The House resumed from February 3 consideration of Bill , as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
Madam Speaker, I am sure my colleague would acknowledge that one of the highest priorities we put in place, when we took on the role of government just over a year ago, was the importance of creating jobs.
One of the things we need to remind ourselves of when we think of trade, as I pointed out in an earlier question, is that Canada is very much dependent on trade. When I talk about some of the best products, I could talk about my home province or even the member's province of Quebec. She would be very familiar with one of the things that Manitoba and Quebec share in common, and that is our aerospace industry. Some of the very best parts and aircraft that are manufactured today come from Canada.
When we look at ways that we could take down trade barriers and allow for a more free flow of goods, we are allowing opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses to be able to explore other opportunities that go beyond Canada's border.
When we think about trade and how Canada really benefits, the more Canada can trade, in particular on that export side but trade in general, the more it contributes to our GDP, the more it provides opportunities for those small and medium-sized business. That is really what this is all about.
We recognize that if we can build on trade, we can build Canada's middle class and those who aspire to become a part of it. The healthier Canada's middle class is, the healthier our economy is. Our economy needs to have a healthy middle class. One of the ways we can reinforce that healthy middle class, and have that middle class grow, is to look at ways we can increase trade throughout the world.
That is why we have seen such a high priority, whether it is CETA we are debating today, or the agreement between Canada and Ukraine which was signed, or even the World Trade Organization legislation that we brought in that allows for a more free flow of services and widgets that, ultimately, all Canadians will benefit from, in particular Canada's working middle class and those who are aspiring to become a part of it.
Madam Speaker, the House has heard a great deal of debate on CETA. Throughout these discussions, the NDP has pointed out some critical problems with the agreement. It is likely to worsen Canada's trade deficit. It is likely to harm key sectors of our economy. It is likely to make it easier for temporary foreign workers to come into our country. It is going to extend pharmaceutical patents, driving up the cost of prescription drugs for our provincial health care systems as well as for individual Canadians. It will expose our democratic laws, regulations, and public policies to more challenges under the investor-state provisions.
I do not want to repeat all of those points. What I would like to do in today's speech is look at CETA from a different perspective. I want to look at it from the perspective of its implications for future Canadian negotiations. In particular, I want to look at our likely negotiations with a post-Brexit United Kingdom. I want to look at our potential renegotiation of NAFTA with the United States. Finally, I want to look at the negotiations we have, within our country, with corporate Canada.
In terms of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, a big question is what that means for CETA. It is a question the NDP has been asking throughout this debate, because of course, the United Kingdom is the one major economy in the EU with which Canada currently enjoys a trade surplus.
I was interested to note on Friday that a Conservative colleague, the member for , actually asked that question during question period and did not get much of a response from the government. What the parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade said was:
|If CETA is passed by the EU, we will have a deal with the U.K. until things unfold in that country. Canada, of course, has an interest in maintaining access to the significant U.K. marketplace, and we believe very strongly that CETA provides an excellent baseline for future negotiations.
Here we have the government actually acknowledging that CETA is not a done deal, that it is unclear whether or how it might apply to the United Kingdom, and that in all likelihood, Canada would have to enter into new negotiations with the U.K. after the Brexit process plays out. Why, then, would we want to establish that baseline now? Will this be a baseline from which we make further concessions in negotiations with the United Kingdom?
It seems to me that after Brexit, the United Kingdom will actually be under pressure to formulate new trade agreements. It will no longer be part of free trade deals through the EU, and the British will be the ones who really need to make concessions to get trade deals. Why would Canada set the baseline now? Would it not be more prudent to see what happens with Brexit and then negotiate with Britain from a position of strength? Agreeing to CETA before Brexit has played out actually puts Canada in a much weaker position for prospective negotiations with the United Kingdom.
The second thing I want to consider is negotiations with the United States about the North American Free Trade Agreement. It is really important to recognize that under NAFTA currently, there is a concept of most favoured nation treatment, so when we make concessions to Europe through CETA, we are automatically making those same concessions to the United States. Indeed, in Bill , we find that it does exactly that. It provides concessions not just to the EU but to all trade agreement investors. For example, when CETA extends patent protections, it does not just do it for European pharmaceutical companies; it does it for American pharmaceutical companies as well. Of course, we do not get anything in exchange from the United States for that concession. It just happens automatically.
Another thing Bill C-30 does is raise the threshold for foreign investment reviews of proposed foreign takeovers to $1.5 billion. It does this not just for proposed takeovers by European investors but also for proposed takeovers by American investors. This is a concession we are making to the United States without getting anything back in return on softwood lumber, on steel, on buy American, or on any of the other trade issues we might have with our neighbours to the south. It strikes me that rather than making these concessions to the United States pre-emptively through Bill , it would be far more prudent to see what happens with Trump and with our potential renegotiation of NAFTA so that if we need to make concessions, we can get something for them. We can bargain rather than just give the U.S. these concessions as part of a deal with Europe. That is another reason to defeat this legislation.
The third type of negotiation I would like to speak to are the negotiations that are constantly going on between the Canadian state and corporate Canada, because one aspect of extending investor-state provisions through these different international agreements is that Canadian companies want to have access to the same special commercial tribunals so that they are able to directly challenge and sue over laws, regulations, and public policies they may not like. The more we extend these investor-state provisions, the more we invite Canadian companies to demand a similar basis on which to challenge our own democratic domestic policies.
