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View Randy Hoback Profile
Thank you, Chair.
I want to thank the minister for being here this morning and accommodating the committee.
Minister, I get that the process and the timing is so important. I understand the risks that are sitting there. We don't know what the Prime Minister may say today or tomorrow while he is seeking a UN security seat and how that will impact our relationship with the president. We saw that during the negotiations and how that created problems during negotiations. We know that timeliness is important.
One of my frustrations arises when I look at the U.S. system and how they went through the approval process. They had the agreement in April. We actually talked about this committee doing a pre-study in April and it was declined. We could have started then. In fact, I made the motion to do that and it didn't happen. We asked that Parliament be recalled in November or December, when we could have dealt with this. It wasn't done. We've looked for other opportunities to bring it forward sooner with no response.
I will also look at the fact that Lighthizer was talking to Nancy Pelosi almost on a weekly basis down there on the USMCA and how they could get it through the House, their Senate and to fruition. Their talks were ongoing between the government—the White House, in that scenario—and the Democrats, even during the impeachment process, to get this done. Yet we still haven't had a call from the Prime Minister to our leader to say this is urgent.
I know you're doing the best you can with the tools you have in your tool box and doing anything to get this done, and we will. We will do everything we can. If you want us to sit later, we'll sit later. If you want us to sit on weekends, we'll sit on weekends. If you want us to sit during the break week, we'll sit during the break week.
There are a lot of people who are impacted by this agreement. We need to understand what those impacts are. We need to understand if there's anything we can do in implementation to mitigate those impacts. We need to know what that is. We need time. I'm concerned that, with the rush to get this done and the pressure to get this done, those people won't get heard. That's one of my concerns.
I guess when I look at that I see there are things that we needed to do when we looked at previous trade agreements, for example, TPP. We did two cross-country studies. Then we came back here and studied it again when the legislation came forward. Nobody is proposing that. We want to get it done as quickly as possible so it's moved forward and our traders can take advantage of this agreement, but we do need time. I hope you understand that we need time and we're doing our best to get it through without shunning the people who are impacted by this.
When we look at the agreement, we see that we need to get a better understanding of some things. I was with the aluminum producers this last week. I went down to Mr. Martel's riding. We talked about green aluminum. They talked about implementation. I talked to the primary producers of aluminum. I talked to secondary users. While they're not happy, they understand the importance of getting this agreement done, but they are looking for a mitigation program for them.
Have you thought through, for example, in the aluminum sector, what that may look like?
How do we go to these sectors and give those who are negatively impacted by this agreement a path forward?
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