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43rd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • No. 028

CONTENTS

Tuesday, March 10, 2020




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

Volume 149
No. 028
1st SESSION
43rd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Speaker: The Honourable Anthony Rota

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Main Estimates, 2020-21

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and privilege to table, in both official languages, the departmental plans of 88 departments and agencies for 2020-21.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaty entitled “Amendments to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction”.

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act

     (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Petitions

The Environment 

    Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise and present a petition on Motion No. 1, the green new deal, on behalf of dozens of residents in British Columbia.
    Petitioners are joining their voices to the thousands of Canadians who have signed petitions thus far. All of them are calling on the Government of Canada to address this climate emergency with the ambition and urgency required, on behalf of present and future generations.
    The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to support Motion No. 1, a made-in-Canada green new deal that calls on Canada to take bold and rapid action to tackle the climate emergency, address worsening socio-economic and racial inequalities at the same time and support workers who are impacted by the transition in the shift to a clean and renewable energy economy.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to also present a petition on the green new deal, on behalf of dozens of residents of the Toronto, Burlington and Waterdown, Ontario, areas.
    These petitioners add their names alongside the thousands of petitions and signatures that are pouring in from across the length and breadth of our country. They call on the Parliament of Canada to adopt Motion No. 1, the green new deal, and the Government of Canada to put in place a rigorous and comprehensive plan to combat the climate emergency.
    They also call upon the government and Parliament to act, through Motion No. 1, to address the climate emergency, make sure we are tackling at the same time, through the green new deal, the increasing socio-economic and racial inequalities and ensure that workers are transitioned to a clean energy economy.

Opioids  

    Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition today from constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith who are concerned about the opioid crisis and the number of deaths that have been caused by overdoses of contaminated products.
    Petitioners are calling on the government to declare a public health emergency due to overdose deaths in Canada; reframe the overdose crisis in Canada as a health issue rather than a criminal issue; take a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to the overdose crisis by addressing issues of addiction, poverty, housing, health care, racial discrimination, economic inequality and instability; listen to and act on recommendations made by social workers, front-line workers, nurses, doctors, drug users and individuals directly involved in the drug-using community; and decriminalize drugs in Canada.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act

    The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

[English]

Speaker's Ruling  

    There is one motion in amendment standing on the Notice Paper for the report stage of Bill C-4.

[Translation]

    Motion No. 1 will not be selected by the Chair as it could have been presented in committee.
     There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question of the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

  (1010)  

Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs)  
     moved that Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be concurred in.

[English]

    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

    When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs)  
     moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to this very important bill, Bill C-4, an act to implement the new North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, formally known as the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. This agreement is extremely important to Canada, Canadian businesses and workers, and I can say, as a representative of a Mississauga riding, that the bill, this agreement, is very important for my constituents and the businesses in Mississauga.
    Our government has embarked on a very aggressive trade agenda because trade is extremely important to Canadian businesses and workers. Members will be interested to know that one out of six jobs in Canada depends on trade. It is because our country produces some of the best products and services in the world, and the world needs more Canadian products and services. We know that with our agenda to grow and support the middle class and create more jobs for the middle class, we need to encourage Canadian businesses to trade, export and import more.
    Our government maintained an aggressive trade agenda, and over the last few years we have signed and ratified CETA, a free trade agreement with the European Union, and the CPTPP, a free trade agreement with Asia-Pacific nations. Today, Canada is the only G7 country that has a free trade agreement with all other G7 nations. This is a competitive advantage that our friends and competitors in the United States do not have. We have a great environment in Canada for businesses and workers to export our products and services around the world.
    Over the last few years, after the U.S. election, President Trump has campaigned on the issue of revamping and reviewing NAFTA. Our government took that very seriously and engaged with the U.S. administration to make sure that we protect Canadian interests, particularly the interests of Canadian workers and businesses. Access to the United States market is extremely important for businesses. Every day, almost $2 billion of products and services cross the border into the United States, so we know how important maintaining access to U.S. customers and businesses is for our businesses and workers.
    At a time of increased protectionism, when, as we all know, the U.S. administration was adamant about increasing protectionism and building barriers, it was very important for our government to protect the interests of Canadian businesses and workers. What did we do? We assembled a strong team of industry, labour and stakeholders, a team that transcended partisan lines, with representatives from different parties and groups, to make sure that a complete voice for Canadian businesses was at the table as we were negotiating and protecting Canadian interests.
    Canadians will recall the process that we engaged in over the last few years. It was at times very difficult, as most trade negotiations are, and there were moments of challenges and difficulties. In assembling a great team, engaging the provinces, premiers, stakeholders, legislators in the House of Commons and senators, we took an excellent team Canada approach as we embarked on this negotiation process with the United States, led by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other ministers. We made sure that Canada's voice was strong and firm at the table, as we were very interested in maintaining access to Canadian businesses, markets and workers.

  (1015)  

    There were some challenges. As members may recall, there was a period when the U.S. administration imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Canadian businesses. We were very firm and clear in our opposition to those tariffs. We fought very hard for businesses and workers to have those tariffs lifted. There was a regrettable time when some opposition voices were asking us to lift the countervailing duties that we had imposed on American products, but we knew it was the right thing for Canada. It was the right thing for Canadian interests.
    The outcome of the negotiations was very good for Canada. We ensured that 99.9% of Canadian businesses, products and services maintained tariff-free access to U.S. markets. It was really important for business certainty, for business continuity and for workers to know that that access would be maintained.
    For the automotive sector, we have increased the rules of origin to 75%, and that is good news for Canadian workers and businesses. We all know how important the auto sector is to the Canadian economy. It is very important for businesses in my riding of Mississauga Centre.
    We have also preserved the state-to-state dispute resolution mechanism. That was something the U.S. administration was intent on removing, but we knew it was really important to continue to have an independent adjudicator for the dispute resolution mechanism, and we were able to preserve it.
    We were also able to preserve the integrity of our supply management system. Again, the U.S. administration came to the table intent on completely dismantling our supply management system. However, we stood our ground. We stood firm behind our farmers and producers, and we protected the integrity of our supply management system.
    We also preserved the cultural exemption that existed in NAFTA. That was very important for our cultural industries. Canada, compared to the United States, is a relatively small market, but we have our own unique identity. We have the unique identity of bilingualism and multiculturalism. We were able to protect an inclusion for our cultural industries, so that we could maintain our policies to nurture and support Canadian culture here at home.
    We created provisions or chapters for rules of labour, for the environment and for making sure that we maintained our policies for reconciliation with indigenous peoples. We wanted to make sure that we retained sovereignty over our policies as we were embarking on this journey of reconciliation with our indigenous peoples.
    The agreement preserved important access to the United States and Mexican markets. Today, businesses are seeing a lot of uncertainty, especially during this difficult time of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak around the world. It is very important for businesses that are investing in Canada, and for businesses that rely on access to the United States, that they know that access to the U.S. market is preserved and supported, and is there for the long term.
    It is really important to thank all the stakeholders who were involved throughout this difficult and long journey to reach this agreement with our friends, the United States and Mexico.

  (1020)  

    It was important to have their voices at the table. It was important to have their insight at the table and our government made sure that we took their input into account.
    I want to take a moment to thank our colleagues in the House, the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP, for offering support to help us ratify the bill in front of us today. It is a sign for all of Canada that we can set aside partisanship when we know that we are working on something that is in the interests of all Canadians and Canadian businesses. Even at a time when people are saying minority parliaments may be more difficult to work in, this is a great moment for all of Canada to see that we are able to set aside partisanship interests because we know what is in the interests of Canadians is in the interests of all parties in the House.
     I am grateful to the Standing Committee on International Trade for doing its job in studying the bill. I know the members worked tirelessly around the clock to make sure that voices who wanted to offer their opinion on the bill were able to testify at committee. Experts were able to come and present their testimony before the committee. Members of the House who sat across from each other at the committee were able to work collaboratively and pass the bill at second reading and send it back to the House of Commons.
    This is a moment for us to acknowledge that we are able to work together for the benefit of all Canadians. I look forward to our colleagues in the Senate studying the bill in an expedited fashion. I know they understand the importance of the bill. We know that our friends in the United States and Mexico have already ratified the agreement, so Canada is on its way to finalize the ratification process.
    Businesses know that it is very important for them. It is very important to note that businesses are breathing a sigh of relief today when they see the House of Commons about to ratify this NAFTA and they are comforted by the fact that there are so many upgrades to this agreement that benefit them.
    I talked about the protection for labour standards, environment, indigenous policies and cultural exemptions, and about increasing the rules of origin for our products. I also want to take a moment to recognize how we were able to deal with the steel and aluminum tariffs that were imposed on Canadian products by the United States.
    We were able to stand firm. Today not only have we been able to lift those tariffs, but now we have a side letter with our friends in the United States that ensures that, if at any point in the future the United States decided to impose tariffs under the guise of national security, we were able to get Canadian businesses an exemption from those tariffs. Those exemptions are at a greater level than the levels of our current production and current exports to the United States. Not only were we able to lift those tariffs, but we were able to get guarantees and exemptions from the United States that if at any point in the future, for some reason or another the United States decided to impose those tariffs again, Canadian products and services from steel and aluminum will be exempted.
    When we tabled Bill C-4, I know our friends in the NDP and the Bloc had some questions about the bill. I am happy to talk about the process of our discussions that took place, ensuring that we listened to their concerns and we found a way to address their questions so we could reach consensus on the bill.

  (1025)  

    Let me take a moment to thank my colleagues in the NDP. We were able to reach an agreement that, with future trade agreements, we will declare our intentions and objectives of those negotiations here in the House of Commons where all MPs and Canadians will see up front what the objectives of those negotiations are.
    In discussions with the Bloc, we were able to come to an agreement that on behalf of Canadian workers and producers of steel and aluminum, Canada will work with our friends in the U.S. and Mexico to encourage them to implement some monitoring measures the way we have in Canada on the production of steel and aluminum.
    This is a great example of how our government is able to work with the other parties in the House to respond to their needs and address their legitimate questions.
    I know the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and entire government are all looking forward to ratifying this important legislation. It will mean stability and increased exports for our businesses and workers. It will mean increased and growing prosperity for the middle class. It will mean growing jobs for the middle class in Canada. I am grateful to my colleagues in the House of Commons for supporting us and I am looking forward to the debate.
    Madam Speaker, the member opposite has again used the term “non-partisan” on quite a few points. I do not think anyone in this room would consider it partisan to point out that all members of Parliament who are not part of the executive or cabinet have a duty to hold the government to account for its conduct, particularly when it comes to these free trade deals.
    The member talked about how Canada had a team Canada approach when it came to working together. Very early on, the government decided it would work with Mexico and take a team approach against the challenges that the Americans, particularly the President, had launched. The President had been very clear that most of the issues in this NAFTA negotiation had to do with Mexico. They did not have to do with Canada. However, near the end of the negotiation, the Mexican government did a bilateral where clearly trilateral issues were discussed and Canada was left out in the cold. The team Canada approach was left out in the cold.
    Does this member believe that the government let the country down when it came to this approach at that critical juncture? It was critical for this country.
    Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague. I totally understand the important role that the opposition plays in asking tough questions in the House of Commons. I do disagree with him though about his party's advice to our government throughout the negotiation. I do not agree with him that Canadian businesses and workers were left out. In fact, everybody who has been observing this process can say today that our government took the best approach for protecting Canadian interests and for protecting Canadian businesses and workers.
    The Conservative Party wanted us to surrender early on and not respond to the tariffs that were imposed on Canadian businesses by the U.S. administration. We did the right thing. We stood up for Canadian interests.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I clearly understand my colleague's message that there was good co-operation on this file, particularly when it comes to aluminum. I want to thank all of the members opposite who spoke for their open-mindedness.
    Something stood out to me in what you said. You said that, in the future—

  (1030)  

    The member must address the Chair and not the government directly.
    Madam Speaker, something stood out to me in my colleague's speech. He said that, when this type of negotiation happens in the future, the government would declare its intentions ahead of time.
    I would simply like to say that the trend in the most recent trade negotiations was to protect Ontario's auto industry and Alberta's oil industry; such is the Canadian way. Quebec's interests were not necessarily taken into consideration.
    The question I would like to ask my colleague is this: Should we not try to come up with a mechanism so that Quebec has a stronger voice in trade negotiations?

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to assure my colleague that Quebec's voice is and has been very important throughout this negotiation process. This means not only our colleagues, the Liberal members of Parliament and other members from Quebec in the House, but also the businesses and stakeholders who represent and work in Quebec. They were at the table throughout this process.
    We have always declared our intentions as we embarked on negotiations for a free trade agreement. This agreement we reached with the NDP formalized a way for us to table it in the House of Commons, but we have always declared our interests. I want to remind my colleague that Canadian and Quebec interests were preserved in this negotiation, whether related to supply management, automotive, aerospace or agriculture. I know many Quebec producers, farmers, manufacturers and workers are relieved that we are about to ratify this bill.
    Madam Speaker, I certainly want to thank the Democrats in the United States for standing up for Canada and ensuring we got some better deals than the Liberals were willing to sign off on. We got rid of the investor-state provisions and we support that.
     What the member did not talk about was chapter 19 and the fact that the government has traded away our right to data sovereignty. When I spoke with U.K. colleagues in Washington recently, they were really disturbed that we no longer have the right to protect our data sovereignty, that we have lost the right to put in privacy provisions that the EU is moving toward and that we do not have the power to tax the Google, Facebook and Amazon giants. Certainly, their lobbyists are dancing and popping the champagne.
    I am really concerned about the safe harbour provisions, which do not allow Canada to hold YouTube or Facebook to account for the drive of extremist content that is happening through their algorithms on their sites. We do not have the power to take them on. I would ask my hon. colleague why Canada has dropped the ball so clearly on the issue of data rights and the rights of our citizens in the digital realm.
    Madam Speaker, I want to start off by saying I completely disagree with my colleague's characterization. I feel everything he said is inaccurate, but I know he believes what he is saying. His interpretation of the agreement is what he thinks he is saying, but I am here to tell the House and all Canadians that his interpretation is inaccurate.
    I am happy to work with him. I will say this. Stay tuned. We are working in Canada, in the House and within our government, on finding rules to hold Internet giants responsible for their content and the privacy concerns of Canadians. This is an important subject. I can assure members we are on top of it.
    Madam Speaker, in general, the Green Party supports this new agreement.
    However, I received an email from the National Farmers Union related to a press release it put out saying the amendments to the Canada Grain Act go beyond what is required for CUSMA, so there are a couple of changes in this legislation that are not required by CUSMA that are detrimental to Canadian farmers.
    If Standing Order 76 had not been changed at the committee level with a motion, I would be able to put forward an amendment right now to change the legislation, but I am not able to do that. Unfortunately, farmers, grain farmers in particular, are upset about part of this agreement. I am wondering what we can do in order to deal with their concerns.

  (1035)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. I also want to thank him and his party for their support in ratifying NAFTA.
    This issue has been studied at length in committee. It has been considered by our government. Grain farmers and producers are well served with this agreement. In fact, they are relieved we have reached this agreement. We will always protect the interests of Canadian farmers and producers.
    Madam Speaker, I was surprised by the amount of talk about the wins the Liberals had, but there was no mention of gender equality issues. Before negotiations even started, the Prime Minister talked a lot about how he was going to ensure a lot of gender issues were tackled and somehow it does not seem that happened. I am shocked the member did not even mention one word about it in his speech. I wonder if he can mention why that is the case.
    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is right. I neglected to mention it not because it is less important, but because there is limited time to talk about those issues.
    She is right. There is a chapter in the agreement that encourages and facilitates working between our countries and making sure that we promote gender equality and promote women entrepreneurs. This is something to celebrate and to be proud of.
    Madam Speaker, I seek unanimous consent of the House to split my time with the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to split his time?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Madam Speaker, it will be that member's maiden speech so I think we are going to hear a really good speech from him today. I cannot think of a better topic for him to speak to, because trade is an important issue to the people in his riding. I look forward to hearing his comments. I am sure they will be wise and worth listening to, unlike some of the other comments we have heard here today. No offence intended.
    We are getting through Bill C-4. There is no question about that. We kept our word. We said we would not hold this up. We said that we would do everything we could to properly see this go through the committee stage, which we did. We heard some 200 submissions from people who wanted to appear before the committee.
    Even though the Liberals shortened the time, with agreement from the NDP, and made it tough to hear from all of those witnesses, we managed to get through the bulk of them by having extended sittings. I want to thank all members of the committee for sharing their time in the evenings and the staff who were involved so that we could listen to these people. They had serious concerns, and I want to talk about some of those today and get them on the record.
    I will start off with dairy. During the TPP negotiations, we were going to give roughly 3.5% market access for dairy to the U.S. and all of the other countries involved in the TPP. When the Liberals pulled us out of the TPP and held us back for a year and a half, and Obama lost the ability to move it forward in the U.S., TPP was going to be the replacement. By the Liberals not moving forward here in Canada, and not creating a window for Obama to move forward in the U.S., we lost that window of opportunity for a period of time, thus a new election in the U.S.
    We did the TPP. We still gave up 3.5%, and now we had to negotiate a new NAFTA deal with the U.S. What did we do? We gave up another 3.5%. Dairy producers have been hit twice, which they feel is unfair, and I can understand where they are coming from.
     What makes it even more disturbing is what else the Liberals gave up. They gave up their ability to market things like powdered milk around the world, things that we have a surplus of here in Canada. When they were being consulted through the negotiations, they told us in committee that they were under the impression that it would be limited to North America. The text of the agreement indicates that it is global.
    Why would the Liberals let another country determine the amount of exports a sector is able to do? That is what the Liberals agreed to in this agreement. The dairy sector has some serious concerns and complaints about that, and this is something the minister will have to address.
    Aluminum and the 70% rule are another issue with respect to this agreement. There is still a lot of concern in the aluminum sector in Quebec about why that was different from the steel industry. Why was the aluminum industry not given the same considerations as steel? If we wanted to have North American content, it should have been that way.
    What is concerning here is that there could possibly be a back door through Mexico for a pile of cheap aluminum to be dumped into the North American market based on how that country goes through the process of identification. I understand our officials have said they are going to monitor it, along with the U.S., to make sure that does not happen, but the same thing could have simply been done for aluminum as was done for steel. We would have been fine.
    Another opportunity that the Liberals missed out on, and which the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord brought up in one of our meetings with Steve Verheul, our trade negotiator, is the fact that green aluminum is produced in Quebec and in other parts of Canada. It is all based on hydro power. The facility in British Columbia is based on hydro. The facilities in Chicoutimi are based on hydro. Canada probably produces the most environmentally friendly aluminum in the world.
    Why would that not be put into the agreement? Why would we not say that if we want to have green vehicles, environmentally friendly vehicles, let us use environmentally friendly products like Canadian aluminum?
    There were opportunities to say that was the way the implementation should be, so that we were not renegotiating the deal. Instead, all three countries said they wanted to do more for the environment and this was one way, so let us put it in our implementation act that we do just that. There was an opportunity there again, an opportunity we would not have known about unless we did some due diligence in committee.
    Government procurement is very disturbing. The Liberals did not even touch on it in this new agreement. They said they would leave it up to the WTO. Then we found out the U.S. was talking about pulling out of the WTO government procurement program. We have no protection with respect to government procurement. We have no provisions to fight off buy America. We have nothing in place.
    I would strongly encourage the government to go back to the table on this part, especially if we see the U.S. pull out of the WTO agreement. It should get a deal on procurement and deal with buy America, because the Liberals did not do that in this agreement.
    Then there is the auto sector. We feel that Canada's auto sector is going to be hit by a decline of almost $1.5 billion when we look at the impact of the changes in the auto rules.

  (1040)  

    I understand that the U.S. was very tough on these negotiations. There are some wins in it for our guys here in Canada, there are some wins in the U.S. and some concessions made out of Mexico on that. When it comes down to the auto part of the deal, that was actually done in Mexico between the U.S. and Mexico and we took what was left. We did not have a lot of input into the auto part of this deal.
    I have some concerns about longevity when it comes to the competitiveness of our auto sector. With these new rules, we are going to have more expensive cars and they are going to be more expensive in the global marketplace. We did nothing to improve the competitiveness of the auto sector within the three countries, which is a really huge missed opportunity.
    We also need to talk a little bit about de minimis rates. I know the U.S. wanted us to go up to a higher number. We kept it at a lower number, which is good, but then they put in a strange amendment. They left Canada Post out as being one of the carriers. Looking at it, all of the commercial carriers can handle any packages across the border and get the new de minimis rate, except for Canada Post.
    I live in rural Canada. Canada Post delivers my parcels. Why would we have a deal leaving out Canada Post? It is a Crown corporation, and parcel delivery is probably the most lucrative part of Canada Post. Again, this is an area that I think the government needs to look at and fix, because it does not make a lot of sense.
    We tried all along to see this piece of legislation go forward. We knew the importance of the deal. We did not like it. We knew it stunk, but I want to get it on the record that we were being progressive and trying to be proactive in moving this forward. This goes back to before the election.
    Before the election, we made a motion at the standing committee, once the original deal was signed, to do a pre-study. There were concerns at the time that we would not have the U.S. moving at the same speed as us and we would be ahead of them. Mexico was actually moving very fast. We said that we should have all the pre-studies done and then we would just have to deal with it in the House. The Liberals declined. In December 2019, we offered to come back early and deal with this. The Liberals declined.
    It was not until the end of January that the Liberals actually brought it into the House and we managed to work with the other opposition parties and everybody here. Instead of taking the normal 16 days, we did it in six days. At committee, all we wanted was to do thorough research, so we were willing to get it done in the last week of sitting. That last Thursday we put forward an unanimous consent motion, which the Liberals declined, to start this process basically two weeks ago. The member across the way said no. I want to make sure that everybody understands in the House that we have never been the ones holding this up, but we did say that we wanted to have a good thorough look at it.
    One of the things that happened at committee, which I think committee members and all members of the House should be very concerned about, is that 20 minutes before our last meeting the Liberals dropped off their economic analysis. They gave us not even an evening, not even an hour to go through it, only 20 minutes. We quickly went through it and started looking at the announcements and the benchmarks, which were compared to nothing. Instead of taking this agreement and comparing it with what we have today, which is what was done on TPP and other trade agreements, it was compared to nothing.
    It was a horrible assessment. It was just unusable to help us talk to people who were going to be negatively impacted to find a way forward. It was just incredible.
    When C.D. Howe did its assessment, it found this deal is going to cost our economy $14 billion a year. For the Liberals to say this is a win-win-win, no it is not. It is plug our noses and be thankful we got something, because something is better than nothing.
    As I sum this up, there is more that I could probably talk about with regard to the committee, but I want to thank all the companies that came forward and all the individuals who gave evidence.
     I want to challenge the government because you got a lot of really good information. Do something with that information, mitigate the losses and make sure they are not left out, because it is your responsibility to come up with a game plan. We would be glad to help.

  (1045)  

    The hon. member knows fairly well that he is not to direct the questions directly to the government. He has been in the House long enough. I am sure that he was not directing those directly to me, but he should be going through the Speaker to raise those issues.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to recognize the fabulous work that the vice-chair did at the international trade committee. He was very helpful making the points that were necessary and with getting it through committee and back to the House now. We heard him mention the number of jobs that he was concerned about, as we all are. I guess there were some things we were not necessarily crazy about, but it was a question of other areas that had some improvements.
    Can the hon. member elaborate a bit on some of those areas that are actually improvements with Bill C-4?
    Madam Speaker, I also want to congratulate the chair of the committee. She did an excellent job, and all the committee members did a very respectful job in moving this forward and getting it out of committee as quickly as possible to get it here today. I look forward to the House doing the exact same thing. There is no reason to delay this in the House. It can get into the Senate and move forward so that Canadian companies can have bankability and stability.
    I think bankability and stability are the big things we gained out of this agreement. Companies are sitting there saying that they cannot live without any agreement and that they need something. They need to know what the rules are. Even if they are not great rules, at least they know what the rules are so they can play by them.
    That is one thing this agreement does: It sets the rules out. As well, maybe it sets the stage for some improvements down the road. We have some work to do to make this a better deal and make sure Canadian companies are more competitive, but we can deal with that going forward.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his work on the trade committee. He has been very liberal in his praise for all the members working so hard. It is nice to see, because people back home expect us to do these things, although this member is one of our most conservative members.
    What I would like to ask is specifically about intellectual property. Free trade agreements are changing. They are no longer just tariff access agreements by which we are getting rid of tariffs. In this one, we would actually be changing copyright. We would be extending it from 50 years after the death of an author to 70, matching the American rules.
    There has been a lot of research showing that pushing these things back benefits only large corporations. At the same time, we would see less innovation and fewer things going into the public domain. We know that the Disney corporation has been very hawkish in this area to extend the life of their copyright for Micky Mouse, etc.
    These changes would harm Canada's interests. Does the member think we need to compensate through changes and modernization of the Copyright Act to allow for more innovation in that space?

  (1050)  

    Madam Speaker, we have actually heard some conflicting testimony on this issue. We have heard some people saying that they want to see it moved up faster and we heard some people saying this is going to have a negative impact on how they go about doing their business. I think we have to do a proper balance. I do not think we have a lot of choice in this scenario in reality.
    That said, when we look at the cultural exemptions, digital privacy and things like the safe harbour, as our colleague from the NDP talked about before, we see that the inability to hold companies like Facebook and Google and Instagram accountable for their content is a problem. We need to figure out how to solve that problem, because they have to be accountable for what they post or what is posted on their sites. For those companies to have no accountability is not acceptable to Canadians.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, one major problem with the agreement was the fact that it did not treat aluminum the same as steel. Speaking to a local radio station, my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord said he did not think aluminum would ever get the same treatment as steel, but thanks to our negotiations with the government, we achieved that.
    I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on what his friend from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord said.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I did go to Chicoutimi—Le Fjord and I talked to both the primary and secondary producers of aluminum. They gave us some great suggestions on how to move forward to mitigate some of the concerns they had with this agreement.
    The member there has some great ideas, which we have shared with the government, and I think there are some good ideas moving forward.
    That is the thing, though. That is the difference between Conservative and Bloc members. We are looking for solutions to make Canada a greater country, and that includes Quebec. The member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord was doing just that, and he did an honourable job.
    Madam Speaker, as this is my maiden speech, I would respectfully ask for the traditional maiden speech consideration to acknowledge those who have helped create this opportunity to address the House today.
    As a colleague stated several weeks ago, cats have nine lives, but members of Parliament who do not acknowledge their families and forget them have only one, so I want to begin by thanking my wife, Charlene, for her support as we began going down this road several years ago. Charlene is a relatively quiet, private individual, so when she joined me knocking on doors in an unfamiliar part of our riding on our 34th wedding anniversary, I knew I had her full backing. I am thankful for Charlene's love and support.
    We are blessed with four daughters, aged 23 to 30, who are presently scattered across Canada, and I also enjoy their support. Kiana is pursuing her master's degree in economics at Waterloo; Brenna is articling for the Bar in Vancouver; Carina is a registered nurse working in long-term care, pursuing her master's degree in gerontology and living in Kamloops, B.C., with her husband Adam, and this June will give us our first grandchild; lastly, our oldest daughter, Alyssa, lives closest to us near Leamington and continues to pursue her dream career as an operatic lyric soprano while teaching music.
    I am very proud of my four daughters and I will continue to work to ensure that their lives have no glass ceilings above them.
    I am fortunate that my parents, Abe and Susan Epp, who are in the mid to late 80s, were able to join us here in Ottawa in November as I accepted the responsibilities of this office. I thank them for a lifetime of love and support.
     I also want to thank my brother Peter and his family. They are the business partners of Lycoland Farms, a family farm business founded by my grandfather, who purchased the home farm in 1949. I have the privilege of being the third generation living on that property today, with my brother and his son providing the day-to-day leadership in that business. We pride ourselves on maintaining this farm along with other lands now under our stewardship in a better environmental state than when my grandfather first purchased this property.
    It is my privilege to represent the riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington, CKL for short, which is Canada's most southerly riding. I want to thank our EDA, along with all the volunteers who joined our campaign last fall.
    With two major centres, Chatham and Leamington, and more than 20 smaller towns and villages, providing a better future for our community of communities is a shared goal. Historical communities such as Comber, Blenheim, Morpeth, Highgate, Ridgetown, North Buxton, south Buxton, Charing Cross, Erieau, Wheatley, Stoney Point, Lighthouse Cove, Rondeau, Merlin, Erie Beach, Clachan, Duart, Shrewsbury, Guilds, Rushton Corners, Prairie Siding, Sleepy Hollow, Coatsworth, Jeannette's Creek, Port Crewe, Port Alma, Dealtown, Cedar Spring, Fletcher, and Muirkirk provide a rich, unique legacy in Canada, and I sure hope that I did not forget one.
    Chatham—Kent—Leamington is one of the earliest settled areas in Canada. It is largely surrounded by water, which is why it was settled early, as water was one of the most efficient means of travel and trade two to three centuries ago. That same water still has a profound effect on our riding today.
    As Canadians, we describe our country as stretching from shore to shore to shore. The north shore of Lake Erie forms the southern boundary of the riding, with Pelee Island and Middle Island's shores entirely within that lake. With additional shoreline on Lake St. Clair also adding to the over 150 kilometres of shoreline, Chatham-Kent—Leamington, along with other ridings across approximately one-third of Canada's southerly border, truly belongs in our national maritime boundary description. These shorelines provide sources of employment and enjoyment, but they also provide challenges as we grapple with record-high Great Lakes water levels.
    However, for the moment, I want to focus on the hard-working folks who work some of Canada's most productive soils that are surrounded by these shores, and the people who add value to the products from our farms in the food sector.
    Agriculture and food processing are the traditional bedrock of our local economy. With the 42nd parallel running through the riding about two kilometres south of my home farm, we enjoy one of the longest growing seasons in Canada.

