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43rd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 012

CONTENTS

Friday, January 31, 2020




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 149
NUMBER 012
1st SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Friday, January 31, 2020

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

  (1005)  

[English]

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act

    The House resumed from January 30 consideration of the motion that Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, I am here today to speak to the trade agreement now before the House. I have had opportunities in the last few days to stand in the House, but this is my first speech.
     I would like thank all the people in my riding who helped me in being elected to serve in the House for a second term. When we have an election, it is amazing how many people come forward to volunteer, and they do so much significant work in the community.
     I also want to thank my family members who supported my being here today, especially my sister Mary. Even thought she has three small children to care for, she flew in to spend the last few days of the election with me. It meant a lot to have her there.
     However, I also want to acknowledge all the volunteers for every party. At the end of the day, democracy is fundamental to our country. It is important to acknowledge all the people who volunteered and spent time working very hard for their candidates.
     I have some concerns about this agreement and I am torn on this issue. I recognize the importance of trade to our country and to its economic success. We live in a global economy, but I have a lot of concerns about how that works.
     The U.S. is is Canada's most significant trading partner. It is our friend and our neighbour. We have some political challenges with the U.S. at certain times, but there is a lot of back and forth between our two countries. Therefore, trying to find ways to work with the Americans is important.
    However, at the end of the day, trade needs to focus on fairness. We need to have trade that assures all Canadians are respected throughout the process.
     I live in a rural and remote community. North Island—Powell River is just under 60,000 square kilometres. There are several ferries. It is both on Vancouver Island and on the Mainland. One of the things that worries me in our trade process, and I will talk about the transparency of that process, is we often forget some of our rural and remote communities and the challenges they face when we do not think about trade through that lens.
    My riding has several dairy farms. When we look at what has been happening with the past several trade agreements, supply management is struggling. From my perspective, supply management is really under attack. I understand that there are challenges when we trade, but supply management is so important. It assures all Canadians of a good product in which they can trust. I encourage people to check out a Canadian dairy farm. It is an amazing thing. It is a lot more healthy and wonderful than one thinks, and we can trust that product.
    Protecting rural and remote communities is key. Supply management allows us to have robust farms that are small and local, that provide local jobs, not only on the farms but in the services they use, and that is important.
     Viewfield Farms, Daldas Farms and Lloydshaven farm are in my riding. Those farms are a big part of our community. Not only do they employ people at their farms and create amazing products, they also access the services around them to care for their farms, their milk products and their cows.
    When we look at the negotiations that have taken place on supply management, under CUSMA, CPTPP and CETA about 10% of the market share has been taken away from those sectors, which makes it harder for those farms. I hope we do not want more focus on centralization. That takes away from those small rural and remote communities and starts to build in larger centres. Therefore, this is important.
    The other thing that worries me is that this trade agreement contains a provision that would grant the U.S. oversight into the administration of the Canadian dairy system. It undermines Canada's sovereignty and our ability to manage our product. When we look at the product produced in the U.S., we need to be concerned about it. We know that the American dairy sector uses bovine growth hormone, which increases milk production up to 25%. There are no studies on what that does to people when they consume these products.
    We know it is really bad for the cows. They suffer from more stress and there is a higher incidence of udder infections, swollen legs and premature death. It should be very concerning when that product is coming across our borders. Canadians need to know what the product is. As I said earlier, those who go to Canadian farms will feel good about eating dairy products. Farmers take care of their cows.
    Another important area for me, especially in this day and age, is environmental protections and addressing issues like climate change. When there are trade discussions, Canada has an important opportunity to reflect on how it is doing with respect to its climate change actions, on which we need to do a lot better. However, it is also an opportunity to negotiate with other countries to increase their accountability. I want to see more trade agreements where provisions around the environment and climate change are binding and fully enforceable. We do not see that in this agreement.
    The provisions should also focus on and be in line with Canada's international obligations. When we look at the Paris agreement, we do not see that reflected. When I look at this trade agreement, it really does not help us move forward and toward those important environmental climate change targets.
    I have another frustration. I remember being in this place in the spring of last year, talking about ratifying this agreement. Again and again, the NDP asked why the government was rushing this, that we needed to ensure the U.S. Democrats in Congress had an opportunity to do their work on this deal, that they would make it a better deal, and that happened. However, we kept hearing that it was the best deal we could get. Then the government would go back to the table and come back again, saying it was a better deal.
    It is important for the government understand it has an obligation to get the best deal it can, to take every action it can to ensure Canadian workers are cared for, that we are respectful of workers in other countries, that we look at how it will impact our businesses and economy, what it looks like in urban settings and in rural and remote settings. I am glad the work was done, but it is frustrating to keep having this conversation.
    I am very pleased that chapter 11, the investor-state dispute settlement of NAFTA, is finally gone. When we look at the history of the country, Canada was sued repeatedly and this mechanism kept us in a vulnerable position. I am glad it is gone.
    However, I am also concerned about some of the language I see in the agreement that leads me to believe some of those things are entwined in the language. We will have to watch that carefully, and we should be concerned about it.
     At the end of the day, though, one of my biggest frustrations on all trade agreements is the lack of transparency of the negotiation process. It needs to be addressed and I hope that is fixed soon.
    Canadians across the country need to understand what we are negotiating and why. As I said earlier, I represent three dairy farms in my riding and one thing they wanted to know how much supply management quota we were giving away. They were frustrated by the lack of communication and clarity around this very important issue.
    We have a huge country with a lot of diverse economies. We also have a lot of rural and remote communities, like mine, that are struggling as we adjust to this changing world and changing economy. We need to ensure that trade recognizes this and looks at how we can work collaboratively to ensure those folks are not left behind in these discussions.
    I call on the government to understand that we need a more transparent process. I understand that when we are negotiating something, we do not want to lay all our cards on the table publicly. However, there still was not enough information that allowed different sectors in our communities across Canada to express their concerns and ensure that those voices were heard. Even in the states, Trump was very clear about his goals, so we need to hear the goals of government.
    I look forward to having further discussions. I am excited for the bill go to committee, where we can study these issues more fully.

  (1010)  

    Madam Speaker, the member talked about the dairy industry.
    First, why should poor families in Canada have to pay higher prices for dairy for their children?
    Second, when we close our markets, how can we ask other countries to open their markets for agriculture exports?
    Madam Speaker, I am a little concerned about the fact that the member does not seem to understand fulsomely what supply management is. He also does not seem to support it. It is not exactly what I thought I would hear from that side of the House.
    I want to be really clear. In Canada, we have, through our supply management system, a really strong dairy sector that is reliable and strong. We know what we are getting in that product. The cost of our dairy is very reasonable. It is a great relationship between ensuring we have fair prices and providing stability and support for those businesses that are often held by families for generation after generation.
    I am going to come back to the good, healthy product we have. We know what is in our dairy products, and that is really important.
    I am a little concerned that side of the House, which says it supports supply management, seems to have a different opinion.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech, and I congratulate her on her election.
    Seeing as we both come from ridings with major dairy businesses, I would like to hear her speak again about how CUSMA opens up a new breach in supply management. The agreement gives up more than 3% of our dairy market, which amounts to a loss of about $150 million a year, every year. Furthermore, the government announced that farmers would be fully compensated, but we still do not know what that compensation will look like.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I apologize for not responding in the member's first language, French. I am working on it, but it is taking me a long time.
    This is an important part of the reality for our dairy farmers across the country. I want to be really clear. I am not sure about the dairy farmers in her riding, but the dairy farmers in my riding have said that they will take the compensation if they have to. However, what they really want is just to do their job and to provide a good product, and not have their quota moved all the time.
    That does raise a lot of concern. How is that compensation going to come back to those businesses? How is that going to roll out? Is it going to be continuous? How are we going to ensure that those dairy farmers have the opportunity to be strong and well-funded in their own right. This is a concern.
     As I said earlier, in small, rural and remote communities, we need these dairy farms. They assure us of a good product. They do all the things in which I think Canadians really believe. We need to ensure we protect them. Compensation helps, but it is not the last solution. Hopefully we will see something from the government soon, because they deserve it.
    Madam Speaker, most of the premiers of the provinces welcome this agreement.
    I would like to ask the member a question.

[Translation]

    Can she deny that the signing of this agreement adds a level of certainty to our Canadian economy? Can she deny that the agreement commits to protecting our environment, air quality and marine pollution? Can she deny that the agreement recognizes the gender identity, sexual orientation and diverse genders of all persons here in Canada? Can she deny that under the new agreement, we will no longer have to pay customs at the border on Canadian dairy products, eggs and poultry?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the member that I am actually in a seat on the opposition side. My job and my duty to all Canadians is to look at agreements and offer suggestions on how I feel we could do better based on the conversations I have in my riding.
    That is the work I do, and I am really proud to do it. I would just encourage that member to look a little more closely, because the environmental commitments are nowhere near what he is suggesting.
    Madam Speaker, before I start my first speech in the House, I would like to thank my wife, Barbara, and my kids, Shauna, Carolyn, Christina, their partners, their kids, the whole team that helped to get me here including my campaign manager, Brent McArthur, and the voters of Guelph.
    It is such an honour to rise in this place today in support of Bill C-4 regarding the implementation legislation for the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. This agreement encompasses Canada's most ambitious environment chapter to date and it is also complemented by the environmental co-operation agreement.
    It is a priority for the Government of Canada to ensure that all of Canada's trade agreements not only advance our commercial interests, but also bring concrete benefits to all stakeholders. By including environmental provisions with our free trade agreements, we support Canadian businesses and ensure that trading partners do not gain an unfair trading advantage by not enforcing their environmental laws.
    The North American Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect in 1994, was the first free trade agreement to link the environment and trade through a historic parallel agreement on environmental co-operation, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.
    The parties committed at that time to maintain robust environmental provisions established on our tri-national institution for environmental co-operation, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
    The Canada-United States-Mexico agreement integrates comprehensive and ambitious environmental provisions directly into an environment chapter within the agreement, which is subject to the chapter on dispute settlements.
    The agreement also retains the core obligations on environmental governance found in the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. This includes commitments to pursue high levels of environmental protection to effectively enforce environmental laws and to promote transparency, accountability and public participation. This reflects the importance that we place on ensuring that trade liberalization, environmental protection and conservation are mutually supportive.
    The agreement also includes commitments that go beyond the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. This includes prohibiting a party from moving away from environmental law to attract trade or investment and ensuring that environmental impact assessment processes are in place for projects having potential adverse effects on the environment.
    The new NAFTA creates substantive commitments and many of these are in line with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership on a wide range of global environmental issues, which shows the interconnection of our trade agreements within major markets within the globe.
    These protections include illegal wildlife trade and illegal logging; fisheries management; protection of the marine environment and the ozone layer; sustainable forestry; and conservation of species at risk and biological diversity, which also include consultations with indigenous peoples. New commitments aiming to strengthen the relationship between trade and the environment include the promotion of trade in environmental goods and services, corporate social responsibility and the voluntary mechanisms to enhance environmental performance.
    For the first time in a free trade agreement, the new NAFTA includes new articles on air quality and marine litter, as well as a binding commitment that prohibits the practice of shark finning. This is a first for Canada. It also recognizes the important role of indigenous peoples in the long-term conservation of the environment, sustainable fisheries and forestry management, and biodiversity conservation to make sure that their voices are also at the table as we move forward.
    The agreement provides for an environmental consultation mechanism. Should parties fail to resolve an environmental matter arising under the agreement in a co-operative manner through various levels of consultation right up to the ministerial level, the complaining party may seek recourse through broader formal Canada-United States-Mexico agreement dispute settlement procedures. To help ensure compliance with the environmental obligations, trade sanctions may be imposed by an independent review panel.
     While the core obligations on environmental governance apply only to federal legislation, commitments in other areas of the agreement, such as conservation and fisheries, apply to the federal government as well as to Canada's provinces and territories. Provinces and territories were consulted thoroughly throughout the negotiation process.

  (1020)  

    The agreement maintains and incorporates the submissions on the enforcement matters process established under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, which is a key mechanism to promote transparency and public participation on the enforcement of environmental laws in North America. Under this process, citizens of the three countries may file a submission alleging that one of the three parties is not enforcing its environmental laws. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation secretariat evaluates the submissions and requests from the implicated party to provide information and clarification regarding the enforcement of the environmental law at issue within its jurisdiction.
    In December 2019, Canada, the United States and Mexico also agreed to update certain elements of CUSMA, including to strengthen environmental obligations under the agreement. This includes a commitment from parties to implement their respective obligations under specific multilateral environmental agreements, MEAs, that are ratified domestically, as well as the new provision to clarify the relationship between CUSMA and MEAs.
    New language has also been added confirming that failure to comply with one's obligations in the environment chapter that affect trade or investment are now presumed to be “in a manner affecting trade or investment between the parties”, unless the defending party can demonstrate otherwise. The environmental provisions are written right into the law of the agreement.
    In addition, Canada, the United States and Mexico have negotiated a parallel environmental co-operation agreement that ensures trilateral environmental co-operation continues, supported by ministerial-level dialogue and public engagement as we move forward to improve our targets under the co-op agreement and other international agreements.
    The environmental co-operation agreement ensures that unique institutions for trilateral environmental co-operation are created under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and maintained and modernized going forward. This includes the continued operation of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation, including the secretariat, based in Montreal; a ministerial council, which will continue to meet on an annual basis; and a joint public advisory committee.
    The environmental co-operation agreement allows the three countries to establish a work program in which they can develop co-operative activities on a broad range of issues related to strengthening environmental governance; reducing pollution and supporting strong low emissions and resilient economies; conserving and protecting biodiversity and habitats; supporting green growth and sustainable development; and promoting the sustainable management and use of natural resources.
    In addition, through the joint public advisory committee, representatives from each country will continue to ensure active public participation and transparency in the actions of the commission. Membership of this committee will be from a diverse pool of candidates, including with respect to gender balance, and will include representatives from all segments of society, including non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector, indigenous peoples, private citizens and youth.
    The environmental co-operation agreement complements the ambitious environmental chapter of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. The environmental co-operation agreement will contribute to the maintenance of robust environmental governance and the modernization of the existing institutions for trilateral environmental co-operation.
    The Government of Canada is committed to bringing Canadian goods and services to international markets while maintaining our high standards of environmental protection and conservation. We know it is possible, and we have a responsibility to do both. Under this agreement and the new parallel co-operation agreement, we will be moving forward together to ensure we are protecting our shared environment now and for future generations.

  (1025)  

    Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister was very excited about Canada's opportunity to work toward gender equality protections in the NAFTA negotiations because he mentioned that gender equality is an economic issue. Could the member opposite tell us what sort of big wins we received in regard to gender issues in the new NAFTA?
    Madam Speaker, I would like to welcome the new member for Cloverdale—Langley City to this place.
    Gender equality and women's economic empowerment are key priorities of our government. The gender lens is used throughout all agreements we negotiate. There are new labour provisions within this agreement that require all parties to implement policies that protect against employment discrimination based on gender. Gender is also addressed in other chapters, including provisions related to corporate social responsibility and small and medium-sized enterprises.
    We do not want to leave anyone behind in this agreement.

  (1030)  

    Madam Speaker, in Simcoe—Grey, one of the largest employers, not only in my riding but probably in Ontario, is a company called DECAST. The company seems to have problems in the Buy American stance. It cannot put any contracts in the United States at this time, but the United States is allowed to tender contracts here. It is really not fair. It is dropping its prices.
    What is the member for Guelph doing for these industries and why did they not have the Buy American and address those issues? It is an extremely important issue in my riding and certainly across Canada.
    Madam Speaker, DECAST is an example of a business that will benefit from this new provision of having 70% of steel and aluminum included in the parts supply chain. Within the steel agreement, these products have to be cast in our trade region and not overseas.
    When we move forward, companies like DECAST that have already benefited from our removal of the 232 provisions will benefit as we go forward to make sure that we use North American products in our North American manufacturing.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his speech.
    He talked about the environment, and he even answered the last question by mentioning the aluminum sector and saying that 70% of the materials used in parts, whether steel or aluminum, are now required to be from North America. However, he knows full well that that is not true.
    The parts may come from Mexico, but Mexico does not have any smelters, so the aluminum will come from China. Since the member brought up the environment, it is worth noting that that aluminum will be nowhere near as green as the aluminum we produce here in Quebec.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I think there is some confusion on this. I have heard that argument from the member's party across the way over the last few days.
    There is a regional value content limit of 75% regional content, which means that 75 % of all content has to come from within the North American region in order to qualify under NAFTA provisions.
    Aluminum is covered throughout the supply chain, including parts. The inclusion of North American supplies is under the regional content section. I encourage the member to look into that section.
    Madam Speaker, New Flyer Industries in my riding is a lead producer in electric buses, but it also produces a lot of diesel buses for the United States.
    We are losing jobs in Canada that are going to the U.S. because of the Buy American policy. I want to follow up with the member for Guelph as why Canada did not make any progress on getting exemptions from the Buy American policy.
    Madam Speaker, I am very excited to say that Guelph will be receiving 65 electric buses under a new agreement we have with the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
    I hope to see the procurement process go through the evaluation between New Flyer and Nova Bus in Quebec. I am from Winnipeg originally, so I hope the process includes getting some of the 5,000 electric buses we are targeting for Canada to come from New Flyer in Winnipeg.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to talk about this important agreement with our most important trading partners.
    It has been 51 days since we, the official opposition, the Conservatives, who are very concerned and seized with the economic future of our country, requested the economic impact analysis for this agreement from the Liberals. While we wait, the Deputy Prime Minister has asked us to accelerate our approval for the ratification of this agreement through this place. We have continued to wait. Perhaps while I am speaking today, the Liberals will deliver that economic impact analysis to us. In the meantime, we can talk about some of the ways this deal has fallen short and why we think it is important for it to be studied before its passage.
    As Conservatives, we understand the weight and importance it has for all Canadians and our trading partners. Ultimately the Conservatives, as the party of free trade, will support important free trade agreements like the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement. However, that does not mean that it gets a rubber stamp, because we know that in all of our ridings, and truly in all 338 constituencies represented by members from all parties in the House, this deal falls short. That is not for a lack of trying on the part of the official opposition to give good advice to the government and give them opportunities to get this deal right.
    In my riding of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, I have heard concerns from a variety of sectors. I will highlight a few of them today.
    Over the course of this debate, we have heard people talk about the deal's negative impact on dairy farmers. We know that these concessions, the capitulation on these items, are not only unnecessary but harmful and hurtful to these farmers. The uncertainty created by this deal is also hurting them. We know that these farmers are on the cutting edge of sustainability. They do it not because they have to, not because the government regulates them to do so, but because they, as stewards of our land and responsible providers of world-class food products like milk and cheese, want to do what is best for Canadians. They expect the government to do what is best for them.
    The concessions on market access that were given and the elimination of milk classes 6 and 7, which were done in the absence of proper consultation with their sector by the government in negotiating this deal, has caused a lot of concern. We are concerned and skeptical as we wait for the details of the full impact of CUSMA, and we know that farmers are waiting to find out what the full impact will be.
    We have also talked about aluminum. I want to talk about the impact that has on my community. The folks at Northern Cables have been very concerned about some of the policies that have been in place and how they have not been protected from the dumping of aluminum, sourced from China, in North America and its impact on their business.
    Northern Cables is a local employer. It is a company owned by Canadians that produces a high-quality product. The company knows that its future is uncertain due to a lack of protection in this deal. It is great for industry associations to say that it is good for them, but I can tell members that Northern Cables, which is located in multiple communities across my riding, is concerned. The company knows that producers based in China are skirting the rules by soldering connectors onto long lengths of aluminum to get around the existing rules.
    They know the provisions in this deal allow for that. North American-based aluminum means aluminum that has been melted down and then shipped again.

