August 30, 2010
from Jim Stanford
Canada’s federal government made an important announcement this week. It was kept deliberately quiet: with a news release issued at 4:45 pm on a calm Tuesday in the middle of the late-summer news “dead zone.” But it should set alarm bells ringing for anyone concerned with the anti-democratic direction of global trade law.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government reached a $130 million out-of-court settlement with the bankruptcy trustees overseeing the restructuring of AbitibiBowater Inc., a failed forestry and paper giant. The settlement relates to a claim that Abitibi brought against Canada under NAFTA’s notorious Chapter 11 process. This process is a bizarre kangaroo court in which investors from one NAFTA partner (and only investors – normal people aren’t allowed in) can sue another NAFTA government for actions which are deemed to break NAFTA’s broad investment rights provisions. If a Chapter 11 tribunal rules against the offending government, it can order damages be paid to the aggrieved investor. Whole article here