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Results: 1 - 15 of 21
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-06-10 18:56 [p.28848]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians have really felt the headwinds against trade. Canada, as a trading nation, looks to opportunities to have the high standard of living and prosperity that comes with trade. At the same time, with these headwinds, we feel a lot of uncertainty. Business leaders in my province feel this uncertainty.
How would the bill bring some certainty to the issues around steel and aluminum tariffs and for this industry, so Canadians know they can move into the summer season with confidence that there will be less uncertainty in trade with these commodities?
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-02-08 12:55 [p.25467]
Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to speak today on the motion before the House. It calls on the government to take the necessary legislative steps to ratify the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, or CIFTA. I encourage the entire House to support it.
CIFTA is now a modern, forward-looking trade agreement that will better serve the sophisticated Canada-Israel trade relationship, while seeking to ensure that benefits are more widely shared by both Canadians and Israelis.
Our government has said from day one that trade and open markets are vital for Canada's economic prosperity. Earlier, the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook elaborated on that. Canada is a trading nation, and we know that increased trade means more and better-paying jobs for Canadians.
Why modernize CIFTA if we have already been doing so well? Canada and Israel already enjoy a rich and fruitful commercial relationship. Since CIFTA came into force over two decades ago, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Israel has more than tripled, totalling $1.7 billion last year. However, as there was room to grow and deepen the commercial relationship, we made changes.
Israel's economy has significant potential and offers diverse commercial opportunities for Canadian businesses, given its well-educated population, solid industrial and scientific base and productive natural resources sectors. By providing expanded market access and more predictable trading conditions, the modernized CIFTA will enable Canadian companies to take meaningful advantage of these opportunities. This is why Bill C-85 is so important.
Israel is a good partner in trade, and we should capitalize on these additional opportunities for business. I will elaborate further on this point by turning to how this agreement will tangibly translate into real benefits for Canadian businesses.
Once the agreement is in force, close to 100% of all current Canadian agriculture, agri-food and seafood exports to Israel will benefit from some form of preferential tariff treatment. This is up from the current level of 90%. That is great for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the fishery, and also for people in the agri-food sector. This will generate benefits for Canadian companies in areas such as agriculture and agri-food, including products such as cranberries, baked goods, pet food, wine, fruit and fish and seafood.
Meaningful market access for Canadian agriculture and agri-food processors was a key interest in these negotiations, and the Government of Canada delivered by obtaining unlimited duty-free access for sweetened and dried cranberries, which currently have a 12% tariff; baked goods, which are currently tariffed up to 8%; and pet food, which currently has a tariff of 4%. These important tariff outcomes for the agriculture and agri-food sector place Canada on a more level playing field with exporters from the United States and the European Union, which are key competitors in this sector as we try to build our trading relationship with Israel.
This agreement will also give Canadian companies a leg up on competitors in other countries that do not have a free trade agreement with Israel. In exchange, Canada agreed to eliminate tariffs on certain targeted Israeli agriculture and agri-food imports, such as certain fish, certain nuts, some tropical fruits and certain oils.
I am pleased that the negotiated outcome has the support of key Canadian agricultural stakeholders, including Pulse Canada, the Canola Council of Canada, the Canadian Vintners Association and companies involved in the processing of potatoes, cranberries, soybeans and pet food. I am sure my colleagues from Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick will appreciate that as well.
In Newfoundland, there is a little-known winery in Whitbourne called Rodrigues Winery. It is in area of the province that is shared by the member for Avalon and the member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity. There, kosher-certified berry wines are produced, and they appear on shelves in Israel. Agreements like these benefit companies like Rodrigues Winery by providing access to the market in Israel and by keeping the trade relationship between our countries strong.
This modernized agreement and the benefits it provides will be an important tool for a sector that makes a tremendous contribution to the Canadian economy from coast to coast. Successful trade provides for good employment opportunities, and with one in six Canadian jobs linked directly to exports, we are deeply committed to growing trade with this nation and expanding the pie for all Canadians.
Interestingly, for online retailers and service providers, including those in my riding, such as Eclipse Stores, the agreement also includes commitments by Canada and Israel not to levy customs duties or other charges on digital products that are transmitted electronically.
When I first saw this note, I had some concerns about the relevant paragraphs, so I sought some advice from the department regarding what this meant and how it might affect the playing field between local and foreign retailers. I was assured that paragraph 2 in article 9.2 outlines that the moratorium on customs duties applied to digital products transmitted electronically does not preclude a party from imposing internal taxes or other internal charges, such as value-added taxes. I know that is important to some of my constituents.
