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Results: 1 - 30 of 68
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2020-02-18 13:00 [p.1143]
Mr. Speaker, I have heard different speeches discussing 15 weeks to 26 weeks to 50 weeks. Does the member agree that perhaps there is no one answer to fit everybody? I had a family member who had cancer and lost her battle with it. She could not work for two and a half years. I know we have done things with maternity leave like spread out the unemployment to a year and a half versus a year.
Would it not be the best path for something like this to go to committee? Members could examine it and come back with some good, firm recommendations. It is not just about looking after people for one year because, as I said, it was two and a half years that somebody could not work. She did qualify for other benefits, but still, there was no EI or anything like that.
Could the member comment on that?
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2020-02-18 18:24 [p.1192]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak to the motion today before the House. I will be sharing my time with the member for Alfred-Pellan and I certainly want to acknowledge the member opposite who brought forward this motion for debate. It is a very important motion. I would also like to acknowledge all of the members in this House who rose today to participate in debate.
I first want to say that unemployment insurance benefits, or employment insurance, as we call it these days, is a critical program to workers all across Canada. Anyone who represents a rural riding in the north realizes how very critical that program is, not just for seasonal workers but for all people who need income during times of work loss.
This particular issue is one that hits at the heart and the home of many parliamentarians. All of us at some point in our careers have had to deal with families and family members going through sicknesses and illnesses who needed to take time off and take leave from their jobs to be able to care for themselves or someone they love.
We also know that the employment insurance program in Canada is a last resort for many. We know that, and we have recognized it as a government. In the time we have been in office in this chamber as the Government of Canada, our party has introduced and made fundamental changes to the employment insurance program to be able to protect workers and their families. We know how important it is, and therefore we have been able to reflect upon their requests and their needs and what is in their best interests.
We also know that many times workers cannot help the fact that they lose their jobs, get sick or have others around them who need their care. Therefore, having that support program is critical to them and the people they love.
In the 2018 budget, we were able to ensure that not only did we have an EI program there for Canadians when they needed it, but we also extended the period that people could work while on a claim, which helped so many families in Canada. It allowed maternity and sick benefits so that mothers who were dealing with an illness or injury would have greater flexibility and could pace their return to work in a way that was better suited to them. The EI benefit program allowed them to do that.
We also introduced a new five-week employment insurance, a shared parental benefit, and I know many families in my riding who have used that benefit, along with families in ridings represented by others here. It gave both parents the opportunity to share some of that parental leave when they most needed to be with their young children.
We also know these proposed new benefits, which did not exist before, are going to provide for greater flexibility, especially to the moms, and allow them to have that ability to choose when they return to work and to be able to adapt to a schedule that met their family's needs.
In 2017, we also introduced a new EI caregiving benefit. That benefit was well debated, not only in the House but also among our caucus and among Canadians. At the time, there was no benefit for those who had aging parents or family members who needed care, and they could not take leave to provide it. We made way for the 15 weeks, which allowed them temporary leave from their work to support a family member who was critically ill or injured.
That program is working. We have had many conversations with Canadians about how we can provide more improvements in that program and be more accommodating to them. That is why we continue to consult: It is so that we can improve the programs and benefits we provide.
We also have seen many parents of critically ill children who have been able to collect up to 35 weeks of benefits at a time when they needed it most in their lives. That program has been extended to very many Canadian families at a time when they were in dire straits and in a situation no family would want to be in.
I know that our government also took many steps to improve the EI program as it related to seasonal workers. I hear my colleague talking about the black hole in the EI program. Those of us who represent seasonal industries and workers in seasonal industries know all too well what that means. We also know that there are ways to bridge that gap, and we can do it under certain reforms of this program. We announced a pilot project last year in certain regions of Canada. We have been testing how those benefits can best work, but we need to continue to provide those reliable supports for seasonal workers. In order to do that, we will continue to work with them and discuss with them ways we can improve the program. We will continue to collect the data we need to ensure that we are putting the right programs in place.
