moved that Bill , be read the second time and referred to a committee.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I hope today you will permit me to say:
[Member spoke in Ukrainian]
I am absolutely delighted to rise in the House today in support of legislation to implement the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. This is a historic agreement for Canadians and Ukrainians alike. I know that many hon. members, including those across the aisle, have worked hard on this agreement.
Two weeks ago, I had the distinct honour of speaking at an all-party Holodomor memorial service here in our House of Commons. It was a moving reminder for me of the broad all-party support in Canada for the people of Ukraine.
The people of Ukraine have always had very close ties to Canada. Many families, like my own, trace their ancestry to Ukraine. In fact, our countries have enjoyed a close relationship dating back more than 125 years.
It is particularly appropriate to be talking about the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement this year, because this is the 125th anniversary of the first immigration of Ukrainians to Canada. I must say that as the weather has been turning colder this year, I have thought a lot about what those Ukrainian pioneers endured in their first winter on our Prairies. I think this agreement is a very powerful way, among many other things, to honour the tremendous work they did and the tremendous sacrifices they made, particularly in settling our prairie provinces. Today there are more than 1.2 million Canadians with Ukrainian heritage, and many have been integral to Canadian progress and history.
Multiculturalism is a core Canadian value. It is one to which Ukrainian Canadians are very proud to have contributed. They have contributed to its development as an idea and live it in their lives as Ukrainian Canadians. That multiculturalism is increasingly a value that Canada and Ukraine, as countries, share. I think the Canadian experience is very valuable for Ukraine as it develops as an independent state.
Another value that Canada and Ukraine share is our belief that government's role is to work hard for the prosperity of our people, for the middle class, and for jobs for our middle class. Both of our countries understand how essential trade is to delivering that prosperity and those jobs to our people.
That is why my mandate letter specifically instructs me to complete our free trade agreement with Ukraine, a significant milestone in the relationship between our two countries.
This free trade agreement is rooted in the connections between our people. I am so proud that this agreement will contribute to economic growth and will create more jobs, both in Canada and in Ukraine.
Despite its highly publicized and very real economic problems, Ukraine is a promising emerging market with many similarities to the largest European economies. The country has rich farmland, a well-developed industrial base, a highly skilled labour force, and an educated population. Ukraine also has abundant mineral resources, including iron ore and nickel.
The country also has dynamic agricultural and aerospace sectors and has long been known for its technological achievements thanks to its well-developed science and education capacities. Ukraine offers investment and trade partnership opportunities in these and many other sectors.
The Ukrainian economy is once again growing, and the International Monetary Fund projects that its gross domestic product will increase by 1.5% this year and 2.5% next year. That is a remarkable achievement for the peoples of Ukraine in a time of war.
Ukraine's trade climate is improving, as is the ease of doing business there. While much remains to be done, things are getting better.
This country offers many opportunities for Canadian businesses in areas such as aerospace, agricultural equipment, mining equipment, information and communication technologies, agriculture and agrifood, and fish and seafood. Canada has the necessary experience and expertise in all of these sectors, leaving it perfectly positioned to become a leading partner for Ukraine.
Our economy has a great deal to offer Ukrainian businesses. Indeed, Canada survived the global economic crisis very well. The future looks bright for Canada thanks to impressive prospects for growth, a low corporate tax rate, and a talented, educated, and multicultural workforce, including Ukrainian Canadians who have an advantage with respect to Canada–Ukraine trade.
In light of this vast potential and the many opportunities our two countries offer one another, of course we must work closely to strengthen our partnership. The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement will help Canadian businesses take better advantage of a deeper relationship between the two countries and the opportunities afforded by this relationship.
By eliminating tariffs on virtually all goods currently traded between Canada and Ukraine and dealing with other types of barriers to trade, this agreement will open new doors and make Canadian goods more competitive on Ukrainian markets.
The rules of the agreement are drafted in such a way as to address non-tariff barriers, contribute to facilitating trade, make trade more predictable, and help reduce some of the administrative costs currently imposed on businesses.
Whether we are talking about seafood products from Atlantic Canada, maple products and goods manufactured in central Canada, or even pulses, pork, and wine from western Canada, this agreement could benefit a wide range of sectors in every region of Canada.
With good trade relations come good job opportunities and with one in six Canadian jobs directly tied to exports, our government is determined to expand Canada's access to foreign markets and help grow our economy for all Canadians.
The government is also working hard to promote the agreement and ensure that Canadian businesses can reap the full benefit of it. The government is currently developing communications products in order to ensure that the private sector is aware of the opportunities that are available in the free trade agreements, as well as the various support programs.
Canada's talented team of trade commissioners, of which I am very proud, will also receive training and the tools it needs to identify business opportunities created by the free trade agreement on the ground and communicate those to its clients. We are also determined to ensure that trade is inclusive and that the benefits are distributed better. Our progressive approach to trade seeks to ensure that trade growth helps strengthen the middle class, but not at the expense of the environment, labour rights, or the rights of governments to make regulations in the public interest.
Like our free trade agreement with the European Union, our agreement with Ukraine reflects strong Canadian values.
Today's world is full of challenges and immense possibilities due to the opening of new markets, the growth of developing countries, the emergence of new technologies, and progress in attaining the United Nations' sustainable development goals.
That is one of the reasons why our government opted for a progressive trade approach. It is also the reason why the has made the implementation of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement one of the priorities of my mandate as the .
Canada is deeply committed to working with the people of Ukraine to help Ukraine rebuild its economy in these very difficult political circumstances and to deepen the economic ties between our two countries in the years ahead.
Canada stands firmly beside Ukraine in defending its borders and its sovereignty against illegal and unwarranted acts of aggression. Canada has led other G7 countries in condemning Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, and we will continue to take action to help the people of Ukraine rebuild their economy and country.
This free trade agreement is a very important part of Canada's solidarity with Ukraine. I would like the people of Ukraine, who I hope are listening to us today, to know that Canada stands today squarely alongside Ukraine. Canada has long supported the establishment of Ukraine as a stable, prosperous, and democratic country. Since Ukraine's independence in 1991, Canada has committed more than $1.2 billion in technical and financial assistance to Ukraine. In fact, Canada was the first western country to recognize independent Ukraine at that time.
When I met with the Canadian and Ukrainian business community last June at the Canada-Ukraine business forum in Toronto, I heard optimism and hope from both Canadian and Ukrainian business leaders that this agreement would strengthen the ties between our two countries and create new opportunities for our businesses and our people to work together. Also, it is a strategic agreement as well as an economic one.
On July 11, 2016, I had the very great and very personal honour of signing this agreement alongside my Ukrainian counterpart, the minister of economic development and trade, Stepan Kubiv, in Kiev during our 's first official visit to Ukraine. Our Prime Minister, together with President Poroshenko, were there to witness that signature.
Both of our countries understand how essential trade is to delivering prosperity and jobs to our people. By improving market access and creating more predictable conditions for trade, the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement will generate new opportunities for Ukrainians. Canadians want to do more business in and, crucially, with Ukraine in the years ahead.
A free trade agreement between our countries is an important way to help make that happen. The agreement would provide improved access for goods and services and address non-tariff barriers to trade. It has the potential to facilitate stronger economic relations by making it easier to do business together. I strongly believe that the agreement will help the people of Ukraine in their very difficult work toward reforming their economy and asserting their independence.
Ukrainians see Canada as a partner in Ukraine's economic reforms, and this agreement, by facilitating trade between our countries and by helping Ukrainians to raise their standards in areas like labour, the environment, and trade facilitation, will be a very important tool and support for Ukraine.
The Ukrainian people have always had a friend in Canada, and our government, and I very much personally, are determined to help the people of Ukraine prosper and succeed in a sovereign, democratic, and free Ukraine. Our free trade agreement is a very concrete measure that reinforces this support and that has built on work done by members of all parties in the House.
I therefore urge all hon. members to support the legislative amendments contained in Bill and to enable us to do our part in bringing the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement into force.
I realize that trade agreements may be controversial in some quarters today, but I really hope that this particular agreement with a country that has such strong historic and human ties to Canada and that so needs our support today could enjoy the support of all members of the House.
[Member spoke in Ukrainian]
Madam Speaker, as the minister was saying, it is indeed a pleasure to stand today and start to see the finalization of the Canada–Ukraine free trade agreement. Everyone is in agreement. I am not sure why we do not just do this on division and move on to something else after lunch. I am sure if we did put the question there would be a no from somewhere because that is the way things work around here.
It is unfortunate that there are so few issues like this that actually unite this House, in that there are so many more issues that tend to divide us. This is one where we have all come together. As the discussions have gone on over the years leading up to this point, certainly there has been growing appreciation of what this deal would represent, especially for the people of Ukraine as it would tend to draw them west as opposed to the eastern pole that we see chewing at their borders on a day-by-day basis.
I would like to congratulate the minister for getting this across the goal line. Of course it was in the red zone, if I use football vernacular. It was right there on the goal line, all she had to do was step over carrying the ball, but the minister has done it, and we welcome that. I congratulate her for that. I know the minister was a freelance writer in Ukraine over the years, and to be the person who actually signs this off is quite a kick. I felt that same thrill when we saw the end of the old monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board on the Prairies. The minister will have to work with her colleague from Prince Edward Island to not bring that back. He will face the wrath of western farmers if and when that happens.
Of course, Ukraine is a large wheat-producing area as well. I have never had the opportunity to actually set foot on the ground, but I have seen the pictures and met with the ministers; I have done everything but set foot there. It just did not get into my schedule and that is unfortunate. I will fix that one issue on my bucket list at some point in the future. There are fantastic grasslands and farmlands all across Ukraine. I was at the world grain symposium in Sochi, Russia a couple of weeks ago, and met with a number of farmers who work that ground.
In fact, one guy I had lunch with one day, and he and his corporate entity cover some 100,000 hectares in Ukraine. He was ecstatic about the potential that this trade deal would now start to bring the agricultural technology that Canada is so famous for to those fields and those yards in Ukraine. The Ukrainians are very similar to us in that they have the potential to grow, and grow exponentially, but their constraint is logistics, very similar to what we face here in Canada. We had discussions around the handling system, the grading system, how they can continue to grow their operations, take use and make use of Canadian enterprise and expertise, and continue to show themselves as the breadbasket of Europe.
Certainly we cannot deny the minister's passion. She is dressed for success today. We welcome that. It is always good to see that passion on issues in this great country. We saw that same passion brought to bear by the folks at Global Affairs Canada. They have a fancy new title, and I am sure they all have new shirts as well. They are very proud of what they do.
At the end of the day, it was Marvin Hildebrand who carried this load across the line. We had the opportunity to talk to Marv at our trade committee. He is still the most gracious, unassuming gentleman one would ever want to meet, but when it comes to trade negotiations, he has a backbone of iron and a will of steel. He had that same steely-eyed glaze that our former prime minister Harper had when he took Mr. Putin to task for what he was doing on the Ukrainian frontier. Marv is certainly a class act. He worked diligently with his staff, with his communications team, and with two different governments to actually bring this to fruition. Being the professional that he is, he did not want to take any of the credit at all. He wanted the credit to go to the great people of Ukraine and the great people of Canada who embraced this.