  (1055)  

    Along with very fertile soils, our microclimate, buffered by the Great Lakes, allows the production of grain and oilseeds and a whole range of fruits and vegetables that make an important contribution to Canada's food security.
    This vegetable production on some of our sandiest soils also spawned a greenhouse industry that today is a world leader. It is an honour to represent some of the most advanced greenhouses in the world. They utilize the most modern technologies, thereby reducing negative effects on the environment and considerably improving the energy efficiency of crops, and thus remaining competitive both in national and international markets.
    Similarly, our manufacturing sector, with geographic proximity to the historical birthplace of the North American auto sector, has developed into a world leader, not only in the tool and die sector for auto but also for aerospace, automation, food processing and handling, greenhouse technologies, and a host of other industrial sectors.
    We have a talented, industrious workforce led by entrepreneurs whose imagination drives their initiatives, both in their businesses and in our communities. Agriculture and agrifood, as well as the manufacturing sectors, are solid, competitive local industries ready to serve both domestic and export markets.
    Therefore, Bill C-4, the Canada–United States–Mexico agreement, CUSMA, which is being debated today, is highly significant to my riding. We have a long history with trade, with many businesses having grown to service the logistics of trade and participating both domestically and in export markets. Our riding is well positioned geographically to serve Canada's interests by being ready, willing and capable of adding to Canada's exports, one of the stated goals of the government.
     Let me add my voice to those who say the Conservative Party of Canada is the party of freer and more liberalized trade. We were party to the original North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA 1.0. Let me state that this agreement before us today is certainly not NAFTA 2.0; NAFTA .7 might be more accurate.
     Nevertheless, we have been clear from the outset that the Canadian business community needs certainty, and we will support this bill. In fact, we have been pushing the government, as the previous speaker stated, to expedite the passage of this bill, but coupled with a proper examination of its implications. A closer look revealed several flaws that will cost our country. For example, and as previously mentioned, softwood lumber issues related to the buy American policy were not addressed.
     Let me focus some comments on two areas of the economy that are important to my riding. While the horticulture and grain and oilseeds sector of agriculture were largely unaffected by the negotiations, our supply-managed sector was not. An additional 3.6% of our dairy market was opened up to imports, which was more than what was intended under the TPP, the trans-Pacific partnership.
    Originally, with Mexico and the U.S. as planned signatories to the TPP, the new TPP thresholds were intended to be updated to NAFTA levels.
    In addition, this agreement eliminates class 6 and class 7, and establishes export thresholds for milk protein concentrates, skim milk powder and infant formula. Other supply-managed industries also had similar outcomes, with imports given additional access to domestic markets.
    Canadians are wondering what Canada got in return for these concessions. Would the opportunities for other agriculture sectors, such as our grain and oilseeds and horticulture sectors, be enhanced? Not that I have heard.
    At the last minute, another concession was given. Aluminum was not afforded the same protection as steel, which was that 70% of steel used in auto production must be North American, defined as melted and poured in North America. Aluminum was not afforded the same consideration.
    With increased interest in the electrification of vehicles and the replacement of steel with aluminum parts to lessen vehicle weight and increase fuel efficiency, it is expected that aluminum content will only increase in future automobile manufacturing. This development directly impacts a business in my riding. Dajcor Aluminum began 10 years ago in Chatham, and in the last decade has grown from nothing to over 250 employees. They extrude aluminum into various parts, mainly targeted to North American auto manufacturers.
    Mike Kilby, president of Dajcor, testified at the trade committee hearings into Bill C-4. He concluded his submission with the following:
     To summarize, this is a terribly bad deal for NA aluminum producers, extruders and for manufacturers of aluminum automotive components in Canada and the U.S. Mexico already has a labour advantage and now they get to add a subsidized commodity to that advantage.

  (1100)  

    The Conservatives support freer and fair trade. We will support this bill, despite its many shortcomings, because of the certainty that investment demands. There must, however—
    Unfortunately, the time is up. I allowed for a little more time. I am sure the hon. member will be able to add anything else he may want to during questions and comments.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased the hon. member gave his first maiden speech. He did a fine job. I welcome him to the House.
    The member spoke of many issues and, in particular, aluminum. Getting 100% was impossible, but 70% certainly was achievable and has brought some stability to that industry. We hear that people are glad for the aluminum market as it is, but I would like him to elaborate a little more on it and on his concerns that it could have been a better deal. I would like to hear the member's suggestions.
    Madam Speaker, yes, certainly 70% is better than zero, but, as I understand it, the industry was largely supplied by aluminum from North America. The industry challenged, through CITT hearings, dumping allegations in 2009 and again in 2014. The Americans did the same thing in 2010 and 2015. Those hearings were upheld through the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to block dumping. Now, at the very last minute, our trade negotiations allow this back door for the potential of aluminum from other sectors to be stockpiled and allowed into the North American market through Mexico. Therefore, while 70% is better than zero, it is certainly less than 100%.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I listened attentively to my colleague's remarks, and I would like to comment briefly about aluminum.
    Thanks to the Bloc Québécois's negotiations with the government, aluminum will probably end up being treated just like steel. There will even be a mechanism to prove dumping by China or any other country. That mechanism means aluminum can get the same protections as steel.
    I just want to point out to my esteemed colleague that listening to the Bloc Québécois really works sometimes. He talked about supply management, so I will mention the bill we introduced to plug any holes in supply management once and for all. Would my colleague be prepared to support that kind of bill?

  (1105)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my understanding is that the aluminum going forward under the present provisions does not have the same protection as steel. I would certainly enjoin any efforts that would grant that to our aluminum producers. I am not aware of that at this point.
    Madam Speaker, the agreement that the Conservatives will be supporting takes out the investor-state suing provisions in the current trade agreement with the United States. Since the Conservatives are supporting that, I would be interested in the hon. member's opinion on the agreement the Conservative government signed with China, the FIPA agreement. Can we be assured that if Huawei is denied participation in the 5G network, there will not be financial repercussions for the United States under that agreement, which the previous Conservative government negotiated?
    Madam Speaker, unfortunately, I did not have the time to finish my concluding comments, but I will go at that question another way.
     The government does have a responsibility to the sectors affected by its decisions and there should be redress for the casualties of the government's compromises.
     I wanted to conclude with the fact that the upcoming budget must begin that process. As Conservatives, we stand ready to address the upcoming shortcomings of NAFTA .7 and hold this government to account.
    Madam Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on his maiden speech.
    I am from a forestry riding in the province of British Columbia, in which 140 communities are dependent on forestry. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost just in the last year alone. The Liberal government has dithered away time and has not secured a new softwood lumber agreement.
     I would ask my hon. colleague why he thinks the Liberals missed a key opportunity to negotiate a new softwood lumber agreement in this new agreement.
    Madam Speaker, the short answer is this. I have no idea why the Liberals would not address such long outstanding issues such as softwood lumber, buy America provisions and a whole host of other provisions. I do not know.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the Bloc Québécois to speak to the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. The Standing Committee on International Trade has put a lot of time into analyzing the agreement. My colleagues who sit on that committee with me can confirm that we have worked late on many occasions.
    As I reminded members in my first presentation to the House on this topic, Quebec's separatist movement does not need any lessons on fostering trade with the rest of the world. Free trade with the United States is the result of a successful gamble taken by Jacques Parizeau and Bernard Landry following—and this is interesting—a fear campaign led for the most part by the House targeting Quebec's presumed inability to survive without the Canadian economy. That was not the case.
    We took a chance on free trade, and what a success it has been, since access to the market south of us has been such a windfall for our SMEs, especially because Quebec has always managed to merge openness to trade with economic nationalism, using the most effective tools. However, as Jacques Parizeau later criticized, free trade has too often become synonymous with secret negotiations in favour of multinationals, ranging from the relinquishment of political sovereignty to sacrificing the most vulnerable members of society.
    What does all this mean for CUSMA?
    First of all, transparency was severely lacking from the entire process. At the Standing Committee on International Trade, the economic impact study authored by the chief economist at Global Affairs Canada was not tabled ahead of his appearance. How were we supposed to read and go over that study with enough time to prepare speaking notes?
    What is more, the study presents a dubious and dishonest methodology because it compares CUSMA to the absence of an agreement. It compares CUSMA to nothing, as though NAFTA has not been in effect for years. Of course, some might say that without CUSMA there would be nothing left.
    Personally, I cannot imagine a situation in the near future where Canada and the United States would no longer trade with one another. We can only conclude that, without CUSMA, we will revert back to NAFTA. If we tear up NAFTA then we will go back to the FTA. If we tear up the FTA, then there is always the World Trade Organization.
    I know that each of these scenarios does not amount to the same thing. I know that it would be better to have a direct channel between the signatory countries. Nevertheless, it is just fearmongering to claim that we would somehow magically end up in a situation where trade between the United States and Canada would no longer exist.
    I would also like to address another matter. The first version of CUSMA, as presented in recent years, was completely unacceptable. Just think of the provisions that would have allowed the digital giants to bring their goods into Canada without tariffs and to sell them tax-free. The provisions concerning pharmaceutical patents would also have benefited major corporations and increased the cost of prescriptions. Fortunately, these provisions are not in the current version of CUSMA.
    I must say from the outset that the current version of the CUSMA is far from what an agreement should be in 2020. I will take the example of the environment. Although we are in a climate crisis, the agreement contains next to nothing on the environment, except for some good intentions. There is no mention of environmental agreements other than those that were in NAFTA. There is no climate standard, no acknowledgement of climate change and no system to deal with problematic cases, except for the state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism, which is not exactly known for its amazing efficiency.
    However, when compared to NAFTA, CUSMA is an improvement in some respects. For that reason, we must opt for this version rather than the status quo.
    CUSMA abolishes the ban on limiting exports of Canadian oil to the United States, a measure that could hinder efforts to fight climate change, and that is just fine.

  (1110)  

    The agreement reaffirms the cultural exemption, which we are very happy about. Quebec has been actively advocating at UNESCO, with the support of France, to make sure that culture is not treated like a commodity.
    The elimination of NAFTA's chapter 11 is another significant step forward. This chapter dealt with investor-state dispute settlements and sacrificed political power in favour of a virtual government of multinationals. These multinationals were able to sue states if they had the misfortune of limiting the ability of a corporation to make profits while trying to protect their citizens.
    Ottawa was sued several times over the years, for example for its decision to restrict imports of a fuel additive suspected of being toxic, for restricting the export of toxic waste, for revoking patents for medications of questionable quality, and also for Quebec's decision to ban the sale and use of certain pesticides on lawns and Quebec's moratorium on drilling in the Saint Lawrence. That list is far from exhaustive.
    Canada is the NAFTA country most often sued by private investors. The worst thing is that this mechanism has subsequently been emulated in all of the free trade agreements. Around the world, 60% of these lawsuits have ended in multinational corporations triumphing over the states being sued or negotiating a friendly agreement, according to the UN report. That means that in 60% of cases, the power of money partially or totally prevailed over the states' political will and the power of democracy. Naturally, this quantitative assessment does not factor in the constant pressure on public decision-makers, who need to censor their own comments to avoid getting dragged into court.
    Jacques Parizeau used to say that globalization was like the tide. We cannot stop the tide, but we can build dikes.
    This chapter of NAFTA did not even allow us to build dikes. Now that this chapter, which had such serious consequences, is gone, all we can say is good riddance. However, we will keep a vigilant eye on the new chapter on good regulatory practices. The chapter is quite restrictive, and its tone reveals a deep-seated distrust of state intervention. That is something we will certainly have to keep a close eye on, to ensure that it does not turn out to be a new impediment.
    The elimination of the provision allowing private investors to sue states is a laudable precedent. It will be hard to bring back that type of mechanism in future international negotiations.
    Other gains were sadly much too symbolic. CUSMA includes one chapter dedicated exclusively to small and medium-sized businesses and it emphasizes how important they are. That is very good, but this chapter unfortunately does not go beyond affirming some basic principles. CUSMA fortunately protects market access for these businesses in most sectors.
    The chapter on labour does contain some notable improvements, in particular for the auto sector. Although Quebec has no direct ties to this sector, the provision does indirectly establish a minimum wage that, I must say, will be difficult to enforce. Nevertheless, that is definitely an improvement.
    Other categories of workers will unfortunately not benefit from that same improvement, although this chapter does give workers some recourse. Will these methods be effective? Only time will tell.
    However, CUSMA is not free of grey areas. It is important to mention that one of them is softwood lumber. The softwood lumber situation is a constant irritant. It never stops. It is like a problem that is never solved. As we know, the United States has always applied punitive tariffs on our lumber. The U.S. math has always been clear: Industries are driven into bankruptcy while the wheels of justice slowly turn.
    Washington has always been able to play outside the rules. The CUSMA negotiations could have been an opportunity to clarify those rules to ensure that such unfair practices no longer occur. That was not the case.

  (1115)  

    That is why I introduced an amendment to have the minister create an advisory committee on softwood lumber products that are not on the export control list.
    As my colleague mentioned earlier, some copyright issues are being addressed similarly to how the United States is addressing intellectual property. This approach may well favour big business.
    The dairy sector has clearly suffered a setback. The scenario is always the same: Every governing party makes a heartfelt commitment during the election campaign to never tamper with supply management again. Every party tells us not to worry because it will not touch it, unlike its predecessor. However, when that party takes office, it goes about negotiating in secret, like its predecessor, and then we learn that supply management has been affected. When the agreement under discussion becomes public, the excuse is always that it is only a small breach and that we must not worry because it is only a small percentage. Okay, fine, but when those small breaches are taken together, let's face it, they amount to a sizeable crater.
    In CUSMA, giving up 3% of the market means losses of about $150 million per year. The agreement also eliminates class 7, which dealt with the dairy protein problem. Worse still, it gives Washington the ability to limit the amount of dairy protein our producers can sell to other countries. Allowing one country to oust another as a global competitor by controlling its exports is, we believe, unprecedented.
    We will not back down on this. The government must provide direct compensation to affected farmers without delay. I would also encourage the House to support the Bloc's bill banning any future hits to supply management. Our food supply is too important to be subject to the rules of global economic war. Lip service and simple election promises do not cut it anymore. We need a legal obligation here. Our farmers, the very people who enable us to fill our fridges every day, have been made to suffer enough. The first thing we do when we get up every morning is open the fridge. We owe our farmers a debt of gratitude. After all, they are the only professionals we need every day, many times a day.
    On the sensitive issue of aluminum, the government pulled a classic Canadian move. Despite the government's denials, aluminum, a Quebec industry, was not given the same protections as Ontario steel. While the government was celebrating this agreement, the Bloc Québécois noted that the protections were not the same and spoke out about it. The agreement protects only North American aluminum parts, but requires that steel be melted and poured in North America. However, Mexico does not produce aluminum and could continue to use dirty Chinese aluminum, which is lower quality and made in coal-fired plants. This dumping would have jeopardized the expansion projects of Quebec aluminum plants, threatened jobs in those plants and undermined the tremendous environmental opportunity presented by our carbon-neutral aluminum, which is the greenest in the world. What is more, in an era of climate change, the trend in the auto manufacturing industry is to move toward lighter parts. The Quebec National Assembly voted unanimously on a motion to support our aluminum workers and industry.
    At first, the government denied the elephant in the room, but we held firm. That paid off and the government committed to collect real-time data on aluminum imports. If that data shows that Mexico is indeed sourcing foreign aluminum, the government promised to revisit this issue and ensure that our aluminum gets the same protection as steel. Mexico's angry response shows that there is indeed a problem that the government insisted on ignoring.

  (1120)  

    Although certain representatives tried to claim that there was no real change, Canada's chief negotiator, who was responding to a question I asked in committee, acknowledged that this definitely constituted a gain. We will be keeping an eye on the government to make sure it keeps its word. The burden lies on its shoulders. We will therefore be voting in favour of CUSMA, not happily and not particularly enthusiastically, and, more importantly, knowing we will remain extremely vigilant. In fact, I promise to be the watchdog at the Standing Committee on International Trade. We will also keep a close eye on all this here in the House.
    In closing, I want to talk about a long-term vision for the future. In this file, as in many others, we tried to minimize the losses. The Bloc is always hard at work when it comes to damage control. However, we must not forget one basic rule: Those who are absent always get the blame. Not being at the table when decisions are made definitely has its consequences.
    In fact, in the negotiations for the agreement with Europe, the former Quebec representative within the Canadian delegation said that the role of the Quebec delegation was unfortunately limited to offering a love letter. In other words, people were hard at work everywhere, especially behind the scenes, where they were trying to influence the delegation, except at the decision-making table. This cannot always be without consequence. Those who are absent always get the blame. That is why the ultimate, long-term goal of our actions is of course the independence of our nation, Quebec.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member is on our international trade committee and I appreciate his support and participation.
    Looking at the cultural exemption in particular, that is something very important to all of us and certainly to the government. It means that with this agreement we will be protecting a $53.8-billion industry, thousands of jobs across Canada, 75,000 of which are in the Quebec region.
    I would like to hear my colleague's comments on whether he thinks that is a worthwhile part to have in this agreement.

  (1125)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I talked about the cultural exemption in my speech. We are pleased that it is being reaffirmed. I would remind hon. members that Quebec fought hard for this UNESCO recognition. There are some things that cannot be treated entirely as commodities. Our culture is undeniably very rich and recognized around the world. That being said, we do not have anything that resembles Hollywood. That is why we need to have practices and guidelines in place to regulate and protect our culture and offer it preferential treatment. The cultural exemption is an excellent way to do that. It is not the only way, but it is essential.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech intently and I want to thank him for his work on the international trade committee. He mentioned how Canadians are going to be paying the price for the Prime Minister's weak leadership. He talked about the aluminum industry, the dairy sector and the softwood lumber sector, all of these lost opportunities.
    One point he brought up that is incredibly important to Canadians is the lack of transparency. The original TPP that was negotiated five years ago by the government had a positive effect of $4.3 billion on our GDP. The new agreement, according to C.D. Howe and as we heard in committee, is a $14-billion hit to our economy. The economic impact studies, as the member so carefully pointed out, were not even available to us until one day before the end of the agreement.
    The Liberal government told Canadians before the election that this was a win-win-win, if members remember. It was a great deal for Canadians. Then we found out their own numbers. In my own community of Oshawa we have had a $1.5-billion hit to the auto industy and a decrease of 1.7% for production.
    The member said that he is a watchdog and he is going to be a good watchdog working together on committee. I see myself in that form as well. There is so much misleading information and a lack of transparency.
    How important is the implementation of this trade agreement and the oversight for that implementation, given the support for the negatively affected sectors? Also, because of the government's weak leadership and tendency to secrecy, how important are that implementation and oversight going to be?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, transparency is essential. Sadly, it has always been lacking in this type of agreement. It is imperative that we find a way to come up with institutional mechanisms. The committees are one. We will do our job and I invite the other opposition parties to do theirs.
    The Bloc, the NDP and the Conservatives all agreed on the fact that this process was short on transparency. Generally speaking, these types of negotiations are held with very little consultation. This is true even at the preliminary stages, before anything is discussed with parliamentarians. Civil society groups are rarely consulted. In the end, they win some and they lose some. We must certainly find a way to monitor this, and I invite my colleagues to give that some thought.
    Motions are moved in committee on specific aspects of the potential consequences of trade. We must ensure that we do our job effectively. Yes, negotiations are held behind closed doors, but this issue needs to be debated at the political level thereafter.
    Madam Speaker, in his speech, the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot mentioned that an agreement had been reached between the Bloc Québécois and the government regarding the aluminum sector.
    In committee, we heard that the government already had mechanisms in place to find out how much aluminum was in transit from China to Mexico. The information needed to find out what is happening is therefore already provided.
    How is the agreement between the Bloc and the government different from what the government is already doing?
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member was at committee when this gain was acknowledged. Although the commitment to provide us with all the data had already been discussed, this new measure goes beyond that commitment. We will have a lot of work to do in committee. If dumping were ever to occur, we now have a clear commitment that the government will raise the issue again and give aluminum the same status as steel. That changes absolutely everything.

  (1130)  

    Madam Speaker, I commend my colleague for his well-researched speech. It stands in contrast to some of the speeches we hear in the House, when members spend their time thanking their families and colleagues. I think his speech was strong and contributed to the debate. For those reasons, I salute him.
    As my colleague noted, we have made what we can consider to be a gain on aluminum. At the very least, we have been able to reduce the harmful impact that the agreement might have had on Quebec aluminum.
    My colleague mentioned softwood lumber in his speech. I appreciated hearing him mention that the United States is behaving in an underhanded way by dragging certain Canadian lumber producers through the courts until they run out of steam. I also liked his comments on supply management.
    He ended on a strong note by telling us that the solution may be independence for Quebec. However, in the meantime, the Bloc Québécois may have a solution to propose. If the Quebec delegation were given a larger role, through some sort of mechanism, would that not result in better agreements? I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.
    Madam Speaker, honestly, that would be great, and we are working hard to make that happen. That is of course an area we will be investing energy in. The problem is that we could invest our energy in so many other things if we were truly free to make our own decisions. We would not get bogged down in convoluted squabbles with the rest of the country, whose interests are sometimes diametrically opposed to ours.
    I fully understand why the rest of Canada might not care about aluminum, because aluminum is a Quebec industry. I fully understand why the rest of Canada would make concessions and not do anything for aluminum because it would rather put its eggs in another basket. There is no doubt in my mind that becoming good neighbours would be in our mutual interest.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am sure my friend would recognize that in virtually all provinces and territories there is a certain element of uniqueness in terms of their economy and different industries and so forth. There is a high demand for people to participate in the negotiations and as government we have a role to play.
    The member made reference to supply management and we will use that as an example. The original proposal from the United States was to completely dismantle supply management. This government, working with partnerships, was able to ensure that supply management continues on as part of the Canadian heritage and tradition. Does the member not see that as a positive thing?

[Translation]

     Madam Speaker, as you can see, I learned my lesson.
    As for what may have happened at the bargaining table, we are well aware that the United States wanted to eliminate the entire system. That goes without saying. However, since the government had made a direct promise not to touch the agriculture industry, this sector should not have been touched. At the very least, it should have been an untouchable, but that was not the case. The government promised several times not to touch it, as the previous government had done. In the end, it did touch it. At some point, the government needs to stop insulting people's intelligence.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have found the third reading debate and indeed this whole process around the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade agreement interesting. Today I watched as the governing Liberals, the opposition Conservatives and the separatist Bloc all tried to take credit for free trade and sing the praises of free trade. I can tell members that the New Democrats are not here to sing the praises of corporate free trade; far from it. We have been pretty consistent critics of this model of trade, but not trade itself.
    One of the sleights of hand that too often happens not just in this place but in the media about trade is that somehow the corporate model of free trade that has been very good at reinforcing corporate rights over the rights of people and the environment is somehow the only way to do trade. New Democrats are not under that illusion. We know that too often corporate free trade deals have meant that countries get trapped in a race to the bottom, that these deals are structured in a way to allow international capital.
    We hear in other debates about how Canada needs to compete for investment, and if it tries to regulate in the public interest in areas that have to do with the environment or workers that international capital is going to leave and go to other jurisdictions. These types of free trade agreements are all about making that easier and all about intensifying the threat of capital flight in the event governments choose to stand up for their workers, the environment or the rights of indigenous people within their territory.
    CUSMA unfortunately is part of that model. What is different here is that we are not talking about going from no free trade agreement to having a corporate free trade agreement. What we are talking about is two different agreements and which one we are going to have. As some people mentioned earlier, if we did not go for the new CUSMA and the existing NAFTA was abrogated by the President of the United States, there would still be a free trade deal in place, the original free trade deal between Canada and the United States.
    We are not in a position where we are talking about whether Canada is going to sign up for some new commitment under the corporate free trade agreement. What we are talking about is which commitment is going to serve Canadians better. That is an important point to make, and that has been a consistent theme throughout the debate on this. Certainly it has been an important part of the NDP's deliberations on this particular deal.
    In my speech at second reading, I said there were two questions that were going to guide us in our thinking. One was whether, on balance, this deal would leave Canadians better off than the current agreement. The second question I said would guide our deliberations was whether we could leverage the process around this deal, which we knew was going to pass anyway because the Conservatives said early on that whether they liked it or not or studied it a long time or a short time, ultimately they were going to vote for it. We knew that this was an agreement that was going to pass, and the question was whether we could use the process around this ratification in order to get a better process that made the next trade agreement negotiation more open and transparent to the Canadian public.
    I want to talk a little about some of the problems with the model and then I want to talk a little about this particular agreement and why, on balance, we think that the package of things that comes with this agreement will leave Canadians a bit better off than the status quo.
    In addition to the problems of the corporate free trade model I mentioned earlier, particularly that race to the bottom when it comes to environmental standards and labour standards, there is another problem. We hear often from Conservatives that what they do not like about government is that it picks winners and losers, except that they have no problem with that when it comes to free trade agreements. Often the Conservatives negotiate the deal and then the Liberals sign the deal. That seems to be the pattern.
    The Liberal Party and Conservative Party work very well together when it comes to advancing this corporate model of free trade, but Conservatives do not have a problem picking winners and losers in free trade agreements even though they do not like the idea of picking winners and losers when it comes to funding renewable energy, for instance, over other industries. They say that is an unacceptable picking of winners over losers. However, when it comes to sacrificing the dairy industry in agreements, we know the Conservatives negotiated concessions on supply management in the TPP, which ultimately the Liberals signed on to.

  (1135)  

    I was trying to listen in the best spirit and interestingly, optimistically, I heard members of the Conservative Party defending Canada Post, a Crown corporation. That was great to hear. I might add that is not reminiscent of the way the Conservatives behaved as a government, but it was nice to hear. That was another instance where they were decrying picking winners and losers. I am inclined to agree that Canada Post should not have been singled out, because I am a proud supporter of Crown corporations. I hope their resolve carries forward with them into whatever future positions they may have in this House, be it government or the fourth party. We can only hope.
    I mentioned also that CUSMA picks winners and losers when it comes to the digital economy. Unfortunately, the losers, by and large, are Canadians themselves. This has been another feature of these corporate free trade agreements where governments, I think quite needlessly, tie their hands when it comes to making good public policy. One of the things this agreement does is it really constricts the options Canadian governments have going forward on how to deal with what is a new, emerging and very important and significant aspect of the global economy, which is the digital economy.
    For instance, in this agreement, the government has agreed it will not make third party platforms responsible for the content posted on those platforms. That is a major policy decision. It is one that we may well live to regret. It is a discussion which, in my opinion, should have happened in this House in a far more robust way. That is not the kind of thing we should have been negotiating with trading partners prior to having a meaningful debate about how Canada wanted to treat this issue.
    In some places within trade agreements we get protection for existing laws, rules and policies. We really have not had the opportunity to establish those in a meaningful way for many aspects of the digital economy. We see the government already signing away its ability to make those decisions and, by extension, the ability of this place and Canadians themselves to decide how they want their digital space managed going forward. That is a feature of these kinds of agreements. It is the kind of thing the NDP has been a vocal critic of. We think it is one thing to decide we want to trade with another country, but when we look at agreements like the Auto Pact, which were not global free trade deals but about dividing up the wealth that comes from producing those products and ensuring that the trading partners each were getting their fair share of the wealth generated by the products that were going to be moving freely across the border, that is not what free trade is. Rather, it is more about, as I said earlier, setting up rules to make it easy for multinational corporations to move their production around. That may have a short-term benefit on price, but it does not always. We know companies charge what the market will bear. In the long term, I think there are many Canadians who would appreciate the opportunity to pay a bit more for a good or service that contributes to Canadian workers and keeps wealth in Canada, but I digress.
     I mentioned earlier there were two questions that would guide our deliberations. I want to speak to the first one now, which is whether, on balance, this agreement is better than the status quo. There are a few things I would point to that are laudable, despite the faults of this agreement.
    One is the elimination of chapter 11 of the original NAFTA. That was the clause under which foreign corporations, not Canadian corporations—although I would not have been a fan of that, but I think it was that much more egregious that it only gave these rights to foreign corporations—could sue the Canadian government for creating laws or instituting regulations that protect the environment or workers that they saw as costing them profit. Canada not only put that in the original NAFTA, but these investor-state dispute settlement clauses have been in most of the trade agreements that we have negotiated. Canada has paid out the most in the world under these kinds of clauses, so I am glad to see that go. I note it was something the President of the United States wanted gone and that initially our government defended, which has always seemed backward to me. Nevertheless, regardless of who got it out, it is out and that is a good thing.