I know that many health advocates out there, including the Canadian Cancer Society, have called for longer terms for EI sickness and EI benefits in order to better support those individuals and families who have longer recovery periods from illness. I am a cancer survivor. I went through surgery. I went through six months of chemotherapy. I went through radiation treatment. I was in a position where I did not have to turn to EI benefits, and I was very fortunate. That was because I had a job that allowed me to transition through that period in my life. However, it was also in that period in my life that I met many families that were having tremendous difficulty navigating through a serious illness, having to take leave from their jobs and the financial pressure that went along with it. It was during that time that I started to advocate for changes in the EI program. I am proud to say that today our government will move from 15 to 26 weeks to allow for extended benefits to families that need it.
I think what we have here today is a recognition, both by the Bloc and by our government, of that need existing out there, and a recognition that families are looking to us for that support, that compassion and that endorsement at that particular time in their life. I think where we disagree is on the number of weeks that should be provided, whether it should be 26 weeks, 15 weeks, 20 weeks or 50 weeks, whatever the case may be. However, if we look at the analysis that was done by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, we are falling in line with their recommendation to extend benefits to 26 weeks for Canadian families.
One of the saddest situations I ran into at that particular time, and a situation that I continue to run into in my riding, is families with sick children. In my case, in the north where I live, these children have to be flown out for treatment, to go to hospitals and to have tests done. If they are diagnosed with a serious illness or a disease that requires several weeks of treatment, the parents are required to take leave from work and to live away from home, so financial stress comes into the equation, along with the stress of caring for their children.
That is why we have recognized that situation. We have recognized it, and it is the reason we are allowing for the 26-week benefit period. It is so that families that are in that situation right now, going through those difficult times in their life, are able to have the support they need. We may disagree on whether it should be 26 weeks or longer or less, but one thing is certain: The data that we have been given indicate that where we are today, at 15 weeks, is not meeting the needs of those families. As a government, we have recognized that. We have been very compassionate in the work that we have done. Our hearts break for those families.
We know that we need to step up and do more, and that is why we are stepping up to do more. I firmly believe that by taking these extra steps today, we will help many Canadian families to be able to take leave from their jobs and get EI benefits for up to 26 weeks while they go through treatment and care for sickness and illness. I also believe that as a government, we have a responsibility to continue to listen to Canadians, continue to review the programs and policies we have, listen to our colleagues in the House and the debates that they have, and hopefully at some point continue to make those programs better for all Canadians.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2020-02-18 18:36 [p.1193]
Madam Speaker, what we need to be clear about is that no analysis has been done in terms of what the captured clientele is or the number of Canadians we help, or the cost of providing the 50 weeks being quoted. I have not seen any data that reflect that.
What I have seen is what is reflected in the 26 weeks, what it will cost the government to provide that service and how many Canadians will be able to avail themselves of it, based on previous data and numbers. We feel that we need to make the move to 26 weeks of EI benefits for individuals who are sick and need to collect EI. Fifteen weeks is not enough.
We know that increasing it to 26 weeks will provide benefits to many Canadians who are dealing with health care needs in hospitals and at home and will allow them to have financial security to a certain degree while they recover.
The analysis of whether that is going to be enough, or whether we need to extend it further, is something I have not had access to. If the hon. member has the analysis, maybe she should provide it to all of us in the House of Commons.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2020-02-18 18:38 [p.1194]
Madam Speaker, I know my colleague from Fleetwood—Port Kells has been a very strong advocate for the particular issue he raises today, that many of the patients who have become disabled do not have the benefits they feel they need in order to have financial security in their lives. His petition is proposing to look at alternative sources.
