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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, I am thankful for this great opportunity to share some wisdom on this very important bill, Bill C-4, on CUSMA, which is the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement.
However, before I get into the bill, I will speak about the economy. Trade deals are linked to the economy, and the economy here in Canada after five years of Liberal government is very strong compared to what it was when we took office.
Let us look at what has happened. What has changed in the last five years?
We have seen 1.2 million jobs created by Canadians. We have seen over one million people lifted out of poverty, with 353,000 of those being children, which is over 20% of the poverty rate in Canada, and 75,000 being seniors, mostly women. These are big and important numbers.
As well, we are seeing the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. These are the factors that are clearly stating how strong this economy is and how strong our government is, which has been focused on tax cuts and helping the middle class and those who want to join it.
Trade deals are extremely important to Canadians, and every province and territory is very happy with this trade deal. We had a trade deal before, but this one is new and improved.
We also have the CETA trade deal, which encompasses half a billion people. In that trade deal we have seen 98% of the tariffs removed, whereas in the past it was 25%. Members can imagine how the business community feels about that trade deal today. I know what the business community has to say about it my constituency.
As well, there is the CPTPP, the trans-Pacific trade deal, which, again, encompasses half a billion people. Between the three trade deals, we have a market of 1.5 billion people. In the Asia-Pacific deal most of the tariffs have been removed and 100% of the seafood tariffs are gone. Members can imagine that in my region of Atlantic Canada and in Nova Scotia this is a great opportunity to increase our exports, and it is extremely important.
How important is CUSMA, the Canada-U.S.-Mexico deal? It is $2 billion per day, which is an enormous sum, and 80% of Canadian exports go to these countries.
Who is supporting this trade deal? It is not just us. The premiers are saying they are behind this trade deal, which is important, and I will talk more about it, but we know that Premier Moe, Premier Kenney and company, as well as Brian Mulroney, do. The business community is happy. The unions are happy.
However, they say Trump is a good negotiator. Let us look at the three things he wanted.
First, he wanted a sunset clause at five years when we would have to renegotiate or the deal would be dead. However, that is not in there. We took that out and it is now 16 years.
Second, he wanted the end of supply management. We are the party that introduced supply management, and we are the party that is promoting supply management. We will continue to support supply management because it is important to Canadians.
Third, Trump wanted a dispute resolution tribunal where there would be American judges and courts. Do members think we would have agreed to that? Maybe a Conservative would have, but we did not agree to that. We then added another important piece where the Americans could not stop and must participate in tribunal panels, where in the past they could say no.
These are three key areas where our government has been very successful in negotiating with the Americans.
Let us bring it back to Nova Scotia. What does this trade deal represent to Nova Scotia? It is extremely important because $3.7 billion is spent by Americans in Nova Scotia. That is an extremely important investment yearly, as my colleagues can imagine. That is 68% of all our trade products leaving Nova Scotia and going to the States.
That means there are 18,000 jobs directly related to this trade deal for Nova Scotians. That is 18,000 directly related jobs; I forgot to mention the 7,000 indirect jobs. Colleagues can imagine how we feel in Nova Scotia. The premier, Mr. McNeil, said that this is a great deal for Canada and a great deal for Nova Scotia. That is a very clear message.
I want to talk about a company in my riding just down the street from me, Marid Industries. It is a steel industry and today it knows that with this deal it will be able to be competitive and move their products to the States and Mexico without tariffs. That is extremely important. That is making sure that it can move forward. These are great-paying jobs for the people who work in that industry.
Catherine Cobden from the Canadian Steel Producers Association said:
CUSMA is critical to strengthening the competitiveness of Canadian and North American steel industries and ensuring market access in the face of persistent global trade challenges and uncertainty.
That shows good, strong support from the steel industry.
Of course, we are seeing the strongest amendments in this trade deal when it come to labour and environment, two major areas that Canada is pushing forward. We are making sure that we have some criteria around strengthening labour standards as well as enforcement and inspection standards. That means that wages being paid will create a level playing field. It also affects work hours and conditions. Those are essential pieces to ensure that the playing field is level which is extremely important.
In the environment, as colleagues know, we have added some obligations in the fight against marine pollution. The other piece of it is air quality.
I must also mention pharmacare because in the last amendments we were able to remove the 10-year restriction on generic drugs, which is extremely important.
We have added new chapters protecting women's rights, minority rights and indigenous rights and that provide protection against discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. These are all important chapters that are in this trade deal and are so essential.
As well, there are cultural exemptions, which help all Canadians, including those in Quebec. That is very important.
We have work to do. We know that in a trade deal there is a bit of trade here or there. The poultry and egg industries have opened up a small percentage, 2%. We are compensating them not only for loss, but also supporting them so that they can purchase better and more up-to-date equipment. The products will then be better able to be traded internationally, opening up that potential market as well.
This is a very important deal. I am extremely proud to support this. The people in my constituency are just waiting for this to be ratified as soon as possible.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague's powerful speech.
This infamous document raises many questions about the agricultural sector. For instance, we know that dairy producers have been using a lot of fat for the past few years, so much so that they have a lot of protein left over for export.
Going forward, the United States will be deciding how much of those dairy products we can export. That will be 55,000 metric tonnes in the first year of the agreement and 35,000 in the second year. In subsequent years, those limits will increase by only 1.5% or 2%, although we were exporting up to 100,000 metric tonnes a year when there were no restrictions. How can the government put our supply-managed agriculture to work for the U.S.?
Furthermore, we conceded 3.9% of our supply-managed market to the U.S., and that is after dairy farmers' incomes had already been reduced by 8% under the first two agreements. We can only imagine what will happen with this added on.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
I realize, as my colleague should also realize, that you have to give a little to get a little in any negotiation.
One thing is certain: We were able to preserve supply management, which the U.S. President wanted to eliminate, as I explained in my speech. In Canada, we all know, as does my colleague, that supply management is extremely important. It is too bad that our former colleague Maxime Bernier is not here, because he opposed supply management and he certainly would have something to say.
Under this agreement, Quebec will receive $57 billion as a result of exports to the United States. This is definitely a very important agreement for Quebec, too.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-03-11 16:54 [p.1954]
Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has always been in favour of free trade. The free market allows for growth that would never be possible in a closed market. Quebec needs free trade agreements to help all of its economic sectors grow and innovate.
For example, after the original NAFTA was implemented in 1994, exports of Canadian fruits and vegetables and fresh fruit to Mexico and the United States increased by 396%. The majority of the exports were to the United States. It is essential that we retain this access.
The new CUSMA will ensure that businesses have continued access to the American market, and it will have benefits for many producers. We recognize that. Some producers will come out on top, in particular grain producers. The improved definition of grain is a positive.
A few minutes ago, my NDP colleague mentioned eliminating the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. That is another positive. A number of organizations are therefore calling for this agreement to be ratified quickly.
However, there are some sectors that do not benefit from the agreement. They sometimes benefit very little, or not at all, yet they are the economic mainstay of our rural areas, the pillars that support the dynamic use of our vast land. Like culture, these sectors may need an exception. As members may have guessed, I am, of course, talking about our supply management sectors.
We in the Bloc are working constructively and will be long remembered for the solutions we proposed for the aluminum industry. In fact, our Conservative colleague just mentioned that. At some point, the same thing must be done for the sectors under supply management, but we first need to focus on when the agreement will be ratified.
In this agreement, Canada agreed to allow the United States to restrict its exports to third countries. That is unprecedented. We are talking, of course, about milk by-products. I think members are starting to realize that. Milk by-products, such as milk proteins, powdered milk and infant formula, are restricted. Approximately 110,000 tonnes of these products were exported in 2019. The Trump administration managed to include a provision that limits these exports to 55,000 tonnes the first year and 35,000 tonnes the second year. That is unbelievable.
Not only is our dairy sector already losing 3.9% of the market, but all supply-managed sectors are losing market share. Furthermore, restrictions placed on our farmers make it difficult for them to make up their losses by exporting their surplus solid protein to third countries.
Something will eventually have to be done about this, but the first step is to make sure the agreement is ratified after May 1. If the agreement is ratified in April, the clause explains that the agreement will enter into force on the first day of the third month. That means it would enter into force in July.
If the agreement is ratified in May, however, it would enter into force in August. That would make a world of difference, and people need to realize that. The dairy production year starts on August 1. If the agreement starts on July 1, that means the first year of the agreement will only be a month long. Farmers will only have a month to export the 55,000 tonnes. It makes no sense. That is why we have to make sure the agreement is ratified after May 1.
This will not delay the implementation of the agreement, and I am not suggesting that we postpone the ratification of CUSMA until after this session. That is not the issue. The issue is to make sure the agreement enters into force after August 1 so that farmers can start recouping their losses. We will see what we can do after that. Everyone knows that the Bloc Québécois can be creative. We will need to find a solution to this harmful and unacceptable clause.
On another note, we were pleased to read in the news that dairy farmers have begun receiving compensation. Everybody is happy, even the farmers, although it would have made them prouder to produce milk and feed Canadians, which is all they really wanted.
However, certain sectors are still not getting compensation. They are the supply-managed sectors, including the poultry, turkey, hatching egg and table egg sectors.
Representatives of those organizations acted in good faith and were very patient. They sat down with government representatives and presented their numbers. They reached an agreement on the amount of compensation needed last April. This is now March, so it has been almost a year. Nothing has happened since, no sign of anything. There were some meetings last summer, in July and August, maybe because our Liberal Party colleagues wanted to make a campaign announcement. That certainly helps, but nothing ever came of it.
What is holding up this file? Unlike people in the dairy sector, who asked for cash compensation, people in these sectors are asking for compensation in the form of innovation programs and infrastructure upgrades. They also want the option to run a marketing and promotional campaign and funding to support it. It varies from one sector to the next. I listed the four earlier.
I have a question for the House. Is the Government of Canada in the best position to know exactly what each of those sectors needs? Would it not make more sense to give people in those sectors the right to say what they want, what their needs are and what, in their opinion, will help their industries stay competitive and ensure their long-term viability? I think the answer is self-evident: it is up to the people in those sectors to decide.
People in those sectors do not understand. The Bloc Québécois does not understand why there is never any progress. The budget will be tabled soon. We would like to see some numbers. We want to see numbers for this. We want to know what the budget for this is. The government promised compensation for all supply-managed sectors. Settling matters with dairy producers is good, but dairy is just one of five supply-managed sectors, which means there are still four more. We want answers that demonstrate respect for the people working in those sectors, compensation that offsets losses and is comparable to what dairy producers got.
During questions and comments I would like people from the Liberal Party to tell me where we are on this file, because there are some people who are a bit anxious, who are waiting and have concerns. Yesterday, I met with representatives of these sectors, together with my distinguished colleague from Joliette. We want answers. Today, I am asking for answers.
Once this compensation has been paid, we will have to reflect collectively on the importance of these supply-managed industries to the economy, to our rural areas and to the dynamic use of the land. We have to understand the direct impacts these farms have as part of our supply management system, that is, in a protected market that allows us to have quality products, stable income, and food security. We also have to understand the secondary impact on industries that supply goods to these people.
Representatives of these supply-managed sectors told me something that I quite liked, and I want to share it with you. They told me that they are thought of as privileged, when in fact they indirectly pay the rent of the vendors and purchasers they do business with and they provide stability to the economy, a stability that also translates into food security.
The system is already seeing signs of neglect. I hope no one in the House would dare say that the Canadian market is protected. Once the agreement is implemented, 18% of the market will have been ceded to foreign producers. If that is considered a closed market, then I would like to know what an open one is. I think that the supply-managed sectors have done their fare share and it is high time we had legislation to protect them.
We are happy to hear the government's promises. It has assured us that it will not back down and it will be watching Brexit and Mercosur very closely. Still, the government has made similar promises in the past. Unfortunately, public confidence wavers when the government breaks its word. The public then demands more guarantees. Those who made verbal promises but did not keep them are asked to put their promises down on paper and sign them. This paper can then be brought out again. In this case, the paper I am referring to is the bill that my colleague and I introduced to protect supply management.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-11 17:04 [p.1956]
Madam Speaker, whether it is the dairy industry in my home province of Manitoba or the dairy industry in Quebec or anywhere else in Canada, we all have a responsibility to ensure its health and well-being. I understand and appreciate just how important supply management is. I am very proud of the fact that this trade agreement virtually guarantees supply management well into future generations. Whether people are dairy farmers or others impacted by the supply management chain, they will see this as a positive.
We need to remember that President Trump wanted to dismantle Canada's supply management. For many years, that is what was being advocated. Yes, there are some concerns and we have recognized we are going to be looking very closely at the impact and there will be compensation, but let us not promote any sort of misinformation to try to give the impression that supply management, in the long term, is going to be harmed by this particular agreement. We are, in fact, guaranteeing its long-term survival.
Would the member not agree it is in the best interests of all Canadians by having that guarantee for the future?
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-03-11 17:06 [p.1956]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague very much for his comments. I am indeed very pleased to hear what he said. I will try to remember it, since the member just told me that it is very important to guarantee the continued existence of supply management. I imagine that the member agrees with protecting the supply management system through legislation, given that there is no guarantee that the system will continue under future parliaments.
We are often told that Mr. Trump wanted to dismantle the system and we are aware of that. That is why we want to protect supply management through legislation. My colleague spoke about compensation, and that is great. However, the government should announce something, because the four production sectors I mentioned are waiting for answers.
My colleague spoke about disinformation. I would like to know what part of my speech was disinformation because I had all the statistics to back it. There was no disinformation in my speech.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-03-11 17:08 [p.1956]
Madam Speaker, my question for my esteemed colleague and riding neighbour has to do with what the government representative said a few minutes ago.
He said that there could be no better protection for supply management than what was negotiated in the new NAFTA. However, members will recall that supply-managed sectors took a hit in each of the last three agreements that were signed and, on top of that, now there are the concessions made under WTO, which represent a market loss of 18%.
Does he think that the best way to protect supply management is to sacrifice part of the market in every agreement? If not, what can we do?
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-03-11 17:09 [p.1956]
Madam Speaker, I will try to answer the excellent question asked by my esteemed colleague and riding neighbour.
I will show a lot of good faith in my answer. I think that what we need to remember about what our Liberal colleague said is that supply management was threatened and they did what they could.
I think that all members of the House can agree that, from now on, we need to protect our supply-managed sectors through legislation. We will give the Liberals the opportunity to do so and to prove to all the farmers in their ridings that they are really standing up for them.
View Brad Vis Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, the Conservative Party is the party of free trade and free markets. We recognize the importance of the U.S. and Mexican markets for Canadian exporters, which is why the Conservatives have been clear that we will support the swift passage of the new NAFTA deal. However, while a deal is better than no deal, Canadian industries are bracing for the impact of the changes to come.
Ironically enough, the Liberal government's economic impact report compares CUSMA to not having a NAFTA deal at all. This is baffling, since almost any trade deal, no matter how lopsided, would have been better than having nothing at all.
The C.D. Howe Institute discovered that CUSMA would reduce Canada's GDP by $14.2 billion. Its recent report found that after the implementation of CUSMA, Canada's exports to the U.S. will fall by $3.2 billion, while our imports from the U.S. will increase by $8.6 billion, with the worst impacts being felt in our agriculture and dairy sectors.
I have heard from many farmers in my riding who operate businesses in supply-managed industries, and they feel that the Liberal government has literally sold the family farm. The Conservatives are committed to Canada's supply management system, but the Liberal government's weak leadership and ineffective negotiation tactics have continued to erode the system's integrity. Concessions have been made to the U.S. without our receiving anything meaningful in return, and stakeholders are speaking up.
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with turkey farmers in British Columbia. They indicated that market access concessions made as the result of CUSMA are going to hurt turkey farm families across the country. Not only that, this change would greatly hinder Canadian consumer access to locally farmed products.
What would this impact look like? Under CUSMA, the market access commitment calculation for turkey will be modified to a 29% increase in new market access for the U.S. into Canada. It will allow the U.S. to export an additional 1,000 metric tons of turkey products each year for the next 10 years above current access levels, with potentially more in the future.
Canadian dairy farmers and processors are also set to lose market access to the Americans. Before the international trade committee, the Dairy Processors Association of Canada shared that at full implementation, the access granted under CUSMA, in addition to the existing concessions from other agreements, namely CETA and CPTPP, represent about 18% of the Canadian market. When considering the three latest trade agreements, Canadian dairy processors will lose $320 million per year.
On top of the market access concessions, CUSMA includes a concerning and unprecedented clause that will impose export caps on worldwide Canadian shipments of milk powder, protein concentrates and infant formula. For example, for skim milk powder and milk protein concentrates, a cap of 55,000 tonnes will be imposed for the first year and 35,000 tonnes for the second year.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is also sounding the alarm. In addition to the market access concessions, supply-managed industries are anxiously waiting for government to fulfill its commitment to quickly and fully mitigate the impacts of these trade agreements, action that is necessary, though insulting to many of my constituents who work in these industries.
Before the international trade committee, Mr. Dykstra, a New Brunswick dairy farmer, stated:
I now want to touch on the compensation package promised, and partly delivered, for CETA and CPTPP. I haven't heard anything about the remaining years and how it will be paid out. That in itself concerns me. The compensation package is bittersweet. Most farmers, including me, received a payment in December of last year for those previous trade agreement concessions. As far as I am aware, no concrete timeline has been set for the next payments. We, as dairy farmers, have always prided ourselves on getting all our money from the marketplace. This is how the system is supposed to work. This is how it did work. The government trading away excess and then offering compensation is not what we want.
In addition to the previously mentioned market access concessions, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has raised two other issues causing serious industry concern.
First, the Liberals have relinquished Canadian sovereignty on critical internal policy development and export control functions. CUSMA commits Canada to consult with the United States before making changes to Canadian dairy policies. This should have never been surrendered.
Second, as mentioned previously, the Liberal government also agreed to cap dairy-sector exports of milk protein concentrates, skim milk and infant formula to CUSMA and non-CUSMA countries, and approved an export charge on exports over the cap. This is disturbing on several fronts. Canada has long argued against the use of export tariffs to regulate trade. It also sets a dangerous precedent by allowing a regional trade agreement and a party in that agreement to control the trade of another party to countries outside of that agreement.
This is why the Conservative Party is standing up for these Canadian businesses and calling on the Deputy Prime Minister and the Liberal government to amend the agreement. Export thresholds for milk protein concentrates, skim milk powder and infant formula should only be subject to trade between the CUSMA signatories, not to other countries that are not party to the agreement.
I will give a real-world example of this from a company that employs hundreds of people in my riding, Vitalus Nutrition, whose CEO, Phil Vanderpol, presented at the trade committee.
Vitalus processes milk supplied by Canadian farmers into high-quality cream and butter, milk protein concentrates and milk protein isolates that have superior quality, nutritional value and functionality. It planned and anticipated demand and, up to this point, was capitalizing on the growth in the global market for nutritional value-added dairy ingredients. The federal government, or at least Western Economic Diversification Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, recognized Vitalus' economic promise and even invested significant funds in the company in the previous Parliament. However, that same federal government is now pulling the rug out from under the company and, ironically, its own previous investments. The Liberal government has managed, in this case, to simultaneously shrink the opportunity for Canadian dairy producers in the Fraser Valley while limiting their ability to grow by exporting.
Turning to forestry, Canada's forestry industry is also disappointed in the Liberal government's inability to protect its sector, since CUSMA does not prevent the United States from applying anti-dumping and countervailing duties to Canadian softwood lumber. Yes, Canadian forest product producers want a speedy ratification of CUSMA, even though it will provide no relief for their uncertainty. They want this in the hope that the federal government will start providing their industry the attention it requires. Businesses are going under, families are hurting and more than 20,000 forestry workers have suffered layoffs. The Liberal government must take immediate action to solve the softwood lumber dispute. It is unconscionable that a sector so significant was not part of the agreement.
I do not have time to address all of the shortcomings I have outlined that are in this new trade agreement, but I note that I would have liked to see the list of professionals admitted under temporary entry for business persons expanded to include the jobs of the 21st century. There are a lot of problematic issues regarding the rules of origin for automobiles and the new quotas in place. Also, buy America was not addressed.
When I was a graduate student, I participated in the North American forum for young leaders in North America. I had the opportunity to work with American and Mexican students at some of the top universities in our continent. On a personal note, we have so much untapped potential between our three countries, and I look forward to seeing labour mobility provisions changed during my lifetime, of course with strict immigration protocols, to meet the untapped potential we have with our trading partners.
With that, I would say that the new NAFTA deal put forward for ratification by the government is, overall, a disappointment, which I know because I represent the supply-managed industries in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. It would leave Canadians worse off than they were under the prior agreement and would relinquish our sovereignty. Our economy depends on free trade, and we need a federal government that signs agreements for the benefit of Canadians. It seems in this case that Canadians were sold out on so many fronts. We need ministers like my old boss, the member for Abbotsford, at the helm of international trade.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-03-11 17:24 [p.1959]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise and speak to the bill to ratify CUSMA. We are at third reading; things are moving fast. I am glad this is moving forward, but it is important not to rush. We need to take the time to properly study and debate this bill.
The job of the Bloc Québécois is to represent the interests of Quebeckers. That is why we are here. We agree with free trade agreements in principle. We need free trade. In economics, Quebec could be described as a small, open economy. We have a large territory with a population of about eight million. We need to trade with the rest of the world. Our areas of expertise include aerospace, artificial intelligence and computer science. We are proud of our farmers and our forestry workers in the regions. We are well positioned to trade. In essence, we support free trade agreements.
Obviously, no agreement is ever perfect. NAFTA was not perfect. Did we really need a new agreement like CUSMA to replace NAFTA? Our neighbour to the south demanded it. I would say this agreement is fairly good for the Canadian economy. The government did pretty well for the auto industry, for example.
There is one thing I find disappointing about this agreement and other agreements Canada negotiated recently. Generally speaking, an agreement should benefit the majority of the population, Canada's population in this case, but somebody always gets the short end of the stick. I do wonder—though not for long—why sectors that are important to Quebec's economy are always traded away.
In this agreement, concessions were made with respect to supply management. That happened with the trans-Pacific partnership too. Quebec is nowhere near the Pacific Ocean, but a significant chunk of the economy was traded away. The same thing happened with the Canada-EU free trade agreement. It seems that when Canada negotiates, it is all too ready to give up Quebec when it needs to offer something in exchange. Canada would like to protect Quebec's interests, but when it has to choose, it sacrifices part of Quebec's economy.
We saw the same thing happen when China joined the WTO. That killed our textile sector. It is still around, but as a shadow of its former self. The government did nothing to support that sector. Many women who had worked in the industry all their lives were left out in the cold, empty-handed. In contrast, the United States supported its textile industry and managed to save more jobs.
The same thing happened with our shipyards. The agreement with northern Europe ended up putting shipyards in Montreal and Sorel out of business, with neither compensation nor support. What a shame.
That being said, this agreement may not be perfect, but we think it offers a great opportunity to resolve the softwood lumber dispute. Quebec's forestry system was overhauled from top to bottom to ensure that the U.S. would have absolutely no reason to say it is subsidized and that we could do business on softwood lumber with our neighbour to the south.
Sadly, the new agreement did not resolve that dispute. The U.S. strategy is to drag out the dispute as long as possible and levy taxes to cool down this industry's market. Once it is on the verge of collapse, we will sign on the cheap. So far, this has not been done. I lament the fact that the Prime Minister has never spoken up in defence of Quebec's forestry industry. Forestry companies are paying more for lumber, since the price is determined by a market mechanism, and on top of that, they get taxed at the border as well. We did what was needed to fix that, but the government did not do its job at the federal level. As a result, our industry is paying twice. That is truly deplorable.
Given all that, we decided a year ago that the Bloc would support CUSMA on two conditions. The first was full compensation for supply-managed farmers. I am quite proud that I asked for the unanimous support of the House for full compensation for the last three agreements before ratifying this agreement. Naturally, we had to wait for the former member for Beauce to step out to go to the bathroom, because he was fiercely opposed to supply management. After all, he could have held it in. When we saw the support in the House we decided we could support this new agreement since half our conditions had been met.
The other condition was to have the illegal taxes on steel and aluminum cancelled. There are indeed steel producers in Quebec, as my colleague from Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères confirmed. However, we were mainly concerned with the aluminum sector because 90% of the aluminum made in Canada comes from Quebec. There has been longstanding trade with our American neighbours when it comes to aluminum. I went to Washington and I wrote newspaper articles there. We held several meetings, we all pitched in and managed to get these taxes lifted. We thought that was it.
On December 10, 2019, after Mexico and the United States had signed the agreement, the House decided to move forward and the Liberals were patting themselves on the back. However, when we saw the final version of the agreement, we saw that a key section of Quebec's economy had once again been sacrificed. There was a disparity between the protection given to steel, which is primarily manufactured in Ontario, compared to aluminum, which is primarily manufactured in Quebec. Once again, Quebec got a last-minute surprise in the House. Quebec's economy did not receive the same protection as Ontario's. That is unacceptable. Since the United States and Mexico had already ratified the agreement, it was very difficult to go back and renegotiate provisions so that Quebec would have the same protections.
There was all kinds of pressure from the government and various stakeholders to sign the agreement, and we were made to believe that it could no longer be amended. My colleagues from Lac-Saint-Jean and Jonquière immediately rallied stakeholders in their regions, elected officials, workers, unions and businesses. They said that they could not allow this to happen and that they would do something. We were being told to sign the agreement because it was good for the rest of the economy. We were being asked to forget that supply management and the aluminum sector were being short-changed, and to think about the sectors that were gaining something.
We nevertheless decided to fight this and to stand up for the aluminum sector. We did not know how to proceed, but we managed to make significant progress with the help of stakeholders and—credit where credit is due—the Deputy Prime Minister.
We now know that the problem caused by last-minute changes to CUSMA was that steel was being given significant protection. The “melted and poured” provision of the agreement required that most of the automotive parts made in the territory of the agreement were to be made with North American steel. This clause did not apply to aluminum.
Many automotive parts are made in Mexico, which imported aluminum from China, the dirtiest aluminum in the world because it is made at coal-fired plants, compared to Quebec's aluminum, which is the greenest and made at the most energy efficient plants in the world. All Mexico had to do was process the Chinese aluminum to make it North American aluminum. Even the Prime Minister acknowledged that the dumping of Chinese aluminum is unacceptable and illegal in international trade.
We obtained a commitment from the government that it would ensure that Mexico applied the same traceability measures as Canada's to track Chinese imports and the portion of components made with Chinese aluminum. If a problem arises, we can then revisit the “melted and poured” clause. I have been led to believe that the Americans agree with us and that very soon they will implement traceability measures to prevent Mexico from using dumped aluminum.
I will stop here, as my time has expired.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-11 17:35 [p.1960]
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments, and I really appreciate the fact that the Bloc has decided ultimately to support the legislation, which makes it unanimous among the parties.
The provinces of Quebec and Manitoba have a lot in common. We can talk about the textile industry, and some of the things that were to the detriment of the textile industry a number of years ago, supply management, our garment industries, our aerospace industries, and how much we love and want to protect our culture and arts. Much of this stuff is in fact protected within the trade agreement.
