Re TPP is a wonderful idea – for China (Dec. 26):
Dan Breznitz claims that the trade-secret provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will "seriously restrict entrepreneurship, diminish competition and limit the basic economic freedom of individuals." None of these claims can be supported.
He claims that the TPP's civil-law protection "adds several badly written, ambiguous trade-secret propositions to the law." Yet, the obligations are substantially identical to the international standard for protecting trade secrets in NAFTA and the WTO's TRIPs agreement, agreed to by 162 countries and territories, including Canada and China. Canadian law already fully meets this TPP requirement.
He also claims that the TPP's criminal sanctions for trade-secret violations pose great risks. It's even harder to understand these concerns. Canada already has an existing law that targets state-sponsored computer hacking to steal trade secrets, such as hacking perpetrated or sponsored by China. A law that targets this type of "theft" is all that is needed to comply. …
Prof. Breznitz also makes vague claims about other aspects of the intellectual property chapter. These claims were thoroughly rebutted in articles I refer to in my lengthier blog post at www.barrysookman.com.
– Barry Sookman, senior partner,McCarthy Tétrault (Toronto office) and adjunct professor of intellectual property law, Osgoode Hall Law School
Re Coal bust (Dec. 12):
You reported on decreased demand for coal and on Westshore Coal Terminal, near Port Metro Vancouver (PMV). Ironically, plans are under way to establish five anchorages off Gabriola, a pristine Southern Gulf Island near PMV, to accommodate the 300-metre ships destined for Westshore.
These anchorages will transform a quiet island into a satellite operation of PMV with industrial activity, without an environmental assessment process. Heavy anchor chains will scour the sea bed, irreparably damaging an intact marine ecosystem. Destruction of marine habitat and a community based on erratic, unpredictable demand is unsustainable and socially unacceptable.
Why doesn't Westshore use this downturn as an opportunity to expand and modernize berthing facilities to accommodate huge ships at their own terminal, in anticipation of the next economic upswing?
This investment will create new jobs, offset losses in the mining sector and benefit the economy. It eliminates the need for anchorages, which destroy communities and fragile ecosystems. PMV and the shipping industry should demonstrate leadership … And legislation protecting the Gulf Islands from such an assault should be enacted.
– Sheila Schiel, Gabriola Island, B.C.
Mike Brown's assessment wasn't incorrect, but he neglected to mention Canadian-controlled private corporations. For these companies, share options are not taxed when issued but when sold, as long as the shareholder holds the shares for two years. This stimulates our economy by encouraging investment in Canadian-owned private companies. Isn't this what we want?
– Karen Lightstone, associate
professor (tax and accounting), Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University, Halifax
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