As a government and as Canadians, we have always accepted the responsibility of looking after each other and caring for each other in any way we possibly can within our means. I would suggest that looking for new and innovative ways to meet those target goals, and to be able to provide that care for many Canadians, is a direction in which we need to look.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-07 10:46 [p.1079]
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I get the enthusiasm of the member wanting to talk about matters dealing with the oil industry in Alberta, but I am just wondering what relevance it has to Bill C-3, which is the matter we are debating in the House today.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-07 11:12 [p.1084]
Madam Speaker, on January 17 a record-breaking blizzard hit Newfoundland and Labrador. The storm shut down many communities, including in the St. John's area, where the state of emergency lasted eight days. Under state of emergency laws, businesses were legally prevented from opening and streets were closed to traffic, preventing people from working. Many low-income workers lost up to a week's income, leaving people struggling to pay for rent and utilities. Lost revenue also hurt small businesses and restaurants.
The federal disaster assistance program supports provinces dealing with large-scale natural disasters, but specifically excludes loss of income.
We need the government to act now to allocate resources to support the people and businesses suffering the consequences of this storm and to look at establishing a permanent program to address lost income. The effects of climate change could lead to many more disasters of this magnitude and worse in the years to come.
Those who can least afford to endure the loss of income should not be the ones forced to bear it. If there is no existing program—
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2020-02-07 11:54 [p.1092]
Madam Speaker, I am also from a rural community and understand the challenge of broadband. Our government is focused on improving the quality, coverage and price of telecom services to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We know we need the services for health, business, tourism and, of course, education.
Our previous program is finishing up. I look forward to working with the member opposite at any time if he has ideas on how we can advance the broadband file further.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-07 12:01 [p.1094]
Madam Speaker, the recent snowstorm that hit Newfoundland and Labrador shut down entire communities. Small business owners lost revenue and many workers, especially hourly and low-wage earners, lost a week's pay. The Liberals campaigned on a promise to help with lost income in case of disaster but we have not seen any action yet. Workers in my province need help now. Climate change will lead to more disasters like this.
Will the Liberals deliver on their promise and help those who need it right now?
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-07 12:12 [p.1096]
Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to also present a petition from Canadians who are concerned about climate change and who call on the government to support Motion No. 1, a made-in-Canada green new deal, which calls on Canada to take bold and rapid action to tackle the climate emergency, address the worsening socio-economic and racial inequalities at the same time and to support workers impacted by the transition in the shift to a clean and renewable energy economy.
This crisis is real and it is approaching. We need to have a plan that will work and, at the same time, ensure that people who will be affected by climate change are supported in the transition to a green economy.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-04 12:50 [p.890]
Mr. Speaker, this is a very disturbing case. I want to outline the fact that the Parole Board was certainly aware that this individual had been given the permission to meet women, “only for the purpose of responding to [his] sexual needs”, since he had been granted parole in March 2019. It continued over this period of time, and in September the board recognized that they did not agree with the appropriateness of the strategy. However, they went ahead and continued this, so it deserves condemnation.
Bill C-5 was tabled this morning by the government to ensure that judges are familiar with, and have proper continuing education on, matters related to sexual assault law and the social context.
Does the parliamentary secretary agree that it is appropriate for the Parole Board members and for the committee on public safety to insist that there be appropriate training for Parole Board members and officials, to ensure that they are aware of the fact that this kind of case is rooted in misogyny and the devaluation of the lives of women in general and, in this case, sex workers in particular?
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-04 13:04 [p.892]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I listened to the hon. member's response to my colleague's question, and he made a very unparliamentary remark. He seems to be suggesting that the hon. member asked this question because she had a particular interest in a certain line of work. That is insulting and unparliamentary, notwithstanding the fact that the hon. member recognized that sex workers who are in great danger in this country are, in fact, workers.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I will take this opportunity to answer the question by addressing the court's ruling today on TMX, because we know that in Canada in the 21st century, good projects can only move forward when we consult and address environmental concerns and the concerns of indigenous communities and local communities.
