The very fact that a corporation can sue the government when it thinks that the govt. may be hurting profit from their investment is a serious restriction on government policy prerogatives. It is one reason why no provincial government is likely to pursue a policy of government monopoly auto insurance such as we have in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The process by which adjudications are made is far from open to put it mildly and that makes matters even worse.
Groups welcome NAFTA victory while decrying NAFTA rules
June 13, 2007 - 14:00
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and Council of Canadians (Council) are pleased that United Parcel Service's complaint under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been rejected by the tribunal hearing the case.
United Parcel Service (UPS) sued Canada over six years ago, under NAFTA’s Chapter 11, which allows corporations to challenge governments if they think their investments are restricted by government measures. UPS claimed that its investments were being restricted by Canada’s publicly funded network of mailboxes and post offices because this network allegedly provided Canada Post with an unfair advantage. The tribunal had already dismissed several elements of the claim.
The federal government’s media release on the final decision indicates that the tribunal dismissed allegations of unfair treatment with respect to the postal network, customs and the Canadian Heritage Publications Assistance Program. The government says that it will release the full decision within thirty days.
“We are very happy that the tribunal rejected UPS’s complaint but that doesn’t mean we think NAFTA works,” said CUPW National President Deborah Bourque. “NAFTA allowed UPS to put public postal service and jobs on trial. A secret trial.”
“The public and workers should have the right to be heard when their jobs or public services are threatened,” said Bourque.
Jean-Yves Lefort, trade campaigner for the Council of Canadians said, “Investment rules such as Chapter 11 need to be removed from NAFTA and all other trade agreements signed by Canada.”
Trade lawyer Steven Shrybman, who represents the groups, said that, victory or not, the groups believe that NAFTA rules allowing foreign corporations to sue governments are unconstitutional.
The Council and CUPW have asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal concerning the constitutionality of NAFTA investment rules. The Supreme Court has the right to grant or deny leave to appeal.