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View Karen Ludwig Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Karen Ludwig Profile
2019-06-11 13:01 [p.28904]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Sydney—Victoria for sharing his time, for his very hard work and certainly for the flavour he adds to the Standing Committee on International Trade. The committee has truly been team Canada. Committee members have stood together and really understand the significance of trade. It is not as much a partisan issue as an issue that is real to every Canadian.
I am pleased to rise today to discuss the importance of this piece of legislation. As the member for New Brunswick Southwest, a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade, a certified international trade practitioner and a former professor of international trade, I truly understand the importance of creating trade opportunities. I have been proud to work with our government to secure trade agreements such as CIFTA, CPTPP and CETA.
Securing these trade agreements is vital to our Canadian economy. Exports and imports make up 60% of our economy. Our competitiveness depends on diversification and opening up new, emerging markets as well as on ensuring the continuation of free and fair trade with our current partners. We know that when we are able to make markets more accessible, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, we are able to grow our economy.
We have worked hard over the last three years to diligently diversify Canadian markets abroad, and the results speak for themselves: 14 new trade agreements, with 51 different countries, and a market of 1.5 billion consumers. Canadians now have preferred access to two-thirds of the global market, but our work is not done yet.
Our government has also launched the export diversification strategy, which will increase Canada's exports by 50%. The strategy will directly support Canadian businesses by investing in infrastructure to support trade, by providing Canadian businesses with more resources to reach overseas markets and by enhancing trade services for Canadian exporters.
We have also worked with Canadian companies to ensure that they are able to take full advantage of the trade agreements secured by our government. I was pleased when the Standing Committee on International Trade accepted my motion and studied supports for small to medium-sized businesses. One of the things we heard many times was how important free trade agreements and export readiness support are to small and medium-sized businesses. Without support, many, if not the majority, of small first-time exporters are not exporting in their second year.
Under the previous government, export readiness available through the Trade Commissioner Service was cut back to serve only companies already established overseas. This left small businesses unable to access foreign markets with ease and ensured that big businesses were the only ones able to profit from free trade.
Our government has reversed those cuts, ensuring that small businesses are able to benefit from free trade. We are increasing our exports and ensuring that any Canadians with global ambitions are able to access the support they need to create wealth and jobs.
Removing regulatory barriers to trade is essential for small and medium-sized businesses to be able to export. CUSMA would do exactly that, ensuring that Canadian businesses will be able to trade freely in North America.
I represent the riding of New Brunswick Southwest. We are, as my colleague from Sydney—Victoria mentioned, a border riding. In fact, we have five international border crossings. In New Brunswick Southwest, we understand the importance of ensuring free trade in North America. Our jobs and our economy depend on it. Many of my constituents cross the border multiple times a week for their jobs or groceries or to visit family and friends. Without the close co-operation as a result of free trade agreements and border alliance agreements, this would not be possible.
When the United States imposed illegal tariffs on our steel and aluminum, people in my riding were concerned about an escalating trade war. This is something they had never experienced. St. Stephen, a border town where my office is located, is closely connected to Calais, Maine, and its residents were particularly worried about these tariffs. These two towns share more than just a border. They also share fire services, and residents cross that border daily. Both mayors were concerned about the tariffs that were put in place, but I am happy to say that our government has reached a deal to end those illegal tariffs.
There was great uncertainty in my riding during the NAFTA renegotiations. Workers and their families were concerned for their jobs, their businesses and their clients.
In my province of New Brunswick, 90% of our foreign exports go to the United States. Ensuring that New Brunswickers maintained access to that market was critical, and we have delivered. CUSMA would ensure that New Brunswick would be able to trade freely for decades to come.
Canada is now the only G7 country to have free trade agreements with every other G7 country. Canada's unprecedented access to the global market has allowed us to act as a springboard between trading partners.
By securing both CETA and CUSMA, Canada would now be able to facilitate trade between Europe and the United States. This would be an excellent opportunity for Canadian companies to expand to broader markets and become part of the global supply chain. In fact, where my riding is located, on the coast of Maine, is actually a springboard between the United States and Europe.
Modernizing NAFTA has been a welcome opportunity for Canada. We were able to gain protections for Canadian workers, create opportunities for Canadian business and protect the environment and labour.
While many across the aisle called for us to back down, we held firm. Our government fought for a new NAFTA and got a deal that was good for Canadians. We did everything in our power to protect jobs, create more opportunities for Canadian workers and their families and ensure the growth of our economy. It has paid off.
By modernizing NAFTA, our government was able to deal with new challenges that were not present when the deal was originally signed. Issues like e-commerce and intellectual property rights in the digital age would now been addressed.
In CUSMA, we were able to obtain labour guarantees in Mexico that would ensure the fairer treatment of workers. CUSMA would see labour standards and working conditions in all three countries improve and would protect those who are vulnerable from being denied work based on gender, pregnancy or sexual orientation.
CUSMA would also ensure that workers' rights were protected. It includes commitments from all three countries to protect the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, including specific legislative actions that would be taken by Mexico to recognize the right to collective bargaining.
We did not stop at labour rights. We also ensured that CUSMA included a robust chapter on the environment to ensure that it would be protected. CUSMA includes commitments to enforce environmental protection laws and to address marine pollution. We included obligations for all three countries to combat illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging and illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.
CUSMA would also promote sustainable forestry and fisheries management, including a commitment to prohibit subsidies that negatively affect fish stocks.
Our government also secured innovative fisheries commitments to prevent the use of explosives and poisons and a binding commitment to prohibit the practice of shark finning, a first for Canada.
These are important issues in my riding. My constituents care deeply about the well-being of the environment, and many of our industries rely on it. I am proud to see that our government has fought for strong environmental protections.
I was proud to be part of the team that secured a new and better deal for the future, a deal that would protect middle-class jobs, allow small businesses to grow and protect labour and the environment.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-02-08 10:05 [p.25439]
moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
She said: Mr. Speaker, today I rise on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of International Trade Diversification, to speak to Bill C-85. The bill calls on the government to take all necessary legislative steps to ratify the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, or CIFTA, something I encourage all members to support.
CIFTA is now a modern, forward-looking trade agreement that would better serve the sophisticated Canada-Israel trade relationship, while providing a framework to ensure the benefits of trade are more widely shared. Our government has said from day one that trade and open markets are vital for Canada's economic prosperity. Canada is a trading nation. We know that increased trade creates more and better-paying jobs. In fact, Canada is one of the most open G7 countries, rating second for trade and first for foreign direct investment as shares of GDP. Canadian exports of goods and services were equivalent to just over one-third of our GDP.
On trade diversification, the government is pursuing an ambitious trade diversification agenda, one that will make Canada the most globally connected economy in the world. Allow me to provide a few examples of this.
In October, Canada ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, with a speed reflecting the importance of this deal to farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and workers in all industries across Canada. This historic trade agreement came into force on December 30, 2018, and now Canadian businesses will have preferential access to over 500 million consumers, resulting in long-term gains for Canada in excess of $4.2 billion.
In September, we marked the one-year milestone of provisional application of the trade agreement with the European Union, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA. In this past year, Canadians added $1.6 billion in increased export to Europe and saw a 20% growth in container traffic at the Port of Montreal. We can just imagine the opportunities for Montrealers, Quebeckers and Canadians once this agreement is also passed.