  (1140)  

    It is likewise with the energy proportionality clause. It said that if, in any given year, we take the average percentage of Canadian production of oil and gas that went to the United States over the previous three years, in future years the U.S. would have a right to insist on that percentage of Canadian production. Regardless of whether there was a domestic shortage or whether we could get a better price somewhere else, the United States would have a right to that percentage of our production of oil and gas. We have always seen that as a completely unreasonable, to put it mildly, infringement on Canadian sovereignty and something that was not in the best interests of Canadians, so we are glad to see that go.
    There are a number of new North American content provisions for the auto sector, which we think is a good thing. They hearken back to the Auto Pact. Those provisions are actually least like free trade provisions, but they are being lauded as potentially doing the most for the Canadian auto sector. I think this is a signal that the free trade model, in itself, is not enough for Canadian success.
    One of the other things to note is that in the original version of CUSMA there were provisions that would have significantly increased the cost of biologic drugs. This was due to, unfortunately, not our own government, but to the Democrats in the United States who went back to the table. Because they were not satisfied with the original agreement, those provisions came out. That means that some of the increases in the cost of prescription drugs that were going to happen as a result of this agreement, which we have seen in other agreements like CETA and the TPP, are not happening in this agreement. That is a good thing. One of the reasons that the NDP has often opposed some of these trade agreements is because they offer unreasonably good protection to international pharmaceutical companies at the expense of Canadians who require medication to improve their quality of life.
    We also saw, in the second round of negotiations spurred by the Democrats in the United States, first-of-their-kind labour provisions in a trade agreement. I will not say that they are perfect; a lot of work is going to have to be done in order to ensure that they are implemented in a way that realizes the maximum potential for workers in Mexico, but these agreements would provide some upward pressure on wages for Mexicans working in the auto sector. I think just as, or more, importantly, and we heard this at committee from a Mexican member of the labour movement, it will make it easier for them to organize real unions in their workplaces. Evidence shows that when there is a union, one is able to get better working conditions and secure better wages. That is good for Mexican workers and for workers in the United States and Canada as well. This is to the extent, and that extent remains to be seen, that companies will not be picking up their operations and simply moving them to Mexico because it is a way of getting out of having a union in a workplace and paying higher wages.
    Again, this is not a panacea; it is not going to change things overnight, but these enforceable labour provisions are the kinds of things that New Democrats have said for decades ought to go hand in hand with the rules that are established, and very strongly protected, in international trade agreements.
    By voting for this agreement at this time, we are trying to consolidate the gains of having chapter 11 eliminated, having the proportionality clause eliminated and having the potential increase in prescription drugs stopped. We want to give a chance to allow these first-of-their-kind labour provisions to play out and to see whether we can use trade agreements to increase fairness for workers. I hope, if we can show that there is success on that front, that one day we could get meaningful enforcement of some environmental rules across jurisdictions too.
    This agreement really does not do that. It does not mention the most important agreement designed to address the most important environmental challenge of our time, which is the Paris accord and climate change. I think that is where we are going to need to get if we are going to have accountability internationally for countries reducing their climate emissions. We need to tie those accords to economic accords as well, so that there can be meaningful consequences for countries that do not live up to their expectations.

  (1145)  

    I want to spend a little time now talking about the second question that I said would guide our deliberations on this matter, which was whether this ratification process could be leveraged to get a better trade process for the next time.
    This process in itself was not great. We heard other members speak earlier about just how late Parliament got an economic impact assessment. By everyone's admission, we are talking about a major deal. We are talking about a lot of trade crossing the border every day, and there has been a lot of commentary on the agreement. The surprising thing for Canadians who may just be learning about this, if they are watching at home, is that debate was not supported by any real economic data because the government did not release it until the day before the end of the committee hearings, which was just the last sitting Thursday. Therefore, the economic report that actually puts some numbers to what we are doing here came out on the Wednesday and the committee study concluded and moved along on the Thursday. That did not make a heck of a lot of sense.
    There are other things that have not made sense over the years, particularly the high degree of secrecy around trade negotiations. As I mentioned in my speech at second reading, two of our biggest trading partners, with which we have concluded free trade deals, the European Union and the U.S., both released far more information about their negotiation process to the public. They create far more of a space for civic engagement around trade negotiation and allow their citizens to weigh in on what is important to them, what they think their executive is doing right in those negotiations and what it is doing wrong. We saw how that interplay between the legislature and the executive can create opportunities to get better deals. We saw that happen with this very agreement, unfortunately not here in Canada but in the United States where Congress was able to get involved and require the President to go back to the table in order to get a deal that was acceptable to the legislature.
    This Parliament only deals with trade deals once they are signed, sealed and delivered and there is no possibility of going back to the table. That was why I contacted the Deputy Prime Minister early on in this process, to talk about some of those problems of process and how we might be able to improve those going forward. That precipitated a period of negotiation, at the end of which the government committed to put in its policy for tabling treaties in the House of Commons a new commitment. The government will now tell Parliament formally, 90 days before beginning formal negotiations with another country or group of countries, of its intent to bargain a new trade deal. It will table its negotiating objectives in Parliament, which means publicly, 30 days before those negotiations. That is comparable to what already happens in the United States, and is even less stringent than what happens in the European Union, so it is a completely reasonable thing to do and Canadians will be better off for it.
    Finally, on the topic of the economic impact assessment, we got a commitment from government that it will make it a matter of policy that governments table economic impact assessments side by side with the ratifying legislation so that we never again end up in the ridiculous position we were in this time, where we were being asked to study a bill without having any economic data about its impact. I should not say “any”; we did have some from the United States because a year ago, it published an economic impact assessment. Canadians and their parliamentarians should not have to look to our trading partners for information about how a trade deal is going to affect us. We should be able to get that from the government. We now have a commitment to make it a matter of policy that governments will provide that information, which is important.
    There is more I would like to say, but I look forward to the question and answer period.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, the member of the NDP mentioned a couple of things of interest. One was he mentioned the original status of the trade agreement and that leaving it as it is probably would not have been a bad thing. Has he forgotten about the tariffs that were imposed under that trade agreement, with its lack of defining things? There were the tariffs that were put on aluminum, that were put on steel, that were put on wood products, paper and whatnot. He has forgotten that.
    The member mentioned the corporate free trade deal. A lot of the corporations that are in favour of this trade deal employ hundreds of thousands of people across this country, many of them unionized employees, to their benefit. In my riding, Ocean Choice International applauds the trade agreement because it enables the company to open markets free of tariffs and to provide well-paying jobs to the people who work for that company. Can the member say whether he still supports that, or whether he would just as soon those corporations did not have that ability in those free trade agreements?

  (1155)  

    Madam Speaker, I am just digesting the question. I hope I was clear enough that I am not a supporter of the original NAFTA. The NDP was not and is not.
    What I was saying is that I do not like the model. I do not like the model that that agreement was signed under, and I do not like the model that this agreement was signed under. What we have been tracking in this debate is whether, overall, the one agreement under a bad model is, relatively speaking, better than the original agreement under a bad model.
    Of course there are lots of corporations that employ a lot of Canadians; that does not mean they can do no wrong. That does not mean that they are all wonderful people. That does not mean they are all looking out for the interests of their employees.
    I would refer the member to the 400,000 Canadians who have lost manufacturing jobs since the signature of the original NAFTA, including those in Oshawa who just recently had their plant closed, despite the fact they did award-winning work, because that plant moved to Mexico for the sole purpose of low wages. Canadians workers should not be forced to compete with that. That is exactly what these deals do.
     There is some relief from that, for the first time, in these labour provisions. We are interested to see how those play out.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to make a quick comment about something my colleague just said. He said that the manufacturing sector lost a lot of jobs when NAFTA was signed. I do not necessarily see things the same way he does. That problem with the manufacturing sector coincided with an increase in the Canadian dollar, which happened because the oil industry is seen as the only factor in the Canadian economy. That is what we call the Dutch disease, and I do not think it has anything to do with the first NAFTA.
    What does my colleague think about that?
    Madam Speaker, there were clearly many job losses between 1994 and 2007-08, when the Canadian dollar was at par with the U.S. dollar. The appreciation of our currency may explain some rather recent manufacturing job losses, but it does not explain the jobs lost between 1994 and 2007-08.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Elmwood—Transcona on clearly laying out the NDP trade policies. I congratulate him on his very effective work as our trade spokesperson.
    The member does not take enough credit for something I think we will regard as historic. When we look back on the changes that his work with the Deputy Prime Minister led to in the way we approach trade agreements, we are going to see this was a historic change, providing more transparency, more openness and a role for Parliament in having input into the trade agreements instead of a last-minute yes or no, as in this case.
    I wonder if the hon. member could give us some idea of how these agreements he reached with the government will apply to the upcoming trade negotiations with other countries?
    Madam Speaker, I am going to go back a little ways to a process that some might remember around what was referred to as the security and prosperity partnership, SPP.
    One of the really frustrating aspects about those negotiations was that we did not know the full extent of them. In one of the minority Parliaments that preceded 2011, there was an attempt to get documents, just for Canadians to get some basic information about what the government was doing at the negotiating table with the United States on that file. A Conservative chair of the committee at that time stood up and walked out of the room, lest emotion pass demanding information about what was going on at that table.
    What we have negotiated with the government and what should be different is at least Canadians will know that a negotiation is taking place. That sounds really basic. It does not sound particularly exciting. It sounds like the kind of thing that of course we would know, because the government always tells us. However, the fact is that there is no requirement for the government to tell us. The SPP was a great example of a time when it refused to tell us.
    Not only would we know that that negotiation was happening, but we would have, at the very least, the high-level negotiating objectives, which were presumably were different for the SPP than they were for the TPP or CETA.
    This is one of those things that are easy to understate. It sounds like it is not that big of a deal, and that the government was already doing that. The point is that it was not. People in the trade justice network, labour unions and other parts of civil society know that these trade agreements can have a real impact on the lives of working people, not just corporate tycoons who are going to make more money but real Canadians who have a real potential to lose out on things that matter to them in their lives. This is going to give them a window in, to know where to start looking and sniffing around to find out what is going on and how it is going to affect people, whether they are members of unions or organizations, or just ordinary Canadians whose welfare they are concerned for.
    That is why it is a really important starting point.

  (1200)  

    Madam Speaker, I am encouraged by the Deputy Prime Minister and her ability to reach out to find ways to improve upon the system. I applaud the member's approach in trying to deal with that issue.
     However, I would not want to give an impression that all of a sudden a group of individuals in the United States met with representatives from Mexico, an agreement was signed and no background work was done. For months, if not years, there were discussions and dialogue on a potential agreement that needed to be achieved in Canada. There was industry representation from all regions of the country and hundreds of hours of debate, not only on this issue but on other trade agreements.
     Therefore, we should not give Canadians a false impression that everyone was blindsided. Even after the agreement was signed, the Deputy Prime Minister offered the leadership of all parties the ability to participate and gain more information.
    Could the member provide a general overview of those comments?
    Madam Speaker, I know the Deputy Prime Minister has made a lot about the amount of consultation that went on. However, there is a big difference between consulting sector-specific people under the cloak of NDAs, or non-disclosure agreements, where they are not allowed to talk about anything, versus bringing it to Parliament where there are things we can discuss. There is a difference between sharing objectives at the negotiating table with people who are not allowed to talk about those with anybody else and sharing them in Parliament, where the country can have a conversation about what should be on the list and what should be taken off the list, and supply management is a great example.
    Dairy farmers are hit hard by this agreement. I hope there will be another context. It has been done somewhat at committee, where we have talked about ways government can mitigate some of the ill effects that are part of this agreement. That debate should have taken place with more information on the table. Up until two weeks before this version of the deal was signed, dairy farmers were told they would be okay, that there were not significant concessions beyond what was in the original NAFTA.
    People were caught off guard. Public debate has a way of bringing those things out. It does not always, it is not perfect, it is a blunt instrument, but it can really bring things to the surface. That is why it was such a priority for us to take the first meaningful step on a road toward a better, more transparent process. In the long term, that will help us get better deals that are fairer for workers and the environment.
    Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that 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.
     We must ask parliamentarians to come together and join our partners in the United States and Mexico and ratify this agreement. We need to ratify it expeditiously and ensure certainty for businesses and, more important, ensure certainty for employees across this beautiful country we call home. It is of paramount importance.
    I recommend all my colleagues and all Canadians watching read the economic impact assessment on the new NAFTA, the CUSMA. I will read some of the preamble, which states:
    The final CUSMA outcome effectively achieved Canada’s overarching objectives by preserving key elements of NAFTA, modernizing and updating the Agreement to support Canada’s access to and integration with the North American economy, providing important stability and predictability with respect to overall market access, and addressing the harmful impacts of U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, as well as threats of similar tariffs on automobiles and auto parts.
    I am sharing my time today with my hon. colleague, friend and mentor, the hon. member for Humber River—Black Creek.
    Two aspects of the agreement need to be highlighted as we begin the debate in the House. These are of paramount importance to the New Democratic Party, the Conservatives, the Greens, the Bloc and the Liberals.
     The first is that this would ensure Canada's trading partners in North America would maintain high levels of labour and environmental protection. This agreement has bipartisan support in the United States between Democrats and Republicans. It has been ratified already by the United States and Mexico. It has support from our major unions in Canada, Unifor, Canadian Labour Congress. The agreement is a win for the environment. It is a win for labour. It is a win for hard-working middle-class Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It is a win for our businesses to help grow our economy and keep it moving forward.
    Second, the agreement would strengthen the state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism between parties and would ensure that disputes would be settled in an effective and efficient manner. This is all contained in the impact assessment that was done by Global Affairs. It is a great read, is quite insightful and it provides an overview of where we will go with this agreement and how it will benefit all three trading partners and their workers.
    We all know we live in a world that is currently seeing a lot of uncertainty with COVID-19. I want to express my sincere appreciation and full support to our health professionals in Canada and across the world who are on the front lines of the situation we are facing. I pray for them and thank them again for what they do.
    Many of my colleagues will know that I am economist by training. I worked globally in Toronto, New York City and spent time in Europe before I entered politics. In my view, Canada, its workers and businesses are well positioned to handle the evolving economic environment or landscape. As a country, we will continue to succeed and grow as a people and our economy. We will continue to create jobs.
    I witnessed first-hand the tech boom and bust, the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, which at one point our U.S. neighbours to the south were losing several hundred thousands jobs a month. Thankfully coordinated action by the Federal Reserve, under Ben Bernanke, central bankers everywhere and policies pursued by the Obama administration staved off what I believe would have been a second global depression.
    As parliamentarians, we must understand how interconnected the global economy is and with that how interconnected the global energy sector is. We have all read the headlines. There are many forces at work currently in the global energy markets, and I wish to begin part of my speech and speak to the importance of Canada's energy sector to Canada's economy today and in the years and decades to come.
     CUSMA guarantees access for Canadian products and services to the United States, keeps barrier-free from happening and is good for our energy sector among all other sectors, such as auto, aluminum, steel, dairy, services, intellectual property, etc.
    I would like to express my thanks to all of Canada's energy and mineral mining sector workers, whether it be those in the oil sands sector, those working in the western Canadian sedimentary basin, those mining uranium, those maintaining our nuclear plants in Ontario and those working on the TMX pipeline or on the Coastal GasLink, which will supply LNG to the Asian markets, displacing coal and thus reducing the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

  (1205)  

     We speak about climate change. We speak about saving our planet. We speak about moving forward. One of those aspects is displacing coal through LNG and that needs to happen so we can get to where we need to be.
    CUSMA provides the energy sector, auto sector, our tremendously hard-working dairy farmers, steel and aluminum sector workers and the entire Canadian economy with certainty. However, again, let us focus on Canada's energy sector, which accounts for a very large portion of the two-way trade between Canada and the United States and for a very large portion of the trade between all three countries.
    Here are a few facts about how important the energy sector is to the Canadian economy.
    As of 2018, Canada's energy sector directly employed more than 269,000 people and indirectly supported over 550,500 jobs. It is all on Enercan's website and I encourage Canadians who want to analyze how important this sector is to take a quick look. That is over 800,000 good, middle-class jobs, with the overwhelming majority providing good wages and benefits to families across Canada.
    According to 2018 statistics, the energy sector accounts for over 11% , or $230 billion, of Canada's nominal GDP. Direct revenues from energy to governments totalled over $14 billion in 2018.
    As an economist, one measure I like to see is our merchandise trade statistics that are published monthly. In 2019, the Canadian oil and gas sector generated a trade surplus of $76 billion for our economy. That is money flowing into our economy to pay for schools, bridges and roads and to maintain our high standard of living. We can compare this to the auto sector, which is so important for Ontario, that has a trade deficit of $20 billion.
     Behind that $76 billion trade surplus, Canada is the sixth largest world's energy producer, the fifth largest net exporter and the eighth largest consumer of energy. Frankly, energy drives our economy, our daily lives and our standard of living.
    Total energy exports in 2018 were $132 billion versus $55 billion of imports, with oil and gas exports at $118 billion of which 95% were to the U.S. Notably, we export energy products to approximately 148 countries and 90% of that goes to the United States.
    Human capital is a paramount strength of Canada, its people, its diversity, the ability to be an inclusive society and strengthen our economy. That is what makes our country a blessed place to live. When we also include Canada's natural capital resources, whether it is our agricultural sector, our forestry sector, hydro-electric power driven by our rivers and waterways, the mineral and energy wealth our country, Canada and its citizens are blessed and our potential when we work together is endless.
    The new free trade deal between the three countries provides certainty to over $1.4 trillion, and growing, in trade volumes. Trade generates jobs, grows our economy and ensures a bright future for all children, including my own.
    The world is becoming more interconnected. Our trade deals, CETA, CPTPP and CUSMA allow us preferential access to 1.5 billion individuals across the world. They allow us to continue to export our goods and services. Canada is a magnet for immigration. The best and brightest want to work here. They want to invent. They want to raise their families here. They want to call Canada home, and we welcome them.
    On that front, CUSMA will allow us to move forward. When I read the economic impact assessment produced by Global Affairs, I saw what we have done, what the team under Steve Verheul has done. I applaud them. I applaud the Deputy Prime Minister for her steadfast commitment to ensuring a great deal for Canadian workers and businesses.
    I have heard from all sectors and stakeholders in our economy and they all want this deal to pass. Whether it is the Chamber of Commerce, both locally and Canada-wide, or Unifor or the Canadian Labour Congress, they all want certainty. In this period of time, we need certainty for our economy. This deal would deliver it.
     I look forward to debate this week and participating in it, commencing with today's speech. We know we need to provide certainty for our workers and literally the millions of Canadians whose livelihoods depend on trade with the United States and Mexico.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I learned from my colleague's speech that he is an economist by training. I want to take this opportunity to ask him a question.
    There was some confusion in the House. Several members of the party opposite told us that aluminum received the same treatment as steel. Inevitably, following discussions that we had, the government admitted that aluminum actually had not received the same treatment as steel.
    Just once, I would like a member of the Liberal Party to clearly tell the House that aluminum did not receive the same treatment as steel until the Bloc Québécois intervened.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member from Jonquière for his question.

[English]

    First of all, on CUSMA, the cultural exemption was maintained in the deal. We know how important that is for Quebec's economy and its cultural sector, which is very large and employs, I believe, over 75,000 workers.
    With regard to the aluminum sector, I had the pleasure many years ago of visiting the Alma smelter, which I think is in the Lac Saint-Jean region. I spent a couple of days there touring the plant. It is beautiful to see how it harnesses the power of our natural resources.
    I would like to answer the member's question directly with a comment from Mr. Simard, the president and CEO of the Aluminum Association of Canada. With regard to the revised USMCA, or CUSMA, he stated, “We think the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) is the right way to go.”
    I believe we need the support of all parties in the House to provide certainty not only to the steel and aluminum sectors, but to all sectors in Canada and all workers.
    Mr. Speaker, I am certainly glad we finally got rid of the investor-state provisions that negatively impacted Canada's jurisdiction and our ability to put forward policies that benefit our citizens.
    However, what concerns me is that chapter 19 reads like a wish list for the lobbyists of Google, Facebook and Amazon, who spend as much time in the halls of the Liberal government as they do in Washington. There is a fundamental issue of data sovereignty emerging around the world in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The right and need to have data sovereignty to put in proper privacy protections have been stripped away. The Liberals have given that over to the Google, Facebook and Amazon lobby in Washington.
    Canada has an inability to actually hold the data giants to account through safe harbour provisions or to look in the black box of algorithms that are pushing extremist content. It is an issue that is driving legislators in Europe to take action, yet we have stripped it away to become a branch plant of silicon valley without the right of legislators to protect our citizens.
    What does my hon. colleague think about this?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians' data information is of paramount importance to our government, as data should be to any government throughout the world. We have very strict guidelines on privacy and how we use data, with PIPEDA being one of the regulations that governs Canadian data.
    I am in full support of provisions ensuring that corporate behaviour remains good, if I can use that term, and follows all the rules when business is practised. I am not a big believer in, nor do I fully condone, any sort of corporate cronyism, as I will coin it. For me this is about corporations following the rules. Individuals have to do it, so corporations have to do it.
    With regard to attracting workers to Canada, I welcome investments by Google, SAP, SAS and Mastercard. We are generating good middle-class jobs in Canada in sectors that are going to lead growth, and we want to make sure this is happening here and not in other jurisdictions.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to join my colleagues today as we deal with Bill C-4, which is extremely important for us. We call it the CUSMA, or the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement.
    I am pleased with the work we did at committee on this particular issue. My committee colleagues from all parties showed their dedication to their constituents and their country while we did this study. Every member made it clear to me that it was their sincerest intent to collaborate, co-operate and come together as a committee to make sure that we did the job we were elected to do and worked in a non-partisan way on something that is critically important to Canada.
    With our intensified schedule, our committee analyzed this bill for a total of 38.5 hours. The hard work that took place at committee ensured that Bill C-4 was returned in a timely fashion. Over 117 witnesses were invited, and we heard from a large range of individuals, organizations and businesses.
    I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the hard work of the staff of the House of Commons who were present during these extended meetings. None of this could have been possible without the work of our committee clerks, analysts, translators and the House of Commons staff, who carried out their duties with utmost professionalism. A huge thanks goes out to everyone involved.
    This new agreement will help reinforce strong economic ties between Canada, the United States and Mexico. It will improve North America's ability to compete on the global stage. This agreement will also bring back predictability and stability to the economic relationship between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, which we heard a lot about from various businesses and presenters.
    We have seen several actions from the U.S. on trade that had contributed to economic instability for Canadian businesses and their workers, and they were clearly concerned. Canada was confronted with the option of either renegotiating NAFTA or facing the possibility of the United States withdrawing from the agreement. I am pleased that we now have a modern trilateral agreement that turns the page and focuses on the three pillars that make our economic relationship so successful: stability, economic integration and clear, transparent and enforceable rules.
     From the start of the negotiations, Canada set out to achieve key priority outcomes: preserve important NAFTA provisions and market access into the U.S. and Mexico, modernize and improve the agreement, and reinforce the security and stability of market access into the U.S. and Mexico for Canadian businesses. We are proud of the fact that we have achieved all three of those objectives.
    It is particularly important to note that the preferential tariff treatment under NAFTA is preserved in this new agreement. Canada's preferential access to the U.S. and Mexican markets is vital to the continuing prosperity of Canadian workers whose livelihoods rely on this trade. During consultations with stakeholders, we heard repeatedly about the importance of preserving the benefits of NAFTA and the integrity of North American supply chains. We understand how vital they are to Canadian companies and exporters.
    As an annual average from 2016 to 2018, Canada exported 412.2 billion dollars' worth of goods to the United States, Canada's top export market. Over the same period, Canada exported an annual average of 9.2 billion dollars' worth of goods to Mexico, Canada's fifth-largest trading partner. These are very significant numbers, and the new NAFTA ensures continued preferential access to these key export destinations.
    The new agreement preserves the market access outcomes that were achieved in the original NAFTA. This means that NAFTA's duty-free access for all non-agricultural goods will be maintained. For agricultural goods, Canadian exports will also continue to benefit from duty-free access for nearly 89% of U.S. agricultural tariff lines and 91% of Mexican tariff lines. The new NAFTA will help farmers to be more competitive and will make it easier for them to export their products and continue to feed North America and the rest of the world.

