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UPDATE: St’at’imc Chiefs Council opposes Canada-China FIPA

Please read this important letter we received from the St’at’imc Chiefs Council regarding the Canada-China FIPA:

November 1, 2012

Dear Prime Minister Harper:

I am writing as Chair of the St’at’imc Chiefs Council to firmly express, advise and direct the Government of Canada to reject the Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement with China as the Government of Canada has breached its obligations to consult the St’at’imc on our constitutionally-enshrined Aboriginal Title and Rights.

Furthermore, as both Canada and China have adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both countries are bound by Article 19 which states: “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned…in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.” Canada has not yet dealt with its legal obligations to the St’at’imc regarding the FIPA with China and cannot give notice to China that it has done so.

As designed, we believe the proposed agreement provides far superior protection for Chinese investors’ interest than for our Aboriginal Title and Rights. We believe the agreement would enable Chinese investors to challenge Canadian regulations, policies and/or legislation designed to protect the environment as well as current reconciliation negotiations, accommodation measures and treaty negotiations.

To recklessly disregard our Aboriginal Title and Rights is an affront. Our rights are human rights. Yet Canada repeatedly violates them. This agreement will adversely impact our rights and our Territory. We urge you to postpone the signing of the Canada – China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement until you have satisfactorily addressed your legal obligations to our Title and Rights.

Chief Garry John
Chair, St’at’imc Chiefs Council

BC Assembly of First Nations
Assembly of First Nations
Mark Strahl, MP Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon
Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia
Council of Canadians
Mr. Zhang Junsai, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Canada
Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver