NAFTA: Chap. 11 - Bilcon Quarry wins: $570 MILLION!!!!!!!

NAFTA: Chap. 11 - Bilcon Quarry wins: $570 MILLION!!!!!!!

Postby Oscar » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:28 am

Bilcon wins NAFTA challenge against Canada over gravel quarry expansion

[ http://www.canadians.org/blog/bilcon-wi ... -expansion ]

March 20, 2015 - 3:50 pm

The Council of Canadians opposed the expansion of the Whites Point gravel quarry in Digby Neck, Nova Scotia by the Delaware-based company Bilcon. We also opposed the company's use of the Chapter 11 investor-state provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) when the expansion of the quarry was rejected by the provincial government.

Metro News now reports, "A U.S. company that proposed expanding a quarry in southwestern Nova Scotia says it is seeking at least US$300 million in damages from Canada after winning a NAFTA ruling. ...Bilcon will seek damages during a NAFTA hearing expected to take place next year." [ http://metronews.ca/news/canada/1318861 ... y-dispute/ ]

In 2008, the company had sought about $188 million in damages.
[ http://canadians.org/node/5487 ]

The newspaper explains, "Bilcon proposed the expansion at the Whites Point quarry in Digby Neck in September 2002 but the Nova Scotia and federal governments rejected it after a federal-provincial joint review panel recommended it not proceed. ...A NAFTA tribunal concluded that the joint review panel considered factors outside Canada’s environmental legislation that were not disclosed to Bilcon during the review process. The tribunal’s March 17 ruling says it was unjust for officials to encourage the expansion of the quarry and later determine that the area was a 'no go' zone for such a development."

The Council of Canadians and its allies in Nova Scotia have previously warned in relation to this case that a similar investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism exists in the not-yet-ratified Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
[ http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article/2359 ... gotiations ]

This tribunal ruling follows the recent judgement in favour of ExxonMobil and Murphy Oil in their NAFTA investor-state challenge against a rule that required them to spend some of their profits from offshore drilling in the Hibernia and Terra Nova oil fields on research in development in Newfoundland and Labrador.

More on that here.
[ http://canadians.org/blog/icsid-awards- ... -challenge ]

For more on our campaign to stop ISDS in CETA, please click here:
[ http://canadians.org/ceta ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ http://www.canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]

= = = =

RELATED:

1) Whites Point quarry expansion wins NAFTA ruling – CBC News – March 20, 2015

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... -1.3003501 ]

2) Bilcon seeks US$300m after win in quarry dispute – Chronicle Herald – March 21, 2015
[ http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia ... ry-dispute ]

3) Sierra Club of Canada analysis which argued some of the reasons why the Quarry should be stopped see the following report presented to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
[ https://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/B4777C6B-docs/WP-1637.pdf ]

4) Digby Neck, Nova Scotia vs Mega-Quarry, SPP and Atlantica: Struggling to Maintain a Small Scale Sustainble Economy in Face of Imposed Extractive Economy:
[ http://www.thealliancefordemocracy.org/ ... 08sprd.pdf ]

- - - -

COMMENT: Dr. Janet Eaton – SLIDE PRESENTATION: NAFTA Growing Resistance & Calls for Renegotiation & Oversight – June 2008, P. 34
[ http://stopthehogs.com/pdf/nafta-resistance.pdf ]

When Bilcon announced its intention to take the case forward seven years ago, a Sierra Club Canada media release noted:

"According to Dr. Janet Eaton, a NAFTA critic who participated in the Digby Neck Quarry assessment, NAFTA’s Chapter 11 Investor State Mechanism is flawed and undemocratic as revealed in a range of studies. “The fact that this company can challenge the findings of a fair and balanced democratic environmental assessment adds impetus to the many voices calling for NAFTA to be reconsidered.. We need to re-craft a trade approach with the US, one that recognizes the asymmetry in the relationship and one which is based on 'fair trade' principles that address the imperatives of the environment, community values, Canadian sovereignty, poverty and job creation.” – Dr. Janet Eaton, Sierra Club of Canada

That imperative to abandon Investor -State Dispute Settlement [ISDS] is more crucial than ever now as Canada's Trade Justice Network [ http://www.tradejustice.ca/en/ ] well knows in challenging, with counterparts in Europe, the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement [CETA] for numerous reasons including ISDS inclusion in the agreement.