  (1220)  

     Maintaining these tariff outcomes provides Canadians with an advantage over those in countries without a preferential trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. It also ensures predictability and continued secure market access for Canadian exporters to our largest trading partners. The preserved tariff-free environment also safeguards the integrity of the integrated North American supply chains. Other key elements of the original NAFTA have also been preserved, including the chapter 19 binational panel dispute settlement, a state-to-state dispute settlement, the cultural exception and temporary entry for business persons.
    The new NAFTA also helps open new market access opportunities in the U.S. for Canadian companies and improves existing market access. The new modernized agreement includes new customs and trade facilitation measures that will make it easier for companies to move goods across the border, including by eliminating paper processes and providing a single portal for traders to submit import documentation electronically. In particular, the new agreement moves away from the traditional certificate of origin to a new certificate of origin that allows companies to use existing documents in their business process to certify origin.
    The new NAFTA includes a new stand-alone chapter on rules of origin and origin procedures for textiles and apparel goods that will support Canada's textile and apparel sector. The agreement preserves the existing market access that Canada has under NAFTA to the U.S. and Mexican markets in these sectors and ensures that the benefits of the agreement go primarily to producers located in North America. The new agreement provides greater flexibility for producers to use small amounts of materials from outside the region without losing their preference.
    Furthermore, the agreement expands a provision from NAFTA to set out a special procedure to more easily establish the origin of the indigenous textiles and apparel. Under this provision, a textile or apparel item that the parties agree is an indigenous handcrafted good will be eligible for duty-free treatment, even if the good does not satisfy the applicable product-specific rule of origin.
    Given the importance of predictability and transparency in international trade, the new NAFTA includes provisions that will provide added assurance for exporters that their goods will not be delayed by unjustified or unclear measures at the borders. Companies will have enough time to adjust to new regulations and other requirements. The agreement also ensures Canada's agricultural and processed food exports can rely on sanitary and phytosanitary measures that are risk-based and that increase predictability of market access so that products make it to market in a reasonable amount of time.
    The section 232 side letter on autos and auto parts achieved as part of the overall outcome provides added security and stability for Canadian automotive and parts companies that export to the U.S. market. It will reaffirm Canada's attractiveness as an investment destination for this sector.
    On trade and indigenous people, for the first time in a Canadian free trade agreement, the new NAFTA incorporates a general exception that clearly confirms that the government can adopt or maintain measures it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations to indigenous peoples. An indigenous working group was established to further the dialogue between the government and indigenous peoples, share ideas and work collaboratively on solutions.
    We are pleased to have concluded an agreement that incorporates new and modernized provisions that seek to address 21st century trade issues and support opportunities for Canadian businesses and workers. This includes bringing obligations on labour and environment into the agreement and subjecting them to dispute settlement. It also includes important outcomes toward inclusive trade, including with respect to gender and the interests of indigenous peoples.
    In particular, the new labour chapter includes commitments to protect and promote internationally recognized labour rights and principles in North America. It also includes unprecedented protections against violence and against gender-based discrimination with regard to sexual orientation, sexual harassment, gender identity, caregiving responsibilities and wage discrimination.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague chairs the Standing Committee on International Trade and we were able to work together quite well on this agreement. The question I have for her is about something we found out that was quite disturbing, which was the transparency of the government on the economic impact implications of this trade agreement.
    Before the election, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister were very clear that this was going to be a win-win-win for Canadians. We found out late in the game the government's own numbers. For example, for people in my community in the auto sector there was going to be a hit of $1.5 billion to the auto industry and a decrease of 1.7% in production.
    My colleague did not know and we did not know. I believe the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister were aware of it because they were working on it since 2017.
    In order for this not to happen again, what does she think has to be implemented for future trade agreements? This was extremely misleading and it may have caused people to vote differently in the election.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the great work he did on the committee. He was a great member to work with, as were all the members on the committee.
    Not everything goes the way we all want it to go. At the committee level, in reference to the economic report we were waiting for, we did receive it quite late in the process. All of this has been very difficult to ensure that this NAFTA and Bill C-4 get through the committee and that we recognize all of the pluses, such as the thousands of jobs we are protecting in Canada as well as the opportunities for growth that need to happen.
    We always learn in everything we do as parliamentarians, and I hope we will learn from this experience as well to move forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's remarks with interest. At the end of her remarks, she touched on provisions dealing with gender and equality for women. One of the problems with the way we have negotiated trade agreements has been the secrecy around those negotiations, and I certainly salute the Deputy Prime Minister and the member for Elmwood—Transcona for trying to fix that in the future.
    My understanding is that many sources reported that the deal originally had much more extensive provisions dealing with gender equity, workplace harassment and other things that are very important to the equality of women in the workplace and that those disappeared from the final agreement, replaced by just some very general statements.
    Can the member tell us if she has any information about what happened to those more extensive gender equity provisions and why they disappeared?
    Mr. Speaker, the fact that we have issues such as sexual identity, sexual harassment, the protection of the indigenous community and a variety of other things in a trade agreement is terrific.
    Would I like to see more? Yes, I would. I would also like to see these kinds of human rights issues embedded into trade agreements. I think there should be more opportunities to see that happen in the future, and I certainly would like to see more of it, not less of it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to add my voice to those of all members of the House who praised my hon. colleague, the member for Humber River—Black Creek, for her profound commitment and diligence when serving as chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade.
    In her view, how does the North American trade agreement contribute to Canada's stability, especially in these uncertain economic times? How does the signing of this agreement contribute to Canada's economic stability?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's acknowledgement very much.
    This NAFTA is clearly going to give what we heard is needed. Out of the 117 witnesses, I think at least 100 of them talked about the need for security and stability. They were very uneasy knowing these discussions had been going on for several years. They were very fearful of losing NAFTA completely and wanted to see us do the best we could to get this through. In their minds, and we talked to representatives from the Business Council of Canada and numerous others, this was going to bring stability to Canadian businesses.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek.
    As the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this debate regarding the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement, or CUSMA, which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement that was negotiated by a previous Conservative government.
    To paraphrase comments previously made by my Conservative colleagues, the good news is that, after rigorous debate in Parliament and at committee, Canada will continue to have a trade agreement with our largest trading partner. The bad news is that it was negotiated by the Liberal government, which made concession after concession to the United States and Mexico.
    The United States is our greatest ally and our largest trading partner. The NAFTA deal that was negotiated by the Conservatives was good for Canada, with $2 billion a day in trade crossing our border, which represents 75% of Canadian exports. The U.S. direct investment in Canada was over $400 billion, which is huge.
    Since NAFTA was first implemented, over five million jobs have been created, and total trilateral trade has quadrupled to $1.2 trillion. Conservative trade deals have done a good job creating jobs for Canadians.
    The Conservative Party of Canada is the party of free trade. An election was fought over free trade. Luckily for Canadians, the Conservatives won that election. It was under former prime minister Brian Mulroney that the first Canada-U.S. free trade agreement was signed. Then it was under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper that Canada signed a record number of trade agreements, providing Canadian businesses with unprecedented access to markets around the world.
    The Conservative Party is the party of free trade. We have long supported free trade and will continue to support a free trade agreement with the United States, our largest trading partner, and Mexico.
    On February 25, I had the honour of presenting a private member's bill, Bill C-222, an act to amend the Expropriation Act with respect to protection of private property. There has been a disturbing trend in Canada toward what is referred to as regulatory, de facto or constructive taking of private property. This happens when government uses its statutory powers to regulate or restrict the property rights of an owner without acquiring title to the land being adversely affected. The landowner feels the impact of the regulation as if the land has been expropriated.
    In the United States, the fifth amendment of the American constitution protects private property rights. In Canada, government acquisition of land without the owner's consent is not subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Private property rights were excluded from the Canadian Constitution when it was repatriated in 1982.
    In Canada, landowners' rights are found in the expropriation legislation. The government must follow the law as to what land may be expropriated and must observe procedures set out in the legislation. In Canada the government can strictly regulate land, limiting its value and what a landowner can and cannot do with it without triggering the procedures in the legislation.
    A de facto regulatory taking means a property owner is not entitled to compensation unless the restrictions of the owner's rights are such that they should be properly regarded within the meaning of the Expropriation Act.
    I introduced Bill C-222 to provide some protections from the government taking people's property without compensation. It would appear that CUSMA addresses the issue raised by my private member's bill, Bill C-222. Canadian common law on de facto expropriation suffers from what some jurists refer to as external incoherence.
    The present context of CUSMA decries the possibility that the rights of foreign investors in Canadian property are afforded more protection than the rights of Canadian property owners of Canadian property. The source of this incoherence is article 1110 of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which has been carried over into CUSMA under article 14.8 on expropriation and compensation.

  (1235)  

    Article 14.8 in the new agreement provides:
    1. No Party shall expropriate or nationalize a covered investment either directly or indirectly through measures equivalent to expropriation or nationalization (expropriation), except:
(a) for a public purpose;
(b) in a non-discriminatory manner;
(c) on payment of prompt, adequate, and effective compensation in accordance with paragraphs 2, 3, and 4; and
(d) in accordance with due process of law.
    2. Compensation shall:
(a) be paid without delay;
(b) be equivalent to the fair market value of the expropriated investment immediately before the expropriation took place (the date of expropriation);
(c) not reflect any change in value occurring because the intended expropriation had become known earlier; and
(d) be fully realizable and freely transferable.
    3. If the fair market value is denominated in a freely usable currency, the compensation paid shall be no less than the fair market value on the date of expropriation, plus interest at a commercially reasonable rate for that currency, accrued from the date of expropriation until the date of payment.
    4. If the fair market value is denominated in a currency that is not freely usable, the compensation paid—converted into the currency of payment at the market rate of exchange prevailing on the date of payment—shall be no less than:
(a) the fair market value on the date of expropriation, converted into a freely usable currency at the market rate of exchange prevailing on that date; plus
(b) interest, at a commercially reasonable rate for that freely usable currency, accrued from the date of expropriation until the date of payment.
    5. For greater certainty, whether an action or series of actions by a Party constitutes an expropriation shall be determined in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article and Annex 14-B (Expropriation).
    The language used here was rolled over from the 1992 NAFTA and it refers to the indirect nationalizing or expropriating of a measure as being tantamount to nationalization or expropriation. The language clearly exists to ensure that compensation will be owed for both de jure and de facto expropriation by the expropriating country.
    The scope of article 14.8 is indeed wide. “Measure” includes any law, regulation, procedure, requirement or practice, and the definition of “investment” is so expansive that it cannot be included here. Moreover, there is no allowance, as there is in Canadian common law, for express statutory language to extinguish the right of compensation.
    How the previous NAFTA article 1110 has been treated in arbitration among the parties of NAFTA, Canada, the United States and Mexico, has, or at least should have, bearing on expropriation law in Canada generally. This is particularly so given NAFTA's, now CUSMA's, constitution-like status as a document that cannot be amended without the consent of all signatories.
    The NAFTA expropriation case that has received the most attention from Canadian legal scholars is probably The United Mexican States v. Metalclad Corporation. In that case, Metalclad had received approval from the federal government of Mexico to operate a landfill in the municipality of Guadalcazar and began to construct the landfill on that basis. Mid-construction, Guadalcazar informed Metalclad that it would require a municipal permit and must cease construction pending its issuance. More than a year later, Guadalcazar finally made its decision: permit denied.
    The governor of San Luis Potosi, the state in which Guadalcazar is situated, further declared Metalclad's land to be a natural area for the protection of rare cacti. The federal government took no saving action. In its decision, the tribunal stated, “these measures, together with the representations of the Mexican federal authorities”, on which Metalclad relied, “and the absence of a timely, orderly or substantive basis for the denial of the construction permit, amounted to an indirect” or de facto “expropriation.”
     The tribunal's belief in the far-ranging scope of article 1110 is evident. As outlined in its decision, expropriation in NAFTA, and now CUSMA, includes not only “the open, deliberate and acknowledged takings of property” but also the “covert or incidental interference with the use of property which has the effect of depriving the owner, in whole or in significant part, of the use or reasonably-to-be-expected economic benefit of property.”
    Where the ratification of CUSMA will leave expropriation law and Canadian property rights in the future is uncertain. Time will tell whether or not the law will continue to afford foreign investors more protection than Canadians. This is one example of why a detailed analysis of CUSMA is so important for Canadians to understand what is being signed.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, very simply, obviously we on this side of the House believe strongly in the agreement that has been forged with our partners and allies.
     I note the concerns raised by my hon. colleague and I will simply ask her a question. If she is that concerned about it, why is voting for the agreement?
    Mr. Speaker, CUSMA validates my private member's bill, Bill C-222. It naturally follows that Bill C-4 also supports the same principles found in Bill C-222. That is why I am supporting this CUSMA agreement.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy working with the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, even though we rarely agree on anything.
    My question involves the fact that she is now supporting a trade agreement that will take out the investor-state dispute resolution. That is something that she supported when the former Conservative government in a previous Parliament put investment protection into the Canada-China agreement.
    Does the member still support the idea that a corporation like Huawei should be able to sue the Canadian government for losses, and to do so in a secret process, if they are denied the ability to participate in the 5G network? That is something the previous Conservative government put in place in 2014.
    Mr. Speaker, the issue of Huawei involves matters of national security, and I believe in ranking the security of Canada and the defence of Canada as paramount.
    I look forward to broad support for Bill C-222 from my colleagues and government members on the basis of consistency between article 14 of CUSMA and the articulation of private property rights in private member's Bill C-222. This is in addition to other sound legislative reasons for supporting Bill C-222.
    Mr. Speaker, the vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture made this quote:
     Canada agreed to place a world-wide cap on exports of certain dairy products in the CUSMA, which is unprecedented in regional trade agreements. As the nation’s prosperity depends on reliable access to global markets, Canada must not agree to this kind of provision in any future trade agreement.
    What does the member see as the dangers in making this concession in regard to limiting our own trade in other countries on the basis of this agreement?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague makes a very good point. Dairy producers tell me that at the very least there has to be some form of compensation for what they specifically have given up.
     After negotiating CETA successfully, we had in place a compensation program that was ready to go. Then the election occurred in 2015. The Liberals took over, and they denied compensation to dairy farmers. Furthermore, we have to get permission from the United States before we sign any further trade agreements.
    Mr. Speaker, on the last point, I emphasize that there was not a loss in the trade of those projects. There is a level at which an additional fee is added, but Canada is nowhere near that level yet, so there is not a loss there.
    I thank the member for her speech. It was great. On a slightly different topic, however, I wonder if she supports the increased benefits in CUSMA for labour, the environment and women's rights.
    Mr. Speaker, what I support most is the fact that CUSMA justifies Bill C-222. In terms of anything the member just described, I would want to make sure that the property rights of Canadians are at least equal to what is being given to foreigners who own property in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, I truly appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-4, the new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, at third reading.
    Perhaps I should say that I appreciate finally having the chance to speak to this agreement, as Conservatives have tried time and again to move this deal forward.
    It is that clear we need economic stability, and an unsigned free trade agreement with our largest trading partner is anything but stable. In 2016 alone, Canada exported approximately $425 billion in goods and services to the United States while importing approximately $407 billion.
     I will be speaking about how this deal will impact my riding and my province, but first I want to reflect on how we got here.
    For over 30 years, free trade in North America has been a cornerstone of the Canadian economy. Negotiated by a Conservative government in the early 1990s, NAFTA made tangible, positive impacts on the lives of millions of Canadians. It helped propel us to becoming one of the most prosperous countries in the world, a country that weathered the 2008 recession better than any of our G7 counterparts. This is a Conservative legacy, a legacy of prosperity.
    However, for some time during the previous Parliament, it appeared that this legacy of prosperity was in jeopardy as a result of the actions of the Liberal government. Still, the Liberals managed to pull a deal out of the fire. Of course, it would have been better not to have started the fire in the first place.
     This deal is likely the best the Liberals could do, but it certainly was not the best deal possible. When negotiations began, President Trump was concerned about what were perceived as unfair trade practices from Mexico. Canada was not his target, nor was there any reason to expect that we would be, yet the Liberals squandered much of the goodwill we had with the United States almost as soon as the negotiations began by presenting a list of priorities that had essentially nothing to do with free trade, a list not, I would note, dissimilar to the list the Liberals presented in their initial discussions with China, who quickly sent them on their way.
    Within months, the United States placed the removal of the dispute settlement mechanism and supply management on the table. There had been little indication that these were issues with Canada. The United States went further by imposing tariffs, no doubt unfairly, on Canadian steel and aluminum. We were then left on the outside looking in as the Americans negotiated and agreed to a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico. Canada was forced to play catch-up in negotiations and needed every ounce of goodwill to save a deal.
    How did the now Deputy Prime Minister respond to this precarious situation? She responded by using her platform while accepting an award to imply that the president of the country we were trying to sign a free trade agreement with was a totalitarian. That is what I mean by starting the fire.
    It is remarkable, and I say this with all honesty, that the Liberals were able to salvage any deal out of that house fire, let alone one that contained a dispute resolution mechanism and did not do away with supply management entirely. Still, the question must be asked: How much better would this deal be if the Liberals had not undermined themselves time and time again? Unfortunately, we will never know what deal we could have had, but we do know what deal we have.
    Now I would like to take some time to speak about how this agreement would impact my riding and my province.
    As many in the House may know, I represent a large, mostly rural riding which is home to the majority of Saskatchewan's supply-managed farms. However, most of my colleagues would be unaware that I also represent a large area that is referred to as the “iron triangle”, a cluster of municipalities with metal manufacturing as a primary or major industry. Communities like Humboldt, Annaheim, Englefeld, St. Gregor, Vonda and many others punch well above their weight in the design, development and manufacture of high-quality, world-leading agricultural equipment.

  (1250)  

    They make up an important part of Saskatchewan's growing manufacturing industry, which is an industry that exports over $300 million in products each and every year. One can imagine how much of an impact the tariffs placed on Canadian steel and aluminum had on these communities and the companies that call them home.
    The trade war that resulted had real consequences for the constituents in my riding, many of whose livelihoods rely on the free movement of manufactured metal equipment throughout North America. Understandably, it came as a relief that the tariffs on steel were removed in the negotiation process. However, that good news has been tempered by the ongoing tariffs on Canadian aluminum. Given what I have already outlined, I think there can be little doubt that a better approach in negotiations would have seen these tariffs removed completely.
     Similarly, Canada was in a good position at the beginning of these negotiations to finally bring an end to the long-running saga of softwood lumber disputes. Now, as luck would have it, the United States Department of Commerce recently announced that there would be a significant decrease in the tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, yet there is still no agreement in place going forward, leaving lumber producers in Saskatchewan in limbo for long-term planning. This was another missed opportunity.
    Supply management, as I mentioned earlier, is a part of our economy that likely only came under scrutiny because of the Liberals' poor strategy in the early days of negotiations.
    First, let me be clear that I am very happy to see that the Liberals did not literally give away the farm, although whether they figuratively did is up for debate. This new agreement would open up 3.6% of the Canadian dairy market to imports, significantly more than was agreed upon by the previous Conservative government in the TPP. It would also impose a threshold on Canadian exports of milk protein concentrates and other similar products to the United States and Mexico.
    But there is more: Not only would CUSMA limit dairy exports to the signatory countries, but it would also limit exports to other countries not party to this agreement. What is more, we would now be required to report to the U.S. dairy commission before we begin negotiations with other countries. This would further limit the ability of Canadian dairy farmers to replace market share lost in Canada by sales to the signatories of CUSMA, and would handcuff us in other free trade negotiations going forward.
    The losses to our dairy sector arising from these concessions will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and this comes at a time when dairy farmers are seeing increased costs from the carbon tax, costs they cannot recover either through rebates or through the market. The government must realize that our dairy industry, especially the many family farms in my riding, cannot continue to see their margins shrink and still remain in business.
    There is more I could say on this deal, but in truth, Canada needs a free trade agreement going forward. We recognize that. Our already weakening economy cannot handle further trade uncertainty. Industry groups, chambers of commerce and provincial premiers understand this, and the majority have therefore asked the House to ratify CUSMA.
    Faced with this reality, the questions of what could have been must give way to what is, and so, while far from perfect, CUSMA is better than nothing.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to get some clarification. The member suggested that tariffs remain on aluminum, but there are no tariffs remaining on aluminum.
    I am not sure what the member was referring to, but to emphasize the benefits for aluminum, first of all, the regional value of content in automobiles would be increased from 62.5% to 75%. With regard to aluminum purchased by automakers in the past, 0% had to be from North America, but now 70% would have to be from North America. Also, seven core parts, the major parts of automobiles, must have a 75% regional value, which they never had to have before, and a lot of those parts are aluminum. Also, the provisions on aluminum, to make them even better, can be changed at any time.
    I would ask the member for clarification on her point that there are still tariffs on aluminum.
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps I did misspeak.
    What I would like to point out is that we have been clear in our support of the aluminum industry. I have stated that while the 70% rule of origin included in CUSMA looks good on paper, there are many things that we are concerned about.
    In fact, my colleagues on the committee wrote a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister outlining that failure to include a smelted and poured definition would leave the North American industry vulnerable to dumping from overseas, and particularly through Mexico. That is why my colleagues recommended that the Liberal government adopt the recommendations of the Aluminum Association of Canada, including working to ensure that Mexico adopts an import monitoring system for aluminum as robust as our own, reporting on the status of the $2 billion in tariff revenue collected so far, and developing a strategy to market Canadian aluminum as the greenest in the world.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have enjoyed working with the member on a number of committees and always appreciate her input.
    She and a number of other colleagues have talked about the lack of transparency in the current process around trade. The NDP has negotiated an agreement moving forward, not impacting this agreement, where the government will henceforth be looking to transparency in negotiating trade agreements, consulting with people up front and, particularly important and something that Canada really has not done, putting in place the economic evaluations of what a trade agreement could mean. This is so the trading negotiators actually have content in front of them as the trade agreement is negotiated.
    I wanted to ask the member how she feels about that approach, with more transparency around trade. Does she feel, as I do, that ultimately that will lead to better trade agreements?
    Mr. Speaker, I too have appreciated working with my hon. colleague over the last number of years.
    I think all of us would agree that accountability and transparency in everything that we do as elected representatives are goals and values that we should support and look to attain. I would like to refer back to the letter that was written by my colleagues to the Deputy Prime Minister. They voiced deep concern and disappointment with both the government's refusal to co-operate with the official opposition and other opposition parties and its inability to organize an effective legislative schedule, which delayed the work of the committee regarding the scrutiny of CUSMA. This is where we might be able to see some of that transparency and accountability when, as legislators, we are tasked with doing our due diligence in scrutinizing an agreement that we have to ratify in this place.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Surrey Centre.

[Translation]

    I am pleased to rise in the House today in support of Bill C-4.
    Over the generations, Canada, Mexico and the United States have established an economic relationship that is a model for the entire world. Since 1993, trade between Canada, the United States and Mexico has more than quadrupled and was valued at $1.2 billion U.S. in 2018.
    In 1994, NAFTA created the largest free trade zone in the world. The continental North American economy, which is currently estimated to be worth $23 billion U.S., encompasses a regional market of nearly 490 million consumers.
    Under this proven, rules-based free trade system, key sectors of the North American economy have developed into integrated production platforms that strengthen the innovative and competitive economic backbone of North America.
    The new agreement will enhance the strong economic ties between the three countries and improve North America's ability to remain competitive globally. This agreement also restores the predictability and stability of economic relations between Canada, the United States and Mexico.
     The U.S. took several trade actions that contributed to economic instability for Canadian businesses and their workers. Canada had to choose between either renegotiating NAFTA or seeing the United States withdraw from the agreement. I am pleased that we now have a modern trilateral agreement that turns the page and focuses on the three pillars that make our economic relationship so successful: stability, economic integration, and clear, transparent and enforceable rules.
    From the start of the negotiations, Canada set out to achieve key priority outcomes: preserve important NAFTA provisions and market access into the U.S. and Mexico, modernize and improve the agreement as much as possible, and reinforce the security and stability of market access into the U.S. and Mexico for Canadian businesses. We are proud that we achieved those objectives.
    It is particularly important to note that the preferential tariff treatment under NAFTA is preserved in CUSMA, which helps consolidate our most important trade relationship. Canada's preferential access to the U.S. and Mexican markets is vital to the continuing prosperity of Canadian workers whose livelihoods rely on this trade.
    During consultations with stakeholders, we heard repeatedly about the importance of preserving the benefits of NAFTA and the integrity of North American supply chains. We understand how vital it is to Canadian companies and exporters.
     As an annual average from 2016 to 2018, Canada exported $412.2 billion worth of goods to the United States, our top export market. Over the same period, Canada exported an annual average of $9.2 billion worth of goods to Mexico, our fifth-largest trading partner. The new NAFTA ensures continued preferential access to these key export destinations.
    Maintaining these tariff outcomes provides Canadians with an advantage over countries without a preferential trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. The agreement ensures predictability and continued secure market access for Canadian exporters to our largest trading partner.
    The preserved tariff-free environment also safeguards the integrity of integrated North American supply chains. Other key elements of the original NAFTA have been preserved, including the chapter 19 binational panel dispute settlement mechanism, the state-to-state dispute settlement process, the cultural exemption and temporary entry for business persons.
    The new NAFTA also helps open new market access opportunities in the United States for Canadian companies and improves access to existing markets. The new modernized agreement includes new customs measures and will also make it easier for companies to move goods across the border by reducing paper processes and providing a single portal for submitting import documentation electronically.

  (1305)  

     In particular, the new agreement moves away from the traditional certificate of origin to a new certificate of origin that allows companies to use existing documents in their business process, such as an invoice, to certify origin.
    The new NAFTA also includes a new stand-alone chapter on rules of origin and origin procedures for textiles and apparel goods that will support Canada's textile and apparel sector. The agreement preserves the existing market access that Canada has under NAFTA to the U.S. and Mexican markets in these sectors and ensures that the benefits of the agreement go primarily to producers located in North America.
     Furthermore, the agreement expands a provision from NAFTA to set out a special procedure to more easily establish the origin of indigenous textiles and apparel. Under this provision, a textile or apparel item that the parties agree is an indigenous handcrafted good will be eligible for duty-free treatment, even if the good does not satisfy the applicable product-specific rule of origin.
    The new NAFTA includes provisions that will provide added assurance for exporters that their goods will not be delayed by unjustified or unclear measures at the borders. The section 232 side letter provides added security and stability for Canadian automotive and parts companies that export to the U.S. market and will reaffirm Canada's attractiveness as an investment destination for this sector.
     With respect to trade and indigenous peoples, and for the first time in a Canadian free trade agreement, the new NAFTA includes a general exception that clearly confirms that the government can adopt or maintain measures it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations to indigenous people. An indigenous working group was established to further the dialogue between the government and indigenous people, to share ideas and work collaboratively on solutions.
     We are pleased to have concluded an agreement that incorporates new and modernized provisions that seek to address 21st century trade issues and support opportunities for Canadian businesses and workers. This includes bringing obligations on labour and environment into the agreement and subjecting them to dispute settlement.
    It also includes important outcomes for inclusive trade, including with respect to gender equality and the interests of indigenous people. In particular, the new labour chapter includes commitments to protect and promote internationally-recognized labour rights and principles in North America.
    This chapter also includes unprecedented protections against violence and gender-based discrimination with regard to sexual orientation, sexual harassment, gender identity, caregiving responsibilities and wage discrimination. It is worth noting that the new chapter also includes a non-derogation clause that prevents the parties from weakening their labour laws to encourage trade or investment.
     To address labour violations related to collective bargaining and freedom of association in a timely manner, the agreement also includes new mechanisms for rapid response between Canada and Mexico and between the United States and Mexico.
    In the event that, in a state-to-state dispute settlement, one party is found to have violated its obligations with regard to child labour, the other party could trigger the rapid response mechanism to remedy the violation of the child labour obligations.
    The full environment chapter, which is subject to the dispute settlement mechanism, includes measures for implementing the parties' obligations under multilateral environmental agreements and responding to global environmental problems, such as illegal wildlife trade, illegal fishing, conservation of species at risk, protection of biodiversity, ozone-depleting substances and marine pollution.
    This modernized agreement is good for Canadians because it provides the predictability and stability that businesses and workers sorely need.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    The NDP negotiated an agreement, to take effect with CUSMA, to allow for greater transparency so that the general public can understand free trade agreements. This agreement was to ensure that people would be consulted before instead of after and that the government would make sure the public understands the economic impact of the negotiations before they even begin. This has yet to happen. There was no credible process in the eyes of the public. Fortunately the Liberal government understood that the NDP's approach was better.
    Does my colleague agree that it is better to provide more transparency so that the public understands the issues associated with each agreement negotiated?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    First of all, we are committed to the principles of transparency, which are very important to us as elected officials. We have a duty to enforce these principles, and we do.
    Furthermore, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs negotiated with the other parties to ensure that the entire process was transparent.

  (1315)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, a unanimous motion passed at the international trade committee requested that the member's government release its economic impact analysis for CUSMA. It was not provided until one day before the clause-by-clause was conducted.
    The government's economic impact report compared CUSMA to not having a NAFTA deal at all. What this says is that the government wanted Canadians to believe that any trade deal, no matter how unbalanced or restrictive at this point in time, would be better than nothing at all. However, the C.D. Howe Institute released a report comparing CUSMA to the old NAFTA on February 21. It shows that this would reduce Canada's GDP by $14.2 billion and Canada's exports to the U.S. would fall by $3.2 billion, while our imports from the U.S. would increase by $8.6 billion.
    How does the member see this as a fair deal for Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, with regards to the availability of the report, it is my understanding that the Deputy Prime Minister and her staff made it readily available as soon as the agreement was signed.
    Insofar as the validity or the advantages of this new CUSMA is concerned, it is fair to say that it is a great advantage for all Canadians in all spheres of work, whether it be agriculture, indigenous peoples, textiles, aluminum, and for the car industry. It is a very good deal for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize that after the agreement was signed, the Deputy Prime Minister made available negotiators for the agreement and staff to the leadership of all the different political entities inside the House so that there could be some ongoing dialogue prior to the House coming back in January. It is an important point, because I realize there are concerns.
    Would my colleague not agree that over the last year and a half there has been a great deal of discussion inside the chamber and out, and a lot of stakeholders have been involved in this process for a long time?
    Mr. Speaker, there have been ongoing negotiations with various members in the House and outside the House. What is worth highlighting this time around is that this is the first time we have the unanimous consent of all parties for the ratification of this new CUSMA deal. It is an outstanding accomplishment.

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to inform the House that Thursday, March 12, 2020, shall be an allotted day.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement 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 third time and passed.
    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I am here to discuss the benefits that the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement will bring to Canadians.
    Over the last few weeks, my colleagues and I on the international trade committee had the opportunity to hear from over 100 witnesses from across industries and from across the country as part of our study on Bill C-4. We presented the report back to the House on February 27 without amendments.
    The new NAFTA, or CUSMA as it is also called, marks a new milestone in the mutually beneficial trade relationship between Canada, the United States and Mexico. We understood from the start that this achievement would not have been possible without the support, contribution and dedication of Canadians across the country.
    Before the negotiations started, we began speaking with Canadians across the country. We listened to their views on the original agreement's benefits and challenges, and what could be done to improve Canada's trading relationship with the United States and Mexico.
    Guided by Canada's inclusive approach to trade, we worked very hard from the beginning of the negotiations to secure outcomes that would advance the interests of provinces and territories, indigenous peoples, business and business associations, labour organizations, civil society organizations, women and youth, among others.
    From February 2017 to December 2019, the government engaged with over 1,300 stakeholders through nearly 1,100 interactions on NAFTA modernization. Over the same period, we received over 47,000 submissions from Canadians on NAFTA modernization. Canadian stakeholders have been largely supportive of the new agreement and have underlined the importance of securing stability and predictability in our commercial relationship with the United States and Mexico. Their views informed Canada's negotiating positions in this modernization process.
    From the outset, the government worked closely with the provincial and territorial governments. Their representatives were invited to travel to the location of each negotiation round and received daily debriefs from the chief negotiator and the members of the negotiating team. We also worked very closely with representatives of indigenous people. In fact, an indigenous working group was formed to work collaboratively on elements of importance to indigenous people in the NAFTA modernization process. In total, the Government of Canada met with representatives of 49 different indigenous groups, including self-governing nations, tribal organizations, national organizations, development corporations, business and lending organizations, legal advisers and policy experts.
    We sought and received input and insight from across party lines. We reached out to current and former politicians, premiers, mayors, and community and indigenous leaders for help not only in shaping Canada's priorities, but in championing them. We created a NAFTA advisory council that included representatives of other political parties, as well as business, labour and indigenous leaders. All contributions and advice helped guide our way forward.
    Since early 2017, fellow federal, provincial and territorial ministerial colleagues and their teams have cumulatively undertaken over 530 visits to the United States, including parliamentarians here who engaged on similar bilaterals with congressmen and governors in the United States. Others, including many members, have contributed to these efforts. Together, team Canada has collectively engaged with over 750 influencers and decision-makers across the United States.
    The new agreement was made possible because we acted together and we acted with resolve at the negotiating table to uphold the interests and values of Canadians in seeking a workable and progressive trade agreement. We sought and obtained consensus on the key issues at home. That helped us prioritize Canada's interests and develop Canada's negotiating positions. In spite of the many hurdles, we worked tirelessly and remained steadfast in our principles and objectives in reaching agreement with the United States and Mexico.
    The benefits of the new agreement for Canadians are concrete and considerable. They reflect Canadians' views expressed in the engagement process. Most Canadians viewed the modernization process as an opportunity to preserve key elements of the original NAFTA, modernize and improve the agreement where possible, and ensure the stability and predictability of the North American market. We delivered on these key priorities.