We know that there are a lot of diverse views on TMX. We know that there are a lot of divergent views on today's decision, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to TMX and to seeing that it moves forward in the right way by rolling up our sleeves and by doing the hard work. We are getting this project built.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, today, work on the greater Edmonton pipeline construction is under way. Work at the Edmonton terminal and the Kamloops terminal is under way. Work at stockpile sites at North Gate, Merritt, Enoch Cree and Edson is under way. Work at pump stations in Edson, Hinton and Black Pines is under way.
TMX is being built.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-02-04 16:09 [p.922]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Conservatives for bringing this opposition day motion forward today. It gives us an opportunity to rightfully condemn this decision and to ensure that we take measures to prevent it from happening again.
Would the hon. member care to comment on the fact that this individual was attending a massage parlour that he had been banned from for violence against the women there, and it was impossible for them to report that violence because operating that place was, in fact, a crime brought in by the current government? This individual's parole could have easily been revoked because of this, but that did not happen.
Does he not agree that something needs to be done about that law?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2020-02-04 16:37 [p.926]
Madam Speaker, there has been a lot of bantering back and forth about who should have done what or what should have happened to prevent this, tying it to the fault of the government or someone else. I agree that a mistake was made somewhere and there should be an investigation into what exactly happened.
However, does the member opposite believe the government should be involved directly with the decisions of the Parole Board in all cases going forward, especially those involving serious crimes?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2020-02-04 16:51 [p.928]
Madam Speaker, yes, committees are their own masters. They can steer whichever way they want to go. However, I wonder if at the end of the day there should be something that comes back, not just on what went wrong in this particular situation, but on what is going wrong with people involved in the sex work business. Should there be some protections given to people involved in that particular job or environment, not just to the person providing the service? Should we be trying to criminalize more the people seeking those services?
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2020-02-04 18:00 [p.937]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her intervention on this horrific event that is up for debate here today in the motion.
I am wondering about one thing. There is a lot of finger-pointing going on as to who is responsible for this person making this decision or that person making another decision. If a nurse is being integrated into a new role in a hospital, maybe an ICU unit or something, there is certain training provided beforehand and ongoing at all times.
I believe we as government members have said loudly and clearly that we support the intent of this motion. The member keeps saying that the government has to do this and do that. Is the member suggesting that the government itself be involved with the Parole Board decision when people who commit these horrific crimes are up for parole, when the government put them in that position to start with? Should the government have a say in what the Parole Board does or does not do?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, over one billion people around the world suffer from neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs.
They are diseases that we as Canadians do not always think about, but they have a major impact on some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. NTDs are complex and not always easily overcome. They can cause additional illnesses, disability, disfigurement, stigma and social isolation, and these can lead to lost opportunities for development in children and socio-economic problems for those infected and their families.
However, there is hope. Thanks to co-ordinated global efforts, progress is being made. Medicines and partnerships are available and advancements continue. Yesterday was World NTD Day. I would like to commend the devoted Canadians who are working diligently on behalf of those suffering from NTDs.
I know that Canada, and everyone in this House, will continue to play a leadership role in health policy around the world to end neglected tropical diseases and bring hope and health to everyone.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his well-delivered, well-thought-out speech, and I agree with him on practically 95% of it. However, in a minority Parliament, God forbid that I dwell on the 5%, so let us take a look at the 95% that I agree with.
I have been involved with the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association and have been through the CETA negotiations with the EU, and one of the most contentious items I have dealt with over the years was dispute settlement. Let us be honest: A country of our size can punch way above its weight when it comes to international agreements on free trade and many other multilateral agreements.
I want to get the member's comments on the importance of having a dispute settlement mechanism in this agreement, as well as in CETA, in order for us as a small nation to go one step above.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2020-01-31 13:54 [p.786]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak to Bill C-4 today in the House of Commons. The Canada-United States-Mexico trade deal is legislation we are all very proud of. I want to start by complimenting the minister on the tremendous work she has done and for the time, dedication and commitment to Canada in every line and chapter in the agreement.