When we have these types of negotiations, as I am sure my colleague would recognize, there is give-and-take. I made reference to some of that give-and-take with the last presenter from the Bloc. I said that President Trump was determined to dismantle supply management. Here, at least, we have now guaranteed it into future generations. I see that as a positive thing for the dairy farmers and others in Manitoba and Quebec.
I wonder if the member could provide his thoughts in terms of that particular guarantee.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-03-11 17:36 [p.1960]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments.
I will acknowledge that in the past, Manitoba and Quebec shared a number of cultural connections. One such example is the great Louis Riel. I think that his tragic fate was what ultimately led to the development of Quebec's national conscience.
Back in the early 1900s, French was still dominant in Manitoba. Clearly, our culture still needs protecting in Manitoba. That is for sure.
Donald Trump obviously wanted to get rid of supply management entirely, so the government eventually agreed to open a crack. We feel that this crack is still too much, because it is the third time, in three consecutive agreements, that it has happened. That is unacceptable.
In closing, I remind members that the American agricultural industry is also protected. The same sectors in the U.S. are protected, along with the sugar industry, and I do not think that the Americans made any concessions.
View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2020-03-10 10:10 [p.1844]
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to this very important bill, Bill C-4, an act to implement the new North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, formally known as the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. This agreement is extremely important to Canada, Canadian businesses and workers, and I can say, as a representative of a Mississauga riding, that the bill, this agreement, is very important for my constituents and the businesses in Mississauga.
Our government has embarked on a very aggressive trade agenda because trade is extremely important to Canadian businesses and workers. Members will be interested to know that one out of six jobs in Canada depends on trade. It is because our country produces some of the best products and services in the world, and the world needs more Canadian products and services. We know that with our agenda to grow and support the middle class and create more jobs for the middle class, we need to encourage Canadian businesses to trade, export and import more.
Our government maintained an aggressive trade agenda, and over the last few years we have signed and ratified CETA, a free trade agreement with the European Union, and the CPTPP, a free trade agreement with Asia-Pacific nations. Today, Canada is the only G7 country that has a free trade agreement with all other G7 nations. This is a competitive advantage that our friends and competitors in the United States do not have. We have a great environment in Canada for businesses and workers to export our products and services around the world.
Over the last few years, after the U.S. election, President Trump has campaigned on the issue of revamping and reviewing NAFTA. Our government took that very seriously and engaged with the U.S. administration to make sure that we protect Canadian interests, particularly the interests of Canadian workers and businesses. Access to the United States market is extremely important for businesses. Every day, almost $2 billion of products and services cross the border into the United States, so we know how important maintaining access to U.S. customers and businesses is for our businesses and workers.
At a time of increased protectionism, when, as we all know, the U.S. administration was adamant about increasing protectionism and building barriers, it was very important for our government to protect the interests of Canadian businesses and workers. What did we do? We assembled a strong team of industry, labour and stakeholders, a team that transcended partisan lines, with representatives from different parties and groups, to make sure that a complete voice for Canadian businesses was at the table as we were negotiating and protecting Canadian interests.
Canadians will recall the process that we engaged in over the last few years. It was at times very difficult, as most trade negotiations are, and there were moments of challenges and difficulties. In assembling a great team, engaging the provinces, premiers, stakeholders, legislators in the House of Commons and senators, we took an excellent team Canada approach as we embarked on this negotiation process with the United States, led by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other ministers. We made sure that Canada's voice was strong and firm at the table, as we were very interested in maintaining access to Canadian businesses, markets and workers.
There were some challenges. As members may recall, there was a period when the U.S. administration imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Canadian businesses. We were very firm and clear in our opposition to those tariffs. We fought very hard for businesses and workers to have those tariffs lifted. There was a regrettable time when some opposition voices were asking us to lift the countervailing duties that we had imposed on American products, but we knew it was the right thing for Canada. It was the right thing for Canadian interests.
The outcome of the negotiations was very good for Canada. We ensured that 99.9% of Canadian businesses, products and services maintained tariff-free access to U.S. markets. It was really important for business certainty, for business continuity and for workers to know that that access would be maintained.
For the automotive sector, we have increased the rules of origin to 75%, and that is good news for Canadian workers and businesses. We all know how important the auto sector is to the Canadian economy. It is very important for businesses in my riding of Mississauga Centre.
We have also preserved the state-to-state dispute resolution mechanism. That was something the U.S. administration was intent on removing, but we knew it was really important to continue to have an independent adjudicator for the dispute resolution mechanism, and we were able to preserve it.
We were also able to preserve the integrity of our supply management system. Again, the U.S. administration came to the table intent on completely dismantling our supply management system. However, we stood our ground. We stood firm behind our farmers and producers, and we protected the integrity of our supply management system.
We also preserved the cultural exemption that existed in NAFTA. That was very important for our cultural industries. Canada, compared to the United States, is a relatively small market, but we have our own unique identity. We have the unique identity of bilingualism and multiculturalism. We were able to protect an inclusion for our cultural industries, so that we could maintain our policies to nurture and support Canadian culture here at home.
We created provisions or chapters for rules of labour, for the environment and for making sure that we maintained our policies for reconciliation with indigenous peoples. We wanted to make sure that we retained sovereignty over our policies as we were embarking on this journey of reconciliation with our indigenous peoples.
The agreement preserved important access to the United States and Mexican markets. Today, businesses are seeing a lot of uncertainty, especially during this difficult time of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak around the world. It is very important for businesses that are investing in Canada, and for businesses that rely on access to the United States, that they know that access to the U.S. market is preserved and supported, and is there for the long term.
It is really important to thank all the stakeholders who were involved throughout this difficult and long journey to reach this agreement with our friends, the United States and Mexico.
It was important to have their voices at the table. It was important to have their insight at the table and our government made sure that we took their input into account.
I want to take a moment to thank our colleagues in the House, the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP, for offering support to help us ratify the bill in front of us today. It is a sign for all of Canada that we can set aside partisanship when we know that we are working on something that is in the interests of all Canadians and Canadian businesses. Even at a time when people are saying minority parliaments may be more difficult to work in, this is a great moment for all of Canada to see that we are able to set aside partisanship interests because we know what is in the interests of Canadians is in the interests of all parties in the House.
I am grateful to the Standing Committee on International Trade for doing its job in studying the bill. I know the members worked tirelessly around the clock to make sure that voices who wanted to offer their opinion on the bill were able to testify at committee. Experts were able to come and present their testimony before the committee. Members of the House who sat across from each other at the committee were able to work collaboratively and pass the bill at second reading and send it back to the House of Commons.
This is a moment for us to acknowledge that we are able to work together for the benefit of all Canadians. I look forward to our colleagues in the Senate studying the bill in an expedited fashion. I know they understand the importance of the bill. We know that our friends in the United States and Mexico have already ratified the agreement, so Canada is on its way to finalize the ratification process.
Businesses know that it is very important for them. It is very important to note that businesses are breathing a sigh of relief today when they see the House of Commons about to ratify this NAFTA and they are comforted by the fact that there are so many upgrades to this agreement that benefit them.
I talked about the protection for labour standards, environment, indigenous policies and cultural exemptions, and about increasing the rules of origin for our products. I also want to take a moment to recognize how we were able to deal with the steel and aluminum tariffs that were imposed on Canadian products by the United States.
We were able to stand firm. Today not only have we been able to lift those tariffs, but now we have a side letter with our friends in the United States that ensures that, if at any point in the future the United States decided to impose tariffs under the guise of national security, we were able to get Canadian businesses an exemption from those tariffs. Those exemptions are at a greater level than the levels of our current production and current exports to the United States. Not only were we able to lift those tariffs, but we were able to get guarantees and exemptions from the United States that if at any point in the future, for some reason or another the United States decided to impose those tariffs again, Canadian products and services from steel and aluminum will be exempted.
When we tabled Bill C-4, I know our friends in the NDP and the Bloc had some questions about the bill. I am happy to talk about the process of our discussions that took place, ensuring that we listened to their concerns and we found a way to address their questions so we could reach consensus on the bill.
Let me take a moment to thank my colleagues in the NDP. We were able to reach an agreement that, with future trade agreements, we will declare our intentions and objectives of those negotiations here in the House of Commons where all MPs and Canadians will see up front what the objectives of those negotiations are.
In discussions with the Bloc, we were able to come to an agreement that on behalf of Canadian workers and producers of steel and aluminum, Canada will work with our friends in the U.S. and Mexico to encourage them to implement some monitoring measures the way we have in Canada on the production of steel and aluminum.
This is a great example of how our government is able to work with the other parties in the House to respond to their needs and address their legitimate questions.
I know the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and entire government are all looking forward to ratifying this important legislation. It will mean stability and increased exports for our businesses and workers. It will mean increased and growing prosperity for the middle class. It will mean growing jobs for the middle class in Canada. I am grateful to my colleagues in the House of Commons for supporting us and I am looking forward to the debate.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-10 11:33 [p.1856]
Madam Speaker, I am sure my friend would recognize that in virtually all provinces and territories there is a certain element of uniqueness in terms of their economy and different industries and so forth. There is a high demand for people to participate in the negotiations and as government we have a role to play.
The member made reference to supply management and we will use that as an example. The original proposal from the United States was to completely dismantle supply management. This government, working with partnerships, was able to ensure that supply management continues on as part of the Canadian heritage and tradition. Does the member not see that as a positive thing?
View Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, as you can see, I learned my lesson.
As for what may have happened at the bargaining table, we are well aware that the United States wanted to eliminate the entire system. That goes without saying. However, since the government had made a direct promise not to touch the agriculture industry, this sector should not have been touched. At the very least, it should have been an untouchable, but that was not the case. The government promised several times not to touch it, as the previous government had done. In the end, it did touch it. At some point, the government needs to stop insulting people's intelligence.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-03-10 13:46 [p.1876]
Mr. Speaker, in his speech, my colleague stressed the many breaches in supply management and the precarious situation facing supply-managed producers.
Let me just remind him that, on two occasions—in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union—the Conservative government was the first to create breaches. However, since I subscribe to the idea that we learn from our mistakes, I wonder whether my colleague would not agree with me that the best way to ensure that these situations do not happen again is to have a bill that guarantees and protects supply management in all trade negotiations and treaties.
Would my colleague be prepared to support the initiative of the Bloc Québécois, which introduced such a bill?
View Ben Lobb Profile
CPC (ON)
View Ben Lobb Profile
2020-03-10 13:47 [p.1876]
Mr. Speaker, no offence to my colleague, but he should go back to the 2015 quotes when we agreed to the TPP. He should look at what the Canadian dairy farmers and the supply-managed sector said. They said this was the best deal they could come up with and that it set the sector up for the next generation.
The next chance we will have to try to square this away with the Americans is if they ever try to get into the TPP. That is the only chance we will ever have to get anything back from them. When that opportunity comes, and we know TPP is too good for them to stay out of because they cannot get all those bilateral deals, we have to be tough and we have to fight. We have to say that the entry is going to be pretty high for the Americans to get TPP 2.0.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I sit on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, which heard from witnesses about this agreement. It generally ranged from lukewarm to strong support. However, there is a lot of concern, especially in the supply-managed sectors, with the threshold limits that were established for the exports of certain dairy products. I would like to hear my colleague's comments on that, because the witnesses at committee said that was an unprecedented ceding of sovereignty, the fact that Canada would negotiate away our ability to export to other countries and to have the United States dictate that.
I would also like the member to comment on the fact that we had to rely on the goodwill of the Democrats in the United States to improve this deal when the Canadian government was prepared to sign it in the previous Parliament with none of these improvements present.
View Ben Lobb Profile
CPC (ON)
View Ben Lobb Profile
2020-03-10 13:48 [p.1877]
Mr. Speaker, it is unprecedented, and here are a couple of numbers. In egg production, 1.6 million extra eggs are going to rise to 10 million extra eggs in six years, and it is 1% more on top of that per year for the next 10 years. When we think about that, they also have their WTO allocation. This is 20 million eggs. It is a huge number. It is very concerning in the long term.
Believe me, these farm groups may come to committee and say nice things, but they are being nice. If we talk to them in our offices or over a coffee, they have a whole different vocabulary they use when they describe the current government and the trade deal they have been dealt.
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2020-03-10 13:49 [p.1877]
Mr. Speaker, I want to throw some kudos out to my colleague for his speech. He is a long-serving member of this House of Commons, as am I, and it is great to see him back here standing up for the people in his riding. This is my first speech in the House of Commons since the last election. It is not my maiden speech by a long shot, but I want to thank all of the good people in central Alberta and the riding of Red Deer—Lacombe for once again putting their trust in me and sending me back here with one of the best mandates that I have had.
I am not trying to say it is all about me. For those around the country who might not understand what we are going through, in Alberta the last election was basically a referendum on whether Alberta feels like it is a valued and equal partner in this confederation, and we are having those conversations as we go on.
It is also a good segue into whether Canada in the new NAFTA, or the CUSMA, is a full and equal partner in the North American trading space. I would suggest that we could have done better, but let us go back to where this all started.
Back in November 2016, Donald Trump was about to become the president in the fall elections of that year. Our Prime Minister naively humoured Donald Trump's assertions that NAFTA needed to be ripped up or renegotiated.
Rather than defending Canada's interests and saying something to the effect that the North American Free Trade Agreement was working very well for Canada, or that it was a long-standing agreement that had benefited all parties in the agreement, he willingly committed Canada to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with the President and with the American administration, should Donald Trump take over the White House, without fully understanding the ramifications of what he was saying. Other evidence suggests that the Prime Minister does not understand the ramifications of the things he says.
That is where we are. That is where this all began. There was nobody in Canada asking for this. I do not believe there was anybody in Mexico asking for this. Have there been irritants? Have there been long-standing issues with NAFTA over the years? Yes, because no deal is going to make everybody happy. We are not starting from that context, but that is where we are now.
Because we took that weak approach at the start, to pretend that everything was going to be nice if everybody would just naively follow the Prime Minister's approach and assume that everybody in the world was going to be nice and treat Canada nicely, we ended up in a situation where Canada is a net loser with the new agreement that we have, compared with where we were in 2015.
Let us talk about where we were in 2006. My colleague from Abbotsford, who was a cabinet minister from 2011 on, and I were both elected in 2006. Mr. Speaker, you are part of the class of 2006 as well. When the member for Abbotsford and I came to the House in 2006, Canada had trade agreements around the world that we could count on—
Hon. Ed Fast: One hand, five.
Mr. Blaine Calkins: Was it one hand? I thought it was six, but it is five. The member for Abbotsford, as a former trade minister, knows more about this than I do, I will concede.
Mr. Speaker, we could count the number of countries that Canada had trade agreements with on one hand. After 2015, we had trade agreements with 51 countries, through the previous Harper government from 2006. We negotiated these agreements, and we started the negotiations with a minority government. We did not start with a position of power in Parliament. As a matter of fact, we had 123 Conservative MPs and we were government. That is only two fewer than we have right now in opposition.
We were able to launch a series of trade negotiations that would insulate and cushion Canada's economy and spread our influence and trading relationships around the world with the trading compact of Norway and a few countries, Liechtenstein and so on, a small group in Europe; the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, with the other European Union countries; the Pacific partnership trade agreement and a trade agreement with Korea. We have so many trade agreements now, I cannot even remember what they are all called.
Thankfully we have those opportunities to take advantage of now, because we were so dependent upon the United States before, and because of what we have just lost and given up. What did we give up?
I represent a large rural and urban split now, but when I was the MP for Wetaskiwin it was primarily a rural riding. I have the largest concentration of dairy farmers in Alberta in my riding. We gave up another 3.6% in the value of that supply management. More importantly, the dairy producers that I am hearing from in my riding are not satisfied with how that compensation is being reallocated.
Dairy farms in Alberta look a lot different from dairy farms in other parts of the country, and their needs are different from what the needs might be in other parts of Canada. The government should have had a different approach in meting out and making amends for that loss of market access.
The most egregious part of this is that the United States now dictates what countries Canada can export to outside of this agreement, when it comes to our supply-managed sector. We have ceded our ability as a nation to bargain for ourselves, on behalf of our producers and farmers, for who we can trade with outside of the three countries in the agreement.
For example, if we wanted to have an agreement trading poultry or dairy with Korea, and we wanted to change the nature of that relationship, we would need the permission of the United States of America to do so. That is actually the ceding of sovereignty, and that is an unfortunate and dangerous precedent.
The aluminum industry in Canada did not get the same deal as the steel industry. The steel industry got a pretty good deal. I think the steel folks are fairly happy, generally speaking. They got the escalating scale on the amount of steel that has to be poured in Canada or in North America. That is a good deal. This is a good thing for our industry.
Why could we not achieve the same thing with aluminum? What was the issue with that? I ask because Canada is in a good position when it comes to being able to smelt and pour aluminum. We did not gain anything there. We lost over $4 billion in trade in the auto sector alone.
Now I want to talk about softwood lumber. My friend from Abbotsford would remember this. Back in 2006, with a minority government that only had two more MPs than we currently have in opposition, we were able to resolve the long-standing softwood lumber dispute. We put $4 billion, which we got back from the United States, back in the pockets of Canadian businesses and companies that were wrongfully charged those tariffs. For years, we had peace on the softwood lumber front.
Where are we today? In the context of renegotiating this new CUSMA agreement, we still have outstanding issues with softwood lumber. A majority Liberal government for four years, with the full confidence of its own caucus, I am assuming, even with the bromance with President Obama for the first year, could not resolve these long-standing trade irritants with softwood lumber. As a result, rural Canada is again under siege, with jobs lost and mills closed outside of our major urban areas as a direct result of the government's inability to get good things done for the people of Canada.
I would like to use my last minute to talk about all of the good things that this trade agreement has and all of the new things it has gotten.
I am done.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
View Heather McPherson Profile
2020-03-10 15:55 [p.1897]
Madam Speaker, one of the biggest losers in the CUSMA is the supply-managed dairy sector as the member said. Along with concessions and CPTPP, this latest hit means a 10% loss of market share to Canadian producers.
Could the member speak about whether the Conservatives support the supply-managed dairy sector and if so, why they have supported every assault on the sector over the last five years?
View Steven Blaney Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. I invite her to look at what the Conservative Party did when it was in power. We took action to limit milk protein imports from New Zealand and to stop the illegal import of cheese in the form of pizza kits. We did plenty. Unlike the Liberals, who have done nothing about the problem of diafiltered milk, the Conservative government did not sit back and simply say that it supported supply management; it took concrete action. Our record on that is very solid.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, it has now been several weeks since Bill C-4, an act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, was introduced.
It is becoming increasingly clear that this agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico has some serious consequences for Canada's and Quebec's economies. It is simple. Under this agreement, our exports to the United States will decrease and our imports from our neighbours to the south will increase. As a result, the United States will diminish Canada's industrial activity, shifting this activity to its own cities and towns. The C.D. Howe Institute's most recent study estimates that Canada's GDP will take a $14-billion hit. That is worrisome.
Agriculture in Canada, and especially in Quebec, will be one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy. It will lose a significant portion of its market share to the United States. This is not to mention all the other trade benefits and legal advantages in terms of copyright, intellectual property, trademarks and data protection that the United States gained over Canada in these negotiations.
I even heard Canada's chief CUSMA negotiator say that the Government of Canada negotiated with the United States without analyzing the consequences of its decisions. Negotiating that kind of free trade agreement usually takes three years. Canadians should have been invited to submit studies that should have been debated to gain a better understanding of the long-term benefits for our economy. In this case, the United States forced negotiations and Canada was left scrambling.
The Government of Canada also rushed the study of Bill C-4. After finalizing the agreement last year, the Liberal government, which had a majority at the time, rejected the House of Commons' requests to examine the ins and outs of a future CUSMA implementation bill. That was last May. Then a general election was held on October 21. The House could have convened sooner, but that is not what happened. We finally opened the parliamentary session in December, but we did not discuss the agreement. We could have discussed it back in January, but that did not happen either. We could even have scheduled time for it in March during break last week, but it was all done in a rush in committee.
Fortunately, now that we have a minority government, the tone has changed, which has translated into some gains for Quebec. The Liberal government's haste was concealing some things. The Bloc Québécois insisted and managed to make the government aware of the consequences that its decisions and actions have on Quebec.
Fortunately, the Bloc Québécois was able to intelligently intervene to make this agreement a little more favourable for Quebec. If the Bloc Québécois had not done so, the Liberal government would have hurt Quebec's aluminum industry, even though it is the cleanest in the world. Indeed, CUSMA would have driven away more than $6 billion in investments in Quebec's aluminum industry. The Bloc Québécois salvaged something from the wreckage. The negotiations with the Liberal Party on Bill C-4 proved once again the importance of the Bloc Québécois in Ottawa.
On the other hand, it is unfortunate that CUSMA does nothing to address the softwood lumber crisis. Once again, it lets the United States dictate the market.
I now want to come back to the impact the agreement will have on rural life. In Quebec, over two million people live in rural areas. Eighteen percent of Quebeckers live in a village like Saint-André-de-Kamouraska or in a small urban community like Macamic in the west of Abitibi. Over 40% of the revenue in Quebec's agricultural regions comes from the dairy industry. The weakening of supply management directly undermines the economic and social development of Quebec's rural regions.
Last weekend, I attended the Fédération de la relève agricole du Québec convention in my home town of Rouyn-Noranda. I spoke with many next generation farmers who are very concerned about the impact of the changes to supply management because a stable, predictable income is important.
In CUSMA, as in previous agreements, Canada failed Quebec's dairy farmers. I would like to remind members that most of Canada's dairy farms are in Quebec. CUSMA gives up more than 3% of our dairy market, which amounts to an annual loss of $150 million in revenue for the two million people who live in the rural regions. Our agricultural community, which is at the very heart of our villages' vitality, continues to grow weaker every year.
I therefore expect the government to think about our towns and villages in the various compensation programs. That is why the Bloc Québécois, dairy producers and farmers in general are asking for a direct support program to compensate for losses, starting with the next budget—and that means very soon—to ensure that the economic vitality of our rural regions is not undermined.
Canada seems to have no regard for the reality that farm life and supply management create jobs and investments that contribute to the existence of a strong middle class in Quebec's rural areas.
Fortunately, a few days ago, the Bloc Québécois introduced a bill to protect supply management in Quebec in future trade negotiations.
Under this bill, the federal government will not be able to make an international trade commitment through a treaty or an agreement that would have the unfortunate effect of undermining supply management in Quebec. Our farmers and producers will finally have the protection they deserve to deal with the politics of free trade in the world. Circumventing supply management needs to stop. This bill is essential. I invite all my colleagues in the House of Commons to support it because, in addition to being an easy target in negotiations, supply management can also be circumvented with the right strategies. It is no secret that the United States has been using milk protein as a way of getting around supply management for years. It used to be a way for them to offload their surpluses onto Canadian markets at a lesser price than what our producers were asking. Now, they use it as a weapon to destroy supply management.
With the last agreement, the Canadian milk solids industry has literally been put under third-party management by the United States. Washington can limit the amount of protein our producers are entitled to sell in the rest of the world. The Americans will be able to squeeze Quebec out of global markets. That is a direct attack on our sovereignty. In other words, our producers could end up with huge surpluses and the surpluses could disrupt and jeopardize our family farm model.
Even worse, CUSMA also requires that we consult the United States about changes to the administration of the supply management system for Canada's dairy products. To force a Canadian industry to consult its direct competitor in another country about administrative changes it could make in future on the national level challenges our sovereignty.
For that reason the Bloc Québécois is recommending that Bill C-4 be accompanied by the following measures: that supply-managed producers and processors be fully compensated for their losses resulting from the trans-Pacific agreement, CETA and CUSMA and that this be clearly indicated in the next budget; that import licences resulting from breaches in supply management be issued first to processors rather than distributors and retailers; that, before ratifying CUSMA, the government consider the fact that if the agreement comes into force before August 1, 2020, milk protein export quotas for 2020-21 will be 35,000 tonnes rather than 55,000 tonnes if the agreement comes into force after August 1; that the government establish a permanent forum with producers and processors to ensure that the export tariff quotas are implemented in such a way as to cause the least possible harm to the dairy sector.
I was talking about the importance of income stability, which will have huge implications for the next generation of farmers in particular. Access to land, all of the bank loans and other programs are made possible through guarantees. The quota system and supply management were the main guarantees that farmers could offer. The implications are still being downplayed and they affect the cities, towns and regions of Quebec especially. All of Canada's concessions to our trade partners in recent agreements will have a direct impact on Quebec's rural economy. The latest trade agreements negotiated and signed by Ottawa have done nothing but create uncertainty in Quebec's towns and regions, in particular among farm owners, who are generally the ones who stimulate economic growth in their communities.
The principles of CUSMA will clearly have huge implications on investments in farms and processors, not to mention the job losses in cities and towns. The impact on agricultural producers goes beyond dairy farmers. We are talking about other farmers, veterinarians, equipment manufacturers, equipment vendors, truck drivers and feed suppliers. These financial losses will be felt by the various SMEs that remain in these towns. What is worse, the towns' social development will be affected. Services could be lost, schools could be shut down, and so on.
I invite all my colleagues in the House to visit the riding of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, particularly east of Témiscamingue, to understand the impact of a school closure or even the closure of a single retail store. In order to reduce the impact of all these losses, especially on rural Quebec, would it be possible for Ottawa to finally accede to Quebec's request that Quebeckers be put in charge of regional development programs? In the wake of the disastrous outcomes for rural Quebec, federal programs should be tailored to rural Quebec instead of being Canada-wide programs designed by Ottawa. If Ottawa is not in a position to protect and develop rural Quebec, if Ottawa does not care about Quebec's regions, then it should let Quebec manage the programs in a way that is more effective and beneficial for Quebec.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2020-03-10 16:50 [p.1906]
Madam Speaker, I have to disagree. We have a minister for regional development in Quebec, separate from the rest of the country, who is doing an excellent job, and all sorts of projects are being approved.
The member mentioned the quota on milk protein, and that is true, but the quota is far above what we are producing now, so it is not going to have any immediate effect.
The member also talked about losses of investment in aluminum. Those decisions were made before the CUSMA final agreement was made.
As well, he mentioned a study, but there have been tons of studies that show the effects on benefits if we did not have this agreement. For instance, the RBC said there would be a dramatic reduction in the Canadian GDP of 1%, affecting 500,000 workers, and Scotiabank said that the Canadian economy would stand a strong chance of falling into recession without this agreement.
There are $57 billion worth of exports from manufacturers in Quebec, great businesses, which the agreement protects, and the cultural exemption would protect 75,000 Quebec workers.
Does the member agree those are benefits?
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2020-03-10 16:54 [p.1907]
Madam Speaker, I would like to talk about the current state of CUSMA from two perspectives. In my speech, I will reiterate some of the things my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue just mentioned.
First, I would like to start with an overview of recent developments and the exceptional and thoughtful work our party did to accomplish what at first seemed unlikely.