These are a few opportunities that the modernized CIFTA would provide.
I would like to speak on some of the more important aspects of the government's trade agenda, which aims to ensure that these opportunities are more widely shared among Canadians. This is our inclusive trade partnership agenda.
A priority for this government is our inclusive approach to trade. Simply put, we believe that everyone should benefit from and participate in the opportunities that come from increased trade and investment. We demonstrated that with the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union and with the CPTPP, and we are also demonstrating it with this modernized agreement.
The modernized CIFTA incorporates several key inclusive trade elements. These features will help to ensure that economic gains complement important Canadian values and priorities, such as support for environmental protection and labour rights.
I appreciate some of the comments from members on the other side of the House from the New Democratic Party, who raised some issues about extending these benefits further. However, I believe we strike a good negotiated solution in the Canada-Israel relationship.
These trade elements also help to ensure everyone benefits from and can participate in the opportunities that flow from the agreement. The addition of these inclusive and forward-thinking trade elements signals a commitment from both Canada and Israel to create the right conditions for trade in our modern economies.
There are also additional resources for business. In order for the benefits of free trade agreements to be fully realized, Canadian businesses need to be aware of the agreements and the benefits they offer. Accordingly, the Prime Minister of Canada has mandated the Minister of International Trade Diversification to provide support to Canadian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that flow after trade agreements are signed, including by drawing on resources from across government and from public and private sector partners. In this regard, Global Affairs Canada has mobilized a free trade agreement promotion task force that is undertaking a comprehensive outreach and training program within the business community. Work on these leading agreements is scheduled to take place across Canada in early 2019 so that the task force can focus on the CETA with the European Union, the CPTPP and the implementing legislation that is currently before Parliament.
In addition, Canadian companies can access the free services and export advice provided by the trade commissioner service, the TCS. The TCS helps Canadian companies export by preparing businesses for international markets. I encourage all members of Parliament to encourage businesses that are exporting to take advantage of this service.
Online resources, such as the step-by-step guide to exporting, have also been developed to ensure that Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises from across the country can benefit.
In conclusion, trade is, at the end of the day, about the relationships between people, the opportunity to share in our common prosperity and to work together to create larger, more interesting markets. Canada's strong friendship and partnership with Israel spans 70 years and stretches back even farther, 250 years, to the arrival of the first Jewish settlers to Canada, the first of successive waves of immigrants who would leave lasting and indelible impressions on the fabric of our Canadian society, economy and political landscape.
Today there are more than 350,000 Canadians of Jewish faith and heritage in Canada. They are an important source of information and support in the political and commercial spheres for both Canada and Israel, and they are also good friends. There are also approximately 20,000 Canadians currently living and working in Israel. Such deep ties are important for many reasons. Strong trade relationships depend on people-to-people relationships, which Canada and Israel have in abundance, and they also create peace.
In St. John's East, I grew up just five doors down from our synagogue. People might not realize St. John's has a synagogue, but it does. It once had a very strong and thriving Jewish community, and now it has a strong but smaller one, since, like many other Newfoundlanders, many people have moved away.
My grade nine French teacher, Ms. Frankel-Slama, was one of the best French teachers I ever had, and she is Jewish.
I also want to mention my roommate, Jono Kalles, who organized cultural exchanges between Canada and Israel for many years. I never had the opportunity to go to Israel or Palestine with him, but I have heard other MPs say they had a chance to go so they could make their own contribution to maintaining good relations between our countries.
I would encourage all members to support Bill C-85 to help us accomplish that and a great deal more in the years to come.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-02-08 13:07 [p.25469]
Mr. Speaker, we have wonderful ties with Israel. Of course, negotiated relationships between countries happen over a long period of time. It is important to always remember that different parties are going to be able accomplish different things with different countries at different times. When I was in Europe in October of 2016, it seemed to me that the time was right for a Liberal Party to help improve the relationship with Europe.
From the member's comments, it sounds like when the Conservatives were in office, they had a very good opportunity to work closely with Israel to help bring this relationship forward. Inter-country relationships happen over decades, and hopefully over centuries. I thank my hon. colleague for the work his party did to bring us to this stage.
I am sure that if the member had allowed some of our other legislation to get through the House more quickly, we could have dealt with this legislation more quickly. However, I am glad to hear that two parties are in favour of it now and that the relationship can be strengthened. I know that we were close in getting the third party there, but as our Prime Minister likes to say, better is always possible.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-02-08 13:09 [p.25469]
Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned in my speech, many companies sell their fisheries and agricultural products around the world. I am thinking of Rodrigues Winery in Whitbourne. This winery is not in my riding, but is located nearby in the riding of the member for Avalon. It sells kosher-certified berry wines.
