Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
2019-06-19 21:33 [p.29442]
Mr. Speaker, sometimes I wonder if the NDP would like no trade agreements, without regard for the consequences.
The hon. member, who gave a very eloquent speech, described the USMCA as “something on trade”, forgetting that it was an arduous negotiation that was carried out wonderfully by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the government.
However, I would like to go back to the extension of pharmaceutical patents. I would accept the hon. member's point if we were talking about traditional drugs. In the case of traditional drugs, generics are ready to pounce the moment a patent is lifted, but we are talking about biologics and biosimilars, which are the generic versions of biologics.
All experts agree that the barriers to entry into the biosimilars market are extremely high, because we are dealing with extremely complex drugs. The notion that patent extensions may be having an impact really is moot, because the barriers to entry will prevent biosimilars from quickly entering the market when there are no patent protections.
It is not really a proper parallel to make. It is alarming Canadians for no reason. Could the member comment on that?
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-06-19 21:34 [p.29442]
Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member does not have an issue with what I am saying, but I think he should talk to the PBO.
The member for Vancouver Kingsway initiated a study on the new CUSMA with the PBO, and when the report came back, the PBO estimated that the increased drug costs would be $169 million in the first year alone.
I would encourage the member to look at that report from the PBO. I thank the PBO for the work that they have done throughout this Parliament. Certainly they have shone a light on things that the Liberal government does not want Canadians to know or understand. I would encourage the member to go and read that study. I would encourage Canadians to do the same.
I would say that the pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity in Canada is operated by the generic pharmaceutical industry, and there are about 11,000 Canadians who work in the industry. However, the true question is, if we could remove that regressive provision—because the member is saying, “Do not worry; it is not going to impact us”—as they are attempting to do in the U.S., would the Liberals not support that? That is the true question.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-06-19 21:36 [p.29442]
Mr. Speaker, when I hear the member speak, I think of her riding and the amount of time I have spent in the automotive industry, working on automation applications on tier 2s and tier 3s and also going on to tier 1s.
I want to correct one thing for the record. In terms of the labour value content, it states that 40% of a passenger vehicle and 45% of a pickup or cargo vehicle must be made by hourly workers who earn a wage of $16 U.S. an hour or more. There are other provisions in terms of R and D credits and credits for high labour value areas.
I have seen the automotive industry go up and down over the years. Usually it was the exchange rate that put us out of work, or it was changes in technology. Right now, we have really good conditions for the automotive industry, with the lowest marginal effective tax rate in the G7, 13.8%, and 100% writedown of investments on buildings when we are trying to green buildings. As well, our exchange rate is very stable where it is, so things should look pretty good for Windsor.
Could the member comment on any positive things that she sees developing in the automotive industry in Windsor?
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-06-19 21:37 [p.29443]
Mr. Speaker, I would have to say that the concern that auto workers have and the concern that the auto industry has is that the 2.5% tariff rate on auto and auto parts is not prohibitive enough for companies to actually want to reach this level.
We have watched 400,000 manufacturing jobs bleed out of our country. We cannot attract investment into auto because we are competing on such an unfair playing field. The things that have been established here are easy enough for companies to get over and to pay the 2.5%.
What the member is really asking is for southwestern Ontario auto workers and manufacturing workers across our country to take a chance that what has been established here will work in practice. It is a best guess whether or not the provisions here will actually end up being meaningful, and I have to say that these provisions are not even fully fleshed out yet. We do not even have the details of exactly what they will look at.
That is also a piece that is very concerning, because there are ministerial powers that have been written into the new CUSMA. The Liberals would like to say, “Do not worry; if something happens, the minister of the day will be able to override it, or cabinet will be able to override it.” Why should we trust that they are going to go and put these provisions in after the fact? If the deal is so good—
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2019-06-19 21:39 [p.29443]
Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to say this as we close out the debate at second reading on this very important bill, Bill C-100. This bill will enable us to take the next steps toward ratification of one of the most important and progressive trade agreements that has ever been negotiated anywhere in the world.
We went into this discussion with three primary objectives: first, to preserve important NAFTA provisions and market access to $2 billion worth of trade into the U.S. and Mexico every day; second, to modernize and improve the agreement to make it a better agreement than NAFTA; and third, to reinforce the security and stability of market access into the U.S. and Mexico for Canadian businesses. Those were the objectives, and that is what we accomplished.