This is the first occasion I have had since the election for me to thank the people of my riding for supporting me and electing me to the House of Commons to represent them in this mandate. I want to thank them for having confidence in me and for supporting the agenda we have worked on together for the people of Labrador. I certainly want to thank the many volunteers who worked on my campaign and all campaigns. As parliamentarians, we know how important it is to have the support of communities and individuals. Their work is so valuable in getting our messages out during the election.
As most members know, I come from a province that is hugely dependent on oil and gas development. We are very proud of the industry we have built. We know that energy within Canada in itself is an industry that has allowed our country to grow. It is a huge export commodity. It is one of the pieces dealt with throughout the trade agreement with the United States and Mexico.
I represent a riding that is not only one of the largest producers of hydro development power in Canada, but also through our partnerships with Hydro-Québec, we are able to see a lot of that export of power going into the United States as well. My riding is also the largest exporter of iron ore in Canada and one of the largest exporters of nickel. We know how important it is to have good trade agreements. We know how important it is to have strong allies and strong export markets. That translates into jobs at home and a stronger economy. It also helps so many families in many industrial sectors.
This is a remarkable time in Canada as we enter into this Canada-United States-Mexico agreement. I believe the outcomes in this agreement are good for all Canadians in every sector.
I want to talk about the energy sector because it is one of the sectors that is critically important to both the Canadian and North American economies. Our natural resources place Canada among the largest energy producers in the world. I am very happy to represent a riding and province that contribute in a major way to that energy production in the world market.
In 2018, Canada's energy sector directly employed more than 270,000 people. It indirectly supported over 550,000 jobs, which is quite substantial in terms of the employment generated through this particular sector. Including indirect activities, the sector accounts for 11% of the nominal gross domestic product of the country. Therefore, it was important that a key objective in the negotiations was to address the needs of the sector. This had to be a priority.
Provisions that govern trade in energy goods in Canada, as well as in other regions, are found throughout all of the agreement. It is not just in one particular chapter. It is spoken to in various places throughout the agreement.
It speaks to a number of things. One is national treatment and the other is market access, which we have heard a lot about with many other resource sectors. It speaks to the rules of origin for the energy sector, customs and trade facilitation, as well as cross-border trade in both services and investment.
Commitments from the original NAFTA agreement were brought forward to ensure that exports of Canadian energy products would continue to benefit from duty-free treatment in both the United States and Mexico, which was critical to the industry. Likewise, imports of energy products into Canada will continue to be duty free as well, ensuring that importers have access to these products without the extra cost of tariffs. We know how critical that is to the survival and stability of those investors and those resource sectors.
I am not going to expand upon each of those sectors, but I want to expand on the rules of origin, because the CUSMA addresses a long-standing request that had been there from Canadian industry. That was to resolve a very technical issue that was related to the use of diluent, a petroleum-based liquid that is often added to crude oil to ensure that it flows properly through pipelines. The issue had previously added upwards of $60 million a year in duties and other fees to our exporters in Canada, which was a burden. It was felt to be unnecessary, and they lobbied for a long time to have that removed because it was a huge cost to Canadian businesses. Under the new agreement, that particular issue around the rules of origin was dealt with, allowing the energy sector in Canada to gain financially from that change.
In addition to the provisions that govern energy that are found across the agreement, both Canada and the United States also agreed to a bilateral side letter on energy co-operation and transparency. I mention that because the United States, as we have all said and recognized many times, is Canada's most important trading partner when it comes to energy, as it is for many other resource sectors. The U.S. also accounted for 89% of our total energy exports in 2018. That is 89% of our total exports.
Due to the importance and integrated nature of this relationship, the CUSMA includes new provisions on energy regulatory measures and regulatory transparency that are tailored directly to trading needs between Canada and the United States. The side letter that was signed committed to provisions that would help Canadian stakeholders with more assurances and transparency with respect to the authorization process and allow them to participate in the energy sector in the United States.