Professor Gus Van Harten highlights the financial risk of ISDS in CETA noting that although the federal trade officials downplay the risk, the trade deal with Europe undeniably heightens the prospect of dubious yet costly awards against Canada. Stuart Trew, Canadian NGO trade expert reminds us that there is extensive European investment in Canada, and in particular in mining, energy and other resource projects that will attract an increasing number of investor-state disputes.

What makes this all the more unconscionable is that in many countries from Latin America to South America, India, Australia, etc, there are initiatives under way to eliminate this undemocratic and pro-corporate mechanism from free trade agreements and in some countries they have done so already.
For more on this see: [ http://www.commonfrontiers.ca/Single_Pa ... -paper.pdf ] [pp 3-7]

In the paper referenced immediately above I argue that it would behoove Canada to consider rejecting investor-state agreements, as Australia did under previous governments, for the following reasons:

(a) the threat of increasing numbers of Investor-State cases with an accompanying burden on taxpayers of increasing costs of arbitration and settlements;

(b) the threat of the increased number of challenges to domestic legislation protecting citizens, public health,and the environment, thereby compromising sovereignty and democratic process; and finally

(c) the absolute unacceptability of having unaccountable tribunal processes replace and compromise the integrity of the host countries’ judicial system.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nova Scotia taxpayers may be on hook for NAFTA defeat - Bilcon denied quarry approval, now seeking $300M in damages

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... -1.3006319 ]

By Paul Withers, CBC News Posted: Mar 24, 2015 6:15 AM AT Last Updated: Mar 24, 2015 6:15 AM AT

The tribunal's March 17 ruling says it was unjust for officials to encourage the expansion of the quarry and later determine that the area was a "no go" zone for such a development.

Nova Scotia taxpayers will be on the hook for damages coming to a New Jersey concrete company that successfully appealed the 2008 denial of its quarry proposal on Digby Neck, says the company lawyer.

Last week an international tribunal ruled Bilcon was unfairly treated when its proposal for a 50-year quarry at Whites Point was rejected by Ottawa and Nova Scotia after an "unprecedented" and "unexpected " examination of the project.

The tribunal ruled the company was entitled to compensatory damages. Future hearings will determine the amount.

"Its certainly no less than $300 million," says Barry Appleton, who represented Bilcon when it appealed to a NAFTA tribunal claiming the quarry decision breached international law.

Appleton says Ottawa will cut the cheque but Nova Scotia will also pay, since the tribunal found both levels of government were to blame.

"The federal government is responsible. They signed the NAFTA. But I know they do have an agreement with Nova Scotia that talks about splitting certain costs," says Appleton.

"I am sure the federal government will look to Nova Scotia to share some of the costs."

Bilcon successfully argued it had been unfairly blind sided by a joint review panel created by the province and Ottawa to examine the project.

The panel rejected the quarry on the grounds it compromised "community core values," a vague criteria never actually raised at the hearing.

MORE:

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... -1.3006319 ]
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Re: NAFTA: Bilcon wins challenge over quarry deal: $300 MIL

Postby Oscar » Thu May 28, 2015 2:09 pm

Digby Neck Quarry Bilcon Case, Tribunal Decision and Dissent

[ http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/DigbyNeck ]

By Janet M Eaton*, PhD. May 11, 2015 Publication Date: May 11, 2015

The announcement that a NAFTA Investor State Tribunal had overturned the decision of a Canadian Federal Provincial Environmental Joint Review Panel decision to reject a US mega-quarry proposed by Bilcon of Delaware Inc. for Whites Point, Digby Neck, Nova Scotia, sent shock waves across the province causing indignation amongst the many Nova Scotians who had been involved in the lengthy and hard fought struggle to preserve the small scale scenic, rural fishing community and economy on the ecologically sensitive and unique Bay of Fundy with its endangered right whales.

Attachment Size 41.36 KB

For the entire paper and references go to
[ http://www.sierraclub.ca/sites/sierracl ... 201505.pdf ]

Included in this e-mail are the brief Introduction and Implications sections only.

Introduction

The announcement that a NAFTA Investor State Tribunal had overturned the decision of a Canadian Federal Provincial Environmental Joint Review Panel (JRP) decision to reject a US mega-quarry proposed by Bilcon of Delaware Inc. for Whites Point, Digby Neck, Nova Scotia, sent shock waves across the province causing indignation amongst the many Nova Scotians who had been involved in the lengthy and hard fought struggle to preserve the small scale scenic, rural fishing community and economy on the ecologically sensitive and unique Bay of Fundy with its endangered right whales.

