Rick Mercer doesn’t like the way the Harper government signed on to a trade deal with China, and he wants to know just how many supervillains were involved in the process.

In his weekly rant on CBC Tuesday night, Mercer cast the deal — signed during a trade mission to Russia, with no parliamentary involvement — as the sort of cloak-and-dagger politics you’d expect to see in a spy thriller or a nefarious dictatorship.

“Is this a scene from the latest Bond movie? Sadly no, it is the further adventures of Stephen Harper,” Mercer said. “Who is this guy? Since when do Canadian prime ministers sign secret agreements with the Chinese in Russia? Was Dr. Evil there? Was there a naked lady painted entirely in gold?”

The Harper government signed the China-Canada Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in September. Activist groups and opposition leaders have been arguing against the deal.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said he would do all he can to withdraw Canada from the deal if it proved not to be a benefit to the country, prompting Prime Minister Stephen Harper to refer to Mulcair as an “extremist.”

The Council of Canadians has called the deal a “corporate rights pact” because it would lead to lawsuits that would force Canada to weaken its environmental regulations. It called on Canada to follow Australia’s example and stop negotiating these sorts of clauses into trade agreements.

Gus Van Harten, an investment law expert at Osgoode Hall Law School, told the CBC Canadians will assume “more of the risks and more of the constraints” of the trade deal than their Chinese counterparts. He said Canadians gained neither investor protection nor market access through the deal.

"We come out on the losing side on both," said Van Harten. "We should insist on reciprocity. The treaty does not allow for market access except under the exisiting legal framework of each country."

The Harper government maintains the deal is necessary for Canada to develop trade relationships with the world's most populous country.

"With this agreement, our government is bringing to Canadian investors the protection and predictability to invest with confidence in China, the world's second largest economy," a spokesman for International Trade Minister Ed Fast said in a statement last month.

Mercer pointed out that, while the North American Free Trade Agreement requires six month’s notice to withdraw, the Chinese deal requires 15 years.

“This fetish for secrecy has to stop,” he said in his rant.

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  • 20: Australia

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 19: South Korea

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 18: Saudi Arabia

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 17: Belgium

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 16: Austria

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 15: Norway

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 14: Canada

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 13: Taiwan

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 12: Denmark

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 11: Qatar

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 10: Japan

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 9: Hong Kong

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 8: United Kingdom

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 7: United States

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 6: Germany

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 5: Netherlands

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 4: Sweden

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 3: Finland

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 2: Singapore

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>

  • 1: Switzerland

    Source: <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/CSI/2012-13/GCR_Rankings_2012-13.pdf" target="_hplink">World Economic Forum</a>


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  • The 10 Best Countries To Do Business

    See where Canada falls in the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2011/10/03/the-best-countries-for-business/" target="_hplink">Forbes rankings of the best countries in the world in which to do business</a>.

  • 10. The United States

    The world's largest economy just snuck into the top 10 on Forbes' list of best countries for business. The magazine cited the nation's heavy tax burden as one of the reasons why it did not place higher. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • 9. The United Kingdom

    A historic leader in global trade and finance, the United Kingdom placed a strong 9th place. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

  • 8. Norway

    Oil boosts the economy of this Scandinavian powerhouse. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

  • 7. Sweden

    Iconic global brands such as Ikea, Ericsson and H & M call Sweden home. (Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 6. Singapore

    A key global shipping hub, Singapore, is one of the best places in Asia to do business. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 5. Denmark

    The third Scandinavian country on the list, Denmark fell from the top spot on Forbes' ranking. (Getty Images)

  • 4. Ireland

    Despite being hit hard by the recent economic crisis, Ireland placed a respectable fourth on the list. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • 3. Hong Kong

    Home to the iconic Hang Seng index, Hong Kong's exposure to China and reliable institutions make it one of the world's best places for business. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2. New Zealand

    Punching above its weight is the southern nation of New Zealand. The country only has fewer than 4.5 million people but its the runner-up on Forbes' list. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

  • 1. Canada

    The CN Tower looms over the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers as the Rogers Centre's roof is open for the first time in the 2011 MLB baseball season in Toronto Saturday, May 7, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)