Friday, 31 May 2013

New Blog Contributor takes on Justin Trudeau

Let me start from the outset by stating that I am a card carrying New Democrat, will always be a card carrying New Democrat, have never, and will never vote anything other then New Democrat.

OK, so now that is out of the way, lets get down to brass tacks. Justin Trudeau is being trumpeted as the new "Progressive Hope". However, he has taken a number of stances that suggest this is truly  open to question.Today, I want to focus on correspondence I had with Mr. Trudeau's Office regarding FIPA, another "Free Trade" agreement that will lock Canada into trade relations with China, where trade "disagreements" will be negotiated in secret by anonymous international "Trade Tribunals", capable of enforcing binding judgements that will place the wants and desires of Corporations ahead of Canadian citizens and their government.

I partook in an online petition campaign which solicited responses from Mr. Trudeau as follows:

"From: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
To: acramer@mymts.net
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 11:33:01 -0400
Subject: Liberals demand a public debate on the Canada-China FIPA

"On behalf of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, I would like to thank you for your email regarding the Canada – China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA).

The Liberal Party of Canada believes that foreign investment is good for our economy, but we must always work to protect Canadian interests and the interests of Canadians. The Harper government’s approach appears to be that by “signing” trade agreements with virtually any willing country, it somehow translates into a trade strategy. This is simply not the case, and we must ensure that any international trade agreement that Canada signs will be of net benefit to Canadians.

In order to attract foreign investment to Canada, both domestic and international business communities need to know that the investment rules in Canada are clear and that business deals must adhere to these guidelines rather than be subject to the political whims of the government of the day. As well, Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPA) are important for Canadians investing abroad as well as businesses here at home.

China is rapidly growing into a dominant global player, and is Canada’s second largest trading partner. China is also a centralized economy and operates state-owned enterprises for unfair advantage.

The Liberal Party does acknowledge that there are concerns with this agreement. It is clear that the Canada-China FIPA is different from previous ones that the Conservative government has signed, but we believe that the agreement needs to be improved, not completely discarded. Liberals have raised concerns about provisions of this agreement, particularly on the issues of transparency during arbitration, termination of the agreement, and the length of time the agreement is in force.

But we also see benefits. For example, Canadian companies will be able to resolve disputes outside of the Chinese courts, in independent arbitration tribunals, and beyond that, China commits to treating fairly any Canadian companies investing in China. These company level benefits reduce business uncertainty and encourage the economy level benefits that can come from mutual foreign investment.

The motion that the NDP presented in the House of Commons on April 18, 2013 called for an outright rejection of the Canada-China FIPA and that is something that we cannot support.
The only way for the Canadian people to properly weigh the pros and cons is to have public scrutiny and debate, and the right place to have that is in a House of Commons committee. This is the reasoning behind the Liberal Party position on Canada-China FIPA, and that is why we did not support the outright rejection of FIPA embodied in the NDP Opposition motion
The Liberal Party continues to call on the government to have public hearings on the implications of this agreement so that Canadians can have their say. Regrettably, the Harper Conservatives refused to defend their agreement to the Canadian public and have blocked discussion on it. On April 18, the Liberal Party presented a motion in the House of Commons calling for the International Trade committee to conduct public hearings across Canada prior to the ratification of the Canada-China FIPA to ensure that the agreement is in the best interests of all Canadians. Regrettably,the NDP joined with the Conservatives and opposed this Liberal amendment calling for public hearings, which sought to allow discussion of the investment agreement to occur across Canada. These hearings would have given Canadian voices like yours a chance to be heard.

The Conservatives and the NDP are silencing Canadians and fueling the misinformation and fear-mongering surrounding the agreement. The role foreign investment plays in the Canadian economy will remain hugely important going forward. This does not, however, detract in any way from the serious need for Parliament to fulfill its obligation to seek input from Canadians. The Conservatives and NDP must guarantee that this investment agreement with the world’s second largest economy is widely supported and will result in a clear net benefit for Canadian families.

FIPA marks a significant step in our trade relationship with China, and it is important that we have a discussion on the concerns raised by Canadians about issues of transparency, the arbitration process, and the role of state-owned enterprises in our trade relationship.

Thank you for writing to the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Yours sincerely,

Colin McKone
Office of the Liberal Leader"

While, I am about to give you my response, notice a key part of their justification for supporting FIPA, " China commits to treating fairly any Canadian companies investing in China. These company level benefits reduce business uncertainty and encourage the economy level benefits that can come from mutual foreign investment". It used to be Liberals crowed about trade being the way to foster the growth of political freedom and increasing democracy through the fostering of trade relations. Notice this assertion and tired old sop of a justifcation, is missing this time.

