Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 17:07 [p.29415]
Madam Speaker, I have a question about how the member feels about investor state dispute settlements being removed from the agreement, and also about article 22, which limits state-owned corporations.
In light of that, how does he feel about the Canada-China FIPA? It was an investment treaty, not a trade agreement, that was pushed through by the Harper government without any debate in this House, whereby Chinese state-owned corporations can use investor state dispute settlements to seek compensation for the loss of potential profit when our laws and policies get in the way of their profitability.
I am just curious about how the member feels about investor state agreements in trade agreements, about state-owned corporations, and about the Canada-China FIPA in light of those things.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 17:25 [p.29417]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand here today and engage in the debate on NAFTA.
Many of my constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith will know that I am very passionate about trade issues and concerned about international trade and investment agreements.
First of all, I want to say that the Green Party of Canada supports trade. We think it is a vital part of our economy. However, what we want to see in trade agreements is respect for environmental regulations, labour standards, health and safety standards, and consumer protections. These things should be increased in trade agreements, the way that the European Union does. Countries that enter the European Union must increase their standards and regulations to meet the highest standards in the union. We think that those kinds of approaches to international trade are important.
About 15 years ago, I was focused on a lot of local issues and worked on films about local water. Somebody had asked me if I knew anything about the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the SPP, and I did not. Therefore, I went off to Ottawa to go to the people summit and learn about the SPP.
I went to Montebello to document the protests that were happening there, and I happened to videotape three police officers who were dressed as radicals with masks on who were attacking their own riot squad. They were unmasked in the process, and all of their boots matched with those of the riot squad. This raised questions for me about why the police would be involved in this kind of incitement, and I have footage of them banging rocks into shields, etc. I wondered why they would be involved in this kind of incitement at a peaceful protest, and they were later proven to be police officers.
I became interested in the Security and Prosperity Partnership and started to dig in. What I found was that in this process there was a deep integration of Canada, the United States and Mexico as part of a fortress North America after 9/11. It also included integration of our regulatory standards. I looked into who was negotiating on behalf of Canada for these regulatory standards. There were 20 corporations for each of three countries, Mexico, the United States and Canada. There were some great Canadian corporations representing Canada in this negotiation process, such as Home Depot Canada, Walmart Canada, Chevron Canada and Ford Canada.
I started to study trade agreements a little more and found that there really was no involvement of civil society in these agreements. These were corporate agreements. Therefore, I really appreciate in this new version of NAFTA that the government has involved labour organizations and environmental organizations as part of the negotiating process, and I see that as progress. This is what we need to be doing in our negotiations on international trade and investment. They cannot just be secretive processes where only the corporations and the bureaucrats are involved. We need people who represent consumers, workers and environmentalists so that we have a fair process that can look at all aspects of trade and make sure that our regulations and standards are protected.
One of the others things I learned working on this film was about investor-state dispute settlements. Chapter 11 in NAFTA was the first time that a developed country had signed on to this process. It was something that the Europeans had used with their former colonial states to kind of keep corporate control over mineral extraction, etc. However, when I looked into Chapter 11, there were cases such as Ethyl Corporation, which got $5 million when Canada blocked the use of MMT, an additive that was a neurotoxin in gasoline. Ethyl Corporation said that it was an unfair trade practice to ban it. There are also things in these investment chapters such as indirect expropriation, and we all know what expropriation is; national treatment; as well as most favoured nation status. These are all things that are used by corporations to challenge our laws and policies. Therefore, I was really happy to see that the investor-state dispute settlement was taken out of the new NAFTA.
Let us look at cases like Bilcon, where a foreign corporation is challenging our environmental assessment process and getting $7 million for doing nothing. It is not a process that makes sense. We see this used as a big stick by mining companies to get developed countries to accept mining and extraction projects.
We need to do something about softwood lumber. That is an important issue in my community.
I am also concerned about the extension of patents for pharmaceuticals from eight years to 10 years for biologics and how that will affect the cost of drugs. We see many people, seniors in particular, who are having to make decisions about what they spend their money on: rent, food or pharmaceuticals.
Article 22, the state-owned chapter, has a carve-out for the Trans Mountain expansion project. That is a concern for me as well.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:45 [p.29435]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand again to speak to the new NAFTA. I appreciate the Liberal Party giving me some time to speak about this.
When I left off, I was talking about investor-state dispute settlement and my appreciation that this part of NAFTA was removed. I know it will take three years for it to be completely removed and that some corporations will still be able to use that provision against Canadian laws and policies that get in the way of their profits.