  (1035)  

    Transshipping of aluminum is going to hurt the industry, especially if it lands in Mexico and is sent across the continent to land in Canada. It is going to hurt producers and manufacturers. It is going to have a negative effect on jobs in places like Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes and at locally owned and operated businesses like Northern Cables. That gives us concern.
    We wonder what the impact will be. We worry about what the compensation will be, because the government has been silent on that. We do not know what is going to be done to compensate supply-managed sectors. We do not know how the government is going to protect the aluminum sector.
    Our NDP colleagues do not seem to be sure whether they want the deal to pass or not. Our record shows that we are the party of free trade. I am not sure that the NDP has supported any but one free trade agreement in the history of our country, so that causes us concern.
    When it comes to holding the government to account, this falls squarely on our shoulders. We need to make sure that all Canadians are heard, not just well-placed lobbyists speaking to people in the Prime Minister's Office. That is what we hope to have done in committee.
    We need to look at important provisions in this deal, like how it would affect our sovereignty. This deal would allow the United States to have oversight of Canadian trade negotiations with other countries. That should concern all Canadians. It seems very much like an unforced error. It seems very much like the result of an unprepared team in achieving the deal that it has.
    Other important Canadian sectors have been left unprotected. Our forestry sector is still looking for a resolution to softwood lumber concerns. With that dispute not addressed in this deal, is this truly free trade?
     Here in Ontario in particular, the auto sector is important to the Canadian economy. It is an important employer. For a car to be seen as North American, only three-quarters of the car are considered, from the ground up. It is not really a North American car. When the requirement is only for 40% to 45% of auto content made by workers earning $16 an hour, this gives opportunity to countries with labour provisions that do not protect their workers. That is going to undercut our auto sector here in Canada.
    The sunset clause in this deal requires a formal review of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement every six years. The agreement will terminate in 16 years if the parties do not agree to it.
    I call it the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement because that is its official name. However, we know, having heard praise from the American president for what the Canadian government was prepared to give up, and he said we gave up a lot, that this deal really is NAFTA 0.5.
     Conservatives want a good deal for Canadians. Conservatives will support free trade. But Conservatives know that Canadians depend on us to find out where this deal falls short, and that is what we are going to do at committee. We will get those answers so we can help support those sectors when we form government as soon as Canadians call on us to do so.
    It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to this important deal today. Along with all members of the House, I look forward to giving it a thorough examination before its passage.

  (1040)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his research and for talking about various issues that concern his constituents.
    This deal has taken a lot of effort. It was a difficult deal to get through to the U.S. So many positive things have been said about the deal by businesses, by Premier Legault of Quebec and by the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
    I wonder what it is. Is it just because the agreement was negotiated by the Liberals? It was done along with a whole team and with other prime ministers involved as well. Could the member tell us what is so wrong with this deal?

  (1045)  

    Madam Speaker, we have arrived at this deal and there are so many questions, but not as to why Conservatives might have concerns. I think I have laid those out. We know that there is a lot that we do not know. We know we have asked the government for 51 successive days for an economic impact analysis on this agreement.
    It is hard to get behind a deal when we do not know what is in it. It is often said that the devil is in the details, and I have certainly listed some of those concerns. Therefore, I am asking the member to encourage her government, to encourage the Deputy Prime Minister, to provide the full assessment and analysis to the official opposition so that we can do the work that we were sent here to do.
    Madam Speaker, I would ask the member what he thinks of our process here in Canada compared with the United States.
    When the United States is developing a new trade agreement, it goes before Congress to ask what the priorities should be and what should be negotiated. The same thing happens in the European Union. However, here in Canada it is all done in secret.
    We do not know what the priorities are for the Canadian government until we see the agreement, until the agreement is signed. It just seems to be a terrible way for Canadians to get involved in something as important as a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico when we know nothing about it until it is already done.
    Madam Speaker, truly it is a flawed process. Not only were the opposition and Canadians not given an opportunity to give input and help the government set its priorities throughout the negotiations, but the deal has been signed and we still do not know what is in it. We are asked to accelerate its passage through this place, but we still do not even have the picture of it.
    We did not have input, certainly not for a lack of trying, throughout the negotiation. However, now the deal has been signed and ratified by our trading partners, the other signatories. The Canadian government has signed it and is now asking the House to ratify the deal, but we do not know what its full impact is going to be. Therefore, it is truly a flawed process and one that should be discussed as we undertake the study of the deal.
    Madam Speaker, the issue of transshipping is one of grave concern to the aluminum sector, in particular. Aluminum can come in by way of ingots that are melted down and then deemed in Mexico to be North American content. I wonder if the member could expand on that concern.
    Madam Speaker, the member's point is very well taken.
    It is very concerning. When aluminum sourced from China can be delivered to Mexico, melted down, re-formed and then shipped across the country, it hurts the Canadian aluminum industry and it hurts the producers who use it.
    I have heard this concern from the good people at Northern Cables in my riding. We have heard it from our colleagues who have aluminum producers in their ridings. We are going to look for more information as we study the bill.
    Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, or CUSMA. For over a year, Canada negotiated hard for a modernized free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. We knew how important it was to get a deal that was good for Canada, good for Canadian workers, good for Canadian businesses and good for communities across the country.
    CUSMA, or the new NAFTA, is a significant milestone in our relationship with the United States and Mexico. The United States, as we all know, is our biggest trading partner. Two billion dollars' worth of goods and services are exchanged every day, totalling about $720 billion per year.
    I would like to thank the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the team of negotiators, who worked so hard not only to ensure that Canadian jobs were protected but also to create more opportunities for Canadian workers and their families.
    CUSMA, as the new NAFTA is known, has paid off. We have secured a great deal that protects all Canadian communities and benefits Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    What does this ratification mean to all Canadians and to my constituents of Don Valley East? CUSMA will reinforce the strong economic ties between the three countries and support well-paying middle-class jobs for Canadians. CUSMA will maintain the tariff-free market access from NAFTA, which includes the updated new chapters to address modern-day trade challenges and opportunities.
    In this speech I will focus on some of the key outcomes of CUSMA as they impact Canadians and my constituents.
    First is the environment. The environment has been and continues to be one of the biggest concerns to Canadians. In the last election, 95% of Canadians stated that the environment was their top priority. I am pleased to say that the agreement has a new enforceable environment chapter that replaces the separate side agreement.
    What are some of the highlights of the environment chapter? It upholds air quality standards and fights marine pollution. It has an enforcement mechanism through the core obligations in the agreement. It establishes binding and enforceable dispute resolution processes to address any questions regarding compliance. It means robust environmental governance and a win for Canada.
    How? Canadian businesses can remain competitive by ensuring that our trading partners do not gain an unfair trading advantage by not enforcing their environmental laws. When all parties play fair on the environment, we can continue to be competitive, grow and expand our economies and get good-paying jobs.
    Second is the cultural exemption. Our cultural industry is a robust $53.8-billion industry. Our government, through CUSMA, has protected this industry. The industry represents 650,000 high-paying jobs. In my riding, there are many cultural organizations that are very pleased with the exemption the government has negotiated. This is one way of augmenting the middle class.
    The new NAFTA, or CUSMA, preserves cultural exemptions and provides Canada the flexibility to adopt and maintain programs and policies that support the creation, distribution and development of Canadian artistic expressions or content, including the digital environment. That is why the negotiators of team Canada stood firm to protect the cultural exemption and our economic interests during the renegotiation of the new NAFTA.
    As I mentioned, this is good for the cultural businesses in my riding of Don Valley East. For example, organizations like SOCAN can count on the stability and assurances the new trade agreement brings. It means they can defend our cultural sovereignty and see that financial benefits go to our talented Canadian artists and the economy.
    Many of the creative industry organizations are small and medium-sized enterprises that depend on exporting large amounts of their production to the North American market. It is imperative for the House to implement CUSMA sooner rather than later so that our creative industries can gain from the financial benefits and protections offered through it.

  (1050)  

    A robust cultural sector enables the growth of innovative businesses that embrace the digital market and increase their cultural exports, which makes Canada stand out globally. To back this up, I will quote from an open letter from creative industry organizations published in The Hill Times on January 27, 2020:
    
    We thank the government for signing the Canada-U.S.-Mexico (CUSMA) trade agreement last year. Under it, copyright in Canada will be strengthened by extending the term of protection by 20 years, to the life of the author plus 70 years.
    Third is the auto industry. Canada's auto sector is one of the biggest winners from CUSMA. On November 30, 2019, Canada signed a side letter, which has already been entered into force to protect our auto industry and its high-paying jobs against a possible 232 tariffs on cars and car parts. The new rules of origin level the playing field for Canada's high-wage workers. I am pleased to say that Canada is the only G7 country with that protection. This is a good deal for Canada and Canadian workers.
    Fourth is the SMEs. Small and medium-sized enterprises will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new NAFTA agreement. SMEs are the backbone of the Canadian economy and employ more than 10 million Canadians, or 90% of the private-sector labour force. CUSMA includes a new chapter on SMEs designed to foster co-operation among the parties to increase trade and investment opportunities for them, ensuring information is available to the SMEs on the obligations and functioning of the agreement. This is good news for many SMEs in my riding of Don Valley East. Businesses like Conavi, Clear Blue Technologies, 7D Surgical and Volanté Systems will benefit from this trade agreement through continued access to the U.S. and Mexican markets.
    The streamlined customs and origin procedures and greater transparency in government regulations make it easier for our small and medium-sized enterprises to do businesses in North America and grow and expand. The the Business Council of Canada has said:
    
    We applaud your government's success in negotiating a comprehensive and high-standard Agreement on North American trade. [It] maintains our country's preferential access to the United States and Mexico—Canada's largest and third-largest trading partners respectively—while modernizing long-outdated elements of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
    In conclusion, CUSMA is good deal for Canada. Millions of Canadians depend on stable, reliable trade with our largest trading partners. We are moving forward with the new NAFTA right away to secure millions of jobs, create more opportunities for Canadian businesses and keep our economy strong.
    I hope to see support from all of my colleagues in the House to ratify this important deal.

  (1055)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member the same question that I put to the previous speaker.
    We are finally debating this new NAFTA deal in the House, yet we should have been debating our priorities and what we were going to be negotiating for before we started negotiating the deal. That is what happens in the United States. It is what happens in the European Union. It seems to be a very backward thing to present Canadians and Parliament with a signed deal and then ask what everyone thinks. When we say there are problems with it and that things could be better, they say it is too late.
    What does the member think about having a new process, for future deals, that would let parliamentarians and Canadians join the debate on how to go about negotiating and setting our priorities?
    Madam Speaker, I am wondering where the hon. member was, because this deal has been in negotiation since 2018. We have worked so hard, going back and forth with all the issues we had with our neighbours. That is important to understand. We should not make statements that do not resonate logically.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my colleague praised the free trade agreement and all of the gains that Canada supposedly made with it.
    I would like to know what she thinks about what the chair of the U.S House ways and means committee said. He stated that the former foreign affairs minister and the Prime Minister conceded on just about every point for one reason, and that was enforceability, enforceability, enforceability.
    What concessions did Canada make to elicit such a reaction from the chair of the ways and means committee?

  (1100)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we did not make any concessions. We eliminated 232 tariffs, we got our environmental protection and we got our content requirement, so I do not know what he is talking about.
    The hon. member will have two minutes and 15 seconds remaining for questions and comments when this debate resumes after question period.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Public Transit

    Madam Speaker, public transit is an important part of city building. It is also a critical part of our plan to transition to a low-carbon economy. I am proud of the commitment our government has made to support communities across the country to build public transit, especially in my city of Toronto.
    Just over a year ago, the mayor of Toronto announced that a critical piece of our public transit, the downtown relief line, was shovel ready. This was a plan that was supported by the community, and the federal government had provided support in designing this plan.
    Unfortunately, these plans were thrown out by Doug Ford. He imposed a new proposal on the community, one that would impact parks, a community centre and a seniors home, raising serious concerns in the community about safety and quality of life. Over 800 residents attended a meeting this week to raise these concerns.
     I applaud the members of the EastEnd Transit Alliance for making sure these community voices are heard and that there is meaningful consultation. Let us build safe transit, and let us build it right.

Trinity Western University

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Canada's leading faith-based post-secondary institution, which is located in my riding in Langley, British Columbia. Trinity Western University is a truly global university with campuses in Langley, Richmond and Washington state, and with university partnerships in Africa, India, China and Southeast Asia.
    Trinity also continues to have a positive, significant impact here on Parliament Hill through its Ottawa campus, the Laurentian Leadership Centre.
    Trinity has earned a reputation for excellence in academics, research and sports. It holds three Canadian research chairs and regularly has its alumni on Canadian Olympic teams. As of today, Trinity has the number one ranked teams in Canada for both men's and women's volleyball. Go Spartans.

[Translation]

Gatineau Homeless Shelter

    Madam Speaker, a month ago, there was a fire at Gîte Ami, a temporary community homeless shelter working with people struggling with the hardships of social exclusion and homelessness.
    The social and economic impacts of homelessness are obvious. We are determined to help those in need, and we believe that even one homeless Canadian is one too many.
    Those affected by the fire will receive support thanks to the hard work of Gîte Ami, the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais, the Soupe populaire de Hull and the City of Gatineau. What is more, the building will be inhabitable again as of mid-February.
    As I always say, the people of Hull—Aylmer are resilient. It is not what happens to us that matters but how we react to it.

Arlette Girard

    Madam Speaker, I am deeply moved to pay tribute today to Arlette Girard, a woman who played a hugely influential role in the political life of Manicouagan.
    Ms. Girard passed away in November following a courageous battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
    She was the first female mayor of Chute-aux-Outardes and Manicouagan's first female reeve. She was a forward-thinking feminist, a dynamo when it came to bettering the lives of women, children and seniors.
    As a professional, a volunteer, an activist and a politician, she championed many causes and brought many projects to fruition in her community and all along the North Shore.
    I would like to take this opportunity to say the following words to her:
    “Arlette, you are among the truly inspiring, dedicated, strong, generous and brilliant women who have paved the way for other women in politics. I am deeply grateful to you. I want you to know that your legacy lives on and will continue to live on through me and through the women who follow in our footsteps.”

  (1105)  

[English]

Apollo Restaurant

    Madam Speaker, Sudbury's Apollo Restaurant celebrates its 50th anniversary in March 2020. It was established on the Kingsway in 1970 by George and Toula Sakellaris, who immigrated to Canada from small villages in southern Greece.
    The Apollo introduced Sudburians to Greek cuisine, something that was somewhat exotic in the early 1970s.
    Unfortunately, George, who enjoyed golfing at Cedar Green, watching the Montreal Canadiens and playing cards with friends, left us in 2007. Nevertheless, the Apollo is still owned and operated by Toula and her family.
    The next time members are in Sudbury they can come and visit this famous restaurant.
    [Member spoke in Greek]

Chatham-Kent—Leamington

    Madam Speaker, I wish to dedicate my first member's statement in this House to the residents of Chatham-Kent—Leamington.
    They proudly live in Canada's most southerly riding, farming some of Canada's most productive soils and adding value to our farm products and our food sector. It is the people in our vibrant greenhouse industry, the entrepreneurs and employees in the manufacturing, health care, education and retail sectors, and our veterans and first responders who anchor Canada's most southerly points. Their families include youth, whose future we want to keep local, and seniors, whose contributions to our country we never want to forget.
    They live in our two larger centres, Chatham and Leamington, as well as the towns of Wheatley, Ridgetown, Comber, Blenheim, Merlin, Tilbury, Stoney Point, Highgate and Erieau, along with many others.
     It is an honour for me to bring their voice to this chamber, and represent their interests in this House.

Tropical Diseases

    Madam Speaker, over one billion people around the world suffer from neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs.
     They are diseases that we as Canadians do not always think about, but they have a major impact on some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. NTDs are complex and not always easily overcome. They can cause additional illnesses, disability, disfigurement, stigma and social isolation, and these can lead to lost opportunities for development in children and socio-economic problems for those infected and their families.
     However, there is hope. Thanks to co-ordinated global efforts, progress is being made. Medicines and partnerships are available and advancements continue. Yesterday was World NTD Day. I would like to commend the devoted Canadians who are working diligently on behalf of those suffering from NTDs.
    I know that Canada, and everyone in this House, will continue to play a leadership role in health policy around the world to end neglected tropical diseases and bring hope and health to everyone.

[Translation]

Ukrainian Students Visiting Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation

    Madam Speaker, the Séminaire du Sacré-Cœur, a private high school in my riding, Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, hosted a group of 10 Ukrainian students for two weeks last fall. The group included eight teenage students who attend the Zaporijia high school in Ukraine.
    The Ukrainian youth were paired with Sacré-Cœur students and stayed with their families. During their stay, the young people had a chance to visit the Argenteuil and Petite-Nation regions, explore our beautiful natural spaces and visit local artisans. The students also visited our nation's capital, Ottawa. This was an opportunity for the Ukrainian students to build friendships while also learning our beautiful French language. At the end of their stay, our guests even prepared a few days of meetings and activities.
    The international student hosting program at the Séminaire du Sacré-Cœur aims to help our young people learn and develop through these encounters. It was a resounding success for my riding.

[English]

Sasakatoon's Sikh Community

    Madam Speaker, the Sikh community is an integral thread in the fabric of my riding of Saskatoon West.
     Throughout my time as a home builder and a community volunteer, and now as a member of Parliament, I have made many great Sikh friends. One of them is my campaign manager, Gurpartap Kals, who we call Sunny. Without his involvement and help I would not be standing in this House today. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Sunny and my entire campaign team.
     I also want to thank Balvir Singh, a wonderful leader of Sikh Society Saskatoon. His work and leadership is invaluable to the people we all serve.
     Indeed, I have many Sikh friends like Manmeet Singh Sadhra, or Manny as many of us know him. Manny has recently won the Saskatchewan Party nomination as the candidate in the riding of Saskatoon Fairview.
    Please help me thank the Sikh community in Saskatoon and wish Manny the best of luck in the upcoming provincial election.

  (1110)  

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752

    Madam Speaker, it was a viral photo that touched so many hearts. A selfie of a mother and daughter in their airplane seats sent to the family they were on their way to see. Unfortunately, Sahar and Elsa would never make it home. Their flight out of Tehran was shot down shortly after takeoff.
     I asked Habib to reflect on their loss. His daughter, Sahar, had a kind and loving heart. She dedicated much of her time spreading positive energy and helping those in the community who needed a hand. His eight-year-old granddaughter, Elsa, was a carbon copy of her mother. She was an old soul and a natural leader who sought to protect the weak and make new students feel welcome, a future politician, her family thought.
     Sahar and Elsa did finally make it home. They were laid to rest on Sunday. We grieve with their family, and all the lives they touched. Sahar and Elsa will be deeply missed.

