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Results: 1 - 8 of 8
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
2020-03-10 16:22 [p.1902]
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.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2020-03-10 16:22 [p.1902]
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.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-02-06 10:18 [p.995]
Mr. Speaker, four years ago the future of free trade in North America was in doubt. At the time, President Trump said that NAFTA was “the worst deal in history“ and campaigned to tear it up. This presented an existential threat to the well-being of Canadians, as so many of our communities and workers depend on free and open market access to the world's biggest economy.
Thanks to the hard work of the Deputy Prime Minister, her negotiating team and Canadians of all stripes and backgrounds, we stood firm against the largest economic threat Canada has faced in recently history. We even did pretty well. Extremely well, I would say, since we reached a better agreement with our partners and friends, the United States and Mexico.
Without a doubt, this is a better deal than the current NAFTA. This is a good deal for Canadians, no matter where they live.
Today I want to focus on the benefits this agreement offers to Quebeckers. The benefits are many, because we stood up for Quebec. Allow me to share some examples. The new NAFTA retains the cultural exemption that allows so many artists and creators to succeed. It even covers the digital world. The new agreement retains the dispute resolution mechanism that was used to defend Quebec's softwood lumber industry. It protects our supply management system, including dairy farmers. It also gives manufacturing exporters and aluminum workers better access to the American market.
Allow me to begin with the cultural exemption. As the former minister of Canadian heritage, as a proud Quebecker and as a lover of arts and music, my province's unique culture is near and dear to my heart.
Quebec itself is near and dear to my heart. Yes indeed, we have a unique culture. Our culture, our way of life, our way of looking at things are what create our identity. We must protect this culture, this identity. It must be protected in traditional media and, especially today, in the 21st century, it must be protected online. The Americans wanted to get rid of this cultural exemption. They wanted to prevent us from being able to financially support and protect our culture, our linguistic duality. Not only did we preserve that right, but we even managed to get it extended to digital media. The Prime Minister drew a line in the sand, sending the Americans a clear message that Canada would not sign without this exemption. No exemption, no agreement.
This will help over 70,000 Quebeckers employed in the cultural industry to continue to thrive.
We stood our ground for Quebec.
Second, I am sure members in the House will recall that the American administration sought to eliminate the dispute resolution mechanism known as chapter 19. We refused to concede to this, and I will explain why.
This mechanism is a critical equalizer in a trading relationship in which we are, frankly, the smaller partner.
It was under chapter 19 that Quebec was able to defend its softwood lumber industry against anti-dumping measures and abusive countervailing duties imposed by the Americans.
The Prime Minister said it was non-negotiable. We gave Canadians our word, and we did not budge.
Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.
Third, I turn to the agriculture industry, and the supply management system in particular.
Supply management supports thousands of farmers, food producers and their families. Together, they export $5.7 billion worth of agricultural products from Quebec to the United States every year. The U.S. President and his administration wanted to do away with supply management. We said no. Period.
While CUSMA provides incremental access to the U.S., our negotiators overwhelmingly maintained the supply management system of controls on production, price and imports.
The Prime Minister has been clear: We will fully and fairly compensate farmers and processors for any loss of market share, as we did under the trade agreements we signed with the European Union and Asia-Pacific countries.
This summer we announced $1.75 billion in compensation over eight years for nearly 11,000 dairy farmers in Canada. Everyone who applied by December 31, 2019, has received their payments by now. The rest will receive theirs by March 31.
We protected supply management. This will allow Quebec dairy products to remain part of our kids' daily breakfast routine, in Quebec and right across the country.
Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.
Finally, and more perhaps more importantly, CUSMA preserves and actually increases duty-free access for Canadian goods. For Quebec, this means that key exports to the U.S. will continue to receive duty-free treatment compared to the most favoured nation rate charged on imports that are not from the United States' free trade partners. It also means continued market access for nearly $60 billion in Quebec exports to the U.S., and stability for workers in aerospace, heavy truck, agriculture and aluminum industries.
My Quebec colleagues like to say that the new agreement is bad for our aluminum workers, but that is completely untrue, because the new agreement requires 70% of the aluminum in vehicles to be North American in origin. That is 70% compared to zero. My Bloc colleagues would have us believe that is a step backward, but I see it as a clear win.
We have also increased the regional value content threshold for cars from 62.5% to 75%, which is a major step forward, as car manufacturers will be required to use more of our products, including our aluminum.
Manufacturers are using more and more aluminum in cars because it is lighter, which means that cars consume less fuel. These measures are helping our industry, and our workers benefit from increasing demand. The industry itself supports the agreement. Jean Simard, president and CEO of the Aluminium Association of Canada, said that the new NAFTA is the right way to go.
Quebec's economic community supports it too. Last week, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec called for it to be ratified as soon as possible to end years of economic uncertainty.
In December, Quebec's business sector signalled its support for the agreement. The Conseil du patronat du Québec, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec and the Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec told us that they want all parliamentarians in Ottawa and all stakeholders to ensure that the agreement is ratified as soon as possible. This agreement is vital for economic growth and for all Quebec regions. Therefore, there is a consensus in Quebec, except for my Bloc Québécois friends and colleagues, who are not really listening. They keep repeating that the agreement will let Mexico import aluminum from China and pass it off as North American aluminum. The opposite is true, as the agreement will prevent that.
