The House resumed from November 23 consideration of the motion that Bill , be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to speak to Bill . I commend all my colleagues in this House who have spoken to this bill over the last few days. It is a very important bill. I especially commend the member for , who made a great statement today on this bill. I would also like to recognize our for all the hard work she has done on this file. She has worked extremely hard on this important agreement, and along with our , on representing Canada across the world as an open, trading country.
I would also like to give recognition to our international trade committee, which I am very proud to sit on as the chair. I would like to thank the members of the committee for their work and engagement during this process. It is a very active committee. We are dealing with softwood lumber and problems with the meat sector in the United States. We also, over the last year, had a dialogue with Canadians and stakeholders on the TPP. We went right across the country. We had thousands of people come forward. During those proceedings, for the first time, the committee had an open mic at the end of each meeting, so we had a lot of feedback on the TPP across this country.
I am here to talk about the agreement with the European Union. Recently we had an excellent meeting with the European Economic and Social Committee, and we will continue to work closely with our European counterparts. They are very excited about this agreement.
Thinking of how Canada was formed, we go back hundreds of years. I guess it was 400 years ago that trade started between Europe and Canada. At that time, it probably started off with fishermen, with probably Spanish and Portuguese fishermen coming and getting fish and trading it back and forth. Other immigrants came over the years and created trade. We had farmers, and of course, the fur industry was another big one, with the voyageurs. Trade with Europe was very important in the early years, and it still is.
As the country expanded and immigrants came, most were from Europe. Ukrainian people came over. A lot of them are in my riding, but many of them went out west and developed the grain fields, and those products were traded back and forth.
Our connection with Europe goes way back, with over 400 years of trade. That continues to be so, though many of the products have changed.
The proposed comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union is a modern, progressive trade agreement that, when implemented, will generate billions of dollars in bilateral trade and investment, providing greater choice and lower prices for consumers and creating middle-class jobs in many sectors. That is what our government stands for. We want to increase the middle class and have it do better, and trade is important. Countries that trade have a larger middle class and have more efficient and competitive industries.
CETA is the product of hard work and frank discussions. We have some of the best negotiators in the world on our team. There was a lot of commitment from our and the , our committee, and countless other people behind the scenes. I also have to commend the work of the former Conservative government on this agreement. The Conservatives set the groundwork for this. They started the negotiations, and they did a good job. They did not finish it, but they started the process, and we finished it. I have to commend the former Conservative government for initiating this, getting it going, and making it happen.
Negotiating a trade agreement such as the Canada-European comprehensive economic and trade agreement benefits Canadians. It creates new job opportunities and helps many people. The United States is still our biggest trading partner, but we have to look at other markets and see other trading partners. The European Union is tremendous. I think there are over 500 million citizens there. It is a big market, and they want our products. Canada's exports to the EU are diverse and include a significant share of value-added products in addition to traditional exports of resource-based products and commodities.
We have precious stones and metals. We have machinery and equipment. Minerals, fuels and oil, mineral ores, aerospace products, and fish and fish products are some of the top merchandise we sell to the EU.
Atlantic Canada, where I am from, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, is closest to Europe. This will be a big advantage for us. Our two export sectors that will particularly benefit from CETA will be metals and mineral products, and of course, the fishing sector.
In Atlantic Canada, we have more than 400 small harbours. They each have 20 or 30 boats. We cannot eat all the fish in Atlantic Canada, and the rest of the world wants our fish, so it is very important that we have markets around the world for our fish products.
When it comes to exporting our products, Atlantic Canada has ports we can ship from. We ship our products year round. We have good deepwater ports that are ice free. We are two days closer than many other ports, such as Montreal, Boston, and New York. Atlantic Canada is well-positioned to do well, not only with products but by being the entry and exit point for products coming and going.
My home province of Nova Scotia will benefit significantly from CETA and will have preferable access to the EU market. The EU is Nova Scotia's second-largest export destination, and it is its second-largest trading partner, with a large portion of that share coming right from my island of Cape Breton.
Once in force, CETA will remove the boundaries for Nova Scotia exports and will create new markets and opportunities in the EU. Nova Scotia will benefit from improved exporting conditions. CETA will provide us with a competitive advantage over exporters in other countries that do not have free trade agreements with the EU. The United States tried to do an agreement like we did, but it did not succeed.
I have a neighbour in Cape Breton who is from Germany. His company is called PolyTech windows. They are beautiful windows. He is looking at making the windows in Nova Scotia and exporting them to the United States. We will not only benefit back and forth but we will be a gateway into the United States for a lot of products from the Europeans that we can add value to in Canada.
Between 2013 and 2015, Nova Scotia's merchandise exports to the EU were worth $465 million. As I said, fish and fish products were the largest share, at 45% of exports. Following fish and fish products were agriculture and agrifood.
Nova Scotia is unique. We have a lot of different products that have great potential, whether it is potatoes, blueberries, apples, or even beef. We have good beef in Atlantic Canada. It is grass-fed beef, and that is what Europeans like, so we have a great opportunity.
I visited an operation in Lunenburg where they grow the haskap berry, which is a very nutritious product. They are looking at exporting that product to the EU and doubling their production.
When we look at all these different products we can trade and sell, we have a great opportunity.
This important agreement also hits home on a personal note. My parents came to Canada from the Netherlands. They came to Cape Breton, and that is where we started our farm. We also trade. We sell strawberries to Iceland, calves to the Caribbean, and lettuce to the United States. As farmers, and as we have heard from farmers right across this country, whether it is beef farmers, canola farmers, or pork producers, we see this as a big opportunity.
In closing, when other countries are closing their doors to trade and immigrants, Canada is opening our doors. The benefits as a result of CETA for the Atlantic provinces are going to be tremendous. CETA is a modern, progressive trade agreement that could generate billions of dollars in bilateral trade and investment and provide greater choice and lower prices for consumers.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on Bill , one of our government's blueprints for Canada's dynamic agriculture and agrifood industry.
