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View John Barlow Profile
CPC (AB)
View John Barlow Profile
2020-06-05 15:50
Perfect.
I'll start with number one, Mr. Chair:
That, given the committee’s letter to the Standing Committee on International Trade on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, regarding its study of Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States (CUSMA), in which the committee outlined concerns about the impact on the Canadian dairy industry of implementing CUSMA before Saturday, August 1, 2020, and since it has been made public that the implementation date will now proceed on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, the Committee send for a copy of all briefing notes, memorandums, emails and documents related to the CUSMA’s implementation date and coming into force, to be provided before Wednesday, July 1, 2020, provided that the government does its assessment and vetting in gathering and releasing the documents as it would be done through the access to information process.
View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
We talked a bit about the TPP, but can we look at the U.S. agreement as well, the USMCA, and the impact it's going to have on Canadian producers? Have we seen a cap put on how many chickens are coming in, or has it reached that limit yet?
I know that when I spoke to turkey producers back at the end of April, they were saying that there have been more turkeys imported from the U.S. than in previous years. I'm wondering if we're seeing the same with chicken.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
The point I'm making is that the sector is definitely feeling a pinch right now, but they've also felt pinches from other years. I just wanted to know if you've made any commitment to compensation to the sector for trade deals that your government negotiated with respect to CUSMA. Have you entered into any thoughts on that, yes or no?
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, Canada's dairy processors have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis and the new Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA. Some of them have incurred losses ranging from 10% to 50%, depending on the processed product.
Will the government commit to granting import permits under CUSMA to Canada's dairy processors, not retailers directly?
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, the minister seems to be missing the issue in hand. Canada's dairy processors invest hundreds of millions of dollars a year to bring high-quality products to consumers, while contributing $19 billion to GDP. Now those very processors are being asked to try to export Canadian value-added products.
Will the minister commit to giving Canada's dairy processors import permits, instead of encouraging American multinationals?
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Yesterday, we learned that in March, the Liberal government gave assurances to parliamentarians that the Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement wouldn't come into force until August 1, 2020. We now know that the agreement will come into force on July 1, 2020.
Does the Deputy Prime Minister deny that she gave assurances to parliamentarians about the effective date of the Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement?
View Jacques Gourde Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Chair, as the Deputy Prime Minister knows, the dairy industry will face significant financial losses if the agreement comes into force on July 1, 2020, rather than August 1, 2020.
Why has this government broken its commitment to August 1 as the effective date of the Canada–U.S.–Mexico Agreement?
View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
Also, I know that an impact assessment has been prepared. I wonder if we could have a copy of that for the Mercosur trade conversation that's ongoing right now with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
I'm wondering if we could also have a copy of the impact assessment for the new NAFTA. While I recognize that this was done based on a comparison with no trade agreement, I wonder if we could have an impact assessment for the old NAFTA versus the new USMCA.
View Leona Alleslev Profile
CPC (ON)
I don't need any. I'm looking.... We'll have lots of opportunity to ask you questions about them after we've had a chance to look at the documents.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
I will make a comment in my final seconds, echoing what Mr. Perron said about the threshold limits in CUSMA for certain dairy products that are exported.
We have heard resoundingly, time and time again, with respect to the dairy year starting on August 1, that they really want to see the ratification of CUSMA happen with that in mind. I hope you are very much paying attention to that.
View Richard Lehoux Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Lehoux Profile
2020-03-12 16:07
Thank you for your answer on that, Madam Minister.
I would also like to raise the topic of the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. We know that the bill to implement it is currently at third reading and that the agreement should come into force fairly quickly.
It still means very significant loopholes, especially in relation to the whole issue of sovereignty, as evidenced by the limits it imposes on our export capabilities. It's a peculiar thing because this is the first time this has happened in negotiations between Canada and other countries.
What do you think?
View Richard Lehoux Profile
CPC (QC)
View Richard Lehoux Profile
2020-03-12 16:08
You will understand, Madam Minister, that companies are very concerned. We can indeed work to develop new markets in co-operation with processors and producers, who are also very much on the lookout for these opportunities. However, the fact remains that things get much more complicated when we have to ask our neighbour to the south for authorization before we can develop new markets.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you to the panellists.
As you might imagine, this is a critical issue in many of our ridings. Certainly, I feel I'm representing ground zero of part of the crisis.
As you indicated, there are many causes. Of course, there's certainly an impact, with a 20% effect on the prices.
I understand that in 2017 there was almost a negotiated settlement. Of course, it's not clear what happened there. However, since that time, although you talk about a negotiated settlement being the preferred option, I notice that the government did not put it as a priority in the new NAFTA negotiations, nor is it in the minister's mandate letter.
Therefore, would it be reasonable to say that you believe the solution is going to be coming through this series of court challenges? Clearly, we would have anticipated seeing it as a priority for the government, either as a NAFTA priority or in the minister's mandate letter.
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Thank you, gentlemen, for your comments and for sharing this information with us.
I just have a couple questions that I will ask for a little more clarity. You spoke about the three challenges that were going through NAFTA and the two that were going through the WTO. Why are we proceeding with both NAFTA and WTO challenges? Could you talk about that a little bit?
View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Moving forward, knowing that we do have these five challenges, what will happen once we have a new agreement in place? Those that have been started under the old system and now will be.... What will that look like?