At the same time, the Bilcon decision has been making waves internationally, sparking a new level of long standing debate about the failures of NAFTA Chapter 11 to safeguard laws put in place by democratic nations. In this regard it has been providing ammunition for the tireless crusade of activist lawyers, researchers and NGOs fighting to have this mechanism removed from the upcoming mega-trade agreements under negotiation: the Trans-Pacific Trade and Investment Agreement (TPPA), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Canada - EU Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).

Implications:

Shortly after the release of the Tribunal’s decision, Lawrence Herman, international trade lawyer, reported in Canada Loses Another Investment Dispute Under NAFTA, that the Tribunal results were likely to stir up considerable controversy, because of Donald McRae’s strong dissent, and statement that the NAFTA Tribunal went far beyond its jurisdiction under the treaty in questioning the reasoning of the federal-provincial environmental panel. As can be inferred from the degree of dissent articulated herein, Herman's predictions were insightful and prophetic.

The implications of the Bilcon case include not only the threats to environmental law and assessment as outlined by Professor McRae. The Bilcon case when dissected also exposes many inherent flaws of NAFTA Ch 11, designed as it was from a business perspective to ensure protection for foreign investors with far less regard for the public welfare role of government. These insights are particularly relevant given the high level of debate in the EU Parliament around ISDS in TTIP and subsequently CETA as well as concerns that abound in regard to TPPA and ISDS.

These implications will be assessed in a forthcoming paper to follow on the heels of this one entitled : Digby Neck Bilcon Tribunal Decision Sparks International Debate over Flaws and Failures of ISDS.

-----------------------------------------

* Janet M Eaton, PhD [Marine Biology] Dalhousie University, is an independent researcher, and part-time academic who has taught courses in Critical Perspectives on Globalization, Community Political Power and Environment and Sustainable Society
She has been a volunteer with Sierra Club Canada for over a decade, was one of four SCC researchers who contributed to the
Terms of Reference for the proponent’s Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] and to Sierra Club Canada’s lengthy response to
Bilcon’s EIS. She also testified twice before the Joint Review Panel. Since then Janet has been an international trade representative for SCC on the national Trade Justice Network, was a SCC International Representative for Corporate Accountability, and maintained a blog site on international trade for SCC. In latter years she has followed closely the emergence of the international debate to reject or radically reform ISDS in free trade and investment agreements.


See:

Australia’s Rejection of Investor-State, from AUSFTA to the Gillard Government’s Trade Policy and the implications for Canada. By Janet M Eaton, PhD. December 31st , 2013.

[ http://www.commonfrontiers.ca/Single_Pa ... -paper.pdf ]

SCC Comments on the Environmental Impact Statement of the Whites Point Quarry and Marine Terminal
[ https://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/B4777C6B-docs/WP-1637.pdf ]
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Re: NAFTA: Bilcon wins challenge over quarry deal: $300 MIL

Postby Oscar » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:34 pm

Investor-state dispute settlements: great for business, risky for the environment

[ https://www.ecojustice.ca/isds-settleme ... vironment/ ]

Posted in Healthy communities on February 14, 2017 (updated: February 22, 2017)

We take a look at how investor state disputes impede environmental policy As you might have read in your daily news feed, Canada’s new trade agreement with the European Union (EU) is getting closer to being implemented — the European Union Parliament is expected to vote on the agreement in February. [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau ... -1.3972534 ]

What you might not know is that the deal almost didn’t happen after the Belgian region of Wallonia baulked at the trade agreement’s plan to give foreign investors access to a highly controversial legal system, Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). What makes ISDS divisive is it exposes governments to potentially expensive private arbitration by foreign corporations who feel that environmental protection measures impede their business — the Canada-EU deal is now back on track, after the Walloons forced major changes to the ISDS part.

This is a problem that Canada knows only too well. [ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/u-s-firm- ... r-1.180821 ]

The federal government is now defending itself from a landmark claim brought under the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) ISDS provisions by an American corporation, Bilcon of Delaware. The company wants $300 million compensation because Canada’s environmental assessment laws blocked it from building a quarry in a sensitive coastal area of Nova Scotia — the case presents a prime example of the problems with private investor state disputes.

And for the past few months [ https://www.ecojustice.ca/wp-content/up ... 000-15.pdf ], Ecojustice has worked, on behalf of the Sierra Club of Canada and East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW), to block Bilcon’s claim in court.

Let’s back up a second for those unfamiliar with the case.

