Canada Sued For $568 Million Under NAFTA Over A Wind Farm That Ontario Cancelled

tay

Hall of Fame Member
May 20, 2012
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I heard about this $25 million on the radio etc., a few weeks ago but never was there a mention that the $25 mil was only a precursor imposed by the ISDS of NAFTA. It sounded more like it was a payment to cancel the deal but that is not the case.

As CDNbear originally posted the big case is still ongoing and this 25 mil is a down payment of sorts.

The fact is, free trade is never free. The surrender of sovereignty rights, about which I have written previously, is probably the most insidious aspect of such deals, given that corporations are granted the right to sue if national or subnational governments pass legislation that affects a corporation's right to make money. That includes legislation to protect the environment or mitigate climate change and even Health Care.

Basically anything you can think of can and will be challenged under the new and improved ISDS in the TPP.

At the end of September, a panel convened by the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded $25.2-million in damages and almost $3-million in legal costs to Windstream, saying the province broke rules under the North American free-trade agreement when it put a moratorium on offshore wind developments in February, 2011, effectively scuttling the Windstream project.

The case pitted New York-based Windstream against the Government of Canada, rather than Ontario, because under the NAFTA process Ottawa is considered to be responsible for the actions of the provinces. The claim, filed under the “Chapter 11” investor protection sections of NAFTA, asked for $568-million in damages.

The full text of the ruling has not yet been released, because both parties are given a chance to make revisions to the public version. Windstream said it made no cuts, but the federal government can also request that certain information remain private.

Windstream has said that the tribunal ruling makes it clear that the contract it signed with the province is still in force, and has not been unilaterally terminated by the government.

An analysis (link is external) of the Trans Pacific Partnership yields this chilling truth:

"The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism included in the TPP investment chapter grants foreign investors access to a secret tribunal if they believe actions taken by a government will affect their future profits. This provision is a ticking time-bomb for climate policy, because many government policies needed to address global warming are subject to suits brought before international investment tribunals. ..

.Other TPP chapters like the one covering trade in goods can be the basis for state-to-state suits challenging climate policies."Here in Ontario, citizens were recently reminded of the consequences of corporate displeasure via the NAFTA investor dispute settlement provisions. Opting for some sober second thoughts, the province decided to put a moratorium on offshore wind turbine development, a pause that did not sit well (link is external) with Windstream , the American company that had signed a $5.2 billion with Ontario.

A fine of $25 million has been imposed after Windstream invoked its investor rights that were granted under under NAFTA, but the fine is a mere precursor (link is external) to future action.

At the end of September, a panel convened by the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded $25.2-million in damages and almost $3-million in legal costs to Windstream, saying the province broke rules under the North American free-trade agreement when it put a moratorium on offshore wind developments in February, 2011, effectively scuttling the Windstream project.

The deal is still considered to be in force, and Windstream has every intention of making sure it comes to fruition:

We have a contract here, and contracts don’t go away,” [Windstream director David] Mars said, even though the moratorium on offshore wind is still in effect.In other words, taxpayers will have to brace themselves for further, much deeper compensation to the company in the future, unless Ontario gives in to the extortion NAFTA has made possible.

And despite free-trade cheerleader Freeland's ceaseless chatter (link is external) about making the investor dispute settlement process more transparent, the unalterable fact is that the rights of corporations to sue governments remains solidly intact.
 

Dixie Cup

House Member
Sep 16, 2006
3,196
534
113
Edmonton
If there was a contract signed, then the Province is obligated to meet its commitment. That's true of any business organization. If I sign a contract with someone and then renege on it, I can expect to be sued. If the Province had doubts about the whole thing or they were thinking about a moratorium, then they should not have signed anything. They did have the opportunity to say "NO" but decided to sign anyway...THEN changed their minds after signing. What idots!! No sober "second thoughts here" and we're left holding the bag!!


It goes to show how inept politicians are when it comes to signing agreements and understanding the consequences of not following through. But it seems to me that the attitude is ....well if we change our minds the taxpayer will have to pay it. It's not as though it comes directly out of their pockets.


Its extremely frustrating to hear what some are saying on this board and how business works. But hey, I'm just a voice in the wind...


JMO
 

Remington1

Council Member
Jan 30, 2016
1,469
0
36
Sun Belt Water, Inc has an inactive damage claim against Canada for 50 Million. They claim that BC gave special and preferential access to 'water for export' to a Canadian company (plus a few more grievances). 100Million by Bilcon, 105 Million by Gallo, 5 Million y Myers, 13 Million by Ethyl, yes, we are being sued at the end of the day for trying to protect the environment. We should have kept the billions the JT gave to India and China to help pay for these ones. I hope that TransCanada wins the 15Billion action against the US over the pipeline. NAFTA is about profits, period, large corporation do not care about the public or the environment.
 