I want to take a moment to commend our Prime Minister, who has a spine of steel when it comes to these sorts of issues, and our formidable Minister of Foreign Affairs, because no one can negotiate anything in the world like she can. I want to thank her parliamentary secretary, the member for Orléans, who was engaged in this process, as well as the trade negotiators, the officials, and the members of opposition parties who were engaged in the council that did this work, which is really groundbreaking work to make a difference for Canadian labour, indigenous Canadians and workers in every sector to make sure our businesses remain competitive while we continue to grow them and have access to markets in the United States and around the world with the most diverse trading program that any country has ever developed.
One issue I want to spend a bit of time on, because there has been so much misinformation tonight, is with respect to biologics and patent protection, which was negotiated as part of this whole deal.
I want to be clear about this. There are pharmaceutical drugs that are compounds created from atoms being compounded to each other to create the drugs we know so well. Of the drugs that people in this room take, 95% are those kinds of drugs, while 5% of the medications we take are biologics. These are created from living organisms in a living organism and are extremely complex and expensive to make.
My career for four years as president of the Asthma Society of Canada led me to understand the very complex way that biologics are created. On the one hand, drugs made from compounds are generic drugs that are relatively easy to create and are exactly the same as the original drug. However, a biologic will never be replicated exactly. They are biosimilars. At times, I jokingly call them “bio-differents”, because they are different. They are extremely expensive to replicate, and most companies do not want to do it.
I am really glad some people are listening to this. The reality is that a biologic drug, if we have 10 years of protection for it, most likely will be replaced by another biologic. That is the way that the industry works.
I am not simply saying we do not need to worry about this because I am, on this side of the House, arguing for this trade agreement; I am arguing this because we have a very high stake in targeted medicine and in ensuring that Canadians have access to the biologics that are part of our medical care system.
I have heard various numbers quoted, which are mathematical calculations without any nuance whatsoever. When Amir Attaran, a professor at the University of Ottawa, a biomedical scientist and a lawyer, looked at everything we are doing, he recognized it is going to be a wash. We are changing regulations on the PMPRB, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. We are obviously committed to a pharmacare system that we can see is being developed through the early steps taken in this budget. We are moving on these issues.
I would ask every member of this House to commit themselves to the science, the creativity and the imagination that goes into our pharmaceutical industry. Quit beating up on big pharma.
I have taken on big pharma as part of a patient organization to ensure that Canadians have access to medication. I am not afraid of big pharma; I am respectful of pharmaceutical scientists and the companies that bring us the medications that, frankly, keep me alive. I need those medications and I am glad they are there. NAFTA will ensure that there is moderate protection, either under the 20 years as a drug or the 10 years as a biologic.
This is not something that is scientific. It is an embarrassment that some people in the House are misusing this idea to scare Canadians. The reality is that we have a progressive trade deal. It is the most progressive and inclusive trade deal to involve indigenous people. It has labour standards that are progressive and will become a worldwide model. We have a deal that will make sure that as Canadians move into the rest of the century, we will be effective and competitive.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-19 21:45 [p.29444]
It being 9:43 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Thursday, June 13, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.
The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion, the nays have it.
And five or more members having risen:
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to an order made on Tuesday, May 28, the division stands deferred until Thursday, June 20, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.
View Leona Alleslev Profile
Mr. Speaker, it has become obvious the Prime Minister is not taken seriously on the world stage. While the Liberals try to justify his disastrous foreign diplomacy, the Prime Minister inevitably makes another misstep that further erodes Canada's reputation. The result is that Canada has never been more alone.
Canada's economy and prosperity depend on trade and trade is all about relationships. Failed diplomacy is failed trade. That is why this meeting with the U.S. President this week is important. It is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to repair a strained relationship and advance Canada's interests.
Canadians imprisoned in China, softwood lumber, a guarantee of no new U.S. national security tariffs, improved defence and security, and Canada's Arctic sovereignty must all be addressed. Canada and the United States must resolve our differences and unite to face the common threats to our freedom and democracy.
Canada needs a Prime Minister who will rise to the challenge in Washington. There is much at stake.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
Mr. Speaker, in March 2016, the Prime Minister promised to resolve the softwood lumber dispute. He said, “I’m confident that we are on a track towards resolving this irritant in the coming weeks and month.” That was three years ago. Yesterday, the third mill in my riding in two weeks closed its doors.