Second, I will address the factor that I like to call the historical context. I will talk about the different circumstances that set the stage for the various trade negotiations that occurred over the past 50-plus years, and the challenges posed by our current situation.
I would first like to applaud the hard work of the Bloc Québécois members from Lac-Saint-Jean and Jonquière, as well as the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for his work on the parliamentary committee in this file. They all worked tirelessly and with great determination, with the support of our leader, the member for Beloeil—Chambly. They brought people together and supported many stakeholders—mayors and unions—in the aluminum industry, which is vital to their region.
The Bloc Québécois keeps its word. We are here to protect and support Quebec's interests and economy. We have not let up since December. Our resiliency and concern for our own have been on full display over the past few months.
I must recognize, and it is recognized, that the government decided to get involved on two levels. First, it committed to collect real-time data on aluminum imports in Mexico through traceability measures. Second, if that data shows that Mexico is indeed sourcing foreign aluminum, the government promised to revisit this issue so that the “melted and poured in North America” clause applies to aluminum in the same way it applies to steel. By so doing, the government recognized that aluminum did not have the same protection as steel.
Let us not forget that, in the new Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, Canada is the only party that is actually harmed by the dumping phenomenon, that the trade agreements prohibit dumping, that this practice results in unfair competition, and that the success of free trade agreements must normally be based on mutual gains.
Our leader and member for Beloeil—Chambly found the balance required and obtained the co-operation of the Deputy Prime Minister to protect our economic interests and the interests of thousands of North Shore and Lac-Saint-Jean workers.
Earlier, I mentioned historical context as a factor. I would now like to talk about it by going back in time briefly.
The economic sovereignties of Canada and the United States have changed significantly since the second half of the 20th century. Initially, we had what was known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT, where the United States determined the outcome of trade disputes that might arise in a protectionist context. The energy crisis of the late 1970s and the difficult recession of the early 1980s opened the door to very cautious trade relations. The implementation of the FTA in 1989 required the tact, skilful bilateral trade relations and people-to-people links that were the hallmarks of the time.
Members will recall that Quebec economists were in favour of it. Like the Bloc Québécois today, two great economists, two great men who left their mark on Quebec, Jacques Parizeau and Bernard Landry, knew that such an agreement would be beneficial for Quebec and its economy.
In this initial agreement, Ottawa, Washington and Quebec were all winners. Mexico would complete the free trade trio less than two years later.
Under NAFTA, Quebec quickly reaped the benefits of its economic dynamism and, despite the virtual disappearance of its manufacturing industry, the growing openness of 21st-century world markets would allow the development of leading-edge industries. Collectively, we moved forward in an increasingly globalized world, with growing trade and much more.
I would like to highlight two elements that I cannot ignore. These two elements also come from the past.
They speak volumes about the arguments our party raised for several weeks. During all the years that the Bloc Québécois had a lot of seats in the House, successive governments were forced to take Quebec's expectations into account. No less than 16 trade agreements were negotiated and signed without ever allowing for the slightest breach in supply management.
In 2011 and 2015, with reduced Bloc representation, Canada concluded three free trade agreements. That made three agreements with three major breaches, namely Europe, the Asia Pacific region and CUSMA. If there are fewer Bloc Québécois members, does that translate into less consideration for Quebec? To ask that question is to answer it.
This CUSMA came together with the Trump administration. We can all agree that this is a new context and it is not just any context. Based on three deals that are seriously eroding supply management, Canada is firmly on the path to weakening its sovereignty by letting our neighbour to the south undermine it. Yes, I said “its sovereignty”. I think everyone knows that, for the Bloc Québécois, leaving our sovereignty in the hands of another nation is contrary to our nature.
Indeed, CUSMA grants the Americans oversight of the milk protein exports Canada can offer to countries outside North America. A provision like this in a trade agreement is unheard of in anything other than a colonial context, as this provision could have a devastating impact on the dairy industry. This is a question of sovereignty, since we are putting decisions that are our responsibility into the hands of another country. These decisions are not its concern. In other words, the United States was just handed control over Canada's external relations.
In Quebec, we are committed to our farmers. We respect our dairy producers. With CUSMA, Canada has scored a hat trick with three agreements that undermine Quebec's trade model, which has proven successful. The truth is, without a strong Bloc Québécois presence, the Canadian government does less for Quebec.
The historic context we are heading toward is now global. Every economy in the world has to deal with this. I am talking about the climate crisis that has to collectively push us to rise above commercial concerns alone. We have to ask questions. Is intensifying our economic integration the best way to act in this new context? Do we have what it takes to inspire other countries to do their part to deal with climate matters? Is it possible to reconcile economic prosperity with respect for the environment, and if so, how? Is it possible to reconcile regional vitality with economic openness? With regard to the last two questions, I would say that Quebec's aluminum industry is a fine example and that its development can inspire other countries.
We are calling on the government to be responsible and truly follow through on its recent commitments on the two measures related to the aluminum industry and to fully keep its promises.
We are also calling on the government to consider possible accommodations when it comes to Quebec's large dairy industry. Such steps are not so uncommon and the government does not have to wait 10 years to take them. These kinds of steps were taken at least 16 times in 15 years of NAFTA.
We are also asking the government to support our bill, Bill C-216, on supply management, and give it the consideration it deserves, that Quebec deserves, that its farming economy deserves.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-10 17:10 [p.1909]
Madam Speaker, when we are sitting around a negotiation table, it is not like there is the opportunity to say, “Here's my list and the lists for the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc of everything we want”, and then expect the United States and Mexico representatives to say, “Okay, no problem, you have it.” That is not the way negotiations work.
At the end of the day, we achieved a deal that is in the best interests of Canadians in all regions of our country. I would point out to members opposite that over the last couple of years we have had a significant amount of discussion and debate inside the chamber, and equally as important, outside the chamber, dealing with a wide spectrum of individuals, different types of stakeholders, different levels of government and different groupings, if I could put it that way, in order to ultimately pull it all together into what we now have today, which is an agreement we can all be very proud of.
The member for Yukon made reference to the Bank of Nova Scotia. The idea that we did not have to do anything is false. There was a presidential election, and it became very clear that Canada needed to be at the table to negotiate a renewed NAFTA. There were some members of the opposition who ridiculed the government of the day, saying that we should not have indicated to the U.S. that we were okay with sitting down at the negotiation table. We recognized how important it was to actually be there to ensure that Canadians' best interests were being served.
We can look at the final product, Bill C-4, and see the support it has generated. I just made reference to the opposition parties and the government, but different levels of government here in Canada, from the Premier of Quebec to the Premier of Alberta and many other premiers, are talking about how good this deal actually is for our country and for individual provinces.
We have heard unions, including trade unions, being very supportive of many of the gains made in this legislation. Both big and small business communities recognize the value of this particular agreement. Canadians as a whole recognize just how important trade is to our country and they are getting behind this.
For all intents and purposes, even though our Deputy Prime Minister has led the charge on behalf of Canada, it has really been an effort by so many individuals and they can take credit for what we have today.
I want to make reference to the negotiators. We have heard this in the past from other members. We are very fortunate to have some of the best negotiators in the world who are there to protect our interests. I suspect they continue to improve upon those skills because of the number of agreements that have been achieved.
Over the last five years, we have witnessed a government that has been very proactive in picking up where the former prime minister left off. We have been able to sign off on a number of critically important agreements.
From a different perspective, I listened to other members talk about what it means when we talk about trade. When I sit down with my constituents at the local McDonald's and they want to talk about trade, I will often provide tangible examples. In Manitoba we have a number of different industries. I often talk about our pork industry, as I have done in the House.
The pork industry in the province of Manitoba is doing exceptionally well. The vast majority of pork that is produced in Manitoba does not stay in Manitoba. A producer called HyLife is located in the beautiful community of Neepawa. Well over 90% of its products go to Asia. The jobs are into the hundreds. Those individuals are buying products, using services, living in that beautiful community and contributing to the economic and social well-being of Neepawa and the surrounding area. That would not be possible without trade.
Manitoba's pork industry processes millions of pigs every year that are sold around the world. We could talk about whether it is Maple Leaf in Winnipeg or Maple Leaf in Brandon. We could talk about the hundreds of farmers that are engaged in the process, from raising the pigs to ultimately having them delivered to factories or processing plants by truckers. It is a major industry in Manitoba. If it were not for international trade and to a certain degree some domestic trade, that industry would not be anywhere near what it is today. We all benefit, not only immediate communities but the entire country as well.
I often talk about New Flyer Industries, which produces some of the best hybrid buses in the world. The company is thinking into the future. It produces more buses than we could ever use in Manitoba. We need trade.
Our government has been able to achieve a significant number of agreements in the last four or five years.
We can talk about the internal trade agreement that was achieved with the provinces a few years back. Canadians will often say international trade is good but we need to work on interprovincial trade, and we have done that. Our government has been able to move forward on that particular file.
There has never been a government that has been as successful at signing off on international trade agreements as this Liberal government has been in the last five years. We can talk about the European Union. We can talk about the trans-Pacific agreement. We can talk about Ukraine, not to mention the World Trade Organization. A few years back a bill was introduced that dealt with well over 100 countries around the world.
This government and our Prime Minister understand. From day one, our priority has been to enrich Canada's middle class and those who are striving to be a part of it. One of the best ways to do that is to provide opportunities through trade. It is not just what is released in a budget or other legislation. A government has to do a multitude of things in order to achieve success at serving Canadians.
The types of agreements that our government has been able to sign off on have made a tangible difference in Canada.
We often hear about children and seniors having been lifted out of poverty over the last number of years. We have been very successful at doing that.
We do not hear much about the number of jobs that have been created by this government, and it is a wonderful story that needs to be told. I am talking about full-time jobs in most cases, well over one million jobs. It might be 1.1 million net new jobs. That is a significant number of jobs.
We talk about how we can try to grow the economy, provide more choice for consumers and add more value for businesses and entrepreneurs, and Canada has some of the best entrepreneurs in the world. One of the best ways we can achieve that is to look at ways we can secure markets into the future. Because of this government, we are now in a position in which we have agreements with all of the G7 countries. I invite members to name another country in the world that can say the same. We have recognized the value of trade as being one of those critical aspects of development required in order to advance the interests of Canadians in all regions of our country.
I am sensitive to the fact that, whenever we have a trade agreement, there are always going to be areas in which it would have been nice to have been able to achieve something a bit different, but as I pointed out at the beginning of my speech, it would be absolutely naive to believe that we could go in and win on all counts and get everything that we want.
President Donald Trump wanted Canada to dismantle, get rid of, supply management. He is the individual who made it very clear that his administration was not prepared to accept the old agreement. They wanted a new agreement, or they would get rid of the old agreement. A part of that also incorporated the thought that they wanted to see the ripping apart or taking down of supply management.
I am very proud of the supply management system. We have production controls, import controls and price controls. As a direct result of that, we are able to produce things such as the best milk in the world, dairy products and much more. Supply management has been very effective. It is a tool that was actually put in place many years ago by another Liberal government, and I can tell members that it is this government that is protecting the future of supply management.
That is absolute, because there is very little doubt in my mind. I think it was the leader of the People's Party, who had been a member of the Conservative Party not that long ago, who was espousing that we should get rid of supply management. I suspect he was not alone among the Conservative benches. I sat in opposition a number of years ago when there was always the thought that the hidden agenda of many Conservatives was to get rid of supply management.
View Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague from Winnipeg North. He reiterated his support for protecting supply management a number of times. He also mentioned that nothing was perfect.
The Bloc Québécois is giving him the chance to redeem himself. On February 24, my colleague from Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel introduced Bill C-216 to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to prevent more breaches in supply management.
I would like to know whether my colleague will support this bill that will prevent future breaches in supply management.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-10 17:32 [p.1911]
Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the debate that will eventually take place inside the House when the private member's bill comes forward.
I can assure the member that the principle of supply management, as I spent a great deal of time talking about, is something that Liberals have supported for many years. As I pointed out, we were the party that introduced supply management to the House of Commons and Canadians by working with different industries. This is a party that will continue to ensure it is there for future generations. It has been well demonstrated by this particular agreement.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
2020-03-10 18:05 [p.1916]
Mr. Speaker, is my understanding correct that a future Conservative government would make no concessions on supply management in a future trade deal, whether Canada-U.K. or another deal?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-03-10 18:05 [p.1916]
Mr. Speaker, what I can assure the member of is that a future Conservative government would never sell out the industry the way the Liberals did under this agreement.
View Robert Morrissey Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Robert Morrissey Profile
2020-03-10 18:08 [p.1916]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Yukon.
I am pleased to rise in the House this afternoon to speak in support of Bill C-4. It is important to restate that Canada did not choose to renegotiate NAFTA. When confronted with the reality that our major trading partner was intent on replacing NAFTA, our government put in place a negotiating team that positioned Canada well as we began the process toward a modernized free trade agreement that, as my colleagues have stated in the House from time to time, has the overwhelming support of the House of Commons.
I have listened to much debate in the House and have heard various criticisms of parts of the renewed trade agreement, but members have not offered how they would have negotiated differently in those areas. While it is easy to pick apart points and say, “We would do it better”, Canada is a country of some 38 million people and our largest trading partner is a country of well over 300 million people. The official opposition would have Canadians believe that we could have simply gone to Washington and dictated to the U.S. every term we wanted in the agreement.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: Ridiculous.
Mr. Robert Morrissey: It is ridiculous. Trade agreements are negotiated between multilateral partners and countries. This particular one was between three countries, obviously: Mexico, Canada and the United States.
Canada, more than most, is dependent on trade. As a country of 38 million people, rich in natural resources, agriproducts and seafood, we depend on selling products worldwide in a competitive marketplace in order for Canada's economy to grow and succeed and to pay for the many programs that we as Canadians take for granted.
In these negotiations, I have to compliment the team that our government put in place to negotiate, at a critical time, a historic new agreement that will put in place, for Canadian businesses, Canadian farmers, Canadian fishers and Canadian workers, a secure framework as we move down the road and continue to grow and expand the economy.
Imagine for a moment standing here today in an environment with no agreement. Where would our industries be positioned? It is important to consider, in any particular trade agreement, which partner has more to lose and which partner has more to gain. For Canada, being a very small country compared to the U.S. in population and market size, it was extremely important that our negotiating team recognized that we had to have an agreement that served Canadians well and served Canada's economy well.
I have no problem going on the record to state that this agreement is a win for Canadians, a win established by a strong negotiating team that understood the dynamics and fundamentals of Canada's economy and ensured that the parts that had to be protected were protected.
I will not go into detail on the economic impact of this particular agreement, because it has been well debated in the House by earlier speakers. However, there is no question that Canada will be better positioned to move forward when the agreement is ratified than it would be if we had no trade agreement at all.
It is important to go back to how we arrived here. It was with a president intent on removing a trade agreement that had worked for a number of years, serving both countries well. That has been documented by speakers on both sides of the House. The agreement has served Canada and the U.S. well over the years.
It was extremely important that our government, being the smaller country population-wise in these trade agreements, secure an agreement that would be beneficial to all those sectors.
A couple of the last speakers basically portrayed the scenario that it was all wins for the U.S. and none for Canada. I believe that most fair-minded analysts would take a look at the agreement and say that Canada won on a lot of points, that Canada's team succeeded in a difficult environment and scored some big wins for us.
One of those wins that has been mentioned time and time again was that, from the outset, this government's line in the sand was always that supply management would remain in place. That was a major win in these trade negotiations, because at the start of this the U.S. administration was intent on seeing Canada's supply-managed system dismantled. That was a position that our government clearly would not waver on. There was room for negotiation, and at the end of the day we still have a sector that enjoys the benefits of operating in a supply market system.
My riding of Egmont is in the province of Prince Edward Island. Prince Edward Island is to Canada what Canada is to the U.S.. Prince Edward Island is a province with a small population, and we depend on trade for our agri products as well as seafood products. We very much depend on our national government to ensure that we have competitive trade agreements so that our goods move to market in a profitable manner and Prince Edward Island's industries remain protected that require it. Those industries that operate in a free market system do much better under this agreement, as was pointed out with the other agreements we signed with Europe and are now being negotiated with the Pacific Rim.
It is easy for opposition members to say that we should have done better in some areas, and we could have done better in some sectors, without offering what they would have exchanged to get to where their preferred position would have been. Yet, that is the role of the opposition. The opposition members can pick away at the government without offering up what they would do in our place. However, the government has a responsibility to ensure that at the end of the day Canadian entrepreneurs, farmers and fishers operate in a stable market environment with ensured protections. Some of the key areas that were protected are dispute settlement mechanisms, investor-state dispute resolution and the area of supply management.
As I indicated, Prince Edward Island is very small, and our dairy industry is very competitive. During this process, I met extensively with the dairy farmers in my riding. Let me read into the record a fact. Prince Edward Island has 1.7% of Canada's total dairy quota, and that quota has been growing at 3.5% annually, compared to the rest of Canada's at 2%, because the demand for domestic supply is moving. Over six years, that realized a 21% increase in market demand for Prince Edward Island's milk in a supply market system.
The industry is still growing and expanding. I recently had the honour of sitting down with some of the dairy farmers, the largest processors in my riding and the Minister of Agriculture and discussing what areas we had to continue to improve on to ensure that this industry remains competitive and small, medium-sized and large processors are competitive on an international market place.
I am pleased with this agreement. I certainly will be supporting it. I look forward to when this very important deal, which trumpets the accomplishments of this country, will be ratified in this House.
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2020-03-09 12:05 [p.1778]
Madam Speaker, before I begin, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with my esteemed colleague, the member for Laurentides—Labelle. It is an honour for me to start things off.
On a more serious note, the global economy is in bad shape. The New York and Toronto stock exchanges both temporarily suspended trading this morning because stock prices were plummeting too quickly, as we also saw when the European stock exchanges closed. This is very worrisome, and it can be attributed to the panic created by the oil crash, which in turn can be attributed to the threat currently facing the global economy because of the coronavirus. I would add that even before those two events that caused stock markets to plummet, the global economy was beginning to show signs of a downturn. It was clearly already struggling.
According to widely reported statistics, global growth was pretty weak in 2019 at 2.9%. It is generally understood that when growth is at 2.5% or less, there is a serious risk of global recession. Things are not going well. Europe is also struggling, as it was even before the problems related to the coronavirus arose. The same is true in Asia, especially in Japan, China and other countries in the region.
In North America, the situation is not as bad, but growth is weak and, since the global economy is interconnected, the risks are real. We often get the impression that economic crises, no matter how big or small, happen roughly every 10 years. In fact, the last one was in 2008-09.
The global economy is struggling and now it is sustaining external shocks that we could not see coming, like the coronavirus, the plunge in oil prices and the resulting repercussions. The coronavirus is creating fear, which has crippled tourism all around the world. Some large regions, for example in Italy or China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, are under quarantine. We can expect an additional slowdown and, since both local and global economies are interconnected, these shocks are likely to have adverse effects on all economic sectors.
If the economy were on a strong footing, then this shock would be temporary and the economy would return to normal growth after a few months. However, as I was just saying, there are already signs of a serious economic slowdown. The current situation might be bad enough to have a serious impact on the economy and plunge us into that phase of the economic cycle we call “recession”.
The problems of the tourism industry, the quarantines and the reduction in personal expenditures could result in the classic scenario of a decline in demand that would possibly trigger an economic crisis. I am certain that our colleague could tell us more about Keynesian analysis and possible solutions later today. I will be there because it will be very interesting, and I invite all my colleagues to come and listen to him.
In his analysis of the current situation, renowned economist Kenneth Rogoff, from Harvard, is introducing a new element by suggesting that there could also be a risk of a supply shock as the coronavirus could cause a downturn in supply. The global economy is so interconnected and supply chains so diversified that a quarantine in a given region, such as China, could slow production of a component used in the manufacture of cars, transportation equipment or other goods. A single missing link could halt and even paralyse the entire production chain in a given economic sector. This possibility is worrisome and the economist Rogoff has more to say.
The Chinese economy is now twice as big as it was during the SARS crisis in 2003. Every segment of the economy is in massive debt. Individuals, businesses and local governments all rely on income coming in regularly to be able to make payments, since they are all over-indebted and over-leveraged. This becomes very worrisome if a zone is quarantined. Individuals, businesses and municipalities will no longer be able to make their payments, which could cause a cash crisis. Everyone knows that China plays a big role in the international economy. This situation is very worrisome.
The economy could slow down because of a drop in demand and also a drop in supply. Basic economic theory tells us that a drop in supply can cause a drop in production, leading to an increase in prices and inflation rates. This is particularly worrisome because the potential inflation could make the traditional methods we rely on to recover from recessions less effective.
The reason inflation has been so low over the past few years is that the primary goal of most central banks is to keep inflation within a target range of 1% to 3%. I would add that it is also due to increased trade worldwide. All this interconnectedness has lowered production costs in every sector, which could explain why inflation has not gone up. However, if the coronavirus sets off a panic and countries start closing their borders, the gains from increased international trade could drop off, leading to an inflation problem.
As I mentioned earlier, the global economy was starting to show signs of slowing down, and we are now facing two problems, namely the coronavirus and the oil crash. Let us hope this is only temporary. However, it is extremely important that governments around the world take concrete steps to help us recover as fast as possible. These problems are so serious that they could mark the beginning of a crisis, and that is deeply troubling.
Naturally, the government will have to make use of its traditional tools. We have seen the Bank of Canada, which operates independently of the government, cut its policy rate. There is also public spending. The parliamentary secretary told us earlier that it is important for Canada to maintain a world-class health care system.
Canada's health care system belongs first and foremost to Quebec and the provinces. It falls under provincial jurisdiction. The federal government's role is to provide adequate funding for the health care system in accordance with its previous commitments, but we are seeing exactly the opposite. I would like to remind members that Quebec's former finance minister, who was a member of the Liberal Party, accused this government of engaging in predatory federalism because it is not honouring its commitment to provide better funding for health care. That really says a lot. There is still no social housing agreement between Quebec and Ottawa. Money for infrastructure is not being disbursed. These fundamental tools would be useful in dealing with current problems, but the government is making the process more difficult than it needs to be. Things are not moving as fast as we would like.
No short-term solution is very effective in boosting supply in an economic downturn. The crisis is an excellent opportunity to move toward the economy of the future. The parliamentary secretary was talking about a transition economy. In my opinion, the government really needs to get on that and stop insisting on remaining in the last century's economy. The price of oil has just dropped. It does not make any sense that the oil industry is receiving more government support than any other industry. We are talking about over $20 billion with cost overruns. That is what was announced just over a year ago. The government is stuck in the past. We need to diversify the economy, and Quebec has everything it takes to succeed in the transition economy.
View Louis Plamondon Profile
BQ (QC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-216, An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act with respect to supply management.
He said: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to protect supply management by making it non-negotiable in future international negotiations.
We recall that in recent negotiations—whether for the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Europe, the Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or the Canada-United States-Mexico free trade agreement—significant breaches were made in the supply management system, which lowered producers' revenues by approximately 8%.
This bill will amend section 10 of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act by adding provisions that will make supply management non-negotiable.
I hope that all members will vote in favour of this bill, which is highly anticipated by producers.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, for your reference, I will start by reminding you of my interventions from yesterday.
First, our unwillingness to support the free trade agreement is largely due to the threat of outsourcing that mining industries are facing. The government talks about possible compensation for the industry as if this is something that would benefit the industry. Even if the industry does receive that money, 60,000 jobs could be in jeopardy, because there is no guarantee that the money would reach Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean or the North Shore.
Second, this agreement does nothing to address the softwood lumber issue. Thirty thousand jobs are at stake, and we are struggling to save our villages. Many villages, especially in my riding, are depending on these issues and free trade deals, which do not protect the softwood lumber industry. This can be a difficult situation.
As for supply management, the whole issue of income stability is a major challenge for farmers. They need to be able to predict their income, but the loopholes that have been created in supply management are making things hard for them. We are increasingly seeing quotas being sold off.
When my speech was interrupted, I was saying that the United States is imposing limitations on our negotiations with other world markets. I think that, if we adopted an amendment to change that penalty, we will at least have saved our right to do trade with who we want and thus preserved our sovereignty.
There are 10,000 dairy farms in Canada, including 5,600 in Quebec. That is a major industry that employs 83,000 people, either directly or indirectly, and generates over $1 billion in taxes for the Government of Quebec. The industry is not asking for any direct subsidies. It is a matter of pride, and unfortunately, the decisions on compensation will take advantage of that. Dairy producers do not want the government's charity. They want to be independent and successful. Their prosperity is essential to the vitality of the agricultural life of the small family farms scattered around Quebec's towns and villages.
In closing, in my opinion, Quebec is the big loser in this agreement. The compensation was provided at Quebec's expense. The Government of Canada says that it wants us to work together and that it is reaching out to us. That implies being open to Quebec's demands. It is therefore irresponsible to sign this agreement without adding protections for supply management and aluminum and without putting an end to the softwood lumber dispute.
Could Canada listen to the solutions proposed by Quebec? For now, it it is obvious that the federal government has once again abandoned Quebec's economy.
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pablo Rodriguez Profile
2020-02-06 10:18 [p.995]
Mr. Speaker, four years ago the future of free trade in North America was in doubt. At the time, President Trump said that NAFTA was “the worst deal in history“ and campaigned to tear it up. This presented an existential threat to the well-being of Canadians, as so many of our communities and workers depend on free and open market access to the world's biggest economy.
Thanks to the hard work of the Deputy Prime Minister, her negotiating team and Canadians of all stripes and backgrounds, we stood firm against the largest economic threat Canada has faced in recently history. We even did pretty well. Extremely well, I would say, since we reached a better agreement with our partners and friends, the United States and Mexico.
Without a doubt, this is a better deal than the current NAFTA. This is a good deal for Canadians, no matter where they live.
Today I want to focus on the benefits this agreement offers to Quebeckers. The benefits are many, because we stood up for Quebec. Allow me to share some examples. The new NAFTA retains the cultural exemption that allows so many artists and creators to succeed. It even covers the digital world. The new agreement retains the dispute resolution mechanism that was used to defend Quebec's softwood lumber industry. It protects our supply management system, including dairy farmers. It also gives manufacturing exporters and aluminum workers better access to the American market.
Allow me to begin with the cultural exemption. As the former minister of Canadian heritage, as a proud Quebecker and as a lover of arts and music, my province's unique culture is near and dear to my heart.
Quebec itself is near and dear to my heart. Yes indeed, we have a unique culture. Our culture, our way of life, our way of looking at things are what create our identity. We must protect this culture, this identity. It must be protected in traditional media and, especially today, in the 21st century, it must be protected online. The Americans wanted to get rid of this cultural exemption. They wanted to prevent us from being able to financially support and protect our culture, our linguistic duality. Not only did we preserve that right, but we even managed to get it extended to digital media. The Prime Minister drew a line in the sand, sending the Americans a clear message that Canada would not sign without this exemption. No exemption, no agreement.
This will help over 70,000 Quebeckers employed in the cultural industry to continue to thrive.
