Friday, November 16, 2012

Foreign Investment Rights Versus Canadian Provinces

That the corporate world is ruled by only one imperative, to maximize profits, is self-evident. That it almost always gets its way, no matter what the environmental and social costs, is another truth that our current right-wing political 'leaders' would have us believe is a fiction that exists only in the fevered imaginations of paranoid left-wingers. Fortunately, certain facts are undeniable, no matter how much political spin is administered.

A story appearing in today's Star is quite instructive in this reality. Entitled Ottawa faces $250-million suit over Quebec environmental stance, it discusses how Lone Star Resources Ltd is suing under NAFTA:

Lone Pine contends it deserves $250 million in compensation by Ottawa for the Quebec government’s expropriation of its drilling permit, which it says violates Canada’s obligations to treat foreign investors from other NAFTA countries fairly.

The problem stems from Quebec's moratorium on fracking, a controversial drilling technique for releasing oil and natural gas from underground shale rock formations as it studies its environmental impact,

which some say consumes unacceptable volumes of water and may be contaminating groundwater. Quebec also passed legislation in June banning drilling below the St. Lawrence River.

Indeed, the challenge is yet another reminder of the dangers posed by Stephen Harper's current dalliance with China and the recent signing of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. Many claim that the pact, which the Prime Minister has refused to allow Parliament to scrutinize, will in fact open Canada up to the same kinds of challenges that have repeatedly occurred under the NAFTA agreement.

Mr, Harper's hollow reassurances notwithstanding, extreme caution before proceeding seems to be more than warranted.


  1. Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) is one giant can of worms. I was stunned when Quebec enacted its moratorium. Few people, and certainly not mainstream media are aware of the relationship of fracking to the Alberta tar sands and hence to Harper's secretive FIPA sellout.

    Lone Pine is registered in the state of Delaware, where most global energy and mining entities are incorporated, for its obvious tax haven status and secrecy reasons. Look up 1209 North Orange Street .. the legal address of approx 285,000 businesses (New York Times - Leslie Wayne - June 30, 2012)

    The real question may be.. the almost 1/4 million net acres Lone Pine acquired in Quebec to drill for natural gas.. at what cost and for how long. They're in Alberta, BC and Northwest Territories as well.

    Visit for an exceptional report by Steve Horn on how and why the shale gas bubble is bursting. It takes little effort to see how tar sands bitumen loses its oily glitter in North America as fracking just keeps ramping up, up, up .. with corresponding lower natural gas prices.

    Why Stephen Harper is so desperate to sell out to the Chinese is a puzzling question. Perhaps more so if the Keystone Pipeline is approved.

    What Stephen Harper is planning regarding fracking may turn out to be an even scarier question. The tar sands operations are like giant bomb hits in the boreal forest of northern Alberta. What fracking will do is more like a continuous saturation campaign with cluster bombs - many of which will detonate in the future.. in much of Canada.. as well as in northern Alberta.

    As we watch the evisceration by Harper's omnibus budgets of environmental protection, navigable waters, attacks on wildlife and their habitat, attacks on environmental advocates.. you have to look at how the entire strategy and vision is to eliminate resistance or impediments to resource extraction.

    I was stunned to see how Peter Kent and the Environmental Ministry simply defied the Supreme Court of Canada for 5 years regarding protection of the boreal caribou and their habitat. If I'm not mistaken, Harper has cleverly embedded legislation to deny any such protection.

    We have a person with no conscience, backed by theocratic dinosaurs making alarming decisions in Ottawa. Damaging decisions that risk the health of our land, our waters, our air.. and our people. That's a recipe for disaster.

  2. Thank you so much for this invaluable information, Salamander. You are obviously well-informed on the topic, and I shall certainly check out your recommended reading to learn more about this insidious practices!

  3. Your editorial passion and valuable insights-essays are highly appreciated
    as is the generous freedom to add comment ..

    A good part of my journey to understand fracking
    started with links at 'raging chicken press' to a Rolling Stone article on Chesapeake Energy

    I came across 'raging chicken press' while researching fracking.. pros and cons
    I was stunned to read Wendy Lynne Lee's treatise ..
    Wendy is Professor of Philosophy, Bloomsburg University
    Its a very long, incredibly valuable essay

    Keep up the excellent work !

    G'day and Good Luck