The minister talked a bit about the Ukrainian heritage on the Prairies. Certainly that is a major part of the area that I represent. If my friend from talks about Vegreville being the Ukrainian capital of Canada, certainly North Battleford and that area running east is second to that if not a tie. They are very enterprising people with strong family ties and religious groups who make sure they celebrate the wealth they have enjoyed in Canada. We go back to those first few years when they were on the Prairies in sod shacks, isolated from their families and friends in Ukraine, but they have made all that work and they have built enterprises out there in my part of the world that are second to none. Certainly this helps them celebrate all the work that they have done to get us to that point.
We are seeing a second wave of pioneers coming from Ukraine into my area as the oil patch grew. It is hurting right now and we have heard different applications of why that is.
At the same time, we have had a number of shortages with respect to tradespeople throughout Saskatchewan. Part of the provincial nominee program was to identify the shortages. We are talking about machinists, welders, pipefitters, metalworkers, and all sorts of different trades. However, good, strong Ukrainian families have picked up that challenge and moved into the area to become part of the fabric of my constituency. These are fantastic people. They work hard, they play hard, and both their families and business expertise are growing at the same time. They continue to astound us with the work ethic they bring, and how diligent they are in making sure that their families get here as quickly as they can to reunite that strong family unit.
My friend from is nodding his head. He has a strong Ukrainian heritage as well. He has the tie on today, not the shirt, but we will forgive him for that. We know he has other meetings to attend.
At the end of the day, this is more than just geopolitical. I know I said this about Europe writ large, but with respect to the family reunification trade agreement, Ukraine has especially strong ties to the Canadian Prairies, and elsewhere in Canada as well, as their kids have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, and everything across Canada.
It has been a pleasure to work with former Prime Minister Harper and the trade ministers of the day, such as my good friend from , who carried this one across the line. That particular member is having some health issues right now. Strange things happen to us when we get ready for a CBC interview. He is a bit under the weather, but we know he will struggle back. We know he is watching today and helping us celebrate all the hard work that came into the fulfillment of this landmark trade agreement. It is a wonderful day when all parties agree to move forward with this. I have heard the NDP members get up and say that this is one of very few that they will support. Generally, when they talk about trade, they support every agreement but the one we are talking about. However, today we can all celebrate. We are all here today and we are all smiling. I know when we had that discussion around the Korean free trade agreement, I think they mistakenly thought it was North Korea, but we welcome their support for that deal as well. Here we are again with a third one, I think it is now, and that is a wonderful thing.
There is still quite a bit of work to be done in Ukraine. There are a lot of pockets of resistance to moving into a free market economy. There is still a lot of the old Soviet-type of enterprise there where people pay me and I make this happen, then I pay them and they make that happen. We are hopeful that this new deal will give them a different geopolitical base to work from. We have had people there over the last number of election cycles watching how things progress. It is better each time. I know the member for has been there himself and has told us stories of how things are evolving, some of which are horror stories but others that are good stories.
We are now marking 25 years of independence in Ukraine. That is a short amount of time in a country's history. The Ukrainian people go back generations and centuries and have slowly and steadily plodded toward this free market economy and democracy, and they are winning. When we start to link arms with them, as we are doing with this free trade agreement, we start to see that win become almost palpable in the streets of the cities in Ukraine, and of course across the rural countryside, as they recognize the potential they have. Now that potential has doubled and tripled when they link arms with a strong democracy like this country we call home. We are happy to work with them, to bolster them, to bring them into the 21st century. When it comes to trade agreements, democracy, the rule of law, and standards for the environment and labour practices, these are all welcomed in Ukraine, and of course we take them for granted in Canada. We really do not understand how much they look forward to that.
Agricultural exports to Ukraine have been small from Canada's perspective. We export $60 billion and Ukraine is a $20-million item on that ledger sheet. However, this tremendous opportunity puts a lie to just that small number at this point. There is no reason to think that cannot go up by multiples of 10 when we look at the opportunity that is there to work with them at putting biotechnology to work, and all of the technology that we have now used over the last couple of decades in Canada, with zero till, and micronutrients going into the fertilizers, and different things like that, and the ability to grow a top quality product, not just a quantity product, as we have seen Ukraine produce.
Logistics is a major factor that Ukraine is working with as well. We do have the opportunity to step up and help it with that. We face the same criteria here. It is a long way from tidewater, just like we are, and it has to rely on other countries at some points in order to get that product to market, and of course there are costs from both a political as well as a practical sense.
We had EDC representatives at committee. The point I made was that Export Development Canada has identified that the lady who leads the charge in Ukraine does speak fluent Ukrainian, but she is based in London, England, which is a long way from Ukraine. She makes bi-weekly trips, or whatever it is, to make connections, which is not the same as when one is sitting there day by day, eye to eye, taking a coffee break with people and saying, “Here's how we can do it”. Therefore, we put that task to the minister, if it was at all possible that we could start to see people actually anchored in central Ukraine, and work with the country as a whole with Export Development Canada.
Of course, they then quarterback that by bringing in business-to-business connections and all of the bridges that need to be built to actually take advantage of the framework agreement that we see here in this CUFTA. We are hopeful that can happen. I know it takes dollars, but there is a tremendous opportunity for our livestock genetics, our crop genetics, and a lot of the infrastructure people we have developed here in Canada handling systems, and all of those different things, and we will see a huge potential there.
We have seen a number of trade agreements come and go out of this place over the years when we were government. Of course, there was a tremendous number. We have seen CETA start to inch its way towards the finish line. We are still dealing with it at committee. Hopefully we will have a vote on it later tonight and move that forward as well.
I was really happy to see that the minister did not tinker around the edges with this one as she did with CETA, and we actually lost some pretty important clauses at the very end in the negotiation trying to make it more progressive. Somehow, it tended to go backwards as opposed to ahead.
The stability that is required for business-to-business investment is going to be shaken a little bit when we do not have an adjudication process for ISDS claims. Every country in the world has hundreds of bilateral agreements with other countries when it comes to FIPA, financial investment protection acts, ISDS-type resolutions, and other tools in the tool kit to help business-to-business make investments; and be assured and secure that in making those investments, they cannot be taken away with a change of governance and so on. Of course, we see a lot of push-back on that from certain sectors here as well, but we will have to wait and see how that is.
We also have the Magnitsky Act, which is very important when we see how these things are brought into the court system. Why Canada is a laggard in implementing that, I am not sure. I am sure that my colleague will have words to say about that when he makes his presentation later today.
This is a tremendous opportunity for Canadian industry, for the services industry as well, which is very robust and very mature. There are a number of things that we can move forward on, and start to enhance and strengthen Ukraine's stance on the world stage working with us.
I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank the trade negotiation team for doing what it is doing. I thank the minister for the job that she did getting it across the final line and stepping over it.
I also want to take time to mention the great work that Prime Minister Harper did on this file. He was there in 2010, which was a very contentious time, as we all know, in Ukraine. He made three or four trips over that two-year period in order to make sure Ukraine was looking west and not east. He had met with all of the major players over there, as have I on the edges of other meetings. Of course, my good friend, the then minister of trade, the member for , spent a lot of political capital in bringing this one to fruition.
However, it was Stephen Harper who actually had the wherewithal, at a meeting in Australia of all places, to look President Putin in the eye, and say, “I guess I'll shake your hand...but...You need to get out of Ukraine.” He put the marker down that these types of incursions are not acceptable in today's geopolitical systems in the world.
I am thankful that Canada has a footprint and a presence there along those lines, but at the end of the day, we are also hearing that we pulled back on the satellite imaging that the Ukrainian forces need to know exactly what they are up against on a moment-by-moment issue. Hopefully, the government will rethink that and start to realize that underpinning this is our ability to make sure that Ukraine has a strong coastline, and a strong ability to push back the Russians should that ever happen.
Hopefully, it will, but at the end of the day, it was the great work done by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to actually start this, to push Ukraine to keep thinking about this as opposed to the incursions it was facing on several fronts. Therefore, kudos to him. He has gone on to work in the private sector, and I am sure a lot of his future work will be based on the great job that he did working on these types of trade agreements.
We also have other trade agreements sitting in the wings, like the trans-Pacific partnership. For some ridiculous reason, we seem to be holding back. The Japanese, the crown jewel in that whole agreement, in the 12 countries that were involved in that, have ratified it. They are good to go. They have moved it through their parliamentary system. It was finalized on December 6 or 7. They are waiting for a partner to dance with, and we are not on the floor. We are not even in the hall. It is unconscionable to me why we would walk away from that.
We will celebrate this one today, but we could have a bigger celebration and a lot bigger win, if we started to get past the “Americans have to lead this” ideology. We know they are going to step away. They may take the full two years. There is no reason we have to. With Japan already done, they are going to find some willing partners in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, or Mexico, and they will start trading. This means we will be coming from behind, trying to get market share in that valuable market.
If anything, let us get this one done so we can bring TPP to the floor and get it moving forward expeditiously as well.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on Bill , an act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine, also known as CUFTA.
We have been speaking a lot in this place these last few days about trade deals; namely, about the Canada-EU deal. I am certainly not surprised that my Liberal and Conservative colleagues, once again, agree that CUFTA should move ahead with no questions asked.
I will note that in this case, unlike with CETA, the government fulfilled its treaty tabling obligations by tabling Bill at least 21 sitting days after tabling the treaty, tabling an explanatory memorandum, and completing a final environmental assessment. None of these three elements were done for CETA.
I would like to speak in greater detail about CUFTA.
There are certainly some positive elements of this agreement. It would provide opportunities for both Canadian exporters and for the Canadian government to strengthen our long-standing friendship with Ukraine.
I would also like to speak about some concerns with the agreement, which I hope can be addressed during Bill 's legislative process.
CUFTA is an important agreement, particularly for our friends in Ukraine. Their country has faced tumultuous times over the past number of years, countering Russian aggression that culminated in the annexation of Crimea. At that time, the NDP called for greater financial aid for Ukraine and tougher sanctions against Russia.
The Canada-Ukraine friendship is an important one. In fact, Canada was the first western country to recognize Ukraine's independence, back in 1991. Today, more than 1.3 million Canadians have Ukrainian heritage. They are very proud of this heritage and their cultural traditions.
The Canada-Ukraine trade relationship is relatively small. In 2015, bilateral trade totalled $278 million, with Canadian exports to the Ukraine accounting for approximately $210 million and Ukrainian imports to Canada accounting for $68 million.
Ukraine represents less than 1% of the total Canadian global exports. Of course, this should increase with the reduction of tariffs under this agreement.
CUFTA would lead to Ukraine eliminating tariffs on 86% of Canadian imports, while Canada would eliminate tariffs on 99.9% of Ukrainian imports. Many of the tariffs would be eliminated immediately, although some would be phased out over three to seven years.
Canadian exporters have largely welcomed the deal, including the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the Canadian Pork Council, and the Canadian Meat Council. As they are with all trade agreements that reduce or eliminate tariffs, they are of course pleased to have new opportunities to diversify and to increase their exports.
