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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much, Minister, for appearing here today. You probably [Technical difficulty—Editor] on the committee that the NDP has often been a critic of the model of free trade, in particular in the original NAFTA debate. The NDP led the charge against that. Within that agreement the items of particular concern, not exclusively but of focus, were the ISDS provisions in the original NAFTA and the proportionality clause.
We recognize that in this version those aren't there. That creates an opportunity for reflection on our part. We've certainly been deliberating on that, but you'll know also, from a letter that I sent you in December, that a concern of the NDP on the trade agenda has been, for a long time, the process by which Parliament, and by extension Canadians, are included in the trade process.
We heard earlier today the ways, depending on the deal, that can unfold. Parliament has been included in different ways at different times for different deals. In the last few weeks I've been talking about ways that we might come to some understanding about a meaningful first step we can make in this Parliament towards having a more codified trade process that would better articulate the role of Parliament and get Parliament involved a little earlier, which would address some of the concerns we heard earlier.
I wanted to share some proposals with you and get your feedback on those proposals.
In particular, as a good first step, we think it would make sense for the government to table a notice of intent, when it is intending to enter into negotiations, at least 90 calendar days prior to the commencement of negotiations. It would be tabled in the House and then referred to this committee or its successor for study. Then within 30 calendar days prior to the commencement of negotiations, the government would table its objectives for the negotiations. We think it would introduce another level of accountability to have the government state its objectives clearly, so that the deal can be assessed in light of those. Also, an economic impact assessment would be tabled in the House of Commons coincident with the introduction of the implementing legislation so that parliamentarians would have the economic data at the same time at which they have the changes to the laws they're being asked to contemplate. We've heard some debate about this at this table already with respect to CUSMA.
I'm looking for your feedback on those measures as a first step towards having a more concrete trade process here in Canada.
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