  (1320)  

    The new agreement preserves key elements of the original NAFTA, allowing for our continued regional prosperity and stability. It reinforces the strong economic ties between Canada, Mexico and the United States, while also recognizing the importance of progressive and inclusive trade by including key components in areas such as labour and environment, as well as language on gender and the rights of indigenous peoples.
    In particular, Canada was successful in preserving the NAFTA chapter 19 binational panel dispute settlement mechanism for anti-dumping and countervailing duties, the cultural exemption, NAFTA duty-free access into the U.S. and Mexican markets, and the provision of temporary entry of business persons.
    We preserved Canada's system of supply management, despite U.S. attempts to dismantle it.
    We modernized and improved the agreement to address the modern-day trade realities and enhanced business opportunities in North America.
    CUSMA has nine chapters, including chapters on digital trade, anti-corruption, and small and medium-sized enterprises.
    We eliminated the investor-state dispute settlement and the energy proportionality clause. We brought the labour and environmental chapters into the agreement and subjected them to a more effective and efficient dispute settlement procedure.
    CUSMA improves the dispute settlement mechanism in a manner that strengthens enforcement, including the areas of labour and environment. This is an outstanding achievement for Canada.
    The agreement streamlines customs procedures to facilitate trade, reduce red tape and lessen the administrative burden for Canadian exporters and investors. It also includes outcomes that advance the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises, women and indigenous peoples in line with Canada's inclusive approach to trade.
    Overall, CUSMA provides key outcomes for Canadian workers, businesses, communities and families.
    In the new agreement, Canada was successful in achieving priority outcomes with respect to indigenous peoples, in line with the government's efforts to advance indigenous rights, prosperity and sustainable development in Canada and around the world.
    There are also outcomes that reflect the important role of indigenous peoples regarding the environment, including the conservation of biodiversity.
     Canada has made gender equality and women's economic empowerment a key priority in recent trade negotiations, including playing a leadership role to integrate gender-related provisions in the agreement. This is the first international trade deal to recognize the discrimination of gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination. This includes labour obligations regarding the elimination of employment discrimination based on gender, as well as other provisions related to corporate social responsibility and small and medium-sized enterprises.
    The inclusion of language on indigenous peoples and gender rights is an important step in our government's commitment to reconciliation and gender equality. What we learned throughout the consultation and negotiation period of this agreement will be beneficial to apply to negotiations for future trade agreements.
    With the stability CUSMA brings to Canadian producers and industries, we hope it will help Canada take advantage of our unique position of having free trade agreements with so many other regions around the world, including CETA with Europe and CPTPP with Asia and the Pacific. While the United States is our largest trading partner, Canada has the opportunity to become a hub for trade, being the only North American nation with free trade agreements in so many regions that reach over 1.5 billion people around the world.
    It is amusing to hear members from across the aisle critique Prime Minister Trudeau or our government's handling of CUSMA and NAFTA, but what the most experienced expert on this issue said is in stark contrast. To quote someone who is considered the architect or originator of the first free trade deal and the second one with the U.S., former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney said this about our government, “I told Trudeau he did a really good job with this renegotiation—”

  (1325)  

    I note that the hon. member finished up there. Unfortunately, I had already risen and his last few sentences might not be on the record.
    I want to remind the hon. member of the use of members' names in the House. There was one instance of that, and we kind of let that go, but there was a second one, so just watch that you do not use them, particularly for prime ministers and other members who are included in speeches from time to time and in comments and questions in the House. I thank the hon. member for that.
    We will go to questions and comments, the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.
    Mr. Speaker, that was certainly a fascinating way to spend part of my afternoon listening to the Liberal fiction of the open process that never existed until the American Democrats finally stood up on their hind legs and defended Canada, and we came back and got a better trade deal than the Liberals were willing to sign off on. They were willing to sign off on anything they were so desperate to please Trump.
    What concerns me is that the future of the economy is data. Everybody knows that. Everybody knows that except the Prime Minister because the Liberals traded away our data rights under chapter 19. The National Research Council has said that Canada's economy is turning into a data cow for Silicon Valley. Under chapter 19, we cannot establish our digital sovereignty, even though that is where the EU is going. We cannot tax the big Facebook, Google and Amazon giants, even though they are getting a completely unfair trade advantage. We cannot go after them for the harmful content that has been generated through the algorithms of YouTube and Facebook, because the Prime Minister is more willing to bow down to the Google and Facebook lobbyists than even Washington is.
    Why is it that the government cannot come clean, stand up and explain to Canadians why it sold away our digital sovereignty?

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, first, I want to correct my hon. colleague in terms of the consultation period. I was part of that study and heard over 10 witnesses speak. One of the common themes was that virtually everyone said that their industry was represented in these renegotiations. They said they were heard. In fact, the indigenous communities and business community from indigenous peoples said that this was the first time they were ever consulted so thoroughly on a trade agreement. Their interests were taken into account and they had nothing but great things to say.
    Similarly, for digital content and copyright provisions, there were consultations. Canada has always been foremost in protecting our digital content, copyright provisions and our cultural sovereignty. Thousands and thousands of jobs will be protected with the cultural provisions we have kept in this and we will continue to maintain.
    Mr. Speaker, I was thoroughly amused at the member's ability to define the success of this agreement by what Canada did not have to give up, rather than by the new access and new advantages that we gained under it.
    Colleagues may recall that the Prime Minister said this was going to be a win-win-win. In other words, Canada was going to have a very clear win out of this. By any standard, by any measure, this is a worse agreement than we had before, although we are told now that a new NAFTA is better than no deal at all.
    The member referred to all of the consultations that took place with stakeholders, industrial stakeholders and the aboriginal communities, but he failed to mention the members of this House on the opposition side who represent more than half of the communities across this country. Can the member tell us in this House that in fact the opposition was thoroughly consulted the way some of the other industrial stakeholders were consulted, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, I think the answer is yes. I think that former leaders of that party were part of the actual negotiation. The former leader was part of it and a former prime minister has been quoted saying it is a really good deal.
    Let me quote what some of the other Conservative premiers in this country have said, such as, “A signed USMCA trade deal is good news for Saskatchewan and Canada." The Conservatives' wonderful Jason Kenney, the Premier of Alberta, said he is “relieved that a renewed North American trade agreement has been concluded”. Former leader Rona Ambrose was part of the negotiation. I think I have already quoted a former prime minister from the 1980s who concluded the first free trade negotiation and NAFTA and said that it was a “really good job”.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to talk about this important trade deal.
    I will be sharing my time with the member for Red Deer—Lacombe. He is a good friend and I would not want him to miss out on an opportunity to give the Alberta interpretation of this deal.
    I do not want to be critical of the previous member or some of his interpretations of the deal. When I look at a trade deal, whether it is an economic trade deal or a sports deal or whatever, there are only two trades I can think of that are similar to this trade deal. One was when the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, and the other was a trade in 1992 to my team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, when the Calgary Flames were kind enough to give us Doug Gilmour. That is where we start, if we want to see what kind of a trade deal we have here.
    David MacNaughton, the Prime Minister's appointed ambassador to represent us in Washington, said at the outset of the deal in November 2016, “I think any agreement can be improved.” He got that wrong, and he got it wrong big time. Another point he made that day was that Canada would have at least one clear demand, free trade in lumber. If that was the hill to die on, the Liberals were blown right out because they did not get anywhere on that.
    In my riding of Huron—Bruce, which I have had the honour to represent for many years, depending on the location, it is an hour to an hour and a half to the Blue Water Bridge, right across from Port Huron, on the Sarnia-Port Huron border. We are right along Lake Huron. We have tremendous agriculture productivity, cash crops, edible beans and livestock of all sorts. We also have a tremendously strong manufacturing sector. We have the world's largest exhaust manifold manufacturer as well. We also have Bruce Power, which is the largest nuclear power plant in the world.
    Trade to the United States is very important to us. Fair trade with NAFTA and the USMCA deal is obviously very important to us.
    Other things that were not dealt with in this deal, which I think is very unacceptable, are the buy America provisions. We would have expected those to be dealt with. As well, there was no firm commitment from the government, and I will speak specifically to the very loose border in regard to CBSA. Many commodity sectors in Ontario have long-standing complaints against the leaky border, whether it is the dairy sector or the poultry sector with spent hens. There are many other topics that were not dealt with.
    We should think about where we were five years ago. We had the then minister of international trade, we had Gerry Ritz, and we had the then prime minister agreeing to a monumental trade deal, the deal of the century, with TPP, which included the United States and Mexico. I can remember when that deal was first agreed to. It was right in the middle of the 2015 election. In spite of that, we had agricultural sectors saying that it had set up their sector for a generation. I know there were exact quotes at that time.
    TPP is a perfect example of a trade deal, the one we concluded with the United States, where there is give and take. Agriculture groups could look at it and say that they had given up a little but, to the benefit of the entire sector, there were huge gains and, by the way, there was certainty with some of the biggest markets around the world for a trade deal.
    If we look at what happened, some things could not be helped. There was the U.S. election and the United States pulled out of the TPP. I do not think anybody could have predicted that when the deal was first agreed to, but that is what happened. We entered into a deal, and the Prime Minister told Canadians he would get us a better deal, but he did not do that.
    Let us look at some of the other deals. One of the best deals we did was between Canada and South Korea. That had so many huge benefits for Canadians, including for Canadian agricultural producers in my riding with edible beans. It was phenomenal, including for beef and pork. The tariffs were coming down. It gave us a tremendous opportunity. The TPP with Japan is going to make a big difference.

  (1335)  

    I have heard a number of members from the Liberal side talk about chapter 19 and chapter 20, but I go back a number of years when we had a dispute with the United States about country-of-origin labelling. This had a huge impact on our livestock sector in Canada. We did not go through chapter 19 or chapter 20. We went through the WTO. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association made note of that in its committee briefing that we do not even use that. It has not been used for 15 or 20 years.
    I will agree that softwood lumber did have a one-time payoff perhaps, but in agriculture, it has been zero. The one thing the Liberals keep saying is a big deal in the agriculture community is peanuts. Peanuts is a great segue into something else I would like to talk about.
    The U.S. PR paper talks about what the Americans gained versus what we gained. The U.S. gained access to dairy. The U.S. gained access to poultry. The U.S. gained access to turkey, eggs, and on and on. What did we get in return? Somehow we got a little dairy and I will see that when it happens. Apparently our big gain from the U.S.A. on agriculture is on peanuts and peanut products. I can think of all the peanut farms in my riding. What a thing. I know at the U.S. agriculture committee they were laughing about what a great deal they secured for American farmers. At home we cannot say that.
    If we look at the beef sector today in Ontario, it is in crisis. The Liberal government pulled the processing licence for Ryding-Regency in Etobicoke and that has caused ripple effects in the beef sector in Ontario for years now. The Liberals did not have to pull it. They could have extended it past 90 days.
    Then we look at what has been done through CFIA on transport rules. The Liberals thought they had a deal and time to do it, but CFIA went in and said here is the deal. Another deal recently done is on processing mainly eastern Ontario and some Quebec cattle in auction facilities like Brussels in my riding, Cookstown and others where they used to have great arrangements for processing cattle with their horns and other components. It was humane, safe and all of a sudden CFIA comes in and says they have to be held for so many days. There is no capacity for that. Now it is on farm.
    The government has not been fair to Canadian farmers and farm producers. The agriculture minister was in Teeswater in the summer to make a big $70-million announcement for Gay Lea in my riding that was specifically trying to address schedules 6 and 7 products in the dairy sector. This huge investment to try to add value and create value for dairy farmers and the processing sector, and this deal knocks the legs right out of it, with 50,000 tonnes reducing to 35,000 tonnes. The price is not set by Canadian processors. The price is set by the U.S. If we want more access, guess who we have to go through? Uncle Sam. How could we do a deal like that?
    I look back at 2019-20 and ask what the big change is. I used to work in the manufacturing sector. In the auto sector, saying that 40% of the Mexican production by whatever year it is, they will earn $16 an hour when assemblers are earning $7.40 an hour and auto parts employees in Mexico are making $3.40 an hour. What a joke. It should be 100% have to make that. We have hard-working auto parts workers in my riding who go to work every day through the snow, and produce a product that would trade around the world on fair price, fair labour, fair benefits. This deal does not do it.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, the auto parts workers in Canada love this agreement. It makes a lot of additional provisions for them, but I want to talk about agriculture, too. There are increases in access for refined sugar and margarine. The member said agriculture is small, tiny, and he might have used the word “peanuts”, but there is huge trade between Canada and the United States. Sixty-three billion dollars is not small. That has been preserved. There is $4.6 billion in trade with Mexico. I have a letter dated March 3 from the vegetable and fruit producers of Canada, who said that because of free trade, their trade is up 396%. They further stated:
    Therefore...on behalf of a deeply integrated North American membership, we strongly urge [all parliamentarians] to...ratify this Agreement [in order] to facilitate a strong fresh produce industry for generations to come.
    Mr. Speaker, the peanuts part was actually peanuts, but on sugar, I think of the food guide. I understand there is trade between Canada and the U.S. on sugar, but as for the food guide, some of the private members' bills in the last Parliament were about sugar and sugary drinks, the issues we have with obesity and type 2 diabetes. I do not think the government should be holding out its big promise on this trade deal and talking about all the sugar it is going to ship to the U.S. I think there is enough sugar down there. We should be focusing on the big things.
    On the auto side, I do not think what we did in the deal for the auto industry is that exciting. We need to build more automobiles in Canada for Canadians. How many pickup trucks do we manufacture in Canada right now, compared with how many we buy? We have to do way better and we have to demand GM, Ford, Dodge and other companies build their trucks in Canada and make the investments here. We have the talent and the labour. Let us build them here, not in Mexico.

  (1345)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in his speech, my colleague stressed the many breaches in supply management and the precarious situation facing supply-managed producers.
    Let me just remind him that, on two occasions—in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union—the Conservative government was the first to create breaches. However, since I subscribe to the idea that we learn from our mistakes, I wonder whether my colleague would not agree with me that the best way to ensure that these situations do not happen again is to have a bill that guarantees and protects supply management in all trade negotiations and treaties.
    Would my colleague be prepared to support the initiative of the Bloc Québécois, which introduced such a bill?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, no offence to my colleague, but he should go back to the 2015 quotes when we agreed to the TPP. He should look at what the Canadian dairy farmers and the supply-managed sector said. They said this was the best deal they could come up with and that it set the sector up for the next generation.
    The next chance we will have to try to square this away with the Americans is if they ever try to get into the TPP. That is the only chance we will ever have to get anything back from them. When that opportunity comes, and we know TPP is too good for them to stay out of because they cannot get all those bilateral deals, we have to be tough and we have to fight. We have to say that the entry is going to be pretty high for the Americans to get TPP 2.0.
    Mr. Speaker, I sit on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, which heard from witnesses about this agreement. It generally ranged from lukewarm to strong support. However, there is a lot of concern, especially in the supply-managed sectors, with the threshold limits that were established for the exports of certain dairy products. I would like to hear my colleague's comments on that, because the witnesses at committee said that was an unprecedented ceding of sovereignty, the fact that Canada would negotiate away our ability to export to other countries and to have the United States dictate that.
    I would also like the member to comment on the fact that we had to rely on the goodwill of the Democrats in the United States to improve this deal when the Canadian government was prepared to sign it in the previous Parliament with none of these improvements present.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unprecedented, and here are a couple of numbers. In egg production, 1.6 million extra eggs are going to rise to 10 million extra eggs in six years, and it is 1% more on top of that per year for the next 10 years. When we think about that, they also have their WTO allocation. This is 20 million eggs. It is a huge number. It is very concerning in the long term.
    Believe me, these farm groups may come to committee and say nice things, but they are being nice. If we talk to them in our offices or over a coffee, they have a whole different vocabulary they use when they describe the current government and the trade deal they have been dealt.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to throw some kudos out to my colleague for his speech. He is a long-serving member of this House of Commons, as am I, and it is great to see him back here standing up for the people in his riding. This is my first speech in the House of Commons since the last election. It is not my maiden speech by a long shot, but I want to thank all of the good people in central Alberta and the riding of Red Deer—Lacombe for once again putting their trust in me and sending me back here with one of the best mandates that I have had.
    I am not trying to say it is all about me. For those around the country who might not understand what we are going through, in Alberta the last election was basically a referendum on whether Alberta feels like it is a valued and equal partner in this confederation, and we are having those conversations as we go on.
    It is also a good segue into whether Canada in the new NAFTA, or the CUSMA, is a full and equal partner in the North American trading space. I would suggest that we could have done better, but let us go back to where this all started.
    Back in November 2016, Donald Trump was about to become the president in the fall elections of that year. Our Prime Minister naively humoured Donald Trump's assertions that NAFTA needed to be ripped up or renegotiated.
    Rather than defending Canada's interests and saying something to the effect that the North American Free Trade Agreement was working very well for Canada, or that it was a long-standing agreement that had benefited all parties in the agreement, he willingly committed Canada to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with the President and with the American administration, should Donald Trump take over the White House, without fully understanding the ramifications of what he was saying. Other evidence suggests that the Prime Minister does not understand the ramifications of the things he says.
    That is where we are. That is where this all began. There was nobody in Canada asking for this. I do not believe there was anybody in Mexico asking for this. Have there been irritants? Have there been long-standing issues with NAFTA over the years? Yes, because no deal is going to make everybody happy. We are not starting from that context, but that is where we are now.
    Because we took that weak approach at the start, to pretend that everything was going to be nice if everybody would just naively follow the Prime Minister's approach and assume that everybody in the world was going to be nice and treat Canada nicely, we ended up in a situation where Canada is a net loser with the new agreement that we have, compared with where we were in 2015.
    Let us talk about where we were in 2006. My colleague from Abbotsford, who was a cabinet minister from 2011 on, and I were both elected in 2006. Mr. Speaker, you are part of the class of 2006 as well. When the member for Abbotsford and I came to the House in 2006, Canada had trade agreements around the world that we could count on—
    Hon. Ed Fast: One hand, five.
    Mr. Blaine Calkins: Was it one hand? I thought it was six, but it is five. The member for Abbotsford, as a former trade minister, knows more about this than I do, I will concede.
    Mr. Speaker, we could count the number of countries that Canada had trade agreements with on one hand. After 2015, we had trade agreements with 51 countries, through the previous Harper government from 2006. We negotiated these agreements, and we started the negotiations with a minority government. We did not start with a position of power in Parliament. As a matter of fact, we had 123 Conservative MPs and we were government. That is only two fewer than we have right now in opposition.
    We were able to launch a series of trade negotiations that would insulate and cushion Canada's economy and spread our influence and trading relationships around the world with the trading compact of Norway and a few countries, Liechtenstein and so on, a small group in Europe; the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, with the other European Union countries; the Pacific partnership trade agreement and a trade agreement with Korea. We have so many trade agreements now, I cannot even remember what they are all called.

  (1350)  

    Thankfully we have those opportunities to take advantage of now, because we were so dependent upon the United States before, and because of what we have just lost and given up. What did we give up?
     I represent a large rural and urban split now, but when I was the MP for Wetaskiwin it was primarily a rural riding. I have the largest concentration of dairy farmers in Alberta in my riding. We gave up another 3.6% in the value of that supply management. More importantly, the dairy producers that I am hearing from in my riding are not satisfied with how that compensation is being reallocated.
    Dairy farms in Alberta look a lot different from dairy farms in other parts of the country, and their needs are different from what the needs might be in other parts of Canada. The government should have had a different approach in meting out and making amends for that loss of market access.
    The most egregious part of this is that the United States now dictates what countries Canada can export to outside of this agreement, when it comes to our supply-managed sector. We have ceded our ability as a nation to bargain for ourselves, on behalf of our producers and farmers, for who we can trade with outside of the three countries in the agreement.
    For example, if we wanted to have an agreement trading poultry or dairy with Korea, and we wanted to change the nature of that relationship, we would need the permission of the United States of America to do so. That is actually the ceding of sovereignty, and that is an unfortunate and dangerous precedent.
    The aluminum industry in Canada did not get the same deal as the steel industry. The steel industry got a pretty good deal. I think the steel folks are fairly happy, generally speaking. They got the escalating scale on the amount of steel that has to be poured in Canada or in North America. That is a good deal. This is a good thing for our industry.
    Why could we not achieve the same thing with aluminum? What was the issue with that? I ask because Canada is in a good position when it comes to being able to smelt and pour aluminum. We did not gain anything there. We lost over $4 billion in trade in the auto sector alone.
    Now I want to talk about softwood lumber. My friend from Abbotsford would remember this. Back in 2006, with a minority government that only had two more MPs than we currently have in opposition, we were able to resolve the long-standing softwood lumber dispute. We put $4 billion, which we got back from the United States, back in the pockets of Canadian businesses and companies that were wrongfully charged those tariffs. For years, we had peace on the softwood lumber front.
    Where are we today? In the context of renegotiating this new CUSMA agreement, we still have outstanding issues with softwood lumber. A majority Liberal government for four years, with the full confidence of its own caucus, I am assuming, even with the bromance with President Obama for the first year, could not resolve these long-standing trade irritants with softwood lumber. As a result, rural Canada is again under siege, with jobs lost and mills closed outside of our major urban areas as a direct result of the government's inability to get good things done for the people of Canada.
    I would like to use my last minute to talk about all of the good things that this trade agreement has and all of the new things it has gotten.
    I am done.

Statements by Members

[Statements by Members]

  (1355)  

[English]

Micah Messent

    Mr. Speaker, a year ago today, tragedy struck when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 373 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff.
    Eighteen Canadians were among the 157 passengers and crew who died that day. Micah Messent was one of them.
    Micah was a recent graduate from Vancouver Island University in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith. He had been selected as a delegate to the UN Environment Assembly in Kenya. He was excited for the opportunity to connect with other young people seeking solutions to their generation's biggest challenges.
    Micah Messent was Métis and he supported the Moose Hide Campaign to end violence against women and children. Now his mother sews hearts onto moosehide pins in his memory.
    The 737 Max is a structurally flawed aircraft that Boeing tried to fix with software. Micah's family does not want to see these planes ever cleared to fly again.

  (1400)  

Women in House Program

    Mr. Speaker, on International Women's Day, l renewed my commitment to ensure that every girl and woman in Newmarket—Aurora, across Canada and around the world would have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
    I am always optimistic about our future when I meet young people interested in politics. Today, I had the pleasure of welcoming Farah Ahmad, from my riding, to the Hill as part of the University of Toronto's Women in House program.
    During her studies, Farah developed a passion for meaningful local politics and while on her reading week last fall, she chose to spend her free time volunteering in the campaign that brought me here today. I thank Farah for joining me today and for her commitment to our campaign and our community.
    I congratulate all program participants here today and wish them the best of luck in their futures. I hope to see them all back here one day as women in the House.

Art Enns

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Mr. Art Enns, who recently passed away after a brief battle with cancer.
    Art was an icon in the agriculture industry, a passionate advocate for farmers and a true philanthropist. He was a strong supporter of marketing freedom. Art never wavered in his belief that farmers should have the freedom to market their own wheat and barley as they saw fit.
     From being the president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association in the late nineties to becoming the president of the Prairie Oat Growers Association, he was no stranger to members of Parliament. His tireless and unwavering enthusiasm in those lobby missions across the Prairies and in Ottawa was a testament of his devotion to the agriculture industry.
     Art was instrumental in opening new markets and was always at the table to ensure the voice of farmers was heard loud and clear.
    On behalf of all who knew him, rest in peace dear friend.

[Translation]

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, we celebrated International Women's Day on Sunday, March 8. Although we still have a long way to go, progress toward gender equality is measurable and visible. In Alfred-Pellan, women excel in all areas, from art to high technology, from sports to medical research, from education to business.

[English]

    Women are striving, and not even the sky is the limit.

[Translation]

    I think of the story of Vyckie Vaillancourt, who took over the family farm and founded O'Citrus, the only company specializing in citrus fruit grown in Quebec.

[English]

    I think of the Imbriglio sisters who evolve in the mechanical engineering industry and the manufacturing of precision parts for machinery. These women set an example that professions and jobs have no gender. Passion and perseverance is all one needs.

[Translation]

    Ladies, wherever you are, I tip my hat to you. Thank you for being women.

Quebec Film Festival

    Mr. Speaker, the third Drummondville edition of Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma was held from February 27 to 29. The people of Drummond are proud to showcase the film industry's creative strengths on the sidelines of the Montreal event. This proves that our city and our region are not only leaders in business and economic development, but they are also a place that values culture, where artists can express themselves to an open, engaged audience. The Drummondville screenings were nearly cancelled this year due to a lack of funding. My friend Geneviève Biron, the mother of the young actor Édouard Biron-Larocque, is the one who told me about it and led the charge to get the attention of elected officials, business people and the media. Everyone understood that a nation that does not defend its culture is doomed to fade away.
    I want to congratulate Annie Hamel, executive director of the Cinéma Capitol in Drummondville, as well as Guillaume and Frédéric Venne, the owners of Cinémas RGFM, who worked tirelessly to keep the event alive. Together, we will ensure that Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma has a home in Drummondville for years to come.

  (1405)  

[English]

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, one of my mentors is Donna Cansfield, a former MPP for Etobicoke Centre. She once said to me, “Yvan, the most important job of a politician is not to talk, it is to listen. When you listen, you understand people's priorities, their challenges and you acquire knowledge about how to solve those challenges.”
    Etobicoke Centre has, per capita, one of the largest populations of seniors of any riding in Canada, so I spend a lot of time trying to address the challenges that seniors face. I also spend a lot of time listening to seniors.
    When I was an MPP, I hosted a monthly seniors' advisory group meeting to learn about and discuss how we could address the challenges seniors faced in my community.
     As the MP for Etobicoke Centre, I have started to hold those meetings once again, and the turnout so far has been fantastic. We have had over 100 seniors come to each of our first two meetings. I would like to thank the seniors who have come out so far and contributed to those meetings and I would like to encourage and invite all seniors in Etobicoke Centre to join me at my future meetings. I am eager to address the challenges they face. I am eager to listen.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, people in my riding, Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, have questions for the Prime Minister.
    They want to know why he never shows any interest in security-related issues. Since 2017, they have watched him welcome thousands of illegal immigrants with open arms. His government welcomes them every day and does nothing to put a stop to the problem.
    It is clear to the people I represent that the Liberal government does not understand the concept of borders. Right now, anyone can circumvent the immigration system, while those who apply in accordance with the law are forced to wait even longer.
    In the past month, my constituents have watched this government let criminals block rail lines and derail the economy. Many Canadians lost their jobs, and Canadians' safety and security were at risk. My constituents want to know why.
    They are also concerned about the government's failure to make a decision about banning Huawei from the 5G network. They know that the communist Chinese regime spies on us and regularly steals Canadian intellectual property, but they do not see the government doing anything to protect them.
    They feel abandoned, and they want to know why.

[English]

Tampon Tuesday

    Mr. Speaker, today is Tampon Tuesday. It is time to talk about menstrual products.
    Tampon Tuesday is a national initiative that encourages Canadians to donate menstrual products to those in need.
     Period poverty is a problem facing nearly one-quarter of menstruating Canadians. These Canadians struggle to buy enough menstrual products every month, often due to economic circumstances which force them to prioritize food or housing over buying pads or tampons. These challenges have led to menstrual hygiene products being one of the most requested items at donation centres like the food bank. Sadly, they are also one of the least donated.
     This campaign, led by the United Way, started in 2009 and has seen donations of over 330,000 boxes of feminine hygiene products over the years. However, there is still work to be done. There is still more need.
    Let us not pad the truth. We have been going with the flow for far too long and it is time to work together to create a country where menstrual products are openly accessible to all, period.