Machjo

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 19, 2004
17,878
61
48
Ottawa, ON
I heard about this $25 million on the radio etc., a few weeks ago but never was there a mention that the $25 mil was only a precursor imposed by the ISDS of NAFTA. It sounded more like it was a payment to cancel the deal but that is not the case.

As CDNbear originally posted the big case is still ongoing and this 25 mil is a down payment of sorts.

The fact is, free trade is never free. The surrender of sovereignty rights, about which I have written previously, is probably the most insidious aspect of such deals, given that corporations are granted the right to sue if national or subnational governments pass legislation that affects a corporation's right to make money. That includes legislation to protect the environment or mitigate climate change and even Health Care.

Basically anything you can think of can and will be challenged under the new and improved ISDS in the TPP.

At the end of September, a panel convened by the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded $25.2-million in damages and almost $3-million in legal costs to Windstream, saying the province broke rules under the North American free-trade agreement when it put a moratorium on offshore wind developments in February, 2011, effectively scuttling the Windstream project.

The case pitted New York-based Windstream against the Government of Canada, rather than Ontario, because under the NAFTA process Ottawa is considered to be responsible for the actions of the provinces. The claim, filed under the “Chapter 11” investor protection sections of NAFTA, asked for $568-million in damages.

The full text of the ruling has not yet been released, because both parties are given a chance to make revisions to the public version. Windstream said it made no cuts, but the federal government can also request that certain information remain private.

Windstream has said that the tribunal ruling makes it clear that the contract it signed with the province is still in force, and has not been unilaterally terminated by the government.

An analysis (link is external) of the Trans Pacific Partnership yields this chilling truth:

"The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism included in the TPP investment chapter grants foreign investors access to a secret tribunal if they believe actions taken by a government will affect their future profits. This provision is a ticking time-bomb for climate policy, because many government policies needed to address global warming are subject to suits brought before international investment tribunals. ..

.Other TPP chapters like the one covering trade in goods can be the basis for state-to-state suits challenging climate policies."Here in Ontario, citizens were recently reminded of the consequences of corporate displeasure via the NAFTA investor dispute settlement provisions. Opting for some sober second thoughts, the province decided to put a moratorium on offshore wind turbine development, a pause that did not sit well (link is external) with Windstream , the American company that had signed a $5.2 billion with Ontario.

A fine of $25 million has been imposed after Windstream invoked its investor rights that were granted under under NAFTA, but the fine is a mere precursor (link is external) to future action.

At the end of September, a panel convened by the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded $25.2-million in damages and almost $3-million in legal costs to Windstream, saying the province broke rules under the North American free-trade agreement when it put a moratorium on offshore wind developments in February, 2011, effectively scuttling the Windstream project.

The deal is still considered to be in force, and Windstream has every intention of making sure it comes to fruition:

We have a contract here, and contracts don’t go away,” [Windstream director David] Mars said, even though the moratorium on offshore wind is still in effect.In other words, taxpayers will have to brace themselves for further, much deeper compensation to the company in the future, unless Ontario gives in to the extortion NAFTA has made possible.

And despite free-trade cheerleader Freeland's ceaseless chatter (link is external) about making the investor dispute settlement process more transparent, the unalterable fact is that the rights of corporations to sue governments remains solidly intact.


All agreements, treaties, and agreements between states involve a moderate sacrifice of sovereignty. If you want a completely sovereign state, go to North Korea.

That said, I do think ISDS is not the kind of sovereignty we should be willing to sacrifice. Some moderate aspects of sovereignty are worth sacrificing for the greater good, others aren't. I think it's time to either rewrite ISDS agreements to severely limit their scope or scrap them altogether.

I actually lean towards scrapping them altogether myself, but let's at least limit their scope. As long as the government is not discriminating between domestic and foreign investors and limiting state owned industries to what could reasonably be considered natural monopolies and gives fair compensation for it, ISDS should not extend far beyond that if at all.
 

darkbeaver

the universe is electric
Jan 26, 2006
41,039
196
63
RR1 Distopia 666 Discordia
And despite free-trade cheerleader Freeland's ceaseless chatter (link is external) about making the investor dispute settlement process more transparent, the unalterable fact is that the rights of corporations to sue governments remains solidly intact.