We are starting to see this kind of thinking bubble up in the Conservative leadership race. Just last week, we had two candidates for the Conservative leadership, the member for and the member for , tripping over each other to try to adopt radical libertarian positions. The member for said that we should entrench private property rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The member for was very quick to agree with this concept. We can see the linkage of this with trade deals by looking at the way another Conservative MP reacted to this proposal. The member for stated:
|| The lack of constitutional protection for the private property rights of Canadians means that the rights of Canadians can be treated as second-class under NAFTA. Canadians deserve the same property rights that foreign companies enjoy in Canada, and shouldn’t be second-class in their own country.
We have this argument that because there are investor-state provisions in trade deals, they should be extended to all Canadian companies and property owners. What would that mean in practice? We can forget about any kind of land use planning for starters, but we can also forget about building any type of major public infrastructure that would traverse lots of different property. Imagine trying to build or even twin an existing highway if every landowner along the route essentially could veto it because their private property rights were entrenched in the Constitution. The power of expropriation is an extremely important thing if we want to get infrastructure built.
We have heard a lot of rhetoric in favour of pipelines from the Conservatives. Good luck building any pipelines after private property rights are entrenched in the Constitution. That is something the Conservative leadership candidates need to think about.
Bill would weaken Canada's negotiating position with a post-Brexit Britain. It would weaken Canada's negotiating position on NAFTA with the United States. It would also lead us down this goofy path of entrenching private property rights in the Constitution. For all those reasons, I urge my fellow MPs to defeat this bill.
Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to speak in support of Bill and the comprehensive economic trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, or CETA.
I would first like to congratulate our new , the member for , on his new responsibilities, and recognize the hard work of our former minister, the member for , for the devoted time she put in on the trade file. She will still be involved with the trade file as the . I would also like to congratulate the rest of our team. I am sure we will continue to work with the foreign affairs minister and the trade minister to get more trade agreements that are beneficial to all Canadians. As the stated, we are a trading nation. Our GDP relies on trading. We will continue to work hard to make good deals for Canadians.
I would also like to recognize our international trade committee, which I sit on as chair and am very proud of. We do a great job, and we work together. We do not always agree, but we work together. We have put a couple of agreements together which were passed in the House, such as the Ukrainian agreement, which was a big agreement. Of course, we also looked at the CETA, which is here on the floor. We work well together and get things done. We are always thinking about Canadians. We are going to be working on future agreements in the upcoming months, especially dealing with the United States and many of our Asian partners.
CETA is a modern, progressive trade agreement that, when implemented, will generate billions of dollars in bilateral trade and investment. It will provide greater choice and lower prices for consumers. It will create middle-class jobs in many sectors of our society.
CETA is a product of hard work, frank discussions and negotiations, and a calm commitment by our , , , our trade committee, and, of course, countless of Canadian public servants who made this agreement come together. When it comes to negotiating trade agreements such as CETA, we have some of the best negotiators in the world. Whether it is WTO or this agreement, whether it is big or small, we have some of the best negotiators. They stand as an example for the rest of the world when we do our negotiations. We are very proud of them and how they work. No matter what party is in government, they work for Canadians.
Canadian exports to the EU are diverse and include a significant share of value-added products in addition to traditional exports. These are resource-based products and commodities, whether they are precious stones and metals; machinery and equipment; minerals, fuels, and oils; mineral ores; aerospace products; and, of course, fishing and fish products. These are some of Canada's top merchandise exports to the EU.
From my perspective in Atlantic Canada, the export sectors that will particularly benefit from CETA are the minerals and mineral products export sector, and the other one which is dear to my heart is agriculture and agrifood. Of course, I think the biggest one in our area is the fishing and fish products sector. We have over 500 small craft harbours in Atlantic Canada, and although we love eating fish, we cannot eat it all. However, the rest of the world wants it, and we want to sell it to them.
When it comes to exporting our products, Atlantic Canada tops the rest of North America. Atlantic Canada is very well positioned in this agreement for the shipment of products from continent to continent. Atlantic Canada is closer than Montreal, Boston, New York, or any other port in North America and South America to Europe. We are very excited, not only about the products that we have to offer Europeans, but also about being able to trade through our ports in Atlantic Canada.
I am from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, which will benefit significantly from CETA and the preferential access to the EU market. The EU is Nova Scotia's second-largest export destination and second-largest trading partner, with a large portion of the share coming from my island in Cape Breton. Once in force, CETA will remove the boundaries on Nova Scotia's exports and create new market opportunities in the EU.
In all of the 28 EU member states, they have approved the conclusion of CETA and have signed the agreement or are in the midst of finalizing it. Trade means growth. Trade means prosperity. Trade means stability. Trade makes good friends. More growth in trade creates jobs, which is what we want in Canada.
Nova Scotians will benefit from improving exporting conditions, which will provide us with a comprehensive advantage over exporters in other countries who do not have free trade agreements with the EU. As mentioned in this House already today, the United States tried to pull off a deal with the EU but was not successful. We did, and we were successful. We are very proud of it. We see that Canada is an opportunity for an entranceway into the whole North American market through Canada and the EU.