The case: Bilcon of Delaware

In 2002, Bilcon and the owners of Clayton Concrete, a New Jersey-based concrete company, applied to operate a quarry and marine terminal at Whites Point in Digby Neck, Nova Scotia. Because this project was subject to an environmental assessment under both the laws of Nova Scotia and the laws of Canada, they agreed to strike a Joint Review Panel to evaluate Bilcon’s environmental impact assessment, hold public hearings, and provide recommendations to the provincial and federal ministers.

After lengthy public hearings, the Joint Review Panel issued its report in October 2007. It recommended that the proposed project not be approved, partly on the basis of its adverse impact on the “‘core values’ of the affected communities.” Both Ministers accepted this recommendation. In other words, Bilcon’s project could not go ahead.

What happened next is striking. Bilcon did not challenge the Ministers’ decision in Canada’s courts. The company instead claimed the environmental assessment process was arbitrary, discriminatory and unfair and was so illegal that it breached NAFTA. Bilcon demanded a hearing under NAFTA’s ISDS rules, and has taken the position that Canada should compensate it for loss of hypothetical future revenues from the quarry.

So far, Bilcon’s approach has paid off. In June 2015 a majority of the three member NAFTA tribunal found that the Joint Review Panel had not complied with Canadian environmental assessment law when it rejected Bilcon’s project. And that wasn’t all. The tribunal found that the breach of Canadian law was so unfair that it was a breach of NAFTA too.

While the final number has yet to be hashed out, our latest information is that Bilcon’s claim against Canada has blossomed to more than $400 million.

The dangers of investor-state disputes

MORE:

[ https://www.ecojustice.ca/isds-settleme ... vironment/ ]
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Re: NAFTA: Bilcon wins challenge over quarry deal: $300 MIL

Postby Oscar » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:35 pm

Green Party of Canada applauds federal court’s decision to allow Canada to appeal perverse ruling by NAFTA panel in Bilcon case

[ https://www.greenparty.ca/en/media-rele ... ada-appeal ]

February 24, 2017

(OTTAWA) – The Green Party of Canada applauds the Federal Court decision to allow Canada to appeal the outrageous ruling against Canada by a panel of arbitrators under Chapter 11 of NAFTA. Under Chapter 11, U.S. corporation Bilcon had the right to bring a claim against Canada when its environmentally destructive project was rejected.

In 2006, under Canada's previous fair and thorough environmental assessment law, a joint federal-provincial panel ruled that the proposed open pit quarry in Digby Neck, N.S., was a threat to endangered whales, the local fishing economy and community values. Both the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Environment Minister Mark Parent and the federal Conservative Environment Minister John Baird turned down Bilcon's proposal. Bilcon then sought damages against Canada under the provisions of Chapter 11 of NAFTA. Following the secret hearings, in a split 2-1 decision, Canada lost. Bilcon is now seeking $400 million in damages after arguing that the federal-provincial environmental review of the project was arbitrary, discriminatory and unfair.

On Feb. 22, the Federal Court rejected Bilcon’s application to have Canada’s appeal thrown out. Find the decision here:
[ https://www.ecojustice.ca/wp-content/up ... 000-15.pdf ]

Paul Manly, GPC International Trade Critic, said: “We are very pleased to see the court decide that this appeal should move forward. The original ruling overstepped the mandate of the NAFTA tribunal and the government of Canada was correct to challenge it. ISDS provisions in Chapter 11 of NAFTA represent the very worst part of this trade agreement. Canadian law and sovereignty should be respected, and we hope that the Government of Canada presses hard to have ISDS provisions removed in any NAFTA renegotiation.”

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, said: “It’s worth noting that if Bilcon had gone to Federal Court and had successfully argued that the Joint Review Panel had breached Canadian environmental law, the company’s only remedy would have been a new environmental assessment — not a multi-million dollar payout. In fact, the decision of both levels of government was well supported by the facts. The environmental assessment panel conducted itself professionally and fairly, as the dissenting arbitrator – also the only Canadian on the panel – asserted.