I don't see how it could be any more transparent than it is. From page one to its despicable last sheet it is extorsion bribery and assorted crimes against people in favour of multinational pirates and murderers.
 

Machjo

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 19, 2004
17,878
61
48
Ottawa, ON
If there was a contract signed, then the Province is obligated to meet its commitment. That's true of any business organization. If I sign a contract with someone and then renege on it, I can expect to be sued. If the Province had doubts about the whole thing or they were thinking about a moratorium, then they should not have signed anything. They did have the opportunity to say "NO" but decided to sign anyway...THEN changed their minds after signing. What idots!! No sober "second thoughts here" and we're left holding the bag!!


It goes to show how inept politicians are when it comes to signing agreements and understanding the consequences of not following through. But it seems to me that the attitude is ....well if we change our minds the taxpayer will have to pay it. It's not as though it comes directly out of their pockets.


Its extremely frustrating to hear what some are saying on this board and how business works. But hey, I'm just a voice in the wind...


JMO

But why ISDS? Why not through the same courts a Canadian company would go through. Crating a separate system for foreign investors is just not good optics. It gives the impression of special treatment for them.
 

darkbeaver

the universe is electric
Jan 26, 2006
41,039
196
63
RR1 Distopia 666 Discordia
I actually lean towards scrapping them altogether myself, but let's at least limit their scope. As long as the government is not discriminating between domestic and foreign investors and limiting state owned industries to what could reasonably be considered natural monopolies and gives fair compensation for it, ISDS should not extend far beyond that if at all.

A national government unable or unwilling to discriminate between domestic and foriegn investors is not a national government but a go between for private bank tranfers of wealth.
 

Machjo

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 19, 2004
17,878
61
48
Ottawa, ON
Sun Belt Water, Inc has an inactive damage claim against Canada for 50 Million. They claim that BC gave special and preferential access to 'water for export' to a Canadian company (plus a few more grievances). 100Million by Bilcon, 105 Million by Gallo, 5 Million y Myers, 13 Million by Ethyl, yes, we are being sued at the end of the day for trying to protect the environment. We should have kept the billions the JT gave to India and China to help pay for these ones. I hope that TransCanada wins the 15Billion action against the US over the pipeline. NAFTA is about profits, period, large corporation do not care about the public or the environment.

Okay, now this is one example that makes me favour ISDS. The government should not discriminate between domestic and foreign.

But if we are to have ISDS, it should be limited to things like this.

Yet even then, why couldn't the company settle it through the same courts as domestic companies? Here a case could perhaps be made for the court's national impartiality. Again, a case could be made for ISDS here, but its scope must be constrained.

A national government unable or unwilling to discriminate between domestic and foriegn investors is not a national government but a go between for private bank tranfers of wealth.

How so? As long as it is free to impose the same regulations on both, where's the problem?
 

darkbeaver

the universe is electric
Jan 26, 2006
41,039
196
63
RR1 Distopia 666 Discordia
Removed by author and stuck in the correct thread

Okay, now this is one example that makes me favour ISDS. The government should not discriminate between domestic and foreign.

But if we are to have ISDS, it should be limited to things like this.

Yet even then, why couldn't the company settle it through the same courts as domestic companies? Here a case could perhaps be made for the court's national impartiality. Again, a case could be made for ISDS here, but its scope must be constrained.



How so? As long as it is free to impose the same regulations on both, where's the problem?

The problem is the personhood granted to numbered companys. The problem is the soul of money. The problem is the right of power gifted to a thin slice of humanity at the cost of shortened lives for the majority. The problem remains the same throughout the ages nevermind the art of the authors of these corporate rags.
 

Danbones

Hall of Fame Member
Sep 23, 2015
23,856
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we were ok with english talley sticks and/or venetian silver certificates
thats why we don't use those systems anymore

(from the "duh, take a look around NOW" file)
investment money dividends won't trickle down to us if they are going to someone else
if you don't keep money local
you won't have any
 

darkbeaver

the universe is electric
Jan 26, 2006
41,039
196
63
RR1 Distopia 666 Discordia
Machjo;2357804 How so? As long as it is free to impose the same regulations on both said:
Why should regulations for the equitable treatment of all parties be characterised as impositions?

Which is the case with NAFTA is it fair cross border market regulation or inequitable imposition on a nations producers?
 

Danbones

Hall of Fame Member
Sep 23, 2015
23,856
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i wonder who the share holders are
it is a goose way to launder money out of the country
(damn spell check errrr lol)