Home | About | Donate

NAFTA's ISDS: Why Canada Is One of the Most Sued Countries in the World

NAFTA's ISDS: Why Canada Is One of the Most Sued Countries in the World

Maude Barlow

NAFTA, the free trade deal between Canada, the USA and Mexico that came into effect in 1994, was the first trade deal among developed countries to include an investor-state provision. It grants investors of the continent the right to sue one another’s governments without first pursuing legal action through the country’s legal system. Before NAFTA, ISDS provisions were only negotiated between developed and undeveloped countries.

At some point, governments - i.e. the people if you still believe in this quant thing called “democracy” - need to simply tell the corporation suing them for interference with their “enjoyment of their profits” (I always think of martini-drinking fat capitalist fucks playing golf) to go fuck themselves. What is the worst that can happen? Get kicked out of NAFTA or other such bullshit? Ooooh I’m scaaared!


At some point, being excluded form these trade treaties will be less painful than being part of them, although I have no clue when that moment would be reached. Obviously trade is a huge necessity for any country.

What we should really be doing is to create alternate trade networks with “like-minded” countries that are based on people’s values and not corporate values. BRICS maybe?

1 Like

and yet, the govts. bend over backwards, repealing sensible laws–corpse money over common sense every time. did congress succeed in overturning the “beef labeling” laws yet?


Trading goes on without free trade agreements. They are just set up to give corporations power.

The last I heard the Congress was looking at at way to deal with the Meat labeling law. I think they will never do anything that amounts to much. They will be drug into court.

1 Like

Another reason we need to get rid of TPP…Obamas gift to us…See what happens when the president of the USA is to cozy with corporations.

Don’t see anything about Canada suing companies that don’t compensate workers or for their losses. So no insurance here for anyone but big business.


In the end, taxpayers don’t have to pay out for these judgments. Probably Canada needs better lawyers as the USA has had more success in resisting claims, I believe.

In the case of unpaid pensions, that would be a deduction. and the Govt should unilaterally do it, and then make the company ineligible in future for any work in Canada.

Being Monetary Sovereign, these payments are just deposits in the company’s bank’s accounts in the Central bank. The tax take is utterly irrelevant. Tax payers pay zero dollars towards any federal expense. The CB can use it’s "thin air " source to pay.

Not sure if you are Canadian, but just curious- What is that Building pictured in this article?

Parliament buildings.

1 Like

It might be interesting to find out how many Canadian companies have sued the US government (I assume the investor-state provisions provide for the payment of a penalty by the government, whichever one) and won, and for how much? Which side paid out more? I understand it doesn’t matter that much since the governments/taxpayers are the ones who are screwed in the end.

TPP and TTIP will provide for the corps’ and lawyers’ gaming of the system in spades. This will go on until either the voting populations of North America and Europe get wise to the fact that they’re getting screwed and kick the hell out of the corps, or until the purifying carcass of capitalism collapses.

Where is NAFTA’s army or air force? No enforcement mechanism means that if they challenge an environmental or other lawful provision in a given country, it becomes a dead issue. It should not ever be allowed to be judged by conflicting international arrangements, this amounts to criminal behaviour on the part of elected leaders if they allow this hijacking. This is not the same as violating international law on provisions involving, let’s say torture or illegal aggression, these are simply coded standards to protect the health and welfare of a country’s citizens. NAFTA equals SHAFTA.

Did you mean “putrefying”?