Groups welcome NAFTA victory while decrying NAFTA rules



    OTTAWA, June 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Union of Postal Workers
(CUPW) and Council of Canadians (Council) are pleased that United Parcel
Service's complaint under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has
been rejected by the tribunal hearing the case.
    United Parcel Service (UPS) sued Canada over six years ago, under NAFTA's
Chapter 11, which allows corporations to challenge governments if they think
their investments are restricted by government measures. UPS claimed that its
investments were being restricted by Canada's publicly funded network of
mailboxes and post offices because this network allegedly provided Canada Post
with an unfair advantage. The tribunal had already dismissed several elements
of the claim.
    The federal government's media release on the final decision indicates
that the tribunal dismissed allegations of unfair treatment with respect to
the postal network, customs and the Canadian Heritage Publications Assistance
Program. The government says that it will release the full decision within
thirty days.
    "We are very happy that the tribunal rejected UPS's complaint but that
doesn't mean we think NAFTA works," said CUPW National President Deborah
Bourque. "NAFTA allowed UPS to put public postal service and jobs on trial. A
secret trial."
    "The public and workers should have the right to be heard when their jobs
or public services are threatened," said Bourque.
    Jean-Yves Lefort, trade campaigner for the Council of Canadians said,
"Investment rules such as Chapter 11 need to be removed from NAFTA and all
other trade agreements signed by Canada."
    Trade lawyer Steven Shrybman, who represents the groups, said that,
victory or not, the groups believe that NAFTA rules allowing foreign
corporations to sue governments are unconstitutional.
    The Council and CUPW have asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an
appeal concerning the constitutionality of NAFTA investment rules. The Supreme
Court has the right to grant or deny leave to appeal.

    
               Chronology of UPS's NAFTA complaint as well as
         the Court Challenge on the Constitutionality of NAFTA Rules

    On January 19, 2000 - United Parcel Service (UPS) submitted its notice of
intent to submit a claim to Arbitration under the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA gives foreign corporations the right to sue
governments if they believe their investments are restricted by government
measures.
    On April 19, 2000 - UPS filed its notice of arbitration and its statement
of claim. UPS's claim argued that its investments are being restricted by
Canada's publicly funded network of mailboxes and post offices. It said this
network gives Canada's public post office an unfair advantage when delivering
courier services that are in competition with private courier companies. The
claim demanded $160 million US in damages.
    (*)March 28, 2001 - The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the
Council of Canadians (Council) launched a constitutional challenge to the
NAFTA investment rules that UPS used to sue Canada.
    October 22, 2001 - CUPW and the Council were denied standing as parties in
the lawsuit against the government of Canada brought by United Parcel Service
(UPS). While the Tribunal ruled that it could receive written submissions or
Amicus Briefs, it reserved that decision to a later date.
    July 2002 - UPS finally released its complaint - or statement of claim -
in a bid to silence some of its critics. UPS also tried to claim the moral
high ground by announcing that it had reached an agreement with the Canadian
government to open NAFTA tribunal hearings on its complaint to the public. The
vast majority of tribunal business was conducted in secret.
    November 2002 - The tribunal issued a decision on jurisdictional issues.
    January 2003 - CUPW reminded the tribunal that it wanted to make
submissions. The union was concerned that the UPS claim would undermine public
postal services and jobs, particularly in rural areas. CUPW was also concerned
that there was a threat to members' pensions.
    (*)On July 8, 2005 - Ontario Superior Court Justice Sarah Pepall dismissed
the constitutional challenge to NAFTA investment rules launched by the CUPW
and Council, thereby upholding the unprecedented rights given to corporations
under NAFTA.
    (*)August 12, 2005 - The Council and CUPW filed an appeal in connection with
their constitutional challenge before the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
    December 2005 - The tribunal hearing UPS's complaint under NAFTA held
hearings on the merits of the case against Canada.
    (*)November 30, 2006 - The Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed the appeal.
    June 13, 2007 - The federal government issued a media release about the
tribunal decision in regard to UPS's complaint under NAFTA
    (*)Ongoing - The Council and CUPW are seeking leave to appeal their case on
the constitutionality of NAFTA investment rules to the Supreme Court of
Canada. The Supreme Court has the right to grant or deny leave to appeal.

    (*) Information pertaining to the court challenge on the
        constitutionality of NAFTA investment rules
    




For further information:

For further information: Chris Schulz, CUPW, (613) 816-9062; Meera
Karunananthan, Council of Canadians, (613) 795-8685

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