View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2020-03-11 16:14
Thank you, but I may have to respectfully disagree with some aspects of that. Kenora Forest Products, a mill in my riding, has recently closed. They indicated that the softwood lumber dispute was the primary reason; that dragged them down. It definitely is having an effect for sure, I would say.
I'll change gears slightly towards CUSMA. Hopefully, it will soon be coming into force. What sort of impact will that have in terms of continuing the negotiations of the softwood agreement?
View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2020-03-11 16:14
Obviously, this is something that impacts us greatly in Canada, and in the States maybe not to as great a degree. I suppose the direct question is this: Has there been any interest from the States in settling this dispute?
View Eric Melillo Profile
CPC (ON)
View Eric Melillo Profile
2020-03-11 16:16
Why do you feel that their industry maybe isn't willing? Is there not any incentive, at this point, in the industry? What would be their incentive for coming on board?
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
I will just squeeze one more question in.
We're seeing NAFTA go through our Parliament and the acceptance of that. We had done a lot on and there was a promise from the minister at the time to create a gender chapter within NAFTA. However, what we heard quite often from experts was that it's not just about one chapter. I mean, for women and indigenous people, you couldn't just limit it to one chapter; you had to, in much the same say that you—
View Lindsay Mathyssen Profile
NDP (ON)
All right.
In much the same way that you had to put a gender-based lens on all legislation, you would do this for international agreements, as well. What are you doing to move forward on that?
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
That's great. I am in favour of this.
We heard testimony last night and I just think of Ken, the one in softwood lumber, a finisher. He had a message but he said it never gets heard. This is a chance for that message to be heard.
I think it's a good idea. I'm in favour of it, for sure.
(Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, in light of speeding things up, I know that in the past when I was chairing, clauses were grouped when there was no controversy amongst the members. I hope you'll do that today.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I do, thank you.
The amendment that I'm moving to clause 2 is to add a definition for “indigenous peoples of Canada” to the bill . This is necessary in order to make a further amendment, which would introduce a non-derogation clause. We heard about that in the testimony from the AFN. It's consistent with the report that the Senate made on non-derogation clauses in 2007, I believe. I think this is part of the value-added detailed work that legislators can do. Particularly when we're talking about reconciliation, these are some of the things we can do to move forward on that path, which is why we're happy to be moving this amendment today.
I do have to say, in the event that we don't add the definition, that is to say, if this amendment is voted down, I don't think there would be much point in moving the subsequent amendment, which is the actual non-derogation clause, because without the definition it wouldn't make sense.
I consider us to be voting effectively on the non-derogation clause with respect to this amendment. If it fails, I won't be moving my other amendment.
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
Yes, this is one of those examples of where, if we had more time, I would like to look a much closer at it, because it may be a good idea. However, I definitely want to make sure it doesn't have any negative consequences on moving the legislation forward or create a situation where we end up being stalled or have to renegotiate.
That is my holdback on that. I'm not against it necessarily; I would just like to have more information. I would like to get that on the record right now.
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
I think the spirit is good. Is this the right place to do it? I think as a committee we automatically determine that fate among ourselves. If we decide we want to take on that review, we can do that at any point. It doesn't have to be a specific period.
In this agreement there is a review in five years, regardless. We will abstain.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I want to echo the comments about transparency. Some of the testimony we heard yesterday talked about how, at the moment, a lot of these mechanisms, whether it's getting an economic impact assessment or whether it's how we consult on trade agreements depends on the culture of the government of the day. Even when you have governments that are doing it relatively better than other governments, there's no guarantee in that. This would provide for a mandatory review.
We know there is a sunset clause. That means we are going to be looking at the agreement at some point. It would be good to have that economic information. We know that sometimes you don't get it in a timely way. That point has been belaboured here. I won't do it again. This would be a way of ensuring that we get that information in a timely way, as the negotiations open up as a result of the sunset clause in the agreement, whether people want it there or not.
That's why I'll be supporting the amendment today.
View Terry Dowdall Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Madam Chair, and I thank my colleague Chris Lewis for allowing me this time today.
As a former mayor and a deputy warden and warden of the County of Simcoe, I've had the opportunity through the years to work with the organization that is here to present today.
I want to thank you, Mr. Tully, for being here. I know you're a very busy man.
As you said at the beginning, yours is a company that's grown quite a bit through the years. We had expansions in 2011, 2012 and 2016, and in 2019, I believe it was a $12-million expansion and 35,000 square feet as well. It is a growing company.
It has done very well and in fact celebrated its 35th anniversary. It is incredible in today's economy to have that length of time. It's a large employer and, as well, during its 30-year anniversary, presented cheques of $15,000 to two local charities, the Women's and Children's Shelter of Barrie and, in Alliston, My Sister's Place. Through the years, this organization has donated much time and energy and is one of the key cogs, quite frankly, in Simcoe—Grey.
I had the opportunity through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to help with that growth you were having in the industry to build upon what you have, and I know that through the years there sometimes has been a lot of red tape from organization. As well, we had the steel policy for a while and, at the end, the buy American policy.
Certainly our party believes in free trade, and ideally with less government involvement. I just wondered if you could speak a little more on how free trade affects you and, if we could make the playing field even, how that would work.
I have another question. I know that there's a $186-billion rollout for municipalities for infrastructure projects that, from what I gather, aren't getting out there in time. Could you speak also to the amount of business you get through the cities and the municipalities, how important this is for the municipalities that need that infrastructure and how important it is for you and for your organization to grow and expand once again?
