B.C. First Nation wants Federal Court to stop Canada-China deal
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, left, of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, and former federal environment minister David Anderson attend a news conference to voice opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday July 30, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck)
Published Monday, January 21, 2013 5:40PM EST
VANCOUVER - A B.C. First Nation has asked the Federal Court to stop Canada from ratifying an investment treaty with China until it and other bands have been consulted.
In documents filed with the court, the Hupacasath First Nation says the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act, or FIPPA, would gut its aboriginal right to resources.
Band councillor Brenda Sayers says the treaty means Chinese companies that invest in major assets would ultimately control them, stripping negotiating powers for First Nations such as hers, which are involved in the treaty process.
Sayers says all Canadians should be concerned if the deal is ratified because there's been no formal debate in the House of Commons and Conservative MPs voted down a motion that would have allowed expert witnesses to scrutinize it.
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, the Chiefs of Ontario and the Serpentine River First Nation in Ontario are also opposed to the treaty.
The Canada-China deal would last for 31 years and was set to be ratified late last year, but public pressure has been building against it from people concerned about the environment and potential job losses.