Picture Butte Citizen of the Year 2020

    Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House today to pay tribute to Picture Butte's Citizen of the Year 2020. His name is Mr. Cor Van Raay. Though he is currently one of Canada's top producers in the beef industry, that was not always the case. By casting a vision, taking risks, building partnerships, and with good old-fashioned hard work, he became one of the nation's very best in the industry.
    As an immigrant to Canada, Cor came with very little. He started off as a simple farm labourer, but eventually bought some land. Throughout his journey there were many ups and downs, but his resilience served him well. Cor is not only esteemed for his success in agriculture, but also for his tremendously big heart.
    Cor has generously supported the establishment of three community swimming pools and has contributed millions to the university and college in my community. He recently gave $3.75 million to the YMCA. When asked about his philanthropy, he said, “I believe in sharing. I made good money farming, so I share it.”
    Cor is the salt of the earth. I thank him for selflessly investing in our community and congratulate him.

[Translation]

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

    Madam Speaker, on Sunday, over one hundred million North Americans will get together to watch the fabled Super Bowl. All eyes will be on the Chiefs and the 49ers as they battle for the Vince Lombardi trophy in Miami.
    Like many Canadians and Quebeckers, I will be cheering on our local favourite, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. This 28-year old Quebecker is a star guard for the Chiefs and will be playing a pivotal role in this match. Not only has he reached the top of a sport that has practically become a religion in the United States and North America, but he is also the first medical doctor in the history of the NFL to play in the Super Bowl.
    Dr. Duvernay-Tardif, an exceptional student athlete, is inspiring an entire generation to pursue higher learning, follow their passion and embrace life with a steely determination. At six foot five inches and weighing 321 pounds, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is also the friend everyone dreams of having. We wish him an excellent Super Bowl.

[English]

Winnipeg Centre Fire

    Madam Speaker, on December 26, 2019, a fire broke out in Winnipeg Centre, burning an affordable apartment complex to the ground and, in turn, displacing almost 40 individuals, including children. They lost everything. The holiday season is a difficult time of the year for so many and the very worst time for such an event to occur, but our wonderful community of Winnipeg Centre came together.
     We opened my office and donations for the fire victims started pouring in. Local community organizations and service providers opened their doors, in spite of having limited services over the holidays.
    I give special thanks to my colleagues, city councillor Cindy Gilroy and MLA Lisa Naylor, as well as their staff. I also thank our superb team members at my office. They go beyond the call of duty for Winnipeg Centre.
    I also want to extend well wishes to the fire victims as they rebuild their homes. Their courage and grace during this difficult time was moving. This is what community at the centre looks like and we show it best in Winnipeg Centre.

  (1115)  

[Translation]

Riding of La Pointe-de-l'Île

    Madam Speaker, I first want to thank the citizens of La Pointe-de-l'Île for again placing their trust in me.
    La Pointe-de-l'Île has exceptional potential for economic development. The last available large sites for major projects are on the Island of Montreal. However, most of this land must be decontaminated, and there is no infrastructure in place.
    Quebec and the City of Montreal are committed to making massive investments to deal with this and to put in place transit infrastructure. We know that Quebec did not receive its share of infrastructure funding during the government's last term. It received $97 per capita, while the Canadian average per capita was $703, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
    The Bloc Québécois is asking Ottawa to match the funding invested by Quebec and the municipality in these projects, which are crucial for the east end of Montreal. I hope that we will have the support of the government and opposition parties.

[English]

Shelter Point Distillery

    Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to respectfully congratulate the Shelter Point Distillery. This amazing distillery in my riding produces an amazing array of whisky. It took home best all-rye whisky at the 2020 Canadian Whisky Awards, gold medals for single cask rye and smoke point single grain whisky, and several silver medals.
    I congratulate the distillery for all its contributions to our community and for its great reputation for whisky in Canada.

Coronavirus

    Madam Speaker, this past Sunday a CTV reporter tweeted a photo of himself next to an Asian barber wearing a surgical mask. He has now deleted and apologized for a tweet that read, “Hopefully ALL I got today was a haircut”.
    Yesterday, walking down the street here in Ottawa, I heard a conversation in passing. One man said to another, “Yeah, we're going to a restaurant in Chinatown for lunch”, and the other guy said in response, “You mean coronavirustown.”
    I gave him an earful. At a time when many Chinese Canadians are struggling with these concerns for the welfare of friends and family in China, we must stand against the normalization of xenophobic mores against people of Asian descent. They are our brothers and sisters and they deserve nothing other than support, compassion and understanding.
    Today I call upon all of us here to stand in solidarity with Chinese Canadians and to all those around the world affected by the coronavirus.

Franca Damiani Carella

    Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an immeasurably compassionate person, someone who made a real difference for decades in assisting those battling against addiction and mental health issues.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, Franca Damiani Carella, the Countess of Vergada, passed away on January 17. Franca, as she was known to her friends, survived refugee camps, worked as a nurse and was the founder and executive director of the Vitanova Foundation.
    Vitanova has been providing shelter to people struggling with addiction since 1987. All it asks in return is that the individual be committed to change.

[English]

    I was proud to call Franca a friend. Being in her presence with her wonderful, contagious smile and passion to assist others was inspiring. She was truly a trailblazer.
    Franca will be dearly missed by her family and all those she touched, but her legacy will continue through Vitanova. May we all emulate her warmheartedness and the difference she made to individuals reaching for a hand.
    Riposa in pace.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Health

    Madam Speaker, yesterday the member for Cumberland—Colchester appeared on national television to outline the government's response plan for coronavirus. As the government's representative, she said people going through airports should buy gloves, buy masks and try not to touch anything. Is this the message the government is sending to Canadians?
    If the minister cannot tell Canadians her plan, can she at least stop the Liberal backbench from spreading fear and panic?

  (1120)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to first thank the member for Calgary Nose Hill for her exceptionally eloquent reminder to all of us that there is a very real risk in terms of spreading misinformation and fear.
    We are working diligently to make sure that all members of the House have accurate information, including members on our side, and members of the public as well as our health care ally professionals. We will continue to do that and correct misinformation as it arises.
    Madam Speaker, I think it is the Liberal backbench that needs to be reminded not to spread fear and panic.

[Translation]

    The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus epidemic an international emergency. The government is unable to answer some simple questions about its plan. Canadians in China are worried. The government needs to take this seriously.
    Can the minister tell us when she will be finalizing the plan to bring these people back to Canada?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, how we proceed in a way that protects the health of Canadians here in Canada and the health of Canadians abroad in China is a great question. We are working, as the member noted, on a plan to repatriate Canadians who wish to come back and to support them in a way that protects their health and protects the health of all Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, what is the plan? Canadians need more information. Once Canadians in China have safely returned to Canada, what is the protocol in place to protect Canadians at home? Will those returning be mandated to remain in quarantine? If yes, for how long?
    The government has indicated that there will be an enhanced screening process. What does the screening process look like, and when will the government contact all of those who were on impacted flights for the confirmed cases already in Canada? Canadians need reassurance. Canadians need answers today.
    Madam Speaker, talking about misinformation, it is difficult to contain the spread of misinformation if we are conflating two separate issues.
    The member opposite has asked about the number of contacts who were beside the patient in Toronto, who has since recovered. All of those people sitting within two metres have been contacted and confirmed as not having the coronavirus, so that piece is complete.
    In terms of returning people from China, I will note that China will not allow people who are ill to travel. We will have a very comprehensive screening process in partnership with Canadian health care professionals on the ground, and we will continue to update as we know more.

[Translation]

The Middle Class

    Madam Speaker, in November the Liberal government created the department of middle class prosperity. When asked to define the middle class, the new minister said she did not really know and did not have any hard data. She said they are families that have a quality of life and can send their kids to play hockey or even have different activities.
    Can the minister tell us if her definition of the middle class is as fuzzy as her definition of personal happiness?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his question.
    Ever since day one, our government has been working to strengthen and grow the middle class. We know people want an affordable home, a good education for their children and a dignified, secure retirement. That is what we are going to focus on. We have already accomplished step one, which was lowering taxes for the middle class. We will keep working for the middle class.
    I would invite my colleague opposite to—
    The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.
    Madam Speaker, I will help my colleague across the way.
    The middle class is the 81% of families who are paying more taxes since the Liberals came to power. They are the families who are fed up with paying too many taxes. They are the families who are trying to make ends meet, who are having financial difficulties. They are the families who are paying for the subsidies to Loblaws and Mastercard because of the ridiculous decisions of this government.
    If the minister really wants to help the middle class, she can ask the Minister of Finance to stop spending money at the expense of Canadian families.

  (1125)  

    Madam Speaker, while the opposition fixates on a specific number, we are taking action. That is why, when it comes to the middle class, our record speaks for itself. In 2015, the first thing we did was to lower taxes for the middle class while asking the wealthy to pay a bit more. We created the Canada child benefit, and we also lowered taxes this year at the beginning of our mandate. We will continue to work with the middle class to ensure that it has an affordable life and a good—

Infrastructure

    Madam Speaker, we have been saying for years now that expanding targeted infrastructure programs with all kinds of strict criteria does not work. The program to deal with flooding is blocked, and that is according to the government's own report. Since no agreement could be reached with our national government, not a single project has been funded in Quebec. Not a single dollar has been transferred. Meanwhile, flooding is only getting worse and the cities are crying out for help.
    When will this government do the only thing that actually is its responsibility, namely, transfer the money?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. Of course we are delivering on our commitment to invest in Quebec and the rest of the country. We are investing in green infrastructure. We are investing to ensure that our communities are more resilient. We are investing to create more public transit. There are many projects in Quebec.
    We will continue to do so. We will continue working with Quebec and the municipalities.
    Madam Speaker, the report clearly states that the government provided no funding to Quebec this time.
    Floods are worsening and happening more frequently as a result of climate change. So-called 100-year floods are now happening every 20 years. Floods that should happen every five years are now commonplace. People are starting to dread the arrival of spring, yet the money is frozen in Ottawa because the government insists on making all of the decisions and adding strict criteria for these programs.
    How much more global warming will it take to thaw this money?
    Madam Speaker, we are working with Quebec. We have already launched 10 projects in Quebec to make communities more resilient. We have projects all across Quebec, including the blue line in Montreal, the tramway in Quebec and the Champlain Bridge. We are working with Quebec and we will continue to do so. We do indeed need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and make our communities more resilient.

[English]

Veterans Affairs

    Madam Speaker, in 2018, this House voted unanimously to support an NDP motion that meant that all the money left on the table at the end of the year for our veterans would go into the next fiscal budget.
    Not only did this not happen, but the total money budgeted went down by $127 million, and at the end of the fiscal year, there was still over $100 million sitting on the table.
    This is happening while veterans are struggling every day to get their needs met. Shame on the Liberal government. Can the minister explain to this House and to veterans why that is the case?
    Madam Speaker, our benefits are demand driven. This means that the money is always available to veterans who come forward. We are not leaving any money unspent. We are making sure that the money is available for all our veterans.
    We know that all members of the House want to see veterans taken care of, and that is exactly what we are doing and will continue to do.

Indigenous Affairs

    Madam Speaker, when it comes to indigenous kids, the Liberal government continues to wilfully and recklessly discriminate against first nations children on reserve.
    The Liberals have fought court order after court order and are ignoring the unanimous will of this House. The Prime Minister is so committed to his crusade to deny these kids justice that he has spent over $5 million on court fees to fight them.
    Why does the Prime Minister think this money is better spent on lawyers than on children?
    Madam Speaker, this is a very important issue. What we stand by and fully agree with is that compensation for first nations children must be forthcoming for those who were harmed by past government policies.
    We are seeking a solution to this issue that is comprehensive, fair and equitable for all first nations children in relation to child and family services.
    The specific details with respect to payment and costs associated with litigation are covered by solicitor-client privilege. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further on that particular issue.

  (1130)  

Finance

    Madam Speaker, the current government recently gave Mastercard almost $50 million. Bear in mind these are taxpayer dollars. As if that were not enough, the story continues to evolve. We recently found out, thanks to the Post Millennial, that it was a former chief of staff within the Liberal Party who is now functioning as the chief lobbyist for Mastercard and secured this money. She also happens to be a maximum donor to the Liberal Party of Canada. Coincidence? I think not.
    Why is it that the Liberals always seem to get paid while Canadians always seem to foot the bill?
    Madam Speaker, it is obvious that this is an investment in the data protection of Canadians and Canadian jobs. Our government is investing in a new world-class cybersecurity centre in Vancouver, leveraging $100-plus million in private sector investment and literally hundreds of millions of dollars in private sector investment. It is going to create hundreds of new jobs, including for co-op students. It is going to protect Canadians from cyber-threats in an increasingly digital world.
    That is what Canadians are asking us to do and that is exactly what we are going to do.
    Madam Speaker, countless hours working as a top aide to Liberal ministers, years of maximizing her donations to the Liberal Party, years of working as a lobbyist for Mastercard and multiple meetings with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry: the cost to the taxpayer, $50 million. Ending Liberal corruption, that would be priceless.
    Why do Liberal insiders continue to receive millions of dollars while Canadians are failing to meet their minimum payment to Mastercard?
    Madam Speaker, the Conservative members' outrage knows no bounds.
    Our job as a government is to attract investment into Canada, create great Canadian jobs and protect Canadians from cybersecurity threats. We have leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars from the private sector.
     Mastercard could have implemented a centre of excellence in cybersecurity anywhere in the world, but it chose Vancouver. That is great news for Canada.
    Madam Speaker, as Canadians get their credit card bills in the mail, Mastercard gets a cheque for $50 million from taxpayers, thanks to the Liberals. This is a multinational, hugely profitable company. Today, the Post Millennial reported that, coincidentally, Mastercard's chief lobbyist is a former Liberal aide who has personally donated thousands of dollars to the Liberal Party.
    When will the government stop the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars with its Liberal friends?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question because, as I said before, it is manufactured outrage.
    I would like to quote the Leader of the Opposition from a September 6 press release, where he stated:
    It is vital, that the government adopt new policies and keep up with technology to make sure that Canadians—their money and their personal information—is protected.
     I am sure members opposite would agree that we need to invest in technology and centres like this cybersecurity centre in Vancouver so that the data of Canadians is protected and they have confidence when they are banking online. This is what we are investing in. We are very proud to do it.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I want to remind members, especially on the opposition side, that they had the opportunity to ask questions without being interrupted. I would ask that we have order in the House so that we can get through Oral Questions so people can understand the questions and answers, especially those who are listening at home.
    The hon. member for Steveston—Richmond East.
    Madam Speaker, it is well known that the Liberal government loves handing out corporate welfare, such as, $12 million to refrigerate Loblaws, $40 million to automate BlackBerry, $50 million to secure Mastercard, lobbied by donors and a former chief of staff to provide. However, it committed only $10 million to combat money laundering across Canada, a crisis estimated to be worth over $7 billion in my home province of British Columbia alone.
    Does the Prime Minister like investing in corporate welfare more than he likes protecting Canada from corruption?
    Madam Speaker, Canadians are using connected devices more and they want to know that when they are using financial services and doing their banking their data and privacy are protected. That is why we are investing in a cybersecurity centre. That is why our government is leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars doing exactly what a government should do to protect Canadians.
     We are going to ensure Canadians get those investments and that every taxpayer dollar leverages many more from the private sector. It is good governance.

  (1135)  

[Translation]

Government Programs

    Madam Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer told us that the Liberals have no plan for investing tens of billions of dollars allocated to more than 50 programs falling under some 30 departments.
    The investing in Canada plan is a failure in terms of wealth creation for the middle class, getting shovels in the ground, and monitoring and transparency.
    Will the Prime Minister respect the wishes of the House and give the Auditor General the resources he needs to do his important work?
    Madam Speaker, we have always said that openness and transparency are hallmarks of our government.
    We welcome public and parliamentary scrutiny of our infrastructure program. The only failure was the Conservatives' campaign pledge to cut infrastructure investments.
    I would like to know what the member opposite would like to cut. Is it the Montreal metro blue line, the Quebec City tramway, the Champlain Bridge or investments in affordable housing?
    Madam Speaker, none of the above.
    The Liberals are incapable of delivering projects on the ground. So far, nothing has been built. They are incapable of being accountable to Parliament or tabling a complete investment plan that breaks down the $186 billion in spending. Parliamentarians have spoken. The Auditor General must investigate this Liberal fiasco.
    Instead of handing over $50 million to Mastercard, will the Prime Minister, who loves using Canadians as his own unlimited credit card, make sure that the Auditor General gets the necessary financial resources to carry out this task?
    Madam Speaker, I will reiterate, we always welcome public and parliamentary oversight of our historic infrastructure program.
     Investments in clean infrastructure, public transit and building resilient communities are investments in our culture. They create jobs and help grow our economy to offer our children a healthier future. We are going to stay the course.

Public Services and Procurement

    Madam Speaker, the government wants 3,900 civilian members of the RCMP to use Phoenix. They are being told that there are no more problems with Phoenix. However, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement said the opposite, and I quote: “Our government knows that employees and their families continue to experience stress and inconvenience due to pay issues.”
    Why is the government imposing Phoenix on 3,900 civilian members of the RCMP without their consent, knowing that it is a source of stress and inconvenience?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, Canada's public servants deserve to be paid accurately and on time for their important work.
    We have made progress stabilizing the pay system. Over the past two years, we have reduced the number of pending transactions by 39%. Over the same period of time, the backlog of transactions with financial implications has decreased by 43%.
     We will continue working closely with the RCMP management to ensure a smooth transition. We continue to work with all departments and agencies to improve the timeliness and accuracy of HR data entries into the pay system.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I have statistics too. Last year, 74% of employees had problems when they transferred to a different job. If that is an improvement, then I am happy I was not there when the system was first implemented.
    The Phoenix system has been broken since day one. The Prime Minister asked two members of his cabinet to do away with this system once and for all. Yesterday, the Minister of Digital Government stated, and I quote: “We are working...to find a modern, reliable system.” In other words, Phoenix is not a modern and reliable system and never has been.
    I would like to reiterate my question. Why add 3,9000 more employees to this system—
    The Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

  (1140)  

    Madam Speaker, we have taken significant steps to stabilize the Phoenix pay system, and we continue to move forward together with all stakeholders, including unions and employees. Our government remains determined to help employees and resolve problems as quickly as possible.

[English]

Public Safety

    Madam Speaker, whenever a tragedy occurs, we should reflect on what we could have done to prevent it.
     The murder of Marylène Levesque in Quebec City is one such case. We know that someone with a history of violence against women was involved. We also know that this person was permitted to go on day parole and interact with vulnerable women.
    The Liberal government was warned by former parole officers that its reckless reforms would undermine public safety. When is the Liberal government going to take responsibility for its failure to protect innocent Canadians?
    Madam Speaker, the tragic murder of Ms. Levesque should never have occurred.
    A thorough investigation with external advisers will take place to determine all of the circumstances that gave rise to this horrendous, heinous crime. The investigation will be transparent and the findings will be shared with the public.
    It is our foremost priority to keep Canadians safe. We will work tirelessly to prevent similar tragedies from ever occurring again.
    Madam Speaker, Marylène Levesque was killed by a repeat violent offender out on parole. He was out because Liberal-appointed Parole Board members granted his release, despite knowing the plan to use sex workers to manage his risk to women. Let us just think about that.
    This kind of incompetence is putting lives at risk by allowing dangerous offenders back on our streets. When will the minister fire those Parole Board members and launch an external investigation into those types of appointments?
    Madam Speaker, public safety is the first and most important consideration for all parole decisions.
    The Parole Board of Canada makes these decisions independently, based on long-standing criteria established to promote safe and effective reintegration into society for offenders.
    In this tragic case, both the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada and the chair of the Parole Board have undertaken to initiate a full investigation into all of the circumstances. If persons are found to have engaged in misconduct, they will be held accountable. If there are additional measures to be taken, we will take them.

