Editorial — No talk on trade treaty

Information on a Canada-China trade treaty has been very short in supply.

Virtually every MLA’s office in B.C. was targeted by protesters on Wednesday, as opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline intensifies. These protests follow a protest outside the Parliament Buildings in Victoria last Monday, Oct. 22.

The level of opposition to the pipeline project continues to mount. Opposition crosses almost all divides, be they political, age, gender or geographic. In northern B.C., where people have traditionally supported resource-based projects much more strongly than in the Lower Mainland, opposition is just as intense as it is in this area.

While it seems unlikely that Northern Gateway will proceed, given not just the massive opposition but also an almost complete lack of support from First Nations, who legally have enormous clout over projects such as these, there is no lack of people willing to step up to the plate and object.

Unfortunately, they seem to be ignoring another looming policy decision that may have even more of an effect on B.C. resource projects.

The federal government is about to ratify a Canada-China investment treaty. While the treaty grants some additional rights to Canadian companies doing business in China, it also grants sweeping additional authority to Chinese companies in Canada.

Details of this treaty have not been debated in the House of Commons and don’t have to be. While the opposition is now mounting a campaign against the treaty, the government points out the opposition has had four opposition days since the treaty was tabled and ignored it on each occasion.

It would be nice to know what actual powers this treaty will grant China and Chinese companies in Canada. If Northern Gateway were turned down, for example, and it was proposed by a Chinese company, what kind of recourse would it have?

How are disputes to be resolved? What kind of compensation is due to a Chinese company that feels it hasn’t received fair treatment from a provincial or local government? And how do state-owned Chinese companies fit into the puzzle?

The agreement may be very benign and not have the negative impact that some people are suggesting. The trouble is, no one really knows.

Many Chinese companies are very interested in Canadian resources. Citizens need to know how this treaty will affect the ability of Canadian governments to make decsions affecting those resources.

Just Posted

Location eyed for possible collector well

New estimate puts price tag of new water source at $81 million

Police investigate sexual assault of teen girl in Abbotsford

Incident occurred Wednesday night along Oriole Crescent

Bad behaviour to lead to expulsion at Abbotsford council

New rules lay out how a member can be booted from a meeting

More extreme weather beds needed in Mission

Council allocates another $5,000 to help keep people safe, warm and dry

Input sought for road works for Maple Ridge

Consultation on Haney Bypass upgrades

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Gas plants verdict coming down today; ex-premier’s top aides to learn fate

Verdict to be delivered on senior staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty

5 to start your day

Smoking ban on BC Ferries starts Monday, IHIT uses new strategy in murder investigation and more

Police investigating after body found in East Vancouver

The body was discovered in a parked vehicle

Rock slide closes Hwy. 1 south of Ashcroft until Friday afternoon

A rock slide Thursday afternoon near Spences Bridge closed the highway in both directions

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

Most Read