Here is another Post from Cowichan Conversations Contributor Kevin Logan.
Kevin Logan’s career has been diverse, ranging from small business to NGOs through finance and government. He served as a ministerial assistant to numerous ministers and a premier in the former BC NDP Administration. Kevin is also an independent researcher and writer who has administered many diverse and successful campaigns.
Robin Matthews does come in where the rubber hits the road and lays out a potential action. The challenge of course is convincing Canadians to do anything besides merely brush up on their Mandarin.
The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) is what has launched this new understanding of how Harper is completely destroying Canada. But here, once again, is the Enbridge thing is conflating the issues and obfuscating the impact on our future FIPA truly has.
I notice in all of the recent rhetoric, people are lighting their hair on fire over FIPA and how it impacts Enbridge. The worlds greatest political lightning rod and modern day distraction from reality.
FIPA is getting attacked and for good reason, however, the real good reasons have not yet been touched on, instead once again its all about Enbridge.
The anti-Enbridge crowd intent on holding up a zombie they can kill and soak for as much political benefit as possible have used FIPA as a zombie lifeline for the project suggesting that FIPA will ensure that we cannot stop it without being penalized and sued for millions.
But the reality is far worse and much different.
FIPA is not law. When and if it is ratified, which is very likely due to the Harper majority, Harper will likely omit Enbridge and kill the project himself as it stands today.
However even if that course of events does not unfold FIPA will likely not apply to Enbridge specifically, due to the fact that the project is well underway, involves a myriad of complicating factors that are not just the point that “Chinese companies” can sue us.
The fact is there already exists an agreement that allows for these companies to sue if people like Christy Clark “block” or “Stop” Enbridge in the way she describes.
TILMA , now long ratified by western Canadian governments, has very clear and concise language about this. This would be the trade agreement of choice for anyone suing over Enbridge being blocked.
What FIPA does however is much worse than people are talking about.
The main underlying theme to these agreements is that governments cannot make laws that impede profit or become obstacles for success of the projects.
Which means existing laws will be upheld but no new ones can be implemented which impact business negatively in this way without opening up the potential for the affected companies to sue as a result.
Essentially you cannot change the goal posts once the ball is kicked into play, and the Enbridge ball was long ago in play.
So here is where it gets ugly. You notice Harper has another “budget” omnibus bill, (In November I might add) which will further gut and water down environmental regulations and processes. This is on top of the now long standing slaughter and complete rewrite of the entire legal framework impacting oil and gas development.
This latest repeat of utilizing the omnibus strategy for implementing a blitzkrieg of changes in one vote, dulling any proper scrutiny of the changes to the point that most people wont even be aware of them, is being done now for many reasons but one stands out as it relates to FIPA.
The key point here is that they will pass this omnibus bill BEFORE they ratify the FIPA.
And this is key because, FIPA is a 31 year agreement. So if any subsequent government chooses to, not only simply improve environmental regulations and processes, but instead restore them to what we had pre the Harper government they can and will be sued under these agreements. Therefor it locks in Harper’s rewrite and gutting of the entire legal framework for oil and gas investment for 31 years.
And that is the importance of this thing not “Enbridge” once again.
As it stands today and for 6 years now, TILMA negates anything and everything Christy Clark claims she can do because doing so will result in fines and penalties.
This same threat people are screaming about now with FIPA does not apply anywhere near as much as the now long established TILMA agreement. The real threat is locking in Harper’s gutting of the entire legal and regulatory framework for oil and gas development for thirty years and many, many subsequent governments.