View Terry Dowdall Profile
CPC (ON)
Just to follow up on the importance of infrastructure to the City of Toronto, as an example, our large cities that need it as well, and the type of work that you're doing and how it could have an effect, the American part of it, if you're not bidding on those contracts, how it will hurt you.... All of those expansions were pretty much in line with tender contracts at the time. You do the major subway. You do the major girders that people see when they're driving in Ontario here on the 401. I don't know if you can give an update on the importance of that as well.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you.
First of all, thanks to all of our witnesses for appearing here at committee today.
I want to continue with Mr. Peréz for a moment.
I think you alluded to some examples, so I'm wondering what some of the kinds of mechanisms are that Canada might look at advocating for in trade agreements that might be able to deliver a concrete impact on the environment. In particular, we know that the United States is not a signatory to the Paris Agreement, and that's something we would like to see in the agreement. What are the kinds of mechanisms that we ought to be pitching to our international partners to try to tie environmental goals to economic goals? I think that's crucial to success on the environmental front.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Being mindful of the cost of paperwork and all that, I couldn't help but listen to one of our other witnesses who was here at committee talking about products coming up from Texas being sold at prices that undercut ours—but, of course, the other cost to something like that is the environmental cost of shipping pipe from Texas instead of buying locally.
It seems to me that, when we talk about environmental provisions and having some kind of carbon budgeting or a way of trying to account for that environmental cost, there are real issues about not having reciprocity on the pricing side, but it seems to me that there is also the issue that we don't want to be incentivizing people to get products from farther away when there are good local alternatives. There are environmental costs, and trying to work with countries to have some way of assessing those—at least for certain kinds of products or above a certain threshold—might be the kind of mechanism that we're talking about when we're talking about trying to incorporate environmental measures into a trade agreement.
I don't know what you think about that, or if you have some other concrete proposals, but I'd be glad to hear them.
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Thank you to all the witnesses for joining us today to share your perspectives.
Mr. Tully, I'm particularly interested in your experiences in bidding on U.S. government contracts. Could you walk us through the process that your company goes through when you're bidding on a U.S. government contract as opposed to a Canadian one?
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
All right. You've talked about your idea of reciprocity with domestic content preference. Were you planning that on both the federal and provincial levels in Canada? Could you explain what you had in mind for how that would work?
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-26 16:29
Madam Chair, I'll be splitting my time with Mr. Lewis.
I want to put something on the record as well. The parliamentary secretary continues to put on the record that the Democrats and the Republicans voted for this deal in the United States and, of course, they would. When the United States did their economic impact study, CUSMA was a net positive for the United States, a $68 billion net improvement.
The last time I checked, we're Canadian MPs whose job it is to analyze this agreement for Canada, and I don't know if the witnesses watched earlier, but we just got the economic impact study today from the government
The C.D. Howe organization last week was quite clear that this deal, compared to the deal we already have, is a net negative of $10 billion U.S., which is $14 billion Canadian. What we're trying to do on this side.... Mr. Jacobi, I want you to know that the deal will pass. It's going to pass this week and move into the Senate, so we are going to be moving this along, but unfortunately we have to... Well, I'm not saying “unfortunately”, but fortunately we are going to do our due diligence and make sure that for the families and businesses negatively affected by the deal, at least we'll hold the government's feet to the fire in making sure that programs and supports are there for them.
As far as Mr. Tully is concerned, you are right. Ten years ago Mr. Harper did negotiate an exemption for Canadian companies from buy American, and there was an opportunity in this agreement to do the same and, unfortunately, because of the weak leadership of our Prime Minister, he didn't do that.
I want to make that clear because I hear over and over that the Democrats and the Republicans supported this and that's why we should do. No. We're Canadian MPs. We're here to do the job for Canadians, to make sure Canadians' interests are looked after in this agreement.
Mr. Lewis.
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-26 16:31
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you to my colleague, Mr. Carrie. I echo his words.
Mr. Perez, again, this morning we finally did get an economic analysis study from the government. The interesting thing was that they did not compare it to anything. They didn't compare it to NAFTA or to the low, or how.... They didn't compare it to anything.
It might seem a bit odd, but specifically with regard climate change, the way it's written in CUSMA, we don't know if it's going to meet the targets or what it's going to do, because it wasn't compared to anything.
What would you like to see it compared to? Would you like to see it compared to NAFTA? Do you have thoughts on that front?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you very much.
Mr. Tully, I want to engage you a little bit more on the subject of reciprocity. I think that's maybe a more comfortable notion for New Democrats. In a lot of cases, we have tended to be critical of free trade.
I don't think your story is unique. We have heard from cattle producers, for instance, under CETA, who thought they were going to have unfettered market access. Indeed, dairy farmers were asked to make sacrifices in order to open that market access. Now we find out there are objections to some of the sanitizing practices here in North America, so they don't actually get that market access to Europe.
Do you think it's fair to say that governments of different stripes have been overly enthusiastic about the idea of free trade and have let that sometimes blind them to the realities of what our trading partners are doing?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Maybe I'm wrong about this, but Canada seems unique in offering pretty much unfettered market access under the auspices of a trade agreement, and in not really responding when trading partners don't provide that same access. Domestically, we're told as a political argument that “Oh well, these sacrifices are justified because we're getting equal market access”, and then in fact we hear....