Canada Summer Jobs Program

    Madam Speaker, after weeks of confusion the Liberals finally opened the Canada summer jobs program yesterday. First they cut hours to say they were funding more positions. Then they prevented church groups from applying. Now it is reported that the department is swimming in red tape and is in chaos.
     When the member of Parliament for Carleton ran the program, it ran perfectly. How are the Liberals so terrible at running a summer jobs program for students?
    Madam Speaker, Canada's prosperity depends on young Canadians getting the education and experience they will need to succeed in their careers, keeping our economy growing and our middle class thriving.
    We are excited about rolling out 70,000 jobs for our youth. That is why the Canada summer jobs program is an important part of our government's youth employment strategy. We are providing young Canadians with paid summer jobs where they can gain valuable experience and earn money to help pay for school.
    I am pleased to share with the House that the application period is now open. I encourage—

Canada-India Relations

    We have learned that part of the Prime Minister's disastrous 2018 trip to India was supposed to include a yoga summit with Bollywood celebrities and the Prime Minister of India.
    While we now know that an invitation to a convicted terrorist and photo ops with elaborate wardrobe changes were all part of the government's well-calculated plans to improve relations with India, for some reason this event was cancelled.
    Can the Prime Minister shed any light on why the yoga summit failed to launch?

  (1145)  

    Madam Speaker, on this side of the House we know how important it is for Canadians to deliver a strong message on the world stage. Our Prime Minister does that, and he did that in India.
    While the Conservatives are spending their energy and time playing with Canada's relationships abroad for partisan politics, we remain focused on actions that will benefit Canadians. That includes more than $1 billion in two-way trade investment with India that we announced during that visit. This will create 5,800 new Canadian jobs, work we are proud of.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Madam Speaker, in northwest B.C. and across our province, wild salmon are the lifeblood of many communities. For generations they returned to our rivers in huge numbers, but as anyone out on the Skeena River last summer can tell us, wild salmon are in crisis, and the Liberal government is failing to act. We need funding for habitat restoration, for stock monitoring and for climate adaptation, and we need it now.
    Will the government step up before it is too late?
    Madam Speaker, indeed, our government agrees that wild salmon is a priority, specifically on the west coast.
     I think it is worth noting that the minister's first visit to British Columbia was with the Fraser management council, talking specifically about wild salmon and going up to Big Bar to look at the effects of the landslide. When it comes to funding, it was this government that put into place a $142-million salmon fund, along with the Province of British Columbia.
    We are doing more than the previous government ever did and we are going to do more going forward. I look forward to working with that member.

Natural Resources

    Madam Speaker, resource workers are desperately looking for jobs to support their families but the government has no plan for their future. Look at the latest proposal in northern Alberta, the Teck frontier mine. Even the CEO of the company says that it makes no economic sense and it will make it impossible for Canada to meet its climate targets, especially with Jason Kenney's government in power.
    When will the Liberals look to the future and deliver a real plan for Canadian workers and their communities?
    Madam Speaker, Canadians elected this government to protect the environment, grow the economy, advance reconciliation and create good jobs. We have done all of the above.
    They also expect this government to oversee fair and thorough environmental assessments. This is a major project that is under active consideration by our government. Under the Canadian environmental assessment act, a decision must be made on the project by the end of February 2020, and we will do so.

Taxation

    Madam Speaker, our government is committed to supporting the middle class and creating an enabling environment to help others join the middle class.
    In December, the finance minister tabled a ways and means motion that proposes lowering additional taxes for the middle class.
    Could the minister explain what this change would mean for Canadians across the country?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Don Valley East for her tireless advocacy on behalf of her constituents.
    Since day one, our government has been working hard to strengthen and grow the middle class. As our first order of business, we are lowering taxes for middle-class families and people working hard to join them, which means more money that can be used to do things like buy healthy food and send kids to camp.
    This is just the next step in our plan to make life more affordable for middle-class Canadians.

Natural Resources

    Madam Speaker, since the Liberals were first elected over $100 billion in energy projects has been lost, thousands of jobs are gone and national unity is damaged. The failure to approve the Teck mine would make this problem even worse. Canada's environmental assessment agency recommended this mine be approved. The project has signed agreements with all indigenous groups that live near it.
    Will the government stop dividing the country and approve this science-based project?
    Madam Speaker, as I said before, the government will consider a range of factors when it makes a decision, including environmental impact, advancing reconciliation and, importantly, growing the economy.
    Canadians also expect this government to oversee fair and thorough environmental assessments. That is what we are doing. We will have a decision at the end of February 2020.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, Alberta's monthly economic activity index is at its lowest point since the recession. The government has overseen more than $100 billion in cancelled energy projects. Still, the government continues to delay the approval for the Teck frontier mine, which would create 7,000 much-needed jobs.
    When will the Liberal government finally stand with energy workers, approve the Teck frontier mine, and show the world that Canada is open for business?
    Madam Speaker, when it comes to the energy sector, the one thing that we are always working toward is making sure that good projects move ahead. When it comes to LNG Canada, the largest private-sector investment in Canadian history, we have been supportive. On Line 3 we were supportive. On Keystone XL, we were supportive. We bought TMX to ensure that it moves forward.
    We will work with the Province of Alberta and the B.C. government to make sure that good projects move forward in the right way.
    Madam Speaker, the government wastes no opportunity to stand in the way of Alberta developing its resource sector. The $20.6-billion Teck Resources oil sands project will create thousands of jobs in Alberta when it is most needed. The Minister of Environment has announced that he will delay the government decision on this project until the end of this month. This is very concerning.
    Can the minister please tell us when he will approve the Teck Resources frontier mine project?
    Madam Speaker, I would just remind the hon. member that according to the law under which this project is being assessed, the legislative timeline for cabinet to make a decision is the end of February. As with any project, cabinet can approve the project with conditions, reject the project or extend the legislative timeline. The project is being actively considered by our government and no decision has been made.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the Teck project is very important, and it is good for the Canadian economy. It represents over $20 billion in investments and 7,000 jobs that Canada needs.
    Unfortunately, the government is taking its sweet time. People have been working on this project for 10 years. Everything has been done properly every step of the way. The proponents have the support of the 14 first nations directly affected by the project. All of the approvals have been given by the provincial government and the federal government. Basically, everything is ready except for the Liberal government.
    Why is the Liberal government once again standing in the way of developing Canada's natural resources?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will repeat that this project is under active consideration by our government under the Canadian environmental assessment act. A decision must be made by the end of February 2020. We are going to consider a range of factors in that decision, including environmental impacts, advancing reconciliation, growing the economy and creating jobs.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois extends our most sincere condolences to the loved ones of Marylène Levesque, whose murder deserves an explanation.
    This woman died at the hands of a man who was known to be violent and had already committed violent crimes against women. This is the fifth femicide in Quebec since December. We need to ask ourselves whether violence against women is being taken seriously enough.
    How could someone from the Parole Board of Canada have allowed this man to get anywhere near Marylène Levesque?
    Madam Speaker, there are no words to describe this tragedy. I offer my deepest condolences to the family. Our thoughts go out to them and we understand their pain. Our colleagues are asking how this possibly could have happened, and we are asking the same questions. A full investigation has been launched. We want to get answers and, more importantly, ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.

Foreign Affairs

    Madam Speaker, on Saturday, Raif Badawi and his former attorney, political prisoners in Saudi Arabia since 2012, were rushed to the hospital. They had been on a hunger strike in protest of their mistreatment.
    Mr. Badawi's current lawyer, Irwin Cotler, asked for urgent, immediate intervention by the UN in order to save the lives of these two men.
    Does the government acknowledge, as the former Liberal justice minister does, that there is an urgent need for action?
    Will it join its voice to that of Mr. Cotler in demanding urgent and immediate intervention by the UN to save the life of Mr. Badawi?

  (1155)  

    Madam Speaker, our hearts go out to Mr. Badawi and his family.
    The Prime Minister has spoken directly to the Saudi Crown Prince and to the King of Saudi Arabia about this particular case. We have raised the case directly to the Saudi minister of foreign affairs. Our goal is to have Mr. Badawi reunited with his family.

[English]

International Trade

    Madam Speaker, on December 12, 2019, Conservative members requested the release of the economic impact studies for the new NAFTA. It has now been over 50 days since that request was made. The government is asking us to ratify its agreement without even letting us see the economic impacts of the deal.
    The Liberals are stonewalling members of the House. What, exactly, is the government hiding?
    Madam Speaker, Global Affairs Canada's chief economist is preparing analysis based on the December amendments, which improved the deal for Canada. As the Deputy Prime Minister said previously, we absolutely intend to publish this analysis once it is finalized. I invite my hon. colleagues to put Canada and Canadians first and help us ratify this new NAFTA, without delay.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, many businesses in my riding are worried about the impact of the new agreement. The government made significant concessions and the agriculture sector is among the hardest hit. We asked for studies and more information about the impacts these concessions may have on our industry several times but we have yet to receive anything.
    When will this government take action and give us real answers?

[English]

    Global Affairs' chief economist is preparing an analysis, as I said. I would encourage my hon. colleague to actually speak with business owners in his riding. I know they are asking the government to ratify NAFTA as quickly as possible because Canadian businesses and workers depend on this important deal.
    Order. I just want to remind members that there should not be conversations going back and forth while someone has the floor. It is not very respectful.
    The hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington.
    Madam Speaker, there is an aluminum extrusion and parts company in Chatham that has grown to over 250 employees in less than 10 years. We have all heard the government's talking points, saying that 70% aluminum content is better than 0%, ignoring the reality that 70% is far less than our present market share.
     What we do not know is the real impact of the new NAFTA. Why does the government continue to refuse to release the economic analyses that we have requested? Release the documents.
    Madam Speaker, again I want to thank aluminum workers and the aluminum business for the excellent products that we produce here in Canada. Our government stands by our workers and by our businesses and is ensuring that they benefit from the new NAFTA.
     As my colleague said, this new deal offers a guaranteed minimum of 70% aluminum content. The previous deal did not contain that guarantee. Therefore, I encourage my colleague to work with us, to support us in ratifying this NAFTA because that aluminum plant in his riding is depending on it.

Ukraine International Flight 752

    Madam Speaker, on January 8, Canada was deeply shocked and saddened to learn that 57 Canadians and 29 permanent residents were among the 176 victims of the downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752. Following this tragic event, Canada sprang into action to support the families of the victims, and we work with our partners around the world to ensure a thorough investigation.
    Can the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness update the House on the funding-matching program to support these families who have experienced such great loss?

  (1200)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for this important question and the opportunity to inform Canadians of this important initiative.
    Canadians across Canada continue to mourn the victims tragically killed in the plane crash in Iran. The Canada Strong campaign has crowdsourced more than half a million dollars to support the families. Our government will match donations to this fund up to one and a half million dollars. The funds will be used to support the families of the victims as they navigate through the long-term impacts of these tragic losses.
    Canada Strong and other fundraising efforts show how Canadians come together in solidarity to help their neighbours in times of need. I would encourage all Canadians to consider offering their support.

Health

    Madam Speaker, cystic fibrosis patients like Marten in Taber, Alberta, are eagerly awaiting approval of a new, potentially life-saving drug. It is approved in other countries like the United States, but Canada is falling behind. Even if it was approved, we need leadership from the government with the province to make sure it gets into the hands of the patients who need it.
    What is the government doing to make our system work for those suffering from rare diseases like cystic fibrosis?
    Madam Speaker, I share the member opposite's deep concern for patients who cannot access medication that at many times can be very helpful for rare diseases. We have heard about this, whether it is at a member of Parliament level, in our constituencies or at the national level, through the work that we have been doing on more affordable medication for Canadians. That is why the work that we are doing to develop a rare disease strategy in partnership with provinces and territories is so critical. By working together, we will be able to accelerate access to medication that can support these patients all across Canada.

International Trade

    Madam Speaker, in December, I asked the Prime Minister why he had not reached out to the Australian government to preserve our federal excise exemption for 100% Canadian-made wines. It has been nearly two months and still we are waiting for the government to act. We have about eight weeks until the World Trade Organization releases its interim report. Seven hundred wineries and 9,000 Canadian jobs are at risk because of the current government's indifference.
    Why is the Liberal government risking the future of our Canadian wine industry by hesitating to act?
    Madam Speaker, I can assure you that our government understands the tremendous value that the wine industry brings to Canada and the contribution of the sector to Canada's reputation as a world-class agricultural producer. Our government will continue to stand up for Canadian workers and defend the interests of the Canadian wine industry. We have been exploring ways to resolve the dispute with Australia and our government is working closely with provinces on this issue and will continue to stand up for Canadian workers and this industry.

Natural Resources

    Madam Speaker, today marks the day that Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, closes indefinitely. This is truly a sombre day as it affects the livelihoods of mill workers in Pictou County, and thousands of forest workers and truckers from all regions of Nova Scotia.
    My question is pretty simple. What is the Liberal government doing to help these families in Nova Scotia who no longer have jobs?
    Madam Speaker, we recognize the closure of the mill will have a very real impact on our forestry sector in Nova Scotia and, most importantly, for workers. Our thoughts are with these workers and the families during what we know is a very difficult time.
    Federal services and programs are available to support them. We have been in touch with the province to offer support. Actually, I was in Halifax last week talking to the minister himself. We will continue working with our partners to build a strong and sustainable forestry sector that remains a source of good, well-paying jobs.

Women and Gender Equality

    Madam Speaker, a recent Statistics Canada report shows that women are still much more likely than men to experience gender-based violence and unwanted sexual behaviour at work and at school.

[Translation]

    This type of behaviour is clearly unacceptable.

[English]

    Can the Minister for Women and Gender Equality update this House on what this government is doing to end gender-based violence in Canada?
    Madam Speaker, my colleague from Kanata—Carleton is right. Gender-based violence is unacceptable, its consequences are deeply harmful and it is preventable. Our government moved forward with Canada's first federal strategy to address and prevent gender-based violence. We have clarified the definition of “consent” in law, we have invested in thousands of shelter spaces and affordable housing, and we are working to create safer campuses and workplaces. There is so much more work to be done. Survivors are counting on every colleague to put partisanship aside and create a future where no one has to say “me too”.

  (1205)  

International Trade

    Madam Speaker, New Flyer Industries in Transcona is a world-class manufacturer of electric and diesel buses. Most of its sales go to the United States and the Buy American policy has forced it to move more jobs to the U.S. It is not alone. This is happening to workers and companies across Canada.
    We have heard that Mexico got some relief from Buy American in the new NAFTA. Can the minister explain what efforts, if any, Canada made to protect Canadian jobs from Buy American and why they did not succeed?
    Madam Speaker, NAFTA is very important for Canadian businesses and Canadian workers. Our largest trading partner is the United States, and 75% of Canada's trade is with the United States. This NAFTA protects, especially in this environment of protectionism, access to the important U.S. market for workers and businesses. I ask my hon. colleague to work with us on ratifying NAFTA as quickly as possible.

Regional Economic Development

    Madam Speaker, I welcome comments from the Minister of Economic Development on ensuring the delivery of strategic regional investments and a focus on rural economic development. I agree with the government on the importance of cybersecurity in Canada. I also agree with the official opposition that funding a multinational, billion-dollar corporation like Mastercard should not have happened.
    Can I expect the government to also invest in local Canadian projects in the Maritime region like CyberNB, designed specifically to be the hub for Canadian cybersecurity, already in the construction phase and at a cheaper price for Canadian taxpayers?
    Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague that we want to support local entrepreneurs all across the country, and in particular in the Atlantic provinces. That is exactly why we decided to invest more in ACOA, in a regional development agency, by investing $170 million more. It will be a pleasure to hear from her as to where we should support really good projects all across New Brunswick. Of course, my job is to make sure that all colleagues in this House are able to create good opportunities across the country.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Petitions

Animal Welfare 

    Madam Speaker, I have a petition that calls upon the House of Commons to support Bill S-214 and ban the sale and/or manufacture of animal-tested cosmetics and their ingredients in Canada moving forward.

[Translation]

Climate Change  

    Madam Speaker, I have the honour to rise to present a petition against the Kinder Morgan pipeline, also known as Trans Mountain.

[English]

    The petitioners are from the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island, within my riding. This petition is somewhat stale-dated, but the points remain that the Trans Mountain expansion is a disaster for the climate and will increase risks of spills. They urge the government not to buy it. They may be experiencing buyers' regret. The petition is tabled in the hopes that the government will reconsider.

  (1210)  

Religious Freedom  

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition highlighting an important issue around civil rights and religious freedom in Canada.
    As an immigrant and ethnic minority I know Quebec's Bill 21 has real human impact. I have spoken to many youth around Canada and they have all expressed their fear and disappointment around the bill. The petition recognizes that Bill 21 in Quebec stands against fundamental Canadian rights, and it calls on all of us parliamentarians to oppose this bill.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
    The first petition is in support of Bill C-350 and Bill S-240, which were in the last Parliament. They deal with the issue of forced organ harvesting and organ trafficking. It calls for these bills to be adopted. There is no doubt that petitioners would want to see action taken in the current Parliament, given that those bills did not make it all the way in the last Parliament.

Human Rights 

    Madam Speaker, the second petition highlights the challenges of Pakistani asylum seekers who are currently in Thailand. It raises concerns about crackdown detention violence challenges that they face, and it calls on Parliament and the UNHCR to take action to support them.
    This is a major issue for the Pakistani Christian community. We heard this week about similar challenges faced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, from which there have also been many asylum seekers in Thailand.