Additional Canadian products that may benefit from CUFTA include iron and steel, industrial machinery, pulses, canola oil, and fish and seafood. I was initially concerned about the elimination of tariffs on steel, although stakeholders have not been too concerned that this would lead to a barrage of new imports.
As members in this place know, Canadian producers are already faced with a low global price for steel, which is caused by dumping, in part. There have been multiple cases brought before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, including against Ukrainian exporters.
It is very clear that Canada needs stronger measures to tackle this very serious issue. The Canadian Steel Producers Association and the United Steelworkers have been very clear that the government needs to do more. Canada's trade remedy system needs an overhaul so it can do a better job of protecting our steel industry.
It is an issue of jobs and keeping these good-quality jobs in the communities where they are needed. The member for has been working tirelessly on behalf of steelworkers in his riding. I commend his efforts to bring these issues to the forefront. He is fighting every day to protect good steel jobs in Hamilton.
I know we are both looking forward to the international trade committee completing its study on steel issues, like dumping, that are hurting Canadian producers' ability to compete internationally.
Coming back to CUFTA, I have spoken quite a bit about tariffs because that is largely what this agreement is about. It also includes chapters on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, government procurement, intellectual property, environment, and labour.
On the procurement chapter, in this regard CUFTA is quite different from CETA. CUFTA would open access to government procurement at the federal and provincial levels. On the other hand, CETA would, for the first time, also open up procurement at the municipal and school board levels. This is very concerning. It is why we saw many municipalities coming out against CETA.
By and large, Canadians like to support Canadian jobs and Canadian products. We like to buy locally and procure locally, because we know the benefits are going to our neighbours and our communities.
There are many concerns over opening up procurement contracts to non-Canadian companies. It already happens, but do we really want to continue expanding that practice? I am glad CUFTA does not follow the same route as CETA.
I have spoken about what is in the agreement, but it is also important to discuss what is not in the agreement. CUFTA does not include chapters on cross-border trade in services, investment, financial services, telecommunications, or temporary entry. However, there is a review that would happen two years after CUFTA comes into force, and the government has been quite clear that it would like to extend the agreement to additional areas, such as services.
I ask that the government be forthcoming with these negotiations when they happen. I also note that Canada is currently in negotiations with several dozen other countries for a trade in services agreement, or TISA. The Liberals have been quite silent on this, but this agreement could be quite significant. It would liberalize international trade in services and set binding international rules on how countries can regulate services. It could cover a wide range of services, including banking, telecommunications, health, and energy.
I hope the government will be forthcoming with this agreement and set a different tone from how the Conservatives like to negotiate trade agreements. There is absolutely no reason why a government cannot tell its citizens about what is on the table before a deal is finalized. I think Canadians have been very clear that they do not like the way their government negotiated TPP or CETA. Canadians were kept in the dark about what was being negotiated. When we finally learned what was on the table, the deal was already finalized, and the government said there was absolutely no way to change anything at that point.
I reject the notion that Canadians who want to know about negotiations can simply sign a confidentiality agreement and jump right in. It is obviously an exclusive process that is not designed to inform average Canadians on trade negotiations. The government must do a better job of updating all Canadians on the status and scope of negotiations, not just those who are well connected.
I would like to speak about another aspect of CUFTA. While the agreement includes a state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism, it does not include ISDS, investor-state, provisions. However, it is important to note that these provisions actually existed before CUFTA came to be. Back in 1995, Canada and Ukraine signed a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement, which includes these investor-state provisions.
New Democrats have gone to great lengths these past few days to draw attention to the ISDS provisions in CETA. These provisions do not belong in trade agreements, yet so many of Canada's agreements include them. We have long maintained that foreign companies should not be granted special privileges above and beyond those enjoyed by domestic companies. Foreign investors should be obligated to go through domestic courts before being granted access to a special court where they can sue our governments.
New Democrats analyze trade deals as a whole. We have supported deals in the past, including the South Korea deal. This is because we are able to step back and examine all parts of a deal and draw our conclusions based on the sum of its parts. New Democrats support trade. We always have and always will. That does not mean we are going to go blindly into every trade and investment deal. Our approach is similar to how we have approached omnibus budget bills. There are many aspects that we support, but there can also be egregious aspects that are worth standing up against.
Yesterday, my colleague from gave a great analogy about how other parties tend to talk about trade and their blind support for any and all trade agreements, no matter who the partner, no matter the provisions the agreement contains. He compared this to a large company looking to merge with another company. Imagine them sitting down in the boardroom and saying, “We don't have the time to study this. We don't need the numbers to analyze the deal, because obviously, bigger is better. This is a good economic principle, and therefore we just need to go ahead, no questions asked”.
Obviously, this sounds ridiculous, and yet I see the government pushing ahead with deals like CETA without having done the same due diligence. Where is the analysis of the benefits and the costs? Where is the analysis of where we are going to gain or lose jobs? Where are the consultations? Where are the studies? Canadians should expect better from their government.
My colleague the hard-working member for has done a lot of work on the trade file in the past. He developed a very pragmatic approach to assessing trade deals on the whole. He outlined several criteria for how we as parliamentarians could do our due diligence in assessing whether a trade deal is in fact in Canada's best interests.
First, is the proposed partner one who respects democracy, human rights, environmental and labour standards, and Canadian values? If there are challenges in these regards, is the partner on a positive trajectory toward these goals?
Second, is there a significant or strategic value for Canada in having a deal with the proposed partner?
Finally, is the deal itself satisfactory?
There are no easy answers, but this lens is very helpful in looking at deals and deciding whether, on balance, they make sense for Canada. I certainly considered this lens in evaluating the Canada–Ukraine FTA and, on balance, I do think this is an agreement New Democrats can support. That said, there are some areas of concern. Ukraine has had a tumultuous few years. It certainly appears to be on a positive trajectory toward a stronger, democratic society that upholds human rights, environmental standards, and labour standards. On the other hand, there continue to be conflicts and tensions, as well as some human rights concerns.
It was not very long ago that the EU postponed its trade agreement with Ukraine over concerns with human rights and democratic values. Therefore, I am hopeful that Ukraine will continue on its positive trajectory. We need to be realistic about the ongoing challenges, and therefore I would like to see a human rights impact assessment as a component of this agreement.
I have noted that the Canada–Ukraine trade relationship is a relatively small one. However, we are also historic friends, and Ukraine needs its friends very much right now. Canada sent a training mission to Ukraine in 2015, known as Operation Unifier. There was no debate in this place before 200 troops were deployed, which is a dangerous precedent. Now Ukraine is asking for Canada to extend this mission.
We also know that last year the government launched a consultation on the possible addition of Ukraine to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List. Adding Ukraine to this list would make it permissible to export Canadian-made weapons to Ukraine. The government has been dodging questions on the results of this consultation and on whether Canada will in fact add Ukraine to the list. It is time for the government to be forthcoming on this, particularly as we debate ratifying a free trade agreement with this country.
I would also like to note an environmental concern with this agreement. I read through the government's final environmental assessment of CUFTA, which is a requirement as part of the government's treaty-tabling process. The assessment makes really no mention of the impact of increased imports and exports of coal. We would like to get some more information on this, also at the committee level.
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to ask these questions of the minister when she came to our committee the other week. We had just an hour of her time to cover both CETA and CUFTA. I do hope the minister will make herself available again, as I do believe it is important to give these agreements proper study and due process.
I would like to end by reiterating that New Democrats intend to support the Canada–Ukraine free trade agreement at second reading. I have outlined some concerns with the agreement that we would like to see addressed. However, I have also outlined many benefits of the agreement. It would allow us to strengthen our historic friendship with Ukraine and would benefit various Canadian exporters. This would be the second of three pieces of trade legislation that have come before this Parliament that New Democrats support.
As I have outlined, New Democrats are strong supporters of good trade that benefits Canada. The trend of multilateral deals that deal with everything but the kitchen sink is not the way Canada should be engaging with our partners. Bilateral deals, such as the one before us today, have much clearer benefits and do not ask average Canadians to bear the brunt of extending corporate privileges to foreign investors. I look forward to seeing Bill come before the trade committee and to participating in today's debate.
As I believe this will be my last speech in this place before the House rises until January, I would like to wish my constituents and my colleagues very happy holidays and a merry Christmas. I would like to particularly thank all the people in this House who work behind the scenes to make Parliament function so well every day. I thank everyone who helps in Parliament. Merry Christmas.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have a chance to speak to Bill before us today. The bill calls on the government to take all necessary legislative steps to ratify the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, something I encourage all of us to support.
Moving forward with the ratification of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement will help to further strengthen Canada's support for Ukraine as it works toward securing its future as a stable democratic and prosperous country.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine in November 2013, Canada has been at the forefront of the international community's support for Ukraine. As part of Canada's response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and its ongoing support of the insurgency in eastern Ukraine, the Government of Canada has imposed nearly 300 sanctions, in coordination with international partners, against Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities. It also has committed more than $750 million in assistance to Ukraine, including $400 million in low-interest loans to help Ukraine stabilize its economy and more than $245 million in bilateral development assistance.
The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement complements the objectives of Canada's assistance to Ukraine: to expand opportunity to Ukrainian citizens and to contribute to a higher standard of living. This benefits Canada in terms of both promoting stability for an important ally and building a stronger market into which Canada can sell its goods.
Canada-Ukraine trade relations have been relatively modest to date, with two-way merchandise trade totalling $278 million in 2015. Canadian exports that same year totalled $210 million, while imports from Ukraine reached $68 million. There is room to grow.
Ukraine's economy has significant potential and offers diverse commercial opportunities for Canadian business, given its strategic location between Europe and Central Asia, its solid industrial base, its abundant natural resources, in particular in the agricultural and energy sectors, and its well-educated population.
The Canada-Ukraine FTA will enable our companies to take greater advantage of these opportunities with new market access and by creating more predictable conditions. That is why the legislation before us today is so important.
Let me elaborate on that. An important aspect of the agreement is the opening of new markets for Canadian goods. When the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement enters into force, it will eliminate tariffs on about 86% of current Canadian exports to Ukraine. That means that Canadian exporters will see an immediate benefit from this agreement. The balance of Ukraine's tariff reductions and eliminations will be phased out over a period of up to seven years.
At that point, the agreement will have basically eliminated all tariffs on the goods that are currently being exchanged between Canada and Ukraine. The agreement will also create more favourable conditions for exporters through important non-tariff measures. For example, the agreement includes provisions that will ensure that market access gains are not undermined by unjustified trade barriers.
This agreement includes trade facilitation measures to reduce red tape at the border, and protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, which will allow Canadian IP rights holders to do business in the Ukrainian market with increased confidence. As part of the agreement, Canada and Ukraine both commit to not levy customs duties or other charges on digital products that are transmitted electronically.
I will now talk about how this agreement will result in real benefits for Canadian businesses. In particular, the Canada-Ukrainian free trade agreement will create opportunities for important sectors of the Canadian economy, including industrial products, fish and seafood products, and agriculture and agri-food products.
From 2011 to 2015, Canada's industrial exports to Ukraine averaged approximately $123 million a year.