The Liberals have lots of time for their millionaire friends, but when it comes to B.C. workers, they cannot lift a finger.
Will the Prime Minister finally make good on his promise to resolve the softwood lumber dispute and save jobs?
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2019-06-18 15:07 [p.29312]
Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, the Conservatives simply do not know what they are talking about on this issue. Our government saw the consequences of the wretched quota deal the Conservatives accepted on softwood lumber, which is why we refused to accept the tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum.
We are continuing our legal challenges against the U.S. softwood duties through NAFTA, through the WTO, where Canadian softwood has always won in the past.
Our government will always defend Canadian workers and Canadian industry.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-06-18 20:46 [p.29354]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here once more in the House of Commons with all of my colleagues to talk about the benefits of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement for all Canadians.
In keeping with Canada's inclusive approach to trade, we have worked very hard since the negotiations began to get results that will advance the interests of Canada's middle class, small and medium-sized enterprises, women, indigenous peoples and entrepreneurs. The cultural exemption is also particularly important to me.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Ms. Linda Lapointe: Mr. Speaker, the members are talking very loudly, and it is bothering me.
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-06-18 20:48 [p.29354]
Mr. Speaker, thank you for making sure everyone is listening. The agreement we are discussing is very important.
We worked hard to secure a good deal that will benefit all Canadians. For example, the provisions that protect women's rights, minority rights and indigenous rights are the strongest in any Canadian trade agreement to date. This includes obligations with respect to the elimination of employment discrimination based on gender. The new NAFTA is also the first international trade agreement that recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination in its labour chapter.
I would add that, from the very beginning of the negotiation process, we emphasized the need to protect middle-class jobs and support economic growth. The vast majority of Canadian businesses are SMEs. They employ over 10.5 million Canadians, accounting for about 90% of the private sector workforce. The new agreement will help these Canadian businesses by giving them access to the U.S. and Mexican markets and promoting collaboration between the parties to create more opportunities for trade and investment.
During the 42nd Parliament, I had the honour and privilege of being a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade for two and a half years. The agreements that we signed include CETA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, the agreement with the United States and Mexico is very important. The committee and parliamentarians worked very hard to move forward on this file, which is of vital importance to Canada. CUSMA includes a chapter on SMEs designed to complement the other commitments made throughout the agreement. It includes requirements to make available information that is specifically tailored to SMEs, including information on entrepreneurship, education programs for youth and under-represented groups, and information on obligations in the agreement that are particularly relevant to SMEs.
CUSMA also provides SMEs with an opportunity to collaborate in addressing any issue that could impact them in the future. In my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, which includes Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère, SMEs are the main employers. The new agreement establishes a committee on SME issues and an annual trilateral SME dialogue that brings together representatives of private sector employees, non-governmental organizations and other experts to discuss issues pertaining to the agreement that are relevant to SMEs. By doing so, CUSMA will give a voice to Canadian SMEs and facilitate discussions on issues that matter to them.
In keeping with our commitment to adopting an inclusive approach to trade, Canada carefully considered the interests of indigenous peoples throughout the negotiations. The Government of Canada is determined to advance the process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples through a renewed nation-to-nation relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect and co-operation. Given the efforts made by Canada to renew this relationship, one of Canada's objectives is to better advocate for the commercial interests of indigenous peoples. To that end, the Government of Canada has undertaken a vast consultation with chiefs and indigenous representatives and also with businesses and experts to better understand their commercial interests and obtain their advice on the priorities for the negotiations.
For the first time in a Canadian free trade agreement, the CUSMA includes a general exception that clearly states that the government can adopt or maintain measures it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations towards indigenous peoples. This exception is a testament to the commitment by all three countries to ensure that the agreement's obligations do not interfere with a country's legal obligations towards indigenous peoples.
We are proud to have made indigenous peoples the focus of the NAFTA renegotiations. As National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations said, the new NAFTA's provisions addressing indigenous peoples make this most inclusive international trade agreement for indigenous peoples to date. The provisions will uphold the ancestral, inherent and treaty rights of first nations.
Furthermore, we are proud to have included a chapter on the environment in lieu of the side letter to the original NAFTA.
The chapter on the environment recognizes the important role indigenous peoples play in long-term environmental and biodiversity conservation, as well as sustainable fishing and forestry. The environmental provisions also take into account the rights of indigenous peoples under the Constitution for the use and development of natural resources.