Questions on the Order Paper

    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Canada-United States-Mexico Implementation Act

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Madam Speaker, when we talk about the trade pact between Canada, U.S.A. and Mexico, the country came together in many ways. When we look at the legislation and what we are debating, the amount of support is very real and tangible, from industry leaders to premiers of all political stripes. Everyone understands the importance of the $2 billion in trade every day between Canada and the U.S.
    Could my colleague from Don Valley East provide her thoughts on the importance of passing this bill? Could she also reflect on the support across the country for this agreement?
    Madam Speaker, we have had so much praise for the agreement from different premiers, both Conservative and NDP, the labour unions, the agriculture sector, which is so important, and even from the Quebec premier. It is important for all of us.
    In my riding of Don Valley East, the cultural industry and others are very keen on ensuring the bill passes. I hope we have the unanimous support from the House.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand here today to discuss the new NAFTA and the importance this agreement has not only within my riding of Foothills, but across the country.
    Today, I want to be really clear. I want to talk about some background of how we came here. I want to be extremely forthright in the fact that many of the stakeholders who I deal with in the agriculture sector, whether that is farmers, ranchers or food processors, support this agreement and they want to see it passed. So do we as Conservatives.
     We are the party of free trade. It was under a previous Conservative government that the first NAFTA was born, an agreement which brought about historic opportunities for the Canadian economy, whether that was manufacturing, industry, energy and certainly in agriculture.
    It was also under the previous Conservative government, with prime minister Stephen Harper, that we signed free trade agreements with more than 40 countries, bringing Canadian businesses more than a billion new customers. That was unprecedented economic opportunities for our Canadian businesses across the country.
    I would like to give a little history lesson. The previous Conservative government negotiated the free trade agreement with the European Union as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, the current Liberal government almost bungled those critical trade agreements, with geopolitical mistakes, that almost proved extremely costly to the Canadian economy.
    For all intents and purposes, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was to be the renegotiation of the current NAFTA. We negotiated that agreement with President Barrack Obama in the United States, probably the most progressive president in the history of the United States. However, when the current Prime Minister and the Liberal government took power, that Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement was not progressive enough for him. In fact, when the Prime Minister was a no-show at that signing ceremony, it was an embarrassment to Canada. It embarrassed our allies and it was highly inappropriate, so much so, it almost resulted in Canada not being an initial signatory on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
    However, what did result from the Prime Minister's embarrassing behaviour as part of that project, was four more years of uncertainty to Canada's economy. It also resulted in the Prime Minister saying that he was more than willing to renegotiate NAFTA under the new President, Donald Trump. That is where our concerns lie.
    When the previous Conservative government negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the free trade agreement with the European Union, our previous agriculture minister, Gerry Ritz, and the previous trade minister, the member for Abbotsford, ensured that every step along the way their colleagues in the opposition had regular meetings, regular updates on what the process was, what the concessions were and what the pros and cons would be in it. In addition, all the stakeholder groups also had very keen interests and were included in all those discussions. We have none of that with the current Liberal government.
    We have been kept in the dark from beginning to end with this new NAFTA. All we were asking for was some due diligence to see the details in that agreement. Therefore, people can see why Conservative members are not ready to jump on board and approve the Liberals' new agreement without giving it that due diligence, without giving it that scrutiny.
    We have heard over the last few days of debate on the new NAFTA that the Liberals have asked us to trust them, that this is a great deal, better than any deal we have had before. However, the Liberals have not earned that trust. They have not earned that trust from Conservative members. They certainly have not earned that trust from stakeholders who have asked us, especially in the agriculture sector, to do our due diligence, to give this process the scrutiny it deserves.
    Let us go back a little to why stakeholders are asking us to ensure we review this and why they are wary of what the Liberals may be trying to pass through this NAFTA. They have not earned that trust of many of stakeholders, especially in the agriculture sector.
     It is a government that promised to do a thorough and robust review of the business risk management programs and come up with a new program that would be bankable, accessible and efficient for Canadian agriculture. The Liberals have not done that. It is a broken promise.
     It is a Liberal government that promised a compensation package for dairy processors as part of its previous free trade agreements. It reneged on that promise. There is no compensation package at all for dairy processors. It is another promise broken.

  (1215)  

    This is a Liberal government that missed a critical deadline to apply to the World Organisation for Animal Health for negligible risk status for Canada when it came to bovine spongiform encephalopathy. That was a critical mistake.
    The agriculture minister, the trade minister, the health minister, the Prime Minister, all of them dropped the ball. How does one miss a date that we knew of 11 years before it was coming? As a result, our beef ranchers in Ontario are struggling because of a lack of capacity and now have limited options to export their beef products.
     Had the Liberal government met that deadline, and it was just putting a notice of motion on the table with the World Organisation for Animal Health to let it know that we would be applying this year, it would have opened doors for Ontario beef producers. However, the government did not do that, and has not apologized for this or admitted that it was a mistake. Not only was it a mistake; it was a crushing mistake for Ontario beef producers and certainly cattle ranchers across Canada. It was an important date that the government missed.
    In addition to that, the Liberals have implemented a punishing carbon tax on Canadian agriculture. The agriculture minister has admitted this week that she is not keeping any data on the impact of the carbon tax on Canadian farmers.
    People can see why our agriculture stakeholders from coast to coast to coast are questioning the ability of due diligence of the Liberal government when it comes to this NAFTA agreement. As I have said from the beginning, the vast majority of stakeholders want the new NAFTA agreement to be enforced, but they do not want us to jump in and sign this agreement as quickly as possible. They want us to ensure we look at every aspect of this agreement before we vote to ratify it.
    This has been a harvest from hell for Canadian agriculture, and we have heard this from many stakeholders. I will read some quotes to show why our producers are a little wary of the Liberals' intent here.
    Bill Campbell, the president of Keystone Agricultural Producers said:
     We are firm in our position that there needs to be an exemption for farmers under the carbon tax framework for all the costs associated with drying all grain, as well as for heating barns and farm buildings...Now that Manitoba falls under the federal backstop, farmers are left paying prices that, as price-takers in the global economy, cannot be passed along.
    Jeff Nielsen of Grain Growers Canada said this week:
    The 2019 harvest season has put undue burdens on farmers’ livelihoods and every part of the country has been hit hard...Beyond just the crop left in the field, farmers have faced major grain drying expenses, courtesy of the federal carbon tax, to ensure at least some crops make it to market....These costs are adding up and we cannot continue to pay the price for inaction...A complete exemption for all fuels used on the farm is what farmers ultimately require to avoid these crises in the future and provide farmers with the resources to continue doing what we do best.
    People can see why our agriculture stakeholders are concerned, because there is no trust level with the Liberal government.
    Certainly, the Liberals are giving that great lip service that this new NAFTA is a better agreement, but before we make that decision, we want to have every opportunity to review it.
     As many of my colleagues have said in their speeches over the last week, we have asked for an economic impact analysis, we have asked for data that backs up the agreement the Liberals have asked us to sign, but we have not seen any of those documents.
     As I have said previously, the stark difference between when the Conservative government was negotiating these free trade agreements and the Liberal government is that under the Conservative government, we ensured that the opposition was involved every step of the way, that it was well informed with all of the decisions that were being made and that the stakeholders were there at the table with us. However, the stakeholders and the opposition have not had the same opportunity when it comes to this agreement.
    It is an obligation as elected representatives that we do our due diligence. Our constituents demand us to do that. They are wary of what this agreement may hold. This is especially true when it comes to a trade agreement with one of our most important trading partners, the United States.
    For agriculture, we must ensure that there is no question that the new NAFTA agreement represents stability and reliable trade with Mexico and the United States, two of our most important trading partners. In my constituency of Foothills, my residents demand that; they want that.
    Free and fair trade is a top priority for us as Conservatives and certainly for our constituents as well.

  (1220)  

    Madam Speaker, what Conservatives often have in common with Liberals is that we both support and recognize the importance of trade. This agreement furthers the sense of security for the $2 billion in trade between Canada and the U.S.
    I disagree with the member, as he is attempting to rewrite history. The CETA agreement included just under 30 countries in Europe, and the trans-Pacific agreement included 10 countries. These are agreements that were not finalized by the Stephen Harper Conservative government. To give the impression that they were finalized at that time is just false. They were not even close to being finalized then. Many meetings took place, with the minister travelling abroad.
    Having said that, this particular agreement has brought Canadians together, and the official opposition was provided the opportunity to sit down in December to get details.
    Would the member not agree that we need to continue to work together to get the bill passed?

  (1225)  

    I just want to remind the parliamentary secretary to keep his questions a little tighter, a little shorter. I want to remind the members on this side that I have no doubt the member for Foothills is able to respond. In the meantime, I would ask that they hold their comments.
    Madam Speaker, I completely disagree with my colleague across the floor, who is actually trying to rewrite history.
    The TPP agreement was ready to be signed on the eve of the 2015 election. The second the Prime Minister took office, he should have gone to the table and signed the agreement. However, it was not good enough for him. That agreement was not progressive enough. In fact, the Prime Minister did not show up at the signing ceremony, an incredible embarrassment to this country.
     We ended up with four more years of uncertainty when the TPP agreement was almost ripped apart. We came close to that. Canada was almost not even a member of the trans-Pacific partnership agreement. It was the same with CETA. In fact, under the Liberal government we have lost very important trade agreements with China, India, Peru, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and the list goes on and on.
    We are the party of free trade. The Liberals are the party of eliminating it.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his speech, especially since he spoke about agriculture.
    Speaking of compensation, the Bloc Québécois will absolutely not accept as support a modernization program similar to the one the government created in 2018 for Europe. That program has proven to be a disaster.
    We are calling for a program that provides direct support, and we want to see it in the next budget. What does my colleague think of that?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, there are some concerns with the new NAFTA agreement when it comes to the dairy sector.
    There is no other agreement I can think of that Canada signed that has put a cap on the growth of an agricultural commodity, which the Liberals have done with dairy. There is now a quota on the export of products like skim milk powder and protein powder.
    When the Liberals say this is a better agreement, certainly that may be true in some areas, but in the dairy sector it is absolutely not true. In some areas, like dairy processing, there is no compensation whatsoever, even though the Liberals did promise a compensation package.
    Madam Speaker, I was talking to a dairy processor from British Columbia who made the point that quotas are going to be very destructive to that industry.
    My question for the hon. member is about the process we had. He mentioned the secrecy behind it. I am just wondering if the member would be in favour of working with us to produce a new system for future trade deals.
    Madam Speaker, we do not have to rewrite the process, because the process was done properly under the previous Conservative government.
    As I said, the minister of trade and the minister of agriculture at that time offered to hold regular meetings with their colleagues on the opposition benches and not only kept all stakeholder groups informed but actually had them at the negotiating table with us. That is the system that works. That is the system that ensures everyone's voice is heard. Stakeholders did not always agree, but at least they had the chance to put forward their positions at the table. That is the system we need to follow.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to the new NAFTA. I would like to start by showing why this agreement is so important.
    More than 400,000 people cross the Canada-U.S. border every day for work. Every day, $2.4 billion in goods cross the border. About two million Canadian jobs are directly linked to free trade with the United States. We now have six time as much trade with Mexico than we had when we signed our agreement in 1993.

[English]

    Let us also look at the history of why we are negotiating NAFTA. The U.S. president was elected by saying that NAFTA was the worst deal ever made. It was inevitable that any Canadian government was going to have to renegotiate with the United States on NAFTA.
     This Canadian government, in my view, did an exceptional job in arriving at a deal that is even better than the previous NAFTA in almost every area. That is sensational when looking at the difference in size between Canada and the United States. The United States has a population that is about nine times bigger than that of Canada.
    Unfortunately, despite the fact that Canada is the U.S.'s biggest trading partner in the vast majority of states and that millions of American jobs are linked to NAFTA, there is far less knowledge in the United States on the importance of the trading relationship between Canada and the United States than there is in Canada.
     As a result, the team had to deal with numerous challenges in this negotiation, one of which was educating Americans on how important their trading relationship with Canada is. Another was navigating the system in the United States, where the administration was of one party and the majority in the House of Representatives was of another party.
    We have now arrived at a point where Mexico has ratified the new NAFTA, the United States Congress has passed it and the U.S. president has signed the bill, ratifying it. We in Canada are now left to decide one thing: Do we go along with our partners in the United States and Mexico and ratify this deal or do we not? I would say yes, we need to do so.
    I will talk about a couple of the areas where Canada resolutely defended its position in the NAFTA negotiations.
    First, there is chapter 19, the dispute resolution mechanism. We all heard the Americans continually challenge chapter 19, trying to have it removed from the new NAFTA. Indeed, in the initial agreement between Mexico and the United States, that chapter was removed. Canada was able to ensure that this chapter remained, leaving us a dispute resolution mechanism with the United States, something we desperately need in dealing with a trading partner that is vastly bigger than us.
    In the course of these negotiations, we succeeded in protecting supply management, something the Americans, who saw it as one of their key issues in the deal, said they wanted us to repeal. We also succeeded in this deal by getting new labour and environment chapters that were not in the previous agreement, things that will be of benefit to Canadian workers and the environment. Indeed, with changes made through the demands of Democrats in the U.S. Congress, the enforcement mechanisms for the labour and environmental chapters are better now than they were in the original deal.
    As parliamentary secretary for labour, I am very pleased with the labour chapters in NAFTA. The labour standards that are now established in NAFTA are progressive and fully enforceable. They help level the playing field for Canadian workers and businesses; are a major upgrade from those in the original NAFTA because they protect migrant workers and union members; prevent the import of products made by forced labour; require measures to protect workers against discrimination; ensure that laws and policies that protect workers' rights, like those for collective bargaining and freedom of association, are enshrined; give Canadian businesses a chance to grow; and give workers a fair chance to share in the benefits of free trade. That is something.
    In addition, for automobiles to be NAFTA-certified, 70% of the parts used in them have to be made in North America, in Canada, the United States or Mexico. In the current NAFTA this obligation is not there. That is a huge deal for parts makers in Canada that contribute to the auto industry, and it includes steel and aluminum. Seventy percent of the components need to be made in North America.

  (1230)  

    I understand the concerns that have been expressed about aluminum, but we have to remember that we started with a 0% requirement and are now at 70%. For those parts that are manufactured in Canada and the United States, the anti-dumping measures prevail and, as such, Canadian aluminum producers are doing far better, despite concerns that Mexico may use Chinese aluminum. We do not want that to happen, but that could be happening and is probably happening right now. The deal does not change that issue. It only means that now 70% of the parts need to be made in North America.
    While I acknowledge it is true that the deal for steel states that parts need to be poured and melted in North America and it does not for aluminum, that will come into effect seven years from now. We have seven years to see if we can improve stuff on aluminum. However, it still means that the protections for aluminum providers today are better than they were under the previous NAFTA. It is a gain, not a loss.
    Another thing that is really important is now a significant percentage of parts need to be made by workers earning more than $16 an hour. That is a huge deal because it means that factories in Mexico with low-cost workers will no longer be able to produce the NAFTA-certified parts under this threshold. That means that more jobs will be kept in Canada and the United States and not moved to Mexico. That is an incredible victory in this deal. Canada has established with Mexico a working group to improve labour standards and working conditions. Mexico is going to need to make labour reforms, especially in areas that are crucial for the implementation of the new NAFTA. The Canada-Mexico bilateral labour working group will ensure that Canadian expertise is available to share our best practices and strengthen co-operation with Mexico. It will bring together Canadian and Mexican experts to help implement the new NAFTA's labour protections and standards. Therefore, when we talk about all of the different things that NAFTA could have been, and we look at the U.S. original negotiating position, this new trade agreement could have been very difficult for Canadians. In the end, this panel of people that Canada has put together, from our professional civil service to our government members working on this, to those many others that helped in the process, including many members of the former Conservative government who aided our current government in negotiating NAFTA, all talked about former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who was intricately involved in assisting our government, and the former interim leader of the Conservative Party, Rona Ambrose. This was a Team Canada effort, as it should be, because when we create a trade deal that is of so much importance to Canadian jobs, Canadian workers and our Canadian economy, it is primordial.

  (1235)  

[Translation]

    It is primordial to have a first-rate team of people from all over the country who represent labour, employers, unions, individuals from all different groups, including the government, the opposition and everyone. I think Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and her entire team did an outstanding job.

[English]

    I want to remind the member that he cannot use the minister's name. He can use the position, but not the name.
    Madam Speaker, in closing, what I would say is this. This trade deal, while not perfect in every area, is better even than the previous NAFTA, is an incredible victory given the political context of our times and the current U.S. administration we were negotiating with. I am very proud to vote in favour of this trade deal.
    Madam Speaker, I wish my colleague across the way all the best.
    I want to ask him about the negotiating strategy that we followed. The rhetoric during the last presidential election was very much focused on Mexico. The American president, then candidate, was very critical of trade practices by Mexico as part of that rhetoric. Over the course of the discussions after the election, it was interesting to see how that rhetoric shifted from Mexico to Canada. The American administration basically signed on to a deal without Canada and then said, “Take it or leave it”.
    The opposition and the public do not know all the things that happened, or what was said or not said behind closed doors. I wonder if the member could reflect on why he thinks that, as a result perhaps of some of the conversations or steps or missteps by the Liberal government, the target shifted from Mexico to Canada in the context of that conversation.

  (1240)  

    Madam Speaker, I would note that the rhetoric of the current U.S. administration seems to shift from target to target to target with a lot of volatility.
    I cannot necessarily speak to the issue of rhetoric. I can say that the Canadian government stood resolutely for the points that Canada said we would make in the current NAFTA, meaning we resisted U.S. demands to remove the dispute resolution mechanism from NAFTA, which the Mexicans had agreed to in the initial deal with the United States. That was reinserted because Canada insisted upon it. The United States wanted us to completely remove our supply management process. We resisted that.
    I am proud of the fact that we not only reached a deal but we reached a deal by resolutely standing in defence of Canadian workers across the country.
    Madam Speaker, one thing that seems to be missing from this whole conversation, both here in the House of Commons and across the country, is any sort of economic analysis of the impact of this trade agreement. It would seem a very important thing to know before we say yes or no to this or ask for changes. The U.S. Congress made some significant changes. We are being asked just to rubber-stamp it and send it on. One thing we do not have is any kind of economic impact analysis. I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could comment on that.
    Madam Speaker, one thing that is incredibly important is that we can all recognize the disastrous impact on Canada of not having a trade agreement with the United States, when literally millions of jobs in Canada depend on that trade agreement. Our officials who provided us with briefings this week made that clear. In this case, the economic benefits to Canada of free trade with the United States and Mexico are abundantly clear.
     I very much hope that we will have, and continue to have, more information in that regard provided to Parliament and to committee.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I commend my colleague for admitting that the agreement gives greater protections to steel than to aluminum. Since there are solutions that do not necessarily involve changing the agreement but could protect aluminum, does my colleague think that his government should try to find a solution? We could do it now, rather than wait seven years.
    What does my colleague think?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    I listened to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs's answer to the question from the leader of the Bloc Québécois. She told him she was open to any proposals. I know the Deputy Prime Minister, and she is a woman who says what she thinks. I hope we will all work together to improve what we have.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise today and speak to this very important issue for the Canadian economy and Canadian foreign policy. I know it is also important to my constituents.
    We are discussing the new NAFTA. It is important to be clear at the outset that I and the Conservative Party are very supportive of free trade. We are the party of free trade, and it is important to review how we got here. Before I do that, I will underline our commitment to the importance of free trade, particularly in North America. My party wants to see that happen and wants to ensure it happens in a way that is in the best interest of Canada.
    If we go back a few decades to around the time I was born, some people in the House will remember the free trade election in 1988. It was very much a live issue of whether free trade with the United States was good for Canada. The Liberal Party and the NDP's position was that this would lead to a hollowing out of Canada completely, and that the effect of this was, as John Turner said at the time, to make Canada a colony of the United States.
    I am pleased to say that our party, as on many other issues, was on the right side of history and has been able to prevail in that cause. We are now at a point where there may not be a universal consensus, but a much greater consensus, on the importance of free trade.
    Even as we hear more verbal acquiescence from Liberal politicians and others to the idea that free trade is good for Canada, it is very clear if we look at the record that, even today, Conservatives have pursued trade relations with other countries with a great deal more enthusiasm and vigour.
    During the time of the Stephen Harper government, we moved forward and signed trade deals with countries representing over 60% of the world's GDP, including the trans-Pacific partnership deal and the Canada-E.U. free trade agreement. We were also pursing trade negotiations with a variety of other countries that were a bit smaller, but still very important.
    The government's celebrated achievements in the last Parliament around trade were really crossing t's and dotting i's on agreements that were negotiated under Conservatives. We applauded the fact that they did not stop the progress that was happening.
     As we can see even today, the vigour with which Conservatives support and pursue free trade deals is much greater. We understand that voluntary exchange between free peoples is the basis for prosperity, here and around the world. In a context where that voluntary exchange is between free peoples, where it benefits Canadian workers as it does, there is no reason for the government to get in the way of people's ability to engage in commerce across international borders.
    In front of us, we have a situation dealing with NAFTA. To add context, we had the election of an American president who said he wanted to renegotiate NAFTA. He took some positions that were very far out of step with what Canadians wanted, which would not have been in Canada's interest.
    The Liberal government now claims as victories the fact that it did not make all of the concessions that were asked for. It says, “We could have lost this”, and so forth, but we did not lose things we could have lost. Hopefully the negotiation was never saying, “You can have exactly what you want.” It is a certainty, and it is clear in the deal and the outcome we have, that the government took the existing position we had, negotiated with the positions proposed and ended up with something in between, something that still lost ground for Canada in terms of our interest.
    The Liberal government has argued, although not explicitly, that it was inevitable. Maybe it is not said directly, but the government says it was a difficult context and, given the context, this was the best that it could do. There were various strategic decisions made at the political level that did not help.