Nova Scotians will benefit from improved exporting conditions, and, as I stated, it will provide us with a competitive advantage over exporters from other countries who do not have free trade agreements with the EU. Between 2013 and 2015, in Nova Scotia alone, merchandise exports to the EU were worth over $465 million, with fishing and fish products holding the largest share of that, 45% of our exports.
How does all of this translate? Following fish and fish products exports, of course, we have agriculture and agrifood, at 60%. We can grow anything in Nova Scotia. People in Europe love our blueberries. We have great blueberries and apples, and so many different products. We are looking at having more beef in Nova Scotia too. They like grass-fed beef in Europe, and we think we are well positioned in Atlantic Canada to do that. Also on metal and mineral products, the tariffs will go down from 10%. On other exports, such as chemicals and plastics, forest products, and information and communication technologies, tariffs will drop to 12%.
Most of the tariffs that we have to pay going into the European Union are 10% to 15%, which is significant. For instance, just on fish alone, which is over $465 million, if we take the ballpark figure of $400 million, 10% of that is $40 million. That would be the benefit to Nova Scotia just on fish products alone. These tariffs are on the largest exports, such as I mentioned, fish and fish products. Some of them are up to 25%. It is a phenomenally high tariff going into that trade zone, and we are going to be glad it is gone. Through CETA, these fishing and fish product tariffs will drop by almost 96% immediately, and the remaining tariffs will be phased out over three-year, five-year, and seven-year periods.
According to Industry Canada, Nova Scotia exports $5.4 billion worth of goods and services outside of Canada, with the United Kingdom being $121 million; France, $81 million; and the Netherlands, $84 million. Of Nova Scotia's $5.4 billion in exports, $1.2 billion comes directly from lobster and crab. In my riding of Sydney—Victoria, the Neil's Harbour co-op fish processing facility has staff from all over Cape Breton, and many of the staff come from Newfoundland to work in the plant. In 2015, the Victoria Co-op Fisheries purchased about $20 million of product from local fishermen. This spans over 100 miles of coastline; seven small harbours, most of which have between 20 and 25 vessels; and sales worth $26 million.
As with most of the rural and northern communities like Neil's Harbour, in my riding of Sydney—Victoria, the fishing industry is what my constituents rely on for their well-being. Fishing is passed down from generation to generation. Men and women go out to sea for months at a time to put food on their tables and provide fresh fish for the world. CETA will boost the fishing trade in my riding and better the quality of life for hard-working fishers and their families.
In agriculture itself, as I know was mentioned here, beef, pork, and canola are agriculture products that will go to Europe tariff free. It is going to be phenomenal. I sat on the agriculture and agrifood committee.
When all other countries are closing the doors to trade and immigration, Canada is opening its doors. The benefits that will result from CETA are on the fishing and fish products in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, the Atlantic provinces, and all over Canada. CETA is a modern, progressive trade agreement that could generate billions of dollars in bilateral trade and investment, provide greater choice, lower prices to consumers, and grow the middle class.
I would also like to thank the members of the previous Conservative government, because they worked hard on this agreement. We had to take it across the plate and finish it, but they did a lot of work. I am proud that they are on the committee with us and continue to do good work.
I am open for questions.
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure, and quite honestly, an honour to stand in this great place to talk about something that has great potential, an incredible potential to create jobs, economic growth, and value for our country.
Bill is about implementing this great agreement, CETA. I cannot go ahead without recognizing the member for , the former minister of international trade. For six years or so he worked not only with the team on our Conservative side, but also with all members of Parliament to come together on this extraordinary agreement which benefits Canadians from one coast of this country to the other.
I also want to thank the current , who was the minister of international trade, for taking the agreement forward to this point.
As my colleague before me mentioned, agreements do not happen in isolation. Our chief negotiator, Steve Verheul, is an amazing guy in his abilities and the things he accomplishes around the negotiating table. I am from . I farmed. I was involved in municipal government. In fact, when I was in dairy, I bought many of the inputs for my dairy operation from Steve's dad, so he comes from great stock.
There is a whole host of things that happened to get CETA done. One of them was the unprecedented amount of co-operation and involvement that the stakeholders had in developing this agreement. Whether it was the provinces or the territories, whether it was the stakeholders in the commodity organizations, the businesses, if they were not at the table, they were sitting on the chairs right behind it. That is why this agreement has so much appeal across Canada.
The text of the agreement was agreed to in August 2014. We all knew it would take a couple of years for the 28 countries to translate it into something like 22 or 23 languages. We are now at the time of implementation not only here in Canada, but also in Europe, which we understand may be happening very shortly.
What does it mean? As I mentioned, there are 28 countries. It has an impact for Canadian manufacturers, agriculture, education, and for all the stakeholders who were involved in the negotiations. It would provide access to some 500 million people and economic activity of almost $20 trillion. It is estimated it would bring about a 20% increase in bilateral trade, and about a $12 billion increase to the Canadian economy.
For example, it would leverage about $1,000 for an annual family's income, but we have to understand that could be eaten up, because the Liberals keep bringing in new taxes. They just brought in a new CPP tax on employers and benefits. However, it has the opportunity to increase family incomes, and also create about some 80,000 jobs.
