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Results: 1 - 15 of 48
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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