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View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, it goes without saying that you should feel free to do your job as required.
The new NAFTA is not all bad for Canada or, more specifically, for the rest of Canada. It preserves the cultural exemption for Quebec, it protects the automotive industry and steel producers in Ontario, it protects Canada against legal action by American investors. However, the members of the Bloc Québécois are here to represent Quebec, its economy, its workers and its regions. Unfortunately, once again, in the negotiations with the United States, all the concessions made by the Government of Canada were made on the backs of Quebeckers. For the sake of Quebec's regional economic development, the Bloc Québécois cannot accept that. Let me explain why.
First there is aluminum. I asked around and I spoke with my colleague from Repentigny to find out what the president of the Aluminium Association of Canada, Mr. Simard, said. I think it bears repeating.
My colleague, the member for Joliette, asked him whether he would rather have had an agreement like the one the steel sector got. Mr. Simard's answer was clear. He gave that answer in this institution, not in this room, but at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance. He said that that was what the association had asked for and was about to get, thanks to the efforts of Ms. Freeland and her team. However, at the end of the negotiations, Mexico said yes to steel but no to aluminum for strategic reasons.
That strategy is obvious.
Canada sacrificed Quebec's aluminum industry in its negotiations. Because of Canada's decision to let Chinese aluminum flood the North American market by way of Mexico, six aluminum smelter expansion projects in Sept-Îles, Jonquière and Alma may not go ahead.
What is the government promising? It is hinting that compensation is likely. If I represented an industry, that would hardly come as a surprise. That money can be taken and maybe used to build those industries elsewhere. This could be a disaster with severe economic consequences for 60,000 workers.
Businesses across Quebec, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and the North Shore are suffering the consequences of this government's refusal to protect Quebec's aluminum. As a result, $6 billion in investments will be put off. The consequences will be devastating.
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