When CETA comes into effect, about 98% of non-agriculture trade tariff lines will disappear. For agriculture it will be 94% to 95%. Over a short period of time those tariffs will start to disappear.
One of the great things about trade agreements, and good ones like this one which we negotiated, is that they help to get rid of non-trade tariff barriers, those things that pop up between one country and another which sometimes are not directly related to trade but they become a political inhibitor to moving a product from one country another. For example, a shipment may go over to another country, but all of a sudden, they will find there is something wrong with it and it may be rejected and returned. That is a non-trade tariff barrier, and both sides, whether it is the European Union or Canada, want to try to eliminate as many of those as possible.
As I mentioned, the trade agreement has an incredible amount of potential benefit to Canadians. However, over the past 14 to 16 months, we have sat in this place, and a new government came in, so some of the advantages will take a hit. The Liberals promised that they would balance the budget in four years, but now that seems to have been misjudged by about 32 years. People who are 18 years old today will be about 56 years old before the budget is balanced.
What does that mean? That means that all the young people who are 18 or 19 today will be almost at the age of what someone might call “freedom 55” and are now going to be paying for this extraordinary spending of the government.
When the Liberals got elected they said they would have a $10-billion deficit. However, within a couple of months or so, the amount was out by, I think, 300%. It went from $10 billion to $30 billion. The deficit will be somewhere around $30 billion.
I think the parliamentary budget officer said it would be $20 billion if the government did not spend the money on infrastructure that it had talked about. The Liberals were going to lower the business tax for our businesses, which very much involved CETA.
My riding of is all small businesses. Agriculture is the dominant one. Those small businesses not only did not get the tax relief they were promised, but there was an additional tax charge for the Canada pension plan and a new carbon tax.
It comes down to credibility, accountability, and trust.
The agreement has all the potential of going ahead and being good for our families and our businesses, but if the government is going to bring in a carbon tax, in it will negatively affect every individual, particularly farmers, truckers, and businesses in my riding. For example, a guy who is farming fills up his combine every day. At the end of the day, it will cost him another $100 just for the fuel, not including the tractors that he has running beside the combine, and not including the truck. It is the same with the truckers. By the time they fill their trucks with fuel, it is going to cost them another $100 or so a day, when the carbon tax is in full implementation. In Ontario, of course, we have other costs that are a deterrent, for example, our high energy costs.
My point is this agreement has all the potential to help keep Canada the strong economic force that it is.
Agriculture obviously is the key industry in my riding. Whether it is pork, beef, grains, when I was on the international trade committee and the agriculture committee, they told us about the significance of this, as did the dairy sector. We negotiated a true benefit for dairy producers.
I see my time has just about wrapped up. In closing, I will say that we will be supporting this bill as we move forward on the implementation of CETA.
Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to rise today to participate in this important debate about the comprehensive economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.
Free trade debates are far too often hijacked or sidetracked by hyperbole, misinformation, and knee-jerk distortion of the facts. I still recall being a high school student when our country was immersed in the spirited debate surrounding the free trade agreement with the U.S. in the 1980s, and being struck by the outrageous claims made by the opponents of the agreement at the time.
As such, I firmly believe debates such as the one today are vitally important. They allow parliamentarians to set the public record straight and counter ill-informed misconceptions and simplifications. It is important that we emphatically underscore the comprehensive and progressive elements of the EU trade deal and highlight the tangible benefits that the agreement will provide the Canadian middle class, consumers, and exporters.
Prior to serving as the member of Parliament for Willowdale, I served in both the public and private sectors as a lawyer focused exclusively on international trade law. In that role, I gained valuable first-hand knowledge of the tangible benefits well-crafted trade agreements provided us each and every day. It is from that perspective that I approach today's remarks.
Before I begin, however, I would be remiss if I did not thank the former minister of international trade for her hard work on this file. I would also like to congratulate the incoming minister and parliamentary secretary on their new roles. I am confident they will navigate this file with expertise and great dedication.
Finally, allow me a shout-out to the hard work of countless Canadian departmental officials and negotiators. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for their tireless efforts. In that, I obviously am echoing the sentiments of the member for , who talked about how we had some of the greatest trade negotiators in the world.
As any student of Canadian history knows, our great country in many ways was shaped and founded by trade. To this day, over 40% of our GDP and fully 20% of Canadian jobs are directly tied to exports. This side of the House has long recognized the role of trade in fostering economic growth and creating Canadian jobs, while at the same time recognizing the need for progressive and comprehensive trade deals that truly work to the benefit of all Canadians and all stakeholders.
Our government understands that increased trade leads to economic growth and that economic growth leads to jobs for the middle class. This simple fact, however, is currently under siege. As the world slides toward protectionism and isolationism, a regression apparently favoured by some of my colleagues across the aisle, it is vital that Canada remains an open society and a champion of open global markets.