We are also updating existing trade agreements with important partners to better match the realities of the 21st-century economy. We have a new agreement with Ukraine in place since 2017 and on Tuesday, a modernized and inclusive agreement with Chile came into force. The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement distinguishes Canada as the first G20 country to adopt a gender chapter in a free trade agreement.
We are modernizing the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement in the legislation before us today to enhance our relationship with this historical ally.
Finally, the government is actively pursuing opportunities in other important and fast-growing markets and making inroads. Canada is in FTA negotiations with its partners in the Americas, namely the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur, and is exploring possible FTA negotiations with ASEAN. Taken together, Canada has 14 FTAs in force covering 51 countries, connecting our businesses to 1.5 billion of the world's consumers.
While market access is vital, it alone does not create jobs and prosperity for Canadians. Our businesses need the right tools to actively pursue international opportunities, especially in markets covered by our trade agreements. That is why the fall economic statement proposed an export diversification strategy to grow Canada's overseas exports by 50% by 2025, with more assistance for small and medium-sized businesses to help them explore new export opportunities.
The trade diversification strategy will focus on three key priorities: first, investing in infrastructure to support trade; second, providing Canadian businesses with the resources to execute their export plans; and finally, enhancing trade services for Canadian exporters. We know that when we diversify our markets abroad we create well-paying jobs at home for the middle class and those working hard to join it.
Our efforts signal to the world that trade matters, that rules matter and that we will not be drawn into a world of protectionism. We firmly believe our international trade relationships are mutually beneficial. This is demonstrated in the modernized CIFTA, the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement before us today.
Since CIFTA first 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. This is a testament to how FTAs help advance trade, yet there is room to grow and deepen the commercial relationship. 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 resource sectors, in particular agriculture and agri-tech.
By providing expanded market access and more predictable trading conditions, the modernized CIFTA would enable Canadian companies to take meaningful advantage of these opportunities. That is why Bill C-85 before us today is so important. Allow me to elaborate further on this point by turning to how this tangibly translates into real benefits for Canadian businesses.
Canada and Israel agreed in 2014 to modernize CIFTA, which, at the time, was a goods-only trade agreement. The result of those negotiations is an agreement that updates four of the original chapters, including dispute settlement to bring CIFTA up to the standard of a more recent trade agreement. It adds nine new chapters, including intellectual property and e-commerce. We have negotiated rules that are designed to help address non-tariff barriers, contribute to facilitating trade and reduce some of the costs to companies for doing business.
We also have improved the terms of market access for Canadian companies. Once enforced, close to 100% of all current Canadian agriculture, agri-food and seafood exports to Israel will benefit from some form of preferential tariff treatment, up from the current level of 90%. Meaningful market access for Canada's agriculture and agri-food processors was a key interest in these negotiations and the government delivered, including unlimited duty-free access on sweetened and dried cranberries, baked goods and pet food.
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 our key competitors in this sector. They 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 and nuts, some tropical fruit and certain oils.
I want to reassure all hon. members and all Canadians that a modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, like its predecessor, fully respects Canada's supply management system. I am pleased that the negotiated outcome has the support of key Canadian agriculture stakeholders, including Pulse Canada, the Canola Council of Canada, the Canadian Vintners Association and companies including the processing of potatoes, cranberries, soybeans and pet food. These are only a few of the opportunities the modernized CIFTA provides.
I would like to now speak to an important aspect of the government's trade agenda that aims to ensure these opportunities are more widely shared among Canadians.
An important aspect of the modernized CIFTA is its forward-looking framework that includes new chapters on trade and gender, small and medium-sized enterprises, labour and environment, as well as a new provision on corporate social responsibility. This modernized agreement also provides institutional mechanisms to monitor or address human rights-related matters in the context of the trade agreement, including references and provisions relating to workers' rights and working conditions, responsible business conduct, transparency and anti-corruption. In this regard, this modernized agreement is a new forward-thinking partnership that reflects who we are as vibrant, diverse, open and democratic societies and as in the original CIFTA, just as with all Canada's FTAs, this modernized CIFTA can be terminated by either party unilaterally at any time for any reason.
Some inclusive trade highlights are the new chapters on trade and gender and on small and medium-sized enterprises. Both provide a framework for parties to work together to help ensure women and small and medium-sized enterprises can more fully benefit from the opportunities created by this modernized CIFTA. Each chapter establishes a bilateral committee to oversee activities, including co-operation and promotion activities that provide information and enhance the ability of women and small and medium-sized enterprises to benefit from the opportunities created by this modernized CIFTA.
The new gender chapter acknowledges the importance of incorporating a gender perspective in economic and trade issues to ensure that economic growth can benefit everyone. This chapter has it. This chapter builds on the work accomplished in Canada's first gender chapter, which was negotiated through the modernized Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. Only the third chapter of its kind, it is also the first such chapter negotiated by Israel. CIFTA's gender chapter, for the first time ever, will include a measure of enforceability through dispute resolution.
The new corporate social responsibility article affirms Canada and Israel's commitment to encourage the use of voluntary CSR standards by enterprises, with specific reference to the government-backed OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to which Israel and Canada are both parties.
The modernized agreement contains a new chapter on labour that commits both parties to enforce their laws in this area, which must respect the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The new labour chapter provides protections for occupational health and safety, acceptable minimum employment standards and non-discrimination for migrant workers.
Allow me to draw to the attention of all hon. members that the successful negotiation of a high-quality labour chapter with Israel was a significant step in modernizing CIFTA. It is the first such chapter negotiated by Israel in a free trade agreement. The United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement does not include labour provisions. The EU-Israel association agreement, the legal basis for EU trade relations with Israel, makes only a few references to labour, with no enforceable obligations.
The modernized CIFTA is also the first time Israel has negotiated a chapter on the environment in a free trade agreement. The new environment chapter contains robust commitments, including to maintain high levels of environmental protection as we intensify our trade relationship. Importantly, both Canada and Israel commit to not lowering our levels of protection in order to attract trade or investment.
Our two countries, Canada and Israel, have a deep history. Canada's strong friendship and partnership with Israel spans more than 70 years and stretches back even further to the arrival of the earliest Jewish settlers in Canada more than 250 years ago, 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 who are an important source of information and support in the political and commercial spheres for both Canada and Israel. There are also approximately 20,000 Canadians currently living and working in Israel. The Minister of International Trade Diversification had the opportunity to meet with some of these individuals during his visit to Israel last year.
For those in the House today who may not know, Israel has a long-standing reputation for technological prowess and a well-developed scientific and educational base. We know this very well in the riding of Waterloo. We see room to expand and build partnerships in these sectors and in many other areas.
When our Minister of International Trade Diversification was in Tel Aviv last September, he announced a pilot program to facilitate new cybersecurity solutions for the energy sector that will consider Israeli options to address the needs of Canadian natural gas delivery companies.
There are also great prospects for forging increased partnerships in the areas of joint research and development. Canadian and Israeli firms have joined forces to develop an ultraviolet water monitoring system that would ensure the safety of drinking water, and there are even more possibilities on the horizon that will change countless lives in communities around the world. Our government firmly believes that these kinds of global partnerships are needed now more than ever.
In conclusion, Canada represents just 0.5% of the world's population, but we account for five times more in global trade. Our continued competitiveness depends on businesses, including small and medium enterprises, pursuing trade opportunities and that we support them in doing so.
Successful trade provides for good employment opportunities. With one in six Canadian jobs linked directly to exports, our government is deeply committed to growing trade and expanding opportunities for all Canadians.