It is not just for those products that we are expanding our business opportunities in Israel. We are also buying Israeli goods. Our two countries are establishing new partnerships, corporations and businesses thanks to these new relationships.
There are many ways to do this, directly through the sale of goods or by strengthening ties between the people and businesses of both our countries.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, the member tied pricing on pollution and carbon issues with the amendment or the bringing forward of the agreement. Israel's green tax reform is successfully shifting demand toward less polluting vehicles, proving the efficiency of economic incentives in changing behaviour. I wonder how much the member vehemently disagrees with Israel's successful green tax on vehicles.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2018-09-18 16:44 [p.21509]
Madam Speaker, the member spoke about losing jobs and the risk of the unemployment statistics. The unemployment rate in my home province is 16%.
Ocean Choice International is a company located in my riding that employs hundreds of middle-class workers. This company sees the trade agreement as a good thing. It exports some 100 million pounds of product to 35 different countries. CETA enabled it to increase its volume to that point.
I wonder if the member could comment on why this company should be held back from increasing its volume through this agreement as well.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2018-09-17 15:34 [p.21425]
Madam Speaker, I hope my colleague's speech will encourage the ratification of the CPTPP.
I want to ask him a question about the benefits to the middle class and those working hard to join it. I will add to that by talking about what the CETA agreement did for businesses in my riding. Ocean Choice International is a fish processing company that exports almost 100 million pounds of fish to 35 different countries. It told me that the CETA agreement made a big difference to it in accessing those markets and opening doors. That business creates hundreds of middle-class jobs.
Could the member comment on what this agreement will do in creating middle-class jobs and those working hard to join it?
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2018-09-17 15:39 [p.21425]
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.
I am pleased to have the opportunity today to speak in favour of Bill C-79, an act to implement the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership between Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The CPTPP, as this historic trade agreement is now known, would benefit Canadians from coast to coast to coast and across all sectors of our economy.
Through the CPTPP, our government is demonstrating our commitment to growing our economy and strengthening the middle class by expanding and diversifying Canada's trade and investment relations. Canada as a nation builds on trade and as a medium-sized economy, trade is fundamental to our continued prosperity and economic growth.
While Asia has more than doubled in importance as a destination for Canadian goods and services since the turn of the century, Canada has lost market share to our competitors that have pursued closer integration with the region's fastest growing economies. The CPTPP will help remedy this. It will be the cornerstone agreement for Canada to diversify our trade and investment toward Asia and enhance our export presence in the region.
The 11 CPTPP members represent a total of 495 million consumers and 13.5% of global GDP. Canada's exports to our CPTPP partners totalled nearly $27 billion in 2017. The CPTPP would provide Canadians with the tremendous opportunity to continue to expand their business in Asia.
Trade has long been a powerful engine that drives the Canadian economy. Canadian jobs and prosperity depend heavily on our connectivity with other countries around the world. In fact, one in five jobs in Canada is related to exports, while Canadian exports amount to nearly one-third of Canada's GDP.
Opening borders to trade and investment and diversifying our trading partners has the potential to boost Canada's wealth and make us less vulnerable to changing conditions in any one market. Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises in particular are looking for our government to open up new markets for potential exports, and the CPTPP will help us deliver on this task.
Implementing and ratifying this trade agreement will strengthen our economic ties with the 10 other CPTPP members, which include seven new free trade agreement partners: Australia, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
Once the CPTPP enters into force, Canada will have preferential access to 51 different countries through 14 trade agreements, representing nearly 1.5 billion consumers and over 60% of the global economy.
The CPTPP is projected to boost Canada's GDP by $4.2 billion over the long term and that growth will be driven by increased exports of goods and services, and increases in investment. This means more jobs and more prosperity for Canadians.
For trade in goods, the CPTPP would help Canadian businesses increase their sales and profits by virtually eliminating all tariffs, most of which would be eliminated upon entry into force of the agreement and establishing mechanisms to address non-tariff barriers to create more predictable and transparent trading conditions.
The CPTPP would allow Canadian companies to level the playing field with competitors that currently enjoy preferential access to key markets like Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam, while gaining a competitive advantage over other countries that currently do not have the same level of access. It would help Canadian companies to establish customer relationships, networks and other joint partnerships and offer Canada the opportunity to further integrate with global supply chains.