We stood our ground for Quebec.
Second, I am sure members in the House will recall that the American administration sought to eliminate the dispute resolution mechanism known as chapter 19. We refused to concede to this, and I will explain why.
This mechanism is a critical equalizer in a trading relationship in which we are, frankly, the smaller partner.
It was under chapter 19 that Quebec was able to defend its softwood lumber industry against anti-dumping measures and abusive countervailing duties imposed by the Americans.
The Prime Minister said it was non-negotiable. We gave Canadians our word, and we did not budge.
Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.
Third, I turn to the agriculture industry, and the supply management system in particular.
Supply management supports thousands of farmers, food producers and their families. Together, they export $5.7 billion worth of agricultural products from Quebec to the United States every year. The U.S. President and his administration wanted to do away with supply management. We said no. Period.
While CUSMA provides incremental access to the U.S., our negotiators overwhelmingly maintained the supply management system of controls on production, price and imports.
The Prime Minister has been clear: We will fully and fairly compensate farmers and processors for any loss of market share, as we did under the trade agreements we signed with the European Union and Asia-Pacific countries.
This summer we announced $1.75 billion in compensation over eight years for nearly 11,000 dairy farmers in Canada. Everyone who applied by December 31, 2019, has received their payments by now. The rest will receive theirs by March 31.
We protected supply management. This will allow Quebec dairy products to remain part of our kids' daily breakfast routine, in Quebec and right across the country.
Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.
Finally, and more perhaps more importantly, CUSMA preserves and actually increases duty-free access for Canadian goods. For Quebec, this means that key exports to the U.S. will continue to receive duty-free treatment compared to the most favoured nation rate charged on imports that are not from the United States' free trade partners. It also means continued market access for nearly $60 billion in Quebec exports to the U.S., and stability for workers in aerospace, heavy truck, agriculture and aluminum industries.
My Quebec colleagues like to say that the new agreement is bad for our aluminum workers, but that is completely untrue, because the new agreement requires 70% of the aluminum in vehicles to be North American in origin. That is 70% compared to zero. My Bloc colleagues would have us believe that is a step backward, but I see it as a clear win.
We have also increased the regional value content threshold for cars from 62.5% to 75%, which is a major step forward, as car manufacturers will be required to use more of our products, including our aluminum.
Manufacturers are using more and more aluminum in cars because it is lighter, which means that cars consume less fuel. These measures are helping our industry, and our workers benefit from increasing demand. The industry itself supports the agreement. Jean Simard, president and CEO of the Aluminium Association of Canada, said that the new NAFTA is the right way to go.
Quebec's economic community supports it too. Last week, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec called for it to be ratified as soon as possible to end years of economic uncertainty.
In December, Quebec's business sector signalled its support for the agreement. The Conseil du patronat du Québec, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec and the Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec told us that they want all parliamentarians in Ottawa and all stakeholders to ensure that the agreement is ratified as soon as possible. This agreement is vital for economic growth and for all Quebec regions. Therefore, there is a consensus in Quebec, except for my Bloc Québécois friends and colleagues, who are not really listening. They keep repeating that the agreement will let Mexico import aluminum from China and pass it off as North American aluminum. The opposite is true, as the agreement will prevent that.
At the industry's request, we have put a system in place to track and monitor transshipments of lower-quality aluminum from countries such as China or Russia through Mexico. This will ensure that Quebec's high-quality aluminum is not replaced by cheaper, lower-quality goods.
Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.
The benefits of the new deal do not stop here. There are also progressive, modern elements in this agreement that align with the values of Quebeckers.
Some hon. members of the opposition mocked the government when we wished to include chapters on labour and the environment. Both of these chapters are in the new agreement, and they are not window dressing. Actually, they are both subject to dispute resolution. This means Quebec union workers will be on a more level playing field with Mexican workers, and it means that the environment we share will not be forsaken in the name of economic growth.
The Canada-United States-Mexico agreement is a good agreement for Quebeckers and for all Canadians. We have made real gains that will help our families. As Premier Legault said, I believe that the Bloc Québécois must defend the interests of Quebeckers, because it is in the interest of Quebeckers for this agreement to be ratified and adopted.
As always, I am reaching out to my colleagues from all parties and urging them not to delay the process, but to work together and adopt this important bill.
View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2020-02-06 10:32 [p.998]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to enter the debate on such an important bill.
I find it very interesting that my colleague across the way, the government House leader, said very emphatically that this is a better agreement. There are some very serious issues that need to be addressed in relation to whether that is, in fact, the case.
In the course of debate over the last number of days, some questions from the Conservatives and other parties have been brought forward. There are serious unanswered questions about the impacts this new trade agreement will have on Canada and our role in the integrated North American market.
I will emphasize that the Conservatives believe very fundamentally in the need for free trade. It was Conservatives who pioneered the first NAFTA. I am very proud that it is part of our legacy. Canada first built a trade agreement with the United States and it was expanded in the late eighties and early nineties to include Mexico. It has left a legacy: Trade with the United States went from approximately $290 billion U.S. in 1993 to $1.2 trillion U.S. in 2018. That is significant, and it affects each and every one of us and each of our constituencies, as jobs are directly affected.
I would suggest that this agreement is simply a reworking of the old agreement. It is referred to as CUSMA, USMCA in the United States, but I would more accurately describe it as NAFTA 0.5 or “halfta”, as I referred to it earlier. It is a bit like a car. The first one was a massive improvement and then one buys a new car. After 30 years, there have been changes and upgrades, but it is really just like a paint job on that old car. A few features have been added, but some pretty serious things, like the power steering for example, have been removed.
One of the big issues opposition members face is that some questions remain. The Deputy Prime Minister said that as soon as the economic analysis is available, it will be available to all members. Negotiating a free trade agreement without the proper economic analysis is troublesome. It shows that the government should have been ahead of some of these very important issues.
Many Canadians have reached out to me to say that it is important we have this agreement, as devastating consequences will happen if it does not go through. However, they are not pleased with the way the negotiations took place, the uncertainty that has existed over the last number of years and, in large part, the actions that left our minds boggled, quite frankly.
The Prime Minister stood up and almost insulted the President of the United States at a press conference, and the President responded quickly with some tweets that said he heard what the Canadian Prime Minister said. That set Canada back. The Deputy Prime Minister participated in some events in Washington as well. Having been a political staffer myself, it should have been the advice of professionals that we avoid doing things that would draw the ire of those we are supposed to find agreement with. However, we saw time and time again that the actions of the members opposite in the last session of Parliament led to some significant sacrifices being made.
I do want to give credit where credit is due. The members opposite asked some officials to speak to members of the opposition this past week in a briefing to give members of the opposition the opportunity to ask questions regarding the new NAFTA agreement. It was very much appreciated, but some of the answers to the questions led to more questions that still have not been answered.
In fact, I find it very interesting that the members opposite brag about the environmental provisions. It is my understanding that many of the environmental provisions that are included in the “halfta” are simply the enshrining of many of the bilateral agreements and trilateral agreements that have been negotiated, from the 1993 version to today. They are simply included in the new agreement. That makes sense, but I find it ironic that the members opposite would claim credit for those all being their part of the agreement when really it has been the concerted effort of not only the government across the way, but of the previous Conservative government and the previous Liberal governments before that, to continue the evolution of trade within the integrated North American market.
One of the members in the other party asked specifically about some of the environmental promises that were made. The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and other members of the government at the time stood up and said that these are their priorities. Our incredibly talented negotiating team has done lots of good work. When asked if the team had accomplished those objectives, the answer was pretty unequivocal in saying, hardly at all. I am not sure if “hardly at all” would represent, in the words of the government House leader, that this is a better agreement, when the lead negotiator is saying that the team did not get what it wanted.
The sunset clause is another great example. When the President's son-in-law, a core adviser, came out and said that the agreement would be reviewed after six years and it would expire after 16 years, it was, in the beginning, a non-starter for the members opposite. They said it could not happen. Suddenly, there are a lot of things that they said could not happen that have happened. Jared Kushner said in an op-ed that was published on CNBC earlier this week that it was imperative that the United States retain leverage in any of its trading relationships. They got the sunset clause, and that leaves the power of this in the hands of the United States.
There are many aspects of the deal that leave significant questions. We have examples time and again where there are questions of trust. Can the government be trusted? I would like to say yes, but many of my constituents remind me on a daily basis and I am pleased to have a very strong mandate to ask some of these tough questions and say that my constituents do not trust the actions of this Liberal government, whether it be on the environment or the caps on vehicle production.
There were not caps before, but there are today. The government members say they are so high that it does not matter. That is not a very optimistic outlook on the Canadian economy.
Regarding steel and aluminum, the Liberals say the 70% is there so it is better than it was before. My understanding is that there was not a need for those caps in the past because virtually all the aluminum specifically came from North America and they could not get the same protections on aluminum that they got on steel. Those are serious questions.
Serious questions are being asked by many of my constituents who are very involved in the agricultural industry, about the supply-managed industries. It drew the ire of the American President, yet many of the stakeholders, farmers and producers in my constituency are facing significant questions about the future of the compensation related to the increased market access and various questions around that. Real questions of trust exist.
I am proud to support free trade and I am proud that our party has been the party of free trade. However, it is important that Conservatives fulfill the democratic obligation that we have to ask the tough questions of this agreement and ensure that Canadians know exactly what we are signing and the long-term effects that this agreement would have on the current status of our country and also on future generations.
We are talking about the economic future of our country, and it is important that these difficult questions be asked.
View Xavier Barsalou-Duval Profile
BQ (QC)
Mr. Speaker, today's debate is of course on the bill to implement the Canada-United States-Mexico free trade agreement, or CUSMA.
Unfortunately, we found that Quebec was pretty much excluded from the discussions. Quebec's priorities were largely excluded. That is why there is a very good chance we will be forced to vote against CUSMA in its current form.
Some of the other parties are making up all kinds of stories about the Bloc Québécois. They want everyone to believe that we oppose free trade agreements, we are against the economy and we want to withdraw into a shell. All the prejudices and all the spin being spewed about us are completely false.
To illustrate that, I want to talk about two important figures in Quebec's independence movement. No one can deny the influence they have had on Quebec and, in a way, on the rest of Canada. I am talking about Jacques Parizeau and Bernard Landry.
Jacques Parizeau was the finance minister in René Lévesque's government, and was also premier of Quebec. He was a great economist who trained at the London School of Economics and Political Science, an internationally renowned school.
As for Bernard Landry, he was also a finance minister in Quebec and premier of Quebec.
They were two important champions of free trade, including the first free trade agreement, the first NAFTA, signed with the United States and Mexico.
They were among its main proponents. Mr. Landry toured Quebec to talk about how important it is for small nations to do business with other foreign countries and to open new markets.
We do not want to stay locked up inside Canada. We do not want to limit ourselves to doing business with Ontario. I am more than happy to do business with Ontario, the Maritimes and the other provinces, but why should we limit ourselves to this country, which has a somewhat limited population? Why not send our goods, our knowledge and our skills to other places and benefit from what others have to offer us?
We have absolutely nothing against that. On the contrary, it is a real benefit for Quebec to be able to take advantage of those different markets. However, there are some things that we care about. There are some things that we want to maintain. To the extent possible, we want to maintain control over our agriculture because we like being fed by local farmers who produce food that meets the highest health standards. Since we never know what might happen abroad, it would be good to be able to continue feeding ourselves.
The other thing we care about is culture. Quebec is America's Gaulish village. That is something we hear a lot. I think it is important for us to keep our culture strong in Quebec and that we ensure that agreements continue to promote and protect that culture.
This agreement does contain at least some worthwhile aspects with regard to culture. Some progress has been made and we are pleased about that.
Labour is also an important issue to us. A free trade agreement must contain attractive working conditions for workers in each of the countries, whenever possible. It is not about comparing apples and oranges. Attractive working conditions are necessary to ensure that people in other countries are not exploited and to ensure that we do not lose any jobs here. Otherwise, the agreement leads to exploitation in other countries.
I think we must consider these issues when we sign agreements. Once again, I think some progress was made. The agreement is not all bad, but unfortunately there are a number of aspects that bother us. I will explain.
One of the things that bothers us is the Liberals' record when it comes to Quebec. Free trade agreements are useful, but free trade agreements are generally about gaining something. Concessions are made, there is some give and take, and we end up with a deal that benefits all parties. The problem in this case is that the Liberal government tends to sacrifice Quebec when it signs free trade agreements.
The gut reaction always seems to be to sacrifice Quebec a bit more and listen to Quebec a bit less than the provinces or the rest of Canada in its entirety. Finally, the government works for Canada and not Quebec. That is why we want to form an independent country. Then we could negotiate our own agreements, which would benefit us and respect our conditions. We would stop getting the short end of the stick, as is often the case with Canada.
Let's go back in time a bit and look at the Liberals' record of listening to Quebec. They are currently making up all sorts of things and saying that they listened to Quebec. If we go back less than 100 years, to the 1940s, the Liberals promised Quebeckers during the Second World War that there would be no conscription. Indeed, Quebeckers did not forget the conscription imposed by the Conservatives under Borden. However, once in power, the Liberals organized a neat little referendum to be able to go back on their promise and impose conscription on Quebeckers. This is just one example of many.
A little later, there were expropriations in Mirabel for the construction of the airport. Then, in Montreal, there were expropriations in the entire Faubourg à m'lasse neighbourhood, where my grandfather grew up, to build the infamous Radio-Canada tower. This was a tragic event in the lives of a lot of Quebec families. Ottawa, claiming to know what was good for them, told them their homes and neighbourhoods would be torn down. These families lost their livelihood, but the government washed its hands of it. I think it is horrible what the Liberals, who were in power at the time, did. It shows their inability to listen and their insensitivity to Quebec.
I will go back in time again, this time to the 1970s, to the time of the War Measures Act. Yes, some people were causing trouble and doing things that perhaps should have been avoided. Let's agree, however, that the enactment of the War Measures Act was a complete overreaction on the part of the Liberal government. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police used the opportunity to enter the offices of the Parti Québécois and steal its lists. More than 400 people were put in prison. It was a national disgrace because, more than anything else, it was an operation that was designed to humiliate Quebec.
Let's now turn to the 1980 referendum. Once again, the Liberals made great promises. Trudeau senior, whose son is now Prime Minister, told us in the 1980 referendum that voting no meant saying yes to change and that it would make Quebec happier. In the end, he promised us all sorts of things and talked about honour and enthusiasm, a bit like Brian Mulroney did a few years later.
After all these fine promises, a constitution was signed by every province except Quebec. This led to the infamous “night of the long knives”, when the others decided to do without Quebec's support.
There was also the sponsorship scandal, which happened under the Liberals as well.
I remember that throughout their last term, the Liberals vowed over and over to protect supply management. However, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement opened a breach in supply management. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership opened another breach in supply management. The Canada-United States-Mexico free trade agreement is opening yet another breach in supply management.
In particular, I remember a byelection campaign in Lac-Saint-Jean in 2018. The Bloc ran an excellent candidate, Marc Maltais. The Prime Minister of Canada went to Lac-Saint-Jean to assure farmers that supply management would not be touched. However, a few weeks after the election, a breach was created in supply management. The people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean remembered, because in the 2019 election, they voted in a Bloc member.
That is not the end of the problem. This much-touted agreement gives no consideration to forestry, which is important in Quebec. It has not been included in the agreement. More recently, we have learned that aluminum was being completely abandoned.
It is a real shame that I do not have more time to speak, because I would have had a lot more to say.
The important thing to note is that the Liberals keep saying ad nauseam that 70% of auto parts will have to be made of North American aluminum. That is completely not true. No, 70% is no better than zero, because 70 times zero is zero. The 70% is for manufactured parts, but the aluminum will not necessarily come from here. It could come from China and be processed in Mexico.
At the end of the day, we are losing out and it is really frustrating.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2020-02-06 11:38 [p.1007]
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour and privilege to stand up today in the House of Commons and talk about the new NAFTA or the “halfta“, as we like to call it on this side of the House.
Before I get into that, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my friends, relatives and volunteers who helped me get elected. As with all members who come to this place, we do not get here without a vast network of people back home. I want to thank all of those people. It would take too long to name all of them here. I had over 250 volunteers from across northern Alberta. Northern Alberta is a beautiful place. I like to call it the promised land. I had people in every community ready to carry the Conservative banner, help put up lawn signs, knock on doors and all those things.
I want to reference a couple of people who really went above and beyond. Bethany VanderDeen knocked on several thousand doors for me in the election. I want to thank her for all her hard work. My sister is my financial agent, which causes her a lot of stress. I want to thank her as well. My campaign manager, Josh, went above and beyond whenever he was called upon to work. I want to thank him for that.
The new NAFTA, CUSMA, or “halfta“, as we like to call it, is an agreement we called on the government to do. We have been advocating for a free trade deal with the United States. In fact, it was the Conservatives in previous parliaments that brought NAFTA to the world, and we are proud of that record.
We asked for a good deal again when Donald Trump said he was going to renegotiate NAFTA. I do not think he considered Canada was the problem with NAFTA, so it was not necessarily wise for our Prime Minister to volunteer to renegotiate our portion of it. When the Liberals jumped into that, we asked them to come up with a better deal than the current NAFTA and one we would be happy with, but we wanted them to bring some stability to the business markets and a deal we could all be proud of. However, by every measure in the new NAFTA, the “halfta”, we have either stayed the same or gone backward. We have lost some sovereignty in a number of areas. We have lost our ability to produce or export in other areas, so we are not enthusiastic about this current free trade deal, but we will be supporting it.
It is very interesting how things sometimes get taken out of context. There is context to a lot of these things, such as when we talk about supply management, for example. There has been a lot of discussion around supply management when it comes to this trade deal. There has been a reduction in our ability to export. There has been a threat to some of the productivity that can happen here in Canada. I believe the Liberal government has paid out our dairy farmers across Canada recently for losses that have been incurred because of this trade deal.
When we talk about that, often the Liberals say they support supply management, yet a free trade deal is just one aspect of supporting supply management. The other aspects would be through some of the other things they have done. They have changed the Canada food guide, which has not helped supply management at all in Canada. They have changed the front-of-package labelling laws in this country, which is very detrimental to our supply management. It is very interesting that in the trade deal they say they are supportive of supply management and then in other parts they do not seem to understand what the impacts are.
Also, in many cases in this trade deal we would be competing with our major competitors, whether it is with respect to agricultural, forestry or energy products. We have watched the government put in place a free trade deal that would have us compete in the same marketplace as the rest of the North American market. At the same time, it put in big impediments and essentially shackled us here in Canada when trying to compete with our competitor to the south.
One of the things I want to talk about as well is the carbon tax. We see a lot of defence around aluminum right now in the House of Commons. I want to reference western aluminum in Kitimat, northern B.C. I have been there before, it is a beautiful place. One of the things that comes along with defending aluminum is considering the impacts of the carbon tax. No jurisdiction in the rest of North America has the same carbon tax on aluminum production, so that puts us back as well. It is very interesting how we will say one thing in the context of defending a free trade deal, and yet in other areas we do not necessarily see the government having the same defence.
We see the same thing happen in Alberta with the oil patch investment. We hear that the Liberals are going to expand markets for Canadian products, and then they are going to just kneecap one particular industry in Canada and not allow it to get any access to other markets around the world. What I am trying to point out here is that the logic is used in one direction on a certain bill and then in another direction on another issue. On CUSMA or NAFTA or “halfta”, they are saying we need to gain market access and we need to improve our trading relationship and all these things, and we need to do this so we can get Canadian industries competitive around the world. The next time they are saying that we have to keep the oil in the ground, we have to phase out the oil patch. The logic of that does not jive.
The other thing that is concerning to me are the caps on automotive production. I have made no secret of the fact that I have been an automotive mechanic for most of my life. I worked at a Chrysler dealer. I am very passionate about automobiles, and my family heritage has been with Chrysler, so I follow the sales trends and that kind of stuff on a regular basis. I am proud of the Canadian heritage that we have of building some of the most amazing automobiles on the planet. It is frustrating to me to see that Canada might be taken out of the cutting edge of building automobiles in Canada because of the caps that have been imposed. Everyone tells me not to worry about it because the caps are very high compared to where we are right now, so it will not be a big problem. We are currently talking about the caps being high, but 16 years from now we could be dealing with a clause that says we have to renegotiate this. At that point, we might be very close to that cap, and at that time we might already have seen significant investment that could have been made in Canadian auto manufacturing being made south of the border because the industry there is not limited by a cap.
I am concerned about that cap because of patriotic Canadian pride. I would like to see us building the best automobiles in the world, and we have in the past. One of the great ones that I am very proud of right now is the Chrysler Pacifica, which is built here in Canada and is a beautiful vehicle. I am not sure if it is the only vehicle in the world that has this, but it comes with a built-in vacuum cleaner. As a guy with little kids, that is the most amazing idea ever in a minivan. The Cheerios and the little Goldfish can get everywhere, and a built-in vacuum cleaner is what everyone needs in a minivan, I will say that for sure, especially with four kids. That cap is one of the major concerns.
There is also the national sovereignty piece. If we are going to enter into a trade deal with particular countries around the world, we would have to get the Americans to sign off on that trade deal before we enter it. We are a sovereign nation. The Bloc Québécois members always stand up and say that as well about Quebec and I share that sentiment. We are a sovereign nation and we ought to be able to pursue trade deals with anyone in the world, and not to hive that off as well.
With that, we will be supporting bringing this bill to committee. We look forward to hearing what stakeholders around the country have to say on this bill, and we will move forward from there.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Madam Speaker, I am glad to rise today on this debate. As an agricultural producer, and someone who had an export business that shipped to the States and to Mexico, the importance of free trade is something I am proud of as a Conservative. It is our legacy as the Conservative Party. It was a former Conservative prime minister, Mr. Mulroney, who negotiated the first NAFTA deal. Before that it was the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
Having that big vision and making sure that we have trade in this country are parts of a core value of being a Conservative and being a member of our party. I am also proud of our record under former prime minister Stephen Harper. Our former trade minister, the member for Abbotsford, did a phenomenal job in negotiating all sorts of free trade deals.
In particular, I look at the over 40 countries that we negotiated deals with, and at the Canada-European Union free trade agreement that is in place, which was negotiated by the member for Abbotsford. I am just glad that the Liberals showed up and actually signed on the bottom line at the end of the day.
We know that the trans-Pacific partnership was negotiated by the agriculture minister at the time, Gerry Ritz, as well as the member for Abbotsford when he was the trade minister. The terminology and articles of the agreement were all done under his leadership. Again, I just appreciate that the Liberals showed up and signed it. We take full credit for those two major agreements and the 40 countries that we now have free trade with.
The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement is another one that we negotiated. Luckily, the Liberals showed up and signed it at the end of the day, so that agreement exists now.
However, I will say this. The first time that the Liberals had a chance to start the ball from a scrimmage and tried to carry it to the goal line, they fumbled over and over again.
When they were dealing with the White House administration and our colleagues down in Mexico and developed a new NAFTA, which a lot of people call NAFTA 0.5, the Liberals fumbled the ball on numerous occasions both by attacking President Trump in various venues and walking away from the table. We had to play catch-up time and time again.
We have some of the best trade negotiators in the world. Steve Verheul is world renowned and very competent, but with weak leadership he was put into a box that was tough for him to get out of. With Mexico and the United States sitting at the table, we took their deal. We did not take Canada's deal. That is what is really concerning. After talking to people in various industries who are getting the short end of the stick with this new NAFTA deal, we might as well call it “shafta”.
As we sit here and look at what has happened, we have softwood lumber mills across this country, particularly in B.C., that are shutting down left, right and centre. Did the Liberals put a softwood lumber agreement in this deal? Not at all, and jobs continue to bleed and communities suffer because of that lack of leadership.
Looking at various sectors, such as auto, dairy and poultry, the Liberals are actually restricting growth or giving away market access. I am going to go into more detail. I look at the aluminum sector, which the member for Thornhill was just speaking about, and how we have gone from having 100% control of the industry within the former NAFTA framework, to now only having 70% control.
This deal allows backdoor access to China through other aggregators who can bring in aluminum nuggets and remanufacture them, which will hurt our aluminum-producing mills, the greenest mills in the world. Again, the Liberals failed to stand up for them.
The biggest private employer in my riding is Gerdau steel. Although we like to talk about steel having control and protection within the framework of the auto industry, we do not talk about how it can get into the buy America protectionist measures.
The Liberals' inability to move on government contracts in the U.S. because of the buy American restrictions could have been negotiated away if we had stronger leadership from them. They failed to have the buy America policy removed in this new NAFTA deal.
I just met with the dairy industry, and farmers in my riding are upset. They understand the need for free trade. My grain and oilseed producers and my cattle and hog producers are all exporters. They know that what we grow leaves the country, and a lot of it goes south of the border.
However, when we start limiting or giving away market access, it hurts farm families. It is removing income potential and growth from those communities, as well as from those farms. Now over 18% of the domestic milk market, in particular, is already supplied by imports, and the Liberals are eroding that market even further.
The most egregious thing the Liberals did, and not just not negotiating in good faith and not consulting with the dairy industry, the chicken industry or our egg producers, is that they are actually allowing the United States to have a say over how much we can export in dairy products globally.
Currently Canada exports over 55,000 tonnes of dairy products around the world. Under the new NAFTA, or “shafta”, deal, exports are now being limited to 35,000 tonnes. The Liberals are giving up market access in Canada to the extent that 3.6% of the market is now accessible to U.S. dairy producers, and now the U.S. says we can only export 35,000 tonnes.
This is supposed to be a free trade deal. We should be able to access more. One would think that we would be able to go into the U.S. and sell more dairy, but no. The sad part is that it is not just that we are going down from 55,000 tonnes to 35,000 tonnes, a 20,000-tonne reduction, but it is global exports as well.
How can we go out there and sell our fine cheeses, our ice creams, our milk proteins and other products around the world when the Liberals are allowing the United States to say that we cannot export them anymore? That is ridiculous, and it is hurtful. It is something we have to talk about at committee and here in the House.
My colleague, the hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, has been leading the charge on what is going to happen in the aluminum industry. I know he is extremely upset that the Liberals have failed to protect aluminum production in Quebec, in British Columbia and across this country. The Liberals are failing to recognize how China can use backdoor shell companies to move their cheap and government-controlled aluminum into our markets. They can use that back door through Mexico in particular. That is something we have to be incredibly concerned about.
The other thing we can look at is the auto sector. Free trade is supposed to help make us more prosperous and create more jobs. The Liberals have a terrible record in the auto industry. We have watched plant after plant shut down and production lines move south of the border. The Liberals have also put in place a cap on how much growth we can have in the automobile industry, a cap of 2.6 million cars and $32 billion in auto parts.
If we look at it, we see that it is only about $20 billion and that we are not producing anywhere near the 2.6 million, but where is the incentive for investors or car manufacturers to set up plants to grow their industry when there is a cap in place, especially when we look at the value of $32 billion? Inflationary pressure alone could eat up that cap within a decade.