I therefore urge all hon. members to support Bill C-85 to enable Canada to do its part to bring the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement into force on a timely basis and to support Canadian companies as they seek to benefit from the opportunities it offers.
This legislation should be passed today so that the Senate can also do its due diligence. I thank members for their work in helping this legislation move forward rapidly.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-02-08 10:21 [p.25441]
Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we believe that it is important that we build upon this important relationship between Canada and Israel. We recognize the importance of doing more work. I acknowledged that in my speech.
Bill C-85 is really about providing Canadian businesses with opportunities to grow and expand, creating more better-paying middle-class jobs and helping those fighting hard to join the middle class. We will continue to work hard for them.
We believe that trade is mutually beneficial for both countries, and that is why we believe that this modernized CIFTA should move forward rapidly. I agree with the member that we can always do more work, and I hope we can do that work together.
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
View Irene Mathyssen Profile
2019-02-08 10:50 [p.25446]
Mr. Speaker, Canada has always given lip service to corporate responsibility standards. This new CIFTA includes a commitment to encourage the use of voluntary corporate social responsibility standards.
Does the member agree that it should not be voluntary, that we should behave as we say to the world that we will behave, and that the government should have a plan to ensure that companies that may be profiting from human rights violations do not receive benefits under this agreement or any agreement?
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
NDP (ON)
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
2019-02-08 12:10 [p.25461]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other acts.
As New Democrats have pointed out in previous debates on this bill, we have serious concerns about the lack of human rights protections contained in the act, particularly relating to the rights of Palestinians in territories occupied by Israel. The NDP tried to address these concerns at committee, but all amendments were voted down.
That said, we are not opposed to a free trade agreement with Israel. New Democrats are in favour of international trade agreements that respect human rights, the rights of workers, the environment and all of our international obligations. In fact, we supported the bill at second reading and had proposed amendments that would have made Bill C-85 a truly progressive free trade agreement, the very sort of agreement the current government claims, with great bluster and swagger, to support, but never actually seems to sign.
Other parties like to say that the NDP does not support free trade and has never supported a free trade agreement. My response is that the NDP supports and actively encourages trade agreements that are fair and responsible, trade agreements that respect human rights, the rights of workers, the environment and all of our international obligations. Canada has yet to sign such an agreement, and if one judges by actions and interactions, is not particularly interested in doing so just yet.
I am quite proud of the amendments we proposed at committee for this bill. We brought forward amendments on human rights, gender rights, indigenous rights and labour rights—reasonable and achievable amendments, as proven by the advances made by the European Union in the update of its free trade agreement with Israel—to ensure that relations between Canada and Israel are based on respect for human rights and international law.
Our amendments, first and foremost, ensure this fundamental concept. They would ensure that the government undertakes an annual gender-based analysis and gender impact assessment that would be applied to the entire agreement, as well as enforceable corporate social responsibility and the standards and principles set out in the United Nations document entitled “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”.
As well, we brought amendments to ensure the provisions of the agreement would respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and that the rights of workers are protected through mandatory mechanisms laid out in the International Labour Organization's Decent Work Agenda, which lays out four pillars contained in the sustainable development goals. One mandatory mechanism is the creation of an independent labour secretariat with the power to oversee a dispute settlement process.
Another amendment was to ensure the creation of a framework for transnational bargaining to allow unions to represent workers in Canada and Israel.
Likewise, we brought forward amendments on environmental protections. These were brought forward in order to ensure a high level of environmental protection through comprehensive and legally binding commitments that meet Canada's obligations under the Paris Agreement reached on December 12, 2015, and to protect against bulk water exports and ensure that water is not labelled as a commodity, which is profoundly important.
We also tabled amendments to include a gender impact assessment, along with an economic impact analysis, a detailed job analysis and an analysis on the impacts of the act on human rights in both countries, including the occupied Palestinian territories.
As members can see, these are basic common sense proposals that are designed to ensure that everyone, and not just our multinationals, benefits from the agreement.
As our party's critic for international human rights, I am gravely concerned about the impact these trade agreements have on human rights in the nations involved. Economic objectives, unfortunately, conflict with human rights obligations in many scenarios.
Canada, for instance, has free trade agreements with a number of countries with appalling human rights records, such as Honduras; Mexico, a country whose very state apparatus has come perilously close to collapsing due to corruption by and conflict with the largest narcotics trafficking enterprises in the world; and Colombia, where over 400 human rights defenders have been murdered over the last three years.
As for this Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, I am deeply concerned about the lack of human rights protections in the bill and the lack of recognition of the rights of Palestinians living in their sovereign territories occupied by Israel.
Canadians expect their government to sign trade deals that respect human rights, international law and our foreign affairs policies. This legislation does not conform to these expectations. Without these protections, the Canadian government is not respecting Canada's commitment to a peaceful and just settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The European Union at least pushed for and received a human rights clause in its free trade agreement with Israel. Notably, since 2015, the EU, a member of the World Trade Organization, has required that products from the occupied territories be labelled as such. While the Israel government has opposed these measures, it has not challenged them at the World Trade Organization. This is important, as Canadians are concerned that Israeli wine, for instance, lacks proper labelling as to whether grapes were produced in the occupied territories.
In July of 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ruled that wines made in the occupied West Bank could not be labelled as products of Israel. After the ruling, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario directed its vendors to pull the products from their shelves. The CFIA emphasized that Canada does not recognize the occupied territories as part of Israel and that labelling products produced there as made in Israel was misleading for consumers and in violation of Canada's Food and Drugs Act.
After a strong backlash, the CFIA said, “We did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement”, which applies to the territory where the customs laws of Israel are applied. This is not acceptable.
This updated iteration of this free trade agreement was a perfect opportunity for us to address and specifically articulate this problem. Let me explain. This trade agreement appears to fail to distinguish between the State of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The European Union has, since 2015, as mentioned, required products from the occupied territories to be labelled as such, yet article1.4.1(b) of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement stipulates instead that the agreement applies to “the territory where its customs laws are applied”.
Under the terms of the 1994 Paris protocol, Israel and Palestine are part of a customs union under which Israel collects duties on goods destined for the Palestinian territories. However, the existence of a customs union does not change the fact that the West Bank, where illegal Israeli settlements have proliferated, remains occupied territory. Bill C-85 appears to cover the products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
Neither Canada nor the United Nations recognizes these settlements as part of Israel. These settlements are illegal. They clearly violate the fourth Geneva convention, which prohibits the settlement of territories acquired by war and the movement of indigenous people in those territories, among other things.
In fact, there is virtual global unanimity that the territories seized and occupied by Israel since 1967, which are the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza, are not part of Israel. Indeed, those territories are a fraction of the land awarded to the Palestinian people by the United Nations partition of 1947.
As stated, Palestinians have been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. That is 51 years. The Canadian government's own policy does not recognize permanent Israeli control over these territories, and stipulates that Israeli settlements, occupation and control violate the fourth Genera convention and many Security Council resolutions.
As stated as recently as 2016 at the United Nations Security Council:
[The Security Council] Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
It also goes on to call upon all states, including Canada, “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”. I would suggest to you that a trade instrument that respects international law would distinguish between the occupied territory and the State of Israel because a trade agreement is a relevant dealing.
I am gravely concerned that this agreement fails our international commitment. It fails its own international commitment to be a respected covenant of trade with another sovereign power. It puts us afoul of international law. Products made in the occupied territories in Palestine must be labelled as such. To fail to do so amounts to a countenance of illegal annexation of territory.