Are there a lot of people in the United States saying that they can't get access to the Canadian market, that those tricky Canadians are blocking them, and likewise with Europe? I'm interested to know who your counterparts are across international borders who would be feeling the same way about Canada that Canadian businesses are feeling about some of our trading partners.
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 16:49
Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you for the opportunity to ask a few questions.
First of all, I have a clarification for the record.
Mr. Dhaliwal suggested that about $125-billion worth of infrastructure investment has gone into our economy. In fact, the most recent report from the PBO, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, says it's less than $14-billion worth. This is a 2018 report, and only $14 billion worth of infrastructure investment had actually gone into our economy. Quite frankly, I don't think the figure is that much higher since then; we would have seen a much more significant economic boost.
I have a question for you, Mr. Tully. Thank you for appearing.
The North American Free Trade Agreement could have addressed buy America provisions. This has been an ongoing problem and friction between our two countries, with the United States imposing restrictions on the opportunity for Canadian companies to participate in large infrastructure projects, while we as Canadians don't reciprocate with those kinds of restrictions on American companies doing business up here. The North American Free Trade Agreement was the perfect opportunity to fix this problem.
Are you disappointed that the agreement didn't address this issue?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 16:51
When the Prime Minister spread his arms wide open and said, "Donald Trump, I'd be glad to renegotiate NAFTA", I took him at his word when he said he was going to bring back a better deal than we had before. Sadly, the economic impact statement that was just released doesn't compare what Canada will be getting under the new agreement with what we had under the current NAFTA. It says it's the difference between what Canada would get under the new agreement and what we would have if there were no NAFTA at all, which is not the standard that was set when the TPP was negotiated. It's not the standard set for economic impact assessments when the CPTPP was negotiated. In fact, in my time as trade minister, I don't believe we ever used that as the benchmark. We always compared the new agreement to what it was like before that agreement was signed.
It's very disappointing to me that in this agreement that was supposed to be a win-win-win—those are the Prime Minister's words—we have an agreement that by any measure is actually less favourable to Canada. When the American officials talk about it, they say they finally got a much better deal out of this, implying that Canada is the loser. We lost an opportunity to address buy American provisions that continue to plague our bilateral relationship.
I have a question for Mr. Jacobi. Thank you for being so patient in waiting for this.
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 16:53
You had talked about the value of NAFTA as being a global platform for Canada to access global markets, especially in light of CETA, especially in light of the CPTPP. Could you expand on that a little bit more?
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-26 17:38
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
I want to thank all of the witnesses for being here.
I'd like to start today with Mr. McGuire. First of all, I want to thank you, sir, for all of your work and support in making sure that there is an agreement. We on this committee travelled down to the United States a few times, and it was really nice to see the support in the American business community for making sure that we got a deal done.
You made a couple of comments—I want to correct the record a bit—that there may be a delay in passing this. There was a bit of a whisper campaign in Washington that the Conservatives were trying to slow this down. If you're talking to any of your friends down there, just so you know, the Conservatives moved this through the House in six sitting days. That's compared with 16 days for the original implementation legislation, which was our Bill C-100. The Conservatives offered to do a prestudy back in the spring, but the Liberal government declined to do that before the election. We also offered to come back in early in December to deal with it, and the Liberal government declined that offer as well. I just want that to be clear. This will eventually pass, but it's not because of anybody on this side of the table slowing things down.
I want your comment on the buy American clause. Our former prime minister, Mr. Harper, was able to get a Canadian exemption from that. My understanding is that with this agreement, Mexico has an exemption and Canada doesn't.
What are your thoughts on that and what do your members think, given that many of them who buy your equipment build infrastructure, bid on infrastructure? Do you have comments on this buy American clause? We had an opportunity to negotiate it out—this is supposed to be a free trade agreement—but unfortunately we weren't successful.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-26 17:41
It was extremely disappointing to many of our stakeholders.
On the panel just before you, we had a gentleman involved in building infrastructure. He was very concerned that because the government was unable to negotiate it out of this agreement, it could be problematic for him.
Thank you for your comments on that. It's nice to see there are similar thoughts on both sides of the border. We can maybe do something to move that forward.
Mr. Neil, I want to talk to you. First of all, thank you for coming in.
We had another witness—I think you know Professor Michael Geist—who is a leading expert in the world. He's done work not only in Canada, but in the United States and the U.K. He mentioned challenges with CUSMA as well. He had a more, let's just say, grave comment. He said that we have this cultural exemption, but the cost is that we open ourselves to retaliatory tariffs. I believe he cited CUSMA article 32.6.4, which I think you mentioned in your opening remarks. There are some wording issues in 32.6.3 as well. There is a big concern that it would limit our policy options as the digital field evolves.
I am wondering if you could comment on that. I realize that you want this passed, and I understand the rationale for it. From our standpoint on this side, we are certainly not going to do anything to slow it down, but we want to do our due diligence.
In your opinion, sir, is there a fix to this glaring, I would say, failure in this agreement? Opening ourselves up to these retaliatory tariffs or limiting our policy options in the digital field and how it's evolving so quickly are problematic. Do you have a [Technical difficulty--Editor]?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you, Chair; and thank you very much to all the witnesses for appearing here today.