Again, it is a disincentive to invest and to expand our manufacturing base, especially in southern Ontario but also right across the country. It is a disincentive for attracting that foreign investment. It is a disincentive to expansion and to an increase in high-paying jobs.
I am very disappointed in the way the Liberals have handled the negotiations. I am very disappointed in what they gave up and by the very little that we got. I am very disappointed that today we have to accept a flawed deal.
View Mario Simard Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Simard Profile
2020-02-06 12:20 [p.1013]
Madam Speaker, I appreciated my colleague's remarks.
He referred to the Buy American Act. Let me remind him that in 2013-14, Novelis, a mill in my region that rolled aluminum, was relocated to Oswego in New York State. Hundreds of jobs were lost in my riding.
My colleague also mentioned the problems with supply management. Without indulging in recriminations, since I do not want to bash my Conservative friends, I must point out that they allowed loopholes in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Quebec is Canada's leading producer of fine cheeses. The loopholes have jeopardized businesses in Quebec that produce exceptional cheeses, such as the Médard cheese factory.
Does my colleague agree with me that Quebec is once again the big loser and that its market shares will be affected by the new agreement?
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Madam Speaker, when we negotiated our previous trade agreements and there was market access given up on things like dairy and poultry, we moved in lockstep with the industry. We consulted all the way. That did not happen this time, and that is why we have this egregious idea in the free trade agreement that we are talking about today that we are allowing the United States to cap our global exports.
One thing that dairy producers in particular appreciated when we negotiated the TPP, as well as CETA with Europe, is that those agreements allowed them to sell into those markets without restriction. They had the opportunity to make up in the export market whatever we were going to give up here as market access. However, this agreement tells our dairy industry that it cannot grow and that its export ability will actually shrink. That restriction takes dollars out of the pockets of producers, farmers and communities.
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
2020-02-06 12:23 [p.1013]
Madam Speaker, for several days now, we have been discussing CUSMA and its advantages and disadvantages for our economy and our people.
I would like to take a look at it from a slightly different angle to try to make people understand why it is important not to take anything lightly in this matter. It is also important to be open to possible solutions that will help us implement an agreement with a genuine long-term vision, which is not necessarily the case right now.
We have been exporting our products outside Quebec since the era of New France, mercantilism and triangular trade with the French colonies in the Caribbean. Since then, we have never stopped exporting or trying to export our products and expertise. Just think of lumber exports to the markets of Great Britain in the 19th century or John A. Macdonald's reciprocity agreement, which was never really implemented but was the starting point for the FTA in 1989 and NAFTA in 1994.
The world has changed a lot in 25 years. I can understand that we feel the need to have an agreement that is in tune with the times, an agreement that reflects the current economic realities. Over the decades, we have created connections that provide consumers with access to a huge variety of products. The opening up of markets, combined with improvements in transportation and refrigeration, means that we can now have products every day that our parents only saw in their stockings at Christmas. Oranges are one example. Many of us could not imagine a morning without them. Basically, trade agreements are essential to the economies of Quebec and Canada.
In that light, CUSMA continues our history. At the same time, however, CUSMA marks a break with the past. In the past, Canada stood up to the Americans' demand that we abolish supply management. The argument we countered with was simple. If they stopped subsidizing their farmers so that they could sell their products at cost, we might consider opening up supply management.
With CUSMA, supply management takes a hit, yet we have made no demands to put an end to the subsidies to American farmers. Let me take a moment to explain what supply management is. Imagine a pie that represents Canadians' needs for dairy products. That pie is divided up among all producers, so that they can sell their products at a reasonable price, cover their costs and have an income.
Opening up supply management, as the last three agreements have done, means that we are giving a slice of the pie to foreign producers. This means the needs of Quebeckers and Canadians are no longer wholly met by our own producers, but by foreign ones too.
What that means for producers is that they must now divide up about 82% of the income instead of 100%. The situation is problematic for many producers, such as my friend Éric, who comes from a long line of dairy farmers. Now his father is trying to convince him to sell the farm because it is no longer profitable. Éric wants to keep the farm because he loves what he does. It is his life, his passion. He makes ends meet by taking snow removal contracts. He wants to keep his farm and pass it on to his children, who also love taking care of farm animals. Like any good parent, he wants a secure future for his children. CUSMA is putting a wrench in the works for Éric and for hundreds or even thousands of others.
I know very few people who would be able to make ends meet if they took a 20% pay cut today.
Consider this. How many members of this House would be prepared to give 20% of their paycheque to a U.S. senator? I am pretty sure the answer is none.
Nevertheless, that is exactly what CUSMA is imposing on our dairy farmers. The agreement hands over 20% of their income to foreign producers. It is unacceptable, unbearable, almost inhumane to do that to our own people. We need our farmers three times a day.
The concessions on supply management are not the only part of the agreement that break with our past. Canada literally punched a hole in its own economic sovereignty by allowing the U.S. President to decide how much milk protein Canada can sell abroad, besides what is sold to the United States and Mexico.
What is milk protein? It is not complicated. In the butter-making process, there is a by-product called whey that is dried to a powder. That is milk protein. Our producers sell about 55,000 tonnes of it a year.
The U.S. President decided that from now on, our producers should not sell more than 35,000 tonnes. What does that mean for our producers? A tonne sells for around $2,000. Every tonne they sell beyond 35,000 tonnes will be subject to a $540 tax. That is a quarter of the price per tonne.
By signing CUSMA, Canada is giving the United States the right to manage our agricultural economy and once again causing major income losses to our producers.
Once again, I will illustrate my point. Let's say I hold a small garage sale, and every year I sell about 200 items. Suddenly, my neighbour imposes some restrictions and decides what I can sell and for how much. If I sell more than the number he has decided on, I will pay a penalty. Would that be acceptable? As a human being, would I accept my neighbour's conditions? The answer is no. However, that is what we agreed to let the President of the United States do to our economic sovereignty.
I want to remind members that about 50% of Canadian dairy farms are in Quebec, even though Quebec accounts for only 23% of Canada's population, and 30% of the farms are in Ontario. Proportionally, Quebec is the one paying for CUSMA.
Our farmers are precious. Our instinct should be to protect those who are precious to us. In short, it seems that the concept of sovereignty is better known, applied and understood in Quebec than in Canada. Quebec seems to be two steps ahead of Canada when it comes to sovereignty.
We are the ones who should be deciding what is good or bad for our economy, not the President of the United States.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
I know how important the dairy industry is to her riding. The dairy industry is also very important to my riding.
I would like to remind the House that in 2008, under the former NAFTA, there was a milk protein issue in Canada. U.S. exports to Canada increased exponentially for 10 years. Americans or third parties who wanted to export to Canada found ways to circumvent the rules. Now, under the new NAFTA agreement, the other parties, both Canada and the U.S., must be notified.
Is that not a good thing for Canada's dairy sector?
View Julie Vignola Profile
BQ (QC)
View Julie Vignola Profile
2020-02-06 12:32 [p.1014]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.
As I said at the start of my speech, some aspects are interesting. Still, the fact remains that reducing the amount of powder that our farmers are allowed to sell is, in my opinion and in the opinion of the producers I know, an unacceptable and dangerous violation.
Canada is setting a precedent that could benefit the United States. We need be careful about that.
View Caroline Desbiens Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I have been listening to the House debate on CUSMA for a few weeks now.
The Bloc Québécois promised to speak on behalf of Quebeckers here in the House, to ensure that our people, our industries and our investors are represented, heard, protected and served in this Parliament. Quebeckers make significant economic, social, cultural and environmental contributions to Quebec and to the world.
It is for that very reason that I am rising in the House today. It seems clear to me, based on our debates and the results, that Quebec is Canada's favourite bargaining chip to use in economic negotiations with the United States and Mexico. That is obvious. The clean aluminum that Quebec is so proud of will probably be sacrificed in this agreement.
How many times have we shown our colleagues opposite how disastrous this will be for Quebec's economy? A serious, in-depth study showed that this could cause Quebec's aluminum sector to suffer more than $6 billion in actual financial losses. The federal government has not proposed any economic studies on the new provisions in the agreement. We, along with the Conservatives, are still waiting.
Let me also suggest something to think about. Try to imagine how angry Ontarians would have been if the steel sector had been sacrificed instead of Quebec's aluminum sector. Would Ontario have reacted with diligence and resilience, agreeing to sacrifice a large part of its steel economy with the virtuous idea that what is good for Canada must take precedence over what is good for Ontario? I highly doubt it.
That is not the case, since Quebec is making the sacrifices. This clearly shows why Canada is so keen on keeping Quebec in its ranks. An independent and sovereign Quebec would deprive Canada of an important and valuable bargaining chip to use in negotiating economic agreements like CUSMA.
I come from the hospitality industry, where food services only exist because of farmers and dairy producers. Just think of the famous and delicious Migneron, Fleurmier and Saint-Fidèle cheeses, as well as the tasty Paillasson de l'Isle d'Orléans. I encourage hon. members to sample them if they have the opportunity.
Quebec no longer takes second place to anyone in terms of quality of agricultural produce. Organic farming, another source of great pride for Quebec, is also a growing industry. In my constituency, 37 small and medium-sized dairy operations are prospering because of supply management. For many of the crown jewels of Quebec's agricultural economy, this ingenious system has proved its usefulness again and again.
Supply management is great for Quebec. Not only does it foster balance and regulation in agricultural production, but it also works in harmony with the environment. Supply management encourages consumers to be aware and buy local, thereby reducing the environmental footprint caused by transportation.
Our system is a model for the world, yet Canada persists in knocking major holes in it. Those holes will end up endangering the very foundations of Quebec's economy and our supply management system. All of our success and competitiveness are systematically compromised when the dairy and agricultural sectors are undermined. In macroeconomics, that is known as the ripple effect.
Let's talk about milk, then. Let's talk about two of the loopholes that are hugely important to our dairy producers.
First, there is the elimination of class 7, which was for surplus milk protein. It became a significant economic vector for exports for our dairy farmers. Class 7 allowed farmers to offset losses caused by the influx of massive amounts of American diafiltered milk into the Canadian market.
Worse still, CUSMA gives the Americans control over exports of Canada's milk to other countries. Dairy farmers may end up with surpluses caused by Washington, which reserves the right in CUSMA to limit sales of our dairy protein products to the rest of the world.
Clearly, dairy farmers, 50% of whom are in Quebec, have also been chosen to be part of the sacrifices that Quebec is being forced to make, very much against its will, in order to save NAFTA, now known as CUSMA.
The government is buying their silence with financial compensation. Let's talk about that. What is financial compensation in the context of a dynamic and prosperous economic mechanism complete with development and investment plans that play out over decades?
This is financial compensation for business people. My father, who was a businessman, would say, “Financial compensation? Government subsidies? Those are like band-aids on a wooden leg, my dear.”
Who is going to pay? The agreement will weaken Quebec's economy as a whole in many ways, adversely affecting employment, investment, Quebec's finances and, thus, taxpayers, the same taxpayers who placed their trust in me and my Bloc Québécois colleagues, who hope that we will make the case for what we believe so we can protect Quebec from the Canadian government's lacklustre efforts to stand up for Quebec's interests. The government really wants to use Quebec's major economic levers as bargaining chips in trade treaties like CUSMA. Taxpayers are counting on the Bloc Québécois to ensure that does not happen.
Like my colleague from Beauport—Limoilou, I have met with dairy producers in person. They are bright, proactive, in the know about the best production and marketing strategies. They care about and promote environmental preservation and animal welfare. They are experts on the subject.
I am very proud to be able to sing their praises here. However, what would make me really proud is if the concerns of aluminum workers and dairy farmers were recognized, listened to and taken into account in a fair way in the provisions of the agreement in question.
We are well aware that, even after the agreement is signed, provisions can be put in place to remedy the situation. The government is saying that there will be checks and balances to prevent an abundance of Chinese aluminum from being used in auto parts manufactured in North America. Why are these so-called checks and balances not included in the agreement? Perhaps that is something we could work on.
I am convinced that nothing that we are asking for is impossible if we have a real desire and the creativity needed to come up with clear solutions so that the same people, namely Quebeckers, are not always being penalized. What a great opportunity this could be to stop fuelling the cynicism toward government election promises.
The Bloc Québécois believes in free trade. That position has not changed even though the government is trying hard to lead members to believe the opposite. What does need to change is the bargaining chips used in these agreements.
How are we supposed to believe that all of the measures that have been put in place are for the good of the agreement?
The government is not going to persuade a nation like Quebec to quietly sit back and let it do what it wants to the aluminum and agricultural industries just because it included some provisions protecting Canadian culture.
It is not too late for the government to put its best foot forward. The government has the power to turn the situation around. It is up to the government to show its goodwill and to prove that, this time, it really is listening to Quebec.
View Greg McLean Profile
CPC (AB)
View Greg McLean Profile
2020-02-06 12:51 [p.1017]
Madam Speaker, I am here today to speak about the current round of free trade negotiations between Canada, the United States and Mexico. We call it CUSMA now, and it used to be called NAFTA.
I bring a bit of perspective to this because I was around for the negotiations way back in 1989 when we started this. In 1988 we negotiated a deal, initially with the United States of America, which became the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. We expanded that in 1994, and it was ratified by bringing Mexico into that pact and creating what was then called NAFTA. Some people are still calling the new agreement NAFTA, or NAFTA 0.5, NAFTA 0.7 or the new NAFTA, but I will call it CUSMA going forward, as it is a good name for it.
It was time for an update to the agreement. A quarter of a century has gone by since 1994 and the world has changed. We have a lot more of a technology industry at this point, as does the United States. The way we interact with that technology industry across our borders needed to be reflected in our trade agreements, so accepting that we had to update this agreement was a given.
Negotiations involve give-and-take. We have to recognize that in 1988-89 and 1993-94, people in the government of this country arrived to make a serious agreement with other people in other countries. Negotiations are about give-and-take, and I will remind the members what we gave in 1988-89.
Few people remember this, but at that time, the United States of America was an energy-insecure country. One of its main asks for us at that point, as a partner in a trade agreement, was for limited access to our energy resources. We negotiated a proportional access agreement with the United States, which was reflected in the FTA and again in NAFTA.
That proportional representation meant that if we had to cut back the actual export of our resources to the United States by, say, 10%, we would have to curtail ourselves in the same way. There was a sharing that would have to happen once the U.S. became dependent upon us as a customer for our resource. That was a good ask because, if the U.S. was to become dependent on us, we needed to be presented as a serious supplier to the United States.
When I heard the Minister of International Trade suggest that one of the wins in these negotiations was taking that proportional sharing off the table, I shrugged and said that it must have been the U.S. that took that off the table this round because it longer need it. The U.S. no longer need it because we have become a captive seller to the United States market. That is a result of failed government policy.
I suggest this in this debate because it is very relevant to why we are suddenly a price taker in the U.S. market and what its negotiating strength is versus ours as a supplier. There are lots of terms in this agreement that are important, but it is not a win when the other side says it does not want that part of the agreement anymore and our federal minister takes it off the table. It is actually a loss for the country.
The government's short-sighted policies in constraining our oil and gas resources in particular are reflected in the regulatory environment. This policy misdirection is not increasing our ability to export our resource to markets besides the United States of America, so we are a captive seller. We are, as we say in financial markets, a price taker.
Let me quantify this statement. In 2018, Canada's oil and gas industry exported 80 billion dollars' worth of oil to the United States. That number is representative of 3.5 million barrels of oil a day. Those are big numbers. The big number that is not included there is that it should have been, by world prices, about $21 billion higher over the year. That is $21 billion that we are forgoing as a Canadian economy because we do not receive the world price for our resource. We do not receive it because we do not have access to other foreign markets. Those markets are needed to diversify.
There is an inability to diversify those markets because of government policy. That government policy is reflected in the fact that it cancelled or caused the cancellation of any other pipelines that were going to lead our resources to foreign markets beyond the U.S., particularly the northwest pipeline through Prince Rupert.
Canadian petroleum products are some of the best resources we have. If we think about how much of the economy it represents, it is significant. The flip side of this equation, of course, is the way the United States refines these produces and then sells petroleum products back to Canadians in other parts of the country at world prices.
Who is really winning in that equation? The United States companies that are making windfall profits and the United States government, which is making more corporate tax revenue. We are receiving less and they are receiving more.
Make no mistake, we are entering into negotiations with parties that know how to look after themselves. This is not a benevolent negotiation. This is a real negotiation and we need to take these negotiations seriously as a country. My first recommendation for the government has always been to get serious about these negotiations.
Let us also accept that being prepared for these negotiations and being serious about it meant arriving with an agenda on what we needed in this equation. Canada did not arrive there with any solid takeaways required from the Canadian economy's perspective, particularly a softwood lumber agreement, which has been an ongoing trade irritant between our two countries since the NAFTA negotiations started. We do need to come to some agreement on that. Nothing of that nature is reflected in this agreement. I anticipate these disagreements will continue for the life of this agreement.
We could have and should have anticipated the U.S. coming in and trying to get a portion of our dairy quota onto world markets. We had already ceded a portion of that dairy quota in recently completed negotiations through the trans-Pacific partnership. Our largest trading partner should rightfully have said that if we could do it for the rest of the world, why could we not allow U.S. companies a portion of the market as well? Arriving with that position might have been an easy trade-off at the end of the day. I am happy to see that trade-off. If we looked at it from another perspective, it was going to happen one way or another.
What I do not understand is our giveaway of the milk products that seem to be capped to all foreign buyers in this agreement. We are saying to our dairy sector that we will take away part of its quota, but we are also going to constrain it in the way it gets to grow in foreign markets on key products. That is a surrender of sovereignty, and that sovereignty is ours. We are going to have to economically prosper in a shrinking industry with one partner by going to other markets. Getting that capped was quite a surrender.
Money is leaving the country because of the business environment here. We know that in 2018 alone, Canadian foreign direct investment in the U.S. increased 13% and the U.S.'s investment in Canada increased 5%. That is a drastic difference and is a reflection of our regulatory environment and the way people do business in Canada.
The Trans Mountain pipeline is now a Crown corporation because U.S. and foreign companies cannot see their way through getting a project built in our country. I raise this now because it matters in the way we deal with different entities across borders and how people prosper in Canada and bring new investment and new prosperity to it. Teck Frontier is a similar project.
The government needs to show the world that Canada does do business when people properly go through the motions and ensure they address indigenous and regulatory concerns, and bring back that foreign investment that is part of every free trade agreement.
Premiers want this agreement signed. The Business Council wants this agreement signed. However, they want it signed because they are tired of the uncertainty created around this. That uncertainty has to stop right away. Goldy Hyder, president of the Business Council of Canada, said that it was good enough and asked that we please get it done.
The necessity of having this free trade agreement is important for the Canadian economy. We are going to move this forward. The issue is to please get serious with this finally and stop surrendering going forward.
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
View Michael Kram Profile
2020-02-06 13:35 [p.1023]
Madam Speaker, as this is my first speech in this chamber in the new Parliament, I would like to take a minute to thank the voters of Regina—Wascana for electing me to this chamber. It certainly is an honour and a privilege to be able to represent the interests of Regina—Wascana in the House of Commons. I would also like to thank all of the volunteers on my campaign team who worked so hard putting up lawn signs, stuffing brochures into mailboxes and knocking on doors to make sure that the campaign was a success.
Of course, I have to thank my family, particularly my mom and dad. I am sure there have been many times when they wished that their son would just choose a more normal hobby other than pursuing a seat in Parliament, but I am glad it finally worked out for the better. I would also like to thank my brother Brad, his wife Kathy and my nephews Mason, Michael and Mark. They all had the opportunity to join me for my swearing-in ceremony, and it certainly was a special family occasion.
Now I would like to say a few words about Bill C-4.
On March 28, 2019, the Western Producer farm newspaper ran an editorial about agriculture policy. The Western Producer's editorial board said, “Two years ago, the federal government identified agriculture as a key sector for growth in exports”. Considering the high quality of our Canadian dairy products and the priority that the government gave to expanding agriculture exports, it came as a complete surprise to me that the new NAFTA, the new free trade agreement that the government recently negotiated with the United States and Mexico, had a serious flaw. This flaw, a concession made to the Americans at the expense of the dairy farmers in my province of Saskatchewan and thousands of other dairy producers across the country, is a real head-scratcher.
It is puzzling to me and to my fellow Conservative colleagues on the international trade committee why this government would kneecap our hard-working dairy producers by bargaining away their ability to increase dairy exports under the new NAFTA. I think it is important for Canadians to realize that the new Canada-U.S.-Mexico free trade agreement does not just limit the ability of dairy farmers to export to the United States and Mexico; it limits their ability to export to Japan, China, Europe or anywhere in the world.
Yesterday, the international trade committee heard detailed testimony from a panel of government experts on Bill C-4. These experts included Mr. Steve Verheul, Canada's chief negotiator for the new NAFTA, and Mr. Aaron Fowler, chief agriculture negotiator and director general of trade agreements and negotiations from the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
At committee, I asked Mr. Fowler to clarify whether the new dairy export tariff that our dairy farmers would soon have to pay included only the United States and Mexico or applied to Canadian exports to the rest of the world as well. Mr. Fowler confirmed that the agreement applies to Canada's exports to the rest of the world.
When I asked Mr. Fowler whether there was a similar provision under the old NAFTA, the trans-Pacific partnership or our trade deal with the European Union, Mr. Fowler said, “I am aware of no similar provision in any of our other trade agreements.”
Then I asked the negotiating team to provide some insight into how the dairy export limit made it into the new NAFTA. Mr. Fowler said that the U.S. was concerned about new innovative Canadian dairy products, and that Canadian exports of these products were displacing American dairy products from markets that they, the Americans, traditionally exported to.
I appreciate the detailed answers that Canada's negotiating team provided to the committee on how truly innovative our Canadian dairy farmers have become in recent years in specialized products that Canadians can export around the globe. However, in the end it was up to this government to negotiate a better free trade agreement, or at least not a worse agreement, with the U.S. and Mexico, and not to impose a new worldwide limit on our dairy exports. This Liberal export limit would cut farm revenue, and farm families need this extra money.
Better margins and increased profitability on each and every dairy farm are more important now than ever because dairy farmers and, in fact, other producers across Canada have to come up with thousands of additional dollars to pay for the Liberals' carbon tax.
It is very troubling that the government can prioritize the expansion of farm exports on one day, only to limit them the next. During negotiations, why did our trade representatives, who were working on a North American trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico, buckle under pressure from the Americans and agree to limit exports to the rest of the world on dairy products?
These dairy products could have been sold to hungry and thirsty Japanese, Chinese and European customers who were not even parties to this trade agreement. Why did no one catch the significance of this concession, the imposition of a limit on our dairy exports, before it was too late?
It was my sad duty to report to the dairy farmers of SaskMilk, who came to Parliament Hill yesterday to brief me and my Conservative colleagues, that their analysis of the Liberals' new NAFTA was, unfortunately, correct. The Liberal government did, in fact, cave to the demands of the Americans at the negotiating table to limit Canada's dairy exports to hungry, thirsty, paying customers around the globe who live in nations that are not even parties to this new NAFTA agreement among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-06 13:42 [p.1024]
Madam Speaker, I think the member is missing out on a fairly significant point. Supply management means a great deal to farmers in all regions of the country. The United States were hopeful that Canada would abandon supply management.
I am very happy to say that the Liberals started supply management. From a party perspective, the Liberals brought it in and the Liberals have fought to ensure that we continue to have it. If the member were to check with his dairy farmers, he would find that the overwhelming majority of them understand and appreciate the importance of supply management and having those quotas, because this is the way we can produce quality products and protect the industry as a whole.
Would the member not say that this is a major gain for Canadians, in terms of certainty going forward, with supply management in this agreement?
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
View Michael Kram Profile
2020-02-06 13:43 [p.1024]
Madam Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, it was the responsibility of the government to negotiate a better deal for Canada, or at least not a worse deal.
I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from SaskMilk who came here to Parliament Hill, and they were really excited about opportunities to export their products around the world. Now those opportunities have been taken away by the failings of our Liberal government in the NAFTA negotiations. It certainly is unfortunate that the Liberals were unable to obtain a better deal, or at least not a worse deal.
View Tony Baldinelli Profile
CPC (ON)
View Tony Baldinelli Profile
2020-02-05 15:41 [p.962]
Madam Speaker, as I indicated in the House on Monday, it is indeed an honour for me to be taking part in my first debate here on the floor of the House of Commons.
In the short time available to me, I would like to resume debate and provide my concluding remarks on Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States.
As I had indicated previously, Canada's Conservatives support free trade with our North American trading partners. What we do not support is rushing blindly into an agreement to implement a deal whose details have not yet been shared. I am confident when I say that members on this side are prepared to work with our Liberal colleagues to ensure that this agreement is ratified; however, we need them to be open and transparent about what those impacts will be. We know they have done financial modelling and analysis of how this new free trade agreement will affect Canada's economy, both overall and broken down by sector. Will the Liberals commit to showing all the members of this House these financial models?
We already know that dairy concessions in the agreement will negatively impact the industry. By allowing an agreement to be inked that opened our supply management system, the government will now be using taxpayers' dollars to compensate our dairy farmers, because of their loss in market share. We need to know if there are other industries that we will have to compensate with taxpayers' dollars, because these industries are going to be negatively impacted by this new NAFTA.
As it is, the wine industry in my riding of Niagara Falls is facing an uncertain business environment because of Australia's WTO challenge that would change our current federal excise exemption for 100% Canadian-made wines. This is another important sector in my riding that is waiting and wondering what the government is going to do. We are about eight weeks away from the World Trade Organization's interim report on this trade challenge, and the Liberals are missing in action on this important trade file.
Meanwhile, 700 wineries and 9,000 Canadians are wondering about the future of their jobs. That does not include the thousands of other local spinoff jobs supported by the wine industry, including accommodations, dining establishments and tour companies.
These are a few of my concerns that I have about the new NAFTA.
Parliamentarians need to know the details of what has changed from the existing agreement, who will be impacted and what can be done to provide stability to those impacted business sectors. I think it is certainly imperative that the official opposition be allowed to do our job of examining the signed agreement, not just the Liberals' talking points on the agreement.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-02-05 16:35 [p.969]
Madam Speaker, this debate on CUSMA is an opportunity to learn the details and ramifications of the agreement. This is not about playing politics. People are just trying to do their jobs. As members of Parliament, our job is to work for the people who are put at risk by this agreement. The Bloc Québécois has never been against free trade. Quite the opposite, actually. However, on this side of the House we will not rubber stamp anything.
This agreement, which was negotiated behind closed doors, once against sacrifices Quebec's economy. It is very sad to see history repeating itself. One example is the aluminum industry, which was sacrificed. We have spoken about that a lot in recent weeks. Another example is the agriculture and agri-food industry and our supply-managed agricultural products. The Canadian government, the same government that promised to prevent further breaches, ultimately sacrificed our supply-managed agricultural products. Once again, the government's defeatist position is that it could have been much worse.
When sacrifices need to be made, it often falls on Quebec to make them. It should therefore come as no surprise if, one day, Quebeckers decide that their interests would be much better served by an independent Quebec, where the Quebec nation could choose the agreements it signs after negotiating them itself.
