Will the NAFTA Fracking Lawsuit be the Big Issue Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois Needs?

Quebec has abundant shale gas formations but the provincial government moratorium passed in 2011 on fracking while it studies the environmental impact of the technology the moratorium will stay in place until 2014, when the province is expected to complete its review of the drilling technique. Quebec also passed legislation in June banning drilling below the St. Lawrence River. Now a US company is taking advantage of a corporate-friendly NAFTA provision in suing the Canadian government for over $250 million due to lost profits from Quebec's moratorium on fracking.

The company, Lone Pine Resources Inc., incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Alberta, held mining permits in the Saint Lawrence Valley and has already spent 'millions of dollars' but the moratorium passed in 2011 revoked those permits. Lone Pine's suit is one of hundreds that corporations have launched on a range of public interest and environmental regulations, including bans or phase-outs of toxic chemicals, timber regulations, permitting rules for mines, green jobs and renewable energy programs, and more.

The 'Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement' would be like NAFTA on steroids. Lawsuits like the one Canada and Quebec now face will become the norm. Under the TPP Canada's air and water could be threatened by more cases like this one. Under the TPP B.C.'s veto [if that were possible] of a future pipeline to Asia could see B.C. taxpayers sued by China. All of them would have one thing in common, the hearings would all be held in private, no public access, a verdict, would be announced. First free trade agreements took your job, then they found you a few new ones at WalMart and Mickey D's, now i looks like they're gonna take your air and water too. Unless, unless...

...unless somehow some group of folks stands up.

It's a long shot, but, who knows, maybe it'll be Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois. They're are in need of a issue big enough to generate a nationalistic wave in Quebec, here's a beauty. Quebec has the highest treehugger to tree ratio in the world. The Parti Québécois could well argue that NAFTA represents global fascism by securing the rights of capital over human rights and protection of the environment. That the only way Quebec can protect its environment is outside of Canada That the way 'out' of NAFTA is to become an independent country.