More broadly, I wish to speak for the millions of Canadians who want to see peace in this region and the creation of the secure and sovereign states of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace.
Israel has not complied with its obligations under the Geneva convention. Over time, it has steadily and consistently increased its illegal settlements in Palestine.
In the end, most Canadians wish for a safe, secure, sovereign Israel and Palestine, living in peace and friendship and in mutual co-operation. We all want to see increased commercial, political, social and cultural relations with Israel. However, we also want to see these very same relationship benefits extended to the Palestinians. Trade agreements are important legal instruments that play an important role, along with diplomacy, in ensuring that internationally recognized human rights standards and laws are adhered to and maintained.
They absolutely must themselves comply with these laws and norms. The Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement is not merely the technical construct of an economic relationship, with chapters and chapters on the exchange of goods and services and some voluntary feel-good promises; this is a political treatise that has profound influence on people. It is reckless to sign a free trade agreement that disregards the issue of occupied territory. This only exacerbates the situation, and for what?
I mentioned earlier that the NDP is in support of trade agreements that uphold our international commitments, human rights, the sustainable development goals, indigenous rights and gender rights, and that align with our own foreign policies. However, I would like to point out that a year on from the signing of CETA, our exports have decreased. It makes us question again a trade agreement that undermines human rights, that undermines social responsibility. Why would we sign a trade agreement with Israel that does not respect the position of Palestinian territory? It is reckless because it exacerbates the situation, and why? What is it all for?
We have other free trade agreements that were followed by a decrease in exports to the countries we have signed with. We have signed 14 trade agreements, and exports have decreased to those countries. There is a major fundamental issue, a major fundamental approach to the trade agreements that we have to address. There are underlying issues that have to be examined, and bolder steps have to be taken so that we align not only with our own foreign policies but with international law.
We covet a seat on the United Nations Security Council, and this is a perfect opportunity for this country to step up when it is updating this free trade agreement. In being so bold as to update it, we do not have to forge a path on our own. The European Union has articulated exactly the kinds of amendments that we see as putting us in alignment with our international commitments and our own domestic foreign policies that have been laid out.
We have fundamental issues that need to be addressed with the types of trade agreements that we are creating and signing, and if they are not actually creating opportunities for Canadians businesses, then that is a springboard. It is a definite impetus for us to delve in and see what is fundamentally wrong with these agreements. This is a perfect opportunity for the Government of Canada to change the trajectory.
Enough with the voluntary guidelines for corporate social responsibility. There need to be real, enforceable rules. We could have negotiated stronger language, just as the European Union did with Israel. We could take at least the astute step that the EU has taken on labelling the origin of a product for where it came from: occupied territory. Why mince words? Why not assert international law and human rights? Why not insist on it?
It is disappointing that with this iteration of the CIFTA, a valuable opportunity has been discarded with regard to Israel and Palestine. Canada's trade policy does not align with its foreign policy. The latter acknowledges the importance of international law and the fact that the settlements violate this law. By including settlement products in the provisions of the CIFTA, such treatment de facto legitimizes the settlements, encourages their economic growth and contributes to their permanence. In any free trade agreement, the question should always be “cui bono?”: who benefits?
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 Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)

Question No. 2012--
Mr. Peter Kent:
With regard to meetings between the RCMP and ministers, exempt staff members, or other government employees in relation to leaks of Cabinet confidences: what are the details of all such meetings, including (i) name and title of minister, exempt staff member or other government employee, (ii) location, (iii) date, (iv) subject matter discussed?
Response
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, given its mandate and operational requirements, the RCMP does not disclose details related to operational activities.

Question No. 2013--
Mr. Peter Kent:
With regard to the government’s response to Q-1503 where it indicated that it was aware of six incidents of leaked information, but that only one individual had been under investigation for leaking information: broken down by each of the five instances where information was leaked but an investigation did not take place or no one was placed under investigation, what is the rationale for not pursuing an investigation into each of the instances?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth) and to the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the government’s response to Q-1503, in the five other incidents, following initial fact-finding work, it was determined that there was insufficient data and evidence to determine the source of compromise and no further action was warranted.

Question No. 2014--
Mr. Peter Kent:
With regard to instructions or directives provided by the Office of the Prime Minister to the Privy Council Office (PCO) since November 4, 2015: what instructions or directives were given to PCO in relation to the release of documents as requested by lawyers in the Mark Norman case, or in relation to the alleged leak of information from a November 2015 Cabinet committee meeting, and on what date was each instruction or directive given?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth) and to the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, there is an outstanding legal proceeding before the Ontario Court of Justice and the parties to that proceeding have sought disclosure of documents. The Government of Canada is collecting documents in its possession that are potentially responsive to the request, to provide to the court. It is up to the court to decide which documents should be released to defence counsel. It is accepted practice for the House of Commons to respect the sub judice convention and, as such, it would be inappropriate to comment.

Question No. 2019--
Mr. Tom Lukiwski:
With regard to the terms used in Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act: (a) what is the government’s definition of “meaningful human contact” and what are examples of contacts that would or would not satisfy the Bill's requirements related to that term; and (b) what is the government’s definition of “leisure time” and what would be examples of activities that would or would not satisfy the Bill's requirements related to that term?
Response
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), in Bill C-83, the term “meaningful human contact” is intended to refer generally to social interaction and psychological stimulation conducive to mental health and rehabilitation. It is drawn from rule 44 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the “Nelson Mandela rules”.
With regard to (b), in Bill C-83, the term “leisure time” is intended to refer to interactions with other individuals outside the context of formal CSC programs and interventions. Examples include sharing meals or engaging in physical activity with compatible inmates in a manner consistent with the secure environment of a structured intervention unit.

Question No. 2020--
Mr. Luc Berthold:
With regard to changes or concessions made by the government to supply management in the United States—Mexico—Canada Agreement (USMCA): (a) what are the details of any studies the government has conducted on the impact of the changes to supply management in the USMCA, including the findings to any such studies; and (b) what projections does the government have on the impact of the supply management changes in the USMCA to each of the supply managed industries?
Response
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, including the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency, information on the economic impact of recent trade agreements that can be made public is available on Government of Canada’s websites.
With regard to CPTPP, please see http://international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/cptpp-ptpgp/sectors-secteurs/agri.aspx?lang=eng
With regard to CETA, please see www.agr.gc.ca/eng/industry-markets-and-trade/international-agri-food-market-intelligence/europe/canada-european-union-comprehensive-economic-and-trade-agreement-ceta-for-agri-food-exporters/ceta-a-competitive-advantage-for-the-canadian-agri-food-industry/?id=1505510292539
With regard to CIFTA, please see http://international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/israel/benefits-avantages.aspx?lang=eng
With regard to USMCA, please see http://international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/usmca-aeumc/agri.aspx?lang=eng
The Canadian Grain Commission did not conduct any studies on the impact of the changes to supply management under the USMCA and does not have any projections on the impact of the supply management changes under the USMCA. The Canadian Grain Commission does not have any role or responsibility with respect to supply-managed industries.
The Farm Products Council of Canada has not conducted any studies on the impact of the changes to supply management in the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, USMCA.
With regard to the Canadian Dairy Commission, information on the economic impact of recent trade agreements that can be made public is available on Government of Canada’s websites.