Opening up new markets for our products means that Canada would be at an advantage to export more agriculture and agri-food, fish and seafood, industrial machinery, and everything in between.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, this would mean new markets or reduced tariffs not only for our fish, seafood, metals, minerals and forestry products, but also for the specialized industrial products our industry has pioneered in the offshore.
Opening up new markets for our fish and seafood industry would mean more opportunities for shrimp, salmon, halibut, lobster, clams, mussels and snow crab, supporting close to 76,000 Canadian jobs based mostly in rural and coastal communities like mine, to help expand the over $85 million in regional trade that we have enjoyed over the past two years.
In the case of metals and minerals, it means expanded market share for the petroleum and iron ore products sold from my province to Asia.
Opening up new markets for our manufacturing sector means Newfoundland companies in the aerospace and marine technology sectors like Kraken Robotics, PAL Aerospace, Virtual Marine, SubC Imaging, and others in our oceans supercluster would have new opportunities to compete fairly in the trans-Pacific region.
I have mentioned just a few portions of Canada's vibrant economy. There are many more sectors whose exporters would benefit from the CPTPP. Securing preferential access to CPTPP markets means that almost all Canadian products could be exported to our new partners without facing tariffs. Upon full implementation of this agreement, 99% of tariff lines of CPTPP parties would become duty-free, covering 98% of Canada's current total exports to these markets.
The benefits of the CPTPP do not stop there, however. In addition to addressing traditional trade policy issues like tariffs and technical barriers to trade, the CPTPP also covers trade in services, investment, intellectual property, government procurement and state-owned enterprises. Companies in my riding, and ridings all across the country, would have access to Asia-Pacific countries that would not exist for countries that have not joined the agreement.
These parts of the agreement serve to provide Canadian companies, service providers and investors alike with transparency, predictability and certainty in their access to CPTPP markets.
For example, the national treatment and most favoured nations provisions combined with a ratchet mechanism would mean that Canadian service providers and investors would have access to CPTPP markets, and these would improve over time as they take steps towards greater liberalization, including when these other partners complete free trade agreement negotiations with other countries around the world. It will mean that the CPTPP would not only open up new markets for Canada today but that our access would improve in the future and over time.
This is complemented by the commitments made on government procurement in the CPTPP, which establish fair, open and transparent rules for competitive procurement markets. Canadian businesses would enjoy equal treatment vis-à-vis domestic suppliers when bidding for government contracts in CPTPP markets. As a result, Canadian suppliers would benefit from new opportunities in markets such as Australia, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, while gaining expanded government procurement access within existing FTA partners like Chile and Peru.
It is now clearer than ever that the CPTPP is a big deal for Canadian businesses and workers. We are making good on our commitment to create opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises and generate economic growth that will benefit all Canadians. This agreement tears down barriers and builds a bridge across the Pacific for Canadian exporters of goods and services.
With the CPTPP, Canada would send a clear signal to the world that it stands firm in its support for the free, rules-based international trading system. In the wake of rising protectionism and sentiments like that around the world, the ratification of the CPTPP would not just secure economic benefits for us today, but also solidify our role in the economic architecture of Asia in the future.
When Canadian companies are given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, they win. This agreement would extend our playing field to 60% of the global economy. That is the potential for a lot of wins for companies, innovators, those working in trade-related industries, the service sector supporting those industries, those looking to invest in Canada and Canadian companies looking for capital to expand their businesses.
For these reasons our government is committed to ratifying and bringing the CPTPP into force and it is why I encourage hon. members of the House to support the bill before us today.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2018-09-17 15:49 [p.21427]
Madam Speaker, I will start by saying that my colleague should not tell the people in her riding that they will lose their farms or jobs, because that is not true.