Both parties have agreed to publish this information now. They have agreed to an application process, have agreed on monetary payments and have agreed on timelines. All of this is providing for stability and certainty in the industry. It is giving investors the opportunity to make important deals in full knowledge of the scope and lay of the land and without being exposed to unexpected changes. This in itself was key for the industry, and it is one of the pieces that they have been very pleased to see negotiated directly between Canada and the United States.
I know I am running out of time and that we have to conclude, but I am happy to resume this debate and talk more about the energy sector and the export sector under this agreement at another time.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2020-01-31 14:05 [p.788]
Madam Speaker, it is important to point out that one of the notable differences between the NAFTA agreement and the modernized agreement that we have now is that under this new agreement, the clause which speaks to the proportionality of energy exports is one of the things that was changed.
Basically, up until now, we were obligated to provide the United States with the opportunity to maintain proportionate volumes of Canadian supply, based on recent export levels. While the provision was never invoked, it eliminated a lot of the abilities that Canada had.
The new agreement reaffirms Canada's sovereignty over its energy resources and allows us to do this without consent or needing to seek the permission of the United States.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2020-01-31 14:08 [p.788]
Madam Speaker, I understand the perspective from which the hon. member asked the question.
However, it is important to note that under the old NAFTA agreement one of those provisions was the energy proportionality clause. It was restrictive and it was a concern for Canadians because we were actually obligated to provide the United States with the opportunity to maintain proportionate volumes of Canadian supply based on recent export levels. Not only members in the House, but others in the country in the energy sector, sought to ensure that the clause was changed so that those provisions would no longer exist.
The minister was very effective and very firm in her negotiations, ensuring that the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement would reaffirm Canada's sovereignty over its energy resources and that this particular clause would no longer prevail.
In my opinion it was a huge success in modernizing this agreement and it is a tremendous benefit for Canadians.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2020-01-30 16:33 [p.729]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough—Guildwood.
As this is the first time I am rising in the House in the 43rd Parliament, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank the wonderful constituents of Long Range Mountains for re-electing me and returning me to this place to work on their behalf. The support from each and every community, of which I have well over 200, is greatly appreciated. To my many volunteers, friends, and most of all my family, my heartfelt thanks.
Congratulations, Mr. Speaker and all of my colleagues in the House, on being elected. Working together, we can accomplish so much for this magnificent country we are blessed to call home.
I am pleased today to speak about the new Canada-United States-Mexico agreement and highlight its benefits for Canada's agriculture and agri-food industries.
In my riding of Long Range Mountains, along the western coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, one will find dairy and beef cattle farms and sheep and goat farms of all sizes. All of these are found in the rural parts of my riding and they are a mixture of small family-run businesses and large enterprises.
One will find as well innovative produce and grain growers, many using hydroponic techniques and environmentally friendly practices. Of course the fishery is a traditional and vital part of my riding and my province, and both the fishers and the fish processors are excited about this new trade deal and the benefit it will have in my riding and the country.
Our farmers and food processors not only put food on our tables, they drive our economy. They contributed over $68.6 billion to our gross domestic food product in 2018 and $61.6 billion in agricultural exports. They contributed over $13.4 billion to our trade balance and they supported over 550,000 jobs in agriculture and agri-food in 2018 alone. The majority of those jobs are in rural Canada.
The government's ambitious agenda for agriculture includes a strong focus on trade. Canada has always been a trading nation, and our farmers depend on trade. They export about half of the value of their production. Canadian canola and soybean growers depend on trade for 80% of their sales. Wheat growers export 70% of their product and pork producers 67%. That is why we can and must engage in international trade, and that is why our government has big plans for agricultural trade.
Our exports hit a new record in 2018, but we are not stopping there. We have set our sights on $75 billion in agricultural exports by 2025. The report of the agri-food economic strategy table has challenged us to think even bigger, proposing a target of $85 billion.
To help us get there, over the last five years the government has concluded and implemented two major trade deals: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, CETA, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, CPTPP. Together these gold standard agreements have opened new markets for our farmers and food processors. These agreements are part of our government's strong strategy to strengthen and diversify our trade.