However, those exports are currently subject to tariffs of up to 25%. On the day the agreement comes into force, virtually all of those tariffs will be eliminated. This is good news because it will make our industrial exports to Ukraine more competitive and help our exports grow. Iron, steel, industrial machinery, and plastics are some of the products that will benefit from the agreement.
Canada's fish and seafood industry also has a lot to gain from preferential market access under the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. Canada is one of the top exporters of fish and seafood to Ukraine, with average annual exports of $31 million between 2011 and 2015. Canada is the largest exporter of frozen shrimp and cold-water shrimp to Ukraine and is one of its main suppliers of frozen hake. As in other sectors, these products are subject to tariffs of up to 20%. Once the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement eliminates tariffs for this sector, Canadian fish and seafood products will be much more competitive.
Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector will also benefit from the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. Between 2011 and 2015, Canada exported an average of $18 million worth of agriculture and agrifood products to Ukraine per year. However, those exports are subject to tariffs of up to 30%.
Once the agreement comes into force, it will eliminate the majority of those tariffs. Virtually all of the rest will be eliminated over a seven-year period. The main Canadian agricultural products that will benefit from duty-free access are beef, pulse crops, grains, canola oil, processed foods, and animal feed. Greater market access for Canadian pork exports was of particular interest during the negotiations, and one of the first things the government did to meet people's expectations was obtain duty-free access for fresh and chilled pork.
As far as the export of frozen pork and pork products is concerned, Canada will enjoy a duty-free tariff rate quota that exceeds current exports by a large margin. These tariff outcomes put Canada's pork industry on equal footing with the European Union, a key competitor in this sector. This agreement will also give Canadian companies a leg-up on competitors in all the other countries that have not concluded a free trade agreement with Ukraine.
Those are just a few of the benefits of this agreement. Our government has said from day one that trade and open markets are essential for ensuring Canada's economic prosperity. Canada is a trading nation. We know that with increased trade come more well-paying jobs.
Our government also wants to work on growing a more inclusive economy to ensure that the trade benefits are distributed better. We must ensure that the increased trade and investment strengthens the middle class. We must also ensure that the trade benefits do not come at the expense of environmental protection, labour rights, and the rights of governments to make rules in the public interest.
Our government is committed to making trade progressive, as we have demonstrated with the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union, and we continue to demonstrate with this agreement. The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement integrates a number of key progressive trade components to ensure that economic gains are not achieved at the expense of the values and priorities that are important to Canadians.
The labour-related commitments made in the agreement require both countries to enforce their laws in this area, and those laws must be in line with the International Labour Organization's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This includes strengthening the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of child labour and forced labour, and the elimination of discrimination in the workplace.
The agreement also includes occupational health and safety protections, acceptable minimum employment standards, and non-discrimination provisions to protect migrant workers.
The commitments made in this agreement also emphasize the importance of co-operation on labour issues and include mechanisms to monitor compliance with labour-related commitments, as well as a dispute settlement mechanism that can result in monetary penalties. These are the most comprehensive labour-related commitments ever negotiated by Ukraine.
The Canada-Ukraine FTA also includes a chapter on the environment that involves substantive and binding commitments. The agreement's environmental chapter contains commitments to maintain high levels of environmental protection as we intensify our trade relationship. Importantly, both Canada and Ukraine commit to not lowering their levels of protection in order to attract trade or investment.
This agreement's environment chapter reflects Canadian values that trade liberalization and environmental protection should be mutually supportive. To support these obligations and ensure that they are respected, the environment chapter includes a distinct dispute resolution mechanism with recourse to an independent panel of experts. Canada and Ukraine also agreed to work together to implement the panel's recommendations.
In addition, the agreement contains commitments ensuring the transparency of the parties' domestic administrations including the prompt publication of legislative, regulatory, procedural, and administrative rulings.
Furthermore, the agreement contains a robust state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism that includes a binding, compulsory panel procedure. This dispute settlement mechanism reinforces Canada's commitment to transparency.
The Canada-Ukraine FTA also includes a number of commitments on anti-corruption. For instance, it obliges the parties to adopt, maintain, and enforce anti-corruption legislation and related measures, in particular to adopt or maintain measures to establish acts of bribery and corruption involving public officials as criminal offences. It also obliges Canada and Ukraine to ensure that they have jurisdiction over these criminal offences. These obligations are also supported by a dispute settlement mechanism involving an independent panel if parties are not able to resolve an issue related to these anti-corruption commitments.
Furthermore, the Canada-Ukraine FTA contains provisions ensuring the ability of the governments to regulate in the public interest, including specific provisions that preserve the right to protect national security; human, animal, or plant life or health; as well as the right to pursue cultural objectives.
Finally, trade-related co-operation is another important element of the Canada-Ukraine FTA, which will indeed facilitate co-operation between Canada and Ukraine, with the objective of maximizing the benefits from the agreement and contributing to sustainable development, for example, through capacity-building, joint activities in research, and the transfer of technological skills and practice.
Canada's strong friendship and partnership with Ukraine has very deep roots, stretching back 125 years to the arrival of the first Ukrainian immigrants to Canada, the first of successive waves of immigrants who would leave lasting and indelible impressions on the fabric of our Canadian society, economy, and political landscape.
Today, there are more than 1.2 million Canadians with Ukrainian heritage, including a number in this House, making the Ukrainian community one of Canada's largest ethnic communities and an important source of information and support in the political, security, and commercial spheres for both Canada and Ukraine. Such deep ties are important for many reasons. Strong trade relationships depend on strong people-to-people relationships.
Our government believes that these uncertain economic times call for more global partnerships, not less. Moving forward with the timely ratification of the Canada-Ukraine FTA will establish a more stable trading environment that will be beneficial for both Canada and Ukraine, strengthening our bilateral relations, supporting Canada's foreign policy objectives, and enhancing commercial opportunities that can contribute to sustainable economic development.
I therefore urge all hon. members to support Bill to help us to accomplish that and a great deal more.
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise to join this exciting and important debate about ratifying the Canada-Ukraine free trade deal. This is an agreement and legislation that all parties in the House support, at least the three major parties. We are grateful for that and the statement it makes about Canada's co-operation with Ukraine.
I want to share a bit of the history of the Canada-Ukraine co-operation and talk specifically about some issues in Ukraine. Then I will also make a plea to the government to consider doing more when it comes to this co-operation. I think there is some pulling back in terms of this important relationship that has happened under the current government, not so much on the economic front but on other fronts. I want to draw the attention of members to that issue and again ask members of Parliament and the government to do more, because we are, indeed, talking about a relationship that is critically important for both countries.
I had the honour of visiting Ukraine in August of this year. I stayed in a hotel that overlooks Independence Square. I was there when this young nation marked its 25th anniversary and it was such a powerful experience for me. Canada is coming up to its 150th anniversary, an important milestone for our country, but we experience our founding moments as a matter of history and not so much a matter of immediate personal experience. They are part of our collective memory, but not part of any of our individual memories. Even so, our founding did not come out of occupation.
Being in Ukraine for this 25th anniversary was so powerful on multiple levels. The history of the occupation of all of Ukraine is very immediate. Most Ukrainians will remember what it was like to live under Soviet occupation, but Ukraine is also a country that is currently being occupied by Russia and Russian-backed entities. There is no doubt that there is a great deal of sorrow about the ongoing challenges and the occupation, but there is also a great pride in Ukraine about what this young nation has been able to accomplish.
Ukraine has been compared to the mythological creature, the phoenix, that dies and is continually dramatically reborn. This is the story of Ukraine, entirely irrepressible and continually reborn in the midst of a very harsh environment geopolitically in terms of the neighbour it has to deal with. The current incarnation of the Ukrainian state has, indeed, accomplished so much in a short time, so much since its founding 25 years ago and since the Euromaidan movement, which started about three years ago.
Eastern Europe, like many parts of the world, is a place where the shifting sands or, in this case, we might say the shifting snows, of empire have left a multicultural and multi-ethnic reality that makes the definition of ethnic borders quite difficult. This is sort of true of Canada as well, although we generally think of our multiculturalism here as being voluntary. Much, though not all, of our diversity is the product of immigration and accommodation as opposed to conquest. However, Ukraine emerged only recently from occupation, an occupation that included genocide, which was followed, in turn, by the sending of ethnic Russians into communities that had previously been inhabited by Ukrainians.
Therefore, as we think about Ukrainian identity and the reality of the Ukrainian state, it might be worth suggesting and understanding that, though quite diverse, Ukraine has found itself in a place of what we might call involuntary diversity. During the occupation, people were sent there and this was a situation that the Ukrainian state, upon coming into existence, found itself in. That history, obviously, has made certain cultural ties between Ukraine and Russia inevitable.
Because of this, we hear some political narrative from people with an interest in propelling this narrative about division, the claim that Ukraine is divided between east and west, between Ukrainian and Russian speakers, and along ethnic and religious lines. However, what I found when I was in Ukraine in August, what I observed and what I was told, is that Ukraine is a diverse but also a deeply united country, indeed, united in its intention to resist foreign aggression, a country that, in the midst of a history of involuntary diversity, is choosing to build a shared civic nationalism, with shared values and shared cultural touchstones as well.
It is within this context, and other members have already referred to this, that we hear about an interest in the Canadian model of unity around common values in spite of differences.
I mentioned my hotel room, when I was in Ukraine, overlooked Independence Square, which was the centre of a movement that started about three years ago, called the Euromaidan movement, where protestors bravely resisted a corrupt Russian-backed autocrat Viktor Yanukovych and successfully forced him from power.
As we have a discussion today about a trade deal with Ukraine, it is worth reminding ourselves that the spark that set off that conflict, initially, was actually a discussion about trade. The then government of Ukraine decided not to pursue closer economic integration with Europe, despite previous commitments to do that.
As we think about that, and we think about the debate we are having today, it is a good reminder that trade association, in this context, is not principally about the economy. It was, for Ukraine, about independence and identity. The initial decision to not proceed with this agreement would have left Ukraine in a position of serious economic vulnerability and, therefore, geopolitical dependence on Russia.
The Russian regime, the Putin regime, did not want Ukraine to be able to develop trading relationships that affirm and deepen its independent western and European identity; hence, the pressure that was put on Yanukovych. This was a key pivot point associated with a discussion about trade.
Because of the bravery of protesters who risked and, in some cases, gave their lives, Ukraine positioned itself to start a stronger future as a more independent, more European, more western-looking nation. It was a brave and proud moment for Ukrainian nationals.
Russian propaganda, then and since, tries to dismiss Ukrainian nationalism, in general, and the Euromaidan movement, in particular, as being about narrowly xenophobic and ethnic nationalism, even anti-Semitism and white supremacy; but the reality could not be further from the truth.
In fact, these messages are particularly ironic when we identify Russian support for far right movements in Europe. The Russian regime and its enablers and useful idiots in the west peddle an exclusive colonialist vision of nationalism that suggests they have a right to seek to control affairs in countries that they have historically bullied or occupied, their so-called sphere of influence.
No sovereign state has a right to bully another on the basis of cultural ties or historic claims to so-called sphere of influence. There is no moral or legal justification for such bullying, and there never has been.
However, while the Russian state peddles narrow and ethnocentric nationalism, the Ukrainian nationalism that spawned the Euromaidan move is open, pluralistic, and democratic, and it has strengthened Ukraine and it continues to strengthen Ukraine.
