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China Canada FIPA - Chiefs of Ontario Letter to PM Harper - Nov 5, 2012

China Canada FIPA - Chiefs of Ontario Letter to PM Harper - Nov 5, 2012

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Published by matthewcarroll
Letter from the Chiefs of Ontario to Prime Minister Harper advising that the Canada-China FIPA investment deal violates First Nation Treaty rights and international law, and should be postponed indefinitely, pending nation-to-nation discussions between Canada and First Nations. (Posted with permission of the COO.)
Letter from the Chiefs of Ontario to Prime Minister Harper advising that the Canada-China FIPA investment deal violates First Nation Treaty rights and international law, and should be postponed indefinitely, pending nation-to-nation discussions between Canada and First Nations. (Posted with permission of the COO.)

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Published by: matthewcarroll on Nov 07, 2012
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12/17/2012

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POLITICAL OFFICE: Fort William First Nation 109 Mission Road Fort William First Nation P7J 1K7

(807) 626-9339 Tel (807) 626-9404 Fax

ADMINISTRATION OFFICE: 111 Peter Street, Suite 804 Toronto, Ontario M5V 2H1 Tel (416) 597-1266 Fax (416) 597-8365 1-877-517-6527 Website: www.chiefs-of-ontario.org

CHIEFS OF ONTARIO
November 5, 2012 The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2 Dear Prime Minister Harper: RE: Financial Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA) between Canada and China

The draft FIPA violates First Nation Treaty rights and international law. Therefore, FIPA should be postponed indefinitely, pending nation-to-nation discussions between Canada and First Nations. I would like to take this opportunity to endorse the October 31, 2012 letter of Serpent River First Nation Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, which expresses a similar position. FIPA grants China sweeping investment preferences in Canada, including guarantees of “mostfavoured-nation treatment” (article 5) and “national treatment” (article 6), and protection from expropriation (article 10). Disputes can be taken by China to secret international arbitration boards that will be immune from the Canadian courts (articles 15 and 20). Effectively, Canada is accepting the subservient role of a “banana republic” in order to facilitate the influx of Chinese capital. The trade preferences and the extra-judicial dispute resolution process are a direct threat to First Nation control of their traditional territories, including the commercial development of lands and resources. Foreign investors will receive better treatment than the First Peoples, endowed by the Creator as perpetual stewards of all the land and water. The relationship between Canada and First Nations in Ontario is defined by Treaties, including the Wampum Treaties, the Robinson Treaties, the numbered Treaties, and all others. Treaties stand on their own as the fundamental law of the land. Treaties are also protected by section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982 and article 37 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). As a colonial settler government, Canada does not have the authority to undermine First Nation Treaties through the negotiation of international trade and other agreements with third party states like China. The First Nation Treaties are based on the sovereignty of First Nation peoples and governments, and Treaty rights are immune from change, except with the Free, Prior and informed Consent (FPIC) of First Nations. International agreements like FIPA are only possible if they do not affect First Nation rights or if First Nation consent has been obtained in the appropriate manner. Both China and Canada have adopted UNDRIP. FIPA violates UNDRIP on several clear counts and is therefore impermissible under international law. FIPA violates article 19 of UNDRIP, which provides that state measures that may affect First Nations cannot be adopted without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of First Nations. FIPA violates article 32 of UNDRIP, which provides that First Nations have the right to determine priorities and strategies for the use of their lands or
 Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians  First Nations of Treaty #3  Independent First Nations  Nishnawbe Aski Nation  Union of Ontario Indians 

territories and other resources. FIPA violates article 37 of UNDRIP, which obliges states like China and Canada to honour and respect First Nation Treaties. In summary, FIPA constitutes a massive violation of international law, as codified by UNDRIP, and should be stopped in its tracks. Contrary to its constitutional fiduciary obligations to First Nations, as defined on numerous occasions by the Supreme Court of Canada, the federal Crown has acted with dishonour in the negotiation and roll-out of FIPA. First Nations were not consulted in a meaningful way in the negotiation of the agreement with China. The substantive text either ignores First Nation rights or runs roughshod over them, in plain violation of the sovereign Treaties. Finally, the Canadian government is attempting to ratify FIPA through an expedited and un-democratic process, in spite of the opposition of First Nations and many Canadians. Given the fundamental violation of First Nation rights and international law, all ratification measures connected with FIPA should be postponed indefinitely. First Nation Treaties are the supreme law of the land – they are the condition precedent for the Canadian state, such as it is. It is impossible for the Canadian state to enter commercial agreements with third party states like China that are inconsistent with First Nation Treaties. Canada must immediately withdraw its support for FIPA and so inform China. The only way forward is to establish a nation-to-nation dialogue with First Nations to determine if some form of Chinese commercial arrangement that respects First Nation rights is feasible. Sincerely, CHIEFS OF ONTARIO

Stan Beardy, Regional Chief.
c.c. His Excellency Zhang Junsai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Canada Chiefs of Ontario Political Confederacy, First Nations in Ontario Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief, Assembly of First Nations Executive Committee, Assembly of First Nations Governor General of Canada Members of Parliament of Canada Members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Council of Canadians Ed John, Chair, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Editor, The Epoch Times

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