CETA has been provisionally applied since September 2017. Canadian farmers and food processors are already taking advantage of access to the world's single largest market for food.
A second major milestone in trade was the one-year anniversary of the CPTPP on December 30, 2019. The CPTPP strengthens and diversifies Canada's trade and investment position with some of the world's fastest-growing economies. A wide range of Canadian agriculture and agri-food products are already benefiting from reduced tariffs, from pork to beef, blueberries to icewine, canola to pulses, and lobster to salmon.
Our government pushed hard for Canada to be among the first six nations to ratify this landmark agreement. That means Canadian farmers will be among the first to benefit from new sales in the CPTPP countries. For example, our wheat growers are now able to take advantage of Japan's Canada-specific quota for food wheat.
While it is still too early to measure the full impact of the CPTPP, early signs of success are evident. For example, Canadian exports of pork to Japan increased by 10.8% and exports of beef grew by 68% during the first 11 months of the CPTPP alone. That is an incredible increase.
While diversifying our agricultural trade, we are also securing our business with our largest trading partner through the new NAFTA. The North American trading zone is vital for our farmers and our food processors.
Under the 25 years of NAFTA, our nominal GDP has tripled. Meanwhile, agricultural and food trade in the North American region has risen to a value of $100 billion U.S. That is just about $275 million each and every day.
The new NAFTA means stability and security for our farmers and food processors when they are trading with their largest customer, and it means a strong foundation for growth in the future and growth in rural Canada. With this new agreement, we have maintained the tariff-free access to the U.S. market for Canadian exports that we enjoyed under NAFTA.
For our farmers and food processors, the new agreement will help secure $30 billion in agricultural exports to the United States alone. The new NAFTA will modernize, stabilize and re-energize our continental trading partnership, and it will drive even further integration of our North American supply chains.
Under the new agreement, access for Canadian refined sugar into the U.S. market will almost double. That is great news for our sugar industry, especially our sugar beet producers, who are looking to expand access for their high-quality sugar, which is 100% Canadian-grown and processed.
For our world-class wines and spirits industry, the new NAFTA provides for protection of Canadian whisky as a distinct product of Canada. It also protects the definition and traditional production method of authentic icewines. As well, Canadian wineries and distilleries retain the authority to sell only their own products on site.
Our new NAFTA is forward-looking. It will ensure our farmers have access to current technologies and will also benefit from future innovations in biotechnology. The agreement will encourage both innovation and trade in North America by mandating practical and trade-friendly approaches to getting safe agricultural biotech products to market.
There is a requirement for more transparent regulations for current and future agricultural biotech products, so everyone knows what requires approval and how to obtain that approval. As well, there is a provision to drive greater co-operation on agricultural biotechnology on the global stage, as North America will lead by example.
The new NAFTA will set the stage for further growth and help our agri-food industry keep a step ahead of the competition as we get ready to feed the world.
Throughout the negotiations, our government worked extremely hard to advance the interests of Canadian farmers and food businesses. We know that they are key economic drivers for this country. We know they create well-paying jobs, particularly in our rural communities. Over two million jobs in Canada depend on trade with the United States.
The agreement provides increased market access for the U.S. into Canada for dairy, poultry and eggs, but most importantly, maintains the three pillars of the supply management system: production controls, price controls and import controls. It is important to remember that the U.S. administration was calling for the abolition of this, but we know how important supply management is to our agriculture industry. Our government has pledged to fully and fairly support our dairy, poultry and egg producers.
Furthermore, successful trade depends on successful trade routes. That is why our government invested $10 billion in trade and transportation corridors to help get agri-food products to market. We enacted the Transportation Modernization Act. This legislation is delivering a more transparent, fair and efficient freight system that includes a number of new tools to support the grain industry. It is a long-term solution to help farmers get their products to market in a safe and timely manner.
Our government has strong and ambitious growth plans for our agriculture and food industry. Together, we will give our farmers and food processors a competitive edge in two-thirds of the global economy, and the future is bright.