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, when we talk about and take action on advancing the rights of women and girls in Canada and across the world, we do it with the knowledge that when society empowers women, we improve governance, we decrease conflict, we increase stability, we improve economic performance, we boost food security and health and we have better environmental protection and social progress for everyone.
     This year, as we celebrated International Women's Day, we recognized the trailblazers who have been pushing that needle further toward progress for all humanity.
    Women's rights are human rights and activism for women and girls, such as celebrating International Women's Day, is really about advancing the whole of humanity, and we all have a part to play.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    Mr. Speaker, members of the ALS Society of Canada are on Parliament Hill today to spread awareness about the disease.
    This year alone, approximately 1,000 Canadians will learn they have ALS and another 1,000 Canadians will die from the disease.
     This disease affects the motor neurons that carry signals between our brains and muscles. Over time, a person suffering from ALS will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow and eventually breathe. The care responsibility for ALS patients takes a huge emotional, financial and psychological toll on patients and their families. There is no cure for ALS and few treatment options for people living with the disease.
     Today has been an opportunity to better understand ALS.
     I thank the ALS Society of Canada for its continued advocacy efforts to find a treatment and eventual cure for the disease. Like the ALS Society, I would also like to live in a world without ALS.

  (1410)  

Women in House Program

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize U of T's Women in House, founded in 2013. It is a program aimed at promoting greater female representation in the federal government by inviting students to shadow a Canadian parliamentarian for a day on the Hill. It is a non-partisan and bilingual program co-founded by Dr. Tina Park and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
    In celebration of the 2020 International Women's Day week, 100 female students from the University of Toronto are on the Hill today shadowing an MP or senator.
     The students, who range from first year undergraduates to PhD students, will be witnessing the political process close up and networking with politicians.
    I am so pleased to have students here from my alma mater, including my shadow, Keshna Sood, who I feel sure will be a future leader.
    I want to thank the participants and all hosts across the political spectrum who are helping champion and empowering our next generation.

Tibet

    Mr. Speaker, today marks the 61st anniversary of Tibetan national uprising day. We mark 61 years of resistance to the Communist occupation of Tibet, the Land of Snows.
    The Tibetan resistance has a unique character. Tibetans do not desire recrimination or division and they do not respond to their oppression with violence. They desire reconciliation, a middle way, which allows Tibet genuine autonomy within the framework of the Chinese constitution. They build, they love and they will outlast.
    In their resistance, Tibetans model the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force.”
    The deep spirituality and endurance of the Tibetan soul force will overcome the mere physical force of aimless dialectical materialism.
    This year the Communist Party introduced a new draconian "ethnic unity" law to eradicate virtually all of the distinct elements of Tibetan identity.
    However, we celebrate today that even under the growing oppression which the Land of the Snows endures, the Tibetan spirit is as strong as ever, inside Tibet, in Dharamsala, here in Canada and around the world.
    Bhod Gyalo.

Correctional Service of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the federal prison needle exchange program provides clean needles to drug-addicted inmates so they can inject illegal substances that have been smuggled into our prisons. Needles are provided confidentially to inmates to do drugs in their cells. How can this possibly be a good idea?
     Prison is meant to be punishment. The illegal drug habits of convicted individuals should not be catered to by federal correctional institutions.
    The prison needle exchange program does not affect inmates alone. It puts the personal safety of our correctional officers at substantial risk. The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers is rightly and adamantly opposed to the needle exchange program.
    Why is the government not listening to those on the front lines who have been clear that the current program does very little with respect to harm reduction?
    Why does the Liberal government place more value on the illegal drug abuse of inmates over the safety of our correctional officers?

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise in honour of International Women's Day to honour my mother, who instilled in me the values of justice and empathy which set my moral compass, and to honour my incredible spouse, who teaches me the virtues of patience and compassion.
    I rise to honour all of Hamilton's incredible Women of Distinction, those who have officially been nominated and those who continue to lead and yet remain unrecognized.
    I stand in solidarity with all women around the world on the front lines against violent oppression; indigenous women land and water protectors here in Canada; Latinas mass organizing against gender-based violence in places like Mexico and Chile; women fighting for basic human rights in Saudi Arabia; women on the front lines against ethnic cleansing in India and occupation in Palestine; and the young women and girls internationally calling for access to education, the end of female genital mutilation and the end to girls being exploited through marriage.
    I rise to honour them in their ongoing struggles for justice, security and equity.
    May their courage become ours and their struggles shared in solidarity until their day is won.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Women's Support Centre

    Mr. Speaker, it is with great respect that I rise to congratulate Info-Femmes on its 40th anniversary. It is a vital community and feminist organization with undeniable expertise that is located in the Mercier-Est region of La Pointe-de-l'Île.
    Since 1980, this organization has helped over 50,000 women meet, share ideas and acquire tools. Info-Femmes helps them improve their mental and physical health and take control of their lives so that they can become independent.
    I would like to commend the organization for its recent initiatives to commemorate victims of domestic violence, prevent domestic violence and raise awareness of this issue following the murders of women that occurred in eastern Montreal.
    I want to thank coordinator Anik Paradis, case worker Linda Basque, and the entire Info-Femmes team for their invaluable work and for their contribution to a movement, a collective vision of equality, justice and fairness for all.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, in the last Parliament the government enjoyed the good fortune of a booming global economy, and they squandered it with wasteful spending, massive deficits and broken promises.
    The Liberals failed to deliver their public infrastructure program, and major private infrastructure projects such as pipelines were either cancelled or had to be nationalized.
    Canada's economic growth was grinding to a halt before the illegal blockades, before the outbreak of coronavirus, before the stock market crashed and before oil prices went into free fall.
    For four years, my constituents have watched the government dither its way into massive structural deficits while ignoring thousands of unemployed energy workers, and now we face blockades, coronavirus, a global downturn and a catastrophic drop in oil prices, all on top of an already weakening Canadian economy.
    The government is hopelessly ill-prepared for the gathering economic storm. My constituents want national leadership. and they find none from the Liberal government.

[Translation]

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize ALS Canada's advocacy efforts on behalf of everyone who has this terrible disease. Losing a friend to ALS is difficult. I experienced it myself in 2016. Many of you knew him. I am talking about the Hon. Mauril Bélanger.
    As members know, 3,000 Canadians are currently living with ALS.

[English]

    To this day, there are no survivors among those who are diagnosed with ALS. That is why it is so important for this community to continue to advocate until we make this terrible disease a treatable one.
    I want to thank all the MPs and senators who took and will take meetings today with ALS Canada. I want to thank those who have been diagnosed with ALS but are here today to advocate on behalf of other patients.
    Mainly, I thank Carol, Stephanie and Norm. They are tireless advocates. To those who have left us, like my friends Eddy and Mauril, know that I, along with many colleagues in this place, will continue to advocate until we make ALS a treatable disease.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, four and a half years ago, the Liberals were elected on a promise to run three modest deficits and achieve a zero deficit in 2019. In reality, they ran four huge deficits in a row of $70 billion. They broke their promise.
    Worse yet, in four and a half years, 200,000 Canadian jobs have been lost in the energy sector and $150 billion in investments have vanished. The rail crisis lasted more than a month because the government was dragging its feet.
    Now that dark clouds are looming on Canada's horizon, what is the government going to do after squandering all its flexibility?
    Mr. Speaker, for four years, we have been investing in communities, workers and the Canadian economy. That investment has lifted one million Canadians out of poverty and helped Canadians create more than one million jobs over the past few years.
    Our economy is growing. There are opportunities for more people. We recognize that the coronavirus will create some economic challenges. That is why we are so glad we kept some flexibility so we could invest in Canadians.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the house was in order when they came to power four and a half years ago. They had a budget surplus, the best debt-to-GDP ration of all G7 countries and the best economic growth. That is the triple crown of sound management of public funds. It is the hallmark of the Conservative government.
    The Liberals racked up deficit after deficit. Today, there is no more flexibility.
    Why did they choose to spend instead of save at a time of global economic growth?
    Mr. Speaker, we remember the Conservatives' approach, which was to cut veterans' services, cut public health, and eliminate health care services for the most vulnerable Canadians and refugees.
    We chose to invest instead, and we have seen the economic growth that has been created. We also left enough flexibility for difficult times like these. We can help business owners, workers and Canadians deal with the crisis we are facing due to the coronavirus.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals were running a $27-billion deficit before the coronavirus crisis kicked off. What did that buy us? It bought higher unemployment than the U.K., the U.S., Japan and Germany; half of Canadians within $200 of insolvency; and $150 billion in cancelled projects. Then in the last three months of last year, our economy ground to a halt, with 0.3% economic growth.
    How could so much money buy so little?
    Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the question Canadians were asking themselves in 2015, because Stephen Harper and the Conservatives added over $150 billion to the national debt with nothing to show for it. We made the decision to invest in Canadians instead, to put more money in the pockets of the middle class.
    What did we get? A million Canadians were lifted out of poverty and over a million jobs were created. What did the Conservatives do? They cut services for veterans and made cuts to health care and cuts to things that Canadians need. We now have room to manoeuvre to invest in the Canadian economy against the coronavirus. That is what we chose to do.
    Mr. Speaker, instead of defending his record, the Prime Minister states falsehoods about our record.
    There were two Conservative budgets prior to the great global recession. Let us look at those budgets.
    In 2006, according to the public accounts, there was a $13.8-billion surplus. In 2007, delivered again by Jim Flaherty, there was a $9.6-billion surplus. The Conservatives did the responsible thing and paid off debt to cushion us against the hard times that were to come. That is why we had the strongest response to the great global recession.
    Why did he spend the cupboard bare in the good times and leave us so weak and vulnerable now, in the hard times?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite asks a good question. Why did we invest in Canadians? Why did we put more money in the pockets of the middle class?
    It was because we knew it would create growth for Canadians, it would lift millions of people out of poverty, it would support families and seniors and it would grow our economy by investing in infrastructure the Conservatives had neglected for a decade.
    Our investments have created growth that gives us the room to manoeuvre now, and we have the firepower to be able to invest in our economy, given the coronavirus challenge.
    That is the—
    The hon. member for Carleton.
    Mr. Speaker, the roughly half of Canadians who were within $200 of insolvency before the coronavirus crisis hit would disagree that the Prime Minister invested in them.
    He says that we neglected to give $12 million to Loblaws. He is right. He says that we neglected to give $50 million to Mastercard. He is right about that too. He is right that we neglected to give money to the big well-connected corporate insiders whom he has favoured with his deficit spending over the last four years.
    Is the Prime Minister now setting the stage to fill the coffers of his friends, to bloat the government and to balloon the deficit with all of his rhetoric today?
    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives neglected to invest in our veterans by shuttering nine veterans service centres. They neglected to invest in health care for our most vulnerable by shutting down refugee health care.
    We made the decision to invest in Canadians and we have reduced poverty more than any other government, lifting a million Canadians out of poverty over these past years. We did it because we know that investing in Canadians and investing for our future by supporting the middle class and people working hard to join it is exactly what Canadians need from a government.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, some troubling circumstances that extend well beyond the economy could have significant consequences for Quebec's and Canada's economy.
    The Minister of Finance said that, under the circumstances, he might renege on some of his election promises in order to save some money.
    We need to do the complete opposite, in my opinion. We need to bolster the purchasing power of Quebeckers and Canadians, in particular that of seniors, who are, in every respect, more vulnerable in this crisis.
    Is the Prime Minister prepared to commit to bolstering the purchasing power of seniors as they reach age 65?
    Mr. Speaker, when we first formed government five years ago, we chose to invest in our seniors by increasing the guaranteed income supplement for the most vulnerable, invest in our students by increasing student grants, and invest in our families by creating the Canada child benefit.
    We recognize that the coronavirus will present challenges for our workers, our families, our seniors and our business owners. We will be there to help them in difficult times.
    Mr. Speaker, the time to reel off a list of achievements is during an election campaign. Today we want to talk about the future, or even the very near future, because budget day is just a few days or weeks away.
    To avoid saying something alarming, the Government of Canada is not saying anything at all. It seems to be doing far less than Quebec, which has taken clear action to reassure the public.
    Could the Government of Canada at least send a clear message to seniors, who are the most vulnerable group in this situation, by promising to support their purchasing power as soon as they turn 65?
    Mr. Speaker, as a government, we have always been here to take action for our seniors. That is why we increased the guaranteed income supplement for the most vulnerable seniors. We have invested in housing and home care. We are taking care of our seniors now, and we will take care of our seniors through the challenging times we are facing due to the coronavirus.
    We will be here to support our seniors, just as we are here to support vulnerable Canadians across the country.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, health experts are telling people to stay home if they are sick. However, for those who do not have sick leave, that could mean losing their pay or even their job. We have been hearing about this COVID-19 crisis for weeks.

[English]

    Last week all that the finance minister announced was that he would be making an announcement. Empty words from the Liberals do not help these workers to pay their bills. There is no firepower there.
    These workers are trying to make the right choices for public health. When will the Prime Minister actually deliver?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very aware that many workers and families across the country are worried about the impacts of the coronavirus as it impacts the global economy and indeed the Canadian economy. That is why we will be announcing measures to help our workers and help Canadians right across the country as things evolve with the coronavirus.
     We are following the best recommendations of experts, both in the health and medical sector and in the financial sector, to ensure that Canadians have the capacity to get through this with confidence.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour said the government is not hearing from workers who cannot afford to stay home. I say to get out of the boardrooms and talk to the workers on the streets in our communities.
    B.C. has its first case of community transmission, and yesterday we had our first death due to COVID-19. To protect the health and safety of Canadians, B.C.'s medical health officer has asked Canada to delay our cruise season.
    Can the Prime Minister confirm that that he will accept this advice? Exactly what support will he be providing for the workers and businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, from the beginning we have been coordinating very closely with provincial governments, like the Government of B.C., to ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep our citizens safe and protect businesses.
    We recognize there is going to be an impact on tourism industries because of the coronavirus. That is why we are working with provinces and various sectors to ensure that we are supporting Canadians through difficult times.
    We need to keep Canadians and their families safe. We need to ensure that people can put food on their table and pay their rent. That is what this government is focused on, and it is what we will be able to do for Canadians.

  (1430)  

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, before COVID-19 hit and oil prices tanked and markets tumbled, the Prime Minister was setting the stage for Canada to fail. As soon as he was selected, he set out to do two things: one, kill our our energy sector, and two, spend as much as possible. Well, congratulations, Prime Minister, mission accomplished. Today, over $150 billion in energy capital has left, over 200,000 jobs are gone and another $100 billion has been added to the debt.
    When will the Prime Minister finally stop inflicting such damage on this country?
    Mr. Speaker, the selective use of memory is simply astounding. If I look back to the Harper government's record, I will note that it added $150 billion to the national debt and had the slowest rate of economic growth since the Great Depression.
    Over the past four and a half years—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to continue.
    When we took office four and a half years ago, we started making the kinds of investments that would trigger economic growth.
    What have the results been? About 1.2 million jobs were added to the Canadian economy, including more than 30,000 just in the past month. We have also made sure that the benefits of the growth that we are seeing actually land on the kitchen tables of families. More than one million Canadians are not living in poverty today who were four and a half years ago.
    This is the kind of growth that we should trigger, growth that works for everyone.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has one of the worst unemployment rates in the G7, investment has dried up in this country, our dollar is down and we do not even know the impact of COVID-19 on the world economy, much less the Canadian economy. News flash, things are not going well. If the Prime Minister wants to blame somebody, he had better stop blaming Stephen Harper and look in the mirror, because he is to blame for the situation we are in right now.
    When is the Prime Minister going to finally admit that he has done massive damage to our economy, things are not well and things need to change?
    Mr. Speaker, the feigned sanctimony coming from the Conservatives on these issues is simply difficult to accept. The facts that they rely upon are not facts at all.
    Canada does not have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the G7. In fact, the unemployment rate in Canada today is lower not only than at any point during the Conservatives' term in office, but at any point in the past 40 years, since we started keeping track of those statistics.
    If the Conservatives were operating in an echo chamber and actually looked to the facts, science and evidence, they would realize that the economy has been growing at a rate that would make the Conservatives jealous.

[Translation]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, the demand for liquefied natural gas is steadily increasing around the world. In fact, it is expected to double by 2040. Our allies in Europe are looking to move away from coal and want to be independent from Russia. The GNL Québec project is the perfect way to meet their goals. It is a visionary, green project that brings investment, jobs, taxes and economic diversification.
    What does the government plan to do to create favourable conditions for the project to be completed in Quebec and across Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to working with the resource sector to ensure that the best projects are carried out to create jobs and long-term sustainable growth. We understand that GNL Québec intends to continue the assessment process as the company seeks new investment for its proposed project.
    Mr. Speaker, not only is this government acting like the grasshopper and has set nothing aside for a rainy day, but its policies and inaction have driven investors out of the country. If people like Warren Buffett, with their billions of dollars, decided to turn their backs on Canada when everything was going well, what will happen now that the entire world is facing a real crisis?
    Can the Liberal government tell us what it is going to do to get us out of this crisis that it has thrown us into with its out-of-control spending?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with respect, the fiscal health of Canada remains very strong today. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is, in fact, the strongest of any G7 economy. This is the case because we are making the kinds of investments that allow us to experience economic growth. Our debt is shrinking as a function of our economy. We are one of only two countries in the G7 that has a AAA credit rating from all the major credit agencies.
    We have been able to make the kinds of investments that allow us to experience economic growth, add more than 1.2 million jobs to the economy and protect our fiscal position to make sure that we have the room to respond to the kinds of challenges that are now emerging as a result of global circumstances.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned that Cenovus is cutting spending by 32% and waiting to decide on whether it should invest further in our country. This is another devastating blow to the province of Alberta. Add to this the cancelled investment from Teck and add to that cancelled investment from Warren Buffett, and it is clear that Canada's energy sector is in a huge crisis. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister stands idly by doing absolutely nothing and not taking it seriously. Energy companies are forced to make drastic changes just to survive.
    What will the Prime Minister do in order to get Alberta back on track?
    Mr. Speaker, our government remains fully committed to working with the resource sector in Canada to ensure that we move forward with the best projects and that they are carried out to create jobs and economic opportunity for all Canadians.
    We know that in Canada and around the world global investors and consumers are increasingly looking for the cleanest products available in sustainable resource development. We fully intend to be working actively with the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and other provinces around the country to ensure that we continue to move forward in the right way.

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the fact is that every Canadian is now vulnerable because of the Prime Minister. Even before the coronavirus, he spent the cupboards bare, adding billions in new debt and billions in deficits. Our economy had stalled to near zero growth and $150 billion in nation-building projects and the revenues that go with them had left Canada, including Warren Buffett pulling $4 billion out of a Quebec energy project.
    Instead of blaming others or a virus, why will the Prime Minister not admit to Canadians that his weak leadership and his poor decisions have put Canada on the perilous fiscal cliff we are on right now?
    Mr. Speaker, this narrative coming from the Conservatives has absolutely no basis in reality. I will read a quote from economist Kevin Milligan, from the University of British Columbia, who said, “Any notion that the ‘fiscal cupboard is bare’ is irrefutably, absolutely, 100%, 180 degrees wrong.”
    If we want to talk about cupboards being bare, let us talk about the cupboards of one million Canadians who were living in poverty with bare cupboards a few years ago. Let us talk about the cupboards that were bare of 300,000 Canadian children who were living in poverty a few years ago. Let us talk about the cupboards that were bare of 1.2 million Canadians who did not have jobs a few years ago and are working today.
    The measures we are putting in place are growing the economy, creating jobs and making sure that Canadians who need help are receiving the help they need.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, two days ago, customs officers at Lacolle suspected an individual arriving by train from New York had coronavirus, so what did they do? They called Lacolle's first responders but did not tell them they thought the person had coronavirus. There was no protocol in place for customs officials. They even contacted Health Canada but have not received a response. Customs officers do not have access to adequate protective equipment.
    My question is simple: Is there a protocol? If there is one, how come nobody at customs knew about it?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the member that there are, in fact, border measures in place. In fact, just last week, we implemented right across Canada, at all our land, rail and marine ports of entry, new regulations and requirements for our border officers to ask questions regarding the virus. That information is shared with the Public Health Agency of Canada and with first responders in the regions that are affected.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would remind the House that the governor of New York declared a state of emergency because of coronavirus. Hundreds of people travel from New York state to Canada by train and bus every day. All of our front-line workers say security procedures at border crossings are totally ad hoc.
    Will the government inform customs officers and first responders in border communities about the coronavirus protocol immediately? If there is a protocol, will the government provide them with the necessary protection and reimburse any costs incurred?

  (1440)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of Canadians is our first priority. The Canada Border Services Agency continues to work closely under the leadership of the Public Health Agency of Canada to ensure that all appropriate border measures are in place and are reflective of the risk to Canada and CBSA employees. Enhanced screening and detection processes have been added to all international airports as well as land, border, ferry and rail ports of entry.
    Our officers stand ready to do their part to keep Canadians safe, and they have the tools to assist in this public health crisis. I take this opportunity to thank them for their service.
    Mr. Speaker, it is vital that the public have confidence in their health care system and feel that Canada is prepared for a potential COVID-19 outbreak. As provinces and hospitals warn that they are not prepared, action by the government needs to be taken. We know COVID-19 does not respect borders and that the list of high-risk countries continues to grow.
    Is the government prepared to consider expanding vigorous screening measures, mandatory quarantine and stopping incoming flights from these new areas?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member of Parliament for being so engaged on this file.
    As he said in his question, this virus knows no borders. It is very incumbent on all of us to remember that this virus is spread from person to person quite easily. We have cases, as we know, here in Canada, and there are cases in 104 countries as of now. The measures we have taken at the border are targeted, based on evidence and done in a manner to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and focus our public health resources where they can best do so.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the union representing border service officers is concerned about the fact that Health Canada does not have a presence in airports. The Public Health Agency of Canada says it is implementing every possible measure to reduce the impact of the crisis, but the union's president, Mr. Fortin, disputes that claim, saying nobody on the front lines is seeing that.
    Canada is doing okay for now, but we know that the number of cases is sure to go up, just like in other parts of the world. Who is telling the truth? The Prime Minister or the experts at the border?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. The Canada Border Services Agency has been working very closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and with Health Canada to ensure that all of the appropriate border measures are in place and that we are supporting CBSA officers as they do their important jobs.
    I have spoken to the head of the CBSA union, Mr. Fortin, on a number of occasions. I asked him if he had any concerns. We discussed this very extensively and we have made sure that our officers are ready to their jobs. They are equipped with the tools they need to assist in this public health crisis and equipped with the measures and tools to keep them safe while they do their jobs.
    Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister is playing on his cellphone, Canadians are concerned with the rapid spread of COVID-19. The CBC is reporting that a traveller from northern Italy landed in Toronto without being screened. David Gosine said, “Nobody did a temperature check.... There was nothing, really.”
    Could the minister tell us why travellers from high-risk areas like Italy are being allowed to enter Canada without any screening?
    Mr. Speaker, we are following science and evidence in a way that is protecting the lives of Canadians. It is of utmost importance that the measures we put into place have the most effect in protecting Canadians' wellness and safety. That is exactly what we have done. We have not done that alone. This is with the best scientific evidence from Canada, through partnership with the World Health Organization recommendations.
    We will continue to do what is right for Canadians all across this country.
    Mr. Speaker, my daughter and family live directly across from Lynn Valley Care Centre in B.C., where a resident has died of COVID-19. One of the centre's infected health care workers was B.C.'s first case of community transmission, not due to travel or contact with a known carrier. B.C.'s health officer stated, “This is one of the scenarios that we have been...most concerned about.”
    Will the Liberal government ensure that travellers from high-risk countries entering Canada undergo vigorous screening processes and mandatory quarantine upon entry?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the case that the member opposite is referring to would not have been detected under a mandatory quarantine or anything at the border because, in fact, it was a case of community transmission.
    Our hearts go out to the people of the nursing home who have been affected, in particular to the family of the person who lost his life. It is important to recognize that the Province of B.C. is actively involved in containing this illness by detecting cases, by sampling and testing individuals in communities that are affected, and by making sure they have full knowledge of what is happening in communities.
    I want to thank the hard-working public health officials and health officials in general who are doing this hard work for us.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada's hospitals are warning they are at risk of losing control of the COVID-19 outbreak and now doctors are sounding the alarm over the shortage of ventilators we will need in the event of widespread infection, and yet it was just yesterday that the Liberal government wrote to premiers to find out what their needs are. That is a failure of emergency preparedness.
    When will the government release a detailed inventory of all the medical resources Canada needs to respond to a more severe outbreak?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister for echoing my letter to the ministers of health, which actually went out quite some time ago, to ask them for advice in terms what they think they will need to supplement their supplies.
    The ministers of health and I have been meeting for two and a half months, once a week by teleconference, to ensure that we actually know what we need to do together. This is an important part of working together as a country.
    I am so thrilled with the support of the ministers of health from every province and territory. They have made themselves available in such a comprehensive way so we can ensure that we are working together to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, today when I called on the Liberals to address the potential crisis of coronavirus on first nations, they tried to shut me down. The government does not get it.
    The Liberals advised regular hand washing. How does one do that without running water? They advised self-isolation. That is impossible with a housing crisis of 12 to 20 people living in a home. In places like the Island Lake or Cross Lake regions, there are thousands of people and no hospital in sight. People are worried.
    Can a regular member of the Prime Minister's coronavirus committee please stand up and tell us what they are doing to ensure first nations and Inuit communities are supported now?
    Mr. Speaker, I will remind the member opposite that in budget 2019, way before the coronavirus broke out, we invested $79 million over five years to improve and prepare support for health emergencies and health-related impacts of natural disasters and health disasters on reserves. This includes dedicated support for one health emergency management coordinator in every region and two coordinators in Ontario and Manitoba.
    We know that first nations and Inuit are susceptible and more vulnerable to coronavirus. We are prepared as a ministry to engage in surge activities should they be required. Let me say that we are ready to act and we are working closely with those communities in order to augment their capacity.

[Translation]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, representatives of the Heart and Stroke Foundation are on Parliament Hill today. They are meeting with MPs to discuss the important work being done by the foundation. These people are passionate about defending the health and well-being of Canadians.
    Could the Minister of Health tell the House about the support the government is providing to this important organization, which is doing vital work for Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Lac-Saint-Louis for his question.

[English]

    We partnered with the Heart and Stroke Foundation because of the, as the member says, important work it does to promote healthy lifestyles for Canadians. It is good for all of us.
    Since 2016 we have invested more than $5 million in the Heart and Stroke Foundation to support programs like Activate and its work to better understand women's brain and heart health, building on the $1.5 billion that the Heart and Stroke Foundation has invested in research since 1956.
    We know that there is so much more to do. I thank the Heart and Stroke Foundation for the work that it is doing to keep Canadians healthy and make them healthier.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised openness and transparency, but yesterday at the ethics committee that proved to be more empty promises. The Liberals voted to shut down a study of the “Trudeau II Report”, but they could not do it alone. The Prime Minister made a deal with the Bloc Québécois to prop up his minority. It is the return of the Liberal-Bloc coalition. The Prime Minister obstructed the investigation and muzzled witnesses. Canadians deserve the truth.
    What did the Prime Minister give the Bloc Québécois to cover up his corruption?

  (1450)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague seems to be quite agitated. I can assure him that the Bloc Québécois is perfectly capable of defending itself.
    As for the committees of the House, they are independent and make their own decisions.
    Mr. Speaker, at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, the conniving Bloc twice supported the Liberal government's cover-up and muzzled the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner over the “Trudeau II Report” on the Prime Minister's interference in a criminal matter.
    I would like to know what the Bloc got from the Liberal government in exchange for basely supporting its ploy.
    Mr. Speaker, I can sense my colleague's interest in committee work. I invite him to read the rules of the House committees, which clearly indicate that committees are masters of their own destiny and make their own decisions.
    Mr. Speaker, given that today is budget day in Quebec, this is a good time to address the economic downturn. At the federal level, it is a free for all, with $50 million for Mastercard, $12 million for Loblaws so it can change its fridges, $5,000 for some coat hooks and $14,000 for a single television set. The Bloc Québécois supported that spending by voting with the government on the budget.
    When will the Liberals and the Bloc stop cozying up at taxpayers' expense by accepting these completely outrageous expenditures?
    Mr. Speaker, I did not expect to have to defend the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc Québécois is perfectly capable of defending itself and answering these questions. If they want to ask these kinds of questions, they can discuss them outside the House—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order.
    Mr. Speaker, I invite my colleague to refer to the Standing Orders of the House for any questions regarding committee work and decisions. The Standing Orders clearly indicate that committees make their own decisions.
    Mr. Speaker, last week the Liberal leader invited the leader of the Bloc Québécois to a private meeting to discuss the upcoming budget. Imagine meeting with a leader who wants to separate from Canada and who voted against a motion to question the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner on his devastating report on the Prime Minister. The Bloc was in favour of preventing the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner from testifying about the Prime Minister.
    What did the Prime Minister offer the Leader of the Bloc to buy his vote this time?
    Mr. Speaker, if my colleague is so interested in what Bloc MPs think, he can invite them out for a beer and talk it out. There is no shortage of pubs near the Hill. They can go have a chat over a beer.
    The Prime Minister has discussions with all the parties in the House. Talking to the various leaders and parties is part of our responsibilities. It is the responsible way to work in Parliament.