As the first and most ambitious trade deal of its kind, CETA would provide Canada with an unprecedented competitive advantage in an era of short-sighted protectionists. As Mr. Brian Kingston of the Business Council of Canada stated when discussing CETA before a committee earlier this fall:
||...Canadian companies will be positioned to take advantage of preferential access...in the large European market. For many small, medium-sized, and large Canadian employers, this will mean new opportunities and, potentially, increased sales. The first-mover advantage will also help to attract investment to Canada. Companies looking to increase sales to Europe through CETA can use Canada as an export platform, and we believe this will attract investment and jobs to communities across Canada....CETA sends a positive and hopeful signal to the rest of the world about the benefits of international economic co-operation and open markets. Since the end of the Second World War, trade has been the principal means by which countries around the world have grown and prospered.
Just as Canadian leadership on the Syrian refugee file and infrastructure spending have served as beacons for the rest of the liberal world, our ambitious and balanced approach to trade provides an encouraging counter to closing borders and closed societies.
To quote a recent article found in The Economist, “Bucking the protectionist mood, Canada remains an eager free-trader...In this depressing company of wall-builders, door-slammers and drawbridge-raisers, Canada stands out as a heartening exception.”
In that spirit, our government recognizes that CETA represents a tremendous and unprecedented opportunity for Canada. The EU, a market of 500 million people and $20 trillion, representing nearly 17% of global GDP, is the world's second largest economy, second largest importing market, and Canada's second largest trading partner. By removing 98% of tariffs between Canada and the EU and by making Canada the first G8 economy with preferential access to the unified European market, CETA would open a range of possibilities to Canadian exporters, businesses, entrepreneurs, workers, and service providers. A joint Canada-EU study, for example, found that CETA would increase Canada-EU trade by 22%, thus providing the Canadian economy with a 0.7% boost in GDP, or roughly $12 billion per year, with similar gains in job numbers and household incomes.
Following a decade of anemic growth under the previous government, we simply cannot afford to walk away from this type of amazing opportunity. To illustrate this, allow me to name just a handful of concrete benefits that would be brought with the implementation of CETA.
First, CETA would allow Canadian goods and services to reach European markets faster and more efficiently through the reduction of border processing times by providing access to advance rulings on the origin or tariff classification of products. It would also provide for the automation of border procedures and the creation of transparent systems to address complaints about customs rulings and decisions.
Second, CETA would mark the first Canadian bilateral trade agreement that would include a stand-alone chapter on regulatory co-operation to promote enhanced regulatory practices. This would include a protocol on conformity assessment that would allow Canadian manufacturers in certain sectors to have their products tested and certified in Canada for sale in the EU.
Third, through mechanisms such as the most favoured nation provisions, Canadian service providers, an ever-growing segment of our modern economy I might add, would benefit from unrivalled access to the European Union, which acts as the world's largest importer of services and represents a market worth an astounding $12 trillion.
CETA is an inclusive and modern trade agreement that would greatly broaden Canadian access to the European markets across a wide range of sectors, from aerospace to agriculture to infrastructure to green technologies, and beyond.
We know Canadians demand trade agreements that not only advance our economic interests but also reflect our values. These are not contradictory aims, but rather mutually reinforcing goals. For example, allow me to outline just a few of the elements that make CETA not only the most comprehensive trade deal ever negotiated but also the most progressive.
CETA includes a robust right to regulate, allowing democratically elected governments the ability to regulate on important policy issues, such as the environment. CETA also includes a strengthened dispute resolution process, which makes the CETA agreement regime fairer, more ethical, and transparent. CETA also includes stand-alone chapters on environmental protection, sustainable development, and labour. Finally, CETA contains explicit safeguards regarding health, safety, and environmental protections, and provides for the necessary exceptions and reservations for social services. Furthermore, nothing in the agreement prevents governments from providing preferences to aboriginal communities, or adopting measures to protect or promote Canadian culture.
If any of my colleagues cannot support this trade agreement, it leads us to wonder what free trade agreement, if any, they would ever support. CETA represents a unique, pragmatic, and progressive trade agreement for the 21st century.
From day one, our government has made it clear that our priority is helping and growing the middle class and those working hard to join it. From cutting taxes for those who need it, to creation of the Canada child benefit, to boosting CPP for Canadian seniors, we understand that a thriving middle class benefits us all. Our approach to trade underscores that simple fact yet again. By finalizing the most important trade deal in a generation, our government has renewed its commitment to Canadian jobs, Canadian growth, and Canadian values.
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to join this debate. If you will indulge me briefly, I know that my soon to be four-year-old daughter is watching at home, and I want to wish her a happy birthday on her upcoming birthday.
With respect to the subject at hand, this is a very important agreement for those of us alive today, and indeed for future generations, in terms of the economic opportunities and prosperity it will create. However, I want to speak to the non-economic arguments for free trade in my remarks today.
We speak often, and many good speeches have been given, about the economic benefits of free trade. Maybe I will have a chance to return to that in the questions and comments period. One of the things we have discussed less and that we should remind ourselves of is that free trade is not just about the economic benefits it creates but also about the opportunity for community that is facilitated by economic exchange, with community among nations, and for the benefits that creates in terms of creating a more peaceful world, and also facilitating more open societies. I believe that open and pluralistic societies should also include economic openness in their understanding of societal openness, and that the kind of openness that is created through free trade reinforces a broader spirit of openness.
In that vein, I want to introduce for members a bit of the history of, as I see it, trade in the European Union and how that relates to the agreement that is in front of us today.