I am confident hon. members will join me to support this bill.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2020-01-30 16:43 [p.731]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome my hon. colleague from across the way to this House for great debate and discussion.
The focus of my conversation today in debate was on agriculture, but I know members heard the minister today, and we will make sure that aluminum and steel are looked after in this way forward with the new NAFTA.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2020-01-30 16:44 [p.731]
Mr. Speaker, in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador, we also have some incredible distilleries. Maybe we will have to bring up some samples sometime. As a matter of fact, we have one that is based on seaweed.
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that my hon. colleague has left the House, but I look forward to working with her on the new NAFTA, which has been ratified and supported by many people.
Bruce Heyman, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada said that:
Canada should be especially pleased with [the new agreement]. [It is] a really good deal....Every so often you're able to come out with what I call 'win-win-win' solutions, and this is it. We're here.
I would like to take the advice of the past U.S. ambassador and listen to Mr. Heyman.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2020-01-30 16:45 [p.731]
Mr. Speaker, I noticed in the member's speech that she mentioned the importance of the fishery to her riding. I would like to expand on that, as it is so important to the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador. She said that this deal had great benefits for the fishery, which is the economic driver in just about all of our communities in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
I wonder if the member could comment further on that aspect of the agreement.
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Gudie Hutchings Profile
2020-01-30 16:46 [p.731]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague and friend, the member for Avalon. We share a passion not only for the fishery but also for our province.
Some folks might not realize that Canada exports nearly $4.3 billion worth of seafood every year to the U.S. market. That is 62% of all exports from that sector. Therefore, a stable and protectable tariff-free arrangement is critical to maintaining the growth of those exports, especially from Atlantic Canada.
This will have significant benefits in coastal and rural communities where processing facilities are situated. I know that the lobster and snow crab fishers and the processing companies are excited about the benefits and the stability that this new trade agreement will allow.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-01-29 16:14 [p.644]
Madam Speaker, the early presentation of the bill has not given a lot of time to study it in detail as a newly elected member, but I am looking forward to further discussion and debate.
I note that when the Senate was dealing with this issue of oversight of the CBSA, it proposed a different piece of legislation, which was not supported by the government. That legislation called for an oversight body using an independent investigator, which would provide oversight to the agency, not just the complaint side. This was rejected by the government implicitly.
Further, there was concern that in the RCMP complaints commission, there was already a backlog of over 2,000 cases. Now we have, instead of creating a separate board, a combined board with two functions and possibly two investigative teams.
Are we going to end up with a situation where we are just having reviews of internal investigations or are there going to be separate independent hearings? What kind of oversight can this body actually provide in the absence of an oversight body of the organization?
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-01-29 16:39 [p.648]
Madam Speaker, I was interested in the comments of the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner on this issue, particularly on the issue of the management of committees. I do not think he was here then, but during the years of 2008 to 2015 when I was here, the management of committees was particularly egregious, with things called one day and demanded to be passed on a particular evening. I am glad to hear there is a bit of change of heart on the other side about how committees should conduct their business.
I understand that the hon. member welcomes the legislation. However, it was resisted by parliamentarians in two former Parliaments, when the NDP Party called upon this type of oversight to be brought forward. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Federation, the Canadian Bar Association and other groups were calling on the need for independent oversight.
Why did the former Conservative government resist this?
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-01-29 16:58 [p.651]
Madam Speaker, would the member agree, in looking at the nature of the oversight being provided by this bill, that as the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association suggests, two separate accountability mechanisms should be available? One would provide real-time oversight of the policies and practices of the Canada Border Services Agency and the other an accountability mechanism for conducting investigations and resolving specific complaints, as we are talking about, such as specific incidents of potential misbehaviour.
One mechanism would look at the policies and practices, while the other would deal with individual complaints related to a particular incident. Would the member's party support the notion that there really is a need for two kinds of oversight, even though this arrangement may not be contained in the bill?
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