When I was there, I spoke with young Ukrainians who participated in the Euromaidan movement, of all varied ethnic and religious backgrounds. I met with Jewish leaders, one of whom led a Jewish brigade in the Maidan. I met Muslim Crimean Tatar leaders who have inspired their fellow Ukrainians by showing as great a pride in their predominantly Christian country as anyone else.
We have an opportunity tonight in the vote to recognize the genocide they have faced and to do something very important for this community.
We have Muslim Ukrainians, ethnic Tatar Ukrainians, Jewish Ukrainians, Russian-speaking Ukrainians, Polish Ukrainians, Catholic Ukrainians, Orthodox Ukrainians, Ukrainian Ukrainians. They are all Ukrainians, united by culture, to some extent, but, more important, by common Ukrainian values of independence and democracy.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine sought to capitalize on a moment of weakness but, in fact, it united Ukrainians more than ever in a commitment to share civic nationalism, and to the western and European values that spawned Euromaidan in the first place.
Ukraine's success was never inevitable, but her people have shown, and continue to show, inspiring and inspired courage.
Trade with Ukraine is economically useful, but it is also a moral and strategic imperative. We must use our own significant and unique cultural ties with Ukraine to ensure that this brave nation is never again as vulnerable to the bullying of Russia as it once was. Its independence requires economic ties with nations that will respect that independence and, indeed, that share its values.
We share cultural ties with Ukraine, but also we have a common approach to nationalism, a love of country rooted in shared civic values, not in ethnic exclusiveness or a desire to dominate someone else.
While I am pleased to see a certain consensus in the House around the need to have a strong relationship with Ukraine and to support Ukraine, we need to do more and better when it comes to standing up for Ukraine. I want to identify three specific areas where the government can do a better job when it comes to standing by our important partner.
The first thing we can do is to do more for domestic human rights issues inside Russia. Why would I say that in the context of a debate about Ukraine? Because we know, and we can see as we look at different conflicts around the world, that a government that is a menace to its own people is necessarily going to be a menace to international peace and security. When a government is aggressive and hostile toward its neighbours, we know that will also likely lead to or be associated with the repression of human rights domestically.
It is in the midst of the Russian attempt to distract attention from domestic challenges, economic challenges, and human rights issues inside Russia that it is undertaking this aggressive activity in other countries. Therefore, we need to be very clear about the fact that human rights in Russia must not be sacrificed. There is a very concrete way that we can do it. We can support and pass Magnitsky sanctions, which specifically target human rights abusers associated with the Russian regime. This is a piece of innovative political technology that targets, with sanctions, individuals involved in human rights abuses. Unlike in times passed, the autocrats of the world and those around them often enjoyed having investments in and travelling to countries in the west. By working with our allies to impose these individual targeted Magnitsky sanctions, we can make a real concrete difference for human rights in Russia.
This is something I know individual members of the government support, but so far we have seen in statements made by the , a reluctance to move forward with this. I think we know why. Because the government is pursuing a policy of closer relations with the Russian government. It justifies it on the basis that if we engage, we could talk about human rights issues. I would be more sympathetic to that if we actually saw the government using engagement as a means to advance human rights issues, if it was talking to the Russians but still insisting on Canadian values and still insisting, for instance, on the implementation of Magnitsky sanctions. However, that has not been the tone, and does not seem to be the direction, at least, that the current Minister of Foreign Affairs is setting.
I encourage all members of the House to understand the importance of Magnitsky sanctions. This is not a piece of political technology that is limited in its effectiveness to Russia. We should explore the use of Magnitsky sanctions in many different places to target human rights abusers, but let us take this vital step. It is a step that is important to Ukrainians and the Ukrainian community in Canada. They want to see their Russian neighbours enjoying the same freedoms that people in Ukraine and Canada enjoy. I think they understand that a Russia that is genuinely free and democratic can be a good neighbour to Ukraine, at some point in the future we hope. However, as long as there is internal repression of human rights in Russia, there is a greater threat that exists to Ukraine and other countries in the region.
Number one is to do more for human rights inside Russia.
Number two is that the government needs to strengthen military co-operation with Ukraine. We hear a lot from members of the government about the need to be engaged as a strategic partner with Ukraine. However, there is one simple thing they could do, which is to reverse a step they took back on May 6 of this year. At the time of the previous government, the Harper government, it was agreed that we would share information from Canadian satellites with the Ukrainian armed forces. This information was very helpful in their fight with Russian-backed entities in eastern Ukraine. This was a decision the previous government undertook, but then it was reversed by the Liberal government. We have stopped providing these satellite images.
I have asked this question of multiple members of the government today, and it is important that we continue to ask this question. No justification has been given for withdrawing the use of this imagery in terms of giving it to the Ukraine government. We can imagine what the reasoning might be. We can only assume that the Russians wanted Canada to stop providing this information to Ukrainian authorities and that the Liberal government decided to listen to the wishes and the interests of the Russians. The reality is that this satellite imaging was extremely helpful to the Ukrainian armed forces. It was right for us to be providing this strategic support. As of May 6 of this year, Canada stopped providing these images.
I have a quote from Ivan Katchanovski, a political science professor at the University of Ottawa. He said, “I think this was a sign of a possible change in the Canadian stance toward Ukraine”. He noted as well that budgetary considerations were unlikely to be the real reason for these decisions.
These images are being taken anyway. Canada has these satellites, so sharing these images with the Ukrainian government does not strike me as a difficult or challenging thing to do. If the Russians are against it and the Liberal government is being overly-influenced by Russian interests, then that obviously creates a problem for Ukraine. Ukraine is in a battle for its very existence and Canada needs to be there. We need to provide these satellite images.
For all of the government members who are giving flowery speeches about the need to support Ukraine and to work with Ukraine, I ask them to take this simple step and show goodwill, show that they actually want to co-operate. That would be proof positive of a real commitment to working with Ukraine. However, it looks like, on the one hand, there is this discussion of the need to work with Ukraine. On the other hand, there is this pulling back of support. There seems to be a dissidence between what is being said and the reality, at least as it pertains to military co-operation.
We need to strengthen military co-operation with Ukraine. This would mean the continuation of the training mission that began under the previous government, which is up for renewal in March 2017. We have yet to hear a formal commitment with respect to continuing that support. It would be really unfortunate if the government did not continue to provide Ukraine with what it needed in addition to the satellite imagery we pulled back in other areas.
The final point I want to make with respect to Canada's co-operation with Ukraine is on the areas in which we can do more. We can reinstate initiatives that were aimed at promoting communal harmony in Ukraine. When I was in Ukraine in August, it was interesting to have discussions with people about the issues of some of the religious tension that existed. There have been significant concerns about faith-based persecution taking place in Crimea and in other Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, the persecution especially of Catholics and Protestants, as well as some persecution targeted at the Muslim community.
As we think about that, it is important to recognize that under the previous government, we had the Office of Religious Freedom. It provided funding for on-the-ground projects aimed at building harmony between different communities. That office had projects inside of Ukraine aimed at bringing together some of the different religious elements and promoting communal harmony, this being important for the ongoing unity of the Ukrainian state.
During a debate we had in the spring about the Office of Religious Freedom, one member from the NDP suggested that the fact we were putting money into projects on religious freedom in Ukraine suggested that this office was somehow political, as if to suggest that there were no real issues with communal harmony in Ukraine but especially as we saw the persecution of certain faith groups in Russian-occupied parts of eastern Ukraine. There is a need for Canada to be involved in that conversation, and we can provide meaningful support.
I am pleased to support this free trade deal, but I am also eager to urge the government to do more when it comes to helping Ukraine, to do more for human rights inside Russia, to strengthen our military co-operation with Ukraine, reverse the decision with regard to satellite imaging, and reinstate international initiatives aimed at promoting communal harmony, especially which have benefits for Ukraine. We could do these things. We could actually put our money where our mouths are when it comes to helping that country in addition to this important step today, which is the free trade deal.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for .
It is my honour to rise in the House today on behalf of my riding of Parkdale—High Park to speak in favour of Bill . Our government signed the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement on July 11, 2016. It is now time to ratify that agreement here in the House of Commons.
This deal represents an important milestone in the Canada-Ukraine bilateral relationship. The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement is sound economic policy that will meet the needs of businesses, industry, and consumers in both Canada and Ukraine. It will also continue to strengthen Canada's relationship with Ukraine by fostering important cultural ties and social growth between our two countries.
Finally, the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement makes an important contribution to Canadian foreign policy by helping consolidate Ukraine's place in Europe while keeping in check aggressive foreign powers in the region.
I want to begin today by outlining the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement's economic benefits. Not only does this agreement serve as an opportunity to export Canadian goods abroad, but Canadians across the country will also benefit from a diverse range of Ukrainian goods that will come into Canada. This will translate into dynamic business opportunities in both countries and means that Canadian consumers from Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian backgrounds alike will have easy, affordable access to the products they demand.
Our industries will benefit from tariff-free iron, steel, and minerals. Ordinary Canadians will find new occasions to sample specialty Ukrainian confectionaries and beverages. This includes enticing treats such as Ukrainian chocolate, baked goods, and even Ukrainian vodka, just in time to warm us up over the holidays.
These goods will all be tariff free, which means that middle-class Canadians will pay less in stores for the same high-quality goods. The same could be said of our Ukrainian allies. Their consumers will enjoy more affordable Canadian beef, pork, and seafood, which will translate into increased demand for our Canadian producers and manufacturers.
Canada and Ukraine are already important trading partners and our economic relationship continues to grow with each passing year. In 2015, bilateral trade between our two countries increased by 14% over 2014, totalling almost $278 million. Of that, Canada's exports to Ukraine reached approximately $210 million. This is clearly a business opportunity we cannot afford to miss out on, as it will accelerate the growth of both of our economies.
The evidence is clear. One need only consider the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Over a period of 12 years, merchandise trade between Canada and the United States has more than doubled. Over the same period, merchandise trade between Canada and Mexico has increased eightfold and continues to rise by 10% per year. Our economic integration with each of these countries encourages the development of Canadian businesses and makes them more competitive. The same thing will happen with Ukraine. We will see a positive impact throughout Europe.
However, this is not just about imports and exports. The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, like all such free trade deals, would ensure that our trading relationships follow predictable rules and include reduced technical barriers. As a result, our businesses will be better prepared to offer value-added products and services to markets across the globe.
Despite the widely acclaimed fiscal effects of free trade agreements like the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, this accord has important implications beyond its economic benefits for both countries. Bill will strengthen Canada-Ukraine relations. That is why the 7,000 proud Ukrainian-Canadians in my riding of Parkdale—High Park have been advocating for free trade. That is why leaders like Paul Grod, Renata Roman, and Taras Bahriy of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress have been working so hard to see the finalization of this agreement. That is why Marc Marzotto, the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Toronto, wants to see the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement ratified here in the House of Commons. That is why I receive numerous communications from my constituents, people like Leda Lada and Anna Semotiuk, who lead the Ukrainian social services; and people like Ludmila Kolesnichenko of the Canada-Ukraine Immigrant Aid Society; and people like Andre Sochaniwsky from the Ukrainian Credit Union. All of them all care deeply not just about this agreement but about the future of the Canada-Ukraine relationship.