Housing

    Mr. Speaker, I have a very serious question. We recently learned that $4.3 billion was spent under the national housing strategy. How much of that $4.3 billion was invested in Quebec? Zero, not one penny, zilch, nada, nothing.
    There is still another $1.4 billion available, but that money is languishing in federal coffers while Quebec is going through its worst housing crisis in 15 years.
    Will the government finally unconditionally transfer to Quebec the money it is owed, which is languishing in federal coffers?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, we want to make sure that Quebeckers get their fair share of our historic investment in housing. We hope to reach a bilateral agreement with the Government of Quebec, as we did with the other provinces and territories.
    Mr. Speaker, when someone cannot put a roof over their head, they wind up in the street, and this in a country with a government that goes on and on about how it has lifted thousands of people out of poverty. The government's current actions are forcing thousands of Quebeckers to either stay in or return to poverty. It spent $4.3 billion in Canada and not one cent went to Quebec, because Ottawa wants to impose conditions.
    When will it transfer the $1.4 billion we need, which we paid for through our taxes?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that it will be impossible for us to achieve our ambitious housing objectives without collaborating with our provincial and territorial partners, including Quebec. We will continue to work with all levels of government to serve Canadians and ensure that every Canadian has safe and affordable housing.

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, normally spring is a time of rejuvenation and reinvigoration. However, for many residents on the Great Lakes shoreline it is a time of anxiety and worry. With record high water levels, they are concerned about flooding destroying their houses, which they have all worked so hard for.
    Could the Prime Minister please inform the House what actions the government is taking to protect residents along the shorelines of the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and the Ottawa River?
    Mr. Speaker, certainly the water levels in the Great Lakes are a cause for significant concern. The management of water is done through the IJC, which is a joint panel between Canada and the United States. The IJC is looking actively at measures it may take to address some of those levels.
    We are in conversation with the IJC, and I believe that the IJC will be on the Hill to provide a briefing to members in the coming weeks.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, there is a backlog of over 44,000 veterans who are waiting for their disability benefits applications to be processed. Behind each one of these applications is a veteran trapped in a benefits backlog boondoggle of the government's own making.
    Many veterans have been waiting for over two years. When will the backlog be cleared?
    Mr. Speaker, I can assure my hon. colleague that we are working very hard on this backlog, and that we invested just under $700 million in the operating budget last year. What we are doing is digitizing the files. We are making sure that all veterans who should receive benefits, receive benefits.
    Quite honestly, there is a 60% increase in total applications because our government has been more generous to the veterans, and a 90% increase in first applications. We have supported and will continue to support our veterans.
    Mr. Speaker, it is sad, but not surprising, that the minister cannot answer since today at committee he told us that the department runs the department.
    There seems to be no plan to clear the backlog, and it is questionable who is really in charge. Can the minister tell us when the backlog will be cleared, or should we check with his deputy?
    Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in the committee today, the money spent on mental health was not distributed properly. I directed the department to make sure that it was spent fairly, to make sure that a review take place and to make sure that it was spent just like it was over the last number of years.
    On the backlog, when my hon. colleague's government was in place, it fired 1,000 employees and cut the budget. That is part of the reason why we are in difficulty.

  (1500)  

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, over the last few weeks, the international trade committee studied the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement, and we have heard from many businesses and stakeholders about various aspects of the agreement and the importance of its impact on our communities.
    Can the Deputy Prime Minister tell us more about the next steps towards ratification and the importance of this agreement for all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all the members of the international trade committee from all parties and their outstanding chair for their hard work in reviewing the new NAFTA.
    This agreement safeguards more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade and tariff-free access for 99.9% of our U.S.-bound exports.
    At a time when our economy and the global economy are facing significant challenges from the coronavirus, one thing that we can all do together that is entirely within our power is to support our economy's—
    The hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, Mayor Rick Bonnette of Halton Hills and Mayor Gord Krantz of Milton, as well as mayors and representatives from across Halton region, are in Ottawa today to voice their opposition to the proposed truck-rail hub in Milton, Ontario. A federal review panel said that this project will likely have a significant adverse impact on air quality and human health.
     Can the Liberal government update the House on its position on this project?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect their government to make thoughtful decisions that are based on science, evidence and traditional knowledge and that will uphold the government's commitment to protecting the environment while growing the economy.
    The report that has been brought forward recently by the panel has now been submitted to the government. Our government has not made a decision. I will be thoroughly reviewing the panel's recommendations as we go through the process of making that determination in the legislation.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

    Mr. Speaker, I attended the BC Tree Fruits annual general meeting recently, where I heard of the poor state of our apple growers. Many said that they are near bankruptcy because of increasing costs and decreasing prices and the flood of cheap apples coming across the border from the U.S. due to a trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
    To make matters worse, our apple farmers' exports to China have now been reduced and inventories are starting to pile up.
    What are the Liberals going to do to help our orchardists?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I know that the cold weather and trade, among other things, contributed to a very difficult 2019 for our farmers.
    Our farmers have access to a wide range of risk management programs. I urge them to participate in these programs every year and to make use of them when needed.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Ontario cattle farmers are in crisis due to cancellations of federal processing and export licences. It has been months since Ryding-Regency closed, representing 10% of Ontario's beef processing industry. We have seen the government's inaction when it comes to helping our farmers. We have seen the carbon tax and the slow response to the rail blockades, and now trade disruptions mean Ontario's beef cannot get to market.
    The Minister of Agriculture has done nothing to address this situation. When will the minister act to resolve these critical processing challenges?
    Mr. Speaker, accessing processing facilities is crucial for our farmers and ranchers to access the value chain. We understand that the closure of this meat processing plant in Ontario has a significant impact on our cattle producers, but we cannot compromise on food safety. Our government is working with the industry and the Province of Ontario to find short-term alternatives and to see how the meat processing capacity can be increased.

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, as the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, I have had the privilege of interacting with many members of the LGBTQ2 community, yet nothing, and I stress nothing, has been more shocking to me than hearing accounts of anyone trying to change the core being of another person so that they cannot be their true self.

  (1505)  

[Translation]

    The evidence is clear: Conversion therapy is harmful and disruptive.
    Could the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth tell the House what we are doing to finally ban conversion therapy?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe for standing up for LGBTQ2 Canadians.

[English]

    Yesterday our government tabled the most progressive legislation in the world when it comes to criminalizing conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a harmful, disruptive practice that has no place in Canada.

[Translation]

    I applaud the provinces and municipalities that have already chosen to ban this practice, and I hope to see more do so.

[English]

    I call on all members to support this bill and to ensure that everyone everywhere in Canada can be who they truly are.

Fisheries and Oceans

    Mr. Speaker, after the worst wild Pacific salmon fishing season in recorded history, the government is simply not doing enough to support workers. Its failure to react to the crisis leaves commercial, recreational and indigenous fisheries in coastal B.C. desperate for support and action. Now the tourism industry in B.C. is seriously threatened by COVID-19.
    Will the Liberals urgently invest in a wild Pacific salmon relief package focused on restoration, and help support fishers and workers in coastal communities?
    Mr. Speaker, we acknowledge that conservation measures, as well as COVID-19, have had significant negative impacts on our economy as well as on harvesters, including the recreational sector.
    We are continuing to work with our partners and stakeholders to consider actions that help minimize the impacts while achieving conservation efforts. We will continue to work with those groups to make sure that we meet these needs.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, a recent report revealed that the claim that natural gas will displace coal and reduce greenhouse gas emissions came from an industry insider.
    He admits he neglected to include end-to-end life-cycle emissions of fracked gas. In fact, fracked gas has the same greenhouse gas impact as burning coal. Fracking also contaminates air and water, and causes earthquakes.
    Jurisdictions around the world have banned fracking. Will the government do the right thing and ban fracking in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, hydraulic fracturing in Canada is strictly regulated and must be done using approved equipment and very specific procedures. As I am sure the hon. member knows, the development and regulation of Canada's shale and tight resources and oil and gas reserves falls primarily within provincial jurisdiction.
    The Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories to provide scientific and policy advice to support their policy and regulatory processes to ensure that any resource development occurs in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

Privilege

Alleged Premature Disclosure of Two Bills—Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I am ready to rule on the questions of privilege raised on February 25 by the member for Fundy Royal and on February 27 by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons concerning the premature disclosure of two bills.
    Allow me first to recapitulate the arguments presented by the two members.
    On February 25, 2020, the member for Fundy Royal raised a question of privilege regarding a Canadian Press article published online on February 24 that detailed specific information contained in Bill C-7, an act to amend the Criminal Code with regard to medical assistance in dying, even before it was introduced in the House by the Minister of Justice. The member quoted from the article in question, which mentioned that anonymous sources allegedly discussed the contents of the bill with the journalist while knowing full well that doing so contravened the practices of the House. The member for Fundy Royal feels that this premature disclosure of the bill constitutes a breach of his privileges and contempt of the House.

  (1510)  

[Translation]

     On February 27, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons raised a question of privilege also concerning the premature disclosure of a bill.

[English]

    During this intervention, the parliamentary secretary said that a bill entitled “an act to amend the Criminal Code (unlawfully imported firearms)”, put on notice on February 21 by the member for Markham—Unionville, was also the subject of an article published on February 24 in iPolitics before it was introduced in the House. On February 25, the member put another bill on notice, one with a slightly different title, “an act to amend the Criminal Code (possession of unlawfully imported firearms)”. The bill became Bill C-238 after it was introduced on February 27.
    The parliamentary secretary feels that the provisions of Bill C-238 correspond to what was described in the iPolitics article, and he presumed, therefore, that the two bills are in large measure the same. The parliamentary secretary suggested that this disclosure contravenes the principle that members are the first to know the contents of a bill. Since a breach of privilege was apparently committed, he suggested referring the matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

[Translation]

     On February 28, the member for Markham—Unionville apologized and admitted that he had indeed discussed the contents of the first bill with fellow members and journalists. He said that he had acted in ignorance of the rule prohibiting discussion of bills on notice before they are introduced in the House. He also explained the reasons for the change in title between the two bills.
    The same day, the parliamentary secretary to the leader of the government in the House presented his most sincere apologies for the premature disclosure of Bill C-7, saying in passing that no one within the government had been authorized to discuss the bill before its introduction in the House.

[English]

    I believe that the whole matter can be summarized as follows.
    First, based on a reading of the Canadian Press article on Bill C-7 on medical assistance in dying, and in the absence of any explanation to the contrary, I must conclude that the anonymous sources mentioned were well aware of our customs and practices and chose to ignore them. It seems clear to me that the content of the bill was disclosed prematurely while it was on notice and before it was introduced in the House.
     Second, in his apology, the member for Markham—Unionville made it clear that his two bills on firearms were substantially the same, apart from the slightly different titles. It seems clear to the Chair, therefore, that the member also discussed a bill before its introduction. It matters little that the bill in question was subsequently withdrawn and never introduced in the House.

  (1515)  

[Translation]

    The rule on the confidentiality of bills on notice exists to ensure that members, in their role as legislators, are the first to know their content when they are introduced. Although it is completely legitimate to carry out consultations when developing a bill or to announce one’s intention to introduce a bill by referring to its public title available on the Notice Paper and Order Paper, it is forbidden to reveal specific measures contained in a bill at the time it is put on notice.

[English]

    In this case, it is clear that the content of the bills, both the private member's bill and the government bill, were revealed to the media before their introduction and first reading. The question now is to determine whether the disclosure of these bills was a breach of the House’s privilege and whether mitigating circumstances should be considered.
    In this instance, I am prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to the member for Markham—Unionville when he says that he was unaware of the rules regarding the confidentiality of bills on notice. I believe that his remarks were sincere and that he believed he was advancing his cause in a legitimate fashion.

[Translation]

    My analysis is different for the question of privilege raised by the member for Fundy Royal concerning government Bill C-7. Permit me to quote a part of the article at the heart of this matter:
    The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details of the bill prior to its tabling in the House of Commons this afternoon.
    Everything indicates that the act was deliberate. It is difficult to posit a misunderstanding or ignorance of the rules in this case.

[English]

    On April 19, 2016, my predecessor, faced with a similar situation regarding the premature disclosure of Bill C-14 on medical assistance in dying, found a prima facie case of privilege in a decision that can be located on pages 2442 and 2443 of the Debates.
    In light of the information provided by the member for Fundy Royal, the precedents and the current practice in this matter, the Chair notes the existence of sufficient grounds to conclude that there was a prima facie breach of the privilege of the House and the members and their right to be the first to know the contents of Bill C-7.
    Consequently, I now invite the member for Fundy Royal to move the appropriate motion.

Reference to Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs  

    That the matter of the premature disclosure of the contents of Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, thank you for your finding that a breach of our privileges did exist in this case in the leaking of the contents of Bill C-7 to the media before members of the House could see the bill.
    There is a reason why we have rules in this place to protect the rights and the privileges of members of Parliament in this place on all sides of the House, so that we are able to do the job that we were elected to do, which is to represent our constituents, to pass legislation and to debate. Those are the things that we have been given the ability to do by our constituents. When we have government departments, government members that do not abide by the rules of the House, it undermines not just those members in the opposition, it undermines all of us.
    It is well-established practice in the House that when a bill is on notice for introduction, the House has the first right to the contents of the bill. Everyone in the House knows this. We know that the House is paramount when it comes to the introduction of the legislation, but if there is any one department in the whole of government that we would expect would know the rules around the laws and procedures in the House, that department would be the justice department, the department tasked with making laws that impact the lives of all Canadians. That department knows better. That is a department filled with hundreds if not thousands of lawyers and legal minds that know better.
    Let us say they did not know better. Just like with any one of our children, sometimes if they make a mistake we correct them. Maybe if they make a second mistake, we will correct them again. By the third time around, we expect that they know the rules.
    This is the fourth time there has been found a breach of our privileges in the House that was made by the Department of Justice. In fact, the last ruling on this matter was also on the previous legislation around medical assistance in dying. It was even the same legislation.
    The article that was put forward within The Canadian Press had very detailed and specific information contained in the bill. That is why this breach of privilege has been found.
    The reporters and those who were leaking know that contempt has occurred by revealing later in the article that, "The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal details of the bill prior to its tabling in the House of Commons this afternoon."
    There is no doubt in anyone's mind that those who were leaking this information from the Department of Justice or some other arm of government knew exactly what they were doing when they did it. What they thought about this place is not much, because we have rules, and they thumbed their nose at the rules that we have.
    After the sources indicated to the reporter that they were aware of their guilty actions, they boldly and defiantly continued their affront to Parliament by providing even more detail of the bill. Quoting again from that article, “Sources say today's bill will not deal with broader issues that were excluded in the new law and that must be considered as part of a parliamentary review of the law that is to begin this summer.” Again, bang on with what was in the bill.
    We saw the news articles and we thought we knew what had happened, another leak from the Department of Justice, another affront to this Parliament, another breach of all of our collective privileges, but again we had to read the bill to find out whether in fact that was the case.
    We carefully reviewed the contents of Bill C-7 following its introduction in the House. When I and other members of Parliament got to see the bill for the first time, others in the media had seen the bill in its entirety for hours before.

  (1520)  

    The details reported by The Canadian Press hours earlier were indeed contained in Bill C-7. Ironically, over and over, the first precedent that I had quoted earlier was from the last Parliament, brought to the Speaker's attention on April 14, 2016, and in regard to Bill C-14, an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other acts (medical assistance in dying).
    The department in question is being absolutely recidivist. It is not taking seriously the consequences and the rulings of Speakers. The Speaker in 2016 found that there was, in fact, a prima facie case of privilege regarding Bill C-14 and said:
    As honourable members know, one of my most important responsibilities as Speaker is to safeguard the rights and privileges of members, individually and collectively. Central to the matter before us today is the fact that, due to its pre-eminent role in the legislative process, the House cannot allow precise legislative information to be distributed to others before it has been made accessible to all members. Previous Speakers have regularly upheld not only this fundamental right, but also expectation, of the House.
    The Speaker's concluding remarks in 2016 were as follows:
    In this instance, the chair must conclude that the House's right of first access to legislative information was not respected. The chair appreciates the chief government whip's assertion that no one in the government was authorized to publicly release the specific details of the bill before its introduction. Still, it did happen, and these kinds of incidents cause grave concern among hon. members. I believe it is a good reason why extra care should be taken to ensure that matters that ought properly to be brought to the House first do not in any way get out in the public domain prematurely.
    On October 4, 2010, on page 4711 of the House of Commons Debates, Speaker Milliken noted:
    It is indisputable that it is a well-established practice and accepted convention that this House has the right of first access to the text of bills that it will consider.
    This all goes back to my point about the Department of Justice not taking seriously the rules of this House. The one department that ought to know best about the rules of this House is now a four-time offender, with breaches of privileges found by successive Speakers over the last several years, sometimes over the same bill subject matters. The House, and the rules of the House, are being completely ignored.
    The Speaker found another case of contempt on October 15, 2001, after, and members are not going to believe this, the Department of Justice briefed the media on the contents of a bill prior to the legislation being introduced in the House.
    Maybe, in this minority House, members can finally take this department and this Minister of Justice's office to account and to task for their continuous disrespect of the privileges and the rights of this place, and the rights of all Canadians who send us as members of Parliament to do good work on their behalf.

  (1525)  

    Is the House ready for the question?
    Some hon. members: Question.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The question is on the motion.
    Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt this motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1530)  

[English]

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement 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 third time and passed.
    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Yukon.
    I am pleased to speak in the House today in support of Bill C-4, an act to implement the new NAFTA and, in particular, the agreement's intellectual property provisions. Canadian creators and innovators make an important contribution to the North American knowledge economy. For instance, in 2017, 68% of the patents filed by Canadians internationally were filed in the United States, more than at any foreign patent office. The new NAFTA would allow Canadian creators and innovators to continue to conduct business with our U.S. and Mexican partners, ensuring that they would continue to receive a clear, predictable and transparent framework for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property, or IP, rights in all three markets.
    IP rights provide Canadian innovators and creators with a period of time during which they can expect to hold exclusive rights and be entitled to receive compensation, such as royalties for the use of their creations and innovations. With the new NAFTA, Canadians can be confident that their IP rights will receive a minimum standard of protection and enforcement across the entire North American marketplace.
    Since the original NAFTA was negotiated, a number of key technological and multilateral developments have taken place that have presented novel challenges, such as with respect to the protection and enforcement of copyright in the digital environment. These include significant advances in the digital economy, including the further development of modern digital technologies that, since NAFTA, have been addressed in multilateral frameworks like the World Intellectual Property Organization.
    The updated IP chapter builds upon those international IP treaties, like the WTO agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, as well as the multilateral treaties administered by the WIPO with a view to establishing minimum standards on IP rights protection and enforcement for the North American marketplace.
    Under the new agreement, all three parties agreed to an updated comprehensive chapter on IP rights protection and enforcement. This chapter includes obligations on copyright-related rights, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents and pharmaceutical IP; data protection for agricultural chemical products and trade secrets; and IP rights enforcement in the civil, criminal and border contexts.
    The modernized agreement also reflects several recent reforms to Canada's IP regime, such as those under the Combating Counterfeit Products Act and the Copyright Modernization Act, Canada's recent accession to several multilateral treaties under the WIPO, and initiatives undertaken through the government's recent intellectual property strategy.
    For instance, further to reforms to Canada's copyright regime under the Copyright Modernization Act, the new NAFTA contains rules with respect to Internet service providers' liability that recognize Canada's notice and notice framework in this area as an effective approach to addressing online copyright infringement. The new agreement contains rules concerning legal protections for technological protection measures, or the digital locks on copyrighted works, which align with Canada's existing law and policy.
    Regarding geographical indications, or Gls, the signs used on products to show that they come from a particular place with distinctive characteristics or qualities related to that place, the new NAFTA outcome is in line with Canada's open and transparent system for the protection of Gls. This means wines, spirits, agricultural products and foodstuffs remain eligible for GI protection in the Canadian marketplace, in line with Canada's current framework.
    The agreement also contains provisions that require the parties to provide that judicial authorities can, where appropriate, order the award of attorney's fees to the prevailing party in civil proceedings. This is a valuable tool that often serves as a disincentive against bad actors who pursue bad faith litigation tactics, which can otherwise stifle innovation.
    The agreement is not the end of the conversation among the three partners. It also includes a commitment from all three parties to co-operate in discussions on a range of IP issues of interest, such as on enhancing procedural fairness in IP litigation, including choice of venue, an issue of particular concern for some Canadian business owners operating abroad.
    Building upon Canada's already strong IP regime, the new agreement would require changes in certain areas of Canada's existing IP legal and policy framework. For example, on border measures, Canada already provides officials at the border with the authority to act on their own initiative, as appropriate, to detain suspected counterfeit trademark or pirated counterfeit goods on import and export. The new agreement would require Canada to extend this authority to such goods transiting through Canada destined for another marketplace.

  (1535)  

    Regarding copyright, the new agreement requires a change in the general term of copyright protection from “life of the author plus 50 years”, to “life of the author plus 70 years”. With respect to patents, Canada would be required to provide for a patent term adjustment in respect of unreasonable delays in the issuance of a patent.
    To implement these two obligations, Canada has transition periods of two and a half years for the general term of protection for copyright and four and a half years for patent term adjustment. These transition periods would commence following the entry into force of the agreement and would enable the government to thoroughly consider and consult on how best to implement these new commitments.
    On December 10, 2019, Canada, the United States and Mexico agreed to update certain elements of the new NAFTA to improve the final outcome and clear the path toward ratification and implementation. With respect to IP, agreement was reached to delete or amend certain provisions dealing with patent and pharmaceutical IP. Most notably, the parties agreed to delete the commitment on data protection for biologics, which means that Canada would no longer need to amend its domestic regime to provide 10 years of data protection in this area.
    The parties also agreed to remove a provision on the availability of patents for new uses, new methods or new processes of using a known product, as well as provisions on data protection for new indications of existing drugs. Last, language was also added on an exception related to regulatory reviews on how the three countries may meet obligations dealing with patent term restoration, patent linkage and data protection for small-molecule drugs.
    These amendments clarify that Canada, the United States and Mexico would remain flexible under the new agreement to pursue domestic policy priorities in these areas. Notably, Canada would be required to make changes to domestic patent or pharmaceutical IP regimes in order to implement the amended provisions. For many Canadian creators and innovators, one of the key barriers to exporting abroad is uncertainty over IP rights and whether they will be protected and enforced when operating in foreign markets. That is why Canada worked tirelessly to ensure that the new agreement establishes clear standards on IP rights and is enforced across North America.
     Ratifying the new NAFTA is not just about securing economic benefits for Canada today, but also ensuring our continued prosperity in the future. The agreement would ensure that Canada continues to have a strong and vital relationship with our closest neighbours.
    Madam Speaker, we have raised concerns repeatedly around this deal. We are grateful that we are going to see the text of future agreements ahead of time so we can have a better idea what the objective is of the government, when it heads into these trade agreements and deals, so we can have a chance to scrutinize them.
    We are concerned about the government and its commitment around the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are wondering why the government would move forward with a commitment to sign this agreement that does not make reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I see this failure in treaties and agreements cross-border, whether over our salmon or various related issues where I live, where indigenous people and their rights are not consulted.
     Maybe the member could speak about the importance of this, whether it be in this trade deal or future trade deals, and how significant it is that the government address this.
    Madam Speaker, I can assure my hon. colleague that the rights of indigenous individuals and the environment are always top of mind when we are negotiating our free trade agreements.
    Having said that, I do want to reiterate that the United States is our largest trading partner and how vital this ratification was, so for us to get this done was of utmost importance. However, we do definitely keep those issues in consideration.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague opposite for his speech and say that I was very happy to hear him talk about copyright and succession. The agreement would increase the succession term from 50 years to 70 years after the author's death. As it stands, the heir or the person to whom the copyright is bequeathed must request an extension of the copyright term.
    Could my colleague tell me what the government thinks about the fact that the heir must request an extension 50 years after the author's death, when that is something that should be done automatically?

  (1540)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, we have made a marked improvement in our existing laws. Look at Mexico, for example, whose measure was 100 years. The fact that we have gone from 50 to 70 years is quite an improvement. I wanted to highlight that.
    In terms of those who have to acquire the IP afterward, I am sure there is room to renegotiate this in the future when this trade agreement comes up for renewal. If colleagues look at what we have done, it is quite significant to move from 50 to 70 when our member partners were already at 100. It is quite a movement in the right direction.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it is a privilege for me to rise this afternoon and speak to the tripartite agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States. I will be sharing my speaking time on this important issue with my colleague from Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.
    It is always a privilege to rise in the House in support of trade with our partners, as trade is one of the pillars of our economy. This afternoon, we are not talking about just any partner. We are talking about our American partner. As members know, our shared relationship and border go back a long way.
    I will start by saying that I plan on supporting Bill C-4 because this agreement is in keeping with a long tradition that we established. In 1994, Brian Mulroney signed the first agreement, NAFTA, with the United States and Mexico.
    This fundamental agreement helped Canada triple its exports to the U.S. and Mexico and also helped stimulate our economy. As a proud representative of a vibrant manufacturing region, I can see first-hand how this free trade agreement benefits our manufacturers in Bellechasse—Les Etchemins, such as Rotobec, and in Lévis.
    I just want to remind my colleague that, like him, I plan to support this important bill to maintain our trade relationship with our most important partner. The United States takes in three-quarters of Canada's exports, a significant amount considering that Canadian exports totalled nearly $400 billion U.S. in 2016.
    However, we are less pleased about the fact that the current government did a poor job of negotiating this agreement, as it does with most things. The Liberal government does not know how to negotiate agreements for Canada, and that has a negative impact on businesses such as those in the dairy industry in my riding. Nevertheless, we are better off with a bad agreement than with no agreement, which is why I have already voted in favour of this bill and why we hope it passes quickly.
    For some time now, the Conservatives have been telling the government to hurry up and approve the deal. I worked in consulting engineering, where people say that a deal is not done until it is signed. It is not a good deal, but we need to get it approved ASAP.
    That is why, in spring 2019, before the October federal election, we proposed a preliminary study of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement so that it could be passed as soon as the government introduced it in the House, but the Liberals refused.
    The day after the election, we asked the Liberals to consider the possibility of sitting in December between Christmas and New Year's because we thought it was important to ratify this agreement. Once again, the Liberals ignored our request.
    We had to wait until the end of January before they finally bothered to table the agreement here in the House so that we could begin the legislative process. Once again, we asked for things to be done more quickly because people wanted to have their say about the problems with this important agreement. The Liberals refused.
    That brings us to where we are today. We are making progress, and I can say that we intend to support the ratification of this agreement every step of the way. The relationship between Canada and the United States is one of the closest and most solid relationships that can exist between two countries. It plays an important role in our manufacturing jobs. A number of agreements and several billion dollars are at stake.
    I want to take this opportunity to remind members that there is a border between Canada and the United States. Of course, it is important to ensure the free flow of goods between the two countries, but it is also important to ensure that our borders remain secure. I am referring to the beyond the border action plan announced in December 2011 by then U.S. president Barack Obama and then Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper. We recognize the importance of maintaining a strong trade relationship while keeping our borders secure.
    Unfortunately, as I mentioned, the Liberals did not negotiate a good deal in this case. As we have seen, many groups were left out in the cold. Overall, the agreement that was signed and that we are going to approve is not as good as the previous agreement that was negotiated by the Conservatives. That is unfortunate, but, as I said, we would rather have a bad deal than no deal at all.
    Why are the Liberals such bad negotiators? When we look at their record on negotiating, we have to remember that the agreements collectively provide the big picture.
    Take the dairy sector. This sector plays a very important role in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, especially in Bellechasse and Les Etchemins, where businesses are handed down from one generation to the next and are an economic mainstay in our region. These businesses have had to deal with not one, not two, but three agreements.
    The first agreement, which was negotiated by our government, is the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. That agreement made some accommodations with regard to supply management to allow European products to enter our market. On October 18, 2013, an agreement in principle was signed with the European Union, and the agreement came into force in September 2017.

