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Results: 1 - 15 of 463
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:09
I'd like to move the amendment, and I'd like to speak to it. This is quite an extensive amendment. If you look at amendment NDP-1, it's about clause 3.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:09
It's NDP-1, yes.
If you look at it specifically, it really is about some additions to put into this space. Following proposed paragraph 4(a), we'd like to see....
First of all, in addressing proposed paragraph 4(a), the amendment is proposing to add a paragraph 4(a.1). Proposed paragraph 4(a) is, really, an aspirational statement. These are often included in the beginning of implementing legislation, but we'd really like to see some real goals. If we were to have an addition of a paragraph 4(a.1), which is in NDP-1, it would read:
substantially increase investment opportunities in Canada and the State of Israel while preserving the right of each of the parties to the Agreement to regulate and to achieve legitimate policy goals;
This also really does speak to any type of investor-state or any type of dispute resolution, just really laying out the fact that we still retain the ability to do what we need to do in Canada, and in Israel it's the same. There's the addition of this paragraph 4(a.1) that would follow right after proposed paragraph 4(a) at the bottom of page 1.
If you flip over the page, the next part of the amendment is replacing line 7 on page 2. What it currently has there is:
ensure a high level of environmental protection through comprehensive and legally-binding commitments;
It's always positive, I think, to see language on the environment in trade agreements, but what we do know is that, again, this is largely aspirational. We haven't really been able to address the issues of the environment in an enforceable way in trade agreements. An inclusion there about Canada's obligations under the Paris Agreement that was reached really lays out exactly where Canada is at in terms of our international obligations and commitments so that there's nothing in the agreement that would challenge our ability to honour those commitments that Canada made in Paris in December 2015.
Again, this doesn't alter the spirit of the agreement whatsoever. This would really be something that would speak specifically to our commitment, which I think we all agree on. We know we've signed on to the Paris Agreement. Again, we don't want anything to ever come back on us for implementing our obligation to the Paris Agreement. It's a special nod and is very specific, which I think is very important in trade agreements. If we're not specific, things are open to interpretation. They may not be things that we can address at a later date if the need arises.
The third one that I have there is on lines 8 to 10. Again, what's there proposed paragraph 4(d) talks about the international commitments of Canada and the State of Israel on labour matters. Again, this is very thin language, and I think it could be fleshed out in a way that really indicates where Canada is at.
My amendment that I have put forward essentially reiterates our commitment. The amendment is to:
protect, enhance and enforce workers' rights through mandatory mechanisms recognized by the International Labour Organization's eight core conventions and adherence to its Decent Work Agenda, through the creation of an independent labour secretariat with the power to oversee a dispute-settlement process for violations of labour rights and to enforce penalties for any such violations and through strengthening cooperation between Canada and the State of Israel on labour matters;
This is really important. To date there haven't been any trade agreements that Canada has signed on to internationally, to be fair, that speak about labour matters or labour rights that have been enforceable and that have been a way to address the situations that exist for working people. Again, just fleshing this out and talking about the fact that we want these mandatory mechanisms in there, I think, is very key.
If we are to build upon trade agreements, we have to start improving the language in them. If we keep repeating the same language of the previous trade agreements, then essentially we know that there's nothing enforceable in terms of labour. There's been a case brought that was dismissed, so we really need something here so that if there is a labour issue that comes between our two countries, there's a meaningful way to address it, versus just saying that we build on these respective commitments. We need to honour our international commitments, not just build upon them. I bring that forward.
If we move on to paragraph (d) of NDP-1, which is on the second page of the amendment, it references an addition after line 10 that would read:
(d.1) to facilitate due diligence measures and ensure they are available for Canadian companies and funding agencies, and to create a framework for transnational bargaining to allow unions to represent workers in Canada and the State of Israel; and
We really agree with the CLC that the Government of Canada has to look at due diligence of Canadian companies and funding agencies if we're going to create this framework. This is something that is being called for as an addition to trade agreements, in terms of labour, to make sure that it's meaningful and enforceable. The Canadian Labour Congress is in agreement that this measure should be included in all trade agreements. It doesn't break the spirit of this agreement in any way.
If we go on to page 2 of the bill, lines 11 to 16, what we're looking for is a replacement. We would replace lines 12 to 16 with the following text:
economic empowerment and immediately undertake an annual gender-based analysis and gender impact assessment to be applied to the entire agreement, as well as to ensure the use of enforceable corporate social responsibility standards and principles as set out in the United Nations document entitled Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights published in 2011.
This is something we've heard pretty consistently at this committee around gender language: that if it's to be meaningful, it has to be applied throughout the entire text of the FTA, not just relegated to one chapter. We heard this from Oxfam and other groups around previous trade agreements, about the way forward and making sure that we are having a meaningful impact on the lives of women. The current way we're writing text doesn't actually ensure that, so this is a fleshing out of that text.