  (1245)  

    I think the government could have, at the outset, put the emphasis on Canadian jobs and Canadian workers. It could have been clearer earlier in articulating the specific focus of Canada's interest, rather than putting the focus on more symbolic issues.
    I think the government could also have avoided being directly unnecessarily antagonistic. I, of course, disagree with policies of other governments from time to time. I am not someone who is shy about expressing that, including in the chamber. However, I think the government could have done a better job in trying to miss those opportunities to goad the other side and to make themselves the issue, instead of making Canadian workers and their opportunities the issue.
    We now have this deal in front of us. I think it could have been much better, but on the other hand we have to take it as it is. I will say for the government, that we are negotiating deals in a minority Parliament. We see an example of this happening in other countries around NAFTA, where the system requires the President to engage actively with congressional leaders around the details of the deal.
    Right now we have a minority Parliament, where the government did not actually get the most votes in the last election. They got about a third of the votes. They got fewer votes than the Conservative party did. The responsible way to negotiate deals, to pursue these kinds of things in the context of a minority Parliament, is to have opposition shadow ministers and members directly involved all the way along and given the opportunity to be actively there, proposing ideas, rather than the government just saying that they are going to be briefed after the fact.
    As it happens, Conservative members were very involved in advancing the national interest. They were spending time in the United States advancing the relationship, defending Canadian-American trade and talking about the importance of these things. However, we are still not being briefed and engaged in those conversations in a way, and to the degree, that would be considered automatic in the vast majority of democratic legislatures around the world.
    I would ask the government to work to do better on that. If it wants to ensure the success of these kinds of agreements in a minority Parliament, it needs to understand that the opposition has a responsibility to scrutinize them in the national interest and in particular in the interest of Canadian workers.
    In the context of trade, we need to reflect on our national competitiveness. In an environment where we are trading internationally, we inevitably have to consider the competitiveness of our economy in relation to other countries. That is one of the reason I think the Teck mine project in Alberta is very important.
    We need to ensure economic development. We need to ensure that Alberta is able to develop its natural resource sector. The Teck Resources Limited project, a $20.7-billion project, could be producing 260,000 barrels of crude oil per day. This would be very good for the Canadian economy. This would be very good for our competitiveness. This would be very good for jobs and opportunity in Alberta.
    I want to clearly express my strong support for this project, but we have mixed messages and dithering on this from the government. We had the environment minister saying the cabinet could make a decision to improve it, reject it or delay it. Indeed, the Liberals have implied that they might make that decision contingent on certain policy actions at other levels of government.
    The reality is that this project has already been through a rigorous assessment. It is a project that is good for the Canadian economy, and I think is consistent with our environmental commitments, insofar as the world will continue to use oil and we should create incentives for the development of new technologies to improve our environmental performance. In that context, and recognizing strong support for this project from indigenous communities, I hope the government supports it.
    This is one of many examples of issues that are important for our national economy and for ensuring our competitiveness, and I hope the government will take my support for the project, and that of other members and certainly of the whole Conservative caucus, into consideration as it moves forward.

  (1250)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his well-delivered, well-thought-out speech, and I agree with him on practically 95% of it. However, in a minority Parliament, God forbid that I dwell on the 5%, so let us take a look at the 95% that I agree with.
    I have been involved with the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association and have been through the CETA negotiations with the EU, and one of the most contentious items I have dealt with over the years was dispute settlement. Let us be honest: A country of our size can punch way above its weight when it comes to international agreements on free trade and many other multilateral agreements.
    I want to get the member's comments on the importance of having a dispute settlement mechanism in this agreement, as well as in CETA, in order for us as a small nation to go one step above.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate knowing that the member agrees with 95% of what I said, and we would love to have him over here any time.
    With regard to investor-state dispute settlement, I believe, although I know some colleagues in this House do not agree, that if we are going to sign an agreement, then there has be a mechanism for dispute settlement that in some cases would allow us to go beyond simply the national courts. If a Canadian company is investing in Mexico and there are terms of the trade agreement that say it is able to make that investment and should be treated on an equal footing with local companies, but that is not happening, the company should have legal remedies that go beyond the local courts.
    Unfortunately, in this particular deal we were set back in terms of investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. Chapter 11 of the old NAFTA dealt with this issue, but we just do not have that kind of protection for Canadian companies. Of course these provisions protect American and Mexican companies investing in Canada, which should not bother us as a rule-of-law country, but it makes Canadian companies more vulnerable when making investments in other countries, particularly if there are situations in, for example, Mexico, where Canadian companies would be adversely affected.
    I believe in the—

  (1255)  

    I remind the member that other questions need to be posed as well, so let us keep the questions and comments short.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see that my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan grasps chapter 11. I am certainly thrilled that it is no longer in NAFTA 2.0, or CUSMA, or whatever we are calling it.
    In experience and theory, I hear what the member is saying about how it would have protected Canadian companies against unfairness from U.S. governments. However, we have an empirical track record and a history showing that when Canadian companies brought forward these chapter 11 cases in the U.S., they virtually always lost. On the other hand, when U.S. companies such as Ethyl Corporation from Virginia, SD Myers of Ohio, AbitibiBowater or Bilcon brought charges against Canada, they succeeded in cases that were fundamentally anti-democratic and against what Parliament had decided was best for Canada.
    I cheer the removal of chapter 11 from NAFTA.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague probably agrees a little less than I do with the previous questioner. However, it is not just a matter of opinion; it is a matter of numbers. Let me share the numbers with the member in terms of ISDS cases that have been settled or decided.
    Canada has lost eight cases and won nine cases, so we are batting above .500, and in total Canada has paid out about $219 million in damages and settlements and has spent about $95 million in legal costs to defend against ISDS claims. This is during the period in which NAFTA was in place. I compare those relatively small numbers to the $406.1 billion in foreign direct investment from the U.S. into Canada today.
    By having a mechanism that protects Canadian companies that are making investments, we are winning more than we are losing and we are benefiting more than it is costing. It is a reality of a rule-of-law country that companies can sue the government when agreements have not been followed. That is part of a—
    Unfortunately, time is up. I tried to allow for a little more time.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Brampton East.
    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today for my first official speech. As the member for Brampton East, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents for putting their trust in me to represent their interests here in Ottawa. I would also like to thank my family, especially my wife, Jo, and two daughters, Ayva and Maya.
    Having spent the last 11 years working as an international trade consultant with businesses from coast to coast to coast, I am grateful to have the opportunity today to speak to Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States. I know this agreement will give businesses the stability to keep trading and investing in good middle-class jobs here in Canada. With over $2 billion in trade per day, and the countless integrated supply chains with our neighbours to the south, it is clear that Canadian businesses rely on a dependable and stable trade relationship with our friends in the U.S. and Mexico.
    In my riding of Brampton East, trade has an enormous impact on families. The trade corridor in my riding brings stability to many Canadians, giving them good-paying jobs and the ability to provide for their families. Many businesses rely on an open trade agreement with the U.S. and I have seen that first-hand. In Brampton the transportation industry, especially the trucking industry, relies heavily on trade with the U.S. This trade deal will give businesses the stability they need to further invest in their ventures and continue to create new middle-class jobs.
    The new NAFTA will continue to give Canadian businesses favourable access to almost half a billion consumers. This agreement was a robust, collaborative effort that sought the perspectives and opinions from over 47,000 Canadians to ensure their views were considered at the negotiation table. We also spoke to over 1,300 stakeholders, including small businesses, indigenous groups, female entrepreneurs, academics and youth. Thanks to Canadians who shared their views, we went into these negotiations prepared and, in the end, we got a good deal for middle-class families and for our country.
    This trade deal will bring new opportunities, security and market access for many Canadian industries. This new progressive trade deal brings forth a great opportunity for growth and expansion in Canada's automotive sector. More robust rules of origin for the auto sector will help to keep the benefits of the agreement in North America and level the playing field for Canada's high-wage workers.
    This new agreement has the potential to generate increased automotive production in North America, including Canada. Additionally, this agreement creates sourcing opportunities for many Canadian parts producers. The strength of Canada's highly skilled workforce and our workers' ability to produce high-quality vehicles has always given the Canadian automotive sector an advantage.
    For auto workers in Ontario, this new deal preserves crucial cross-border auto supply chains. It provides an incentive to produce vehicles in Canada and significantly improves labour rights for Mexican workers, which helps level the playing field for Canadian workers. Jerry Dias of Unifor has said that this is a much better deal than the deal that was signed 24 years ago.
    Throughout the negotiations for the new NAFTA, Canada fought hard to lift the U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, and we succeeded. Canada is now the only major producer of aluminum in the world that is not subject to U.S. tariffs. This is great news for Canadians. This success is the cumulative result of our firm and measured response, including $2 billion in support for Canadian workers and companies, and hundreds of interactions with U.S. officials.
    The new NAFTA is in the interests of steel and aluminum producers across Canada. Jean Simard, the president and CEO of the Aluminum Association of Canada, even said, “We think the USMCA is the right way to go.”
    Catherine Cobden, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, said, “Implementation of the CUSMA is critical to strengthening the competitiveness of Canadian and North American steel industries and ensuring market access in the face of persistent global trade challenges and uncertainty
    Let us set the record straight. This modernized agreement has secured key benefits and key access for many generations to come and CUSMA is something that all Canadians should be especially proud of. The new NAFTA will preserve existing agriculture commitments between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico and help bring together an already integrated North American industry.
    We fought hard to secure many beneficial outcomes for agriculture, including new market access in the form of tariff-free quotas for refined sugar, sugar-containing products and certain dairy products. We established a modernized committee on agriculture trade, which will address issues and trade barriers, and provide obligations for agriculture biotechnology that will promote innovation, transparency and predictability. Over 50% of all of Canada's food exports are destined to the United States.

  (1300)  

    That is why the new NAFTA is so important. It would ensure that our farmers and producers can continue to have the access they need to sell their goods across the border so that they can continue to help grow the Canadian economy.
    Leading into the trade deal talks, the U.S. summary of objectives for NAFTA renegotiations focused on the one key priority of eliminating the remaining Canadian tariffs on imports of U.S. dairy, poultry and egg products. Through our firm approach to the negotiations, Canada preserved it for future generations, just as we are delivering on our commitment to fully and fairly compensate for the impacts of the other trade agreements like CETA and CPTPP for our dairy, poultry and egg producers and processors. We will do the exact same once CUSMA is fully ratified.
    Fundamentally, the ratification of CUSMA is good news for the hundreds of thousands of jobs in the agriculture sector that depend on continued tariff-free access to our largest trading partner. Canada's status on the national stage is a non-partisan issue. Canada's success benefits all of us, some way or another.
     Premier Moe of Saskatchewan has expressed his support for the new NAFTA, having said that a signed CUSMA trade deal is good news for Saskatchewan and Canada.
    Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta has said that he is relieved that a renewed North American trade agreement has been concluded.
    Premier Legault of Quebec, who knows how important this trade deal is for Quebec and Canada, has said, “I think that the Bloc [Québécois] must defend the interests of Quebeckers, and it is in the interests of Quebeckers that this agreement be ratified and adopted”.
    From farmers in Alberta and auto workers in Windsor, to aluminum producers in Quebec and entrepreneurs in St. John's, Brampton and Vancouver, the new NAFTA would benefit Canadians from every corner of the country.
     Throughout the entire process of NAFTA negotiations, Canada's key objective remained the same: Ensure our new deal secures benefits for every Canadian. I am proud to see that this objective was fully achieved. Through the full ratification of this new trade agreement, I am confident that Canada's strategic objectives will be further advanced through a united approach to managing and maintaining our economic relationships with two of our most key allies.
    While my speech has featured just some of the key successes of the new NAFTA, I would like to also point out other notable revised outcomes of CUSMA on areas such as environment, energy, culture, indigenous peoples and gender equity. In every aspect, we got a good deal for our country, which means we got a good deal for all Canadians. Canadian parliamentarians of every political stripe must understand that, politics aside, the interests of Canadians come first, last and always.

  (1305)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I commend my colleague on his first speech here in the House of Commons. However, he should remember that we cannot assume that every document sent out by the Liberal Party is accurate. We must question some of that information.
    My colleague said that dairy, egg and poultry farmers were fully compensated for the losses they incurred as a result of concessions made in earlier free trade agreements. That is false. Only dairy farmers have received compensation. Egg and poultry farmers did not receive anything. What is more, we are still waiting for the continuation of the program.
    Did the member know that only dairy farmers were compensated and that the others are still waiting?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, while we respect the dairy and poultry industry, our position is to negotiate for Canadians across Canada. The member's questions are very important to me. The new NAFTA is incredibly important for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, including the dairy and poultry sectors. I have talked to numerous business people across Canada. Some of them are farmers from Alberta and Saskatchewan, while others are tech entrepreneurs from Vancouver. They told me they rely heavily on this trade agreement.
    Over the last 11 years, I have worked as an international trade consultant across many different industries, and everyone is for this NAFTA. Thank you for your question.
    I want to remind the hon. member that he is to address the responses to the Speaker of the House and not to individual members.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain.
    Madam Speaker, one of the things I am concerned about is that, when the first agreement was made, it was such a great agreement that the minister said that she did not want to renegotiate it, did not want to open it back up, and that it was very naive of the NDP to ask them to do that as it would be opening a Pandora's box.
    However, the Democrats in the United States reopened it and apparently we got a better deal than our first best deal.
    What is the best of the best? Is the first one the best, or is the second one the best? Is there a third best?
    Madam Speaker, 75% of our trade is with our partners to the south. We know this is a great deal for Canadians. It is an honour to stand here and talk about this deal.
     I know the member across the aisle is from Hamilton. The auto sector has a huge part in this new agreement. The new rules of origin level the playing field for Canada's high-wage workers. We signed a side letter on November 30 that has already entered into force. It is a gold-plated insurance policy against possible 232 tariffs on cars and car parts. The insurance policy is strongly supported by our auto industry. Canada is the only G7 country with that protection.
    The bottom line is that this is a good deal for Canada and for Canadian workers.

  (1310)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his speech.
    I am wondering what he thinks about the delegation of people from Saguenay and Lac-Saint-Jean who came to Ottawa this week to express their concerns and disclose the results of the study conducted by the Groupe Performance stratégique. This group examined the economic impact that the failure to include a definition of aluminum similar to the definition of steel in the protocol of amendments would have on Quebec over 10 years, from 2020 to 2029.
    Does he believe that those people are not Quebeckers?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I wish I could respond to the member in French. I am working on that right now.
    This is a great deal for Canadians and for the people of Quebec. The respected Premier of Quebec has one of the highest approval ratings across the country. The Bloc Québécois must defend the interests of the Québécois, and it is in the interests of the Québécois that the agreement is ratified and adopted.
    The trade between NAFTA, Quebec and the U.S.A. is $57 billion. It preserves the culture exemptions and preserves supply management when the U.S. was calling for its complete dismantlement. When the new NAFTA is ratified, we will have a guarantee that 70% of aluminum contained in a car built under NAFTA must come from North America. At the moment 0% of aluminum in NAFTA must come from North America. In my books, 70% is better than zero.
    Madam Speaker, I rise today to talk about NAFTA, but first I would like to thank the hon. Speaker for the opportunity of a lifetime earlier, having sat in the chair with some of the most important people in Canadian history.
    Conservatives are the party of free trade. There can be absolutely no doubt about that. Our party is responsible for negotiating some of the largest and most important trade agreements in Canadian history. The importance of that cannot be underscored too much. Our economy today is greatly reliant on the great work of previous prime ministers from the Conservative Party. Indeed, we benefit from that today in our daily lives and in our productivity and wages.
    Because of the importance of free trade, I will signal today that it is my intention to support NAFTA .7, however, it is not without deep reservations that I do so as the new NAFTA .7 will have significant impacts on the aluminum industry, the forest industry and an industry that is very important to my riding, the dairy and supply-managed sectors.
    National unity should be a key issue that we discuss in every debate. It is incumbent upon members of other provinces to reach across. As the member from Ontario, I have to acknowledge and tell the members, our brothers and sisters from Quebec, that I believe this agreement has an unfair and disproportionate impact on Quebec.
    Much of the 2019 discourse focused on a little company called SNC-Lavalin and the Prime Minister's decision to direct his Attorney General to act on a deferred prosecution had a significant impact on Canada. Of course, Canada is seen across the world as a beacon of virtue, honour and light. Unfortunately, that beacon dimmed a little with his actions.
    In the Ethics Commissioner's report, it was found that the Prime Minister's attempt to influence his Attorney General breached the Conflict of Interest Act. Acknowledging mistakes were made, he stood and said he would not accept full responsibility, saying he will always stand up for Quebec jobs. That statement is very troubling because it means almost limitless actions to protect maybe one job in Quebec. Is he willing to put in peril the rule of law, one of the most sacrosanct principles, just to protect one job in Quebec? Apparently so.
    Also, the reality of that statement was found to be untrue because the CEO of SNC-Lavalin said there were not Canadian jobs at stake with respect to the deferred prosecution agreement.
    I believe that the final bit of any credibility left in the statement that the Prime Minister will stand up for jobs in Quebec fell apart with the signature of NAFTA .7. To be clear, it is the worst deal for Canadians. The pain from this diminished deal is disproportionately felt by rural Canada and by Quebec.
    The dairy industry is an incredibly important part of the economy in Northumberland—Peterborough South. There are 66 dairy farms in my riding. They contribute over 34 million litres of milk to our community. I have been told over and over, most recently at a debate during the election by a farmer who said he was not going to ask for anything except that we stop going through the negotiations bartering their livelihood, farmers' futures, as the first bargaining chip that goes down. Farmers are more important than that and they deserve better treatment than that.
    Quebec's dairy industry is also extremely significant. There are nearly 8,000 dairy farms averaging 55 cows per farm and three billion litres of milk are produced, which accounts for about 30% of Quebec's total agricultural production. NAFTA .7 will do significant damage to the dairy industry by reducing the market by nearly 4%. We lost that production without receiving any equivalent compensation from the United States and that is because it is difficult for our producers to get into the U.S. and European markets.

