FIPA and the right to water in China

FIPA and the right to water in China

Postby Oscar » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:59 pm

FIPA and the right to water in China

[ http://www.canadians.org/blog/fipa-and- ... ater-china ]

September 15, 2014 - 11:42am

The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) was ratified by the Harper government on Friday.

Harper went ahead with the deal despite a legal challenge by the Hupacasath First Nation which is still before the courts. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow commented, “This is a terrible development. Once again, the Harper government is flagrantly ignoring the court system, and giving Chinese corporations and state-owned enterprises the right to sue us over our public and environmental protections."

We must continue to criticize the Canada-China FIPA because it will diminish democratic space in Canada to stop pipelines, mines and the destructive growth of the tar sands, but also because it will allow Canadian corporations to further pursue their agenda in China to the detriment of the workers, water and the land there.

The vast scale of industrialization in China supplies Canadian markets and the world with consumer goods. This and its semiconductor and steel industry have consumed massive volumes of water and contributed to a terrible water crisis there.

It has been estimated that 90 percent of groundwater in their cities and 75 percent of their rivers and lakes are polluted and as such some 700 million people drink contaminated water every day. It has also been forecast that by 2020 there could be 30 million environmental refugees in China due to water stress.

China poses the threat of having the capital to invest in major expansions of the tar sands that will further hurt Indigenous peoples here. We should also keep in mind that China has been importing coal since 2009 and that one major source of coal is British Columbia.

But Canada's record of its mining companies despoiling water and violating the human rights of workers throughout Latin America and other parts of the world tells us that the workers and environment in China cannot benefit from this deal either. When Harper visited China in 2012 he brought with him corporate executives from Enbridge, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, Cameco Corp, and 37 other corporations. And we know that ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and Total have all sought partnerships with Chinese oil and gas companies to pursue fracking there.

We must stand for fairness for workers everywhere, in support of renewable energy, and in defence of the land, water and climate. As Barlow says, "Instead of promoting corporate friendly trade and investment deals that profit only the privileged, Canadians should be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Chinese people seeking better working conditions, improved human rights, and a clean environment in both our countries."

Brent Patterson's Blog:

[ http://www.canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
Oscar
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