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View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2019-06-20 12:31 [p.29470]
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Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order or usual practice of the House:
(a) the amendment to the motion respecting the senate amendments to Bill C-83, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act, be deemed negatived on division and the main motion be deemed carried on division; and
(b) the amendment to the motion for second reading of Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be deemed negatived on division and that the Bill be deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2019-06-19 16:41 [p.29412]
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Madam Speaker, let me say, as I probably rise for the last time in this Parliament, how honoured I am to represent the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, how much I have learned from my colleagues here, but also how invigorated I am by the greatness of this country and my commitment to work hard for the people I represent.
As I join this debate today, I feel compelled to make a few observations. To be clear, Canada did not ask to be put in this position. However, as we know, the U.S. election resulted in a new administration, with a mandate, among other things, to renegotiate NAFTA. That is where all of this started.
I think we can all agree that this particular renegotiated agreement resulted in an outcome that is less than ideal, but of course, it could have been much worse. Many concessions were made, and we still have unresolved issues, such as the lack of a deal for Canadian softwood lumber, something that is critically important to my riding.
Ultimately, it is not a secret that the official opposition will be supporting this deal. Unlike the third party, we do believe it is better than no deal. However, that does not mean that there are not some lessons to be learned here.
To me, it is deeply troubling that the Prime Minister went into these negotiations with his usual theme of demanding things that are all about building his brand and appealing to his base of supporters. In other words, the Prime Minister thought he saw an opportunity to score some political points and feed the brand. This is not unlike what he tried to do when he approached China.
In both cases, he failed miserably. Why would he not fail miserably? Would we as Canadians accept another leader trying to push his or her own values onto us? We simply would not accept that. What nation would? However, that is precisely what the Prime Minister attempted to to. Some may call this arrogance. Whatever we call it, it was easily foreseeable that it was a path to failure.
However, the Prime Minister did not care and went about his virtue-signalling anyway, so we ended up on the sidelines: Canada, a world leader, on the sidelines. There we were, on the sidelines with our biggest trading partner, while Mexico was in the driver's seat, getting the deal done.
Here is the thing. Mexico did get it done. Let us look at its approach. Mexico did not use the trade negotiations as some sort of domestic political opportunity to score points. Mexico did not use this as an opportunity for virtue-signalling. Mexico did not have a lead minister giving a speech within the United States of America that took veiled potshots at the U.S. administration. Mexico discussed issues related to trade and did so professionally. It is easy to see why that approach worked so well for it.
Our approach, led by the Prime Minister, was a complete failure. It did not have to be that way. I can tell colleagues that, on this side of the House, we would have taken a much different approach. I am actually quite confident that there are members on the government side of the House, whom I have worked with at various committees, who I suspect would have also taken a much different approach. I believe it is important to reflect on these things so that we can learn from them.
Canada should never again be in a situation where we are sitting on the sidelines with our greatest trading partner, while Mexico is driving the bus. I hope that is one thing we can all agree on. Perhaps that is why we are now hearing the name of Mark Carney, because there are other Liberals who feel the same way.
Now we have a new deal. Whether it is called the new NAFTA, NAFTA 0.5, USMCA, CUSMA, or whatever, there is something we should all think about. Recently, Jack Mintz wrote a very good piece on investment fleeing Canada. Members who have read the article would know that it debunks some Liberal talking points that had been carefully cherry-picked.
As an example, yes, investment in Canada was up in 2018. However, that sounds good until we consider that it was up from 2017, and 2017 was an absolute disaster of a year. Even in 2018, it was still below where things were in 2015. Yes, I mean that 2015.
Yes, investment in the U.S.A. is down, but that is outside investment. There is a large increase in U.S. domestic capital now staying in the United States. This means it is not coming to Canada.
Why should we care about that? Let us look at our automotive sector. Yes, there is still some investment in Canada, but there is considerably more occurring in the United States and Mexico. Mexico, in particular, has been a hot spot for automotive investment. Let us think about that. Mexico has no carbon tax. It has no new and enhanced CPP causing premiums and payroll taxes to increase every month. Much of its industrial power is cheap, and I would even say it is dirty.
CUSMA does more to address some of those issues than the NAFTA deal it replaces, but we also have to recognize that foreign investment in Canada is not the rose garden the Liberals are trying to suggest it is. This is a deal among three countries. If we become the most expensive, most regulated and most inefficient country to do business in, we lose collectively as a country.
The Prime Minister can continue to be virtuous. He can continue to ask people to pay just a little bit more. He can continue to lecture others for not sharing his values. However, at the end of the day, none of those things are going to attract the investment we need to make the most of this deal.
While we are on the subject of trade, I note that last week, during question period in this place, the Prime Minister vilified former prime minister Harper close to a dozen times. As the Liberals' good friend Warren Kinsella recently pointed out, the Prime Minister is looking “for an enemy to demonize”.
I mention that because the former Conservative government of Mr. Harper concluded more free trade agreements than any prime minister in the modern era. It is not as if the Liberals, or the Prime Minister, would be unaware of this, because they sat in this place during the last Parliament and voted in support of all those new trade agreements, yet the Prime Minister turns around and vilifies the former prime minister, who has a demonstrably more successful record on trade agreements.