“Canada is the most-sued country under Chapter 11 of NAFTA. Multinational companies with business interests in Canada will be paying close attention to this federal court decision. We can only hope for a fair hearing as the case moves forward. Appeals against Chapter 11 rulings have failed time after time, but this ruling was a step too far, and an over-reach under NAFTA to claim an environmental assessment was unfair because it considered community values,” Ms. May concluded. -30-

For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Dan Palmer
Press Secretary | Attaché de presse
dan.palmer@greenparty.ca
m: (613) 614-4916
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Re: NAFTA: Chap. 11: Bilcon Quarry wins: $570 MILLION

Postby Oscar » Thu May 03, 2018 8:20 am

US company seeking $570 million in lost profits following court ruling on NAFTA Chapter 11 decision

[ https://canadians.org/blog/us-company-s ... 1-decision ]

May 2, 2018 - 9:15 pm

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has dealt another blow to environmental protection - and likely to the pocket books of Canadians. In response, Council of Canadians honorary chairperson Maude Barlow has tweeted, "Disgraceful!". [ https://twitter.com/MaudeBarlow/status/ ... 8188064768 ]

The Federal Court of Canada ruled today on a challenge relating to a controversial proposed quarry on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.

The basics of the case:

- in 2002, New Jersey-based Bilcon proposed a basalt quarry on the Bay of Fundy
- in 2007, Nova Scotia and the federal government rejected it after a joint review panel said it would have a "significant adverse affect" on the community
- Bilcon then launched a NAFTA Chapter 11 challenge saying the decision was arbitrary, unfair and discriminatory
- a NAFTA arbitration panel found that the quarry being rejected on "community core values" was not a "rational government policy"
- the federal government applied to the Federal Court of Canada to set aside the ruling on the grounds the NAFTA panel exceeded its jurisdiction
- the Federal Court ruled the NAFTA tribunal acted appropriately
- the company is now seeking US$443 million (about CAD$570 million)

The Canadian Press reports, "The federal government has lost a court bid to overturn a NAFTA ruling involving a Nova Scotia quarry and marine terminal project... In her decision, Federal Court Justice Anne Mactavish rejected federal arguments that a NAFTA tribunal inappropriately decided questions of Canadian law when it found problems with an environmental review panel process."

Mactavish ruled, "I find that the tribunal made a factual finding of arbitrary conduct and applied customary international law in determining whether Canada violated the minimum standard of treatment for the purposes of Article 1105 of NAFTA."

A CBC news report adds, "The company is seeking $443 million US in lost profits on two million tonnes of gravel per year for 50 years — the estimate of the life of the quarry at Whites Point on Digby Neck. The government of Canada rejects the claim and had little response Wednesday to its Federal Court defeat. 'We are aware of the Federal Court decision and are reviewing it', spokesperson John Babcock of Global Affairs said in an email. 'Canada is also awaiting the tribunal's award on quantum of damages, which will likely not be issued before the end of 2018.'"

Our allies East Coast Environmental Law, Sierra Club and Ecojustice were dismayed by the court's decision, highlighted that the decision leaves the environment at risk and taxpayers on the hook, and stated that Chapter 11 must be removed in the NAFTA talks happening now. Their full statement following the ruling can be read here: [ http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/Statement-N ... t-Decision ].

The Trudeau government has not publicly adopted the position that NAFTA should be removed from NAFTA, despite the United States insisting on it.

To sign our petition against this investor-state provision, please click on Tell Trudeau to drop Chapter 11 in NAFTA!
[ https://secure.canadians.org/page/19311/petition/1 ]


The timing is urgent. Talks on a new NAFTA deal will resume on May 7 and US Trade Representative is pressuring for a to be reached within 7-14 days.


Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: NAFTA: Chap. 11 - Bilcon Quarry wins: $570 MILLION!!!!!

Postby Oscar » Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

STATEMENT: Federal Court dismisses NAFTA tribunal case, environmental groups react

[ https://www.sierraclub.ca/en/Take-actio ... ssl=1#jump ]

May 2, 2018

OTTAWA – East Coast Environmental Law, Sierra Club Canada Foundation and Ecojustice issued the following statement in response to the Federal Court’s dismissal of Canada’s case challenging a landmark arbitral award brought under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Chapter 11 provision by an American corporation:

Lisa Mitchell, East Coast Environmental Law’s Executive Director said:

“While we are disappointed that the Federal Court dismissed Canada’s case, we’re more alarmed by the chilling message it sends: That even when the Canadian government makes good decisions to protect our environment, there’s a chance a NAFTA tribunal could swoop in, decide our environmental laws are ’unfair’, and force Canada to pay hundreds of millions of dollars — leaving Canadian taxpayers on the hook and the environment at risk.”

Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club Canada’s National Program Director said:

“We have been there since the beginning, fighting to protect our communities and to ensure international trade agreements do not supersede the health of Canadians or interfere with our environmental assessment laws and protections.