With regard to CPTPP, please see http://international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/cptpp-ptpgp/sectors-secteurs/agri.aspx?lang=eng
With regard to CETA, please see www.agr.gc.ca/eng/industry-markets-and-trade/international-agri-food-market-intelligence/europe/canada-european-union-comprehensive-economic-and-trade-agreement-ceta-for-agri-food-exporters/ceta-a-competitive-advantage-for-the-canadian-agri-food-industry/?id=1505510292539
With regard to CIFTA, please see http://international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/israel/benefits-avantages.aspx?lang=eng
With regard to USMCA, please see http://international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/usmca-aeumc/agri.aspx?lang=eng
Farm Credit Canada has not conducted any studies on the impact of the changes to supply management in the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, USMCA.

Question No. 2021--
Mr. Todd Doherty:
With regard to instructions or advice provided by the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO) or the Privy Council Office (PCO) to departments and agencies regarding requests for the release of documents by a legal counsel to a party with matters before the courts: what are the details of any instructions which the PMO or PCO provided to any department or agency since November 4, 2015, including (i) sender, (ii) recipients, (iii) date, (iv) contents of the instructions or advice?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth) and to the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is bound by the Privacy Act and makes efforts to apply the principles of the Access to Information Act. In relation to matters before the courts, if such records exist, any instructions or directives would generally be subject to litigation privilege and potentially, to solicitor-client privilege.

Question No. 2023--
Mr. Bob Benzen:
With regard to the government’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance: why are there no panel members from any province or territory outside of Ontario and Quebec, as of October 24, 2018?
Response
Hon. Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the ministers of Environment and Climate Change and Finance selected panel members based on their experience in diverse segments of the financial sector, their ability to engage financial sector executives and their understanding of both private sector and regulatory perspectives.
The Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance is consulting broadly with industries and stakeholders across Canada.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be sharing my time with the member for Essex.
I am very proud to speak to Bill C-85. However, before I go into the bill itself, it is quite interesting to see the work our government has done in the last year. This is fourth trade deal on the table. That is very impressive, without a doubt, keeping in mind that 60% of our GDP is from trade deals, so no trade deals, no economy. That is pretty well how I would describe it. Therefore, they are extremely important.
The good thing about this as well is that small, medium and large Canadian companies are able to compete in the world, which is extremely important. There is nothing to fear, because we are among the best in the world and we can produce the best as well.
I would also like to share with members of the House, all 338 members, that in my opinion, it would be a good strategy, which I will focus on in the next few months, to meet with all business associations in our communities. For example, I have one in Sackville, one in Fall River, one in the Eastern Passage area and one in the Eastern Shore, the Porters Lake-Lake Echo area.
It is time to have some really strong conversations about the opportunities that have been created in the last year with these trade deals. People have to understand that these trade deals touch many sectors. As I go through my speech, they will hear about the 100% cut in tariffs. These are great opportunities. My question for all members is this. Are they communicating with our business communities? Are they aware of these changes? Are they aware of the potential opportunities? That is what is important.
I will talk about CIFTA, the Canada-Israel trade deal. This is not something new that has just come about. Last year, we agreed to amend and enhance this agreement. It had been 20 years. How much has this agreement brought to us? Over the last 20 years, we have seen two-way trade triple. It is now up to $1.7 billion, which is an enormous amount of money for two countries directly trading.
This trade deal, Bill C-85, has four amended chapters and seven new chapters. The amendments, as everyone will see, are very important to improving the trade deal, as well as the new chapters. Once again, our government is influencing major changes to enhance many areas of trade.
Let me start with dispute resolution and dispute settlement. As we know, that was crucial element in the USMCA deal and we were not going to sign any deal without it. That is how important it is. Not only is it in this trade deal, but in many chapters. This will make it that much stronger because there will be analysis and discussions on specific chapters and, therefore, over time, both countries will see the strengths and weaknesses and will be able to work through those processes.
This trade deal would provide more access to products, not just good products but all types of products. There will be almost 100% tariff reduction on fish, seafood and agriculture, which are major sectors in our economy.
We see improvement in the structure of the agreement. On the rules of origin, also very important, we were able to bring some relaxed focus to it, recognizing the global value chain and streamlining for tariff treatment. Again, it ensures the necessary conditions will be in place for greater success.
In the new chapters, we see the e-commerce, which is the online purchasing. Again, no tariff will be applied in any way, shape or form. It will also protect our intellectual properties, again because as Canadians, we have many areas where we have been number one. We have the best products and the best inventions. Therefore, we were able to ensure there would be relief on the copyright end.
Other measures we see in these new chapters are around food safety and environmental protection, which are extremely important, as well as labour standards. We have removed technical barriers to trade. These are very important points.
I want to touch on two areas in the added features where Canada has lead once again. The first is applying a gender lens to the trade deal. It is extremely important that we are able to apply that lens to ensure that both genders are able to contribute directly to the economy and these trade issues. We have shown how we can ensure greater success in the economy with direct contributions. It will benefit all Canadians, not just a certain group of Canadians. It is wide open in that sense.
The second area where we have really made some improvement is in the small and medium-sized businesses. As we know, small and medium-sized businesses in Canada are the backbone of our economy. We must ensure that they are successful and that we give them the tools to ensure that success. That is exactly what we have with this deal.
Let us look at how this deal will affect my province of Nova Scotia. We can look at the CETA deal, for example. Ninety-six per cent of tariffs on fish and seafood are eliminated. In manufacturing, tires had a tariff of 4.5%, and that is gone. It is now zero percent. Machinery and equipment had tariffs of up to 8%. That is gone. Agriculture and agri-food, such as blueberries, had tariffs of up to 9.6% and now have zero tariffs. Maple syrup, which we are extremely well known for in Canada, now has zero tariffs.
These trade deals are extremely important. Our government has been a leader from day one. We are continuing on that. We have signed the CPTPP, with access to over 500 million people. Through both the CETA and the CPTPP, we now have access to a billion people. Again, in the CPTPP we are seeing major benefits to financial services, food, seafood, agriculture and variety of sectors.
Let me finish with a quote. A mining industry representative said, “We can’t afford to be outside of this trading bloc...It would put as at a huge disadvantage.”
It is obvious that this government is focused on the middle class and the economy. We know that 60% of our GDP is based on trade deals and these trade deals will continue to allow middle-class Canadians to prosper.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-07 17:10 [p.23404]
Madam Speaker, the new CIFTA includes a commitment to encourage the use of voluntary corporate social responsibility standards. I want to ask the member why this is voluntary in CIFTA.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-07 17:15 [p.23405]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other acts.
There are many elements to any trade deal that can make them extremely complex, and they can be massive documents. However, today I want to focus on gender, labour and the important human rights obligations that this deal can address.
The original Canada-Israel FTA was negotiated in 1993, and has been expanded three times over the last 25 years. The last revision or modernization of this agreement was negotiated by the previous Conservative government and is now being brought into force legislatively by the Liberals, much like the original NAFTA deal and the recent CETA and CPTPP agreements.
New Democrats are supportive of the fact that this deal has a number of positive issues. One of them is that it would create more favourable conditions for exporters through important non-tariff commitments. On the trade committee we hear about non-tariff barriers far more than we hear about tariffs, as Canada is largely becoming tariff-free with the globe. It really is non-tariff barriers that we need to address to ensure that trade is flowing.
It would establish mechanisms whereby both nations can co-operate to resolve unjustified non-tariff barriers. It has provisions related to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. It would create potential new and improved market access for Canada, particularly in the areas of agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood products. There are changes to the rules of origin that reflect many aspects of Canada's current approach, including recognizing the presence of global value chains and the integrated nation of North American production, as well as streamlining the provisions for obtaining preferential tariff treatment.
