G&M : Pipeline industry pushed environmental changes made in omnibus bill
"The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association met with senior government officials in the fall of 2011, urging them [...] to streamline environmental assessments but also to bring in “new regulations under [the] Navigable Waters Protection Act. ...
In the end, they got almost everything they wanted."Now we can't put those protections back again for 31 years if they happen to irritate China. But let's look at the "streamlined" environmental assessment done on the FIPA two years ago. It's a stunner.
There are three stages in conducting an environmental assessment for a trade negotiation like Canada-China FIPA to determine what impact it will have on Canada:
1) an Initial EA, 2) a Draft EA, and 3) a Final EA.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT)
Final Environmental Assessment of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) October 23, 2012
"An Initial Environmental Assessment of the Canada-China FIPA was completed in January 2008. The Government of Canada opened the Initial EA for public comments from February 20 to March 21, 2008. No public comments were received."So if, like Arthur Dent, you were sitting round in your dressing gown and you didn't happen to know about your one month window of opportunity to comment on a government website about the selling out of your country in 2008, whose fault is that exactly?
"In the light of the Initial EA’s conclusions regarding the unlikelihood of significant environmental impacts in Canada, preparation of a Draft EA was subsequently deemed to be unnecessary.... In this Final EA, the claim that no significant environmental impacts are expected based on the introduction of a Canada-China FIPA are upheld."Wait. What? "No significant environmental impacts"?
According to the same EA, there was a 92.4% increase in Chinese investment in Canada from 2008 to 2011. How do you figure there's no accompanying environmental impact from promoting an even greater influx of capital?
* "As new flows of investment from China into Canada (or Canada into China) cannot be directly attributed to the presence of a FIPA, there can be no causal relationship found between the implementation of such a treaty and environmental impacts in Canada. It is for this reason that the claim made in the Initial EA, that no significant environmental impacts are expected based on the introduction of a Canada-China FIPA, is upheld." *Wha? Ok, let me try this one on my own.
If it can't be proven that the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement successfully achieves the goal stated right there in its title of promoting and thereby increasing investment, then FIPA can't be blamed for any environmental impacts.
Therefore there won't be any.
I think the Vogons must have written up this particular EA.
Putting FIPA in context :
Also ... Gus Van Harten in The Tyee : Breaking Down the Harm to Canada Done by Treaty with China
and at DeSmogBlog : China Investment Treaty "a Straitjacket" for Canada
And I'd missed this angle previously. Canadians thinking of opening a business in China, take note...
In the G&M, a senior fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and special adviser to the Alberta government says Steve's sudden ratification of FIPA in advance of his visit to China in November is connected to needing a barter chip to free two Canadian Christians jailed in China.
Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt, who have operated a cafe in China for three decades, were arrested for spying in retaliation, he suggests, for "Ottawa publicly blaming Beijing this summer for the hacking of Canadian government computers".
"Kevin Garratt is a devout, active Christian who says that God called him to open a cafe in Dandong."
Previously : Clampetts clownshow distracts from FIPA