"As Canada is renegotiating NAFTA and parliament is evaluating a Bill designed to make environmental assessments credible again, this decision comes at a critical moment. Canada must now look to fix NAFTA to protect the environment and the right of Canadians to reject damaging projects by getting rid of the Chapter 11.

We remain committed to continuing to push government to strengthen our environmental laws, and to close the trade loophole in ongoing NAFTA negotiations to prevent issues like this in the future.”

Amir Attaran, Ecojustice lawyer said:

“As environmentalists our worst fears have been confirmed that NAFTA can override Canada’s right to protect its own environment. This decision points to the extreme urgency of killing Chapter 11 investor-state dispute resolution in the NAFTA renegotiation.

"We stand by the fact that NAFTA tribunals are only supposed to decide questions of NAFTA law. “The NAFTA tribunal in this case went outside its realm of expertise to rule on a matter of Canadian law, and now Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for half a billion dollars to a single company. That’s enough money to pay the salaries of at least 7,000 nurses or teachers for one year. There is clearly a problem with NAFTA and its investment protection chapter.”

Represented by lawyers from Ecojustice, East Coast Environmental Law and the Sierra Club Canada appeared as interveners in the legal proceedings. The groups argued that the NAFTA tribunal exceeded its jurisdiction when it made a determination on what a Canadian environmental assessment panel can decide and found Canada liable for damages — which Bilcon claims is upwards of $500 million. -30-

MEDIA DOWNLOADS:

Federal Court Decision
[ https://www.sierraclub.ca/sites/sierrac ... 000-15.pdf ]


FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director | Sierra Club Canada Foundation
1-902-444-7096 (mobile) gretchenf@sierraclub.ca

Lisa Mitchell, executive director | East Coast Environmental Law
1-902-670-1113 (mobile) lisa@ecelaw.ca

Amir Attaran, lawyer | Ecojustice law clinic at the University of Ottawa
aattaran@ecojustice.ca
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Re: NAFTA: Chap. 11 - Bilcon Quarry wins: $570 MILLION!!!!!

Postby Oscar » Thu May 24, 2018 7:22 pm

The Council and allies reject NAFTA Chapter 11 payment to Bilcon over Digby Neck quarry

[ https://canadians.org/blog/council-and- ... eck-quarry ]

May 24, 2018 - 2:08 pm

The Council of Canadians joined with Unifor Canada, the Sierra Club, the Trade Justice Network, Ecology Ottawa and allies on Parliament Hill this afternoon to say no to a likely $570 million NAFTA Chapter 11 payment to US-based Bilcon. This is the written text of my comments at that rally today:

Let us begin by acknowledging what we all know to be true - there is very clearly a problem with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

If we can have a situation, as we do with Bilcon, in which it is fairly determined that a proposed quarry on the Bay of Fundy would have a "significant adverse effect" on the community, and the company wanting to build that quarry can claim that decision is arbitrary, unfair and discriminatory, and a NAFTA panel can then rule "community core values" is not "rational government policy", then NAFTA is a problem.

If governments cannot say no to a 152-hectare, two million tonne a year gravel extraction operation because it negatively impacts people, surrounding communities and the local economy, then NAFTA is a problem.

If we cannot say no to bulk carrier ships moving 40,000 tons of crushed stone a week near the breeding grounds of endangered right whales, then NAFTA is a problem.

How can it possibly be that the transnational corporation behind an extractive project like this is now poised to receive a $570 million payout of public funds? As Ecojustice lawyer Amir Attaran has pointed out, this potential half billion dollar payment of our money would be enough to pay the salaries of at least 7,000 nurses or teachers for one year!

As Council of Canadians honorary chairperson Maude Barlow has stated, this is disgraceful.

Making this situation worse, this isn't the first time Canada has been sued under the Chapter 11 investor-state dispute settlement provision in NAFTA.

Our friends at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives highlight that Canada has been sued 41 times in this way - with the total claims adding up to almost $3 billion!

Furthermore, two-thirds of those Chapter 11 challenges against Canda by transnational corporations relate to environmental protection policies.

And yet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to defend this provision in the current and ongoing renegotiation of NAFTA with the United States and Mexico.

We think that is wrong.

We join with our allies here today to say that Chapter 11, the so-called 'investment protection' provision, should be removed from NAFTA.

To join the growing number of people who have signed our online petition calling on Trudeau to drop Chapter 11 from NAFTA, please click here: [ https://secure.canadians.org/page/19311/petition/1 ]

Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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