The environment chapter is another first for Israel and would ensure environmental protections are maintained with recourse to a chapter-specific dispute resolution practice.
There is a chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises that would improve transparency and commit both parties to co-operate with a view to removing barriers and improving access for SMEs to engage in trade. It is widely understood that we need greater supports for our domestic exporters to take advantage of this. Certainly, again at the trade committee, we hear consistently that SMEs are not able to trade in the same way that large players are.
For every FTA that we are signing, our exports are decreasing with the country that we are signing. I point to the recent signing of CETA. A year on from the signing of CETA, our exports have decreased. Therefore, there are major fundamental issues that need to be addressed with the types of trade agreements that we are creating and signing onto, if they are not actually creating opportunities for Canadian businesses.
The modernized CIFTA would provide new and improved market access for virtually 100%, up from 90%, of current exports of agricultural, agri-food, fish and seafood products. In the agriculture and agri-food sector, 92% of Canadian exports would enter Israel duty-free, in unlimited quantities, under the modernized CIFTA, which is up from a current level of 83%. The agreement offers the potential for deeper, broader and more prosperous commercial relationships between our two countries. Because of these provisions, New Democrats will support this bill at second reading, but will make constructive suggestions to include crucial human rights elements, and we hope that the Liberals and Conservatives will accept our amendments at committee.
I want to talk about social issues. We are pleased with the new language and the representation of more social aspects of the deal, such as the environment, small business, corporate social responsibility, labour and gender. However, we cannot understand why, with such a progressive trade agenda for the current government, that it would not have these provisions within the text of the agreement and fully enforceable.
I want to talk a bit about corporate social responsibility. The article references again voluntary OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises that are a broad application to this agreement. This is a good first step. However, with respect to this clause, the New Democrats would prefer to see a corporate social responsibility chapter that has some enforceability and some teeth to it. When corporate social responsibility is only voluntary, how can the government plan to hold corporations to account? Those who violate human rights make a bigger profit when there is no one there to ensure that they are not violating rights. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves why this provision is only voluntary.
As I mentioned, this was the Conservative-negotiated deal, but the Liberals were truly concerned with the provisions. They could have negotiated much stronger language, as was done in the European Union-Israel trade agreement, which states:
Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.
I have to ask why the government did not bother to include a similar general line, at the very least, on human rights provisions in this agreement.
I want to talk a bit about the gender chapter. The NDP would like to emphasize, as we have in other trade agreements, that the provisions around gender and equality cannot be just limited to one chapter, especially when it is unenforceable.
As in the international trade committee, where I am vice-chair, and in committee meetings regarding other trade deals, OXFAM Canada came and presented. It called the mainstreaming of gender rights throughout the entirety of this FTA the path that we need to be on, not only relegating to one small chapter.
Gender equality does not only concern issues of women entrepreneurs and business owners. Labour rights must also address injustices to women, like pay inequity, child labour and poor working conditions.
The NDP believes that for an agreement to be truly progressive when it comes to gender rights, it must address the systemic inequalities for all women.
We also believe that both gender analysis and gender impact assessment must be applied to all trade agreements and we would like to see this in the updated CIFTA. Every trade agreement that we sign should build on the previous gender provisions that we have achieved in other deals.
I want to talk a bit about labour. We are pleased to see that there is a labour chapter, which is a first for Israel in a free trade agreement. This would help to ensure that high labour standards are maintained, with recourse to labour-specific, enforceable, binding dispute settlement mechanisms where non-compliance can lead to monetary penalties.
The Canadian Labour Congress has also made it clear that in order to equally raise labour standards and all standards in an FTA, the labour chapter must include the International Labour Organization's eight core conventions and adhere to its decent work agenda. It also must include the creation of an independent labour secretariat to oversee a dispute settlement process when there are violations of labour rights.
The NDP also agrees with the CLC that the Government of Canada must look at due diligence for Canadian companies and funding agencies and create a framework for transnational bargaining to allow unions to represent workers in multiple countries.
Any FTA should be guided by the principle that no one should be disadvantaged. Working people cannot continue to be an afterthought in trade agreements.
Too often people talk about free trade and state that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and that simply trading with another country, they will emulate higher respect for workers, women and human rights. However, we know that is simply not the case.
When we talk about human rights there are concerns with this FTA due to the fact that there are no human rights provisions and protections and recognition of the rights of Palestinians living in occupied territories. Human rights must be a part of our relationship with Israel, rights that Canadians expect us to uphold throughout the globe. Bill C-85 does not ensure that CIFTA complies with international law. The government must respect Canada's commitment to a peaceful and just settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Last week I travelled with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and on the trip to Israel and to Palestine, she repeatedly talked about the importance of Canada's commitment to a two-state solution. This trade agreement is an opportunity to address this issue in a meaningful way by including language that mirrors the Israel-EU agreement.
The agreement appears to cover products made in Israeli settlements and occupied territories. Neither Canada nor the United Nations recognize these settlements as part of Israel. These settlements are illegal and clearly violate the fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the settlement of territories acquired by war and the movement of indigenous people in those territories, among other things.
There is virtual global unanimity that the territories seized and occupied since 1967 by Israel, the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza and East Jerusalem are not part of Israel but form the basis of a sovereign Palestinian state. Those territories are a fraction of the land awarded to the Palestinian people by the United Nations partition of 1967.
As I said, New Democrats have worked for decades for a peaceful resolution in Israel and Palestine and we will continue to fight for fairness and justice for all, including within this agreement.
As I said at the beginning of my speech, there is much within this modernized agreement that is positive and that we agree with. We will work at committee to ensure respect of human rights is included in the newly updated CIFTA.
Trading with Canada is a privilege not just because of our incredible resources and products, but because of our global reputation. Fair trade can be a tool, among many others, that we use to positively contribute to the world around us. Together with our global partners, we can build a better future.
View Joël Godin Profile
CPC (QC)
View Joël Godin Profile
2018-11-07 17:45 [p.23410]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Edmonton West for his excellent and relevant speech. It reiterated the position of our party, the party of free trade and the economy. I also want to thank him for sharing his time with me. I am proud to do so.
Today is a very special day. Earlier in the House, we spared a very special thought for those of the Jewish faith. We reflected about them, apologized, and acknowledged the fact that they, as a people, experienced one of the greatest human tragedies and are still standing. I have a lot of respect for the Jewish people.
Unfortunately, on October 27, a synagogue in Pittsburgh was attacked. That is unacceptable. It reminds me of the massacre at the mosque in Sainte-Foy, where people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time fell victim to barbaric acts. These types of attacks are unacceptable in a civilized society. The government needs to put measures in place to eliminate as much as possible these barbaric acts motivated by race and religion.
Today I will be speaking to Bill C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other acts. We, the Conservatives, are the party of the economy, as I said at the outset. We are very proud of the markets that we opened up and developed. We are consistent, and we not only talk the talk, we walk the walk. We are going to support this bill at second reading because it is important to create trade routes, and this is one of them.
As a long-standing trade partner to Israel, Canada has a duty to continue this business relationship. Israel is a major market for Canadian goods and services. The relationship between Canada and Israel is based on shared values and interests. Canada derives tangible benefits from this strong relationship.