Ms. MacEwen, I want to go back to some of your comments about consultation. Granted, we have heard that a number of organizations typically are not satisfied with the level of consultation, more than those that feel they were more included. However, as you say, that depends upon the political culture of the day and the whims of government. It's always nice when winds tend in the right direction, but it's not the same as a guarantee.
It's something that we, in the NDP, have tried to make part of this process of talking about trade. We're happy to get some commitments from the government on making at least their initial negotiating objectives public before entering into negotiation, and having to provide an economic impact assessment—which seems like an odd victory, because you'd think it was common sense. Certainly, in a lot of other jurisdictions with which we trade, it is part of their process. We have that coming now in Canada. It's a good first step.
Could you speak a bit more about the importance of civic engagement and what it means to have, as matter of policy or law, clear expectations about what type of information Canadians can expect to get from their government with respect to trade agreement negotiation, and the difference that can make?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
We had another witness—I think it might have been the CCPA—who said that if we wanted to leverage the most possible out of the state-to-state dispute resolution mechanism, it was important to have a domestic process that essentially allows intervenors to make a case there's a good reason to pursue one of our trading partners under CUSMA. That would be an independent process and if there were a finding that there was cause to pursue this, then there would be an obligation or resources to be able to do that so that it's not just up to government or to the people with the resources to pressure government to take on their cause.
Do you have an opinion on that kind of mechanism and would other aspects of the deal be assisted by having that kind of domestic process?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 18:02
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I want to follow up on Mr. Blaikie's question about process.
Mr. McGuire, do you recall when United States legislators, members of the House, received the economic impact assessment that was done with respect to this agreement?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 18:02
If I said that it was in April 2019 and that it was actually published publicly online in April of 2019, would that sound right?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 18:03
That's where the process question comes in. The impact assessment was done for American legislators many, many months ago, before the House of Representatives actually had to vote. In fact, the House of Representatives demanded changes to the agreement, got changes to the agreement—presumably based on their reading of not only of the agreement but also the economic impact assessment—and then the matter was in Canada's hands to ratify.
Are you aware that this is our last meeting to discuss this agreement here at committee before we go to clause by clause?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 18:03
Are you aware that the department's economic impact assessment was table-dropped today for parliamentarians to review?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 18:04
Well, you understand that the process on the two sides of the border is quite different. The one on the American side clearly provided decision-makers in the United States with an opportunity to look at the agreement, look at the impact assessment, suggest additional amendments, and then ratify it. Now it's placed in our care, and we have no opportunity, quite frankly, to make further amendments. You yourself said that you're encouraging urgency; you're encouraging us to act promptly.
Now, as my colleague, Mr. Carrie, said, we want to deal with this in a respectful but deliberate way, and do our due diligence to make sure that this agreement is actually in Canada's interest. I think your organization straddles the border. It has members on both sides of the border, correct?
View Ed Fast Profile
CPC (BC)
View Ed Fast Profile
2020-02-26 18:05
I want to assure you that we are not in any way attempting to delay this agreement, but we are going to do our due diligence to the degree we're able to, based on our process here in Canada. I will tell you that, quite frankly, I'm very disappointed that it is only now, just before midnight, that we actually get the economic impact assessment from the federal government. It's shameful.
I'd like to now go to a question for Mr. Johnston, and perhaps Mr. Neil.
Michael Geist's name was mentioned, and Mr. Johnston, you have praised the extension of the copyright term from life plus 50 to life plus 70. As you probably know, Michael Geist might have a little different opinion from yours. He has said that this will be costly for Canadians, with little discernible benefit. I believe there was a Department of Industry report done a number of years ago to the same effect. The conclusion was that, ultimately, this will cost consumers more, as additional royalties are mostly sent out of country.
I'd love to have a fairly quick response from both of you, if you would.
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Ms. MacEwen, you spoke of the importance of an independent analysis of trade agreements. I very much agree with that statement. There was an independent analysis by the C.D. Howe Institute that was released last week. They had a few conclusions in that analysis. They said that, as a result of the new NAFTA agreement, Canada's GDP would go down by $14.2 billion. Exports to the United States from Canada would go down by $3.2 billion, and imports to Canada from the United States will go up by $8.6 billion. When we got the economic impact assessment from the government earlier today, it said that the agreement was fantastic, because all the numbers were going up. The reason for that is the businesses' usual case in the government's assessment was not the old NAFTA agreement, but having no free trade agreement at all with the United States or Mexico.
Given the importance of this information, I'm wondering what can be done to ensure that CUPE members and civil servants in general can always provide important, accurate, honest information to both politicians and to the public as a whole?
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
We also heard earlier today that the high-level economic analyses of this new NAFTA have been going on since at least September 2017. What can be done to ensure that even this high-level analysis can be released to the public and to politicians earlier than it has been? Preferably it would be earlier than today, as was the case.
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-26 19:31
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you very much, witnesses, for coming out this evening. It's really good to see the softwood lumber witnesses tonight. It's better late than never, not unlike the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement itself—better late than never.
I'm talking about how we got this report shortly after noon today. I've been going through it, and I see in the very first paragraph on page 2 six words that say “reduces red tape at the border”. Great.