In the meantime, we are here to promote and protect our people's interests. I repeat: There are no political games being played here. There are only dedicated people doing their jobs.
I want to make members of the House and people across the country aware of the enormous sacrifices that have been asked, particularly of farmers. It all started with the creation of the WTO, which replaced GATT. That is when the first breaches occurred. In subsequent negotiations, foreign countries have called for either the elimination of supply management or a larger share of the market. The Canadian government assured us on many occasions that it would not touch supply management again. It is still saying the same thing when we ask questions about Brexit. Nevertheless, the government has capitulated on several occasions.
On February 7, 2018, the House unanimously agreed to a Bloc Québécois motion to ensure there would be no breach in supply management. One month later, on March 8, 2018, the Liberal government went back on its word by signing the TPP, complete with the breaches the U.S. demanded even though it was no longer part of the agreement. How does that make sense?
Prior to that, on September 26, 2017, the Bloc had moved a motion to fully preserve supply management during NAFTA negotiations. A year later, on November 30, 2018, Canada signed CUSMA, caving in once again. According to dairy producers, the government gave up 1.4% of the market in negotiations with Europe, 3.1% in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and another 3.9% this time around. The last three agreements alone have taken away 8,4% of our market share. According to the dairy producers' numbers, foreign countries will have a total of 18% of our market once these agreements are all fully implemented in 2024. If that is a closed market, I would like to know what constitutes an open one.
None of our trading partners are giving up that much market share. This is appalling. Our farmers will never be able to recover what they lost. The cost to producers alone will be $1.3 billion per year.
Then they talk to us about compensation, but the money is always slow in coming, because it requires intense negotiations. Several sectors still have not reached an agreement with the government, and that compensation will only ever be temporary. Nothing will ever replace the market share we are giving up.
The compensation to the dairy sector needs to come in the form of cheques with no strings attached, because that is what the dairy industry is calling for. If some other industry has different demands, those demands should also be met, because the people in the sector know their own needs.
That compensation should therefore come in the form of cheques with no strings attached, not so-called modernization programs that will force businesses to go further into debt than they can afford.
Nothing, not even compensation, can make up for the income that these market losses will cost them. In any case, all our farmers want to do is work and feed the people. That is something we do not hear often enough in the House. Our farmers are proud. Getting a cheque does not make them happy. It is compensation. That is the right word.
That is why the people in this sector do not want to hear any more promises or vague commitments. Those commitments get made all the time, but they are rarely if ever fulfilled. Only the protection a law would offer can end this vicious cycle that is slowly but surely killing off supply management, our agricultural model, our thriving rural communities, and the dynamic use of our land.
I am not sure that every MP in the House appreciates the gravity of these new breaches.
As further proof that we are slowly but surely losing our agricultural model, for the first time in Canada's history, the Canadian government agreed to give the United States control over what Canada exports to countries that are not signatories to the agreement. It is unbelievable. Canada has relinquished its sovereignty. I admit that it is odd for me to talk about a sovereignty other than the one I usually talk about.
Total exports of powdered milk, milk protein, and infant formula will be limited to 55,000 tonnes for the first year and 35,000 tonnes for the following years. Anything over these limits will be heavily taxed, making it impossible to export higher volumes because the product would become too expensive and therefore no longer profitable or attractive.
We need to understand that the United States retained the right to limit our exports. My colleagues in the House who did not realize this may need a few minutes to take in this information. I was blown away.
Think about the logic. If we cede parts of supply management, farmers could be tempted to make up for their losses by exporting their surplus products under different forms. Even then, there will be limits. They are getting it on all sides.
The current Liberal government appears to have wilfully decided to eliminate the supply management system. It is eliminating the system bit by bit, but does not have the courage to do so openly. It is being sneaky and secretive and eroding this system one piece at a time. I must admit that I do not understand why I am accused of playing politics when I make this information public.
The government is completely destroying our land use model and throwing it out the back door. Is that what we want? Some farmers under supply management are wondering whether they should sell their quota while it is still worth something. Is that what we want?
I have not yet spoken about investments. If the owner of a company that is deeply in debt has no security, will he go a few thousand or million dollars more in debt, jeopardizing the long-term prosperity of his business?
The government is asking us to sign the agreement quickly, often invoking the notion of economic security. I have some news for them: People in the dairy industry need security too.
Supply management should be protected by law.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-05 16:45 [p.970]
Madam Speaker, like many members of the House, the member has no doubt been provided with the opportunity to meet with dairy producers. I had that opportunity yesterday and I am very grateful. I found it to be exceptionally informative on the dairy industry in Canada, which I think provides the best product in the world.
I am very proud that a part of these negotiations that have taken place has secured that sense of commitment to supply management, protecting our dairy farmers and ultimately all Canadians because of the superiority of the product, and the industry as a whole will benefit.
Whether it is the dairy sector or all the other sectors, we have seen a wide spectrum of support, including the premier of the Province of Quebec, labour organizations and businesses. They are saying that this agreement is a step forward for Canada and that we should be supporting it.
Given the type of support we are getting nationwide, including in the Province of Quebec, would the member not agree that we should be voting in favour of it?
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-02-05 16:46 [p.971]
Madam Speaker, I thank my distinguished colleague for his question.
During yesterday's and today's question period, we very clearly demonstrated that when the Liberal government cites the support of Quebec's government, it is very specific and incidental, and it is chosen very selectively.
If my colleague believes that we should always follow the Quebec government's recommendations, he would therefore agree to apply Bill 101 to businesses that do business in Quebec, because that is what Quebec's premier is asking for. He would agree to increase health transfers, because that is what Quebec's premier is asking for. I could go on, but I will stop there.
I just want to mention that I am pleased to have heard him say that he is proud of our producers, the quality product they make, the financial security that brings them and the food security it provides to all citizens of Quebec.
I am pleased that we both appreciate this. I believe that he will also be firmly in favour when we introduce a bill to stop any further breaches in supply management. We have opened up 18% of the market and that is enough.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his support for Canada's sovereignty.
I would ask the member if he believes that it would be helpful to hear from the other side about the economic impact that the agreement will have on the dairy industry, and in addition hear the actual details of the package that the Liberal government may be giving to those in the dairy industry in compensation for the loss of their quota.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-02-05 16:48 [p.971]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the great question and for the joke. A sense of humour is essential for sitting in the House.
He asked a great question. The costs need to be assessed. However, since negotiations are still ongoing for some sectors, that is very hard to do.
I would also like to see an assessment of the cost of the adverse impact on our local farmers and on the use of our agricultural land. That is an important aspect that the members across the way do not seem to care too much about. The only thing they care about is signing the agreement as fast as possible.
We on this side of the House are going to do our job and question every one of these aspects to make sure we fully understand the contract we are signing. I am glad that my Conservative colleague wants to do the same.
View Warren Steinley Profile
CPC (SK)
View Warren Steinley Profile
2020-02-05 17:35 [p.978]
Madam Speaker, it is with pleasure I join the debate this afternoon on the new NAFTA, or NAFTA .7 as I like to call it. There are a lot of things that we can agree on in this new NAFTA legislation but there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Our job here is to review legislation, to review new agreements as they come forward. People in our ridings sent us to Ottawa to make sure we do due diligence on legislation and everyone in this room would agree with that.
I have been listening to members opposite. Some of our Liberal colleagues have spoken to this legislation. To quote a member earlier, “We can always do things...better.” We would all agree with that. That is why we need to look at this agreement through a lens. We need to find out what we received in return for the concessions we made to the Americans.
Canada came to the table too late. Mexico and the United States had been negotiating far too long without Canada being represented at that table. This came down to the eleventh hour. The Mexico-United States agreement had moved far beyond where we left off in our discussions and negotiations with our partners in this trilateral agreement. Members opposite made a mistake. Canada was not at the table soon enough and we were not fighting for our industries hard enough.
We do have a lot of questions with this deal going forward.
I grew up on a dairy and beef farm in Rush Lake, Saskatchewan. I have a lot of friends who are still in the dairy industry. The member from Winnipeg said conversations were had with the dairy industry. Representatives from Dairy Farmers of Canada have been here over the last couple of days, and that is fantastic. Our conversations may be a bit different than what members on the opposite side had.
There are concerns with what has been going on and many questions were asked. Dairy farmers feel that the CUSMA negotiations went far beyond dairy market access concessions. The agreement also concedes the equivalent of a worldwide cap on the export of certain Canadian dairy products. It requires a level of consultation with the U.S. on any changes to the administration of Canada's supply management system.
By requiring the Canadian dairy sector to consult with the U.S. on any proposed changes to our system, the government has given up some sovereignty over our domestic and international decision-making. That is a problem for any industry, whether it is dairy, softwood, forestry or the auto industry. Any time a Canadian industry feels like it has given up some of its sovereignty to another country or given up international market options is a problem for any agreement we move forward on as a government. Those are valid concerns. Some of my friends back home in this industry have big concerns.
CUSMA requires any export of skim milk powder, milk protein concentrate and infant formula beyond a specified amount be charged an export charge on each additional kilogram of product exported globally. This requirement goes well beyond what would normally be expected in a trade negotiation. It will affect dairy exports to all countries, not only the signatories of the agreement, namely, the United States and Mexico. This sets a dangerous precedent for future trade agreements for all other commodities, including agriculture.
These are some concerns that we have to take very seriously moving forward. When an industry says this will set a dangerous precedent for other industry sectors moving forward, that should make us pause and take a step back.
I am looking forward to having some of these conversations when this legislation gets to committee so that we can figure out exactly what we received in return for these concessions with one of our more important sectors. What did we receive from the American negotiators after we conceded quite a bit in our dairy sector in the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement? There are other questions going forward.
Dairy farmers are hard-working people. They have no days off. It is 24-7 work. Dairy farmers cannot have a sick day because the cows still need to be milked. We need to make sure that we have the backs of our dairy farmers when we are negotiating these agreements. They do a wonderful job.
Our milk and cheese products are the best in the world. When we move forward, we should do it together to ensure that we have fair trade deals and that the dairy industry knows we are there for it.
We have had a lot of conversations about a aluminum. My colleagues from Quebec have done an amazing job bringing forward the issue China sending ingots to Mexico, where they are melted down and can then be considered as North American aluminum. We very much need to have conversations about this loophole to ensure our aluminum producers and manufacturers can have their world-class product be considered ahead of a product being shipped into Mexico, melted down and then sent out for auto parts. That conversation very much needs to be had. I appreciate those members bringing the issue forward.
EVRAZ steel is on the border of Regina—Lewvan, my riding. If steel had that deal, then aluminum should have that as well. This is another thing we should talk about at committee. Stakeholders come to committee meetings so we can have these in-depth conversations and figure out how we can help our aluminum sector going forward. These conversations are best suited for committee.
With the time we are given, a lot of issues can be discussed on the floor of the House, but there needs to be more time to go through in detail some of the concessions we made to our American partners.
To go back to my original point, we made those concessions because we were not at the table soon enough. We let Mexico and the United States go too far down the path of an agreement without our being at the table to have those conversations, having a strong voice there to ensure that our industries were supported and that they knew we were there to support them.
Another industry we fell short on was softwood lumber. Softwood lumber suppliers in northern Saskatchewan have concerns about this going forward. We hope that when we get to committee, some of the stakeholders have those conversations with committee members.
We talked about going fast and going slow. My Liberal colleagues have said that we have not been consistent on what we would like to see. The Conservatives would like to see a strong deal. We would like to see all sectors supported. We would have liked to see a government that did not let this go so far down a path that it had to go on bended knee, begging for a good deal at the eleventh hour.
The Conservatives would have liked to have seen strong negotiations taking place long before it happened. We would have liked to have seen the government bring forward the deal before the middle of December so we could actually look at it. We would have liked to have seen an economic analysis on how this deal would affect all these sectors before we voted on it.
The Liberals have talked about the premiers wanting this deal to be passed to allow for certainty. I would like to know how the 16-year sunset clause will be negotiated. Every six years, there is supposed to be a review. What is the process for that to take place?
The Conservatives have a lot of questions going forward. From our standpoint, as legislators we want to our due diligence so our constituents, the people who have sent us here, know we are doing our jobs.
I am looking forward to having these conversations in committee and moving forward. I want to be a partner with all parties in this chamber so we can get the best deal for all those sectors. We want to ensure that we have a stronger economy for all Canadians and that there are good-paying jobs in these sectors going forward.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2020-02-05 17:45 [p.980]
Madam Speaker, I have a couple of points of clarifications on supply management. Of course there will be compensation on the quota and we have guaranteed there will be no more in any future trade agreements related to milk and milk proteins in infant formula. The quota number is much bigger than we already produce and export, so it will not have any immediate effect.
On aluminum, I outlined in my speech three different new benefits for aluminum producers. It is not perfect. If a company wanted to bring in aluminum ingots from Mexico, it could not, as 70% has to come from North America. That protection was not in place before. Parts makers could bring it in, but a lot of them get their supply from the auto producers because they can buy en masse and get a much lower price. Therefore, they would be buying from North America.
View Warren Steinley Profile
CPC (SK)
View Warren Steinley Profile
2020-02-05 17:46 [p.980]
Madam Speaker, I know there have been concessions made in the dairy sector, because we spoke with those groups yesterday. They brought up the infant formula and a few of those other issues and their lack of ability to gain more access to the global market. I appreciate that we will have more of these discussions at committee.
Hopefully, the member opposite will be at committee when the dairy producers of Canada and SaskMilk give their presentation, so he can hear right from the producers how they feel the negotiation on NAFTA .7 went. They do have some concerns moving forward. I look forward to seeing the member at committee for their presentation.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2020-02-05 17:50 [p.981]
Madam Speaker, as this is my first time rising for a debate, I want to begin by thanking the people of my riding, Repentigny, who put their trust in me once again last October. I hope to be worthy of their trust.
I will address two aspects of this debate, namely dairy producers and, of course, aluminum.
I will talk about the lack of consideration for the dairy farmers of Quebec from a completely different perspective than people might expect. That perspective is necessary because we have to find solutions. This is imperative.
I will start by reminding hon. members that Quebec's dairy producers are resilient. They live and breathe their work 365 days a year. They look after their herd, invest in their facilities and prepare the next generation. It is not easy, because the economic outlook is something of a concern.
I invite hon. members to put the numbers aside and give a thought to the human dimension of the consequences of agreements on a top-notch nourishing industry.
The member for Mégantic—L'Érable and the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food came to a sad conclusion in the summer of 2019. They heard testimony from artisanal farmers and agricultural producers who were struggling and facing real psychological distress. If you know what rural areas are like, you know that people in the regions help each other and work together. However, when pressures, obligations and constraints increase, but protections disappear, distress is inevitable.
Would it be fair to think that, since the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food launched a campaign acknowledging that the agricultural industry is struggling, the agreement should work along the same lines instead of causing the industry any additional distress?
In Quebec, the Au cœur des familles agricoles organization has been instrumental in this area for 10 years now. Since 2016, in collaboration with the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and the Union des producteurs agricoles, the organization has trained 1,200 industry workers to recognize psychological distress in farmers and direct them to specialized resources.
As we have said in the House, supply management is an economic model that suits Quebec well. It goes well with our culture. This economic and trade model is what allows for stability and predictability, which was exactly what the agriculture industry asked for during negotiations for this new agreement.
In its current form, CUSMA's provisions and economic repercussions for Quebec's dairy industry are troubling. The Bloc Québécois strongly believes we must condemn all of the harms that our dairy farmers will suffer. We will never stop demanding that this government and the House respect Quebec, and we will never stop calling for consistency and integrity on this file.
We have been doing this for two months now, but I will now set the record straight yet again on the aluminum industry's position on CUSMA.
The House has repeatedly heard that Jean Simard, the president and CEO of the Aluminium Association of Canada, agreed with the current CUSMA. However, Mr. Simard made his position clear to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance yesterday. My colleague from Joliette asked him straight out whether he would rather have had an agreement like the one the steel sector got. Mr. Simard answered that that was what the association had asked for and was about to get, thanks to the efforts of Ms. Freeland and her team. However, at the end of the negotiations, Mexico said yes to steel but no to aluminum for strategic reasons.
Mr. Simard gave the committee an honest answer. We know that a committee involves multiple stakeholders, detailed questions and background work, since members take the time to study the topic being debated by the committee. Mr. Simard's candid answers clearly show that the aluminum industry was hoping to get the same protections as the steel sector.
Where in Canada is there a dynamic aluminum industry with tremendous potential for expansion? Where has this industry been creating jobs for decades, well-paying jobs that allow workers to develop professionally, start a family in their region, and in turn, contribute to the regional economic vitality that all levels of government so desperately want?
Well, that place is Quebec.
CUSMA proposes an economic free trade model that will allow aluminum from China to flood the North American market via Mexico. That is what we have been saying over and over for months now.
Parts manufacturing should be done within partner countries under the agreement. However, unlike steel, the metal used for manufacturing could come from anywhere. Mr. Simard was very clear on that point in committee yesterday.
What we want to hear from the government is simply a statement from the Prime Minister along the same lines as what he said the night of his election victory.
Here is what he said: “Dear Quebeckers, I heard your message tonight. You want to continue to go forward with us, but you also want to ensure that the voice of Quebec can be heard even more in Ottawa. And I can tell you that my team and I will be there for you.”
Were those words meaningless, forgotten as soon as they were said?
The Bloc Québécois wants to work in a proactive and practical way to help Quebec's aluminum industry and obtain fair results. We want to work with the government to find solutions. We refuse to accept that this agreement is already settled and that it must absolutely be signed.
The conditions currently set out in CUSMA regarding this industry will cause serious harm to thousands of Quebec workers and Quebec's economy. Since I am our party's environment critic, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the absolutely essential manufacturing process used by the aluminum plants in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto chose the Arvida aluminum plant to establish a research and development centre called Elysis, valued at over $550 million. Together, they will develop all of the technology needed to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the production of aluminum and produce pure oxygen. Does the Prime Minister remember when that project was unveiled? He was at the project launch in 2018.
The aluminum industry is not only changing and developing its potential with a clean, renewable and nationally-owned source of energy, but it is also producing aluminum using a zero-emission technology developed in Quebec. How many inconsistencies must we point out before the government does the right thing?
Since I am running out of time, I will not talk about the importance of concrete action to reduce GHG emissions. The aluminum industry is on the right track, and I encourage members of the House to review this issue and be honest with their caucuses about what I am saying.
Let me be clear: The Bloc Québécois is not against free trade. Nevertheless, we believe that, in any trade or other relationship, the parties must communicate, be open, negotiate and make compromises. It would be disingenuous to argue that Quebec's economy was not ignored in the CUSMA negotiations. I gave two examples of that. Members of the House of Commons who claim it was not ignored are, in my opinion, acting in bad faith or are misinformed on the agreement.
We will not ignore what industry representatives are telling us. They came to Parliament Hill last week. During the election period, Quebeckers voted for a voice that would raise their concerns here, in this chamber. That is exactly what we are doing and that is exactly what we will continue to do.
View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, sometimes British Columbia and Quebec seem oceans apart, even though it is all land in between, but when it comes to free trade, there are a couple of things that we have in common.
One of those, of course, is that we produce aluminum in British Columbia as well. The second one, which is very important to me, is dairy on Vancouver Island.
I wonder if the hon. member sees the same concerns that I do. Whenever we cut into dairy production in Canada, we endanger not only the income of farmers but also the quality of our dairy products in Canada because of the lower standards in the United States, and we endanger our food security locally and our ability to supply our own markets with good, high-quality food as well. That is very big issue on Vancouver Island.
I wonder if the hon. member shares those concerns.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2020-02-05 18:03 [p.983]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for speaking about food security.
Some statistics indicate that, without the agreement, 17,700 tonnes of cheese could have been made here with Canadian or Quebec milk, which meets a much higher standard than U.S. milk does.
I completely agree with my colleague that this agreement could put our food security at risk. The Bloc supports milk produced here.
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-05 18:20 [p.985]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to speak in the House on the NAFTA, both in my role as a member of Parliament for the great riding of Essex and also in my capacity as a member of the international trade committee.
As the House knows, the North American Free Trade Agreement is a legacy of a previous Conservative government. At the time it was introduced, there were a lot of naysayers. Indeed, the Liberals campaigned on their opposition to that agreement and then affirmed it once elected. Twenty-five years later, no one disputes the value of free trade agreements.
Under former prime minister Stephen Harper, Canada signed a record number of trade agreements with over 40 different countries, giving Canadian entrepreneurs unprecedented access to markets across the globe. The Conservative Party's record is clear. We support and want free trade with the United States.
Canada's prosperity is tied to a vibrant export market. In Windsor—Essex, we recognize the importance of trade, particularly for our local agriculture industry and automotive sector. The U.S. is our largest trading partner. Every day, $2 billion in trade crosses our border, representing 75% of all Canadian exports. The region of Windsor—Essex, which encompasses my riding of Essex, boasts the busiest border crossing in North America.
Canada's trade levels with the United States are on the order of nine times more than with our next-largest trading partner, China. As my colleague representing Abbotsford, who was trade minister under the Harper government for four and a half years, said, “The United States will always be our largest trading partner and we had better get that relationship right”. He called this deal a “squandered opportunity”.
Here is a quick list of what Canada gave up or failed to do. The new NAFTA does nothing to address long-standing softwood lumber disputes. This trade negotiation was a perfect opportunity to resolve the buy America provision. Mexico got a chapter on this, but Canada got nothing. The Liberals agreed to major concessions on dairy, eggs and poultry without any American concessions in return. The Liberals agreed to a U.S. veto on any trade negotiations with a non-market economy, such as China. Aluminum was not given the same protocols as steel. Why not?
Despite these flaws, the bottom line is that businesses thrive in a climate of stability. As the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said:
Over the last three years, Canadian businesses have sought certainty on the future of the North American trade relationship....
The CUSMA...was an imperfect but necessary agreement to provide greater predictability in our relations with Canada’s largest trading partner.
As a spokesman for the Business Council of Canada put it, the new NAFTA is “good enough” for Canada, something that “gets us through this administration.”
I echo my colleague from Calgary Midnapore: Canadians deserve more than good enough.
Nevertheless, after years of uncertainty, the majority of Canadian businesses and labour wants this deal ratified. Despite this cautious support, many have also expressed concerns about the details and want to know how this deal is actually going to affect them.
That is our job, as parliamentarians, to find out. It is even more so, given the record of the Prime Minister in dealing with other trade agreements, including the TPP, which was badly mishandled by the government.
We saw a repeat of these unnecessary delays during the new NAFTA negotiations. The Liberals did not work with opposition parties during the negotiation and ratification process and now are rushing to get this deal done. They have not provided documents outlining the economic impacts of the new trade deal despite numerous requests from opposition MPs.
On December 12, members of the Conservative caucus requested the release of the economic impact study. It is now 56 days since the request, and we have yet to see the report. We do not intend to simply rubber-stamp this deal.
One example to illustrate the kind of data needed is an issue close to my heart. Labour has supported the clause that requires 40% of cars produced in Mexico be completed by workers making at least $16 U.S. per hour. There is an assumption that automotive manufacturing jobs will migrate north, and that would be good news for workers in Windsor—Essex if that assumption proves correct. However, because of the lack of analysis, we do not know how many jobs are expected to be created in Canada. An economic impact study would provide a frame of reference for us to track those numbers.
Let us look at another crucial sector: dairy. As the Canadian Federation of Agriculture pointed out, “...concessions made by Canada for supply-managed products will once again negatively impact farmers in these sectors”.
I have met with dairy farmers in my riding of Essex as well as in my office here in Ottawa. Milk classes 6 and 7 have been eliminated and 3.6% of the Canadian market is now opened up to imports. The deal also dictates thresholds for Canadian exports on milk protein concentrates, skim milk, powdered milk and infant formula, something Canada has never agreed to before. Further, if the industry exceeds the thresholds, Canada will add duties to the exports, making Canadian products more expensive and less competitive.
As the dairy farmers suggest, this sets a “dangerous precedent” that could affect other sectors in future trade deals as it applies to exports to all countries, not just the signatories of an individual trade agreement.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada have done an impact study. Its numbers show an 8.4% drop in Canada's milk product, an estimated average of $450 million for dairy farmers and their families. It further projects that by 2024, Canada will have conceded 18% of our domestic market to foreign production.
Another concern is whether foreign dairy products will adhere to the same production standards as produced in Canada. I am told that all milk produced in Canada is free of the artificial growth hormone rBST, which is not the case in the U.S. Quality standards need to be part of the discussions going forward.
Dairy farmers have outlined three action items: one, full and fair compensation for recent trade agreements and ensuring that no more concessions are made in future agreements; two, seeking improvements to the new NAFTA through its implementation to ensure that dairy export penalties apply only to the U.S. and Mexico, not globally; and three, ensuring that agencies like CBSA and CFIA have the resources they need to enforce dairy quality standards and regulations.
Past promises to mitigate such concessions have not materialized. We need to ensure that our producers are properly compensated.
Another troubling aspect of this deal is that aluminum was not afforded the same provision as steel, requiring it to be North American and requiring it to be smelted and poured in one of these three countries. Mexico has no smelting capacity for aluminum. The concern for Canadian manufacturers is that without this provision, imported aluminum that is unfairly subsidized and/or sold at bargain prices from countries like China will be dumped into the Canadian market.
Our Bloc Québécois colleagues have made a compelling case for a thorough study of the impacts of this omission. I look forward to hearing more about the economic impacts to aluminum producers and what my Quebec colleagues propose as mitigation.
I also had a briefing with CAFTA, the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, which represents thousands of farmers. Its statistics underscore the importance of international trade to our producers, as 90% of farmers in Canada depend on trade, 50% of which is with the U.S. and Mexico. As well, value-added products represent a $36-billion export market to 190 nations. Market certainty is key to its members' success. It urges us to ratify the new NAFTA and is committed to working with us on implementation to ensure this and other trade agreements function properly. It is so important to Canada's economic prosperity that we get this right.
In closing, I will reiterate that we intend to do our due diligence. We need to see the ramifications, identify the new NAFTA's weaknesses and its implications for future trade deals, and ensure that there is a plan for those sectors and industries that have been left out. We need to do what we can to mitigate negative impacts.
At the end of the day, Conservatives want the best deal for Canadians, but we also know that Canadians depend on us to find out where this deal falls short. That is what we will do at committee. Along with my colleagues, I look forward to giving the new NAFTA a thorough examination.
View Sébastien Lemire Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I was saying that over $6 billion worth of investments could be delayed, which would have a significant impact on the construction industry, suppliers and workers across Quebec.
That is not all. Another industry has been left out in the cold and is not getting nearly enough attention in the House: the forestry industry. Unfortunately, the Canada—United States—Mexico agreement has not led to resolution of the softwood lumber conflict, far from it. This conflict has been going on for too long. Washington's unfair tariffs on a range of forestry products are at the root of the softwood lumber crisis. Quebec's new forestry regime was developed specifically to address the United States' demands and to ensure that Quebec would not be accused of having illegal subsidies.