I thank all of these individuals and groups for their continued advocacy.
[Member spoke in Ukrainian]
Mr. Speaker, all of these advocates know that concluding a free trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine would strengthen the ties between our two countries. When we facilitate and promote trade relations with other nations, we open channels of communication with them. We create opportunities for dialogue, growth, and mutual understanding, and these channels inevitably lead to closer relations.
This means that Canada is building trust with Ukraine and, in turn, Ukraine is building trust with Canada. We are forging pathways to share more than just our trade goods. We will strengthen the cultural exchange between our two nations and will be in a better position to promote our interests in Ukraine and learn more about what Ukraine can offer in Canada.
We have heard many people today debate this issue. We know that Ukrainian culture and history are already woven into the tapestry of Canadian heritage. Canada is home to 1.3 million people of Ukrainian descent. We started to welcome Ukrainians to our shores 125 years ago, so Ukrainians' contributions to our country's history are vast and deep.
We celebrate those contributions each year in my riding at the Bloor West Village Toronto Ukrainian Festival, one of the single largest annual celebrations of Ukrainian culture in North America. In 1991, Canada was the first western nation to recognize Ukraine's independence, on December 2 of that year. On behalf of my riding of Parkdale—High Park and the thousands of members of the Ukrainian diaspora within my community, I welcome the opportunity, through the ratification of this trade agreement, to work even more closely with the Ukrainian community.
The ratification of this free trade agreement could not come at a more critical time. Crimea has been illegally annexed and a war is raging in the Donbass region. Our government has made commitments to defend Ukrainian interests against increasing Russian intervention and aggression, and free trade is yet another means of doing this. This trade accord is a symbol of our steadfast support and solidarity with Ukraine and its interests. This agreement would not only benefit Ukraine by contributing to the economic power it needs to assert on the world stage, but it would also strengthen the economic and cultural relationship between Ukraine and the European Union. Allow me to explain.
Canada and Ukraine both have free trade agreements with the EU. Thanks to our government's efforts, Canada has signed on to CETA, while Ukraine has a deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU. These triangular trade relations are significant for several reasons. First, triangular trade means that Ukraine can enter trade markets worth roughly $500 billion. By entering into agreements with both Canada and the EU, Ukraine is opening itself up for investment. This investment means growth for Ukraine, as well as for Canada. The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement has been cited as a means of reducing unemployment in Ukraine and helping strengthen the overall economy.
Currently, Russia has an economic blockade on Ukraine, so free trade with Canada is an opportunity for Ukraine to diversify its markets. It is also an opportunity for Canada to fill the void in the Ukrainian market left by Russian sanctions against Ukraine. Thus, through the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, Ukraine will be in a better position to stand strong against Russian economic influence and to take control of its own priorities on its own terms.
Members of the House will recall that Ukraine's assertion of economic sovereignty and its move towards Europe and the west was the very genesis of the original Orange Revolution in Ukraine against Russian influence. This free trade agreement would make the liberalization of Ukraine's economy more viable and facilitate Ukrainian self-determination and autonomy. Canada's involvement in this agreement would help ensure that the number and quality of Ukrainian exports would increase and match the EU and Canada's quality and safety standards. Thus, it strengthens incentives for Ukraine to move away from the soviet-influenced standards, with which it has been burdened for so long.
This demonstrates that Bill is not only economically sound for both Canada and Ukraine but is also ethically responsible. Ukraine's evolving regulatory standards can be aligned with Canadian and European standards for safety, intellectual property rights, and environmental protections, thus paving the way for responsible, clean, and ethical investment. This also means that Canada will be in a better position to support Ukraine's democratic transformation.
I want to conclude simply by re-emphasizing how important the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement is for the Ukrainian community in my riding of Parkdale-High Park and for the Ukrainian-Canadian diaspora across the country. The agreement would cement the deep historical, cultural, social, and economic ties between our two nations. This agreement is sound economic policy and would facilitate dialogue between Canada and Ukraine, social and cultural ties, and aligns with our ethical duties to support our allies in eastern Europe against foreign aggression.
I stand in support of Bill , I stand in support of Ukraine, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the chamber to do the same.
Mr. Speaker, I speak today in support of Bill , an act to implement the free trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine.
This agreement and the related legislation are part of the government's ambitious, consistent, and very progressive free trade agenda. They are part of our strong drive to get Canadian goods and services to foreign markets. The Canada–Ukraine free trade agreement represents an important milestone in the Canada–Ukraine bilateral relationship.
It would benefit Canadian businesses and Canadian workers. It would also benefit Ukrainian businesses and Ukrainian people. Since the 1880s, Ukrainian immigrants have come to Canada to embrace the opportunity to work, to prosper, and to raise their families in peace and freedom. For over 120 years, Ukrainian culture has enriched the Canadian landscape in every facet in our communities.
In my riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville, we have a strong, vibrant Ukrainian diaspora. Being married to someone of Ukrainian heritage, my wife Christina Yaremczuk, I see what Ukrainian Canadians bring to the community. Both of my twin boys dance in a Ukrainian folklore dance group. It is led by Pan Fedyr Danylak. It is a great dance group. It has travelled globally. It has visited many countries. It has been here in Ottawa. I had a chance to host the group here on the Hill. The Barvinok Ukrainian dance group really is an enlightenment of all the Ukrainian culture, and the members bring that to so many audiences through song and dance.
At this time of year, we also celebrated Yarmarok just recently and the harvest festival, and we are getting ready for the Christmas season. Having a wife of Ukrainian background means I get to celebrate Christmas twice. We have the Orthodox Christmas as well as the Christian Christmas. Our house is full of joy for a little longer
There is also a solemn time when we remember those who lost their lives in the Holodomor, in 1932 and 1933, in a genocide, a famine, constructed by Stalin, the starvation of so many Ukrainians. Millions of Ukrainians lost their lives, and we remember. I am so proud of St. Mary's church, just down the street from my house. There is a memorial to the victims of the Holodomor, those who lost their lives and their families.
In Canada's global market access plan, Ukraine is designated a priority emerging market with specific opportunities for Canadian businesses. This trade treaty is the result of Canada pursuing that priority and seeking those opportunities for Canadian businesses.
In addition to generating commercial benefits for Canadian businesses, CUFTA would support economic reform and development efforts of the Government of Ukraine, strengthen partnerships between our two countries, and help pave the way toward long-term development.
The business opportunities provided by this agreement would be particularly promising for agricultural industries, our seafood businesses, and our industrial sector. The strengthened business ties in these and other sectors would have obvious benefits across Canada. Regarding agriculture, specifically, the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance says:
Free-trade agreements such as the agreement with Ukraine will help Canadians involved in our globally competitive agri-food export sector....
This agreement would eventually see the Ukrainian tariffs on our agricultural products reduced from as high as 14% to zero. Given Ukraine's significant unconventional oil and gas deposits, opportunities for our oil and gas technology and related industries is very apparent. Co-operation and joint ventures are all possibilities.
Currently, a far too modest amount of trade happens between Canada and Ukraine, but this is no reason to forgo or to ignore the tremendous opportunity. Rather, these moderate numbers should spur us on to seize this chance to grow our mutual trade into a much more substantial economic relationship.
This agreement would eliminate tariff and other barriers to mutual trade; thus it would provide new and growing export opportunities for Canadian business. Our goods and services would be more competitive in Ukraine. This would mean more good Canadian jobs and a wider range of less-expensive Ukrainian imports for our consumers. Canadians would benefit from both results of this free trade agreement.
This trade growth would result in more job opportunities here in Canada and in Ukraine. This would increase our middle class. I wish to remind everyone that export-related jobs are particularly important because wages in the industries that emphasize exports tend to be 50% higher than wages in those sectors that are not export oriented. Economically disadvantaged Canadians would be more likely to be able to work their way into the middle class because of this treaty.
Our other properly negotiated and implemented free trade agreements and our other non-trade related policies will further empower those struggling to join our middle class.
The opportunity to have a chance to seize with this free trade agreement and legislation is another illustration of how Canada derives strength and prosperity through its diversity. We are strong because of our diversity, not in spite of our differences.
In this case, we would utilize the talents of all Canadians, but particularly those Canadians with Ukrainian heritage. Ukrainian Canadians would contribute disproportionately to the strengthened business ties we would build with Ukraine because of this agreement.
The importance of this Ukrainian diaspora in Canada warrants mention of a few perhaps overlooked facts about these Canadians. These facts illustrate how broadly and deeply Ukrainian Canadians are woven into our Canadian fabric.
First, Canada is the home of the largest number of Ukrainian descendants in the world outside of Ukraine and Russia. They number 1.3 million Canadians.
Second, Ukrainian Canadians do not all live in the prairie provinces. Large numbers of Ukrainian Canadians are found from coast to coast to coast. Especially in the GTA, there are many Ukrainians, many of them living in my riding: I believe the number is around 8,000 or 9,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent. These illustrations demonstrate what a mark Ukrainian Canadians have made on our fabric, and they have made it much richer and stronger.
While certainly there are differences between Canada and Ukraine, we have much in common. Canada and Ukraine are both middle powers. We share a similar climate. We have roughly the same size populations. Canada and Ukraine must trade to survive, and we both must trade intelligently to prosper. The Canada–Ukraine free trade agreement is exactly that smart free trade that we both need.
In addition to the mutual economic benefits of this free trade treaty, it is appropriate that Canada show strong support for the Ukrainian people. This support is warranted because Ukraine has added much to Canada's strength and prosperity. This was accomplished through the welcome and positive contribution of successive waves of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. We have benefited from this immigration for over a century. There is not one aspect of Canadian life that these immigrants and their descendants have not enriched.
When we formed government, the 's mandate letter highlighted our commitment to deepening trade links with traditional and new trading partners. This agreement, along with CETA, would do just that. Both these treaties can be seen as part of a worldwide attempt to build bridges. These bridges, while primarily economic, have broader non-economic implications. Those implications extend to strengthening culture, governance, development, and security. Further, each properly constituted free trade agreement between any two countries serves to build a global culture of mutually beneficial interdependence that benefits all the world's peoples.
During our successful campaign to win Canadians' trust in 2015, in our real change platform, we promised to get Canadian goods to market. We made it clear to Canadians that trade is vital for our economy. When implemented, this progressive agreement would generate opportunities for Canadians and Ukrainians, create new jobs, and help to grow the middle class. This agreement and this legislation is a significant part of our fulfilling that promise, and I wholeheartedly support it.
Mr. Speaker, “Canada is a friend, indeed”. Those five words, spoken by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, state a very simple truth. When one thinks of the many kinds of relationships two countries can have, such as enemies, allies, partners, and competitors, none of these words touch as far or as deeply as being described as a friend. However, can countries be friends? That is a great question and one I hope members of this chamber will let me answer.
Before I go down this path any further, I would like to inform you, Mr. Speaker, that I will be sharing my time with my friend from .