Agriculture is hugely important in my riding, and has played an enormous role in my life, having grown up on a large farm and having produced myself. After finishing university and coming home, I was farming on my own, learning life's lessons through the farm. I worked within primary agriculture off the farm, and in food manufacturing and food processing.
It has really helped me throughout the years to become the person I am. I would like to thank my parents for giving me that opportunity. Growing up in an agricultural household has played a significant role in my life.
I was a supply-managed egg producer for six years, up until just recently. My wife and I recently exited the egg business. Over the last six years, I have had the ability to learn about a supply-managed system and the challenges and opportunities that evolve because of it. It has afforded me the opportunity in my life to learn those lessons, and to see the opportunity that agriculture offers to allow family operations to transition from one generation to the next, not only within primary agriculture but also through secondary and finished production as well. We can link these easily to CETA.
Canada is a medium-sized open economy. Our economic prosperity depends on an open trading environment. One in five Canadian jobs depends on trade. Canada's agriculture and food exports exceed $60 billion a year. Half the value of Canada's agricultural production is exported, which is why our government strongly supports free trade.
The Canada-European trade agreement demonstrates Canada's continued leadership with regard to the opportunities for Canada's farmers and food processors on the global stage, which has been nothing short of breathtaking. I hope it continues in that same fashion.
I believe CETA will allow agricultural producers to flourish. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the global demand for food is projected to increase by 60% by 2050. Much of this demand will come from the growing middle class around the world, which is on track to exceed half the planet's entire population over the next 15 years.
A lot of this production is not going to come from new agricultural operations. It is going to come from the growth that will be sustained through the industry, through people who are able to innovate and accept technology, and grow their businesses through that. This is good news for farmers in my riding and across the country. There is no doubt of the benefits CETA will bring Canada's agriculture and agrifood industry.
We are talking about access to Europe, a region that is among the world's largest market for food. That is why timely implementation of CETA remains a top priority for our government. Since taking government, 99.991% of my constituents believe in the global economy, and our government's efforts to place Canada on the world stage. When we are talking about agriculture in my riding, we are not only talking about dairy. We have a vibrant dairy sector, but we also have a very vibrant beef sector. We also have a very vibrant maple syrup manufacturing sector, so we need to look at the total picture and include all the industries when we talk about trade.
CETA will provide a strong foundation for Canada and the EU to demonstrate leadership on an inclusive, progressive approach to global trade. At the same time, we know that some sectors of agriculture will be impacted by CETA, namely our dairy and cheese producers under the supply-managed system.
While CETA does offer enormous opportunity for many of our farmers, such as our maple producers, beef producers, and aquaculture industry, there will also be greater access for European cheeses to Canada. Canada has provided additional access to the EU on two specific dairy products, cheese and milk protein substances. New imports of European cheese under CETA will represent 4% of Canadian cheese consumption and 1.4% of milk production overall. The supply-managed system has been preserved under CETA.
The Government of Canada fully supports supply management. In fact, we were the government that created it. That is something of which we are extremely proud. Supply management provides a fair return for farmers, stability for processors, and safe, high quality food products for consumers, something I know is important to many farmers in my riding and to constituents across the country.
We recognize the importance Canada's supply-managed sectors play in ensuring a strong rural economy, accounting for over 25,000 direct jobs and over $34 billion in overall economic benefit to the country.
As my colleague, the hon. , likes to say, Canada has the responsibility and the ability to feed the world. We need look no farther than the innovation that has already occurred within the agriculture sector, and the ability to capitalize on the innovation in the future.
Canada is the fifth largest exporter and the sixth largest importer of agriculture and agrifood products in the world. With our small population and huge production capacity, Canada is today's world leader in agricultural trade on a per capita basis. Trade accounts for one out of every five jobs in Canada. Canada's dairy industry alone generates farm gate sales of $6 billion, and processing sales of $17 billion, and 22,000 direct jobs.
The hon. and his colleagues continue to consult closely with Canada's supply-managed sector regarding the transition through CETA.
The has met with the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Dairy Processors Association of Canada, provincial dairy associations from across the country, and young dairy producers. These meetings were very productive with many ideas and fresh thinking. Discussions mainly focused on how to strengthen the sector in the face of domestic and international challenges, and how to transition assistance for new markets under CETA.
Responding to these concerns, the government is committed to putting in place a transition package to help the sector adapt to the new CETA commitments. This government has said from the get go that we need to help dairy producers and processors make the transition when it comes to CETA.
That is why in early November, the announced an investment of $350 million for two new programs to support the competitiveness of the dairy sector in anticipation of the entry into CETA. The government is supporting the continued strength of the dairy sector by helping ensuring dairy producers and processors continue to innovate and improve productivity.
The two new programs identify $250 million over five years for a dairy farm investment program that will provide targeted contributions to help Canadian dairy farmers update farm technologies and systems, and improve productivity through upgrades to their equipment. I have had over two dozen calls from dairy farmers wanting to know the specifics of these programs, when they will take effect, and how they can access these funds.
There will be $100 million over four years for a dairy processing investment fund that will help dairy processors modernize their operations and in turn improve their efficiency and productivity, as well as diversify their products to pursue new market opportunities. These programs will complement the dairy sector's ongoing investment efforts, help in both current and future generations of dairy farmers and processors to remain profitable over the long-term under a strong supply-managed system.
With regard to the allocation of CETA cheese quotas, the government is currently reviewing the results of the public engagement process that concluded at the end of August. The decision will take stakeholder views and interests into consideration before determining how to allocate the new CETA cheese quotas.
The allocation policy for the cheese tariff rate quotas will be finalized following the passage of CETA implementation, legislation, and before the agreement enters into force.
While there are challenges, the Canadian dairy sector remains a progressive, innovative industry. The Canadian dairy farmers are doing a great job of meeting the needs of consumers on food quality, animal welfare, the environment and, of course, great tastes and high nutritional value of Canadian products.
Consumers love Canadian dairy products. Production continues to grow every year. Butter consumption has risen by 10% over the last decade. Yogourt consumption has increased over 60% during the same period, and is expected to continue growing.
