Open letter to Premier McGuinty: Protect Ontario from China Investment Treaty

Dear Premier McGuinty;
 
I strongly urge you to express opposition to the Canada-China Investment Treaty to Prime Minister Harper before the federal Cabinet ratifies the treaty this week.
 
The matter is urgent.
 
If ratified, the treaty will limit provincial powers irreversibly for a minimum of 16 years, and possibly until 2043.
 
The treaty affects provincial authority over natural resources, land, and property rights, among other matters. It applies to any legislation, regulation, or court decision that affects Chinese-owned assets in Ontario. Our province could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in awards to state-owned Chinese corporations due to provincial decisions that are not reviewable by any Canadian court.
 
It is wrong for the federal cabinet to ratify the Canada-China Investment Treaty without provincial consent. We need you to stand up for Ontario’s interests.
 
Secret arbitration
 
Unlike lawsuits under NAFTA and other treaties signed by Canada, the Chinese suits may be kept secret. The arbitration hearings and all documents, except the actual award, can be kept confidential at the discretion of the country being sued. We might not know if a tribunal has ordered the Canadian government or any province to change government decisions.
 
The Canada-China Investment Treaty allows Chinese companies (including state-owned enterprises) to sue Canada over decisions that can limit or reduce their expectation of profits. China can claim damages against Canada for decisions at the municipal, provincial, territorial or federal level.
 
In those secret hearings, no other level of government – even if it is the government that made the decision China challenges – would have the right to intervene or attend the arbitration. No other interested parties would be included.
 
A bad deal for Ontario
 
The federal cabinet should not ratify the Canada-China Investment Treaty without provincial consent. I encourage you to withhold that consent until a thorough and comprehensive review of the treaty is completed. We need you to stand up for Ontario now, before it is too late.
 
Regards,
 
Mike Schreiner
Leader
Green Party of Ontario