THE BLOG

The Trade Deal That Could Conquer Canada

03/29/2013 06:02 EDT | Updated 05/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Generations of Canadians have distinguished themselves, and our country, in wars all over the world. My own generation marched to Afghanistan. Canadian soldiers still do battle on behalf of the monarch, whose legitimacy is derived directly from God through the doctrine of divine right. My own Seaforth Highlanders regiment reflects this tradition in our motto, "Cuidich'n Righ" or "Save the King," and in our titular head, the Duke of Edinburgh.

In modern-day Canada though, soldiers are sent into battle by the Prime Minister's cabinet, which derives its legitimacy from holding a majority in Parliament.

So today we fight, and sacrifice, because the current version of Canadian democracy has willed it. Which is why I feel so heavy hearted that we are on the verge of giving our democracy away with neither a battle fought nor a shot fired.

Soldiers have never been comfortable in political backrooms, but they are places where we must go to understand those who give us our orders. These days the backrooms are where negotiations are under way to control our natural resources, and where business leaders and their lawyers are demanding that politicians give away the right of the people to express their will through Parliament.

Incredibly, our politicians are doing just that.

The Foreign Investment Protection Act, or FIPA, has been awaiting ratification in Ottawa for months. It is a trade deal with China that would, among other things, hamstring not only the will of our federal Parliament, but also our provincial legislatures and municipalities. If our democratically elected representatives do anything that could compromise Chinese economic interests, a three-person international tribunal made up of arbitrators who aren't even judges will make binding rulings in secret that won't be subject to review by Canadian or international courts

To make matters worse, the FIPA will bind the hands of future governments for at least 31 years.

There was no mention of FIPA in the past election campaign, and no meaningful consultation or debate in the House of Commons since it was tabled. Provincial governments will not be consulted and won't even have the right to debate the bill's far-reaching challenges to their authority in their own legislatures.

This deal is being struck with an oppressive communist regime that is jailing its citizens advocating for freedom and whose military was recently caught hacking into Canadian pipeline and power grids. We are not only selling out our democracy, but selling it out to authoritarian dictators with supreme disdain for human rights.

We have a false sense of security in Canada. We feel immune from the pressures building up around the world that are leading to instability. Overpopulation is contributing to shortages of food, water, and resources in destabilized regions around the world, leading to increased military conflicts. China understands this and is busy buying up resources all over the world, including here.

It sickens me that my children could come of age in a Canada with no control of her natural wealth.

If we are to weather coming storms at home and continue to play a leading role overseas, we need to be able to make our own decisions as reflected by the will of the people in Parliament, as well as maintain control over our natural resources. We will not do this if we sign away our sovereignty and sell out for short term profit.

I'm proud of my country and would fight for her again, body willing. I know my brothers and sisters in arms feel the same way. Canada has never been conquered by a foreign power, but if this trade deal is ratified, it will commit us to sacrifice our precious resources without even having the right to fight. I fear that our perfect record may be broken.

Captain (ret'd) Trevor Greene