One of my favourite authors and speakers, in defining the very term friend, remarked that a friend is a person who will come and get us. He remarked that if he ever found himself locked up in a foreign jail and unduly accused, a true friend would, despite the obstacles and accusations, come and get him and take him home. Despite all the relationships he had built and acquired over a lifetime of business and philanthropic activities, filled with hundreds of acquaintances, partners, co-chairs, and colleagues, only one, perhaps two, would meet the standard of what it would be to be a friend. Sure, many would sympathize and say, “I totally understand your situation, and I wish there was something I could do. Please let me know when you get back stateside”. Ultimately, only a friend would come and get him, no questions asked, no matter what.
Friends will come and get us, no matter what. Friends are the ones who stand at our side during our most difficult times. They will also be there when we need to hear something, even if we do not like hearing it, and especially if we do not like hearing it.
We all know the challenges the Ukrainian people have faced and continue to face right now. Many of us were in this very chamber in September 2014 and heard the very dark assessment given by President Poroshenko that Ukrainian freedoms were being paid for in Ukrainian blood and that it was important for countries like Canada, nay, friends like Canada, to stand fast.
There is no way for Canada to simply come and get Ukraine, nor is there any way to change its geographic locale, which is of such strategic concern that Russia, whether we are speaking of the former Russian Empire, the later Soviet Union, or its current incarnation and administration, simply refuses to leave it alone. However, there are things we can do.
When Russia invaded Crimea, Canada was certainly outspoken, and this was epitomized by the former prime minister, upon shaking the hand of Vladimir Putin, telling him clearly, “get out of Ukraine”. The previous government promised and delivered monetary support, non-lethal defensive equipment, and satellite imaging for intelligence support. While I wish to say that all these efforts and more continue, alas, citing budgetary reasons, the current government has cancelled its satellite imaging. That is regretful and something I hope the government will reconsider.
I realize that some members will cite the continuing efforts to apply economic sanctions, and that is good. I encourage the government to do all it can on this front. I would also like to encourage the Liberals not to dismiss the good work of my colleague, the MP for , with his Bill , the justice for victims of corrupt foreign officials act.
With all of that said, I would like to now direct my comments to Bill . As we have said, Ukraine has many challenges: invasion; corruption; its fiscal and financial development; and meeting the needs and expectations of its people, who have clearly said, through marches, protests, and ultimately at the ballot box, that its future is to be an open, free economy and society, much like Canada is today.
The challenges are large. Let me read from an international monetary analyst, Mr. Benn Steil:
In April 2013, Ukraine was sporting a massive current account deficit of eight percent, and it badly needed dollars to pay for vital imports. Yet on April 10, President Viktor Yanukovych’s government rejected terms set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $15 billion financial assistance package, choosing instead to continue financing the gap between its domestic production and its much higher consumption by borrowing dollars privately from abroad. So a week later, Kiev issued a ten-year, $1.25 billion eurobond, which cash-flush foreign investors gobbled up at a 7.5 percent yield.
Everything seemed to be going swimmingly, until May 22, when the U.S. Federal Reserve’s then chair, Ben Bernanke, suggested that the Fed might, if the U.S. economy continued improving, soon begin to pare back, or “taper,” its monthly purchases of U.S. Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. The Fed had begun the purchases the previous September in order to push down long-term interest rates and encourage private lending; their end would mean higher yields on longer-maturity U.S. bonds, making developing markets decidedly less attractive. Investors in Ukrainian bonds therefore reacted savagely to the taper talk, dumping them and sending their yields soaring to near 11 percent, a level at which they would remain for most of the rest of the year.
Ukraine’s financial problems had been mounting over many years, but it was the mere prospect of the Fed pumping fewer new dollars into the market each month that pushed the cost of rolling over its debt—that is, paying off old obligations with new bonds—beyond Kiev’s capacity to pay. Had the Fed stayed dovish, Ukraine could have at least delayed its financial crisis, and a crisis delayed can be a crisis averted. Yanukovych ultimately turned for help to Moscow, which successfully demanded that he abandon an association agreement with the European Union in return. Ukrainians took to the streets—and the rest is history.
Like many countries, it can be difficult to exist in a global market where investment can disappear overnight. The only protection is a thriving economy where domestic industries can build competitive advantage and compete internationally. Forming stronger, long-term, and diversified trade will create jobs and a more sustainable tax base that will help Ukraine.
Whatever members have heard, and despite what the NDP likes to say, Canada knows very well the benefits of trade. I mentioned the importance of the stabilizing effect trade can have on an economy when it expands trade. I mentioned an expanded tax base. When a country has a stable tax base, there are more resources for citizens for health care, schools, important productive infrastructure, such as a new bridge or airport, and quality-of-life infrastructure, such as advanced waste water management or water treatment. It also allows for institutions of the state, like tax collection and a well-resourced legal framework with authorities, that can help tackle institutional corruption and make them more inclusive.
More inclusive institutions are better equipped to help receive and share information with the public through access to information and better public monitoring of elected and other public officials. This creates a more open and productive society, and Canada can help by sharing its experiences.
It is also important for us to see that we have a way to go when it comes to transparency and making sure that corruption is stamped out. One only has to see the damage to the institutions of government, and not just to the Liberal Party's brand, when Canadians can plainly see either preferential access to elected decision-makers or perceived preferential access with cash for access fundraisers.
Let us celebrate our way of life here in Canada, but let us not be blind to our own conduct as we encourage institutional development internationally in countries that seek a path similar to Canada's.
I return to the words of President Poroshenko: “Canada is a friend, indeed”. There is much to support in Bill . There is much promised and made good by the previous government, and to some extent, the current Liberal government as well. However, like a friendship, it never ends until we part ways personally or through death. I would suggest, in answering the question of whether countries can be friends, that yes, they can be. However, until we see the Ukrainian people through these dark days, stand firm with them, share with them our concerns, and help them through this trying time, only then can we say, in response to President Poroshenko, “Canada is a friend in deed”.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill , the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement implementation act.
Our Conservative Party supports Bill , as do most parties in this House.
CUFTA was successfully negotiated and concluded on July 14, 2015, by our previous Conservative government. As the Right Honourable Stephen Harper stated, “The Ukrainian people want a western future, a future of prosperity.”
I look back to this summer when we had a number of Ukrainian interns on the Hill working for many members of Parliament from all different sides of the House. We could see in their eyes and in their souls that they were looking for a future for their country. They were here to learn about democracy from us. They came to our offices and we shared stories and developed a trust and respect between the members of Parliament and these interns. My intern Mariia was an inspiration and the model of a young Ukrainian youth looking to the future. I was so proud of them. I met with the whole group of 30-something one night and bought them pizza. We sat and had pizza, pop, and maybe the odd beer. We had great discussions and developed relationships. It made me so proud of my heritage. I am from Ukraine. My grandparents are Ukrainian on both sides. I am wearing a Ukrainian tie today. I see that some of my colleagues across the floor are wearing Ukrainian dress. I appreciate and thank them for that.
CUFTA is consistent with the previous Conservative government's economic action plan 2015, which committed to jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. This bill supports the Conservative Party's pro-trade plan, which aims to diversify trade and enable companies to benefit from new opportunities.
Once in force, this agreement would eliminate 99.9% of the tariffs on current imports from the Ukraine to Canada, and 86% of Ukrainian tariffs on Canadian products, including such things as industrial goods, wood products, and fish and seafood products. This would benefit both Canadian and Ukrainian exporters and consumers.
Between 2011 and 2013, my part of the country, western Canada, on average exported about $80 million annually to Ukraine. Some of the top exports from western Canada included frozen hake, bituminous coal, reservoir tanks and similar containers, parts of boring or sinking machines for drilling, air compressors and other similar equipment, seeders and planters, and that which I think is most important, frozen pork. Why do I think frozen pork is so important? It is a staple food that Ukrainians like. I grew up with pork, probably more so than beef. On any given day, if you offer me a steak or a barbecued pork chop, I will leave the steak and take the pork. I see my heritage must still be with me.
Upon entry into force of the agreement, Ukraine will immediately eliminate tariffs on 75% of the tariff lines for industrial products, with a further 24.8% to become duty-free over seven years, making it 100% duty free in seven years.
According to Canadian government officials, the total back-and-forth trade between Canada and Ukraine averaged $350 million between 2011 and 2013, and slowed drastically during 2014, as Ukraine was dealing with a political upheaval and armed conflict in southern and eastern parts of the country.
The provisions of the agreement on free trade between Ukraine and Canada provide the deepening of trade and economic co-operation, including trade in industrial and agricultural goods, intellectual property protection, and regulation of public procurement.
The free trade agreement does not impact Canada's ability to maintain its existing supply management policy, as Canadian over-quota tariffs for supply management goods, being dairy, poultry and eggs, are excluded from the tariff concessions.
Total bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and the Ukraine averaged $289 million between 2011 and 2015. In 2015, it expanded by almost 20% as a result of the implementation of this trade.
Canada's GDP will increase by $29.2 million under CUFTA and the Ukraine's GDP will expand by $18.6 million.
As a result of this agreement, Canada's exports to the Ukraine will increase by $41.2 million. Canada's export gains will be broad-based, with exports of pork, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, other manufactured products, motor vehicles, parts, as well as chemical products leading the way.
The Ukrainian market offers many opportunities for Canadians, Canadian businesses, and investors in areas such as aerospace, agricultural equipment, information and communication technology, agriculture and agrifood, fish and seafood, and mining equipment.
The agriculture and agrifood sector employed over 530,000 people in 2014 in Canada and accounted for close to 3% of Canada's GDP. Canada is the world's fifth largest exporter of agriculture and agrifood products. Our agriculture exports to the Ukraine averaged almost $30 million between 2011 and 2013 each year.
The majority of Ukrainians who came to Canada in the late 1800s and early 1900s settled in western Canada and became farmers. They farmed the area and opened up the land. They homesteaded. It was not only Ukrainians. Germans, Italians, Dutch, and many others helped to open up Canada and make it such a prosperous agricultural nation.
Today, there are approximately 1.3 million Ukrainian descendants, the second largest population of Ukrainians in the world other than Ukraine itself. Many members said in the House that we would need to be friends but we are almost closer than friends in a lot of cases. We are family. When we talk about 1.3 million Canadians with ties to the Ukraine, we are talking families.
In 2015 alone, bilateral trade between Canada and Ukraine increased 14%. That shows that we have been growing every year since this agreement was first looked at.
Canadian exports include pharmaceuticals, fish and seafood, and coking coal. It is important to know that we both export and import coal.
It is also important to note that the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement will generate opportunities for Canadians and Ukrainians. It will create new job opportunities. Ukrainian immigrants came here to prosper and open up this great land of ours. Now more than ever it is time for Canadians to help Ukraine prosper and grow.
I remember many times hearing my grandfather talk about what it was like in the Ukraine and why he left. He left because there was no chance to succeed. He heard there were opportunities in Canada and he came here. I am proud to say that from the descendants of my great-grandparents there are close to 1,000 of us from two people. That says a lot in just a little over a century.
We had great opportunities. The Ukraine has struggled over the last few years but it is on the right road to democracy. It is looking for our help in trade and we must help. Young Ukrainian entrepreneurs working with young Canadian entrepreneurs can grow each other's economies.