We know the softwood lumber crisis is cyclical and has been for at least 20 years. Quebec has suffered the consequences of sanctions that did not necessarily target its industry. Of course we stand united with Canada's industry, but that hurt us, especially in the early 2000s.
Canada prefers the status quo even though U.S. tariffs have led to the closure of several mills. I would note that problems in the forestry industry affect the vitality of many Quebec towns and cities. These problems have had a devastating impact on the economy of Nédélec, a town in Abitibi—Témiscamingue, where I am from.
The forestry industry accounts for nearly 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in Quebec, mostly in the regions, but also in the cities. These businesses invest an enormous amount of money to increase their productivity while lowering their production costs. To manage that, they have to be financially and generously supported by innovative Government of Canada projects. To remain competitive, we must absolutely modernize our plants, and to do that, we will have to think about improving programs, including those delivered by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.
I have enough time to talk about supply management. The new NAFTA weakens our agricultural model in Quebec, and the federal government made a massive concession. This saddens me to no end. By 2024, our dairy producers will lose 18% of their domestic market to foreign production. That represents an annual loss of $450 million.
I found out that in my region, producers living through this economic uncertainty have started selling some of their quotas. As far as I am concerned, that is the beginning of the end. This shows how much uncertainty this free trade agreement is creating for our farmers.
As if that were not enough, this agreement will also let Americans have a say on our commercial practices. I find that simply unacceptable. How can Canada allow the Americans to use export penalties to block our trade with other global markets? This will limit the ability of Canadian products to compete with those of other countries.
What can we do? First, the compensation package for the new NAFTA will have to provide for millions of dollars in compensation for the losses suffered by dairy producers as a result of previous bad agreements. I remind members that if these producers were asked to choose between receiving compensation or being fairly rewarded for their work, they would tell you that compensation is not their choice.
Next, we will have to require that the Americans—
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-02-04 14:15 [p.902]
Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has recently been focusing on CUSMA's failure to protect aluminum workers. I want to reiterate that we will never forget that this agreement was reached at the expense of Quebec's dairy producers. It is scandalous that the government breached supply management three times in three consecutive agreements.
We will not rest until farmers are fully compensated for these three trade agreements. We will speak out against any future breach of supply management starting with the imminent negotiations with the United Kingdom in the wake of Brexit.
There is a more immediate challenge we need to deal with before that. By preventing our producers from disposing of their surplus product, CUSMA could destabilize supply management. By ramming through the agreement, the government is doing more damage.
My message is simple: Our dairy producers and processors have paid enough. Enough is enough.
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
CPC (AB)
View Ziad Aboultaif Profile
2020-02-03 11:10 [p.794]
Madam Speaker, it would be greatly appreciated if the member opposite could name three important areas in this agreement where Canada has won.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-03 11:11 [p.794]
Madam Speaker, one of our greatest wins by signing this agreement is with respect to supply management. We were able to resist the pressure. Many outside groups would have loved to see the demise of supply management in Canada. Our current Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and our caucus have been behind supply management for years. I would argue it was a Liberal administration that brought in the system of supply management.
Farmers in all regions of the country are very much supportive of it. We cannot underestimate the pressure we received from U.S. industries and the United States government for us to abandon supply management. I am proud of the fact this agreement continues to ensure that supply management will always be part of the Canadian economy. I see that as the strongest benefit in this agreement. However, that is my personal opinion.
Another win is the fact we have an agreement. This was not an easy thing to achieve given the changes that were being asked for. I believe we are doing exceptionally well with the agreement.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-02-03 11:12 [p.794]
Madam Speaker, I listened to what my colleague across the way said. I was reassured to hear that he seems to care about supply management.
However, recent history proves otherwise. The government often promises to protect this system but, every time, it ends up giving up a little chunk. Under this agreement, the local market will lose a total of 18% of the market. That is a lot, and it is starting to hurt our farmers.
Would my colleague agree that it is time to stop throwing roadblocks in the way of this system and protect supply management through legislation? Would he be open to that proposal?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-03 11:13 [p.794]
Madam Speaker, I have always been a very strong advocate of supply management. I have witnessed first-hand both in the provincial legislature of Manitoba and as a member of Parliament how the industry itself has benefited. More specifically I have witnessed how consumers and Canadians have benefited, whether it is with respect to the quality of products, job creation or the fact we have something worth fighting for. I suspect we will find that universally applied within the Liberal caucus, in particular with our members of Parliament from the province of Quebec, who are very much aware of the importance of supply management.
We will continue to be there to protect the industry. At times there needs to be a form of compensation. Once we get to the second reading vote on this legislation, I would encourage the Bloc members to give it their consideration and recognize that we have an agreement that is in the best interests of all of Canada. We have great support crossing political lines from the different premiers across the country. I hope the Bloc will give extra consideration to recognizing the value of this agreement.
View Larry Bagnell Profile
Lib. (YT)
View Larry Bagnell Profile
2020-02-03 11:30 [p.796]
Madam Speaker, I have two quick comments. One is on the question of competitiveness just raised by the opposition. We put a plan in place to cover and take care of large final emitters, and the Conservatives have spoken against it.
The second is on quotas, in particular the new ones that were just raised. Canada is not producing an amount near those quotas at the moment, so it is not going to adversely affect us.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, are the quotas the hon. members raises the quotas for aluminum?
Hon. Larry Bagnell: Baby formula.
Mr. Taylor Bachrach: I apologize. He raises a good point. I do not have the depth of knowledge on that particular aspect and I look forward to learning more.
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I rise today not only as the member of Parliament for Humber River—Black Creek but also as the chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade to speak in favour of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement and to encourage my hon. colleagues to support the legislation.
I would like to recognize my committee colleagues from all parties for their dedication to their constituents and their country. I look forward to working with them as we go through the parliamentary process. All members have made it clear to me that their sincerest intent is to collaborate, co-operate and come together as a committee to make sure we do the job we were elected to do and do it right.
For over year, Canada negotiated hard for a modernized free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. During this time, government officials consulted with over 47,000 Canadians and over 1,000 stakeholders from all areas of Canada's economy to ensure that the deal we struck represented the best interests of Canadian workers and businesses from coast to coast to coast. Our foremost concern throughout the negotiation was always Canadian workers and their families: protecting workers' jobs, their families and the planet and ensuring that the deal would grow our economy.
In these respects, the deal we have struck is a winner. The new NAFTA safeguards the over $2 billion of daily cross-border trade, ensures tariff-free access to our largest trading partner and protects Canadian jobs. I have been encouraged by the spirited debate in the House by my hon. colleagues and their commitment and interest. I know that every member shares the same commitment to protecting Canadian workers and maintaining economic growth. In these especially turbulent times for global political discourse, I would like to thank my colleagues for restraining the partnership on all levels, wherever possible, and maintaining the respect and decency that this chamber commands. I hope that will continue.
We must keep in mind that negotiating transformational trade deals like the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement is always tense and difficult. I remind colleagues of the attitudes that existed when NAFTA was being negotiated. Canadians were worried about the impact of NAFTA on not only the Canadian economy but also our national identity. Not only have we found those fears unrealized, and we are very grateful for that, but we now know that NAFTA is one of the pillars of our relationship with the United States and Mexico and one of the cruxes of our economic strength. It is my sincere belief, notwithstanding the occasionally adversarial nature of the debate on this agreement, that we will look back on this deal years from now with the same lens through which we viewed the original NAFTA: a good deal that has contributed a significant amount to Canadian economic prosperity.
From coast to coast to coast, from agriculture to aluminum, to automobiles, every sector of the Canadian economy will stand to gain from this agreement. On the farm, we have successfully defended our supply management system for dairy, poultry and eggs, despite attempts to completely dismantle it. We have gained new market access for refined sugar and margarine and protected billions of dollars in agricultural and agri-food trade. I am well aware of this, as the former minister of agriculture spoke about those issues a lot in the House.
In the factory, we have a gold-plated insurance policy against a possible 232 tariffs on cars and car parts. I would be remiss if I did not remind my hon. colleagues that we are the only G7 country that has been afforded that protection.
We have strengthened labour protections that have been praised by union workers. Jerry Dias of Unifor has endorsed the deal, noting that it is a better deal than the one signed in 1994. We ensured enforceable labour obligations were included in the new deal to protect workers from discrimination in the workplace, in particular on the basis of gender. The improvements made on labour rights for Mexican workers will help level the playing field for Canadian workers, especially in our automotive industry.
In my riding of Humber River—Black Creek, companies such as Etobicoke Ironworks were feeling the pressure of the tariffs imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum. These tariffs were affecting their competitiveness not only abroad but also domestically. I had the distinct pleasure of touring its facilities last year and saw first-hand the important work that it does and how damaging these tariffs were on its competitiveness and ability to plan for the future.
With this new agreement, with the certainty that its products are protected, Etobicoke Ironworks can continue to innovate, expand its operational capacity and provide Canada, the United States and Mexico with high-quality Canadian steel and aluminum.
However, it is not just in the critical sectors of steel and aluminum that we have ensured the protection of Canadian workers and taxpayers. The investor-state dispute resolution, which was a provision of the original NAFTA, was a dispute resolution system that allowed companies to sue the Canadian government. This system cost Canadian taxpayers over $300 million in penalties and legal fees. It elevated the rights of corporations over those of sovereign governments. It is now gone. With the removal of the ISDR, our government's right to regulate in the public interest, especially with respect to the protection of public health and the environment, has been significantly strengthened.
Our climate is changing. For too long, we have known this and not taken the requisite action. The election and re-election of this government is no doubt due in part to our commitment to protecting the environment. On that note, perhaps some of the most important wins in the new NAFTA deal can be found in the environmental protections that have been included in this agreement.
In replacing the separate side agreement regarding the environment, the new NAFTA has a dedicated chapter on the protection of the environment. We now have far more robust and enforceable standards for air and marine pollution.
This is a good deal for auto workers, through the lifting of harmful tariffs; for dairy farmers through the protection of supply management; for indigenous people through the protection of their culture and land; and for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We have heard from all Canadians of all political stripes who echo their support for this deal, from Premier Moe of Saskatchewan to Premier Kenney of Alberta and Premier Legault of Quebec. There is consensus among political leaders in the country that this is a good deal.
We have also heard from important stakeholders such as the Canadian Labour Congress, the Business Council of Canada and the Canadian Steel Producers Association, which all speak in favour of rapid ratification of this agreement.
Arrival at the agreement would have been impossible without so many people rowing in the same direction. As many others have rightly said, this was a pan-Canadian effort, and I am optimistic that we will see more of this spirit of Canadian co-operation over the course of this Parliament.
I look forward to hearing from my colleagues.
View Larry Maguire Profile
CPC (MB)
View Larry Maguire Profile
2020-02-03 11:41 [p.798]
Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Humber River—Black Creek on her speech in the House today. I appreciate it. It was much more accurate than the speech given by her colleague, the member for Winnipeg North.
The member for Winnipeg North said there was $9 billion a day of trade going on between Canada and the U.S. I believe her number of $2 billion a day is much closer to the facts. He took credit for 28 trade agreements. His own minister showed a response of friendship in the middle of the floor here for the member for Abbotsford, who negotiated the CETA and TPP agreements before the CPTPP. The member for Winnipeg North was asked to find three things of importance or three benefits in the trade agreement that was signed, and he could only come up with one, which was dairy.
If the agreement was so good, what did they get for giving up class 6 and 7 in the milk quotas? There was also no softwood lumber agreement at all. Could the the member for Humber River—Black Creek expand on some of those areas to correct her colleague?
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, on the issue of supply management, the member said it was number three, but supply management was number one. From some of my work in the House over the last 20 years, I know supply management has been under attack and threatened. My personal concern through the NAFTA agreement negotiations was that we would lose the entirety of supply management. I am very happy that our negotiators were able to fight for that and maintain it.
Protecting the auto industry with the steel agreement is a win for Canada and all auto workers, many whom are in Ontario. I am well aware of the pressure on the steel side. We are able to protect the aluminum industry for 70%. Right now they have very little protection, if any. This agreement will help the aluminum industry by protecting it through the 70% number.
Is there more to be done? Of course. This is a beginning, and as things progress, I suspect we will hear, at the committee level as well, other areas we need to work on. I look forward to working with my colleagues, because I recognize that we all have one basic interest, which is protecting the interests of Canadian workers and advancing the opportunities for Canada's economy.
View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I am delighted to speak this morning in support of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, Bill C-4.
I want to start by acknowledging that we are gathered here on the traditional lands of the Algonquin peoples.
Let me take this opportunity to thank our Deputy Prime Minister and her outstanding team for their efforts in securing this deal for Canada. There were many moments of angst, but our minister was diligent and focused on getting not just any deal, but the best deal for all Canadians.
The new CUSMA is a big win for Canadian businesses, Canadian jobs and Canada as a whole. The agreement solidifies our government's resolve to expand trade around the world through agreements such as CETA, CPTPP and a renewed NAFTA. It will help our middle class grow and allow more jobs to be created right here in Canada. The agreement has wins for all parts of the country and in many sectors.
Trade is more important today than at any other time. Access to other markets, free of tariffs, allows us to compete around the world. It also gives our businesses certainty and predictability.
The agreement allows over 500 million people in North America to trade freely, move freely and build an area of trade that is unprecedented in the world. Last Friday, we saw our good friends in the United Kingdom exit the European Union after 47 years. We know that many parts of the world are contracting, in terms of trade. This is an opportunity for Canada and North America to shine as we solidify and reaffirm our interconnectedness, the people-to-people ties and the enormous economic benefits we have seen over the last 24 years through NAFTA.
This bill is about NAFTA and advances it in many significant ways. I want to outline a few key points in the agreement.
First, there is a lot of conversation on agriculture and the very important issue of supply management. This was central to our negotiations in this agreement. As we can see, supply management is secured in this agreement. It allows our farmers to benefit from existing policies. Of course, it opens up a bit of market share to others, but fundamentally for all farmers it secures the supply management system that we have.
It is important because, in 2017, Canada-U.S. bilateral agricultural trade was $63 billion and Canada-Mexico bilateral agricultural trade was $4.6 billion. Together, that represents close to $70 billion in trade. This allows our farmers to be secure in the work they do. Of course we will compensate those who are affected, with cheques going to them as early as this month.
The auto sector is very important to our economy. It affects us across the country, but particularly in Ontario and Scarborough, where we have a lot of auto workers and auto-related jobs.
Over the last 25 years, we have lost many jobs. I grew up in a place called the golden mile, which is within walking distance of my apartment. In the golden mile area, we had Ford, GM and many auto manufacturers and suppliers. Over the years, we saw many of those jobs move.
What is critical is there is still a very strong auto industry in Canada. We see the pressures in Europe. We see Germany, France and the United Kingdom struggling to maintain a strong auto industry. I believe this agreement will ensure that the Canadian auto industry remains strong and vibrant, and will ensure high-paying jobs for Canadians going forward.
As members know, on November 30 our government signed a side agreement that essentially ensures us against possible 232 tariffs on cars and car parts. This is critical for the protection of auto jobs. Canada is, in fact, the only G7 country to have such a protection, and it really does allow us to advance the auto industry.
I will speak briefly on the cultural exemption that was negotiated in this agreement.
Previously, I was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage, and in that role I met with many stakeholders in the cultural sector. There are over 650,000 quality jobs for the middle class as a result of our cultural industries, with 75,000 just in Quebec, and it is a $53.8-billion industry.
This is an important part of our economy and an important part of who we are as a people. The cultural exemption provisions allow our cultural industries to continue without diluting their ability to create content. It is such an important part of this agreement.
There was a great deal of skepticism when the minister and our government spoke about protection for the environment, gender equality and labour. There was a great deal of criticism from others saying that this is a trade agreement and we should not bring issues that may appear to be ancillary to trade into these discussions. I am very proud to say that we did not give in to that.
We knew, and we know, that we can have good trade and good social policies at the same time, and we can advance many important values that Canada espouses through these trade agreements. This particular agreement is an example of how we were able to do that.
On the environment, for the first time we are ensuring that we are upholding air quality in flights and addressing marine pollution. We believe that commitments to high levels of environmental protection are an important part of not just this trade agreement but all trade agreements. They protect our workers and they protect our planet.
On gender equality, we worked hard to achieve a good deal that benefits everyone, but particularly to ensure that provisions that protect women's, minority and indigenous rights and environmental protections are the strongest in any of the agreements that we currently have. We also included protection for labour to ensure that there are minimum standards across our three countries.
I believe this is why, for a variety of reasons, we have Canadians from many different backgrounds supporting this agreement. For example, Premier Moe of Saskatchewan has said that a signed USMCA trade deal is good news for Saskatchewan and for Canada. Also, Hassan Yussuff, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said, “The USMCA gets it right on labour provisions, including provisions to protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of gender.”
I will conclude by saying that this is a very important step in protecting our economy, creating middle-class jobs, ensuring our businesses are able to compete and ensuring that Canadians have secured access to this market of 500 million. It is an important step forward in advancing our economy.
I look forward to all parties coming together to support this agreement. No agreement is perfect, but there are sufficient benefits here for many sectors and across the country that warrant the support of all parties.
View Yves Perron Profile
BQ (QC)
View Yves Perron Profile
2020-02-03 12:43 [p.807]
Madam Speaker, I see the two main parties passing the buck back and forth and blaming each other for past failings in various deals over the years. What does all this really amount to? Concessions have been granted over the years, especially in supply management, and now in the aluminum sector. Virtually all the concessions made to reach a comprehensive agreement that is good for all of Canada have one thing in common: Quebec pays the price. It is unfortunate, but there is no other way to see it.
I would ask the House, the government and specifically my Conservative colleague whether they would be willing to put an end, once and for all, to these concessions that are undermining our agricultural system and supply management. We have already given up 18% of our market. The government has conceded not only on that but also on our capacity to export to countries that are not even parties to the agreement. This is unheard of, and it is just not right. I would like the political parties to make a clear commitment and tell us whether they will protect supply management, through legislation, to ensure that this never happens again.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-03 12:44 [p.807]
Madam Speaker, negotiations should never be on the backs of hard-working farmers. I do appreciate the fact that the member is speaking up for all Canadian farmers in the supply management field.
I will go back to the original TPP agreement, on which there were some concessions. Our Conservative government was very proactive and very committed in saying that there would be proper compensation for that.
We have the agreement with NAFTA, and my colleague is absolutely right in asking what the plan is moving forward. We have been asking the Liberals about this. I know my friends in the Bloc want to see the cost benefit analysis too, showing exactly how things will be affected and the industries that will be hurt by this. The Bloc members have brought up supply management, but there is also the aluminum sector. Again, with this agreement, we now have new rules for aluminum, which we did not have in the past.
I am in agreement. In committee, we will bring forward witnesses to ensure the government has a plan, so if somebody is negatively affected, a proactive approach can be taken to ensure certain compensation is available for that, like our Conservative government did. We have to let the government know that to dither any further is not appropriate.
View Ted Falk Profile
CPC (MB)
View Ted Falk Profile
2020-02-03 13:33 [p.815]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak about the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement.
After a long and gruelling process, it is great that we have arrived where we are. Parliamentarians now have the chance to review this new agreement and ensure that free trade with our continental partners continues to benefit all Canadians.
Hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs rely on this international trade, and the North American Free Trade Agreement has been a critically important component of that trade. In fact, one in five Canadians who have jobs in Canada have them as a result of this agreement.
However, there is merit in occasionally updating agreements like NAFTA. There are always going to be things changing, new developments that require reviewing and adjusting existing agreements, but with respect to this latest renegotiation, it seems that the Prime Minister was just a little too eager to open things up when he stated that he was more than happy to renegotiate NAFTA with incoming president Donald Trump.
It was something of a shock when the Prime Minister voluntarily submitted Canada to this renegotiation when it was widely known that the U.S. was primarily concerned with the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. Canada was suddenly drawn into what would become a long and tumultuous couple of years of negotiating. Thankfully, we seem to have arrived near the end of this stage.
I know that those on the negotiating team put in extensive hours, and for that I want to thank our officials and bureaucrats for the efforts they have contributed. I realize that they are handcuffed and restricted from using the tools and environment in which they are working. However, I am confident that they worked tirelessly and that they did their best to make as good a deal for Canada as they could.
Frustratingly, along the way there were some serious missteps that made this process even more difficult. For example, let us take the time that the Prime Minister went to New York City, President Trump's hometown, to deliver a commencement speech at a university. Naturally, he took some time for a photo op, which was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine during this visit. I do not ever expect to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, but I am sure that is quite an accomplishment. To further exacerbate the situation, the article in Rolling Stone magazine portrayed the Prime Minister as an opponent of the president, making the whole trip seem like it was nothing more than an opportunity to poke the President of the United States in the eye. Why would the Prime Minister risk insulting the president right in the middle of tough negotiations with his country when Canadian jobs were on the line?
I have had the opportunity to negotiate many deals in business over the years. I have learned over the years that the best way to make a good deal is to make a connection with the person we are dealing with, develop a relationship of mutual trust and respect and not to try to provoke and intimidate the person and think that we will end up walking away with a fair and equitable deal.
Understandably, the missteps and challenges of this renegotiation have left the agreement with certain shortfalls. I am talking about the Liberals' sellout of our supply management farmers and aluminum producers. Then there were the missed opportunities, such as failing to address the softwood lumber dispute, failing to respond to the buy America clause and failing to move to update the list of professionals eligible for temporary business entry to reflect the 21st century economy, just to name a few examples.
When President Trump signed the agreement at the White House last week, he called the CUSMA the “largest, fairest, most balanced and modern trade agreement ever achieved.” In Canada, the Liberals have not used that same terminology, and I do not think that they appear nearly as confident that we got an agreement that is as fair, balanced and modern as they would have liked. I think that this recognition shows in the way they comment on this particular agreement.
Despite these realities, with Canada's economy slowing and vulnerable, a lack of access to U.S. markets would further weaken business investments and exports. Free trade with our southern neighbour represents opportunities for all Canadians, and we need to embrace those opportunities even as we work to resolve the problems the Liberals have created with this agreement.
Here on this side of the House, the Conservative Party is proud to be the party of trade. It was of course a Conservative government that developed the first free trade agreement with the United States in the first place, generating increased economic activity and jobs for the last few decades.
The United States is our largest trading partner, with roughly $2 billion in bilateral trade per day crossing our international borders. This represents 75% of all Canadian exports. In fact, since the time NAFTA was introduced, more than five million jobs have been created. The total trilateral trade, when we include Mexico, has increased fourfold, to $1.2 trillion annually. Therefore, the Conservatives recognize there is a lot of potential for continued growth, continued investment and continued prosperity with a strong agreement in place.
Like all Canadians, I want the best deal for our families, the best deal for our workers and the best deal for our businesses. Having a free trade agreement in place is important, but it has to do right by Canadians. After the Liberal mismanagement, the reality is that the CUSMA will cost taxpayer money. We need to now ensure that the sectors and industries in areas of our economy and businesses that have been left behind by this agreement have a soft landing.
Allow me for a moment to speak about supply management, for example, for dairy, chicken, eggs, egg products, turkey and broiler hatching eggs.
My riding in Manitoba is home to the largest concentration of supply management farmers in the province. It goes without saying that these folks really are not just farmers. They are pillars in southeast Manitoba communities. They are heavily involved in communities. They are employers. They are what make my constituency of Provencher the most generous constituency in all of Canada when we look at Statistics Canada's numbers for charitable donations, second only to Abbotsford. We are very proud.
Part of the success of being noted as a very charitable riding comes from the fact that our supply management sector contributes heavily to that. However, these folks, unfortunately, have been left behind by the Liberal government. The Liberals agreed to open up 3.6% of the Canadian market to increase dairy imports in this new agreement. That is more than what was even agreed to under the TPP.
When it comes to supply management, we need to remember that under the TPP, the United States was part of that access into our markets. Instead of backing that out when the Americans withdrew from the TPP agreement and we eventually signed the CPTPP, we left that market access in for Asian countries. Now, in addition to that, the Americans have tacked on additional 3.6% market access, really taking that market away from our Canadian producers. I am sure our supply management folks do not view this as a new and improved NAFTA agreement.
Under the CUSMA, Canada will adopt tariff rate quotas providing U.S. dairy farmers with access to Canada's dairy market. That includes milk, concentrated milk and milk powders, cream and cream powder, buttermilk and even ice cream. The CUSMA also dictates specific thresholds for Canadian milk protein concentrates, skim milk and infant formula. When export thresholds for these are exceeded, Canada will be obligated to add duties to the exports that are in excess, making them even more expensive.
Our dairy farmers have anticipated annual losses of $190 million, an additional $50 million on export caps. On top of that, our dairy processors have estimated that their losses will be $300 million to $350 million annually. That is significant and is a lot of money that needs to be made up.
Our chicken farmers are going to experience challenges as well. Under the new agreement, Canada will allow 47,000 metric tons of chicken to enter the country duty-free from the United States. That begins in the very first year, once the deal has been ratified, and will increase to almost 63,000 metric tons annually of chicken coming in from the United States.
The Conservatives are, nonetheless, a party of free trade and we need to find a path forward. A majority of major industry associations want the House to ratify the deal. No one was really looking for these changes, but we are faced with them regardless. I am certainly very clear-eyed looking at the contents of a new CUSMA, but the importance of free trade to so many industries and so many jobs in the country means we simply cannot walk away.
The Conservatives will be there to hold the Liberals accountable and ensure that those negatively impacted by this agreement will have the tools they need to succeed in the aftermath.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-02-03 15:24 [p.834]
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for that intervention. These are all learning experiences for us, especially for those of us who are new to Parliament.
As I said, it makes our outcome for negotiating challenging. We find ourselves in the last two weeks toward final ratification of this agreement. Mexico did all its work ahead of time and the U.S. spent a number of weeks ratifying its side of the agreement. Here we are on February 3 and we find ourselves trying to ratify the Liberals' agreement as brought forward. It is only through this process that the Liberal government has realized that it is a minority government and it needs the opposition to support and pass the bill.
I was asked several questions about the new NAFTA during the election, as many of us were. Most of them revolved around the dairy industry or supply-managed commodities and I will get to that in a few moments, but first I would like to underline some statistics about Nova Scotia's exports to the United States. The numbers I have are from 2015, 2017 and 2018.
In 2015, the United States was the destination for 69.39% of Nova Scotia's international goods exports. The U.S. by far is Nova Scotia's number one trading partner. Europe, at about 10%, and other countries, at about 20%, received the balance of Nova Scotia's exports in 2015.
Four U.S. regions received about 85% of Nova Scotia's U.S. trade in goods in 2015. About 37% was sent to New England, as one would expect, on the eastern side of the country. About 24% went to the southeast region, 15% to the Great Lakes region and about 8% to the mid-east region. The remaining 14.77% was distributed among other regions in the U.S.
In 2015, rubber or tires from Michelin and fish products added up to about 55% of the total exports for Nova Scotia. They were the main domestic exports to the United States. Another 17% of exports to the U.S. were paper, mineral fuels and plastics. The remaining 28% consisted of other miscellaneous goods.