I think it is time to get rid of investor-state provisions in all our trade agreements. It is undemocratic, and it undermines our sovereignty. As we have seen in many cases, such as in Bilcon v. Canada, three arbitration lawyers, whose only interest is keeping the system going, sit in a room and make decisions on our environmental assessment process.
In Bilcon v. Canada, there was a proposed quarry at Digby Neck. The community came out and experts came out and talked about the problems with the quarry. It was an area where the endangered North Atlantic right whales had their calving grounds. There was tourism for whale watching. There was lobster fishing. The community did not want the quarry. When the environmental assessment review panel ruled against Bilcon, after years of environmental assessments, Bilcon was able to take the dispute to a NAFTA panel. Bilcon wanted $470 million. It walked away with $7 million. That is outrageous. Using these kinds of processes to challenge our laws and policies is antithetical to democracy.
Investor-state provisions are being used in developing countries to force through extraction projects or to make developing countries pay through the nose.
A good example of this is Crystallex, a Canadian mining development company. It challenged Venezuela using investor-state provisions after Venezuela decided, on behalf of its indigenous population, that the Crystallex mine would not be in the interest of the indigenous population. It was a threat to the environment. Tenor Capital paid for the arbitration lawyers and invested $30 million. Crystallex ended up getting $1.2 billion in a settlement in this investor-state dispute, and Tenor Capital walked away with a 1,000% return, or $300 million. It is obscene.
I could give members example after example of these kinds of situations. I am glad this is out of NAFTA.
I am also glad to see that the proportionality clause is gone. Under this clause, we had to continue to export the same amount of energy to the United States, on average, as we had in the previous three years.
However, as I was saying earlier, there are a few things that disappoint me about the new NAFTA.
First is the extension of biological patents for pharmaceutical drugs. This is important for products like insulin and for people who have Crohn's disease. People are already struggling with the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. We need drug costs to come down. We must have a national pharmacare program rather than more money for big pharma.
Second is article 22, the carve-out for the Trans Mountain expansion. It looks to me as though it will continue to be a state-owned corporation, which is concerning.
Third is having bovine growth hormone in the American milk and dairy products we will import.
I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to the bill.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:51 [p.29436]
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned at the top of the speech, we support trade. What we look for in trade agreements is fair trade. We want to ensure labour rights are respected and that standards are improved for labour, health and safety and for consumer standards and environmental standards.
We like the European Union model. When a country joins the European Union, its standards need to be raised to the level of the highest standards of countries in the European Union. We should be looking to that model.
I appreciate that in this round of NAFTA there have been labour organizations and other civil society organizations involved in the actual negotiations, and that is important.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:52 [p.29436]
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that I will support the bill. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands thinks that this might be as good as it gets.
I understand the New Democrats think the Democrats in the United States might be able to improve the deal. I know there is some progressive movement within that party, but it has been very neo-liberal in the past and I am not sure the leadership in the Democratic Party in the United States has changed enough that we will see progress from them on this issue.
The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands has less trust of the Democrats. I am not sure she thinks we will get a better deal than what we have. I think we could be getting a better deal. I am not whipped in my vote. We will see how it all comes down when we vote.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:54 [p.29437]
Mr. Speaker, the problem with CETA is that there is some change in the way investor-state dispute settlement is done, with the tribunal process, but it is still not good enough. I have listened to trade experts, like Gus Van Harten from Osgoode Hall. He says that it is basically the same kind of thing, the same sort of investor-state dispute settlement. It has just done it with a more permanent court.
We need to improve the judicial system. We need to deal with these issues within domestic boundaries. When we talk about domestic law, let us deal with disputes within domestic boundaries. If we are dealing with countries that do not have good judicial systems, let us make that part of the trade conditions.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 21:19 [p.29440]
Mr. Speaker, my question for the hon. member is about article 22 and annex IV, which gives a carve-out to the Trans Mountain expansion project.
When we are dealing with climate change, do we not think that perhaps it would be a good idea for other state-owned enterprises to be available to us in dealing with a climate emergency?
Also, I would like to know about this carve-out for the Trans Mountain expansion project. What is the plan? We have seen that it is not really economically feasible. I have read reports by Robyn Allan and others who say that this pipeline is not economically feasible.
What is the plan if the government cannot sell it to the private sector within the 10-year period, as outlined in article 22?
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-19 22:18 [p.29448]
Mr. Speaker, for my hon. friend, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety,, I recognize that the bill before us would make improvements in the situation of solitary confinement. I am particularly grateful to her colleague, the hon. member for Oakville North—Burlington, for working so collaboratively on the committee and helping some of my amendments get through.