First off, with regard to security, Israel is an island of stability amid the turbulence that engulfs the Middle East. The knowledge and experience that Israel and Canada share are ever more important. We all know that in our modern world, threats do not stop at national borders. The security agreement signed by Canada and Israel in 2008 under Mr. Harper's Conservative government has permanently established this collaboration, which is so beneficial for Canada.
Second, there is the economy. Since 1996, Canada and Israel have had a free trade agreement that has significantly boosted trade between the two countries.
Third, there is technology. Israel has the second-largest concentration of high-tech companies after Silicon Valley, in the United States. Israel is a model of innovation. I would add that when I had the privilege, as a parliamentarian, of visiting Israel and Palestine, I observed that the people who live there are determined, intelligent and highly skilled. Canadian start-ups should take a page from their book.
Israel has an impressive approach to supporting and encouraging start-ups. For example, universities are involved in developing start-ups, and there risk is part of the equation. We should be looking at allowing more risk when it comes to start-ups in Canada, because when a company becomes a world leader, even if it is just one in a hundred, that definitely gives us an advantage.
It is therefore in our best interest to come up with a model for start-ups that aligns with the Israeli model.
We are already linked through the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation, or CIIRDF. That foundation takes in proposals for R and D projects in all areas of technology that have no military or defence applications. There is however a special focus on projects in aerospace, agriculture and processed food, financial services, information and communications technologies, life sciences, oil and gas, and sustainable technologies. These relationships are beneficial for both our countries.
The Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, or CIFTA, was signed on July 31, 1996 and came into force on January 1 of the following year. It has therefore been in effect for more than 20 years. This bill seeks to expand the scope of the agreement and deliver on negotiations that were launched in 2010 and 2014. In July 2015 Canada and Israel concluded negotiations on reduced tariffs on all agricultural products, investment protection mechanisms, sanitary measures, intellectual property and non-tariff barriers.
The Government of Canada website on the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement states, under the heading “Modernization overview and chapters”:
In July 2015, Canada and Israel completed negotiations to update four chapters in the Agreement: Dispute Settlement, Goods Market Access, Institutional Provisions, and Rules of Origin. The Agreement was also expanded to include seven new chapters: E-Commerce, Intellectual Property, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade and Environment, Trade and Labour, and Trade Facilitation.
That, to me, shows that three years were wasted updating an agreement that had been signed in 2015 under the Harper government. I might add that the protocol amending the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement was signed three years later in Montreal on May 28, 2018, but has yet to come into force. Until that happens, the 1997 free trade agreement continues to apply.
The discussions concluded in 2015, and we are now nearing the end of 2018. That means we wasted three years. This government's sluggishness has cost us billions of dollars. The Conservative government is the one that negotiated the agreements, while the current Liberal government is just patting itself on the back and signing the agreements.
Let us not forget the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. This multilateral free trade agreement, which was signed on February 4, 2016, aims to integrate the economies of the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas. The negotiation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership began in 2008 under the Harper government. In June 2012, Canada and Mexico joined the negotiations. On February 4, 2016, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed. It must now be ratified by 12 countries, and that process is still under way. Once again, this shows how slowly things move under the Liberals.
Then there is the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA. Who put that in place? Once again, it was the Harper government. It was the Conservative Party, the party that understands the economy and seeks to open new trade routes. I think that is a very legitimate thing to do since our neighbour to the south is unpredictable. Unfortunately, again this morning, I read that our Prime Minister announced that we are going to sign the agreement with the United States even though the tariffs on steel, softwood lumber and aluminum have not been lifted.
It is good to sign agreements, but we need to use our bargaining power. Unfortunately, when this government signs agreements, it uses our agreements and our objectives and simply continues the work we started. Things would not have gone the way they did with the USMCA if the Conservatives were in office.
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Jim Carr Profile
2018-10-29 17:08 [p.22953]
moved that Bill C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by adding my voice to the eloquent words of others earlier on in the House today expressing their horror at the tragedy in Pittsburgh over the weekend taking lives only because Jews were targeted. I will say more about this later on in my remarks because this is my community. I will talk about the ties between Israel and Canada which are based on family, friendship, shared values and understanding the importance of these relationships in an uncertain world.
I rise in the House today in support of legislation to implement the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, or CIFTA.
As Minister of International Trade Diversification, I can attest that today, more than ever, we need to diversify our trade and tap new markets so that more Canadians can compete and succeed worldwide. This government has secured the North American platform with the new USMCA. When we add to that the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, in place since last year, and the now ratified Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, that platform actually extends east and west, from Tokyo to Tallinn.
In CETA's first year, Canadians have added $1.1 billion in increased exports to Europe. With 500 million European consumers at our doorstep, that number is sure to grow. In the fast-growing Asia-Pacific markets, the CPTPP will add a further 500 million consumers to Canada's ever-increasing network of free trade.
Canada is now the only G7 country with free trade links to all of the others. Think about the importance of that reality. We have 41 FTAs connecting us to 1.5 billion of the world's consumers. lnvestors recognize how important this is. FTAs are the bridges, but to truly realize the opportunity we have created, we need people, the entrepreneurs and first-time exporters, to cross those bridges. Our diversity is our economic strength.
Canada and Israel have long been connected through the power of people-to-people ties, a shared commitment to democracy and a friendship that started 70 years ago when Israel became a nation. It continues to grow with each passing year.
Israel is the home of the Jewish people and if we needed reminding why this is so important, why affirming and reaffirming our bonds is so important, we horrifically saw why when on Saturday, 11 worshippers were killed in Pittsburgh only because they were Jewish.
Jewish people have been in Canada since 1759 and now our community of more than 350,000 continues to contribute impressively to our national mosaic. My grandparents came to Canada in 1906, escaping the pogroms of the tsar. They were persecuted only because they were Jewish. That is yet another reason to underline the importance of security to the State of Israel.
I have visited Israel many times and made my first trip as Canada's Minister of International Trade Diversification in August. Canada and Israel have forged a partnership that continues to deepen with each passing year. Strengthening those bonds depends on constant renewal, which is why our government recently modernized the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. The agreement creates opportunities for Canadians and Israelis to partner in the growing fields of science, technology and innovation across our vibrant markets. The agreement has the potential for more people to work together, creating well-paying jobs for hard-working Canadians as a result.
Bill C-85 before the House today stands as testimony to Canada's and Israel's shared commitment to maintain openness, celebrate our friendship and expand our links so that more of our people and more of our businesses can benefit from them.
I am especially pleased that this modernized trade agreement strengthens our commercial ties, generating more business for both our countries. When Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen travelled to Canada this year to sign our modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, we built on that partnership. We committed to a forward-looking framework for trade that expanded meaningful access to each other's markets and introduced chapters on gender, labour, environmental protection, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. Minister Cohen said at that time, “We are witnessing a historical step in the trade relations between the two countries with the signing of the upgraded agreement.”
In some respects Minister Cohen was even a little understated. We expanded market access for more Canadians and Israelis, but we also pushed the envelope by writing new international law, putting an end to inequality of access to job-creating trade and investment. The new chapters on gender, the environment and labour are explicitly about growing our trading relationship while expanding access for those who did not necessarily see themselves or their values reflected in the agreements of the past.
There is enormous untapped economic potential, but for too long we have focused on the few and not on the many. We are changing that. We are encouraging more of these would-be exporters to get in the game, and these chapters are about showing workers and their families that trade can work for them. Israel is clearly thinking longer term to future-proof its own economy, taking full advantage of its entrepreneurial spirit to develop a high-tech industry and to promote clean technologies.