John Maynard Keynes, I would argue, is one of the most abused economists in that he is often used as a justification for positions that he did not take. John Maynard Keynes was at the peace agreement at Versailles in 1919. He was there advocating his view that the peace needed to be more generous to Germany but also that it needed to focus on different issues. Many of the powers in Europe at the time were focused on a conversation about borders and security, which entailed an assumption that there would be ongoing competition among nations with respect to things like territory. Keynes' view was that there needed to be a reorientation of the discussion, that rather than this kind of zero-sum game over territory there needed to be a focus on economic prosperity. He thought that having free trade within Europe was critically important because it would create the conditions for a cohesive community, for a community of nations working and prospering together, despite following immediately on the heels of a catastrophic war. This was a very prescient point. He argued that a focus on borders, on security only, without emphasizing the economic dimension, could well create the conditions for what had been history for hundreds of years in Europe, which was ongoing conflict and the harsh and negative manifestations of competition. He advocated free trade. He also advocated a credit program similar to what was brought in after the Second World War in the form of the Marshall Plan. He was quite prescient insofar as he understood that the heavy demands for reparation would lead to inflationary policies. They would lead to inflation as nations tried to respond to the requirements that were put on them.
During the interwar period, because of a lack of emphasis on the economic dimension, we had serious inflation, we had a decline in trade, and that really set the stage for the rise of totalitarianism and subsequent conflict. Keynes saw these things coming, which is why right after the First World War he wrote a book called The Economic Consequences of the Peace, where he specifically made this argument about the relationship between peace and trade.
Right after the Second World War there was finally a recognition of some of the insights that Keynes had advocated. What he had proposed in the aftermath of the First World War, what he had proposed in terms of freer trade, as well as a credit program to help European nations get back on their feet, was implemented. This was the basis for the European Union coming out of the Second World War, the sense that a community of nations, especially a trading community, would help ensure peace in Europe.
There are various other factors that contributed to the period of peace that has existed since the Second World War in Europe, but in general, we can see the wisdom of emphasizing the economic dimension and realizing that free trade creates the conditions for greater peace. This was Keynes's insight, and it is behind a lot of arguments for freer trade today.
I am not worried that in the absence of this deal we are about to have some kind of military conflict with Europe. However, the point is, as we pursue the expansion of trading relationships between nations, and as part of larger trading blocs, this establishes the conditions in which individuals can focus their passions on economic matters, and there is not the focus instead on the kind of territorial competition that historically was the basis for a lot of warfare in Europe.
This was the insight, and this is why coming out of that discussion we can see the importance of trade based on that history for two principal reasons: one, that we have a more peaceful world; and two, that there is this relationship between an open economy and open society. A society that is open to economic exchange is also one that is going to have a greater sense of solidarity with people in other countries.
In terms of this connection with peace, it is a fairly obvious point, but economics is not a zero-sum competition. Canada doing better economically does not mean someone else is doing worse economically. In fact, all of the nations of the world can do better economically together. This is really the advantage of what one might call the valorization of economic success. It is not that economic success should be seen as the most important thing in life, but to the extent that our polities are oriented towards trying to improve economically, those are the kinds of improvement that do not put us into conflict with other states. In other times, in other places, the primary objectives were seen as being territorial expansion, which obviously creates inevitable conflict, because control of territory is a zero-sum game. Also, warfare becomes more economically costly when there is economic interdependence and exchange between countries.
For Keynes to make these points right after the First World War, I think we can see that he was right to make those points. We can also understand why many in his own time would have been immediately skeptical. Why are we immediately jumping to the discussion of economics rather than looking at the factors that brought us here? Actually, highlighting trade even in the midst of a conflictual world, even in the midst of present tensions, I think is necessary for creating conditions that will build and ensure a lasting peace.
I want to speak to the relationship between an open economy and an open society. It is fascinating to me that there are members in the House and voices elsewhere who believe very much in an open society and the importance of people from different kinds of backgrounds living together, working together, yet when it comes to economic exchange between people from different kinds of communities and different nations, all of a sudden, that is a problem. It strikes me that there is this clear inconsistency between advocating for open societies, pluralistic societies, but on the other hand always being pessimistic about the prospects of people from different kinds of national communities trading together.
I am really perplexed by that, especially when we consider that pluralism and multiculturalism are facilitated by trade. The ability to trade with other places really helps facilitate the kind of diversity that we have. Also, by the way, the diversity that we have, the open society we have, creates opportunities for trade, because we have people here who have close connections with nations all over the world. This creates renewed opportunities for economic exchange around the world that benefit our interests.
These are some of the clear non-economic benefits that come with trade and that are associated with these kinds of trade deals. Because of this, I think it is important for Canada to be a strong voice on the world stage for the open economy. For those of us who believe in the value of peace and open societies, we should also be strong advocates for open and free trade, because that creates the conditions under which nations can prosper together, can see their success invested in the success of others, and indeed develop a deeper sense of solidarity.
In my remaining time, I want to follow up on some of the comments I have just heard in the debate because we have had some interesting comments from the government members, talking about the importance of opening ourselves up to competition. We have members of one party, the NDP, who do not want to open us up to competition. I get that impression from the kinds of comments that the New Democrats make.
