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View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2020-03-10 18:24 [p.1918]
Mr. Speaker, because I do not have enough time, I will not give my speech on all of the benefits. We have heard from all parties today the many benefits of this agreement. Instead, I will comment on some of the points that have been made about the agreement.
One was related to reports. There are many reports that talk about the benefits of this agreement. A couple of the parties mentioned one report, but there have been many, and I will talk about a couple. RBC said, without disagreement, that the GDP would have gone down a huge amount, 1%, and affected 500,000 workers. Scotiabank said the Canadian economy would stand a strong chance of falling into a recession, without disagreement.
Another item that came up was the ability to export formula and skim milk type powders, saying they were cut off and we could not trade them anymore. That is not true. At a certain quota level, there will be a tariff, an increased charge, but we do not even export that much right now, so it will not have any immediate effect.
Something else that was said during the debate is that aluminum could be dumped into Mexico because of this agreement. There is nothing in the agreement that allows that. It has always been a concern of ours. We have always worked against that. In fact, thanks to the Bloc, we have strengthened the agreement in that respect.
There was the issue of government procurement. As members know, we have deferred government procurement to the WTO. Before we only had access to federal procurement through the WTO provisions and now we have access to 37 states, so that is a great improvement. Members talked about the announced intention of the United States to withdraw from that. That has been a rumour for years, but, as far as I know, there has been no official announcement related to that.
The Conservatives mentioned the benefit that we have increased the amount that can be brought across the border without taxes or duties, but we also protected business by having much lower amounts than the United States has.
We have to remember where we started in this agreement. The fact was that the United States wanted no agreement at all and the business community and most Canadians realized how devastating that would be for the country, so it is a great win that we have gotten this far. Some people have suggested that Trump could not tear up the agreement, but Mr. Trump achieved a lot of things that people did not think he would be able to achieve through the U.S. system.
Another item related to data for the large interactive computer providers, such as Facebook. Canada has its own laws about what is permissible and what can be watched. The safe harbour part of the agreement for these companies is only related to civil liability. If someone posts something, it is user-generated data only that companies are protected from. If it is not appropriate and not right, they would have to take it down. CUSMA will not prevent Canada from regulating online platforms or the use of administrative penalties. Canada can continue to regulate illegal content, including hate speech, and enforce criminal law.
Another point that was mentioned was the number of trade agreements this government has entered into. I would like to put on the record that in 2018, we approved the CPTPP, involving 11 countries; in 2016, we entered into the CETA with 27 countries; in 2016, we signed the agreement with Ukraine; and now we have this agreement. We are now the only G7 country with trade agreements with all of the other G7 countries, which is tremendous for our economy.
I was here for most of the debate today and those issues were raised as concerns.
The last one would be the auto industry. Today, I mentioned all the provisions that would help the auto parts providers, and they are very happy about that. When we increase Canadian auto parts businesses and the number of workers so more has to be made in Canada, the price of the vehicles go up. There was some lessening of the total sales, but the manufacturers of auto parts in Canada are much better off as is the industry because of this agreement.
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