  (1545)  

    The trans-Pacific partnership is now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. This happened during the transition from the Conservative government to the current government.
    At the time, when we were in negotiations on the trans-Pacific partnership, the U.S. was involved, but it withdrew from the agreement in January 2017. The other members of the initial agreement picked up where they left off and renamed the agreement. However, the concessions that were made in the Canada-Europe free trade agreement and then in the trans-Pacific partnership were renewed. This left the dairy sector vulnerable, because there was no agreement with the U.S. when it came time to renegotiate the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. In a way, we had already made two concessions. Even more damaging was the fact that the concessions were cumulative. The Liberals made more bad decisions on cheese imports.
    Under the Canada-Europe free trade agreement, 16,000 tonnes of imported cheese from Europe was to enter our markets. The Liberals made the mistake of granting the power to import these cheeses not to those who were affected, namely manufacturers and processors, but to distributors, who received half of the import quota. This was even more detrimental than a simple reduction in volume because Quebec's entire cheese sector was undermined.
    Mr. Letendre, the chairman of Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, stated that it made no sense to allocate 50% of the quota to distributors. He said that it is expensive to develop new products in order to compete and that this would hurt Quebec's industry.
    I wanted to cite the example of the three agreements that were negotiated. Every time the Liberals were involved in the negotiations, it hurt the dairy industry and Canadian industries. Ultimately, our businesses are being penalized, and we have yet to see any compensation. That is unfortunate, because had Canada's interests been considered in the negotiations, we would not have had to make concessions.
    I had many things to say, but I realize that my time is running out. I made my point at the outset. We intend to support the agreement despite its weaknesses because it is important to maintain the relationship with our most important partner, the United States.

  (1550)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I have been listening to the debate all day on this very important piece of legislation. From what I recall, it is the first time that all political entities, the Green Party, the Bloc Québécois, the NDP, the Conservatives and obviously the Liberal government which is putting it forward are supporting a trade agreement. We have stakeholders from across the country, union and business leaders who are also in support of this agreement. I would even go back to the author of the original trade agreement, Brian Mulroney, who also supports this agreement.
    Would the member across the way acknowledge that throughout the last couple of years we have seen Canadians from coast to coast to coast come together to provide the feedback that has been necessary in order to get us to this very point today?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Certainly, everyone agrees that we are supporting a bad deal that does not address matters like the softwood lumber dispute or government procurement, for instance.
    I have a note dated December 19 about Prevost, a flagship company in my riding. Prevost won the largest contract in its history, a $260-million contract to build 307 buses for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York state.
    That is great news. However, the downside is that the agreement that was signed does not contain any provisions on government procurement. That creates uncertainty. Yes, we are going to support the agreement, but we are a long way from an agreement that provides a net benefit to Canada.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my Quebec colleague for his very interesting speech. I agree with him on the whole issue of supply management. In Quebec, we have felt the impact of treaties on supply management. The treaties that Canada has signed have always come at the expense of supply management and Quebec dairy producers.
    However, I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about the agreement that the Bloc Québécois managed to get on the traceability of aluminum in order to prevent China from exporting aluminum to Mexico and flooding the North American market. In its negotiations with the government, the Bloc Québécois succeeded in protecting nearly $6 billion in aluminum investments in Quebec.
    I would like to know whether my colleague thinks that this is a plus in the free trade agreement.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his kind words and his question. I would remind him, however, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I encourage him to remain vigilant. The agreement will not be changed. The traceability agreement depends on the goodwill of the countries, so we will have to see how it will be enforced. The same is true in the agricultural sector. Additional concessions were made at the expense of our agricultural industry. We on this side are still waiting to see what the compensation looks like.

  (1555)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, one of the biggest losers in the CUSMA is the supply-managed dairy sector as the member said. Along with concessions and CPTPP, this latest hit means a 10% loss of market share to Canadian producers.
    Could the member speak about whether the Conservatives support the supply-managed dairy sector and if so, why they have supported every assault on the sector over the last five years?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I invite her to look at what the Conservative Party did when it was in power. We took action to limit milk protein imports from New Zealand and to stop the illegal import of cheese in the form of pizza kits. We did plenty. Unlike the Liberals, who have done nothing about the problem of diafiltered milk, the Conservative government did not sit back and simply say that it supported supply management; it took concrete action. Our record on that is very solid.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to the new NAFTA agreement and the repercussions of this important agreement. Of course, it is always a pleasure, and indeed my duty, to rise in this place and defend the interests of my constituents and those across Canada.
    I want to thank all those involved on both sides of the House and all our neighbours and friends in the United States and Mexico for working on this agreement. As we all know, there was an incredible effort to get a deal on the table and that effort was a testament to how everybody understood how important this deal really was.
    The Conservatives are in support of a trade agreement with the United States and with Mexico. It is good for business and it will provide the certainty for which all are looking.
     The Conservatives, of course, are the party of trade. Our party is responsible for negotiating some of the largest and most important trade agreements in Canadian history. It was also under the previous Conservative government that we signed 40 trade agreements with countries all over the world. It was also under a Conservative government that NAFTA was first created. It was a historic agreement that propelled the Canadian economy into the future and provided unequalled opportunities for Canadian manufacturing, industry, energy, agriculture and other sectors.
    The previous Conservative government was very forthcoming with information on the free trade negotiations that were taking place. The member for Abbotsford, as the then minister of international trade, provided many opportunities for parliamentarians to ask questions, take part in briefings and see documents. Unfortunately, we have not seen the same from the Liberal government. It prefers that the opposition just trust the government and not worry, that it got the best deal possible.
    Over the past few weeks, the Liberal Party has claimed that it is the Conservatives who have delayed the implementation of the new NAFTA deal. Conservative members on the Standing Committee on International Trade sent a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, outlining the concerns the Conservative Party had heard with a new NAFTA deal and to correct the record that outlined how it was, in fact, the Liberal Party who had been delaying the implementation of this new NAFTA deal.
    Knowing that the federal election was coming up in October of 2019, the Conservatives offered to begin a prestudy on the original trade deal. It was originally called Bill C-100. That happened in May of last year. When the government was ready to move the legislation through the House of Commons, the work would already have been done in committee. However, the Liberals declined.
    When the revised agreement was signed in December 2019, the Conservatives offered to come back early from the Christmas break to begin work on that bill. The Liberals declined that as well.
    The Liberal government waited until January 29 to introduce the implementation legislation in the House of Commons, even though the revised agreement was signed in December. The Conservatives moved that legislation through the House of Commons in just six sitting days compared to the 16 days it took to move the original implementation legislation, Bill C-100, through the House of Commons and to committee.
    The international trade committee had approximately 200 requests to appear on that new trade deal. The amount of work to do on the legislation had not changed and the Conservatives consistently offered to commence that work earlier. The Liberals declined.
    The Conservatives ultimately offered to complete a clause-by-clause examination by no later than March 5, under the assumption that the government would not be recalling the House of Commons during the constituency break week to conduct report stage and third reading of Bill C-4. The Liberals declined that too.
    The Liberals released their economic impact analysis for that trade deal only one day before the international trade committee had to conduct its clause-by-clause review and the first formal briefing that parliamentarians actually received on the new agreement was on December 11, 2019.
     Canada's Conservatives sought a unanimous consent motion in the House of Commons to speed up the ratification of that new trade deal. The Liberals declined that too.
     Those are the facts.
    I want to turn now to the substance of that agreement. The deal is not perfect. We have said that many times on this side of the House and so have some of our other opposition colleagues. There are a number of shortcomings that I would like to put on record.
    The Liberal government has left our great aluminum industry vulnerable to backdoor imports from China. While steel was protected with rules that steel must be melted and poured by primary steelmakers in North America in order to receive preferential tariff treatment, no such provision was added for aluminum.

  (1600)  

    Jean Simard, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association of Canada, said the following:
    The advantage thus conferred to Mexico makes it more or less China's North American backyard to dispose of the products of its overcapacity, thereby generating the gradual relocation of North American transformers to Mexico.
    The Liberal government also failed to secure a new ISDS, leaving Canadians and their businesses unprotected by unfair laws, tariffs or trade practices of our partners. This will leave many Canadian industries open to abuse, with little to no recourse.
    In the early 2000s, the softwood lumber industry was devastated by unfair trade practices and it was only because of arbitration panels ruling against the U.S. that we eventually worked out a settlement.
    In a statement, the president of the BC Lumber Trade Council said:
    Having a robust and fair dispute resolution mechanism is absolutely critical to maintaining a rules-based trading system and providing an avenue for Canada and Canadian companies to appeal unwarranted duties.
    The CUSMA deal, the new NAFTA, fails to include a fair dispute resolution process.
     Another huge problem is CUSMA's sunset clause. The sunset clause sets out formal reviews every six years and a termination clause in 16 years unless it is renegotiated. I, among many other Canadians, would like to know why we are not protecting long-term stability for our Canadian business.
    Dennis Darby, chief executive of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said, “With a five-year potential sword hanging over your head, I think what it's going to do is cause manufacturers to not invest and be really, really risk-averse."
     I would like to have on the record the shortcomings we see in the dairy section of this agreement. It would reduce Canadian dairy producers' access to the U.S. market at the same time opening the Canadian market to more U.S. milk products. This agreement dictates specific thresholds for Canadian exports of milk protein concentrates, skim milk powder and infant formula. If export thresholds are exceeded, Canada would add duties to the exports in excess to make them more expensive. It would also eliminate milk class 6 and milk class 7, which would affect dairy farms across Ontario and the country.
    Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said, “[T]he message sent to our passionate, proud and quality-conscious farmers and all the people who work in the dairy sector is clear: they are nothing more than a bargaining chip to satisfy President Trump.”
    I would like to take a minute to express my concerns with how the government is also handling the coronavirus crisis.
     When is the Liberal government going to start to outlining its plan to Canadians in the case of a possible pandemic? Expecting Canadians to stockpile supplies is simply not enough. All Canadians deserve to be reassured that the government is prepared to assist and support those affected by the virus. We need much more vigorous screening processes upon entry, mandatory quarantine for those who do enter from high-risk countries or potentially stopping incoming and outgoing flights from high-risk areas. The health and safety of all Canadians needs to be a top priority.
    Canada's Conservatives have offered repeatedly to expedite the new NAFTA deal in order to ensure swift ratification, but again, at every stage, the Liberals have chosen to play politics.
    The committee heard from a number of sectors that would be negatively impacted by CUSMA, and it is important the government is aware of those negative impacts so it can work to mitigate them.
     I want to reiterate for my friends on all sides of the House that the Conservatives support this legislation. We are the party of trade and we hope to see that continue.

  (1605)  

    Madam Speaker, in the last four-plus years, the government has spent a great deal of time and effort dealing with the issue of trade. We have signed agreements with the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Agreements have been signed with Ukraine and we have had other agreements with respect to the World Trade Organization. These are have really helped Canada's economy.
    I ask for my colleague's thoughts on the importance of trade to our nation, no matter what region of the country we live in. Today we are debating important trade legislation that will positively impact all Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I totally agree with my friend that trade, especially in our country where we produce more than we consume in a number of areas, is so important to how our economy functions.
    We need to be able to get our product out and we need to have access to the world market. However, we are seeing some challenges, especially in the oil and gas industry. We are seeing it in some of our agricultural products. We still have concerns on aluminum. Softwood lumber still has its problems. Investment in the oil and gas sector is leaving the country by the hundreds of millions of dollars.
    Although I agree with my friend across the way that trade is extremely important, and I congratulate the process moving forward, we need to talk about the shortcomings in this deal. Trade is a big piece of the economic puzzle, but unless we have the foundation correct, it is hard to attract investment and therefore increase business and economic capacity within the country.
    Madam Speaker, I have a quick question.
    I agree that this is not a perfect agreement. I think New Democrats all agree that it is not what we had hoped for. There is a lot in it that we like, but it is not a great agreement.
    One of the things that is most concerning to me is the way the negotiations happened. It was all done behind closed doors. Parliamentarians were not invited into that process. Nor were the citizens of Canada invited into the process. That is not how we would like to see trade negotiations go forward. We would like to see Canadians involved from the very beginning, not given a fait accompli at the end.
    Could you talk a little about whether a Conservative government would potentially also ensure that Canadians and parliamentarians would be involved in the process right off the bat?
    I am not going to respond to that. However, I want to remind the member that she is to address questions to the member through the Speaker.
    Madam Speaker, on previous trade deals, if we look back in time, many of us who were in this place at the time would remember that the former minister of international trade, the member for Abbotsford, regularly opened up his office to members of all parties who had questions or who wanted to see documents.
     I agree with my colleague that much of this deal was done in secret. Opposition parties had a very difficult time trying to access any kind of information. This is our job as parliamentarians. Our job is to analyze legislation. I know I had to find any text of this legislation on the U.S. government site.
    Absolutely, the Conservatives support ensuring that the information is out. I think our past record speaks to that. The member for Abbotsford did just that when he was negotiating trade deals.

  (1610)  

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Cumberland—Colchester.
    It is a great pleasure to rise in the House today in support of Bill C-4, the implementing legislation for the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, otherwise known as CUSMA.
    This agreement brings about the continued economic benefit to all parties and secures economic development and job opportunities by maintaining economic security, investment confidence and our dispute resolution and retaining existing access. The agreement provides key outcomes for Canadian businesses, workers and communities in areas such as labour, environment, automotive trade, dispute resolution, culture, energy, and agriculture and agri-food. Importantly, CUSMA also includes language on gender and indigenous peoples' rights.
    The new and modernized agreement includes Canada's most ambitious environmental chapter to date, completed by a new environmental co-operation agreement. The environment chapter of the new NAFTA introduces key measures, such as a new enforceable chapter on the environment that replaces the separate side agreement. It provides assurances to workers and businesses by ensuring that all three state parties are held to account. It makes dispute resolution more accessible by reducing the burden of proof for the complainant, and clarifies the relationship between the new trade agreement and domestic or multilateral environment agreements. Moreover, the amendments agreed to in December of last year strengthen the act's dispute settlement provision to make a good deal even better and ensure that robust obligations on the environment will be fully enforceable.
     It is the Government of Canada's priority to ensure that Canada's trade agreements not only advance our commercial interests, but also bring real benefits to all Canadian stakeholders. The environmental provisions support Canadian businesses by ensuring that trading partners enforce their environmental laws so that all parties operate on a level playing field.
    When NAFTA came into effect in 1994, it was the first free trade agreement to link the environment and trade through a comprehensive agreement. This agreement was called the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. Over the past quarter-century, officials and experts from all three countries have carried out co-operative projects through this agreement. By doing this, we have enhanced our shared capacity to address environmental challenges.
    Continuing with this tradition, the new NAFTA, or CUSMA, integrates comprehensive and ambitious environmental provisions directly into a dedicated environment chapter within the agreement, which is subject to provisions on dispute settlement that were not there before.
    The new NAFTA preserves the core obligations on environmental governance that were present in the original agreement. This includes commitments to pursue and maintain environmental stewardship, effectively enforce environmental laws and promote transparency, accountability and public participation. These measures reflect the importance we place on ensuring that open trade and environmental conservation go hand in hand.
    The new environment chapter includes commitments that go beyond what the original environmental co-operation agreement envisioned. State parties are no longer permitted to ignore environmental law to attract trade or investment and must also ensure that proper environmental impact assessments are carried out for projects with potential risks to the environment.
    The new NAFTA creates new commitments on a wide range of global environmental issues, such as illegal wildlife trade and illegal logging, management of fisheries, protection of the marine environment and the ozone layer, sustainable forestry, and the conservation of biological diversity and species at risk. It also includes new commitments aimed at strengthening the relationship between trade and environment, including the promotion of trade in environmental goods and services, responsible business conduct and voluntary mechanisms to enhance environmental performance.

  (1615)  

    For the first time in a free trade agreement, the new NAFTA includes articles on air quality and marine litter. It includes binding commitments prohibiting the practice of shark finning. It also recognizes the important role that indigenous people are playing in the ongoing stewardship of the environment, sustainable fisheries and forestry management, and biodiversity conservation.
    This agreement also provides for an environment consultation mechanism. Should state parties fail to resolve any environmental matter in a co-operative manner through various levels of consultation, including consultation at the ministerial level, a complainant may seek recourse through a broader formal dispute settlement. Additionally, trade sanctions may be imposed by an independent review panel, if needed, to ensure compliance with environmental obligations.
     Although 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 not only the federal level but also the provincial level.
    I mentioned earlier that the new NAFTA contains enhanced provisions to ensure enforceability. In December 2019, Canada, the United States and Mexico agreed to update certain elements of the agreement, including stronger environmental obligations. For example, state parties have committed to doing their part to implement multilateral environmental agreements that have been ratified domestically. The new NAFTA also provides better clarity on its relationship to these other environmental agreements.
    Canada, the United States and Mexico have negotiated a parallel environmental co-operation agreement that ensures a continuation of a trilateral co-operation, ministerial-level dialogue between parties and public engagement. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation will continue to operate with the support of a secretariat based in Montreal, a ministerial council that will continue to meet on an annual basis and a joint public advisory committee.
    The environmental co-operation agreement also allows the three countries to establish a work program in which they can develop co-operative activities on a broad range of issues. These include strengthening environmental governance; reducing pollution and supporting strong, low-emission and resilient economies; conserving and protecting biodiversity and habitats; supporting green growth and sustainable development; and promoting sustainable management and use of natural resources.
    Furthermore, 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. This committee's membership will be diverse and gender-balanced, and will reflect all segments of society by including representatives of non-governmental organizations, academia, the private sector, indigenous peoples, private citizens and youth.
    These measures highlight the importance of honouring our role as environmental stewards and upholding multilateral environmental standards.
    The issue of environmental conservation is of the utmost importance to the residents of my riding of Richmond Hill. While I was knocking on doors last summer, resident after resident raised the issue of environmental action and compliance as something that our government should prioritize. In fact, concern over the environment was second only to affordability as a key voter issue.
    In response to this feedback, my team and I have collaborated with environmental stakeholders and community groups, such as Blue Dot and Drawdown, and have held town halls to encourage public participation and give residents the opportunity to comment on how we can improve government programs and services.
    The Government of Canada is committed to bringing Canadian goods and services to international markets while maintaining our highest standards of environmental conservation and stewardship. We know this is possible, and we have a responsibility to do both at the same time. Under the new NAFTA and the parallel environmental co-operation agreement, Canada, the United States and Mexico have come together to ensure we are protecting our shared environment now and for future generations.
    I encourage all members of the House to support the bill so we can move it toward implementation.

  (1620)  

    Madam Speaker, I have a couple of questions about the environment and transboundary access for water control. The member said many things were established with respect to the environment. How do we control the air that goes across the border and the water that flows across the border, the transboundary water bodies like the Great Lakes? How is this tied up in CUSMA?
    Madam Speaker, for the bill and the programs, we brought together experts from the three countries through various committees to work together to make sure that elements such as water and air, where they cross borders, are taken into account.
    From my point of view, this is no different from the extended supply chain in NAFTA or CUSMA throughout the three jurisdictions. Our supply chain is integrated and the agreement preserves our access. Therefore, water and air could be considered as an extended supply chain of cleaner air, cleaner water and a cleaner environment.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    I really like taking preventive action. I am happy to learn that the new agreement includes measures dealing with the environment. However, I have to wonder whether the agreement provides for consequences if Mexico, Canada or the U.S. does not uphold its part.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, this is one of the areas we are proud of. Our dispute mechanism remained intact. It is through the dispute mechanism, if these commitments have not been met, that we have a venue to bring issues to the forefront for a discussion.
    I also talked about the parallel agreement that has been reached. Complainants now have the opportunity to use the dispute mechanism that is already in place and legislated to address issues.
    Madam Speaker, when the NDP called on the government to wait to ratify the first version of CUSMA so that the Democrats could improve it, the Deputy Prime Minister said, “what the NDP needs to understand is that reopening this agreement would be like opening Pandora's box.... It would be naive for the NDP to believe that Canadians would benefit from reopening this agreement.” However, the Liberals are very keen to brag about the improvements made by the U.S. Democrats.
    Why should Canadians believe that the Liberals had anything to do with the changes that increased protections for workers and guard against higher drug prices?
    Madam Speaker, this is a collaborative process and better is always possible. When there is an opportunity for amendments to come forward that meet the needs of all three parties and enhance the agreement, it is our responsibility to listen and incorporate them. In this case, we did listen and incorporate, and now we have the support of our government.
    I am hoping that all members across the aisle will support the bill, and hopefully some of the concerns will leave room for opportunities to address issues in the next round.

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the member for Vancouver East, Housing; the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay, Natural Resources; and the member for Elmwood—Transcona, International Trade.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to have the opportunity to speak to the new NAFTA for the second time in this House. I would like to discuss the benefits of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement for all Canadians. Guided by Canada's inclusive approach to trade, we have worked very hard from the beginning of negotiations to secure outcomes that would advance the interests of the Canadian middle class, small and medium-sized enterprises, women, indigenous peoples, and also to protect our most vulnerable residents.
     Historically, Canada has always been a trading nation. Canadian exports account for nearly one-third of our GDP. Imports help meet the needs of both Canadian businesses and consumers, providing both variety in consumer products and important inputs for industry. Canada has productive trading relationships with much of the world. Our government is working hard to support trade diversification and to have new and expanding markets.
    However, the United States is still our closest and largest trading partner, and the vast majority of goods that cross our common border do so tariff-free. Every day, $2.7 billion in trade and roughly 385,000 people cross the border between Canada and the United States. This exchange of goods, services and investments supports Canadian jobs, businesses and communities. Our close relationship underpins the prosperity of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    Our focus from the outset of negotiations was to preserve middle-class jobs and foster economic growth. Small and medium-sized businesses, or SMEs, are the backbone of the Canadian economy, employing nearly 10.7 million Canadians in 2018. This represents about 90% of the private sector labour force.
     Among Canadian firms that exported goods to the United States, 96.2% were small and medium-sized businesses, which together accounted for over $145 billion in exports. Among those that exported goods to Mexico the same year, just over 88% were small and medium-sized firms, which accounted for a total value of $2.6 billion in exports.
    The new NAFTA would preserve Canada's tariff-free access to our most important market. This is vital for our SMEs that rely on North America's integrated supply chains and its almost 490 million customers. By preserving this important tariff-free access, the agreement provides predictability and stability for those nearly 10.7 million Canadians employed by SMEs that depend on trade. This enables SMEs to continue to strive and to contribute to the Canadian economy in communities right across this country.
    The agreement also preserves the NAFTA binational panel dispute settlement mechanism, retaining our access to an independent and impartial process to challenge anti-dumping and countervailing duties. This has been particularly important to Canadian companies producing softwood lumber products for export to the United States and the 187,000 workers in the forestry sector. As somebody who is from the northern region of Nova Scotia, I see the effects of this in my riding.
    While softwood lumber continues to benefit from duty-free treatment under the new NAFTA, we recognize there is a long history of the U.S. industry bringing forward anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations against Canadian softwood lumber products. Our success in maintaining the dispute settlement mechanism means that Canada could continue to bring challenges against any unwarranted or unfair duties in order to seek their removal and the reimbursement to Canadian exporters of duties that have been paid.
    I am very glad to also see this new agreement preserves the general exception for our cultural industries, which employ over 665,000 people across the country.

  (1630)  

    Our creative economy is so important. Going forward with the green economy and the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century, it helps us to create content that will be seen all around the world and really show off our country. Our success in maintaining the dispute settlement mechanism means that we can continue to challenge any of these unwarranted examples and challenges to our cultural industries as well. They are integral to our linguistic and cultural identity and they ensure our capacity as Canadians to be able to tell our own stories.
    One of Canada's goals is to better reflect the trade interests of indigenous peoples in trade negotiations. To that end, the Government of Canada undertook extensive engagement with indigenous leaders, representatives, proprietors of indigenous-owned businesses and policy experts to better understand their trade interests and to seek input on priorities for the negotiations.
    We have also retained policy flexibility to provide preferential treatment for indigenous peoples and indigenous-owned businesses, including in the areas of services, investment, government procurement, environment and state-owned enterprises. This means that Canada will maintain its ability to create procurement programs that support small and minority-owned businesses, including indigenous-owned businesses.
    The new agreement will support all Canadian businesses, including SMEs, by ensuring continued access to the U.S. and Mexican markets. It will update the rules of trade within North America, making it easier for Canadian companies to do business, including through streamlined customs and origin procedures and greater transparency in government regulations in a wide range of sectors. For instance, new customs and trade facilitation measures will make it easier for companies to move goods across the border, including reducing paper processes and providing a single portal to submit import documentation electronically.
    SMEs stand to benefit to a greater extent from such measures, as they may not have the same resources as larger firms and they have to address challenges when operating across borders. Improvements made on dispute settlement, including labour rights, will also be very important for our SMEs, as it will help ensure effective implementation of the agreement and a more level playing field. This way, SMEs may find themselves to be more competitive and have market opportunities that were not accessible to them under NAFTA.
    The new NAFTA also includes a chapter on SMEs that will foster co-operation among the parties in order to increase trade and investment opportunities. This includes capacity building and promotion activities to support SMEs owned by under-represented groups. The agreement recognizes that these groups may benefit from strengthened collaboration on SME promotion activities designed to increase their participation in international trade.
    The agreement includes requirements to make information available for SMEs that is specifically tailored for their interests, including information on entrepreneurship, education programs for youth and under-represented groups, as well as information on obligations in the agreement that are particularly relevant to SMEs.
    The agreement establishes an annual trilateral dialogue, which provides SMEs with an opportunity to collaborate in addressing any issue that could impact them in the future. The dialogue enables participation of representatives from private sector employees, non-government organizations, unions and other experts, thus ensuring diverse perspectives, which is so important on issues related to the agreement that are relevant to SMEs. By doing so, the new NAFTA will give a voice to Canadian SMEs and facilitate discussions on issues that matter to them.
    Let me conclude by highlighting once again that we have worked very hard to ensure that this new agreement will be of benefit to all Canadians, including middle-class workers, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as traditionally under-represented groups such as women and indigenous peoples.
    I am proud to say that we have achieved our objective. We have made important progress toward elevating standards and benefits for all Canadians, and for that I am grateful.

  (1635)  

    Madam Speaker, I am anticipating that the Conservative Party will be supporting the bill, but there is a lot of concern with the dithering of the Liberal government. We were basically taken to the cleaners. The U.S. was never really focused on Canada. It was focused on Mexico. We could have had a deal that was a lot more beneficial to Canadian interests than what has been signed.
    The member opposite talked about softwood lumber in the Maritimes, but this has proven to be a disaster in British Columbia with mills closing down throughout the province, including in my community of Maple Ridge where a 100-year-old mill, which was still very modern, has closed down.
    My question is, although this deal is better than no deal, would the member acknowledge that we could have done a lot better than what it actually turned out to be, which is what the U.S. Congress said—
    I am sorry, but we have to allow for other questions.
    Members should take note of the signs that I am giving and pose their question when they see that I am telling them to hurry up.
    The hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester.
    Madam Speaker, I would say to the member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge that I feel his pain regarding mills closing. In Nova Scotia several mills have also closed over the last 10 years for various reasons. It is never easy and it is very difficult for workers and union workers. However, I do not believe that it necessarily has anything to do with this particular deal. It has to do with the changing times and with businesses, oftentimes American businesses operating in Canada, going out of business.
    One of the things I would say to the member is that I believe that this government did the very best it could under trying circumstances, and being forced into having to do a new NAFTA in the first place. I have to take my hat off to our Deputy Prime Minister for her hard work on this file.
    Madam Speaker, the member talked about the Deputy Prime Minister's approach to this trade deal. The Liberals say that this is the best we can get despite the circumstances.
    When negotiations were entered into on this deal, the Liberals were happy with the original NAFTA. They did not want to renegotiate; they wanted the original deal. Then the first version of CUSMA was the best deal we could get. Now the latest version is the best deal we can get. Canadians are wondering how hard their government drove in terms of getting a good deal for Canadians at the negotiating table when the government has been satisfied every step of the way.
    Is that the approach of the government on the softwood lumber agreement, saying to the people of B.C., “This is the best we can do”? Mills are closing and people are out of work. The government needs to take a better and stronger approach when it comes to these trade deals.
    Madam Speaker, as a former New Democrat, I know what it is like to be at the negotiating table.
    We have to do the best we can do, no matter what we have or what is being offered. Of course we are going to say it is the best deal we can get. I mean, that is part of the trading deals that we do.
    However, I have to remind people that pulp mills have been closing for the past 10 years. On one day, the day that Jack Layton died, two pulp mills closed in Nova Scotia. It was one of the most difficult days for our New Democrat government. We had to deal with Jack Layton's death and the closure of two pulp mills, and that was several years ago, long before this trade deal was ever a twinkling in Donald Trump's eye.

  (1640)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, it has now been several weeks since Bill C-4, an act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, was introduced.
    It is becoming increasingly clear that this agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico has some serious consequences for Canada's and Quebec's economies. It is simple. Under this agreement, our exports to the United States will decrease and our imports from our neighbours to the south will increase. As a result, the United States will diminish Canada's industrial activity, shifting this activity to its own cities and towns. The C.D. Howe Institute's most recent study estimates that Canada's GDP will take a $14-billion hit. That is worrisome.
    Agriculture in Canada, and especially in Quebec, will be one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy. It will lose a significant portion of its market share to the United States. This is not to mention all the other trade benefits and legal advantages in terms of copyright, intellectual property, trademarks and data protection that the United Stat