Canadian dairy farmers are among the global leaders in their industry when it comes to the environment. Canada's dairy sector has a smaller footprint for carbon, water, and land than most other leading dairy industries around the world.
Today, Canadian dairy farmers are able to produce 14% more milk than they used to 20 years ago, thanks to better genetics, nutrition, and farm management practices. They are able to accomplish this with 24% fewer cows while producing 20% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. That is thanks to advances in animal genetics and nutrition.
Forward-thinking Canadian farmers have contributed to the success of the Canadian dairy industry in many ways. Canadian dairy genetics are exported to over 80 countries around the world, and of course, who can forget our famous Canadian cheeses which are winning top prizes at some of the world's leading competitions.
We all want a bright future for Canada's dairy sector. The agricultural sector continues to create jobs and be a leader in innovation, not only within the dairy sector but across our agricultural industries.
To help build that future, we are investing in science—
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to talk about a very important trade agreement for Huron—Bruce, the riding I represent.
Huron—Bruce is a large rural riding in southwestern Ontario, and to the west of it is Lake Huron, which creates a unique opportunity for agriculture with regards to climate and precipitation. We are also blessed to have some of the most fertile soil in North America. Therefore, when we look at the opportunities for markets for our crops, which have tremendously high yields, this is a great opportunity for us and one that will continue to grow for many years.
Obviously, everyone in the House by now understands the size of the European market, with 500 million people and $17 trillion to $18 trillion in economic activity. CETA will have about a $1.5 billion impact on the agriculture industry here. It will reduce or eliminate 94% of the tariff lines for agriculture, which is an important point to note. We saw this with the Canada-Korea trade deal and other trade deals as well.
When these tariff lines are looked at in a broad spectrum, we may not think they are so bad with 10% here and maybe 14% there. However, some tariffs are quite punitive, with some at 114%. Our farmers cannot then be competitive when other countries have direct access. Therefore, eliminating 94% of the tariff lines for agriculture will be tremendously important. It will really give producers in my riding and across the country an opportunity to really grow this market and to be able to serve the 500 million consumers in the EU.
I consider Huron—Bruce the breadbasket of Canadian agriculture. Just to give members an idea of the size of it, the farm gate receipts of just that part of Bruce County I represent are more than those of all the Atlantic provinces combined. My two colleagues who preceded me talked about the huge opportunity for them in Atlantic Canada and how important it is for that economy, which puts into perspective just how significant it is for the riding I represent of Huron—Bruce.
Before I go into some of the details, I would like to talk about the quality of farm producers that we have in Huron—Bruce. As I said, we border Lake Huron, and we all appreciate the fresh water and the great opportunities it presents. However, the farmers in Huron—Bruce are innovative, aggressive, and they represent the environment. They take the environment into consideration in all they do, and they have great respect for it. Rivers, creeks, and streams flow into Lake Huron. Some of the farmers in Huron County were innovators over 30 years ago with no-till drilling, which has since been proven in terms of soil quality. There are many different workshops and collaborations between the conservation authorities and farm groups to make Huron—Bruce unique in terms of the yields farmers get and their respect for the environment and Lake Huron.
There are also some tremendously successful companies in Huron—Bruce, which will obviously be dealing with the European Union, and already do. I will mention a few of them.
Gay Lea in Teeswater just made a huge announcement a couple of weeks ago of a $60 million expansion at a time when a lot of jobs are leaving Ontario. It is a co-operative, which I think means a lot. It has hard-working men and women who come to work every day and do a great job.
Also in Teeswaster, we have the Dairy Goat Co-operative. This is a very innovative and relatively new organization, which has really grown.
We have some of the most productive greenhouses in Ontario, and likely in Canada, in Exeter, Ontario.
The Hensall District Co-Operative Inc., whose headquarters is out of Hensall, has grown across the province. It is one of the leading co-ops in North America and continues to innovate and work with farm producers, as well as machinery builders and manufacturers, to really allow the farmers to do what they like and need to do to maximize profits, such as P-N-H Innovations, Thomsons Ltd., Dupont Pioneer, Hayter's Turkey Products Inc., and many pork, beef, and cash crop farmers.
I would be remiss if I did not mention all of the companies in Huron—Bruce that build barns and provide cement foundations and footings. Everything from excavation to building can be done in my riding of Huron—Bruce, which is quite impressive.
I will also mention the farm machinery dealers. Often our farm machinery dealers are not mentioned, but I think they should be. Huron Tractor is a great example, as is Delta Power Equipment, McGavin Farm Equipment Ltd., Hyde Brothers Farm Equipment, and Robert's Farm Equipment, which are located up and down the shoreline. The farm machinery dealers are important because they provide great service and sales to our farm producers, so that when there is a breakdown at 2 a.m. when a farmer is harvesting his or her crop, they are there to make the repairs so the farmer can continue.
With respect to the beef sector, obviously there is beef grown in both Huron County and Bruce County. However, Bruce County is certainly one of the capitals of beef production in Canada. I know that the member for is a former beef producer. There is 64,950 tonnes of Canadian beef there that will have full access to the EU market. It is a huge opportunity. Beef producers will have to make some changes to really meet the demands of the European market, but over time it will be a great opportunity for farmers to take another look at that specialty market.
With respect to the pork sector, some of the most modern pork facilities in the world are located in Huron—Bruce, as well as some of the most innovative farmers we could meet. I have had a great opportunity through the years to meet with many of them to see how they have grown and innovated in their farm operations. The European pork market is, and was, really the last frontier for Canadian pork farmers. It represents a market of 80,000 tonnes without tariffs. The European Union pork market is a big market, and Canadian pork farmers are going to have a great opportunity. Two-thirds of the pork grown in Canada is exported around the world. This will be a great opportunity. Again, reducing and eliminating these tariffs is what will allow these farmers to finally break through and service these markets, which will have a meaningful impact. We know that across the spectrum, but specifically with respect to pork and beef, the genetics, the quality of our feed, the health and safety, and the treatment of animals is second to none in the world. We have a great Canadian agriculture story to tell, and our farm producers will be able to do that.
