Friday, October 19, 2012
Compensation Awards under NAFTA
On the post about Harper letting Communist China take over Canada’s oil rights, a blog reader expressed a concern about Harpers new Trade Agreement with China which is anything but a trade agreement. It is a continuation of the NAFTA chapter 11 Compensation madness that gets progressively worse each time they rewrite these new not about trade agreements. First it was NAFTA, then it was the MAI, then it was TILMA and now it’s the Canada China not about trade agreement.
The blog reader suggested we look at compensation awards under NAFTA to see how this concern arises with these trade agreements. When the government is handing over millions of tax dollars to private corporations who want to take away Canada’s democracy and sovereignty that becomes a huge public concern.
The blog reader cited Ethyl Corporation vs The Canadian Government where a private corporation was awarded $20 million because Canada banned a toxic gasoline additive that California also banned. This case is a clear example of how absurd Chapter 11 of NAFTA is and how these trade agreements are not about free trade, they are about giving up our democratic rights and our sovereignty.
Evidently, according to these trade agreements, we are not *allowed* to create a law that protects the environment if such a law would inhibit a corporation’s ability to make a profit. We have seen this in effect in the Ethyl Corporation case. That hearing was held in camera.
I then take the argument to the extreme and present a possible example. If a private corporation wanted to dump nuclear waste in Canada, we would not be allowed to create a law banning it because that would inhibit that corporation’s ability to make a profit. Absurd you say? Yes, but it can happen. Just look at SD Myers Inc. (SDMI) and the Government of Canada.
SDMI is a private corporation located in Tallmadge, Ohio specializing in the disposal of hazardous waste including the disposal of PCP contaminated waste. MYERS Canada was incorporated as an SDMI affiliate in 1993. Their business plan was to dispose of Canada’s stockpile of PCP and to open up the border to make Canada a dumping ground for PCP from the United States.
Canada banned the dumping of PCPs and the company sued Canada under NAFTA Chapter 11. They were awarded $6 million in their second award. Not included legal costs. Stand alone that is absurd. The company wants to import and dump PCPs into Canada, the government says no so they sue the government under Chapter 11 and win. That is not only insane, it is criminal.
You say no one could sue the government for banning the dumping of nuclear waste? Well the did for banning PCPs. This new agreement with China means China could dump nuclear waste in Canada and we couldn’t stop them because these trade agreements become a civil contract that over ride a nations democratic rights.
Insanely enough, if you look at the time line in the SDMI case from paragraph  –  you will note that Canada reopened the border for PCP disposal and the US closed it. Canada gets sued for something the US government did. That is insane. The US had every right to ban shipping PCPs across the border. Canada getting sued for a decision the US made even more insane. These secret tribunals have nothing to do with law or justice.
If you look at the list, there are many cases of insane awards under Chapter 11 of NAFTA. Take a look at the Sun Belt Water claim. They are suing the Canadian government for $10.5 billion. Billion. Canada claims that application is inactive but the claimant claims it is still active.
This paper from the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto talks about NAFTA chapter 11 and Canada's environmental sovereignty surrounding Alberta's Water Act. It raises huge concerns. It quotes David MacArthur’s paper "NAFTA Chapter 11: on an Environmental Collision Course with the World Bank?"
All of this reminds us of Vic (Vikileaks) Toews who once said, Anyone who doesn’t support this crime bill supports pedophiles. Then the media points out that the wording of the crime bill states that it gives the police power to place someone under surveillance who has not been accused of committing a crime. He then boldly declares that he was surprised to find that in the bill. What’s the matter didn’t you read it?
That in turn is just like how Michael Moore pointed out how insane the wording of the Patriot act is. He pointed it out to one senator and said what, didn’t anyone read this thing before they passed it? The senator said sit down my son. Let me explain how things here really work. We don’t read most of the bills we pass. He implied they just get a readers digest version from an advisor. Clearly we need to read and oppose these over reaching trade agreements because they in fact are not about free trade.