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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, I just want to say that I will be sharing my time with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.
This is a great opportunity to stand before the House to speak to the trade deal CUSMA. As members know, I am from Nova Scotia and my riding is Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. It is a riding on the outskirts of the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth. There are many companies in my riding, and throughout last summer and during the campaign, I had an opportunity to speak with many in the business community. They were quick to tell me how important trade deals are for Canadians, all trade deals, and they zeroed in on some of the key trade deals we signed in the last four years, in the last mandate.
I will touch on three of them, because they are extremely important to Canadians. I am talking, of course, about the final piece of CUSMA that we have before us, CETA and the CPTPP. Those were big deals because they represent 1.5 billion people. Let us think about that for a second: 1.5 billion people. These are major trade deals. I can say as a member of Parliament that there are very important conversations we should be having with our constituents right across the country, in all 338 constituencies.
When we talk about trade deals, we have to talk about the Canadian economy. In the last four years, we have seen a drastic improvement in the Canadian economy. We had over 10 years of austerity and cuts by the Conservative government. It was time to invest in Canadians, and that is exactly what we did.
By investing in Canadians, we were successful in increasing the number of jobs. There were one million more high-quality jobs, believe it or not, over a four-year period. That is extremely important. The second thing we saw was the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. Those are big numbers.
Along with that, 800,000 Canadians were lifted out of poverty, 300,000 of them children. We lifted 20% of Canadians out of poverty. That is a good example of what we see when an economy is strong and things are moving. Canadians in all walks of life increase their opportunities to be successful when we lift 20% of them out of poverty.
Trade deals are very important because they level the playing field for those who are part of a deal. I can say with confidence, no question about it, that the business community in Canada can compete with the world when the playing field is fair. That is exactly what we have in this deal. I challenge all members of Parliament to continue to dialogue and consult with the business community and let businesses know that these important deals are now ready to go and they can take advantage of the opportunities. Our government has invested in the business community so that businesses can expand, grow, prosper and trade globally. Those things are all part and parcel of this. It is a general approach right across the board.
Now let us talk about the CETA deal. Because of the CETA deal, tariffs have been removed from 98% of all products, up from 25%. Let us think about that. Only 25% of our products were being exported with no tariffs and now we are at 98%. That is exceptional. That is why we will see more and more trade between our country and the European Union.
With the new CPTPP deal, half a billion people more are trading with us. Most of the tariffs have been removed by the CPTPP and 100% of the tariffs on seafood have been removed. That is very important for Canadians, especially those in Atlantic Canada and Nova Scotia. Some of those tariffs varied from 10% to 22%, so just imagine the investment potential now of the industry in Atlantic Canada and across Canada. That is extremely powerful.
The new CUSMA is so important. It is nice to say we could have had this or that, but it is a trade deal that represents $2 billion per day. That is $2 billion yesterday, $2 billion today, $2 billion tomorrow and so forth. That is big.
Some 68% of all products from Nova Scotia are traded with the Americans. That represents $3.7 billion U.S. per year. It also represents 18,000 new direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs. Is Nova Scotia happy with the trade deal with the Americans? Absolutely. As the Premier of Nova Scotia said, “Our message to them, really, is that Canada and Nova Scotia is open for business.” That is what Premier McNeil of Nova Scotia shared with Nova Scotians and Canadians.
With the new CUSMA deal, we have seen, in a new piece since June, some very big improvements in certain areas. The first one is labour. Labour is extremely important for levelling the playing field. We have seen a strengthening of the standards and the enforcement. It is one thing to set standards, but do we have any enforcement? Are we going to follow through on that? Through inspections and various approaches and strategies, we are going to make sure that wages are acceptable within the fair playing field. If we trade product and someone is paying $1, then it is much different.
There is also the new obligations for the environment. We all know that the environment is a very important aspect for all Canadians. It is a big challenge, the biggest challenge of our time, I would say. The new dispute resolution process in Chapter 20 will be powerful once again because no country will be able to block it.
I know my time is running short, but I have to share what Mr. Trump said. We have to look back to when Trump said to throw out NAFTA. When he was tweeting at three o'clock in the morning, he said that the U.S. had to do three things for sure or he would not sign anything and that there had to be a sunset clause of five years. Then he said it would be dead if it was not renegotiated. We said no. It is not in there.
On supply management, he said there would be no supply management in any NAFTA deal. Is supply management there? Yes, because we as a government made sure that it had to be there.
The third thing he said, again as he was tweeting at three or four o'clock in the morning, was about dispute resolution. He said it had to be an American tribunal, not an independent tribunal. Is it an American tribunal? No. Did he win? No. That is a good example of how our deal was negotiated.
I want to finish with a quote from the Business Council of Canada: “We applaud your government's success in negotiating a comprehensive and high-standard agreement on North American trade. That is pretty clear.”
We have to understand that a negotiation is a negotiation. We are not going to win every point, but right across this country we now have a deal that will allow us to continue to grow economically.
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