Another component I will mention, strictly from an Ontario basis, is access for barley, corn, oats, and soybeans. In Huron—Bruce, corn and soybeans are two of the three large staple crops. Most people would not believe how big the yields are in Huron—Bruce, but it is the climate and soil that contribute to that. Through the years, as this deal rolls out and producers and resellers are able to really get into Europe and meet the needs of all of those markets, it will be a huge opportunity.
I should also mention that in Goderich we have the deepest port on the eastern shores of Lake Huron. It allows a lot of grain and salt to be shipped, although salt is not something that we are talking about here. That port will be hugely important, as will be the rail lines that run in many different directions.
I look forward to any questions, as well as the continuing debate on CETA.
Madam Speaker, Bill concerns the implementation of the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA.
Trade with Europe is much too important to be taken lightly. It is Quebec’s second largest trading partner. We export about $9 billion in goods and services, and a number of European companies, such as OVH, have set up operations in my riding, Salaberry—Suroît.
The NDP and I want to promote a stronger trade relationship between Canada and the European Union, although there are still major concerns and quite a few outstanding issues regarding this agreement. In Canada, like in Europe, this agreement has sparked a vigorous protest movement. In October, the regional government of Wallonia prevented Belgium from signing on to CETA; it believed that the investor-state provisions could adversely affect them, and several individuals, including some Canadians, also raised alarm bells and said that the matter needed another look. The Walloons agreed to sign on because they managed to retain their right to withhold consent to ratification if the investor-state provisions were not deleted or changed.
Our dairy producers expressed serious reservations about the impact of a massive amount of dairy products arriving on the Canadian market and on the Quebec market in particular. As well, a request for compensation was received this week from wine producers who fear losing their ability to produce here and their ability to sell on the Canadian market.
The Liberal government promised to compensate dairy producers, but this support falls far short of what they would find acceptable. Citizens groups have spoken up about how drug prices will be affected by changes to intellectual property and by generic drugs taking longer to get to market.
CETA is a source of concern for many. As the Dairy Farmers of Canada put it, CETA represents a 2% decline in dairy production, or Nova Scotia’s entire annual production. The dairy industry needs to be compensated for these losses.
The Conservatives had promised a $4.3 billion compensation package over 15 years to supply-managed farmers affected by CETA and the TPP. The current Liberal government decided to establish a fund of $350 million over five years for dairy producers.
The losses sustained by farmers will be permanent; they will not end five years from now. On top of that, the assistance being offered is paltry and not nearly enough to compensate this sector. According to the most conservative estimates, dairy farmers are going to lose $116 million a year.
The $50 million the Liberals are offering will therefore meet only 45% of the farmers' needs each year, which does not even cover the minimum losses that farmers are estimating. The Liberals have not appropriately compensated dairy farmers for the loss of market share.
In addition, the programs the Liberals have put in place are not meant to compensate farmers, but rather to modernize their production systems. The government is, in effect, denying that losses will occur under CETA.
The dairy farmers in my riding are already greatly affected by the diafiltered milk problem. American exporters are getting around Canadian laws by selling their diafiltered milk here. We need to enforce our cheese compositional standards immediately. The future of our dairy farmers, our family farms, and local jobs here in Canada is at stake. Across the country, the agrifood sector employs one in eight Canadians. We cannot ignore this sector when negotiating trade agreements with other countries.
It has been estimated that $200 million was lost in 2015. A farmer might lose $1,000 a week. The Liberals promised farmers that they would resolve the issue of diafiltered milk, but they have not lifted a finger so far. I am still waiting for news from the government, who is supposed to be helping farmers across Canada, as well as those in my riding, Salaberry—Suroît.
Trade relations also have to be based on equity between the partners and carried out in compliance with laws and regulations. CETA is worrisome in this regard as well. The investor-state provisions will allow foreign companies to challenge Canadian laws without going through our domestic courts.
There is so much uncertainty here that we have no idea how we can even appeal such claims or how members of the tribunal will be selected. We know full well that the companies will be able to hire foreign workers without a labour market impact assessment.
Municipal, provincial, or federal governments will no longer be able to require local employees be given priority without risking a trade challenge. Canada is already being sued and has won only three out of 39 cases against foreign investors in Canada. This is rather disconcerting.
In other words, any decision taken by any level of government could end in compensation for foreign companies. Canada is already one of the most sued countries under ISDS. This legal system has not been fully defined. We cannot give the Liberals carte blanche on this. There are many very important elements that could compromise our industries and our values.
The Liberals keep repeating that they cherish Canadian values. That is not evident in this bill. They are trying to ram it through. We even heard a member say that this bill must be passed before the end of the year. Knowing that 28 EU countries must ratify it and that this could take up to five years, why the urgency?
Why did the committee move a motion in camera to prevent those wanting to submit a brief from doing so? The committee is preventing everyone who will not appear as a witness from submitting a brief. In terms of transparency, accountability, and responsibility with respect to consultations, the Liberals are falling far short. Furthermore, they are not answering questions from farmers, wine producers, and producers from the east and the Maritimes who earn their living from the fishery. That is very troubling.
We cannot make an informed decision, for there is still much we do not know about the investor-state provisions. The Liberals also have not explained how they will protect environmental, health, and security regulations from foreign challenges.
The European states clearly indicated that this agreement would not be ratified unless the investor-state provisions were removed. Once again, the Liberals have not provided any information on this. Will they change these regulations? Will they provide a bit more information? As I said, there is a lot of uncertainty here.
The government is leaving us open to a situation where the agreement cannot be ratified by some countries in the European Union.
Let us talk about health. The changes set out in CETA may increase the cost of drugs for Canadians. The agreement will change the intellectual property rules regarding drugs. This will increase the cost of drugs by over $850 million a year, because it will take longer for generic drugs to reach the market.
Since Canada's population is aging, we will need access to drugs. This is just one more hardship for our seniors. There is no guarantee that they will be able to make ends meet since they are already struggling to put food on the table and get access to health care. Now, they may have to pay more for their medication.
The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions has also warned that these regulations could make it more difficult to bring down prices with a national pharmacare program.