Our Conservative Party supports Bill , the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement implementation act, that was successfully negotiated by the previous government and supported by the current government and most members of the House.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my esteemed colleague from the beautiful .
I am thankful for the opportunity to speak today on the topic of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement and the benefits it would provide to Canadians and Ukrainians. I am proud to speak in support of this free trade agreement on behalf of the riding of Davenport.
In my riding of Davenport, believe it or not, there used to be a fairly significant Ukrainian community centred around the Ukrainian school and two churches. Most of the Ukrainians have now moved away to Etobicoke or Mississauga, but the churches, the school, and the memories still remain. The school was called Saint Josaphat's. I used to attend it in grade school, but, sadly, it is now closed. My father was Ukrainian, which is where I got the name Dzerowicz, and my mother is Mexican. I feel very blessed and lucky to live in a country where I can be both a proud Mexican Canadian and a proud Ukrainian Canadian.
Today, I stand in my Ukrainian shirt as a proud Ukrainian Canadian to talk about something I am so excited about, the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. It is a blessing for me to be able to strongly support this agreement. I believe that strong economic ties will be mutually beneficial for both countries, as well as in so many other ways, including helping Ukraine continue to strengthen its financial systems, develop its economy, strengthen its civil society, and combat things like corruption that have plagued Ukrainian society for far too long.
What is the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement? It is a modern, high-standard agreement that includes chapters in a breadth of areas, including trade facilitation, government procurement, intellectual property, competition policy, transparency, and anti-corruption. Once fully implemented, this agreement would not only support Canadian and Ukrainian businesses through preferential market access but also deepen trade linkages, further strengthen Canada's bilateral relationship with Ukraine, enhance co-operation, provide for increased transparency in regulatory matters, and help reduce transaction costs for businesses.
As in all of Canada's free trade agreements, the cornerstone of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement is new and enhanced market access for Canadian-produced and manufactured goods. Once the agreement is fully implemented, 99.9% of Canada's current exports will be eligible to enter Ukraine duty free. This would make Canadian goods more competitive in the Ukrainian market. Importantly, it would put our exporters on a level footing with European companies who are already benefiting from the EU's free trade agreement with Ukraine, and lead to new opportunities for Canadian business. It would also put Canadian exporters at a decided advantage relative to most of the rest of the world, which is not lucky enough to have an free trade agreement with Ukraine.
Let me elaborate on this point a little further. On the first day the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement enters into force, Ukraine would eliminate tariffs on approximately 86% of current Canadian exports to Ukraine. This means that Canadian exporters will see a huge immediate benefit from this agreement. The balance of Ukraine's tariff reductions and eliminations would be phased in over periods of up to seven years.
Speaking of specific products that would benefit, the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement would eliminate tariffs on all industrial products and the vast majority of agricultural exports to Ukraine. For example, Ukraine would eliminate tariffs on industrial machinery, which currently faces tariffs of up to 10%, as well as plastic articles and cosmetics, which currently face tariffs of up 6.5%. In terms of agriculture, this agreement would eliminate tariffs of up to 20% on fish and seafood products, including on caviar substitutes, which would be duty free on the first day the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement enters into force.
Alongside Canada's fish, seafood, and industrial goods producers, Canada's leading agricultural producers would also benefit from the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement. I do not have time to go into all of the examples in all of the agricultural areas that would benefit from this agreement, but once this agreement is fully implemented, tariffs of up to 30% on key Canadian agricultural goods would be eliminated. This would provide Canadian agricultural producers with the same market access opportunities as their European counterparts, and be an advantage over most other competitors.
I have spoken at length about the goods market access benefits of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, so let me now turn to other ways that the agreement would help Ukraine. Not only would it help its economy tackle some of the issues that it has been trying to reform, such as corruption, but it would also help it to build its economy and financial sector, with a huge emphasis on small and medium-sized businesses.
Canada has taken a comprehensive approach to economic assistance that supports the stabilization, reform, and growth of the Ukrainian economy. Since January 2014, Canada has committed over $543 million in additional assistance in support of stabilization, reform, and growth. This includes $400 million in the form of a low-interest loan to help stabilize Ukraine’s economy during the implementation of the democratic and economic reforms. It also includes $143 million in bilateral development assistance to support economic reform and economic growth in Ukraine.
Backed by the private sector, our support for economic reform aims to promote more inclusive growth, investment, and job creation in order to reduce poverty. Our support for economic growth aims to bolster local economic development and make small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, more competitive.
Canada sent more than 65 experts to provide specific expertise in the short term and sectorial support in the long term in crucial areas such as: fighting corruption by hiring and training lawyers at the national anti-corruption bureau; assisting in restructuring the finance minister's office; and assisting in trade by supporting the design and implementation of an export development office.
Canada's assistance is consistent with Canadian objectives for the free trade agreement with Ukraine, namely fostering economic opportunity, both in Ukraine and in Canada, and raising the standard of living for our citizens.
As demonstrated around the world, trade is often a key driver of economic development and helps all trade partners generate absolute gains. Canada is committed to providing practical assistance to help Ukraine benefit from this free trade agreement with Canada. This initiative aims to strengthen the ability of Ukrainian SMEs, especially SMEs owned and operated by women, to export and attract Canadian investments.
Small businesses have made a huge contribution to job creation and economic growth in Ukraine. They are able to adapt quickly to changing economic conditions, including for example new business opportunities with Canada. Increasing their participation in trade, their ability to attract foreign investments and comply with international standards, and their productivity will help foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth in that country.
We are confident that the Canada-Ukraine trade and investment support project will provide the technical assistance needed by the selected SMEs to comply with global standards and better take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement, which will benefit consumers and businesses in Canada and Ukraine.
Investment and competitiveness lead to economic growth, and equitable and sustainable economic growth allow Ukrainians and Canadians to take advantage of the benefits of trade and a strengthened bilateral relationship between the two countries.
I strongly encourage every member of the House to support Bill as well as the ratification of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement when the time comes.
I urge all hon. members to support the swift passage of Bill , which will allow the government to move forward with the implementation of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement and allow Canadians to start benefiting from this agreement.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity to speak today on the topic of Canada's progressive approach to trade.
Globally, there are trends of growing populist backlash against international trade and globalization more broadly, while at the same time increasing protectionism. In addition to what we have seen in recent months from political campaigns in the U.S. or the Brexit referendum result in the UK, the World Trade Organization and other international institutions published a report in November that noted that G20 economies introduced 85 new trade-restrictive measures between mid-May and mid-October 2016.
At an average of 17 new measures a month, this is a slight decline over the average of the previous review period. However, this number remains high and coupled with the slow rollback of existing trade-restrictive measures means that we are seeing a steady accumulation of such measures.
This growing protectionism is an issue of global concern, and it is especially problematic for a trade-dependent country such as Canada. Canada is a medium-sized economy competing in the global marketplace. As such, free and open trade is integral to our economic success.
The Government of Canada is determined to ensure that Canada is well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities of international trade that are so important for Canada's continued economic prosperity. Implementing the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement is an important step in that regard, because free trade agreements, or FTAs, are important tools to access the benefits of trade. FTAs provide transparent and predictable rules for Canadian companies doing business abroad, and ways to deal with problems when they arise. They create and maintain level playing fields in foreign markets, and they reduce or eliminate tariffs or other barriers.
While trade is crucial to the Canadian economy, however, it is also important to Canada and Canadians that trade is inclusive and is not conducted at the expense of important values. That is why the is working with Canadian and international partners on the development of a progressive approach to trade to address the concerns of citizens and organizations regarding trade and globalization more generally.
Trade, immigration, and international openness are more and more commonly identified as the cause of economic hardships and inequality. Globally, people are feeling powerless and anxious in the face of unceasing change. The issues are not just about trade. Globalization and the technology revolution have created wealth and opportunities for many, but parts of the middle class and those working hard to join it feel they are falling behind.
These apprehensions are not entirely unfounded. For example, Credit Suisse found that the top 1% of wealth holders owned just over half of the world's wealth; the bottom 50% combined owned less than the top 1%. Furthermore, 71% of world's adult population has a net worth of less than U.S. $10,000.
Our government believes we cannot turn back the clock on globalization and that we should not turn our backs on trade. Increased trade can actually raise living standards, create more jobs, increase prosperity and help to strengthen the middle class, when it is done with the right overall objectives in mind. If Canada and other countries start closing borders, we will find ourselves in a less prosperous and more insular, fearful world.
This is one of the reasons that our government is pursuing a progressive approach to trade in collaboration with our like-minded partners around the world.
A progressive approach to trade seeks to advance higher standards of living and foster sustainable and inclusive economic growth. It includes an emphasis on transparent and inclusive approaches whereby the government is committed to a consultative process on international trade that allows all segments of our society to contribute and be heard. It also ensures government can pursue broad, societal objectives without facing obstacles imposed by trade agreements. The government firmly believes that governments should defend the best interests of their citizens, particularly the most vulnerable.
In addition, a progressive approach to trade also ensures government's continued right to regulate for strong rules on food safety and consumer protection, in addition to world-class, publicly funded health care and other public services. This approach will more effectively promote labour rights and result in stronger environmental protection. It will also include a more progressive approach to investment dispute resolution that is widely recognized as fair, open and impartial, including exploring the establishment of a multilateral approach.
The government is still in the early stages of developing this new progressive approach to trade, but we can already see some real results. This includes advancing the Canada-European Union comprehensive and economic trade agreement, CETA, toward ratification and implementation, on which the has worked tirelessly with her EU and member states counterparts. These results also include the work before us in the House today to implement and help bring into force Bill to implement the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement.
The Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement is a modern, high-standard agreement that once fully implemented will provide new opportunities for Canadian businesses, deepen trade linkages, provide for increased transparency in regulatory matters and help reduce transaction costs for businesses.
This agreement will provide Canadian companies preferential market access for exports of goods, as well as preferential access to procurement opportunities in Ukraine at the central level. It also includes commitments on non-tariff measures that will help to ensure that market access gains are not undermined by unjustified trade barriers; trade facilitation designed to reduce red tape at the border; and protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, which will allow Canadian IP right-holders to do business in the Ukrainian market with increased confidence.
The Canada-Ukraine FTA also includes provisions to address the needs of 21st century economies. An electronic commerce chapter obliges both Canada and Ukraine to not levy customs duties or other charges on digital products that are transmitted electronically, for example. In addition, the Canada-Ukraine FTA incorporates several key progressive trade elements to help ensure the economic gains are not achieved at the expense of important Canadian values and priorities.
The agreement contains robust provisions in the areas of labour, environment, transparency and anti-corruption, as well as protections for the government's right to regulate in the public interest. It also supports our foreign policy objectives by strengthening Ukraine's commercial ties to western nations and supporting Ukraine's economic reform efforts. This will complement the support we have committed through bilateral assistance and low interest loans to help Ukraine stabilize its economy.
I support the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement and all the benefits it would bring to Canadians and Ukrainians. I urge all hon. members to support the bill. I heard in the House this morning that all major parties seemed to support it, which is good news for both Canada and Ukraine.