Madam Speaker, I would like to appeal to the Bloc today.
I am sorry, I do not speak French.
I hope to appeal to the Bloc today with a positive, fact-based discussion about the new NAFTA. I have some credibility in this in that in one of my first speeches, I congratulated the Bloc leader on his positive, fact-based, logical approach to Parliament, which is very refreshing. Therefore, through facts and logic, I hope to constructively provide evidence for the decision that I believe will be in the best interests of Quebeckers and to provide reasons for all of us to make this decision in an expedient manner.
If some members are not here to hear my speech, I will be happy to mail it to them.
I am sure the Bloc members would agree that in any international political realm, things can change quickly. Mexico and the U.S.A. are not exempt. If there is a decision requiring an international agreement that is in our favour, I am sure we would all agree that we should not dally. I mostly want to talk about aluminum, but I will first discuss a few other points.
Quebec is a great manufacturing province. If this agreement does not go through, tens of thousands of Quebec jobs would be at risk. This agreement would give Quebec manufacturing protection from tariffs. Quebec has $57 billion in exports to the United States, so we can imagine how many Quebec workers are at risk.
I believe the Bloc is in favour of environmental protection. This trade agreement has more environmental protection than any of our other trade agreements. Imagine what Quebeckers would lose in marine protection, air quality and other environmental protections if this agreement is not signed.
I am sure the Bloc is in favour of improving women's rights. Again, the advancements that would be made in this area would be lost if this agreement fails. Does the Bloc wish to continue to vote against improvements in women's rights?
I imagine the Bloc wishes justice for labour. Again, this agreement has more advances for labour than any other in history. Does the Bloc really want to vote against this improvement?
Under the old NAFTA, companies were suing our government and weakening local protection of our environment, etc. This agreement would eliminate that. Does the Bloc still want to be held hostage to foreign corporations? Quebec companies have access to U.S. government contracts, a provision that will be lost if the new agreement is not signed. Does the Bloc want Quebec workers to lose these types of jobs?
I am sure the Bloc, like the rest of us, is proud of Quebec culture. This agreement would preserve the cultural exemption and 75,000 Quebec jobs in cultural industries. The U.S. wanted to totally dismantle our supply management in Quebec and all of Canada, but this agreement did not let that happen.
Perhaps most importantly, I am sure the Bloc is sensitive to the poor. If this agreement is not ratified, imagine all Quebeckers paying higher prices on thousands of products, because of U.S. tariffs. Who can least afford that? It is the poor. In any agreement there is give-and-take, but where we have given up something, we can compensate, so that is a win-win situation.
In that the millions of Quebeckers I have mentioned so far would benefit from this agreement and have so much to lose without it, would it not be expedient to ratify it quickly in the volatile international political and economic environment?
There is a saying that perfect is the enemy of the good. We could give up a lot of things to try to get one last detail, but we could lose a lot more and put a lot more at risk than the one item we are trying to correct.
Now I will move to aluminum.
The Bloc Québécois has pointed out that almost all Canadian aluminum is made in Quebec, except for the 10% that is made in B.C., but NAFTA would not have an effect on B.C. aluminum, because its market is Asia. Quebec is the big winner in Canada for the gains made by the new NAFTA for aluminum. What are those gains?
First, the regional value content of automobiles would increase from 62.5% to 75%, a big win for Quebec aluminum. Second, 70% of aluminum purchased by automakers must be of North American origin. This protection goes from 0% under the old NAFTA to 70% under the new NAFTA, which is another big win for Quebec aluminum. Third, seven of the core parts of automobiles must contain at least 75% regional value content. These are the core parts of automobiles, such as engines, transmissions, etc. Given that some of these parts have major aluminum components, it is another big win for Quebec aluminum producers.
None of these great wins are mentioned correctly in the Groupe Performance Stratégique report that some of the Bloc members have mentioned. The report also makes an error in saying that is not possible to change the aluminum requirement for 10 years. Although it will be reviewed in 10 years, it can be changed any time under the auspices of the CUSMA working group on rules of origin.
That report also suggests that six major aluminum projects are on hold because of the new NAFTA, jeopardizing $6.2 billion in investment and about 30,000 jobs. If this were true, which it is not, that number does not come anywhere near the millions of Quebeckers who would benefit from the new NAFTA and the thousands of manufacturing and other jobs the Bloc are putting at risk by not supporting the agreement, as I outlined earlier in my speech.
However, the six investment decisions for the six potential aluminum projects were made prior to the final NAFTA and the aluminum benefits contained therein. Therefore, if anyone is jeopardizing the 30,000 possible jobs, it would be the Bloc because they are putting the benefits of the new NAFTA for aluminum at risk by not supporting it.
I am asking the Bloc to live up to the image I have of them, of being professional, facts-based, logical decision-makers. There are so many benefits for millions of Quebeckers, for the Quebec aluminum industry, for women, for labour, for the environment and for Quebec's great manufacturing employees who are producing $57 billion of exports. Please support all these millions of Quebeckers soon by supporting the agreement, before anything occurs to cause Quebeckers to lose all these benefits.
To give the Bloc members a few minutes to change their minds, I will talk about my riding.
There is benefit in the north for the territories. In my area, it helps preserve 130 or so exports in things like mineral products. There is a general exemption related to the rights of indigenous peoples, which is very important for my riding. Trade facilitation and customs procedures are being modernized, which makes it easier to get across the border in remote locations by using electronic processes. Hopefully that will be very helpful.
There is stability and predictability for Canadian investors and service suppliers who do work in the United States. There is special temporary access to the United States, as well, for those Canadian companies that are providing services or for their investors. They can get in and out of the States more quickly and easily than people from other companies. There is also a new chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises, which is most enterprises in my riding, with enhanced opportunities for promoting small and medium-sized enterprises that are focused on women and indigenous groups.
The other two territories have all the same types of benefits. The Northwest Territories exports $3 million in precious gems. In Nunavut, there are a number of exports including sculptures, so all of these things will help them out as well.
I hope I have convinced my Bloc Québécois colleagues of the many benefits for Quebec and that they won't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but get these things in place as soon as possible, before we are in jeopardy of losing them.