Madam Speaker, am I out of time? I will have to come to that later.
Madam Speaker, I thank the members for their hard work in moving this vital legislation forward.
The Canadian agriculture sector contributes over $100 billion to Canada's gross domestic product. It generates over $60 billion in exports, and creates one in eight jobs.
Canada’s food processors employ more Canadians than any other manufacturing industry in the country.
When it comes to Canada’s trade in agriculture and food, I would like to focus on three key areas: the importance of trade to the sector; export opportunities; and investing to grow markets.
Canadian farmers and food processors depend on trade. About half of the value of agricultural production in Canada is exported. This includes two-thirds of pork, 80% of canola, and 74% of wheat.
Canada is the world’s top exporter of canola, flax, pulse crops, and wild blueberries. It is also a top-three exporter of wheat and pork.
Last year, Canada’s agriculture and food trade hit a new record of over $60 billion.
Trade helps secure jobs, growth, and opportunities for Canadians and more great food choices for consumers around the world. Trade is a priority for our government, which continues to work hard to open new markets for our farmers and food processors.
The hon. recently returned from a trade mission to China, along with one hundred industry and government leaders. They were there to promote Canada’s world-class agricultural products and food. China is Canada’s second-largest market for agriculture and food products, valued at over $6 billion.
Just before the visit, we had tremendous news when the announced an agreement with China to expand market access to frozen bone-in beef from animals less than 30 months of age, ensure stable and predictable Canadian exports of canola to China on an uninterrupted basis through early 2020, and support trade in Canadian pork, bovine genetics, and processed foods.
Canada and China have set a goal of doubling trade between the two countries by 2025. All of this is great news for Canadian agriculture and great news for Canada. It is the result of a lot of hard work at all levels, by the , by our officials, and by industry. The mission focused on the growing trade in e-commerce, which is a powerful tool for Canadian industry to expand markets in China and build the Canada brand.
Canada renewed our strategic agreement with JD.com, one of the major platforms for food sales in China. We will keep building the Canada-China relationship. We are also reaching out to other key markets in Asia.
Asia is an important market for Canadian agriculture and food products, and especially for consumption of animal protein. With over half of the world’s population, these are large economies where incomes, urbanization, consumption, and population are all on the rise. Last year, Canadian agrifood exports to Asia were worth almost $17 billion, close to a third of our total exports.
Building on our success in China, we have re-established access for Canadian beef in South Korea, Taiwan, and Mexico. We obtained new access for Canadian pork in India and restored access in Russia and Ukraine.
We are also working closely with Argentina to complete the final steps to regain access for our pork products, as the announced in the fall.
We will work unstintingly to ratify the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union, to diversify trade opportunities and export destinations. The economic agreement will create new markets for our high quality Canadian agrifood products.
While we support the economic agreement, I can assure you that we understand the situation of Canadian dairy producers who will be facing heightened competition for cheese on the Canadian market. As the father of a young dairy producer, I can assure you that I am very sensitive to that issue. Our government will always stand up for supply management and our milk producers. In fact, that is why the minister and I have announced a $350 million investment to help Canadian dairy producers and processors invest in innovation and make sure the industry stays competitive.
Our government supports supply management. We have taken steps to address concerns around import predictability and the effectiveness of border controls for supply-managed commodities, while at the same time making sure that Canadian processors who use dairy and poultry inputs stay competitive on export markets.
The first thing we need, in order to develop new markets, is a world-class product. We also need investments and resources. That is where we have played a role, opening doors for our agrifood product exporters.
The money we have invested will enable a whole range of industries to capture new global markets, whether for blueberries or for bovine genetics.
In addition to investments, we are allocating key resources to trade. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s market access secretariat is working with the industry to target priority markets. The trade delegates in the agriculture sector are working non-stop on the ground to promote and develop Canadian trade in the agriculture and food sector. Investments in innovation are also essential, to open and expand markets and meet global demand. In the future, the world’s population will continue to grow and demand for Canadian foods will only continue to rise.
To help industry seize these opportunities, the is working with his colleagues and the industry to prepare the next strategic framework for agriculture, which will take effect in 2018.
Together, we are preparing a plan that will allow us to expand agricultural and food exports, create jobs for the sector, including the middle class, and grow Canada’s economy.
I am optimistic about the future of the agriculture and agrifood sector, an industry with tremendous economic potential. Canadian agrifood exports continue to hit new records every year. Over the next 30 years, global demand for food is expected to grow by 60%.
Somebody is going to meet that demand, and we want it to be Canadian farmers and food processors. CETA will help us do that.
The sector projects that CETA will boost our agricultural exports by $1.4 billion per year. That means more money for Canadian farmers and families. We are very proud of this achievement.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak about CETA, the Canada-European comprehensive economic and trade agreement.
I would like members to think about 500 million people, a $20 trillion economy, and the opportunity this agreement is presenting to Canada right now. If there was ever a time to diversify, to reach out to the rest of the world, to open up new trade agreements, this is the time. I am delighted that we are doing this.
