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.