Naturally, issues arise when we sign any deal with other countries. In this specific case, Canadian standards for farm and agricultural products are much higher. I believe that everyone working on farms in Canada will be proud to have the opportunity to sell their products around the world.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2018-09-17 15:50 [p.21428]
Madam Speaker, certainly in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador most companies, as my hon. colleague from Avalon has previously indicated, enjoy the fact of improved access to Europe and the United States for our fisheries products, our petrochemical products and our mining resources. It is important to note that these industries support good-paying, unionized, middle-class jobs, the families of the workers, the support services, and the additional enterprise that has undertaken each of these communities where workers in the fisheries sector, the mining sector or the oil and gas sector work. It is a pillar of our economy now that people would have access to international markets. Therefore, it is just not right to engage in the same type of fearmongering that the New Democrats are engaging in now, as she had mentioned, with respect to farms. People on farms should be excited about an opportunity to sell our farming goods and our agricultural products internationally because Canada has the highest standards in the world for our products. We have a great brand, and it is a great opportunity for Canada to leverage its value. Just as Canadian fishers are learning now that brand Canada means a premium for their products overseas, we will find that the same is true for our farming products.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2018-09-17 15:52 [p.21428]
Madam Speaker, I have also heard the commentary earlier from the parliamentary secretary. There are protections in place either in the agreement itself or in the side letters with each of the individual states that protect indigenous rights and protect women's rights in the labour force. It is a progressive deal. The name of the deal was changed, from the trans-Pacific partnership to the comprehensive and progressive trans-Pacific partnership, to acknowledge that these changes were made at the negotiating table. I believe that she should be happy and not fearful of the outcome.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2018-04-25 18:55 [p.18758]
Madam Speaker, I am honoured to help close the debate on Bill C-354, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (use of wood). I also want to thank the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay for putting forward this legislation. When I joined the natural resources committee just after Christmas, we were in the midst of a study on wood, and of course, it was well timed for his bill to come forward.
Let me be clear. The Government of Canada fully agrees with the spirit and intent of the member's proposed legislation. The proposed legislation aligns well with the government's goals of supporting the Canadian forest industry, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, these goals must be balanced with the government's commitment to a fair, open, and transparent procurement process for all suppliers.
I believe that the amendment to this bill that was passed by the Standing Committee on Natural Resources achieves the balance that we seek. That is why I am encouraging all members to support the bill with our amendment. Let me take this opportunity to explain a little further.
At second reading stage, we had occasion to highlight the importance of Canada's forestry industry. Our forestry industry helped build Canada, and it still makes a significant contribution today. Last year alone, it added $22 billion to our GDP. Forestry plays a leading role in the local economies of the more than 170 rural towns where sawmills, pulp and paper mills and other forestry operations can be found. The industry employs more than 200,000 Canadians and also represents 9,500 jobs in indigenous communities, making it one of the largest employers of indigenous people. This is why initiatives to support Canada's forestry industry like those in Bill C-354 deserve our careful attention.
That said, we were concerned that the bill as originally presented by the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay would contradict certain long-standing Government of Canada principles, policies, and obligations and lead to perhaps some unintended consequences. As a point of reference, the proposed bill had stated that the minister “shall give preference to projects that promote the use of wood, taking into account the associated costs and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”.
The government is committed to fairness, openness, and transparency in the procurement process. These fundamental values of the policies of Public Services and Procurement Canada cannot be deviated from. Although Canadians expect their government to support a sector as important as forestry, they also expect the government to adhere to the basic principle of fairness in its procurement.
Depending on how the legislation is interpreted and enforced, it may well violate Canada's obligations under important trade agreements, such as the Canadian free trade agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Contract spinoffs have the potential to be significant, particularly in a sector that relies so heavily on access to export markets, mainly the U.S.
The Standing Committee on Natural Resources reviewed the bill. I would like to thank my fellow members of that committee as well as the parliamentary secretary for the careful review of the proposed legislation. In fact, we heard many of the same considerations that I have just reiterated.
I am delighted that my colleague, the member for Markham—Thornhill, who sits with me on the committee proposed an amendment so that the legislation would read:
In developing requirements with respect to the construction, maintenance or repair of public works, federal real property or federal immovables, the Minister shall consider any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and any other environmental benefits and may allow the use of wood or any other thing—including a material, product or sustainable resource—that achieves such benefits.
Ultimately, the committee accepted this amendment and referred the bill back to the House. I believe that the amendment is very important and will help make this legislation more effective and ensure that our shared goal of supporting Canada's forest industry is on a sound footing.
Our discussion on Bill C-354 today also provides us the opportunity to reflect on steps the government is taking to help the forestry sector to embrace innovation and continue to be a vital part of our communities and our economy.
For example, the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change promotes federal, provincial, and territorial co-operation in order to encourage the greater use of wood in construction. Building codes will be updated to reflect that.
This will be encouraged in part by work that is under way to investigate the updating of the National Building Code of Canada. Currently, Natural Resources Canada and the National Research Council are conducting innovative research and development with a goal of updating our National Building Code to allow for wood buildings up to 12 storeys. Moreover, wood and wood products are important contributors to the Government of Canada's infrastructure needs.
Public Services and Procurement Canada policy requires contractors to propose materials that meet the needs of a project, including sustainability and performance criteria, and that conform to the National Building Code of Canada.