Finally, for the first time in a Canadian free trade agreement, the preamble recognizes how important it is for indigenous peoples to participate more in trade and investment decisions. In addition to achieving results for SMEs, indigenous peoples and, of course, the cultural exemption, Canada has made gender equality and women's empowerment top priorities.
For instance, the labour chapter levels the playing field when it comes to labour standards and working conditions in North America, and includes commitments to ensure that national laws and policies provide protections for fundamental principles and rights at work. This includes provisions on non-discrimination in the workplace, including gender discrimination. It also includes provisions that encourage the adoption of programs and policies to tackle barriers to the full participation of women in the workforce. The agreement supports co-operative activities dealing with questions on gender issues in the workplace, particularly gender equality.
The investment chapter includes a special provision that reaffirms the importance of encouraging businesses to uphold standards of corporate social responsibility, including those that apply to gender equality.
The chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises encourages the parties to collaborate on activities that will maximize trade opportunities for SMEs owned by women and promote their participation in international trade. Taken together, the agreement's provisions on equality address the issue directly.
I have to say a few words about the cultural exemption. I remember the Standing Committee on International Trade's trip to Washington. When I said that Canada has over eight million French speakers, they had no idea what I was talking about. That is why the cultural exemption is so important. It affects the cultural industry and means that Canada will still be able to create and maintain programs and policies that support our thriving cultural industries. The industry represents 75,000 jobs in Quebec, and culture represents 2.7% of our GDP and 3.6% of all jobs in Canada. That was a very important gain, and I am very proud of it.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that we worked incredibly hard to make sure the new agreement benefits Canadians, and not just middle-class workers and small businesses, but traditionally under-represented groups, such as women and indigenous peoples, too.
As I said, the cultural exemption was very important, and I can proudly say that our goals were met. We made significant progress in improving standards and benefits for all Canadians.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-18 20:57 [p.29355]
Mr. Speaker, one of the problems with the agreement has to do with its impact on supply management. Farmers from across Canada are looking at the concessions that were made to the Americans on dairy and other products.
In New Westminster, I am seeing American milk on the shelves for the first time in my life. That milk is cheap because it contains ingredients like bovine growth hormone. Generally speaking, the quality of that milk is not as good, but it puts consumers in a difficult position because it costs less.
The question I want to ask my colleague is very simple. Why did Canada and the government make so many concessions with regard to supply management? They are undermining all of our existing supply managed products.
What is more, why did they not offer dairy farmers the kind of compensation they should be able to expect from a government that supports them?
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-06-18 20:58 [p.29355]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer my colleague's question about supply management. That issue is very important to me. We have heard a lot of talk about supply management in Quebec. However, from what dairy and poultry farmers are telling me, they are very satisfied.
It is important to remember that there are also new opportunities available. Take, for example, refined sugar and margarine. Markets are opening up. We are able to go there.
I would like my NDP colleague, who often speaks about international trade, to tell me whether there is an agreement, other than the one between Canada and Ukraine, that the NDP would have accepted. They do not think any agreement is good enough.
As for the official opposition, they were willing to accept any agreement as quickly as possible. They thought it we should just take whatever we could get without any negotiation.
View Peter Julian Profile
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-18 20:59 [p.29356]
Mr. Speaker, I asked a question. It would have been enough to answer me, but as usual the Liberal government prefers to attack the NDP.
As far as trade agreements are concerned, the NDP has always supported trade agreements that are fair, while the Conservatives and Liberals never talk about fair trade agreements. They are more interested in agreements that leave a lot to be desired for Canada and Canadians.
I am very pleased that my colleague mentioned that the NDP is the only party that supports trade agreements that are fair. It is the only party. As usual, the old parties are prepared to sign anything at any price. We have always advocated for evaluating agreements to see what we are gaining and what we are losing, in order to have trade where everyone wins, a fair trade agreement. The Liberals have never offered a single—
View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-06-18 21:01 [p.29356]
Madam Speaker, I find that interesting, but he still has not said what kind of agreement they would have accepted.
We have faith in our farmers and in all those who work in the agri-food sector. Furthermore, the free trade agreement that we will sign with Mexico and the United States offers plenty of opportunities. Quebec excels in producing fine cheeses. Do members know that the best Camembert in the world comes from Quebec? We can export it. We are developing markets. It is simply a matter of seeking opportunities and selling our products.
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