I'll continue on to page 5—and I only got to page 5 because I only got this shortly after 12 today—where it goes on to say:
However, the gains will be partially offset by new market access to Canada's supply-managed sectors and more restrictive rules of origin for automobiles and auto parts that will likely increase auto-part production in North America but also lead to higher production costs. In particular, implementing the CUSMA outcome:....
My first question is for Ms. Hasenfratz. I heard you talk about shipping parts back and forth across the border, right? This would suggest that it's supposed to be much smoother. The C.D. Howe report suggests that there's going to be “border thickening”, as they call it.
We do know that the government has not put any extra time, effort or money into the CBSA, who will be the ones implementing this and the tariffs.
My question is twofold. Number one, are you concerned from the auto parts sector that there's going to be a potential issue at the border? Number two, the auto industry would very much like this CUSMA deferred for them to January 2021. Do you share the same ambition?
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-26 19:34
That's perfect. Thank you.
My next question is for you, Mr. Young. I listened keenly to your opening speech, which was very interesting.
How has the dispute impacted your operations? You refer to “tough choices”. Can you share a bit more about these tough choices and the asymmetrical impact of the dispute on your operations and your people?
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-26 19:35
Thank you.
Do you have a suggested wording for an amendment—I think that's what you were speaking about—and why will an amendment help again?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you.
Mr. Leblanc, a few years ago, we had a debate about Cambridge Analytica. Some of us thought the government should take a more legislative approach.
If I understand correctly, you think that will not be possible under the new agreement.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Do the data localization provisions make it harder to regulate the sale of data when the data are located in a place where our laws do not apply?
Is there a chance that Canada would not be able to regulate the use of Canadian data?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you.
I think that brings us back to some of Mr. Fay's opening remarks with regard to....
It just seems to me that sometimes people sign long-term contracts without understanding the future value of what they're signing away. It seems like a good deal now, but in 10, 20, 30 years, you know, if people didn't have the foresight or what they needed in order to be able to understand the value of what they were trading at the time, they can find that they're falling sorely behind. Is that the situation?
It seems to me that there's a lot that we don't know about what is still an emerging industry; I think that's fair to say. It seems to me that this agreement is making some pretty serious and far-reaching policy decisions without evidence that we actually know what we're really trading away at this point. Is that a fair assessment that I'm hearing from the panel today? How do you think we might try to have some domestically produced remedies that mitigate against this?
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Michael.
My question is for Mr. Beck and Mr. Waugh over there.
Given where we are at with the softwood lumber dispute, can you elaborate further on the negative impacts it will have on the first nations that you represent, as well as for any who are looking to establish new logging rights and start up a new logging company? What is the outlook with regard to that?
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
Okay, thank you.
My question is for Mr. Fay and Mr. Leblond.
Could you describe a little bit what some of the high-level public policy options are that we have in front of us to regulate digital platforms such as Facebook and Google? How would the new NAFTA agreement limit policy-makers' options?
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Chair.
Chair, before I get started, I just want to thank all of the staff, the support people who have been here these last two weeks, putting all of this together and making sure that we have everything.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Randy Hoback: We've always signalled that we're going to vote in favour of this agreement, but we've had lots of concerns about it. One concern was, of course, softwood lumber. The fact that there was a softwood lumber package put together a few years back and that we then found out that a lot of that money didn't flow was concerning. The fact is it's too late now for it to flow.
I looked at softwood lumber. In talking to some of the people right across Canada in the sector—I didn't talk to any of you, which is unfortunate, but I will now—I heard that once this is passed, there is a softwood lumber agreement sitting in the background. Have you heard the same thing?
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
The minister's been putting on a lot of pressure to get this passed, and the premiers have been putting on a lot of pressure. One tool they're using is saying there's softwood lumber sitting in behind this, so get this done and then softwood lumber will be dealt with right away. I guess I'm just trying to figure out what's real and what's not. I'm hoping they're right.
Having said that, if there isn't a deal, how do we mitigate what's going on right now? What do we need to do?
We want to get a deal. Don't get me wrong. That would be my priority one: Get a deal, solve the tariff issue and go back to business as usual and give some stability. In light of that, what do we do?
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
Is there a long-term replacement, with some of the new trade deals such as CETA, the TPP and that?
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you for bringing this forward. You know, I'm very disappointed; I asked for a chance to have a look at this last night so that I could at least consider it overnight. To have it dropped on us five minutes before the committee meeting is totally disrespectful of the opposition role that we have to play. I will make that protest loudly, right now. There is no reason this couldn't have been given to us last night.
When was this completed? When was this done and on your desk? I will be making an ATI request on that, just so you know.
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
I could have gotten it at two in the morning and would have read it. This is a big deal. This is $2 billion a day.
When were you empowered to take on this study? When were you told, “Okay, we have to do the study”?
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
Okay, but the negotiations were basically done last April. In fact, if you compare it with the TPP, we had the analysis on February 16, 2018, and then we approved it on June 14, 2018. This government wants us to look at it for five minutes and go and give them a blank statement.
We are going to approve it. We are. We recognize the harm if we don't approve it. We get that. But your comparison is with something not being approved—that is, if the U.S. pulled out. I was looking for a comparison with the old agreement and the gains in the new agreement. I was looking for the industries and sectors that would be negatively impacted so that we could have a proper game plan for them. The question was never whether the U.S. pulled out. That's never been the question. So why would you do an analysis against something that will never happen? Why wouldn't you compare it with the existing agreement and where we're going with the new agreement?