However, I am very troubled by the rejection of some of the Senate amendments. I am sure the parliamentary secretary is aware of the letter from Senator Pate to the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice, which was shared with many members. It spoke to something that is quite compelling, which is unusual when legislation goes through this place. We already have a foreshadowing from the Ontario Court of Appeal that the legislation will not be found to be constitutional.
The citation is from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association case, where the Ontario Court of Appeal comments in relation to the five-day review. The key sentence reads, “Nothing more has been done to remedy the breach”, and this is a breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the interim, “and it remains unclear how Bill C-83 will remedy it if enacted.”
The Senate amendments and the ones that the hon. parliamentary secretary referenced must go through. We can get the bill faster by accepting these amendments from the Senate. The administrative objections that I heard from the parliamentary secretary do not measure up to the imperative of ensuring the bill is constitutional.
View Paul Manly Profile
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-18 23:36 [p.29376]
Mr. Speaker, I have a number of concerns about this agreement, including the potential import of dairy containing bovine growth hormone, the extension of patents from eight to 10 years, and article 22, which is about state-owned enterprises and the carve-out for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion; we are seeing now that we have this state-owned enterprise that is excluded from this deal.
I would ask the hon. member about the provisions for investor state dispute settlements. He said that we do not have enough time to debate this issue, but investor-state dispute settlements are part of the FIPA agreements that the Conservative government pushed through, including the Canada-China agreement, which allows Chinese state-owned corporations to sue Canada for laws and policies that get in the way of their profits.
I would like to hear—
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-17 21:18 [p.29238]
Mr. Speaker, as we debate Bill C-58 tonight, I cannot help but share the disappointment of my colleagues on the NDP benches. We were promised that this access to information legislation would create information available essentially by default, with more transparency.
I recall that when I used to practise environmental law, the joke among all of us at the time was that Canada's access to information legislation constituted freedom from information.
Now, we know that quite a lot of amendments were made in the Senate, and I know that the hon. parliamentary secretary wants to make sure that we are not caught in a time warp where we miss them. It is important to note that a lot of those amendments came from the government side. Amendments tightened up some of the language around vexatious questions being used as an excuse to reject access to information requests. However, I still find that this legislation falls far below the bar of what was promised. We did try, as Greens, to improve this legislation. I had 18 amendments come before the committee. Lots of us, as parliamentarians, tried to improve this legislation.
Given that there were some improvements, some significant ones from first reading, is there any temptation on the NDP benches to pass it as marginally better, or is it better to defeat it because it falls so far below the mark?
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-17 22:26 [p.29247]
Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns of the hon. member for Victoria. We are still hampered in our criminal justice system by a series of mandatory minimums that we know have been found, by any criminology or empirical evidence, to absolutely not be effective and are a burden on the justice system. In this reform, we had hoped to see that.
I have a private member's bill, should the Minister of Justice want to look at it, which enumerates all of the mandatory minimums brought in in the 41st Parliament so that, in one piece of legislation, we could remove them all. Since the Minister of Justice has undertaken to study the matter, I wanted to draw to his attention the existence of my private member's bill and I hope that we can do more.
Also, I put forward about 46 or 47 amendments at committee around certain aspects of vulnerable populations. I know the Senate has made a number of helpful amendments. I think the bill could still be much improved, although some of the Senate amendments go some distance toward what I was trying to do in clause-by-clause. Therefore, I would appreciate any comments from the Minister of Justice.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2019-06-14 10:29 [p.29112]
Mr. Speaker, I am able to answer a question from my hon. colleague from Cariboo—Prince George.
Yes, Bill C-38, in the spring of 2012, gutted the Fisheries Act. Yes, it was an appalling decision to take away protections for habitat. On the ground, the effect was that habitat officers for DFO were laid off. I got calls all the time. My hon. colleague knows I tell the truth on these things. People would call me to say they called DFO about a beach where a clam licence was allowed that was being over-harvested, and DFO would tell them that officials could not get there and there was nothing they could do. There were times when habitat was being destroyed and people working on stream restoration who lost funding would call DFO to say that habitat was being lost for cutthroat trout and for getting salmon back, and the answer would be that DFO could not help, because there was no law and DFO did not have any manpower.
We need Bill C-68 to be passed. I lament that it was a bit weakened when my amendment that was accepted at committee was removed, but this bill needs to pass. Every single fisheries organization, the economic backbone of my community, wants this legislation passed before we leave this place.
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