Well, being able to think for myself, I decided to reply back directly and sent Mr. Trudeau's "Office", the following:

"Sir:


Thank-you for your reply.

I simply cannot let your assertion that the NDP is complicit with the Tories in wishing to suppress the debate over FIPA go unchallenged. Your assertions that Mr. Trudeau wants Canadians involved in debate and hence voted, with, the Tories has not been reported in any significant way in the press. Your reply is disingenuous, at best.

I am old enough to remember how many Liberal Government inspired Commissions have travelled across Canada to collect "voter input", only to see the result disappear into the dusty storage shelves of Liberal Party Insiders, Libearl MP Offices, or those of the Parliamentary Library. The NDP has in fact outlined in great detail its opposition to your agenda and that of Mr. Harper, and has offered legislative counter, all of which have failed to garner the support of your party, or its leader. I am sure you know that. The selling point on the behalf of trade with China on the part of your party and its leadership has always been that trade will bring democratic liberalization within China's borders and foster greater trade between our two countries in a balanced fashion. You know full well this has not been the outcome in any meaningful way. To expect that the NDP will allow you to foist this tired Old Liberal Canard on Canadians yet once more, is to say the least, an expectation that borders on the fantastic.

While I appreciate your reply, I simply cannot believe that you would attempt what is basically a proverbial "pulling of the wool over my eyes" in the hope that you would placate my concerns and win me to your cause. I remain unconvinced, am aware of the lack of sincerity in your reply, and convinced even more now just how much a danger to national economic security the Liberal Party of Canada remains. Please communicate my reply to your Leader.

In closing, allow me to inform you that I intend to distribute your reply to my many acquaintances, asking that they pass it along as well. I think it is very important people see your reply as it represents your party's position, along with my reply, which in its counter shows the inherent intellectual and moral weakness of your party's position and the reason why the re-election of a Liberal government poses a real threat to the future well-being of all Canadians.

Yours Truly.

Arthur Cramer"

I haven't received a reply of any kind, if  I do, I'll post it.

But, wait, there's more......

I forwarded a copy of my email reply to Tom Mulcair, who replied to me directly, and who has given me permission to post his reply in full anywhere I have opprtunity. So....here it is:

"Dear Mr. Cramer,

Thank you for sharing your follow-up email regarding the recent vote on our motion to reject FIPA.
As you state, the Liberals are being disingenuous on this issue. We introduced a motion in Parliament to reject the Canada-China FIPA deal. On April 18th two votes on our motion took place. The first vote was on a Liberal amendment to our motion which called for - non-binding - public hearings. We voted against their amendment because we know the time for public consultation has passed. Holding public hearings at this stage will not have any effect on FIPA. NDP Critic for International Trade, Don Davies, repeatedly called for consultation and discussion on this deal, but the Conservatives showed no interest in seeking any input.

As it stands, FIPA has been signed by both the government of Canada and the government of China. The next step is simply to ratify the agreement. It is not possible to renegotiate it at this stage. The Liberals know that compromise on this matter was not possible and their suggestions to the contrary are disingenuous.

The second vote was on our motion that called on Canada to reject the deal. The vote represented the one opportunity for Parliamentarians to let Canadians know where they stood. New Democrats voted to reject FIPA while the Conservatives and Liberals voted together against our motion. As you already understand, the Liberals do not support the outright rejection of the Canada-China FIPA. This flies in the face of what we heard from the tens of thousands of Canadians who signed the LeadNow.ca petition and the many Canadians who have spoken out against this deal.

Canadians deserve better. They deserve a party that is listening to their concerns. New Democrats will be their voice in Parliament.

Again, I appreciate hearing from you.

All the best,


Thomas Mulcair, M.P. (Outremont)
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada"

NOTE: It is SIGNED by Mr. Mulcair, himself. That is to say the least, extrardinary. The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Oppostion replied directly himself. to correspondence sent him by an ordinary citizen. I should say at this point, I am not the member of any NDP study group, guiding group, or Executive, at least at the time of this posting. Given  how reportedly "angry" Mr. Mulcair is, at least that is what Mr Trudeau says, one has to wonder how he managed to even write  me back without having a heartache or trashing his PC by throwing it across his office, after reading my email detailing the Trudeau Office reply.

This correspondence is a real insite into how Mr.Trudeau, and thus the Liberal Party of Canada, views the electorate and what they think people will believe. It is a deliberately crafted message aimed at confusing Canadians by deflecting their support of FIPA onto the Opposition in the form of accusations that somehow the Loyal Opposition is preventing Canadians from have an open discussion of FIP. Given what acutally happened, that is "one whale of a tale".

 Given how well NAFTA has worked out, and Jean Chretin's refusal to reopen NAFTA when he had the chance and had promised to do so, that is, to say the least, a real stretch.

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