View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
Again, in making decisions while sitting around a board table, I would have gone back to my senior management team and said this was unacceptable. Plus, for us to make a proper decision, we have to compare it with what we know, and what we know today. You cannot guess what the U.S. may or may not do. You don't know that. You're assuming that. It's a strong assumption. Maybe it's a safe one, but it's a strong assumption.
You know what you have today. You know what you have in the new agreement. You do an analysis to compare the two. In the new agreement, we gained how many jobs? Well, you can't do that. You're comparing it with no agreement. In the new agreement, how much is added to our economic activity? I don't have that here. In the new agreement, how much is gained in the environmental chapter? Again, you're comparing it with nothing. If I look at the C.D. Howe report, it's a $10-billion hit. It has negative effect on GDP. If I compare it with the TPP, if we'd done TPP instead of NAFTA, it's a $4-billion gain for Canada with the U.S. involved in TPP. So I look at this and say, “How do I take this information and actually give it an accurate assessment?" I can't. You didn't give me the right starting point. I go to the government....
We haven't played games here. We've said that we're going to pass it. We're going to move forward. But we need the information to do that properly. You haven't provided that. You haven't provided yourself with the information. That's really scary, because it's $2 billion a day. Yes, we're going to approve it. I guess, comparing it with nothing, we know that this is still a better way, but we've done nothing for the sectors that are left out. You haven't even identified them in your report. I'm wondering how I go to the Liberals now and say, “You need to be accountable to help the forestry workers. You need to be accountable to help the dairy workers. You need to be accountable to help the aluminum workers.” I have nothing to do that on, based off this report.
I don't mean to be hard on you, and I apologize. I know that you have your starting points and stuff like that. I'm sure there's a good political reason why you did it the way you did. I realize that you probably didn't make that decision—the gods above you did—so don't take that wrong. The reality is that if we don't have good data, how do we make good decisions? The reality is that right now we can't make a good decision based on this data. Which report do I go with? Is C.D. Howe more accurate or is the U.S. data more accurate? If you compare those with this here...wow.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you.
I think it is important to start with an expression of some serious frustration that we didn't get this document earlier, not just earlier than this meeting to allow us to prepare for this meeting, but earlier in the process generally. That is why the NDP undertook to negotiate with the government to change the policy to ensure that, going forward, economic impact assessments are tabled coincident with ratifying legislation to give parliamentarians time to absorb this information. Then we'd be able to ask better questions and get some clarity on negotiation objectives and whom we're actually negotiating with, because sometimes that hasn't always been clear. I think those changes will serve parliamentarians well, but also members of civil society and Canadians who watch the trade file closely.
That said, I'm perplexed at the amount of time it took to prepare this document. Here I think of the U.S. having produced, not just a much longer document, but also, as we heard today, a document with a level of analysis we weren't able to duplicate here in Canada. I just heard that today. It's disappointing, I would say, because it's not as if the U.S. report was just tabled this afternoon. It goes back to April 2019. We knew what kind of analysis the Americans were undertaking. We had a signed agreement. Now it's changed. Democrats in the United States were able to succeed in making some improvements.
Am I to understand that Global Affairs hadn't begun work on a number of the...? I ask because there's a lot in the agreement that's the same between the two versions, the one that preceded the December agreement of last year and the December agreement itself. If most of the agreement is the same, and it is, then how is it that we could get to December—never mind December but February 2020—and not have most of that economic analysis complete?
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I have a further question, if you don't mind.
As negotiations proceeded, we certainly saw that things were changing after the signing of the first agreement, but even during the negotiation of the original agreement itself, it seems to me, looking at from the outside, that the negotiators aren't asking the economists in government to prepare any economic analysis while the negotiations are happening. So our negotiators don't have economic impact assessment data and analysis at their fingertips when they're deciding what they're going to agree to or not, on behalf of Canadians.
That seems incredible to me.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
I'm glad to hear that there is some of that back and forth, but I am curious how that doesn't provide a sufficient basis for an economic impact study if that analysis is already being done as we evaluate items at the table and decide whether to agree or not. How is it not possible to collate a lot of that information into a kind of interim economic analysis or some kind of preliminary document that would help people here and across the country start the work of trying to understand what I'm glad to hear negotiators do already understand? You wouldn't know it by the quantity of information coming out of government.
That's where I'm perplexed. It's not just in the case of Canada-U.S. We know that our European trading partners do an economic analysis at the outset before they start negotiation about possible scenarios.
It's concerning to me that Canada doesn't appear to do that work, and if the work is being done, I don't understand why it's not possible to produce at least a version of something that could be released publicly to start providing some of that food for thought and to inform some of the discussions that happen, whether they're on the aluminum sector or on softwood lumber—you name the sector that's going to be affected. If the information is already there—and I hope it is and I'm hearing it is—I don't see why it isn't possible to release more information earlier on.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-26 13:19
Thank you for being here, Madame Paquet.
I'm upset and frustrated today, but not upset at you, if I come across a little upset.
In response the question by my colleague on what date you started working on this assessment, you implied to Mr. Blaikie that it's been going on for a long time.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-26 13:19
That's all I need. So it was there, and as Mr. Blaikie states, nobody around the table believes that the Prime Minister and the minister would sign on to an agreement without having some facts in front of them. You mentioned that this is a process you go through. Nobody politically says you need to do it; it's just something you do.
