One of the truly perplexing aspects of the North American Free Trade Act, NAFTA, is the Ch. 11 investor dispute resolution section.
Trump wants it gone. Mexico doesn't seem to care. Canada insists it be retained. We want it. Why?
Canada gets sued by foreign companies under the ISDS provision more than the United States and Mexico combined. We get soaked.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the Trudeau government's position makes little sense.
Canada has been the target of more claims under Chapter 11 than its Mexican and American partners and the trend is getting worse as Canada has been sued over twice as many times as Mexico and the U.S. combined since 2010.
Canada is also far more likely to lose challenges — the CCPA says Canada has won nine and lost eight concluded cases so far while Mexico has won seven and lost five and the U.S. has won all 11 of its concluded cases.
It says Canada is currently facing eight active investor-state claims — including Omnitrax's recent NAFTA claim related to its broken rail line to Churchill, Man., and Lone Pine's challenge to Quebec's fracking moratorium — that combined seek more than $475 million in damages.
Lori Wallach of the progressive Washington-based group Public Citizen is also critical of Canada's defense of Chapter 11.
"This is the irony to it. Canada is No. 1 in the world of developed countries that has lost under investor-state," she said.
"Canada's paid out a ridiculous amount of money... Of any country Canada should say, 'That's it. I've had it with investor-state."'
So, if the Canadian people are getting hammered by the ISDS in NAFTA and yet the Trudeau government is insistent that it be retained, somebody must be benefiting. If would be nice if our government would tell us just who it's working for.