  (1315)  

    Those markets, as I am sure many members are aware, are barred by tariff and non-tariff barriers. One great example of that is the U.S. pasteurization standard. Due to technicalities in the market, it is nearly impossible for Canadian producers to hit that. However, our milk is safe, it is perhaps the safest in the world, and the only reason to apply that standard on our producers is to block entry into their markets. Why could we not have made progress on that important issue?
    Perhaps just as significant as the reduction in quota and the reduction in market size is the elimination of classes 6 and 7. The milk that comes from our wonderful cows becomes many different products, such as cream, whole fat and skim. However, the reality is that the market is limited for skim milk, but classes 6 and 7 would allow that skim milk to be sold competitively. In the absence of classes 6 and 7, that skim product now becomes unsaleable and unmarketable, and could be a wasted by-product, adding to the cost and perhaps even limiting the market.
    This is not a good deal for the folks in the dairy industry. It is not a good deal for our dairy producers from coast to coast to coast. When we look across the nation, we could have gotten a better deal, and it is not just me saying that this is not a good deal for our dairy. Bruno Letendre, the head of the Quebec milk producers association said that “the agreement is a bad one for the Canadian industry” and that our Prime Minister “negotiated on his knees, and I'm being generous.”
     There simply can be no question that the dairy industry and the supply management sector have been damaged. However, supply management has been great for the Canadian economy. It has been great for the Canadian consumer. We have amazing milk in Canada, which is among the safest in the world. Therefore, I was shocked when a Liberal member across the way earlier today said that supply management was not a good system for our consumers. That is completely untrue and objectively false.
    When we look at this agreement, we acknowledge that there has been something taken away from supply management. It is clear, because the government has signalled that it will have a compensation package. However, when I talk to our farmers, they do not want another government handout. What they want is to be left alone so that they do not live in fear that, the next time a Liberal negotiator walks up to a free trade agreement, the first bargaining chip put on that board is the farmers of our country. It is not right and it is not fair.
    On the impact to the aluminum sector, I have to say that the government members have done an extremely poor job in communicating. Instead of engaging us as the opposition, as partners, they have attempted to gloss over it. Therefore, I will be forthright with members. The aluminum protection is better, because it was not there before. However, the Liberals also have to acknowledge that, to be fair, this protection is undermined, if not completely undermined, by the fact that the aluminum does not have to be melted or poured in North America. I was pleased to hear, during the conversation from members on the other side, an acknowledgement of that, but they should have done that from the beginning instead of trying to sail over these issues.
    My ask of government members is that, in future communications with opposition parties, they simply acknowledge the loss issues rather than attempt to sail over them. The intellectual dishonesty of selling too hard leads to distrust, which is never useful, particularly in a minority Parliament.
    Further, I ask that the government be transparent and answer the following questions.
     What will the economic impact of NAFTA .7 be? The Liberals have the numbers. Please share.
    What are the details of the dairy compensation package? How many millions of dollars will the dairy industry lose as a result of this deal?
    What is the potential exposure of the aluminum market to foreign dumping? Why was the aluminum industry not afforded the same protection as steel, and if it had been, what would the economic benefit be?
    This deal, beyond a shadow of a doubt, shows that the Liberals will not stand up for jobs in Quebec when it means doing the hard job of negotiating with President Trump, and will only act when it is politically expedient to do so.

  (1320)  

    Madam Speaker, we have been speaking with the dairy producers and dairy processors of Canada who have been working on a committee of agricultural trade to look at impacts and things he has addressed with respect to economic impact, mitigation and compensation strategies going forward.
    We are very deeply involved with the people in dairy industry to ensure we do what we can to protect them. They have told me, and maybe to the member across the way has heard this as well, that it is important to label Canadian dairy products being produced in Canada, so Canadian consumers can make the right decisions.
    Would the hon. member agree that if Canadians knew that it was Canadian milk, they would buy Canadian?
    Madam Speaker, I think it is fair to say that Canadians want to support Canadian business and that we continue to support the supply management sector.
    I look forward to having further discussions. These are the types of discussions we need to have across the aisle. We want to be brought into these negotiations. It has been said that Conservatives can even be useful at times. We would love to hear those discussions.
    Madam Speaker, it is clear that one of the biggest losers in the CUSMA agreement is the supply-managed dairy sector, a sector that is very important to my riding of Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
    One of the things I am a little bit confused by is that in his remarks, the member talked about his support for the supply-managed dairy sector. I am trying to reconcile that with the past attacks from his party on that very same sector. Perhaps he could elaborate on that.
    Madam Speaker, the leader of the official opposition and our party have been very clear about our support for supply management. We will continue to do so.
    I am here every day to represent the farmers of Northumberland—Peterborough South and the farmers of Quebec, who produce the best milk in the world.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to think that Manitoba might share in some of that best product in the world.
    However, I want to give assurances for my colleague across the way that the government has been a very strong advocate for supply management, and nothing has changed. We have seen that advocacy, whether it is in this trade agreement, CETA or the Trans-Pacific agreement. We recognize that it is important, not only for Canadians but specifically for industry representatives, such as our dairy farmers and others.
    Could my colleague comment on how important it is that we collectively, as a House of Commons, make a very strong and powerful statement that we are there to support supply management?

  (1325)  

    Madam Speaker, to be clear, I think all Canadians produce the best milk in Canada, including the great province of Manitoba.
    I would also like to thank the hon. member, in the spirit of good, honest humour here, for the way he rails against brevity. We certainly appreciate that. I have learned a lot as a new member.
    Yes, we should all stand together. That is what I am really asking for, that as we go forward as a minority Parliament, we work together for all Canadians. I look forward to working with the wonderful members on the other side, to hear all about their great ideas at the various committees and that we are doing the best we can for all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to start by congratulating my colleague for his very flattering speech about the dairy industry. It is obvious that he knows his file really well.
    Now that we have a minority government, my colleague will surely be pleased to learn that the members opposite will no longer be able to block the studies on financial compensation that we have requested.
    Why did they not want us to know what it was going to cost the Canadian dairy industry? I imagine that in the wonderful spirit of co-operation the Liberals will say yes when we ask for studies on compensation.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I look forward to seeing the studies. Once again, I look forward to a wonderful spirit of collaboration.
    Madam Speaker, we are here today to talk about the new North American Free Trade Agreement. Whether we call it NAFTA 2.0, the USMCA or CUSMA, this agreement is a testament to the hard work of Canadians from across the political spectrum, from business to agriculture to labour, who came together to put Canada first and present a united front, a team Canada, to reach an agreement that would preserve access to our most important export markets and the millions of jobs that relied on that access.
    During these negotiations, over 47,000 Canadians shared their views with the negotiating team, including over 1,300 stakeholders representing small businesses, indigenous groups, women entrepreneurs, academics and youth. The non-partisan advisory council included former Conservative ministers Rona Ambrose and James Moore, NDP strategist Brian Topp and leaders from labour and industry. Their advice and perspective helped make this agreement possible.
     I would like to thank the Deputy Prime Minister for her leadership and determination to pull this deal off. Under challenging circumstances, she got an agreement that not only preserves our market access, but makes real forward progress in areas such as protections for women's rights and minority rights, and the strongest ever labour and environmental chapters.
    Free and fair trade helps to support the quality middle-class jobs that support families in communities across the country.
     My community of Scarborough has a strong industrial base that relies on access to global parts and particularly the North American market. The economies of Canada, the United States and Mexico have become so integrated that before a project is complete, it could move across the border several times.
    Falcon Fasteners is a Scarborough company that sells a wide range of collated nails and brads across North America. Any type of nail one can think of, it probably makes it. It has grown from a two-person operation in 1956 to a North American leader today, from its base in Scarborough. It relies both on access to the North American market and access to affordable quality steel to make its products. This trade agreement secures that access and will allow it to continue to grow its business.
     Many companies in Scarborough rely on access to foreign markets.
     Berg Chilling Systems has provided hundreds of industrial refrigeration systems to customers in more than 50 countries. The Scarborough branch of Héroux Devtek specializes in landing gear for aircraft and serves a global market. eCamion is a developer of leading-edge modular energy solutions. The Cableshoppe is an IT services and solutions company that works across borders to deliver the right technology to its clients.
    Those are just a few of the Scarborough-based companies exporting their expertise and leading edge technologies across Canada and around the world. Swift passage of this trade agreement gives them the confidence to continue to invest in and grow their business and create more quality jobs, confident they have a predictable and level playing field on which they can compete. It was not just about getting any deal; it was about getting a good deal.
    Let us talk about gender equality. For example, for the first time, this agreement includes enforceable provisions that protect women's rights and minority rights. This includes labour obligations regarding the elimination of employment discrimination based on gender. This is also the first international trade agreement that recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination in the labour chapter.
    Why is gender equality so important? A McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that women's economic equality could add $150 billion to Canada's GDP by the year 2026. However, women face barriers to full labour market participation, such as gender-based discrimination and lack of training.

  (1330)  

    More women participation in the global economy is good for all of us.
    Let us talk about protecting Canada's cultural industry.
    Canadians are justifiably proud of our arts and cultural community. It is a $53.8 billion industry that represents over 650,000 quality jobs that support our middle-class families from coast to coast to coast. It is not just the actors we see on the screen and the artists whose music we stream. It is the many thousands of technicians and professionals who support their work.
    By preserving Canada's cultural exemption, Canada has the flexibility to adopt and maintain programs and policies that support the creation, distribution and development of Canadian artistic expression or content, including in the digital environment, and this is important in the streaming era. That is why we stood firm to protect the cultural exemption and our economic interest. Canada's cultural industries are world class, and we all always defend our cultural sovereignty.
    Let us talk about protecting our environment.
     My constituents are deeply concerned about climate change and want to see Canada and the world doing all we can to protect our climate and our planet for future generations. I am pleased that the new NAFTA has an enforceable environment chapter, which replaces a separate side agreement. This chapter upholds air quality and fights marine pollution in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
    Why do environmental protections belong in a trade agreement? It is about a level playing field and protecting the planet by protecting workers in all three countries. Commitments to high levels of environmental protections are an important part of trade agreements.
    Perhaps no industry in Canada is more cross-border integrated than our auto industry. Canadian auto plants assemble more than two million vehicles every year. The automotive sector is Canada's largest export industry, supporting over 525,000 jobs and contributing $18 billion annually to our economy. Canada is a global leader in emerging automotive technologies, such as lightweight materials, advanced safety systems, software and cybersecurity and alternative power trains. Free trade is essential to our auto industry, and the new rules of origin in this trade agreement level the playing field for Canada's high-wage worker.
    Our negotiators secured a side letter that is already in force. It is a gold-plated insurance policy against 232 possible tariffs on cars and car parts. Canada is the only G7 country with this protection.
     This is a great deal for labour, and members' do not need to take my word for it. Jerry Dias of Unifor, one of Canada's largest unions, has said that this is a much better deal than the deal that was signed 24 years ago.
     Hassan Yussuff, of the Canadian Labour Congress, said that this deal “gets it right on labour provisions, including provisions to protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of gender.”
    It is not just labour. Business is on board as well.
     The Business Council of Canada said, "We applaud your government’s success in negotiating a comprehensive and high-standard agreement on North American trade."
    Saskatchewan Premier Moe called this trade deal good news for Saskatchewan and Canada. Premier Kenney of Alberta said he was relieved that a renewed NAFTA had been concluded.
    The renewed NAFTA defends Canada's farmers, it offers new protection for our auto sector, it protects out culture and it sets out new labour standards for gender and minority rights and environmental protections.
    Let us have a robust debate. Let us implement this trade agreement. Let us keep Canada's economy growing. This is a progressive trade agreement that will benefit our economy for years to come.

  (1335)  

    Madam Speaker, I agree there are a few things that are better than they were in the last agreement. I will admit that.
    However, I am concerned about the sovereignty. In clause 32, it states that if Canada begins negotiations on a trade deal with any non-market economy, such as China, we must notify the U.S., submit the text of any deal and get permission to continue those negotiations. If the U.S. disapproves, it could exclude Canada from CUSMA.
    Does that work in reverse? Does the United States have to come to Canada and get our permission, and if not, why not?
    Madam Speaker, Canada has negotiated hard over the last year for a modernized trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. We do recognize the importance of getting a deal that is good for Canadian workers, good for Canadian businesses and good for Canadian communities across Canada.
     I hope we can work together to make sure that we ratify this agreement as soon as possible.
    Madam Speaker, I am loath to admit it, but I find myself in agreement with my NDP colleague. He asked why there is a provision in this trade deal that allows the Americans to effectively veto Canadian engagement in negotiations with other countries. Why is that there? Why would we cede our sovereignty? Is there a parallel provision giving Canada the same power to veto American engagement in these kinds of negotiations?
    My colleague who gave the speech did not answer the questions from the NDP, so I will ask the same questions again. Why would we cede our sovereignty in this way? Does the same provision apply to Americans as applies to us?
    Madam Speaker, we have worked very hard. It is important for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses that we have a robust debate here and ratify CUSMA to make sure that we can protect Canadian jobs and that our business community has the assurance they can have free trade with their major trading partners, the United States and Mexico.

  (1340)  

    Madam Speaker, I was very interested when the member spoke about the cultural exemption we were able to obtain in the new NAFTA.
    I would like to ask the member what would have been the risk to our cultural industry if we had not obtained that exemption and what it means for our cultural industry. In my riding and in Quebec, we have many important producers, film directors, artists and musicians which represent 75,000 jobs in the province of Quebec alone.
    Madam Speaker, we have always stood up for our cultural industries. It means protecting a $53.8-billion industry, representing almost 650,000 quality jobs for middle-class Canadians, and includes 75,000 jobs in Quebec alone.
    We stood firm to protect the cultural exemption and our economic interests during the renegotiations of the new NAFTA.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, this is the first time that I rise to speak in this Parliament.
    I would like to sincerely thank the constituents of Manicouagan for putting their trust in me and electing me for another term. I would also like to thank the team that supported me over the past months: my family, my spouse, my three children—Loïc, Charlotte and Ulysse—my friends, the people who work with me and those who wish to serve the North Shore with dignity, integrity and energy to advance the development of our region and Quebec. I will tackle all the challenges entrusted to me by the people of the North Shore and Quebeckers with humility and respect, as well as with conviction and determination.
    Today we are debating a bill that could significantly affect the Quebec economy for the next decade or more. Bill C-4 will have major repercussions for Quebec, especially because of the large volume of Quebec exports to the United States.
    We have been doing business with the Americans for over three centuries and, more often than not, our trade relationship has been beneficial to Quebec's economic development. In fact, almost 70% of our exports go to our neighbours to the south. New York state alone receives about 10% of all our world exports, as does the small state of Kentucky, which has a population of 4 million.
    Given how important a free trade agreement is to Quebec's economic future, each member of the House has a duty to take the time to carefully examine all the details of the agreement and to ensure that all its victims have a forum to tell us about the harmful consequences that passing Bill C-4 will have on their industry.
    It is only natural to want a “full, frank, and vigorous debate”, as the Deputy Prime Minister said. To think that we do not need serious, legitimate and therefore necessary discussions about the negative impacts of Bill C-4 on Quebec and its regions, on the stability of international trade, on unfair import practices and on the environment shows a lack of respect for Quebec voters and for workers in the dairy and aluminum industries.
    I will focus on aluminum workers in particular, not just because there are two smelters in my riding, including the biggest smelter in America, but also because I can foresee the impact that the agreement will have on my constituents.
    We are talking about aluminum because this economic sector is crucial for Quebec. The North Shore, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and Quebec need good jobs in order to prosper. However, in its current form, the agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico places no less than 60,000 aluminum sector jobs in jeopardy.
    We will all agree that the government can hardly claim to be looking after Quebec's economic development if it accepts, without any serious negotiation, a free trade agreement that may seriously jeopardize six major projects in Quebec's aluminum sector representing $6.2 billion in investments, according to an impact study carried out by Groupe Performance Stratégique. The study estimates that these private investments could generate more than $16 billion in economic spinoffs from 2020 to 2029. That is $16 billion that Quebec would have to go without for the next 10 years.
    It is important to understand that the only reason these investments in Quebec are in jeopardy is that the government failed to take Quebeckers' interests into consideration when it signed this agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico.
    Perhaps the government does not fully appreciate the importance of regional development and land use. Although the Prime Minister claims he secured guarantees that 70% of the aluminum parts used in automobile production in North America must be from North America, the fact remains that he did not bother to also ensure, as he did for steel, that the aluminum content in those parts would also come from North America. Worse still, he is playing games with the figures, which is just misleading.
    The Prime Minister's carelessness and lack of faith in the intelligence of voters is leaving the door wide open for Mexican auto parts plants to import aluminum from China, even though Canadian and U.S. courts have determined that Chinese aluminum was being dumped.
    As written, CUSMA makes it possible for Chinese aluminum to flood the North American market, even though Canada and the United States have anti-dumping duties in place. Chinese aluminum needs only to be processed in Mexico in order to circumvent the protections we have collectively put in place. In other words, we could wind up with car parts that are supposedly North American but in fact contain “made in China” aluminum.

  (1345)  

    For free trade to be truly free and profitable for everyone, we must make unfair trade practices such as dumping impossible.
    Allowing car parts made with Chinese aluminum to be considered North American in origin is an insult to Quebec's expertise in the aluminum sector, especially since our aluminum is the greenest in the world. The Liberals seem to think that Chinese aluminum is Quebec aluminum. Just ask Quebeckers if they agree. It is absurd.
    Primary aluminum produced in Quebec releases 67% less greenhouse gas than aluminum produced in the Middle East and 76% less than Chinese aluminum. Why would a government taking steps to close coal-fired power plants in Canada be so supportive of Chinese aluminum when 90% of the electricity used to produce it comes from coal? That makes no sense.
    Providing aluminum the same protection as steel is not just an economic decision. It is a political one.
    If the government had given any consideration at all to Quebec's interests, its economy, its regions and its workers, it would never have signed an agreement whose every concession is detrimental to Quebec. If the Prime Minister's team is really working for Quebeckers, it should fight for Quebec as vigorously as it fought for Ontario steel.
    It is unacceptable to the Bloc Québécois that every single concession in the free trade agreement should be made at the expense of key sectors of Quebec's economy, and as such, even though it supports free trade, the Bloc Québécois cannot support Bill C-4. The Bloc encourages hon. members to not blindly accept a bill that is deeply unfair to Quebeckers.
    If Quebec had negotiated the agreement, it would have negotiated it in its own interest and never would have compromised the growth of key sectors of its economy.
    We are talking about my riding and my constituents. Hon. members will agree that we cannot allow the government to sacrifice aluminum workers back home just to satisfy Ontario's economic interests. The Bloc Québécois is the only party that is truly standing up for the interests of Quebeckers, and I am one.
    Madam Speaker, one of the disappointing things about the CUSMA is that there is no mention of the Paris agreement.
    If stronger enforceable provisions on the environment had been included in this agreement, could they have been used to promote Quebec's aluminum?
    I would like my hon. colleague's thoughts on that.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his question.
    I do believe that, if a government decides to commit to meeting the Paris targets, it must take them into account when negotiating economic deals like CUSMA. It must recognize that any agreement it enters into must also work towards achieving those targets.
    Of course I completely agree with my colleague. These sorts of provisions could have been included, and aluminum could have been one solution to help reach those targets.

  (1350)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the concerns expressed by my colleague across the way. One of the concerns across Canada is about when we can anticipate the legislation to pass. There seems to be a wide spectrum of support, including from different provincial premiers, including the Premier of Quebec.
    Does the member feel that there is any opportunity for the Bloc to maybe have discussions with some of the other stakeholders, including the Premier of Quebec, to see if there might be more common ground that would see us all support this agreement?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is a thorough party. For example, one topic we just spoke about was the Paris agreement.
    I would like the governing party to share our enthusiasm for meeting the Paris targets by the deadline.
    The government seems to be in a hurry with the treaty, yet the same cannot be said for the Paris agreement. I do not understand the double standard here.
     As for the reference to Mr. Legault and the comments he made, I think we need to consider the context, since we are a thorough party and I consider myself a thorough person. He said that he is not happy. He is not happy that the government is unwilling to deal with aluminum.
    The Premier of Quebec sees that one of Quebec's industries is struggling, and I think he would very much like to find ways to protect aluminum and our workers.
    Madam Speaker, having had the opportunity to tour an aluminum smelter in my colleague's riding, I can indeed attest to this industry's importance to Quebec.
    Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with the member for Lac-Saint-Jean. I have spoken mainly to the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, who is also very concerned about Quebec's aluminum industry. It is a bit rich to say that only the Bloc Québécois is standing up for the aluminum industry. I would like my colleague to at least recognize the work done by the other two opposition parties to defend Canada's and especially Quebec's aluminum industry. We produce the best aluminum in the world here in Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    This gives me an opportunity to say that I would love to highlight the work that the official opposition is doing with us on the aluminum file. Note my use of the word “would”. The Conservatives voted in favour of the motion, while the Bloc Québécois voted against it. Naturally, there needs to be some consistency between words and actions. That is the first thing.
    The second thing is that we have the best aluminum in the world. I urge the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord to join us. We keep inviting him to join us every time we speak out, but sadly he declines.