At the industry's request, we have put a system in place to track and monitor transshipments of lower-quality aluminum from countries such as China or Russia through Mexico. This will ensure that Quebec's high-quality aluminum is not replaced by cheaper, lower-quality goods.
Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.
The benefits of the new deal do not stop here. There are also progressive, modern elements in this agreement that align with the values of Quebeckers.
Some hon. members of the opposition mocked the government when we wished to include chapters on labour and the environment. Both of these chapters are in the new agreement, and they are not window dressing. Actually, they are both subject to dispute resolution. This means Quebec union workers will be on a more level playing field with Mexican workers, and it means that the environment we share will not be forsaken in the name of economic growth.
The Canada-United States-Mexico agreement is a good agreement for Quebeckers and for all Canadians. We have made real gains that will help our families. As Premier Legault said, I believe that the Bloc Québécois must defend the interests of Quebeckers, because it is in the interest of Quebeckers for this agreement to be ratified and adopted.
As always, I am reaching out to my colleagues from all parties and urging them not to delay the process, but to work together and adopt this important bill.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I am here today to speak to the trade agreement now before the House. I have had opportunities in the last few days to stand in the House, but this is my first speech.
I would like thank all the people in my riding who helped me in being elected to serve in the House for a second term. When we have an election, it is amazing how many people come forward to volunteer, and they do so much significant work in the community.
I also want to thank my family members who supported my being here today, especially my sister Mary. Even thought she has three small children to care for, she flew in to spend the last few days of the election with me. It meant a lot to have her there.
However, I also want to acknowledge all the volunteers for every party. At the end of the day, democracy is fundamental to our country. It is important to acknowledge all the people who volunteered and spent time working very hard for their candidates.
I have some concerns about this agreement and I am torn on this issue. I recognize the importance of trade to our country and to its economic success. We live in a global economy, but I have a lot of concerns about how that works.
The U.S. is is Canada's most significant trading partner. It is our friend and our neighbour. We have some political challenges with the U.S. at certain times, but there is a lot of back and forth between our two countries. Therefore, trying to find ways to work with the Americans is important.
However, at the end of the day, trade needs to focus on fairness. We need to have trade that assures all Canadians are respected throughout the process.
I live in a rural and remote community. North Island—Powell River is just under 60,000 square kilometres. There are several ferries. It is both on Vancouver Island and on the Mainland. One of the things that worries me in our trade process, and I will talk about the transparency of that process, is we often forget some of our rural and remote communities and the challenges they face when we do not think about trade through that lens.
My riding has several dairy farms. When we look at what has been happening with the past several trade agreements, supply management is struggling. From my perspective, supply management is really under attack. I understand that there are challenges when we trade, but supply management is so important. It assures all Canadians of a good product in which they can trust. I encourage people to check out a Canadian dairy farm. It is an amazing thing. It is a lot more healthy and wonderful than one thinks, and we can trust that product.
Protecting rural and remote communities is key. Supply management allows us to have robust farms that are small and local, that provide local jobs, not only on the farms but in the services they use, and that is important.
Viewfield Farms, Daldas Farms and Lloydshaven farm are in my riding. Those farms are a big part of our community. Not only do they employ people at their farms and create amazing products, they also access the services around them to care for their farms, their milk products and their cows.
When we look at the negotiations that have taken place on supply management, under CUSMA, CPTPP and CETA about 10% of the market share has been taken away from those sectors, which makes it harder for those farms. I hope we do not want more focus on centralization. That takes away from those small rural and remote communities and starts to build in larger centres. Therefore, this is important.
The other thing that worries me is that this trade agreement contains a provision that would grant the U.S. oversight into the administration of the Canadian dairy system. It undermines Canada's sovereignty and our ability to manage our product. When we look at the product produced in the U.S., we need to be concerned about it. We know that the American dairy sector uses bovine growth hormone, which increases milk production up to 25%. There are no studies on what that does to people when they consume these products.
We know it is really bad for the cows. They suffer from more stress and there is a higher incidence of udder infections, swollen legs and premature death. It should be very concerning when that product is coming across our borders. Canadians need to know what the product is. As I said earlier, those who go to Canadian farms will feel good about eating dairy products. Farmers take care of their cows.
Another important area for me, especially in this day and age, is environmental protections and addressing issues like climate change. When there are trade discussions, Canada has an important opportunity to reflect on how it is doing with respect to its climate change actions, on which we need to do a lot better. However, it is also an opportunity to negotiate with other countries to increase their accountability. I want to see more trade agreements where provisions around the environment and climate change are binding and fully enforceable. We do not see that in this agreement.
The provisions should also focus on and be in line with Canada's international obligations. When we look at the Paris agreement, we do not see that reflected. When I look at this trade agreement, it really does not help us move forward and toward those important environmental climate change targets.