For all these reasons and more, I cannot vote in favour of this bill.
I hope that the Liberals will do the responsible thing and consult experts, reconsider some of their positions, and make informed decisions so that we sign an agreement that is truly fair to all workers and all Canadians.
Madam Speaker, as my colleague from just said, we on this side of the House believe that trade with Europe is too important to be taken lightly.
If we look at all the flaws in the agreement before the House, we see that indeed, the government did not do its homework. It should do its homework before introducing such a bill.
We have concerns about some of the aspects of the bill. In fact, the same concerns have also been raised in Europe. Of course, the issue of financial compensation for dairy farmers affects Quebec, Ontario, and farmers in western Canada.
The Conservatives were planning to provide financial compensation that would have eased the transition for farmers and those working in supply management.
If we look at what the Liberals are offering, we see that the Liberal Party members who were elected in dairy farming regions did not defend the interests of the farmers. The financial compensation they are offering is a drop in the bucket. The farmers are going to need a lot more than that if we are to move forward with this agreement.
It is very clear that there are problems with this agreement. When we look more globally at how both of the old parties have approached trade issues over the past decade and a half, we can see that there needs to be a much more progressive fair trade approach when we talk about these trade agreements.
As members are well aware, we are now living under a record trade deficit. It was bad under the Conservatives; it is even worse under the Liberals. Obviously there is something that is not working when we see a larger and larger trade deficit over the course of the years. What does that mean? We are certainly seeing a debt load for the average Canadian family that is increasing as well; a debt load that increased substantially under the Conservatives and is even worse under the Liberals.
When we look at what the result has been over the past 10 or 15 years, particularly in the manufacturing sector, we see that under the Conservatives we lost over half a million good manufacturing jobs. These are family-sustaining jobs. These are the kinds of jobs that people can work at during the day, come home, feed their family, and think about investing in the future. These are family-sustaining permanent jobs in the manufacturing sector. The Conservatives lost over half a million of them over the decade that they were in power.
Now, the Liberals came with the idea that they would take a different approach, and indeed they have not. We have seen further hemorrhaging of over 30,000 good manufacturing jobs, the kinds of family-sustaining jobs that Canadians depend on, over the course of just the last year alone.
We have seen under both parties an approach that, when we look at their economic files and their approach on trade, has not been to the benefit of regular working families. We have to ask why it is that both the previous and current governments seem to say that they have trade as a priority and have managed not only to provoke real problems with this particular agreement, as we saw in Europe just a few weeks ago, but have managed over time to lose so many good, family-sustaining jobs and at the same time put us at the worst level Canada has ever been in terms of trade deficit.
Part of the answer to that question is the emphasis of both governments on exporting raw logs, raw bitumen, raw minerals. We have seen the value-added sector evaporate and we have seen manufacturing jobs destroyed because we have governments that just want to ship raw materials out of the country. They do not want to provide the value added, to have Canadians make things, which has always been the hallmark of Canadians. Canadians are proud to make things, and we do it very well. I come out of the manufacturing sector myself. I was a factory worker, and I believe strongly that the quality that Canadians produce is the best in the world. Yet we have seen just over the past decade and a half under successive governments, and it does not seem to matter whether it is a Liberal or a Conservative government, a gutting of those types of jobs that used to sustain communities right across the country.
We have had some of my colleagues, like the member for and the member for , very articulately talk about the problems with this agreement. How is it, when we go back to the issue of trade, that there is a broader problem with how successive old-party governments have approached trade issues? I want to put out a few of those problems in the few minutes that are left to me.
First off, both governments, Conservative and Liberal governments, seem to forget about regular working folks. We have seen that with the destruction of the manufacturing sector. They want to export raw goods, rather than having Canadians do what we do best, which is make things.
Second, both parties reject the fair trade model. We have not seen Liberals or Conservatives, at any point, bring forward some of the fair trade models that we have seen around the world that have been effective. Mercosur is one example, where they actually have poverty alleviation as part and parcel of the trade agreement. At no point, have we seen, from either of the old parties, any reference to fair trade.
Third, we look at the export supports. As a former trade critic I can speak to this. I met with trade commissioners in various parts of the world, in Europe and in South America, and there is not even a budget, often, for trade commissioners to even buy a cup of coffee for a potential client of Canadian goods or services.
All other trading nations invest in export supports. They put money into providing product supports and product publicity. In Canada, we asked the question a few years ago and found out about $13 million globally was spent to support all Canadian products. If we look at Australia, they invest half a billion dollars in the same area. The European community spends many times what Canada spends, just on its wine sector. The Americans, just in their beef sector, spend many times what Canada spends for all products and services.
Both of the old parties have simply not understood that exports are not just signing an agreement; it is very much having people on the ground providing support for those products coming from Canada.
Another problem has been the lack of due diligence from both governments, whether Conservatives or Liberals, it has not made any difference. There is no really intense economic analysis prior to signing these agreements. There is certainly no due diligence. Committees are just supposed to push it through without any due regard to what the actual impacts are afterward, and there is no evaluation after the fact, either. We have trade agreements that largely benefit other countries. When we actually look at who benefits as we sign each of these agreements, imports from those countries tend to grow and exports from Canada, not necessarily. In some cases, yes; in some cases, no; in all cases, there has not been due diligence.
As my colleagues have pointed out, there seems to be a saying “no” to manufacturing, saying “no” to value added, saying “no”, as we have seen, to dairy farmers and the supply-managed sector, with the Liberals cutting over 90% of the compensation that should have been due to those dairy farmers and the supply-managed sector.
Yet, at the same time, there is a “yes” to lobbyists; particularly, lobbyists who are pushing for intellectual property extensions that increase the price of drugs on the Canadian markets, in the Canadian health care system.
If the old parties had done their homework, they would understand that adding $850 million onto the cost of drugs, in the Canadian health care system, is simply not a good idea. We need a better health care system, not a worse one.
And, of course, there is the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that has created such a reaction in Europe. Of course, this is something that most countries have backed away from. Canada, under both of the old parties, whether Liberals or Conservatives, continues to push investor-state, even though most people around the world would disagree with that approach.