I want to look at your record and what you did in the past. The TPP was signed on February 4, 2016. You made the economic impact analysis of that available on March 16, so it was within a month. The CPTPP was signed on March 8, 2018. You had the economic analysis of that released on February 16, 2018, a month beforehand.
We're stumped because my colleague Mr. Hoback was asking the government way back in the spring to do a prestudy on it. By your own historic numbers, even if you take the date that we asked for this in December—but we didn't just ask for the full study, we just wanted advice and documents, perhaps the advice to the minister—we got nothing until literally 20 minutes before you're here.
We were told by the Prime Minister and the minister before the election, which was.... Okay, they knew what was going on here because the agreement for CUSMA was signed on November 30, 2018. So I would have thought with your bureaucratic processes, you would have had a really good idea within a month or two of what this meant for Canadians, and yet it wasn't released by the government. I wonder why this was held from Canadians before the election.
Do you have any idea why?
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-26 13:21
Absolutely. Mr. Verheul, I only have five minutes here. With this timeline I am outraged, okay, because in the past, historically, the Canadian government has done a good job of getting these documents out to Canadians. We had the C.D. Howe report. Again, I disagree with the premise of your analysis here. The C.D. Howe report said this is going to be a $10-billion hit compared with what we had before, which is $14 billion Canadian. It works out to about $1,500 per family.
We know that when this government started, there was an agreement in place. Here, I applaud Mr. Verheul. I think he's a genius as far as negotiations are concerned. The original TPP would have had a positive impact, $4.3 billion. Our Prime Minister decided not to sign it because it wasn't progressive enough. It was 14 months before Mr. Trump was even in office, and now we're being asked to rush this through, which is important. Even C.D. Howe said that if we didn't do this deal, it would be a hit to us even worse than this. I think they said $14 billion U.S., or something along those lines.
My comment is, why didn't we know? If this was signed in November 2018, we could quote the Prime Minister saying it's a win-win-win. It's a victory for Canadians. It's a better deal. They knew.
You didn't just start this analysis in December when we asked for it, so was there any direction to you not to provide documents to this committee?
Madame Paquet.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2020-02-26 13:23
I have 15 seconds. Like I said, if were able to do that with the TPP, if you were able to make it available a month ahead with the CPTPP—and in this case, CUSMA was signed on November 30, 2018—nobody believes that you could not have given any documentation to this committee. Nobody believes that for one minute. We're wondering why not. Why was this not provided to us before the election?
I'm going to have to leave it at that. That's the best I can do today.
I do appreciate your being here. I want you to know that I'm not upset at you, because I know you do a good job. I'm not upset at Mr. Verheul because he has done an amazing job—
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-26 13:28
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I won't go into my disappointment because my colleagues have done a very good job at that, but you need to know, just like Mr. Carrie said....
I don't know if I'm disappointed or if I'm kind of blown away, because I've been part of a lot of trade deals, a lot of business deals over my time. Never have I ever come out of a business deal and said, “I think this is a great deal, but I don't really know how it's going to hit my pocketbook.” Never. It really makes absolutely no sense to me at all.
I believe you mentioned that you actually did have an impact statement done before this trade deal was done. Did I hear that correctly, Mr. Verheul?
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-26 13:29
I think this committee deserves that paperwork, at the very least.
Would it be fair to say that the only way that you could make the numbers look good in this economic impact analysis statement would be to compare CUSMA to having no deal at all?
I'm trying to get through my brain what you're comparing this with, but I have to assume it's all about the numbers and making them look good. Is that a fair statement?
View Chris Lewis Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chris Lewis Profile
2020-02-26 13:31
Thank you.
For everyone, this is the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, and this here is the economic impact assessment text that what we got today. This has been done since April 2019, and this text here is what we got 20 minutes before we arrived. I believe somebody is hiding something. I have to believe that.
The last point I'll make is that though I don't much agree with what the Prime Minister does on a lot of different things, I have to agree that there's enough intelligence there that he did have some kind of a statement in his hands to know if it was a good deal for Canada before November 30, 2018. God help us if he didn't.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
View Daniel Blaikie Profile
NDP (MB)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I apologize for being unable to ask more targeted questions.
I am interested in the difference between the findings of your studies and those of C.D. Howe Institute.
Can you explain to us the difference between the methodologies or data used, which lead to two fairly different conclusions?
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you.
I only have two minutes. The document you've produced is an economic impact assessment comparing the complete elimination of the old NAFTA versus the new CUSMA that we have now. Could you do an economic impact assessment comparing the new CUSMA to Canada's just staying with the old NAFTA in a business as usual scenario?
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
No, I appreciate that, but could you produce the document and provide it to the committee so that at least the Senate committee could study the matter before ratifying the final deal?
An hon. member: That's a good question.
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
Okay, but it could be done, and it could be provided if you were directed to do so. Is that fair?
View Michael Kram Profile
CPC (SK)
Were you directed by the Prime Minister's Office or Minister Freeland's office to do the assessment the way you did it and not to compare it with the old NAFTA?
View Richard Martel Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
My thanks to the witnesses who are with us today.
Traceability is very important. We are well aware of that and we would like it to be a little more robust.
My question goes to the two witnesses from my region.
In your opinion, is it because of CUSMA that $6 billion in investments in Quebec are compromised?
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