I have another frustration. I remember being in this place in the spring of last year, talking about ratifying this agreement. Again and again, the NDP asked why the government was rushing this, that we needed to ensure the U.S. Democrats in Congress had an opportunity to do their work on this deal, that they would make it a better deal, and that happened. However, we kept hearing that it was the best deal we could get. Then the government would go back to the table and come back again, saying it was a better deal.
It is important for the government understand it has an obligation to get the best deal it can, to take every action it can to ensure Canadian workers are cared for, that we are respectful of workers in other countries, that we look at how it will impact our businesses and economy, what it looks like in urban settings and in rural and remote settings. I am glad the work was done, but it is frustrating to keep having this conversation.
I am very pleased that chapter 11, the investor-state dispute settlement of NAFTA, is finally gone. When we look at the history of the country, Canada was sued repeatedly and this mechanism kept us in a vulnerable position. I am glad it is gone.
However, I am also concerned about some of the language I see in the agreement that leads me to believe some of those things are entwined in the language. We will have to watch that carefully, and we should be concerned about it.
At the end of the day, though, one of my biggest frustrations on all trade agreements is the lack of transparency of the negotiation process. It needs to be addressed and I hope that is fixed soon.
Canadians across the country need to understand what we are negotiating and why. As I said earlier, I represent three dairy farms in my riding and one thing they wanted to know how much supply management quota we were giving away. They were frustrated by the lack of communication and clarity around this very important issue.
We have a huge country with a lot of diverse economies. We also have a lot of rural and remote communities, like mine, that are struggling as we adjust to this changing world and changing economy. We need to ensure that trade recognizes this and looks at how we can work collaboratively to ensure those folks are not left behind in these discussions.
I call on the government to understand that we need a more transparent process. I understand that when we are negotiating something, we do not want to lay all our cards on the table publicly. However, there still was not enough information that allowed different sectors in our communities across Canada to express their concerns and ensure that those voices were heard. Even in the states, Trump was very clear about his goals, so we need to hear the goals of government.
I look forward to having further discussions. I am excited for the bill go to committee, where we can study these issues more fully.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his well-delivered, well-thought-out speech, and I agree with him on practically 95% of it. However, in a minority Parliament, God forbid that I dwell on the 5%, so let us take a look at the 95% that I agree with.
I have been involved with the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association and have been through the CETA negotiations with the EU, and one of the most contentious items I have dealt with over the years was dispute settlement. Let us be honest: A country of our size can punch way above its weight when it comes to international agreements on free trade and many other multilateral agreements.
I want to get the member's comments on the importance of having a dispute settlement mechanism in this agreement, as well as in CETA, in order for us as a small nation to go one step above.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, I appreciate knowing that the member agrees with 95% of what I said, and we would love to have him over here any time.
With regard to investor-state dispute settlement, I believe, although I know some colleagues in this House do not agree, that if we are going to sign an agreement, then there has be a mechanism for dispute settlement that in some cases would allow us to go beyond simply the national courts. If a Canadian company is investing in Mexico and there are terms of the trade agreement that say it is able to make that investment and should be treated on an equal footing with local companies, but that is not happening, the company should have legal remedies that go beyond the local courts.
Unfortunately, in this particular deal we were set back in terms of investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. Chapter 11 of the old NAFTA dealt with this issue, but we just do not have that kind of protection for Canadian companies. Of course these provisions protect American and Mexican companies investing in Canada, which should not bother us as a rule-of-law country, but it makes Canadian companies more vulnerable when making investments in other countries, particularly if there are situations in, for example, Mexico, where Canadian companies would be adversely affected.
I believe in the—
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-01-31 12:56 [p.777]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see that my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan grasps chapter 11. I am certainly thrilled that it is no longer in NAFTA 2.0, or CUSMA, or whatever we are calling it.
In experience and theory, I hear what the member is saying about how it would have protected Canadian companies against unfairness from U.S. governments. However, we have an empirical track record and a history showing that when Canadian companies brought forward these chapter 11 cases in the U.S., they virtually always lost. On the other hand, when U.S. companies such as Ethyl Corporation from Virginia, SD Myers of Ohio, AbitibiBowater or Bilcon brought charges against Canada, they succeeded in cases that were fundamentally anti-democratic and against what Parliament had decided was best for Canada.
I cheer the removal of chapter 11 from NAFTA.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, my colleague probably agrees a little less than I do with the previous questioner. However, it is not just a matter of opinion; it is a matter of numbers. Let me share the numbers with the member in terms of ISDS cases that have been settled or decided.
Canada has lost eight cases and won nine cases, so we are batting above .500, and in total Canada has paid out about $219 million in damages and settlements and has spent about $95 million in legal costs to defend against ISDS claims. This is during the period in which NAFTA was in place. I compare those relatively small numbers to the $406.1 billion in foreign direct investment from the U.S. into Canada today.
By having a mechanism that protects Canadian companies that are making investments, we are winning more than we are losing and we are benefiting more than it is costing. It is a reality of a rule-of-law country that companies can sue the government when agreements have not been followed. That is part of a—
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