In fact, Public Services and Procurement Canada alone is spending approximately $160 million a year on average for office fit-ups and interior finishes, of which approximately 15% is directly related to the use of wood products.
I would also like to highlight the important work of Public Services and Procurement Canada in supporting the government's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The department is making government operations more sustainable through green building practices, including the use of sustainable materials, the move toward optimizing our space usage, and lowering the energy consumption of our federal buildings.
Buildings are a significant source of greenhouse gases and contribute 23% of Canada's overall greenhouse gas emissions. As we know, the government has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from federal buildings and fleets by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.
As providers of accommodation to the Government of Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada is in a unique position to have a direct and significant impact on the greening of government operations. It is the first federal department to complete a national carbon-neutral portfolio plan that takes into account all real property-related greenhouse gas emissions and energy reduction initiatives that the government has undertaken to reduce greenhouse gases.
Take for example the investment we have made in the energy services acquisition program, through which we are modernizing the heating and cooling system that serves about 80 buildings in Ottawa, including many of the buildings on and around Parliament Hill.
In advance of this modernization effort, we are piloting and testing wood chips for use as a possible biomass fuel. The results of this pilot project will help determine the potential for expanding this option to other federal heating and cooling plants.
Similarly, Public Services and Procurement Canada continues to take an integrated and holistic approach to project design and construction, which includes the use of a variety of sustainable materials, such as wood, while giving environmental, social, and economic factors due consideration.
Its goal is to meet sustainable performance standards, such as leadership in energy and environmental design, commonly referred as LEED, and Green Globes. These performance standards encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available, and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts. Projects involving Government of Canada buildings in Quebec City and Yellowknife are the latest ones to meet those standards.
In closing, Public Services and Procurement Canada will continue to lead the way in embedding environmental considerations, and specifically greenhouse gas reductions, into the design and approval stages of its proposed projects.
Bill C-354, as amended, will also support our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support our forestry sector. At the same time, it will support our commitment to an open, fair, and transparent procurement process. In short, the Government of Canada is committed to leaving to future generations of Canadians a sustainable, prosperous country. I would encourage all my colleagues to support this initiative.
I would also like to thank the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay for his work in helping to craft important amendments to his original legislation that both preserve the original spirit and help further our government's plan to help support the forestry sector and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I appreciate many of the concerns the member has, certainly about the private property issue he brought up from the Conservative debate. I thought that was well done, and I thank him for that. However, from the logic of one stronger dominant partner over the other in any particular trade deal, I do not quite follow the logic about the Brexit situation.
Now that section 50 has been triggered and will, no doubt, come to pass, when it comes into force following a vote in Europe on February 14, I believe, following Bill C-30, if it passes, we will have entrenched quite a bit in a very substantial trade agreement, along with a strategic partnership agreement that is more political in nature but certainly very important. To me, that puts Great Britain on the other side of his logic, where it has to negotiate something with us as it leaves the European Union.
Perhaps he could explain to me further where his logic prevails over mine.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I have worked with the member and have travelled with him on this particular issue, and I will get to that in a moment. However, I want to address the issue which the member brought up about carbon pricing. The Conservatives seem to be saying that we are the only ones in the world who are doing this right now, that is, carbon pricing to help with the environment, but there is a universal acceptance that all of our current and future trading partners are doing it. I will leave that as it is, because in this case, I think the Conservatives are trying to make something out of what is not there.
In the case of this particular agreement, the member and I have shared the same table in Europe and we have talked about this. We have also talked about a parallel agreement called the strategic partnership agreement, which gives us a baseline of a political union, in a sense an informal political union, so that our ideologies match, and we are fundamentally agreeing with human rights and all other measures before we launch into the commercial aspect of this agreement.
I thank the member for his work and, by extension, the member for Abbotsford as well.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I have travelled with him on several missions to Europe, and the topic of CETA was always first and foremost for the most part.
The investor-state dispute mechanism that the member talked about is of great concern to me as well in many respects, from the beginning until now. His point about regulating or legislating in the public interest is a key component.
According to the Lisbon treaty, over 90% of the competencies of this will be ratified within the European Parliament; however, there is that sliver of slightly less than 10% of the competencies of the individual 28 member states. They will have to vote on it. My understanding is that the dispute mechanism is involved as well in that particular vote, which is of great concern, because there are 28 votes that have to take place.
How does the member feel about that, and the concerns of Wallonia? Does he echo the same concerns that it did in this particular agreement?
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