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B.C. Aboriginals Challenge Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion And Protection Agreement (FIPPA) In Federal Court – The Start Of A New Round Of #IdleNoMore Protests?

Update April 7/14 in comment 6: Hupacasath to pay $100k into court to cover Canada's legal fees litigating duty to consult on int'l trade agmts plus another $300k for their own legal tab. Is this the beginning of a new era in aboriginal litigation/consultation?

Appeal unanimously dismissed with costs Jan. 9/15.

Observations on the new Liberal regime and anticipated chill on Canada's resource sector and investment in Canada generally: see Black Swans Circling Canada's Resource Sector,, Feb. 8/16.

Out on the frontier of Canada's Left Coast, Vancouver Island's maverick Hupacasath Nation has filed an action in Federal Court to challenge Prime Minister Stephen Harper's executive power to negotiate the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) without consulting them. Aboriginals seek an injunction to block ratification of the treaty. If they succeed it could create an international incident with a super-power Canada has been courting to expand and diversify our resource markets and it could jeopardize other trade agreements, particularly those still being negotiated.

According to the explanatory memo accompanying FIPPA, this is an agreement to protect Canadian investors in China's energy and resource sector. As such, it is unlikely Hupacasath has sufficient interest to have triggered the Crown's ill-defined obligation to consult. The question is does it matter? Probably not if the primary goal of Hupacasath is to rally other Aboriginal communities and anti-trade, anti-mining, anti-pipeline activists against all of Mr. Harper's recent trade initiatives intended to benefit Canada's energy/resource sector, which happens to be a crucial component of our economy.

This article is an attempt to explore this unusual challenge and its possible outcomes by describing a few key issues and competing interests of the parties to this unique contractual relationship that is at once legal and political. Read the full article here:

Leo Biblitz, LLB, UBC, is a mining investor and an advocate of free trade in Vancouver, B.C. Readers who wish to receive more reports like this one on Canadian trade initiatives and/or mining may submit a request by email to As always, questions and comments are gratefully received.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.