Gender equality shouldn't only be concerns of women entrepreneurs and business owners; it should actually help in regard to systemic discrimination against women who work, who are in the labour force. There's nothing actionable here about that either.
The other thing we strongly believe—and we've heard it at this committee too—is that when we're looking at improving language, we shouldn't have to wait five years for a review to see what the provision will yield or will not yield.
The nature of our trade is happening every single day. Why would we wait a whole five years to figure out whether something is working or not? It just seems a very lengthy period of time. I put that out there, that we need some concrete steps and some actions.
I want to speak a bit about the corporate social responsibility chapter—
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:18
Corporate social responsibility is something that we all agree needs to be part of our trading relationships with other countries. The problem is that if we make this voluntary, the system isn't working; it's not addressing the issues we have. The OECD already agreed with the UN on these principles and they are looking at ways to make them enforceable, so this really is something that we have to do.
Just as an aside, we have the corporate social responsibility ombudsperson, who hasn't been appointed yet, so I know it's something that the government is working on, but we really need someone in that role. At this point, we really don't have anything or anyone overseeing and making sure that the corporations are being held responsible.
However, again, if it were something mandatory as opposed to voluntary for corporations, we wouldn't need an ombudsperson to oversee it. We need an ombudsperson currently because it's up to them whether they want to honour the obligations and commitments that Canada has globally. This really is a space for us to remove the voluntary aspect so that we're putting some responsibility on corporations instead of just saying some aspirational things that they could do if they feel like it. Therefore, I put that forward in my first amendment.
All the things I've raised are really things we've discussed here at this committee and have heard consistently from witnesses, and I don't believe they violate the spirit of the agreement.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:20
I want to ask a question, though. Which part specifically is inadmissible in the amendment? Can I get some clarification? Are all of the additions or changes I have put in here inadmissible, or are there specific ones that are inadmissible?
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:21
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm seeking the following addition:
4.1 (1) The provisions of this Act and the Agreement must comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
(2) Relations between the Government of Canada and the State of Israel, as well as the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and international law.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:22
This is the addition I'm proposing, as follows:
4.1 In the interests of transparency, product labelling must accurately reflect the precise place of origin of any product that originates in an area that is occupied by the State of Israel but that is outside the territory of the State of Israel as it existed on June 4, 1967. In particular, labelling must indicate whether the product was made in an illegal settlement, and whether it was made in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights or Gaza.
Again, this is from the EU language.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:26
This is about the non-application of the agreement to water. This is a change being made from the language that exists right now. It's expanding that scope a bit.
In lines 18 to 21 in clause 4, this would replace line 21, as follows:
gaseous or solid state, and nothing may authorize the bulk export of water or the treatment of water, by labelling or otherwise, as a commodity.
Are you going to rule?
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:27
Yes. Again, this is reflective of expanding the scope of understanding of water. We saw it addressed in the USMCA. The concern is that these are bottled water loopholes. We want to make sure that there isn't a way for bulk water to be extracted from Canada or to be removed in any way, and if we're really specific about the way that water could be exported, I think it would help.
Canadians are very supportive of protecting and keeping our natural and very healthy resources of water here in Canada. We see a lot of different initiatives for that. This really just expands a bit of that language to make sure that there isn't a way for Israel, in this particular case, but any country, really, to be able to have water exported. We know that Israel is a desert, so they may have water concerns in the future. It's a resource that's very important to Canadians and that we want to protect. For all natural water to be exempt is very important.
This is a specifically worded exemption, and we have to make sure that it means any water would be included. I bring forward that amendment.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:29
Yes, from Canada. The goal of the amendment is to make sure that we're entirely clear about the definition of water to prevent bulk water exports in any way, whether it's bottled or in a container.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:30
I do. This is about the powers of the Minister for International Trade. I'm proposing that we add a new clause, 12.1, after the existing clause 12:
12.1 For consultation purposes, the name of each individual whom the Minister proposes to appoint under section 12 must be published in the Canada Gazette, Part 1, for at least 90 days.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2018-11-29 12:31
I think this is really about transparency, and this would make the membership of the tribunals and the panels more broad-based and accountable. It's something we're always trying to achieve, to have Canadians understand and to have more transparency across the board on who we're appointing to particular positions.
Also, we really do oppose the minister having this exclusive power to appoint representatives, panellists and chairpersons.
We think these decisions should be taken in consultation, with a set number of days and with the Canadian public being aware of them.
Again, this would just bring pure transparency from the government, and it does not alter the spirit of the agreement. It would only be an obligation here within Canada.
I would think that people who would want to serve now or in the future as ministers of the Crown would be concerned about transparency, with Canadians knowing that the process is open and accountable.
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