[English]

    Before I recognize the member I want to advise her that unfortunately, I will have to cut off debate because the time will end. However, the member will be able to take it up the next time this matter is before the House.
    Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Northern Affairs.
    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak to Bill C-4 today in the House of Commons. The Canada-United States-Mexico trade deal is legislation we are all very proud of. I want to start by complimenting the minister on the tremendous work she has done and for the time, dedication and commitment to Canada in every line and chapter in the agreement.
    This is the first occasion I have had since the election for me to thank the people of my riding for supporting me and electing me to the House of Commons to represent them in this mandate. I want to thank them for having confidence in me and for supporting the agenda we have worked on together for the people of Labrador. I certainly want to thank the many volunteers who worked on my campaign and all campaigns. As parliamentarians, we know how important it is to have the support of communities and individuals. Their work is so valuable in getting our messages out during the election.
    As most members know, I come from a province that is hugely dependent on oil and gas development. We are very proud of the industry we have built. We know that energy within Canada in itself is an industry that has allowed our country to grow. It is a huge export commodity. It is one of the pieces dealt with throughout the trade agreement with the United States and Mexico.
    I represent a riding that is not only one of the largest producers of hydro development power in Canada, but also through our partnerships with Hydro-Québec, we are able to see a lot of that export of power going into the United States as well. My riding is also the largest exporter of iron ore in Canada and one of the largest exporters of nickel. We know how important it is to have good trade agreements. We know how important it is to have strong allies and strong export markets. That translates into jobs at home and a stronger economy. It also helps so many families in many industrial sectors.
    This is a remarkable time in Canada as we enter into this Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. I believe the outcomes in this agreement are good for all Canadians in every sector.
    I want to talk about the energy sector because it is one of the sectors that is critically important to both the Canadian and North American economies. Our natural resources place Canada among the largest energy producers in the world. I am very happy to represent a riding and province that contribute in a major way to that energy production in the world market.
    In 2018, Canada's energy sector directly employed more than 270,000 people. It indirectly supported over 550,000 jobs, which is quite substantial in terms of the employment generated through this particular sector. Including indirect activities, the sector accounts for 11% of the nominal gross domestic product of the country. Therefore, it was important that a key objective in the negotiations was to address the needs of the sector. This had to be a priority.
    Provisions that govern trade in energy goods in Canada, as well as in other regions, are found throughout all of the agreement. It is not just in one particular chapter. It is spoken to in various places throughout the agreement.

  (1355)  

    It speaks to a number of things. One is national treatment and the other is market access, which we have heard a lot about with many other resource sectors. It speaks to the rules of origin for the energy sector, customs and trade facilitation, as well as cross-border trade in both services and investment.
    Commitments from the original NAFTA agreement were brought forward to ensure that exports of Canadian energy products would continue to benefit from duty-free treatment in both the United States and Mexico, which was critical to the industry. Likewise, imports of energy products into Canada will continue to be duty free as well, ensuring that importers have access to these products without the extra cost of tariffs. We know how critical that is to the survival and stability of those investors and those resource sectors.
    I am not going to expand upon each of those sectors, but I want to expand on the rules of origin, because the CUSMA addresses a long-standing request that had been there from Canadian industry. That was to resolve a very technical issue that was related to the use of diluent, a petroleum-based liquid that is often added to crude oil to ensure that it flows properly through pipelines. The issue had previously added upwards of $60 million a year in duties and other fees to our exporters in Canada, which was a burden. It was felt to be unnecessary, and they lobbied for a long time to have that removed because it was a huge cost to Canadian businesses. Under the new agreement, that particular issue around the rules of origin was dealt with, allowing the energy sector in Canada to gain financially from that change.
    In addition to the provisions that govern energy that are found across the agreement, both Canada and the United States also agreed to a bilateral side letter on energy co-operation and transparency. I mention that because the United States, as we have all said and recognized many times, is Canada's most important trading partner when it comes to energy, as it is for many other resource sectors. The U.S. also accounted for 89% of our total energy exports in 2018. That is 89% of our total exports.
    Due to the importance and integrated nature of this relationship, the CUSMA includes new provisions on energy regulatory measures and regulatory transparency that are tailored directly to trading needs between Canada and the United States. The side letter that was signed committed to provisions that would help Canadian stakeholders with more assurances and transparency with respect to the authorization process and allow them to participate in the energy sector in the United States.
    Both parties have agreed to publish this information now. They have agreed to an application process, have agreed on monetary payments and have agreed on timelines. All of this is providing for stability and certainty in the industry. It is giving investors the opportunity to make important deals in full knowledge of the scope and lay of the land and without being exposed to unexpected changes. This in itself was key for the industry, and it is one of the pieces that they have been very pleased to see negotiated directly between Canada and the United States.
    I know I am running out of time and that we have to conclude, but I am happy to resume this debate and talk more about the energy sector and the export sector under this agreement at another time.

  (1400)  

    We are not done at two o'clock. Unfortunately, some people may have thought they were going home early today, but we are done at 2:30 today.
    However, the member's time had actually expired, so we will now go to questions and comments. The member will have extra time to elaborate on anything she wanted to say.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, I am going to stick to a similar theme of questions asked of a previous Liberal speaker, to which there was no answer. My colleague in the NDP and I asked the same question as to why Canada would cede our sovereignty by allowing the American government to effectively veto Canadian decisions about participating in trade agreements with countries outside of NAFTA.
    This is not the kind of giving up of sovereignty that most countries would accept and, from my understanding, the deal does not involve a similar relinquishment of that sovereignty by the United States.
    Why does this colleague think that is acceptable? I would be curious to know as well why the deal does not include a similar commitment from the Americans to “consult” Canadians in that context.

  (1405)  

    Madam Speaker, it is important to point out that one of the notable differences between the NAFTA agreement and the modernized agreement that we have now is that under this new agreement, the clause which speaks to the proportionality of energy exports is one of the things that was changed.
    Basically, up until now, we were obligated to provide the United States with the opportunity to maintain proportionate volumes of Canadian supply, based on recent export levels. While the provision was never invoked, it eliminated a lot of the abilities that Canada had.
     The new agreement reaffirms Canada's sovereignty over its energy resources and allows us to do this without consent or needing to seek the permission of the United States.
    Madam Speaker, I have been following the debate around the sovereignty issue, or the sub-debate on this, with a lot of interest. I have been interested in the Conservative position because I would agree with those who would say that the energy proportionality clause was a significant hit to Canada's sovereignty.
    We certainly made that case originally. It is one of the reasons why we were disappointed to hear the Liberals initially say that they did not want to reopen NAFTA. We also never really heard them criticize the proportionality chapter at that time. In both iterations of the deal we have had a serious challenge to Canada's sovereignty, first with the proportionality clause and now with the requirement to consult on China.
    I just wonder why, in a trade agreement that should be about tariffs and duties for the most part, we continue to have these extraneous issues that threaten Canadian sovereignty and should not be in a trade deal at all.
    Why is it that we keep getting, in agreements that really should have to do with the costs at the border of exchanging goods, provisions that threaten Canadian sovereignty?
    Madam Speaker, I understand the perspective from which the hon. member asked the question.
    However, it is important to note that under the old NAFTA agreement one of those provisions was the energy proportionality clause. It was restrictive and it was a concern for Canadians because we were actually obligated to provide the United States with the opportunity to maintain proportionate volumes of Canadian supply based on recent export levels. Not only members in the House, but others in the country in the energy sector, sought to ensure that the clause was changed so that those provisions would no longer exist.
     The minister was very effective and very firm in her negotiations, ensuring that the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement would reaffirm Canada's sovereignty over its energy resources and that this particular clause would no longer prevail.
     In my opinion it was a huge success in modernizing this agreement and it is a tremendous benefit for Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I want to start my remarks today by asserting my strong support for the principles of free trade. The original NAFTA, brought in by a Conservative government, led generations of economic growth between our three countries. This agreement is important, and I support it in principle. However, due to Liberal mismanagement, this deal is not what it could have been. It is fraught with shortcomings that will put many sectors of the Canadian economy at risk, but investment in our country depends on certainty, and this deal provides more certainty than we have now.
    Under the current Liberal government, business investment has stalled and been driven south due to aggressive American tax cuts. Canada needs to compete, and it is clear that the government has no interest in competing on taxes after repeatedly raising them. Our economy depends on the certainty that comes with a trade deal. This deal, like all deals, is not perfect, and if the Liberals do think that the Conservatives are simply going to rubber-stamp it, they are sorely mistaken.
    Many of my colleagues have been highlighting the deficiencies in this agreement, but I want to look at one that has not been talked about as much but is crucial for the future of Canadian creativity and economic growth: copyright protection. Much of the last year on the industry committee we studied Canada's copyright framework, and what changes could be made to improve it. We tabled that report, and I am very proud of all the hard work that went into it. I hope the government accepts almost all the recommendations. One thing we did not recommend was to extend Canada's general copyright term from the life of the author plus 50 years to life plus 70 years. Canada's copyright term is compliant with the Berne Convention and has served us well. It is my opinion that the exclusive rights to a work being held for 50 years after an author's death is entirely appropriate and sufficient. Extending that term is not.
    During the copyright study, we heard from many viewpoints about extending copyright term. Many were in favour and many were opposed. At the same time, we knew that the text of the USMCA required Canada to adopt the longer American copyright term. This was not a surprise, as that was contained in the Trans-Pacific Partnership prior to the U.S. pulling out from that deal. I thus expected the text of the USMCA- or CUSMA-enabling legislation we are debating today to contain the extension of the general copyright term. Much to my shock and relief, no such extension is in this bill. There are aspects that extend term in some areas such as sound recording and cinematographic works. There is no general extension to life plus 70.
    I do not think that this battle is over, as the transitional period means term extension will likely be in the eventual Copyright Act reform that comes from the committee report, but for now the term will be maintained. I hope the government reads the report from the industry committee and seeks to mitigate the damage to Canadian copyright law that comes from the USMCA.
    Why is extending the term not the right move? It is because if Canada extends our general term by 20 years, that will create a 20-year black hole in which no works will enter the public domain. For two decades, no work will become open for Canadians to access it in any format they wish without the permission of the rights holder. This will cast a chill on a large amount of innovation and creativity in our country.
    The purpose of copyright was to make sure that creators of a work could enjoy the benefits of their hard work and creativity without someone else stealing it. Protecting that work for the creator's entire life, and for 50 additional years so that their descendants could profit off the work, is a good idea. When we are talking about adding 20 more years, we start to blur the purpose of copyright.
    No artist is deciding not to create art because only three generations of their descendants, instead of four, may hold the rights to that art. To suggest otherwise is an absurd proposition. Artists create because they love what they do and want to put their art into the world. The only reason to further extend copyright is to ensure rights holders, often large corporations, can continue to profit off that intellectual property for decades.

  (1410)  

    In the past, I have been tempted to call the government a Mickey Mouse operation, but that would not be fair. Mickey Mouse runs a hyper-efficient and effective operation when it comes to expanding copyright protections. “Efficient and effective” are words that I would never use to describe the government.
     Any time the copyright on early Disney cartoons is due to lapse, the U.S. Congress just extends them. It happened in 1976, the year I was born. It happened again in 1998 and will probably happen again in a few years.
    Extending the copyright term is not about protecting artists. It is about protecting large companies that own the rights for decades after the artist's death. To see the impact large corporations can have, utilizing intellectual property law, we only need to look to my riding in the Okanagan Valley.
     A small, family-run coffee shop that has operated for five years now has to change its name because of a lawsuit from a multibillion dollar company. I believe it could win if the shop fought it, but it literally cannot compete with such a giant corporation, as it would be far too expensive for this family. That is the risk in further expanding intellectual property powers for rights holders. They can use them to bludgeon small business and independent creators.
    Respected Canadian copyright expert Jeremy de Beer, who presented to the Copyright Act review, stated that the trade agreement's intellectual property chapter was “an American win”. Thankfully, despite Liberal mismanagement of the negotiations, Canada was able to salvage the notice and notice regime and avoid implementing an American-style enforcement mechanism, which should not happen.
    Over the coming months and years, we will have to work as a body to try to mitigate the damage from the intellectual property chapter in this agreement to which the Liberals agreed. I can only hope we ensure that Canadian and international content remains open and accessible and that innovation and creativity does not suffer serious hardship.
    Canadian copyright law has managed to be distinct from, and I believe in many respects superior to, American law. Unfortunately, with this agreement, that will no longer be the case. This deal contains a forced alignment of our framework to the American one, and the Canadian consumers and creators will be worse off because of it.
    Another topic I want to speak about today is one that is incredibly important to my riding, softwood lumber. Earlier this year, we watched over 200 jobs disappear in Kelowna, British Columbia as the decades-old Tolko lumber mill closed. This also hits independent logging contractors and all their suppliers and third-party business owners, and those are small businesses. Yet, there was not a word from the Liberal government about softwood lumber. There was not a word in the mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources in 2015 nor again in this mandate.
    When the Prime Minister recently had a conference call with B.C. Premier John Horgan, guess what subject never came up? Softwood lumber. Why is that? Why is the Liberal government constantly silent on softwood? Let us not forget that with a lack of a deal, we now see Canadian lumber companies setting up shop and investing in the United States. That is jobs and opportunities lost while the Liberal government looks the other way. That is why free trade is important.
     If we are not competitive and we get it wrong, it is our trading partners who will benefit at our expense. That is why this deal is flawed. That is why, despite its obvious shortcomings on copyright, on softwood lumber, I will support the bill moving to committee.

  (1415)  

    Madam Speaker, there was a time not that long ago when the Conservatives in opposition were saying that the government needed to capitulate and just sign an agreement. That is what they were arguing not that long ago. What has actually changed from then to now—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I want to remind members that when a member has the floor, he or she should have the respect of the House. Also, words such as “liar” or “lying” are not allowed in the chamber, so I would remind members to be very mindful about what they say.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.

  (1420)  

    Madam Speaker, does the member across the way believe that anything has really changed with regard to the negative point of view from a year ago?
    Madam Speaker, the member must have missed my entire speech. Many have called this agreement “NAFTA 0.5” rather than “NAFTA 2.0” because of its deficiencies.
    I understand that the government was put in a bind, but the government ended up capitulating, to use the language of the hon. member, in the deal because of mismanagement. When we had this debate in the last Parliament, I said to the member that his government allowed Mexico and the United States to talk between each other about trilateral relationships specific to NAFTA instead of our being there at the table. We should have been there at that table. We should have done what Mexico did and gotten in with the Americans and had a quick deal. It was an option for the government. The Liberals chose instead to allow Mexico to do that, and we ended up at the short end of the proverbial NAFTA stick.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from the official opposition for sharing his thoughts on the protection of intellectual property.
    A few weeks ago, a singer-songwriter from Quebec, Pierre Lapointe, said that for the hundreds of thousands of times his songs played on a certain Internet music platform that shall remain nameless, but whose name starts with “s” and ends with “potify”, he only received a few bucks in royalties.
    How does my colleague believe we can protect our artists and their income from these practices on the web?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Quebec for her question.
    The existing legislation is precisely what the Government of Canada must address. Artists from Quebec and all of Canada are in a difficult situation.
    I hope that the member will read the report from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage that addresses this topic. I think the government made a mistake, especially when it comes to copyright matters.

[English]

    It is important that Canadian artists are compensated fairly. The current provisions in this agreement make this that much more difficult.

[Translation]

    I congratulate the member for making the effort to answer the question in French.

[English]

    At this time, I want to say that unfortunately I will have to interrupt the next speaker during his speech. He will be able to continue it the next time this matter is before the House.
    Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
    Madam Speaker, our country came together and negotiated hard. With representation at the political level, the civil service level and from many different stakeholders, we achieved a modernization of the free trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico.
    By doing that, we have secured the future for literally hundreds of thousands of jobs here in Canada. We have provided a more secure market for the future economy and economic growth of our country. We need to realize that over $2 billion of trade takes place between the United States and Canada every day.
    This is an important agreement. What I am saying should not surprise anyone in the chamber because we can see the support it is getting in all regions of our country, in all the different sectors.
    Unions, businesses, non-profits and governments of different levels have recognized the significance of the modernization that we have achieved. We have an incredible group of individuals who sat through the negotiations. We have a Prime Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister who were committed to get the job done.
    We have built a large base of support among individuals and groups to ensure that Canadians' interests were first and foremost at the table and protected.
    A good example of that is supply management. There has been an immense amount of pressure. Whether in this trade agreement or previous trade agreements signed by this government, from dealing with the European Union to the trans-Pacific partnership, protecting Canada's agricultural community, in particular our dairy farmers and other producers, through supply management is something we have been very clear on.
    In certain situations there will be some compensation, but let there be no doubt that whether it is supply management or industries that are so vitally important to the many different regions of our country, they have been protected.
    The other day when we had the vote on the ways and means budget, I was pleasantly surprised. When the vote was counted, we had Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats and Green Party MPs standing in favour of this agreement. I recognize that as a very significant achievement. One would have to go a long way back to have that group of political entities voting in favour of a trade pact, if it has ever happened before.
    It is a significant achievement. To my friends in the Bloc, I would encourage them. They have raised many concerns, in particular for the aluminum industry. They will see, at second reading, that it is an industry that is protected a lot more than in the original trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. For the very first time, there are guarantees in place.
    If we look at some of those advocates for passage of the legislation, we will see that it includes the premier of the province of Quebec, and not only that particular premier but virtually all premiers. I know other premiers, such as Jason Kenney, who have also been quoted in regard to this agreement and the need to see it passed.
    As a government there is a reason why we have been so successful at getting well over a million new jobs created in the last four-plus years. We understand how important it is to get public policy right and how it can have the type of desired impact that Canadians want to see.

  (1425)  

    We see that in the form of tax breaks. We see it in the form of progressive social policies such as the Canada child benefit, the seniors policies and the infrastructure policies.
    I would argue that our commitment to expand world trade has been second to none, especially on a per capita basis. Canada is excelling. These are the types of initiatives that are making a difference in the everyday lives of Canadians, no matter where they live in Canada. These are the types of things that help in increasing disposable income, driving our economy and providing more hope for future generations.
    When I look at this particular trade agreement, I often think of John Crosbie, who made the comment that he had not really read the deal when we had the original trade agreement with the United States. I have faith and confidence in our negotiations. I have been following the news, much like the other members in opposition and I have had the opportunity to have a great deal of dialogue with stakeholders and others. I am absolutely confident that this is a good deal, and I look forward to continuing my speech on Monday.

  (1430)  

    The hon. member will have three and a half minutes when this matter is before the House again.

[Translation]

    The motion that the House do now adjourn is deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly the House stands adjourned until Monday at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 2:30 p.m.)
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