There are reasons why this agreement has had so many imperfections and there are reasons why we have a record trade deficit and a record debt load on Canadian families. It strikes to the heart of how these parties govern. They do not govern in the interests of regular families. I would suggest that has to change.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to stand in this place to add comment on Bill
The overwhelmingly positive economic impacts of Canadian businesses gaining preferential access to the world's wealthiest trade area cannot be overstated. This deal will reduce or eliminate approximately 99% of customs duties between Canada and the European Union. This will enhance the competitiveness of Canadian businesses whenever they sell a good into the European market.
Conversely, this will make it less expensive for Canadian businesses to buy specialized goods, like heavy machinery and parts that may not be available in Canada.
A joint Canada-EU study concluded that CETA could bring a 20% boost in bilateral trade and a $12 billion increase to Canada's economy. That is why the previous Conservative government was relentlessly focused on signing trade agreements around the world.
This focus led to Canada's first trade agreement with a major Asian economy in South Korea, and the first major trade agreement with a South American economy in Colombia. These footholds are hugely important for exporters who want to export their products to Asia or South America. For an economy that relies on the service sector and exports, these deals are of paramount importance.
That is why the previous government launched negotiations for Canada's most ambitious free trade agreement with Europe in May 2009. After years of negotiations with the European Union and its 28-member countries, negotiations ended in August 2014, and a deal in principle was reached during the summer of 2015.
The Liberals were handed the CETA on a silver platter. Yet, for reasons that may never be explained, they nearly blew it. For several days after Wallonia, a small region in Belgium, announced that it would be supporting the agreement, there were legitimate fears that the deal had collapsed.
On October 25, as the minister was in the House defending her record on this deal, she stated, “when it comes to CETA, Canada has done its job.”. The argument that because Canada had worked hard up to that point and therefore it was acceptable to let Europe do “its job now”, was fraught with so many problems I cannot even begin to list them. These deals do not sign themselves. Canada must always fight for its interests, and not sit and wait and hope for the best.
Thankfully, the pro-trade powers in Europe that strongly supported this deal got it moving again. They did so because CETA could serve as a template for a similar agreement between Europe and the United States at a later date.
The has been repeating over and over that she got CETA over the finish line because she made this deal more “inclusive and progressive”. The only thing that has changed from the deal in principle negotiated by the Conservatives and the agreement we are discussing today is the investor-state dispute settlement process. Nothing else has changed.
Canada has always been recognized as a country with the strongest record for human rights, rule of law, democracy, regulation, and the list goes on. CETA has always been a progressive and inclusive agreement because Canada has always been a progressive and inclusive country. Saying otherwise would be disingenuous.
Concerning the investor-state dispute mechanisms I mentioned, investor-state dispute arbitration tribunals are made available in nearly 3,000 bilateral investment treaties. Even Belgium has investment provisions with 182 different parties. These are not new, and many work quite well.
Under the investor-state dispute settlement process, foreign investors can sue the host state before an arbitration tribunal, appointed on a case-by-case basis by the two affected parties, if they believe the treaty governing trade between the two countries has been violated. This system is used for dispute mechanisms in over 3,000 bilateral trade agreements, including NAFTA, and its strengths and weaknesses are known and understood.
Civil society groups have questioned the appropriateness of applying a dispute settlement mechanism created to resolve private-commercial disputes to international public law disputes, because it is felt to favour the companies from larger countries. Critics have also raised concerns over the potential for the arbitrator to have bias and the potential for conflict of interest.
In response to these criticisms and in preparation for negotiations with the United States on a free trade agreement, the European Union began developing the concept of an investment court after the deal in principle with Canada was agreed to in 2014. The investment court would be a primary tribunal of 15 judges and an appeal tribunal of six members. The members would be named by the EU and Canada. It would be administered by the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
The court of first instance would sit in benches of three members each and would decide the original complaint. As with any new process, it is hard to know exactly how this will unfold. Who within each country will be responsible for appointing judges to the court? What will their training and fields of expertise be? How long will they sit for? Will the judges be idle if there are not many challenges? Or will they be allowed to work and consult in addition to their duties on the court?
Considering Canada's population is less than a tenth of the size of Europe's, how many of the 21 jurists would be Canadian? In the case of Wallonia, how many jurists would come from that region over jurists from France or Germany? There is no common law, in international disputes between corporations and governments, that jurists could draw guidance from when deciding cases, so it is hard to speculate whether the outcomes of legal challenges would be any different.
One of the main criticisms of the investor-state tribunals is that due to their decentralized nature, the arbiters do not necessarily consider the decisions of other arbiters. Therefore, their rulings are inconsistent. However, this new system does not necessarily fix this. If these investment courts become the norm, there could be hundreds of different courts deciding trade disputes. How consistent their rulings would be remains to be seen. Furthermore, a permanent multilateral investment court would only be consistent in its rulings relative to the treaty that governs the trade between two countries.
As with any new process, as I have said, it is hard to know exactly how it will unfold. If this new court satisfies European negotiators, then it should be included as the treaty's primary dispute mechanism. The question remains, why do the Liberals believe that this has made the CETA more inclusive or progressive? The fact is that jurists on the new court will render their decisions on the evidence and the text of the trade agreement, which remains the same as what the Conservatives negotiated 15 months ago.
Quite frankly, getting this trade deal done should have been the government's first priority. Now that it is signed, I hope it will place a relentless focus on getting the trans Pacific partnership completed at the earliest possible opportunity. The more markets Canadian producers can sell into without the competitive disadvantage of tariffs, the better off we will be as a country.
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill on the free trade agreement with Europe. You probably know that I was the deputy international trade critic in the last Parliament.
I am very familiar with this issue and I am pleased to now debate it because it allows me to point out the NDP position on trade agreements in general. I can talk about agreements negotiated since the last Parliament because I was elected in 2011.
We examine free trade agreements through three different lenses. First, we determine whether a free trade agreement promotes human rights, environmental rights, and the rights of workers. That is why, in the past, we opposed several free trade agreements negotiated by the government, and in this case by the Conservative government.