In 2018, fish products accounted for 24%, or $883.5 million, of total exports from Nova Scotia to the U.S. Crustaceans, lobsters, crabs and others, represented about 69%, or $605 million, of this product group.
Nova Scotia's exports continue to diversify by destination, with declining exports to the U.S. They were down about 0.6% when comparing January and February 2018 with January and February 2017. Exports to other destinations rose and were up about 31%. This is also the case for many other provinces in Canada. Exports from New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where growth in exports to the U.S. outpaced growth to other destinations, grew more concentrated in the U.S.
Nova Scotia's exports to the U.S. were down by about $3.4 million as declining values for energy, forestry, electronics, motor vehicles and parts, aircraft and other transportation equipment and consumer goods more than offset the gains in farm, fishing, intermediate food, metal ores, metal, mineral products, chemicals, plastics, rubber and machinery equipment.
As an aside in this discussion, the coronavirus is creating tremendous challenges for our exporters. China is Nova Scotia's second-largest export destination. Comparing January and February 2018 with the same months in 2017, Nova Scotia's exports grew by about $36 million, mostly on gains in forest products and consumer goods.
To say that U.S. trade is important to us is truly an understatement and the trade deal that supports it is paramount.
I spend a lot of time talking about the fishing industry in the riding of West Nova which, as we can see, exports almost all its products outside the country, so I thought I would spend the remaining time talking about the agricultural industry. It may not export quite as much, but it was affected quite substantially by the changes in protections pertaining to supply-managed commodities. It seems that every time Canada negotiates a free trade agreement, those commodities take a hit.
A few years ago, in 2005, when I was a provincial minister of agriculture, I attended the WTO negotiations in Hong Kong. At that time there was a protracted discussion on Canada's continued support of supply-managed commodities, pressure from the European Union and the U.S. The Liberal government of the day was ready to allow access to other countries at that time.
It was not until the provincial ministers, Liberal, Conservative and NDP, came together, supported by the national commodity associations, that the negotiating team finally took it off the table. Since that time, and before that time, I have been a supporter of our commodities. Now that I represent the largest agricultural area in Nova Scotia, that support has become even stronger.
Nova Scotia's agricultural community is small compared to those in other provinces, but the backbone is dairy and poultry. Without those, the other commodities would have trouble existing. That is why any loss of market affects Nova Scotia more than others. A 3.6% loss of the dairy market truly affects the small farms in Nova Scotia, which is why the adjustment payments are important to allow better cash flow due to these market changes.
I am a big believer in grassroots government. We must listen to those in our community. I therefore want to underline what we have heard from others.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, or CAFTA, stated:
CAFTA welcomes the announcement that negotiations have concluded on updating the CUSMA.
We look forward to receiving confirmation that the changes don’t negatively impact our members.
Since the initial negotiations concluded well over a year ago, the prolonged discussions required to secure support in the U.S. Congress have undermined business certainty.
CAFTA is waiting for answers on what the final decision is going to be.
Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada said that in a parliamentary system, “all bills, including those aimed at ratifying international agreements, are subject to a legislative process designed to improve them, and it’s important not only for the dairy sector, but also for aluminum workers, that this agreement be put through that process.”
I hope that everybody has the opportunity to talk to the dairy farmers who will be coming to Parliament Hill over the next number of days.
The North American free trade agreement is extremely important to producers in my riding, but not any old deal will do. We need one that benefits our industries and which does not take one area of the country for granted, as we are looking at with the aluminum issue. The government must prove to us, and better yet, prove to Canadians, that it is getting it right. That is in the court of the government today.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-03 15:32 [p.836]
Madam Speaker, I know that the dairy farmers are in Ottawa this week. I am hoping to meet with some tomorrow morning. I am sure many of my colleagues on all sides of the House will be engaged with the dairy farmers in the coming days.
Having said that, whether it is this trade agreement or previous ones, one of the issues has always been supply management. Our negotiators on the Canadian side, along with politicians on all sides of the House, and perhaps some more so than others, have always had a strong sense of compassion and emotion in ensuring we maintain supply management. The dairy sector is probably one of the best examples as to why it is important we do just that.
In the Liberal caucus, there is very strong support for supply management and there always has been. Perhaps my colleague could provide his personal perspective, and possibly even the perspective of his caucus, on supply management.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
CPC (NS)
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-02-03 15:33 [p.836]
Madam Speaker, we have heard the continued support for supply-managed commodities on a number of occasions when different members have spoken of the new NAFTA. We talk a lot about dairy because that is the one area that seems to be hit the most, but we also heard about chickens and other poultry coming across our border. We will continue to be supporters of free trade, but at the same time, we understand the challenges we have in our supply-managed commodities.
As I said, in Nova Scotia, without dairy, without the monies that come in because of that protection, if we want to call it that, they are the ones who have the money for tractors and new equipment, which falls into support for the rest of that industry.
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill.
I would like to take a moment to thank the managers at the Montérégie-Ouest CISSS. When I was part of the management team overseeing senior support services, they gave me a chance to fulfill my passion and my dream and put the right conditions in place for me to do the work that I am doing right now in the House of Commons. I want to thank all the managers who made it possible for me to enter politics. These female managers enabled a woman to enter politics. They walked the talk.
That was a short digression to say that I am very pleased to rise. Quite frankly, what I am really interested in today is talking about the situation affecting dairy producers. What we have seen, and this has been mentioned on numerous occasions, is that there are always winners and losers when a trade agreement is signed. It is important to recognize what the losers are losing. It is important that they have a voice and that we understand them. We need to debate these issues among parliamentarians. The Bloc Québécois intends to debate these issues for as long as possible and to continue the debate in committee so that all the witnesses, individuals, companies and industries that want to have a say about this agreement have the opportunity to do so.
In the latest trade agreements, Quebeckers have been the big losers. In the agreement that we are debating today, we are talking about the aluminum industry, a key industry for Quebec, as well as the supply managed industry. All dairy, turkey, chicken and other poultry producers were victims of the agreement.
Over 3% of our market will be open to American dairy products, which represents an annual loss of around $150 million. It is not just one loss in one year. For Quebec's dairy farmers, it is a market lost for life.
I represent a riding where more than half the dairy farms in Montérégie-Ouest are in my riding, Salaberry—Sûroit. Among the 237 farms in the Beauharnois-Salaberry, Haut-Saint-Laurent and Vaudreuil-Soulanges RCMs, half are dairy farms in the Montérégie-Ouest area. I must point out that our farmers are entrepreneurs, business people who are passionate about agriculture and who generate revenue and economic activity in our communities.
In my research I found part of a speech on protecting supply management that I delivered in 2006. Even then I was quite clear about the fact that we need to stop thinking that agricultural producers are not business people. They contribute to revitalizing our rural communities. They support local garages, convenience stores, grocery stores, mechanics, and the list goes on. Many businesses in our rural communities rely on farming activity. In my opinion, it is important to emphasize that these are businesses that generate major economic activity.
I will admit that I have a soft spot for dairy producers. All members in the House know that Quebec and Canada produce higher-quality milk. In Quebec, dairy producers have stringent standards with respect to the environment and animal well-being. Traceability standards are also quite strict. Quebec's traceability system is very effective, which means that we produce very high-quality milk. Unfortunately, this milk will end up competing in markets against milk produced under different and, we can only assume, lesser standards.
The trade agreements that were negotiated and ratified after 2011, when the Bloc Québécois ended up with fewer members in the House of Commons, were clearly more harmful for Quebec. One example is the free trade agreement with Europe. I was shocked to see that Quebec cheeses had been sacrificed. Quebec has some excellent cheeses. We have 300 different cheeses.
My colleague's riding of Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix is a remarkable place where you will find the best Quebec cheeses.
Quebec's cheese producers were sacrificed because Quebec produces 70% of Canada's fine cheeses. Many cheese producers told us that this agreement affects them because our market will be flooded with European cheese.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership created the first breach in supply management by opening up 3.25% of our dairy market.
Supply management is so important to us and we speak so much about it because for us it is the basis for Quebec's agricultural model, which we are really proud of.
Like all Bloc members, I have great aspirations for Quebec. We hope that one day it will take its place at the table of nations and be master of its own destiny. A strong Quebec with farm businesses that have a strong presence, are profitable and have solid ties to their community is important to us. We must maintain this highly developed agricultural model that is so uniquely ours and reflects our character as Quebeckers.
We know that dairy farmers were compensated for this year, but they are worried because they do not know what will happen in the years to come. As someone said earlier, when dairy markets are lost, it is not only for a year; it is forever. It is therefore important for farmers to understand what will happen next year.
The government appears hesitant to implement a program that farmers would have to qualify for, much like what the Conservatives did with the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
Our message is clear, and we will repeat it to the government when it presents the budget. We absolutely insist that dairy farmers must be compensated directly, as they were this year, for the duration of the compensation agreement. We do not want a program that farmers have to qualify for, a complicated program with more red tape. That is the last thing farmers need. They need to be financially compensated in the simplest way possible, as they were this year.
It would be unfortunate not to address the whole issue and challenge of milk proteins. I am not sure whether those watching our debate at home understand that the issue of milk proteins is threatening our dairy sector.
In Canada and the United States, milk consumption has gone down while consumption of butter, cream and ice cream has gone up. Processors are like everyone else. They want to make these products for less. That is why they are interested in buying milk ingredients for less from the United States.
Under the old agreement, our market was flooded with milk proteins from American diafiltered milk. In response to pressure from the Bloc Québécois and other parliamentarians, the government finally created a new milk class, class 7, that provides some protection to our processors so they will source dairy protein from our own dairy producers and stop buying it from American producers.
Naturally, the U.S. government was not pleased. In negotiations, it demanded that Canada get rid of class 7 so American protein could once more flood our market and threaten our dairy producers yet again.
I see two big problems with this agreement. In two very clear instances, the government failed supply management. First, it opened up a significant chink, and second, it took away class 7, which enabled our producers to work with processors to find an outlet for their inexpensive milk.
Dairy producers know they can count on the Bloc Québécois to vigorously advocate for them, because we believe that a country without agriculture is not a real country.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
BQ (QC)
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2020-02-03 15:50 [p.838]
Madam Speaker, our Liberal colleague enjoyed bringing up what the Quebec premier said. I would like to remind him of what the Prime Minister of Canada said not too long ago in October 2018. He, himself, acknowledged that previous trade agreements had had a number of negative effects on dairy producers. Our supply management system is still being sacrificed.
Does my colleague agree that Quebec wants a strong economy, but that the federal Liberal government often gets in its way?
View Claude DeBellefeuille Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
The Bloc Québécois has proposed a private member's bill that will prevent the government from chipping away at the supply management system. We will debate this bill, and we hope that all of our colleagues in the House will support us on this, since this bill would prevent any further breaches. This is tangible action, and we hope to have the support of all our colleagues in the House.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, as always, it is a great pleasure to rise in this House and to be speaking on behalf of the amazing constituents of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. I am pleased to be able to stand today and offer a few of my thoughts on the proceedings before us with regard to the implementation act of CUSMA, the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, through Bill C-4.
I want to start by acknowledging our relationship with the United States. The sheer amount of trade and travel that happens between our two countries and the long shared history that we have make it the most important relationship that Canada has. I want to also acknowledge how difficult this negotiation was for many of our hard-working trade negotiators, especially when policy from the United States seemed to be changing on the fly, according to tweets we would read from President Trump.
The NDP's position with regard to trade has always been that we want to have fair trade agreements that have enforceable protections for workers, the environment, and the rights of indigenous people and women. We feel that far too often, and there are many examples that we could list, trade negotiations seem to turn into corporate rights documents and give a lot of attention to regulatory harmonization. I understand that in some cases regulatory harmonization can be a good thing, because we do not want our businesses overburdened by too much red tape. However, we have to remember it is often large multinational corporations that are seeking the free flow of goods between borders, and often those regulations are in place because they are are particular and unique to the country that hosts them. When we have regulations dealing with environmental protections or workers' rights, those are extremely important, and we do not want to be chasing the lowest common denominator. We do not want to simply make it easy for the free flow of goods and trade without respecting those very important things.
I understand too that the renegotiation of NAFTA was sparked by President Trump. Again, this illustrates why it is so important for Canada to maintain relationships with the other branches of the United States government. We must maintain our contacts in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, but more importantly the various governors and state legislatures, because the United States has a very broad power-sharing network and it is certainly not equal to just one person.
I find the debate surrounding this agreement interesting. Not only has the current Parliament been seized with the agreement, but it was also a big feature in the 42nd Parliament. I can remember when question period often had the theme of CUSMA. I want to acknowledge the hard work of my former colleague Tracey Ramsey, the former MP for Essex, who led the way as our international trade critic and was often probing the government's negotiating tactics and the objectives that it was trying to achieve.
At that time, our main argument was that we should hold off on ratifying the agreement, because it was quite clear to anyone who was a keen observer that the United States Democrats in the House of Representatives were keen on changing some aspects of the deal, yet the Liberal government in the 42nd Parliament thought that would be a mistake. They wanted to agree to it as it was, not taking into account the fact that changes were coming.
In fact, the Deputy Prime Minister, when she had her previous role as the lead minister for this file, said, “Mr. Speaker, what the NDP needs to understand is that reopening this agreement would be like opening Pandora's box”, and that it would be naive for the NDP to believe that Canadians would benefit from reopening this agreement, yet that is precisely what happened. I do not know of any other instance in which Canada had to rely on the actions of a foreign government to deliver a better deal. I think that is actually quite unprecedented.
If only we could have had a process whereby the Parliament of Canada had played a bigger role. I know a lot of legislators on the opposition side of the benches were constantly referring to this and to the fact that there were possibilities of getting a better deal, but no: The government at the time wanted to proceed forward. Thankfully, we did get a renegotiated deal, and the U.S. Democrats were about to put in some important provisions. I think that when we look at the balance sheet, some improvements were definitely made.
I look to my home province of British Columbia. I make my home on Vancouver Island. Of course, the big industry that has had no mention in this agreement is our softwood lumber industry. That dispute is still ongoing with the United States, and I understand that Canada has had to take its concerns to the World Trade Organization.
We have many workers in British Columbia who still have this cloud of uncertainty hanging over their industry. Many mills have closed over the previous decades. Many communities in British Columbia have had to transition out of a mill-based work force into something closer to tourism or a service-based industry. However, it has forever changed the face of many small towns in British Columbia.
For the towns that are lucky enough to still have a thriving mill, we still are plagued with a lot of uncertainty. This is certainly one part of the Canada-U.S. relationship that has to be studied and worked on.
As the NDP's critic for agriculture, I would also be remiss if I did not mention the concessions that were made in this agreement to our supply-managed dairy sector. We are giving up a few percentages of our market, as we did under the CPTPP and CETA. The Liberals constantly say in the House that they are the party that defends supply management and that they are the ones who brought it in. However, now we have started to see even more cuts. The problem is that when we were negotiating this deal and opening up parts of our market to the United States, especially in supply management, in a sense what the government is asking our dairy farmers to do is to pay the price for another jurisdiction's overproduction problems.
I will illustrate that by pointing this out. The State of Wisconsin produces more milk than the entire country of Canada combined. As it does not have supply management, it has wild fluctuations in price. Many farmers are experiencing bankruptcy down there. There are serious concerns to mental health and they do not have the protections there. In a sense, we are trying to open up our market from U.S. demands. We are trying to pay the price for their overproduction.
It goes further. Under clause 3.A.3 of the agreement, we have now agreed to establish threshold limits on exports. We have put those threshold limits on things like infant formula, milk protein concentrates and skim milk powder. This means that Canada has agreed to absolute limits of exports in those categories. Furthermore, if we exceed those thresholds, we then have to place a punitive tariff, which would essentially price us out of the market.
I would like to know if we have an economic impact statement on how this will affect the future growth of the industry. Has the government done an analysis of how close our industry already is to those threshold limits? Furthermore, in the coming into force provisions of the agreement, are we giving our producers enough time to compensate and deal with those changes?
Through the debate on Bill C-4, I would really like members of the House to think about how we can have a better process in place for future trade negotiations.
We all know that the negotiation of international treaties, such as trade treaties, is a royal prerogative of the Crown. It is a latent power of the Crown, held over from centuries ago. It is certainly within the executive's right to negotiate deals. However, the problem is that when we get the final product in the House of Commons, all we are allowed to do is to vote yes or no. The deal has already been signed. Our role is limited only to implementing legislation.
I know there have been consultations with many groups, but if we could find a process whereby members of Parliament actually have that opportunity to have a more fulsome discussion, where we can state what are objectives are and have a more fulsome role, as they do in the European Parliament and in the United States Congress, then we could take this opportunity to ensure that in future negotiations, perhaps with the United Kingdom, we would go in as the people's representatives with a much better idea of exactly what we are trying to achieve.
I look forward to any questions that my colleagues may have.
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
2020-02-03 16:55 [p.847]
Madam Speaker, I wish to acknowledge that today's debate is taking place on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
When our government was elected in the fall of 2015, the world was a very different place. There was a certain degree of stability. There was a consensus that the principle of multilateralism was the ideal recipe for keeping the peace between nations and supporting free international trade to ensure greater prosperity for as many countries and people as possible.
Needless to say, the world has changed a lot since then. It has moved in the opposite direction. In the new international political context, as a country, we have suddenly been forced to cope with the need to return to the negotiating table to overhaul one of our most important agreements with the two countries that share the North American continent with us. That agreement is NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. We succeeded. We successfully negotiated something that was far from a foregone conclusion. We negotiated as equals with the most powerful economy on the planet, our neighbour and friend, and a tough negotiator, the United States.
I want to congratulate the Deputy Prime Minister, the then minister of foreign affairs, for her perspicacity, her determination, her poise under pressure, her tactful words at critical moments, her dignity and her diplomatic skills throughout the process.
I also want to congratulate the Prime Minister, who stepped in at the right times with firm and focused remarks to make it known that Canada would not capitulate to the United States.
We negotiated hard and successfully in the Canadian way. We were confident and firm but always respectful. We were true to our nature and to our reputation around the world. We were friendly but determined to stand up for Canadians and Canada's economic interests.
Canadians have a right to feel proud of our success in the NAFTA 2.0 negotiations, which were crucial economically, intense and not always linear. I think that is obvious.
In the time I have left, I would like to touch on a few key aspects of the new trade deal that I believe are important to my constituents, because they have written to me on numerous occasions about these issues.
The first is on dispute resolution, which, to my mind, is why we negotiated the original free trade agreement with the United States in the first place. I do not think it was to reduce tariffs so much, as there was already a free flow of goods, but we wanted to make sure, as a middle power with huge trade with the world's largest economy, that we could have a mechanism to objectively and rationally resolve disputes when protectionist pressures might rise south of the border. It was important. The whole idea of the free trade agreement, as far as I am concerned, was to have a dispute resolution mechanism so that we could be trading on a level playing field with a country that is 10 times bigger than we are.
We know that the United States, at the moment, is not fond of dispute settlement. In fact, for two years, the Trump administration has blocked the appointment of new members to the WTO's seven-member dispute resolution panel, claiming that dispute resolution compromises and undermines American sovereignty and latitude in trade. Therefore, the WTO dispute settlement mechanism was effectively paralyzed at a time when Canada was looking forward to having it deal with the United States and resolve the softwood lumber dispute with the United States.
We have heard a lot about softwood lumber in this debate. We have a case in front of the WTO, but because the dispute settlement mechanism has been paralyzed, obviously the WTO is not able to make a decision in that case.
Under NAFTA, there was similarly the potential for what is called “panel blocking”, where a country can block the creation of a dispute resolution panel by refusing to appoint members. That power existed under NAFTA for the United States, for example. Today, we have succeeded against all odds, given the prevailing mindset in the U.S., in having dispute resolution maintained in the new trade deal. Worth noting is that the new agreement is asymmetrical. That means that there is the possibility of dispute resolution between Canada and the U.S., but not between the U.S. and Mexico. Therefore, we clearly have a privileged position in this regard. We have also achieved an end to panel blocking, which is so important in the case of dispute settlement panels. We stood up and we won on that point.
A second issue is investor-state dispute resolution. For many years, there was concern that investor-state dispute resolution compromised Canadian economic and environmental sovereignty by subjugating our domestic policies to the economic interests of multinational corporations. NAFTA's infamous chapter 11 has been removed from the USMCA, or CUSMA, as some people call it, and investor disputes between Canada and the U.S. will no longer be subject to the investor-state dispute resolution process that existed under chapter 11.
It is important to mention that there are still obligations under the new agreement, with respect to expropriation, whether direct or indirect, where charges of indirect expropriation often flow when domestic environmental laws and regulations are seen to negatively impact foreign private interests in Canada. However, the Library of Parliament has stated:
Annex 14-B [of the USMCA] indicates that such actions' adverse effects on the economic value of an investment would not be sufficient to establish that an indirect expropriation has occurred. As well, Annex 14-B notes that whether any such actions constitute indirect expropriation would depend on factors that include the actions' economic impact, object, context, intent, and interference with 'distinct, reasonable investment-backed expectations” that such actions would not occur.
In many environmental cases, we would be able to argue that any rational investor who is well informed would understand that we would want to have policies to protect our environment in a particular area. For example, there was often speculation that chapter 11 would make it easier, hypothetically, for foreign private interests to one day pressure Canada to export its fresh water in bulk to a thirsty southern neighbour, namely, that in the face of domestic policies intended to block such exports, massive financial compensation might need to be paid to foreign private interests seeking to access bulk water as a tradable good. The USMCA makes that an even more remote possibility.
Many constituents wrote to me about dairy. I would like to reiterate that the supply management system has been maintained. There will, indeed, be new higher quotas for dairy imports from the U.S. with Canadian tariffs still being applied on dairy products that exceed these new quotas, tariffs ranging from 200% to 300%. According to reports, the new quotas are expected to give American dairy farmers access to up to 3.5% of Canada's market, from 1%. Therefore, we can see that the defence of the system is still very much in place. Yes, there has been a slight increase, but supply management has been maintained.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, since this is the first time I have had more than 30 seconds to address my colleagues in the House, I want to take this opportunity to thank my wife Kate, who supported me on the campaign trail and has been at my side ever since I started my career. I also want to say hello to my seven-month-old son, Léo-Xavier.
I mention him in the House because some members have done the same with their children. Family is important, and it makes all the difference when we are on the campaign trail or working in the House. I know that every member takes care of their family.
Naturally, I also have to mention my father Yves, my mother Nicole, and my brother Mathieu, who have helped me every step of the way. I also want to thank my parliamentary assistants, namely Martin, who has now gone on to bigger and better things, Louise, Line, Judith, Carole and Andrew. I want to thank them for their support.
The important thing to keep in mind about Bill C-4, an act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, is that we now have access to a market. MPs who are against the agreement can raise any argument they like, but we need to think about what is more important: a market made up of 35 million people or a market made up of 330 million people, not including Mexico? That is the important thing about this agreement.
Of course I want to talk about the importance of steel producers, a major presence in my riding that, in one municipality, accounts for 25% of the tax revenue. I can hardly imagine what would happen if the Government of Canada did not sign the free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. I can hardly imagine what would happen to that municipality if 25% of its tax revenue disappeared overnight. That is something else each member should consider when the time comes to vote. Do members of the House want to do something that is good for the steel sector or not?
The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister worked very hard on the new NAFTA, and it is a good agreement for all Canadians all over this country.
Obviously, we have to acknowledge its flaws. I cannot represent the riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell without addressing those. In my riding we have dairy farmers, chicken and turkey producers, and egg producers. Supply management continues to be a very important issue to them.
The only thing I can tell them is that the work of an MP is to be present in the riding. That is what is important. When the government makes decisions, it would be easy to simply tell the producers without ever meeting them that everything will be fine.
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs took the time to meet producers across the country and listen to their concerns.
It is true that we lost some market share. During negotiations around the agreement between Europe and Canada, it was not the Liberal government that was prepared to allow loopholes in supply management. It was the members who are currently seated across the way who, in 2013, were prepared to give up 1.5% of Canada's market share.
It was not the Liberal government that said it was willing to give up 3.25% of the market under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It was the Conservative government that announced it had signed an agreement on October 5, 2015, at 11:59:59 p.m. The Conservatives threw out a number that did not make any sense to the dairy industry, which nevertheless accepted it without even consulting its farmers.
I think it is important to mention that we have a duty to consult Canadians, even if our party is the one in power. It is important to talk to producers, as I did. I met with some 300 dairy farmers who were against CETA, against the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and against the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. It is important to listen to them and to make their voices heard in the House of Commons. That is exactly what I am doing this evening.
Yes, we signed an agreement with Europe. Yes, we signed a trans-Pacific partnership agreement. Yes, we signed a new agreement with the United States and Mexico. However, yes, we are always going to listen to our dairy farmers, our chicken farmers, our turkey farmers and all of our supply-managed farmers. I can only reiterate how important it is to meet with all of the representatives of our agricultural sector across the country.
The agreement between Canada and the United States is important because it helps ensure market stability. My riding is home to a large steel producer, Ivaco. This company helps support our families by employing more than 400 people.
I cannot speak enough about the great work that the United Steelworkers are doing in representing their workers back home, but also the HEICO Corporation and Ivaco, which are doing a fantastic job representing our workers back home and making sure that they have stable, long-term employment.
If there is one thing I can say about Ivaco, it is that it changed leadership at some point and the unions have changed leadership at some point, but they have always cared and they have always put their differences aside to ensure that the families back home, whether they are in L'Original, Hawkesbury or Vankleek Hill, have a steady income and a company that they can believe in. I can assure families that Ivaco and the union have worked hard to ensure that investment remains at Ivaco. It is a great deal for L'Original, Hawkesbury or Alfred.
I have under two minutes left to address my colleagues. I know they are a little surprised by my speech.
Market stability is definitely something we must keep top of mind. The Bloc Québécois should listen to this. If we do not guarantee economic stability for our voters, our employers and all our families, what other option do we have?
In closing, I want to emphasize that the economic issues in my riding, my province and Canada are extremely important to me.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, in my riding, one of the biggest challenges in this trade agreement, and actually cumulatively through the multiple trade agreements that have happened, is really impacting my dairy farmers. I have several dairy farms in my riding and the farmers are very concerned about when it will be and what the compensation is actually going to look like and of course, most important, that we see stronger protection of supply management, which provides us with safe milk and dairy products. I wonder if the member could speak a bit about how he sees this being lost and what that does to rural and remote communities.
View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2020-02-03 18:22 [p.859]
Madam Speaker, my riding of Saint John—Rothesay is 30 minutes from the town of Sussex, which has a diverse, growing, innovative and vibrant dairy industry. That industry was consulted. That industry was in the loop. We have worked with that industry to make sure that it will be protected with any changes in the agreement. That industry is satisfied with where we are. In fact, I am meeting with members from that industry this week in my office here in Ottawa, and we will continue to consult. We will continue to work with that industry and grow that industry vital to New Brunswick.