Israelis have every right to tout the initiatives launched by the Israel Innovation Authority to drive public sector innovation. We see room to expand Canadian-Israeli business partnerships, innovating our way into greater prosperity.
Since the original CIFTA came into force in 1997, merchandising trade between Canada and Israel has more than tripled, reaching $1.7 billion in 2017. This demonstrates the importance of trade agreements to bilateral trade.
The modernized CIFTA will open new doors and make Canadian goods more competitive in the Israeli market. For example, in this new agreement, we have expanded market access for goods by eliminating tariffs on nearly all products traded between Canada and Israel, nearly all products. This will make Canadian agri-food, agriculture, fish and seafood products more competitive in the Israeli market, benefiting a range of companies in all those sectors.
We have also negotiated rules that are designed to address non-tariff barriers, facilitate trade, make it more predictable, and reduce red tape, including some of the costs to companies for doing business. The modernized CIFTA also adopts a new framework that includes chapters on trade and gender, small and medium enterprises, labour and the environment, as well as a new provision on corporate social responsibility.
The modernized agreement reflects who we are as vibrant, diverse, open and democratic societies. This agreement is not only for today but for future generations.
The new chapters on trade and gender and on small and medium enterprises ensure that the benefits and opportunities that flow from trade and investment are more widely shared. Both chapters provide frameworks for Canada and Israel to work together to encourage women and small and medium enterprises to take full advantage of this agreement.
The new chapter on environment includes robust commitments so that parties maintain high levels of environmental protection, while liberalizing trade. This is in line with other Canadian FTAs, including more environmental governance. This is the first environmental chapter that Israel has ever agreed to in a free trade agreement.
Canada and Israel also agreed to a chapter on labour that includes comprehensive and enforceable obligations to protect and promote internationally recognized labour principles and rights. The labour chapter recognizes that economic development is not achieved at the expense of workers' rights, backed by an enforceable dispute settlement mechanism.
A modernized CIFTA shows the world that we put our people first and are committed to embracing that value as an economic strength.
One in six Canadian jobs are directly linked to exports, and that is one of the reasons we are so committed to expanding the pie for all Canadians. The more bridges we build, the more opportunities there are for people to cross those bridges with goods, services and investments.
For those here today who may not know, Israel has a long-standing reputation for technological prowess, with a well-developed scientific and educational base. We see room to expand and build partnerships in these sectors and many others. There are exciting opportunities for Canadian companies in sectors such as aerospace, smart mobility, sustainable technologies, information and communications technology, life sciences and energy.
There are also great prospects for joint research and development. For example, Canadian and Israeli firms have joined forces to develop an ultraviolet water monitoring system that ensures the safety of drinking water. There are even more possibilities on the horizon that will change countless lives in communities across the globe. When I was in Tel Aviv in September, I announced a pilot program to facilitate new cybersecurity solutions for the energy sector, matching expertise in areas like anti-hacking with the needs of Canada's natural gas delivery companies.
With so much potential and opportunity on both sides, it simply makes sense that we work together and knit our economies even tighter. Not surprisingly, the government's consultations, in the context of the negotiations, have consistently revealed support for a modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. Canadians want to do more business in and with Israel in the years ahead. A modernized free trade agreement between our countries is a surefire way to make that happen. Our competitiveness depends on small and medium-sized enterprises pursuing trade opportunities and for us to support them in doing so.
The Prime Minister has prioritized, in my mandate as minister of international trade and diversification, support for 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 order for the benefits of FTAs to be fully realized, Canadian businesses need to be aware of the agreements and the benefits they offer. Once ratified, I will work hard to promote awareness of the modernized agreement so would-be exporters have the information they need to get into the market.
My department has mobilized a free trade agreement promotion task force that is undertaking a comprehensive outreach and training program for the business community. Efforts of the task force are currently focused on flagship agreements, like Canada's trade agreement with the European Union, or CETA, and the CPTPP, which last week received royal assent and was subsequently ratified. I want to pause here and thank all members of the House who co-operated so fully to ensure that Canada was among the first tranche to ratify, which gives us a first advantage that will be meaningful for our entrepreneurs and our exporters, and ultimately will create jobs for Canadians.
Once CIFTA is ratified, I will ensure this promotion work is extended to this agreement too. At the same time, Canadian companies can access the free services and export advice offered by the Canadian trade commissioner service, TCS, which is 1,000 strong around the world. The TCS helps Canadian companies export by preparing businesses for international markets, providing market potential assessments, offering connections to qualified contacts abroad and assisting in resolving business problems.
The CanExport program, which is delivered by the TCS in partnership with the National Research Council industrial research assistance program, helps Canadians take the practical and necessary steps to make their first sale overseas. This five-year, $50-million program provides direct financial assistance to Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises to make that happen. In June 2018, the government announced an additional $40 million for the CanExport program. The new funding, along with enhancements to the program, will provide Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises with more opportunities to diversify their export markets, including to Israel.
Now we need to give life to our agreement by taking advantage of the two-way trade between our knowledge-based, innovation-driven economies.
With our expanded air transport agreement, we need more travel between our two countries and the flights to support it.
There are ample reasons to be optimistic about our future. Not only does working together support economic prosperity and job creation in both countries, it raises the international bar for the rules-based and inclusive trading order on which economies like ours depend. This is yet another example where two states recognize that our future prosperity depends on liberalized trade.
We know in Canada that there are protectionist forces and that is why we convened 12 nations just last week to push for concrete reforms to the WTO so that the future of global trade is put on a better footing.
We need more partnerships in the world that reflect this approach and the approach we have taken with Israel in CIFTA.
We need to create the conditions for small and medium-sized businesses to compete and succeed because they are the lifeblood of both of our economies.
Going about the business of trade differently is not just about exporting values, it is about adding value to our respective bottom lines. We can only do that if we focus on the middle class and the confidence they need to make their first international sale or deal.
Our modernized trade agreement is an example of what happens when two governments decide to put the middle class at the heart of our trade agenda.
I therefore urge all hon. members to support Bill C-85 and thereby enable Canada to do its part to bring the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement into force in a timely way.
View Jim Carr Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Jim Carr Profile
2018-10-29 17:28 [p.22956]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his spirit of collegiality. When he was critic and I was minister of natural resources, we travelled to many places around the world. I have learned from him and really do value his friendship.
On the issue of territoriality, no amendments were made to CIFTA's original definition of Israel's territory. The territorial scope of application of the modernized CIFTA will continue to be the territory where Israel's customs laws apply. As such, qualifying trade with Canada from the West Bank and Gaza Strip can also benefit from preferred access.
View Jim Eglinski Profile
CPC (AB)
View Jim Eglinski Profile
2018-10-29 17:33 [p.22957]
Madam Speaker, the minister just spoke about the significant potential and offers of diverse commercial opportunities for Canadian businesses, but we need to communicate with businesses. We need to ensure small and large businesses in Canada understand what CIFTA is all about.
I wonder if the minister could explain to me what program is in place or is anticipated to be put in place to educate and inform small businesses across Canada.
View Richard Cannings Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I just want to clarify the question I posed to the minister a moment ago. He seemed to think it was about restricting the geographical scope of CIFTA, but that is not what I was asking. I want the businesses and people in Gaza and the West Bank to benefit from CIFTA as well. I was just asking that we live up to our international obligations in our own policies and do what Europe has been doing for the last three years, which is asking Israel to label those export products so that we know whether they come from the occupied territories or the State of Israel.
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