer]

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7 thoughts on “What Is Happening To Our Country?

  1. “to claim damages against the Canadian government in secret, for decisions taken at the municipal, provincial, territorial or federal level that result in a reduction of their expectation of profits” Given my experience with municipal level government this is terrifying. Most of those boobs couldn’t make a correct decision if they were handed a book called “The Big Book of Correct Decisions” with sticky notes, highlights and an instructional video.

    • I fully agree, and who gets to choose what their expected profits are? We have seen what they’ve done to their own country. Why should we allow that kind of resource raping in ours? The west is going to see it worse than we are, because of CNOOC buying Nexen, but the whole country will be affected.

  2. I sent my letter. I cc’d everyone. I hope everyone does the same. This is not okay, and to pretend that it’s okay to be complacent because you are not a ‘political’ person is downright negligent. This is your country and it affects your lives. It will also affect lives for years. Let YOUR voice be heard. One person CAN make a difference, when he or she is one of MANY single persons wanting to be heard.

  3. I went to the green party sell-out link and they also had a template for an email to your mp where you could pick your riding and just put your name and it emailed for you right from there. As well as a petition to sign. Couldn’t be easier – thanks for the warning!!

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