One in particular was the agreement with Colombia, where workers' rights and their right to associate are frequently violated. The agreement with Panama was problematic because of taxation issues arising from the fact that Panama is a tax haven. The free trade agreement exacerbated the tax evasion problem. We also opposed the agreement with Honduras, and I was a member of the committee that studied that agreement.
The second criterion is reciprocity. We look at whether free trade agreements confer reciprocal rights and responsibilities on both parties. I this case, the two parties are Canada and Europe. That was one of the lenses through which we examined all trade agreements in the past.
The third criterion is whether Canada will be better off economically with such an agreement. Will the agreement be good for the Canadian economy as a whole? Those of us on this side of the House understand that, in any trade agreement, some sectors will be winners and others will be losers.
This third criterion is the one that is problematic in the agreement with Europe. First of all, there is the issue of generic drugs. Changes are going to be made to intellectual property rights that will have repercussions on the pharmaceutical industry. Various groups have studied the agreement and the repercussions it will have on drug accessibility programs and on the provinces' ability to provide generic drugs quicker.
Ultimately, the extension of intellectual property rights under this agreement, especially with regard to drugs, could mean additional costs of about $850 million, according to some estimates.
What is odd is that the government did not do any impact studies to see how much more this would cost either the private sector or the provinces. As we all know, a number of provinces have pharmacare programs. The government refuses to study the issue of the additional costs to our pharmacare programs, which the provinces usually pay for. It just keeps telling us that this agreement is a good thing.
We know, however, that the parliamentary budget officer has asked for an assessment of the additional drug costs the provinces will incur under this agreement, and that Health Canada replied that those figures remain confidential.
A second aspect of the free trade agreement with Europe we need to look at involves compensation for the cheese and dairy industry. When the Conservatives first signed the agreement, which has been signed three times already, Prime Minister Harper arrived, and we began discussing compensation for the cheese and dairy industry, to help its members through the transition. This compensation was estimated by the Conservatives at that time at $4.3 billion over 10 years.
Obviously, the Liberal government was in the hot seat and was asked what kind of compensation would be provided to the industry to help it through this difficult period. We know that the higher cheese quotas will allow over 17,000 tonnes of different kinds of cheese into the country, which will be in competition with ours. We need compensation. The industry had asked for this compensation to help them through the transition.
The Conservative government promised $4.3 billion over 10 years. The Liberals said not to worry, that they would help with the transition, and that they would also provide compensation. However, the compensation they plan to provide is $350 million over five years. That is approximately $70 million a year, whereas the compensation that was promised previously totalled $430 million a year. Cheese and dairy producers are outraged, and I can see why. Twelve per cent of the economy of the region that I represent in the House is dependent on agriculture, mainly the dairy industry.
I therefore cannot understand why the federal government has decided to give such minimal compensation to an industry that will be so heavily affected. The government has not given any convincing arguments to justify such a low level of compensation. I see some Liberal members from Newfoundland and Labrador here. No mention has been made of the compensation promised to Newfoundland and Labrador's fish and seafood processing industry, and we still do not know what the government intends to do in that regard.
The government is calling this a progressive agreement, but ultimately, it was negotiated by the Conservatives. Some members of the House may have already noticed a disconnect. What is more, the Conservatives planned to provide more compensation than the Liberals. There are therefore a number of problems with this agreement. There may be a reciprocity issue. In order to find out, we need to conduct an assessment of the impact on the Canadian economy. We do not know if there is a reciprocity issue because the Liberals never conducted an impact assessment.
In terms of human rights, the rights of workers and environmental rights, I think we can acknowledge that Europe and Canada are pretty similar.
The third aspect involves determining whether Canada will come out ahead, that is whether the Canadian economy will benefit from this agreement. That is far from clear, because the Liberals have not managed to convince the House and the Canadian public that the free trade agreement with Europe would be generally beneficial. Yes, we hear about the trade volume numbers, but these numbers do not reflect the possible impact on the various government programs, such as pharmacare, or our industries, such as the dairy and cheese industry.
When the Liberals and Conservatives tell us that we are dogmatic when it comes to trade, they try to hide the fact that they have never turned down a free trade agreement. We are the only party in the House that bothers to look at the details of these trade agreements.
A trade agreement is like a contract. You need to look at the terms and conditions. Back when the Liberals were the third party on this side of the House, when Stephen Harper came back from Brussels saying that they had signed an agreement with Europe, the first thing the , who at the time was the member for Papineau, did was to congratulate him for signing this free trade agreement and to tell him that the Liberals would support it. He then asked when they would be able to look at it.
They are willing to sign free trade agreements without studying them. Is that responsible? Name someone who thinks it is responsible to sign contracts without looking at what is in them. The same can be said about the Conservatives. They negotiate agreements and accept them without even looking at them.
We, on the other hand, are doing our due diligence. We study all the trade agreements brought before us and make decisions based on what is in them, on their provisions and the net benefit we can get out of it as a country.
No one, then, can claim that the NDP's position on trade is dogmatic and ideologically driven. We are the only party that acts responsibly. In this case, since the Liberals have refused to give us the information required, I am unable to vote in favour of this bill at second reading.
Yes, Madam Speaker, I hope to bring some calm and unity to this debate.
It would benefit Canadian policy, all parties in the House, and the advancement of Canadian trade interests if we took some of the ideology out of trade, and actually started taking a very sober, thoughtful, researched, and intelligent approach to trade.
Over the last 10 years, perhaps one of the most damaging aspects of the Harper government was the propensity to make every issue of policy one of ideology, whether it was an exhortation that someone stands with either the government or with child pornographers, or if someone had any criticisms or concerns about a particular trade deal, that person was against Canada as a trading nation.
That kind of foolish and simplified ideology did a lot of damage to this very important issue. I hope that Parliament and all parliamentarians can listen to one another, and recognize there are pros and cons in trade agreements and, really, it is our job as parliamentarians to weigh them against one another.