I was lucky to sit on the Standing Committee on International Trade through its review of Bill and heard from a variety of stakeholders. While expanding trade to create new opportunities for Canadian businesses abroad, this agreement is about more than just trade and investment. The Canada-EU agreement, CETA, is a major landmark in the development of a progressive trade agreement, which our government is firmly committed to advancing. Notably, CETA includes robust commitments to promote high environmental and labour standards, and promote sustainable development, as Canada and the EU benefit from increased economic activity flowing from a liberalized trade zone.
Let me begin by speaking about the environmental provisions in CETA.
Canada's rich natural resources and environment are essential to our high standard of living and quality of life. Our government is firmly committed to the principle that a clean environment and a strong economy must go hand in hand.
Trade liberalization and environmental protection should be mutually supportive. Fostering robust environmental governance as our trade relationships expand is critical to ensuring long-term sustainable economic growth and well-being. This is all reflected in CETA. Underpinning this is the fact that we have many shared values with the European community, the shared values of freedom, democracy, peace, and human rights.
Specifically, through ambitious and comprehensive environmental commitments set out in the trade and environment chapter, Canada and the EU agree to pursue high levels of environmental protection to effectively enforce domestic environmental laws and to not relax or derogate from such laws in order to encourage trade or investment. Canada and the EU have also agreed to ensure transparency and public awareness and engagement in the development and implementation of environmental laws and policies. In addition, the environment chapter requires that each party ensures that appropriate and effective domestic processes and remedies are available to address any violations of its domestic environmental laws. A public accountability mechanism also allows for members of the public to raise concerns and make submissions related to the trade and environment chapter.
Recognizing the value of international co-operation, and in addressing environmental challenges, Canada and the EU reaffirmed their commitments to implement the multi-lateral environmental agreements that we have ratified, such as the historic Paris agreement to combat climate change.
In addition, CETA includes provisions to reinforce the relationship between trade and the environment. For example, Canada and the EU undertake to promote trade and investment in environmental goods and services. This includes special attention to goods and services of particular relevance for climate change mitigation. Moreover, the trade and environment chapter includes specific commitments for Canada and the EU to promote sustainable forestry and fisheries management. This includes co-operation to address issues such as illegal forestry and illegal unreported fishing.
To build on and strengthen our bilateral relationship, the trade and environment chapter establishes a framework for co-operation between Canada and the EU on trade-related environmental issues of shared interest. Should any issue arise under the trade and environment chapter, a dedicated government-to-government mechanism has been created to address the matter through consultations and dispute settlement. This includes review by an independent panel of experts whose recommendations would be made publicly available.
With this robust and high-quality trade and environment chapter, Canada and the EU have demonstrated our shared commitment to upholding and strengthening environmental protection as we enhance our trade and investment partnership.
For Canada, this reflects the strong priority that this government places on protecting and conserving the environment both at home and on the global stage. For example, we are very proud to have recently ratified the historic Paris agreement to address climate change. Closely following this, together with our international partners, we came to an important agreement to amend the 1987 Montreal protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, which represents a significant step in combatting climate change.
At home, our government is working with the provinces and territories to develop a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. This represents our strong commitment to taking action for a sustainable future and transitioning to a clean growth economy. The trade and environmental chapter in CETA advances the objectives of Canada's progressive trade agenda. The implementation of this chapter will promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth as we continue to facilitate opportunities for Canadian businesses abroad.
Likewise, the trade and labour chapter of CETA reflects Canada's commitment to progressive trade policies. Canada and the EU have committed to ensuring that their laws respect the International Labour Organization's 1988 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which covers the elimination of child labour, forced labour, discrimination, the respect of freedom of association, and the right to bargain collectively. Canada and the European Union have also committed to effectively implementing the fundamental ILO conventions that each has ratified, and to make continued, sustained efforts toward ratification of fundamental conventions that have not been ratified to date.
To further protect the rights of workers, Canada and the EU have also committed to ensuring acceptable protections in regard to health and safety at work, acceptable minimum employment standards, and non-discrimination in respect of working conditions, particularly for those migrant workers. The chapter also includes provisions that enable members of the public to submit complaints concerning perceived failures to respecting labour obligations. This is a very progressive move, one that sets a gold standard for the rest of the world to look to.
These important commitments to CETA's environment and labour chapters are complemented and reinforced by a trade and sustainable development chapter. CETA marks the first time that Canada has negotiated a chapter on sustainable development in a free trade agreement. It is the first time. This chapter highlights Canada and the EU's shared objective that international trade should be developed in a way that promotes sustainable development and its environmental, social, and economic aspects. In support of this goal, it establishes commitments in areas such as encouraging businesses to adopt voluntary practices of corporate social responsibility. The trade and sustainable development chapter also commits the parties to review, monitor, and assess the impact of the implementation of CETA on our sustainable development. As well, it establishes a committee on trade and sustainable development to oversee the implementation of this chapter, as well as those on the environment and labour.
Finally, recognizing the importance of public participation and consultation, Canada and the EU agreed to innovative approaches to engaging with civil society through the creation of a joint civil society forum. This forum will conduct a dialogue on issues related to trade and sustainable development in the context of CETA.
This is an ambitious and comprehensive commitment that we have made on the environment, on labour, and on sustainable development. CETA marks a key milestone for progressive trade. This agreement supports this government's firm resolve that free trade must not come at the expense of high environmental and labour standards, but rather advance sustainable and inclusive growth and development for all Canadians.