Greedy corporations prey on trade deals

State-owned enterprises Petronas and CNOOC have been allowed to purchase energy giants Progress and Nexen.

To the editor:

By now, every Canadian who’s not asleep at the wheel knows that state-owned enterprises Petronas and CNOOC have been allowed to purchase energy giants Progress and Nexen.

Granted, we don’t know the terms and conditions of those takeovers.

Worse, the takeovers were allowed despite 78 per cent of Canadians not wanting foreign governments to control resources on Canadian soil (Angus-Reid survey, October 2012).

By now, every Canadian not asleep also knows the government has said something about restricting state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the oil sands industry.

Granted, we don’t quite know what the restrictions will be without having a definition of “exceptional circumstances,” and the restrictions will apply to only those investments that exceed one-third of a billion dollars.

Canadians have also learned that outside the oil sands, SOEs will still be welcome—not to a controlling degree, but to some kind of a degree.

No, we don’t know the degree.

We’ve also learned that 60 per cent of the tar sands industry and 80 per cent of Canada’s natural resources overall are not owned by SOEs.

However, we don’t know how much of the tar sands industry or our natural resources overall are owned by private foreign companies, or how much of either could be up for grabs by such companies.

When it comes down to it, there’s still much to be answered about foreign ownership of our natural resources.

I myself would ask these additional questions:

Why are we allowing such rushed development of the tar sands by foreign investors, and why are we doing so in light of climate change and the need for climate change mitigation, without public debate, without having planned for our own energy security, and without having created a plan for developing renewable energy resources?

Why do we need foreign investors?

Why are Canadian companies not pouring some of their $500 billion of cash assets into development of the tar sands?

What is it about this investment opportunity or Canadian investors themselves that’s keeping them away in droves?

That last question begs another—what is it about investment opportunities in China that has the Canadian government champing at the bit to sign an investment treaty so Canadian investors can go there to invest? Will they go?

As for the Canada-China investment treaty, we’ve learned that up to Dec. 7, it had not been ratified by either side.

And that’s a good thing, for even if we had answers to all the questions I’ve posed, there are still the significant problems of the treaty’s investor-state arbitration mechanism and the minimum 31 years of the treaty’s effect.

We must urge the government to once and for all get rid of this treaty that’s hanging over the necks of Canadians like a guillotine, and to stop signing trade and investment treaties that have investor-state arbitration mechanisms.

These mechanisms enrich greedy corporations and players within the arbitration industry.

They are of no benefit whatsoever to taxpayers and their communities, either here at home or anywhere else on earth.

Dianne Varga,

Kelowna

Just Posted

Updated: Highway 97 reopens to traffic, Peachland fire crews monitor fires this morning

Crews continue to battle the 1,000 hectare Mount Eneas blaze south of Peachland

West Kelowna residents remain on alert due to wildfire

Evacuation alerts are in effect for properties in the Glenrosa area

Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire burns at 400 hectares

An evacuation alert remains in effect for those on Lakeshore Road

Show of union solidarity on casino picket lines

Labour movement to back striking BCGEU workers in protest on Saturday

Updated: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Scammers dressed as Mounties threaten to arrest senior if she doesn’t cough up cash

Pair of fraudulent officers threaten to arrest 90-year-old woman

Fundraiser launched to help mom of French jogger detained after accidentally crossing U.S border

Cedella Roman, 19, was detained in America after accidentally crossing the border

Trump slams Federal Reserve rate hikes

Fed raised benchmark rate for a second time this year in June, and projects two more hikes to come

New wildfire burning in the Naramata area

Wildfire ignited at Paradise Ranch, near Naramata

Police to provide update on case against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

McArthur worked as a landscaper, allegedly concealed the remains of seven men in planters

Premiers to wrap up 2 days of meetings at New Brunswick seaside resort

Meetings held in the scenic seaside town of St. Andrews on Thursday focused on trade

B.C. city wants pot banned from ALR

Mayor and council are concerned about conversion from growing food to making marijuana

On the street: Kelowna reacts to 2018 wildfires

BC Wildfire is working with local departments to battle multiple blazes near Kelowna.

Most Read