It is utter folly to point to any trade agreement, and fail to recognize that there are no costs to an economy in a trade agreement. Anybody who stands in the House and tells Canadians that signing a trade agreement will be absolutely 100% beneficial for the Canadian economy is not telling the truth. On the other hand, it is also the case that trade agreements inevitably have benefits to our economy.
Once again, it is the job and duty of responsible parliamentarians to roll up our sleeves, examine these agreements, and come to a decision, on balance, on whether we think over time they will be of net benefit to Canada. That requires us to listen to one another.
Let me de-ideologize a bit of this discussion. Every member in this House understands that Canada is an exporting nation. We all understand that trade is critical to Canada's economic development. It is a very important piece, and we are all in favour of it. When any member of the House gets up and says that New Democrats do not believe in trade, that is putting ideology above common sense and intelligent debate, and it should be rejected by every thinking Canadian.
On the other hand, every party has contributed something to this debate. The Conservatives, of course, have never seen a trade deal they did not like. The Liberals have never failed to support an agreement that they did not read, and New Democrats have always brought a concept of what we refer to as fair trade to every analysis. All of those things, I was being somewhat facetious, contribute to this.
The Conservatives have been strong supporters of opening up markets for Canadians, and should be applauded for that. The Liberals have also, at times, taken a varied approach. I know that the member for likes to attack the NDP, but he forgets that the Liberals opposed the Canada-U.S. trade agreement, and said that they would revoke NAFTA once they were elected.
There were periods of time when the Liberal Party was not in favour of liberalized trade, so for Liberals to make it seem like the NDP never opposes trade agreements, when they themselves did not oppose two of the marquee trade agreements in our country's history is somewhat perplexing to me.
I am going to straighten something else out. New Democrats have, in fact, supported trade agreements in the House. I was the trade critic for the official opposition when we stood in our places in the House and voted in favour of the South Korea trade agreement at third reading. Second, the NDP also supported the South Korea trade agreement with Canada, and we did that by a vote on division.
The Liberal House leader knows that full well, so I wish he would stop this disingenuous game of asking whether the NDP supported the South Korea trade agreement, when he knows that it is normative in the House for bills and issues to pass on division. It is a perfectly acceptable way to vote. That is what happened with the South Korea trade agreement.
There are a few principles that guide New Democrats' approach to trade. First, we like to examine three things that we think are of profound importance.
First, we like to examine the identity of the trade partner with whom we are proposed to extend preferential economic benefits of liberalized trade. We like to make sure that it is a country that respects the environment, basic labour rights, human rights, has fundamental democratic principles and rule of law, or at least is demonstrably moving in that direction.
Everybody in this House knows this. That is why we put sanctions on countries like Iran, which is the opposite of free trade. We actually refuse to trade with countries, when we come to a decision that their behaviour on the international stage is simply unacceptable. We like to make sure that the entity of the country we are trading with meets basic standards, basic Canadian values.
Second, we like to make sure that the economy that we are proposed to be trading with is of significant or strategic value or importance to Canada.
The Conservatives stood in this House and bragged about the raw numerical number of trade agreements they signed. Yet, who did they sign these trade agreements with? It was with Panama, Honduras, Jordan, and Liechtenstein. These are countries that, in their own rights, have some importance, but these are hardly the kinds of large significant strategic economies that really make a fundamental difference to the Canadian economy.
Third, New Democrats do what we think Canadians send us to Parliament to do; that is, we examine in detail the actual terms of each agreement itself. We cannot say that we are in favour of a trade agreement without actually understanding the terms of the agreement.
I want to go through a few reasons why we are troubled by the agreement between Canada and the EU.
First, and foremost, of course, is its provisions respecting the investor-state dispute resolution mechanism.
The NDP has been concerned about this for a number of years now. I remember three years ago, asking Steve Verheul, the chief negotiator of Canada, whether it was his opinion that CETA had sufficient protection to make sure that Canada could make decisions to regulate and legislate in the public interest without fear of being sued by corporations which might claim that their profits have been interfered with, as a result, and he said, yes.
When we read the language, the language has never been clear enough to give us that complete confidence. As it turns out, the NDP's concern has been justified by the fact that when Wallonia held up CETA in Europe just a number of months ago, it was over its concern that the investor-state provisions were not clear enough. What did the parties do? What did the EU do and what did Canada do? They clarified. Why was it necessary to clarify? If the agreement had been clear from the beginning that nothing in CETA would interfere with a state's ability to legislate or regulate in the public interest, there would be no need to clarify. However, it did need clarification.
Frankly, those concerns exist today. Canadians want more trade. They want liberalized trade. They want to facilitate the flow of goods and services, and people between jurisdictions. However, I would venture to say that Canadians would agree with New Democrats, when they say that they do not believe that a corporation's right to make a profit should ever interfere with a country's domestic sovereignty, and ability to pass regulations or legislation in the public interest.
If this chamber decides that we want to protect the Canadian environment, if we want to bring in a national pharmacare system, if we want to allow provinces to bring in public auto insurance if they want to, if we want to bring in health care programs, if we want to protect culture, if we want to take any measure in this democratic chamber that we think is important for the people of Canada, and then be accountable to the Canadian people. That should never be overridden, ever, in a private tribunal or in a foreign jurisdictional court, by people who are placing the interests of a corporation's right to make profits over that. That remains a concern.
Second, we know that CETA is going to do significant damage to the Canadian economy, in many ways.
At the end of the day, one may have a reasonable difference of opinion about whether it is worth it or not, but how do we know that? Because both governments, Liberal and Conservative, are going to offer compensation. We do not offer $4 billion of compensation to the agricultural sector, like the Conservatives did, if that was not an admission that damage would be caused.
The Conservatives offered $1 billion in compensation to the auto sector; $400 million in compensation was offered and then taken away by the Conservatives to Newfoundland for giving up its minimum fish processing requirements; and provinces have been promised compensation if and when the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in this country go up, as they inevitably will, by CETA. Who knows, maybe billions of dollars of compensation will be offered then.
CETA has some good aspects and some bad aspects. The New Democrats will continue to stand up for fair trade, in the interests of Canadians, to make sure this deal is good for Canada.