However, perhaps that is preferable to talking about the lack of progress on Canadian softwood. I looked up on the Open Parliament website how many times the Prime Minister has even mentioned the word “softwood”. The answer is 18 times since 2016. The vast majority of those times were only because he was answering questions on softwood lumber asked by the opposition.
How many times has he referenced Stephen Harper? It is 190 times, and it will probably be more than 200 after today's question period. With the Prime Minister's priorities so focused on vilifying Mr. Harper instead of focusing on softwood lumber, is it any wonder he has made zero progress on this file?
Why do I point this out? I point this out because lumber mills are closing all across British Columbia at an alarming rate. My riding has lost lumber mills. I know first-hand what that does to a small rural community. It is devastating. However, there is complete silence from the Prime Minister regarding softwood lumber unless he is asked about it by the opposition in this place. Why? Maybe it is because he is too busy vilifying Mr. Harper.
In my view, that is not acceptable. B.C. forest workers deserve better. They deserve to know that they have a prime minister in Ottawa working to reach a softwood lumber deal.
I sometimes wonder whether, if Mexico had a vibrant softwood lumber sector, we would now have a deal done by extension as well. It is clear that Mexico has a more effective track record in these negotiations than the brand-first approach of the Prime Minister.
To summarize, we did not ask to be in this situation, clearly. However, I believe the approach taken by the Prime Minister to try to use this as a political opportunity was deeply flawed and made a bad situation worse.
Again, as evidence of that, I say to look no further than the approach taken by Mexico and the success that it had while we sat on the sidelines.
I have raised this point with ministers of the Crown. They told us that the meetings between the United States and Mexico were simply on bilateral issues that had nothing to do with Canada. However, they came out with a trilateral agreement, and Canada had a take-it-or-leave-it moment.
Despite the many concessions that the Prime Minister has made on this file, we can still make the most of it, but only if we recognize that we need to be more competitive. We have a regulatory environment in which things can get done in Canada. Many people have raised alarm bells, particularly the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and not just about the lack of investment but also the ability to get things done.
The Leader of the Opposition today clearly asked the Prime Minister several times for the date for the Trans Mountain pipeline. The Prime Minister promised the Trans Mountain pipeline, one of the most important projects on the deck and one of the only ones on the deck, would go forward to help build the national interest, but the Prime Minister cannot give a date.
Originally, the Liberals said that it would be operating this calendar year. Again, I would submit that one need to look no further than the Trans Mountain pipeline as evidence as to where the challenges are. It has been four years, and still there is not a shovel in the ground. The fact that the Liberal government had to buy the project to save Kinder Morgan from the embarrassment of not being able to build it in a timely manner is all part of the problem. The fact that today even the government has serious challenges in trying to navigate the process to get it done is telling. Does anyone seriously believe that Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 will make it easier to invest in Canada?
The Prime Minister says that tankers can operate totally safely in one part of British Columbia and in other parts of Canada, but are so dangerous in another part of British Columbia that they must be banned. Does anyone seriously think that makes sense? In fact, a number of the senators in the other place have commented on the lack of scientific evidence on Bill C-48. The committee that studied it in depth recommended that the bill not proceed.
The approaches of the current government do not reconcile. These are the types of mixed messages that are just not helpful. However, I remain hopeful that we can become more competitive and that as we move forward, we can ultimately try to fully capitalize on this agreement despite the many concessions.
I would like to close on a more positive note, and I will add a few positive observations.
As we have established many times and in many areas, Canada and Canadians can compete and succeed against the very best in the world. As legislators, it is our job to ensure that they have a level playing field and unrestricted market access to do so. Therefore, I will vote in favour of this agreement as, ultimately, it will provide these opportunities.
However, I must say one more time that until we have full, unfettered free trade within Canada's borders, we are, as a country, not owning up to the promise of Confederation, and that falls on us. It falls upon the provinces that have not allowed Canada to become not just a political union but an economic one.
This will be my last speech in the 42nd Parliament, and I would like to share a few words on a personal note.
We all share the collective honour of being elected members of this place, and our families all share the sacrifice for the many times that we cannot be there for them. It is my hope that our families, particularly our young ones, understand that in this place our collective desire to build a better country starts and ends with them. I would like thank all families of parliamentarians for their understanding and support.
I would also like to share a word with other members of this place. It is so unfortunate that much of the work we do here is often summarized by many Canadians as what transpires in question period. Much of the most important work that we do collectively happens at committee.
On that note, I would like to sincerely thank the many members I have worked with on various committees. Everyone I have worked with shares the same commitment to help ensure that the federal government provides the best level of governance possible. We may disagree on programs, projects and approaches, but I have found that we share a commitment to making these programs work best for Canadians.
A final point I would like to make should not be lost by any of us. The former Conservative government introduced a program to provide supports for kids directly to their parents. At the time, the Liberal opposition mocked it, ridiculed it, and suggested that parents would simply blow the money they received on beer and popcorn, but when the Liberals formed their majority government in 2015, they did not kill that program. Liberals saw the merits of it and saw that it was working so they made improvements to it, and now it is working even more effectively. I wish to commend them yet again for that.
That is an example of two very different governments coming up with a program and finding ways to improve it to ensure that it helps support Canadian families.
Trade is similar. After all, we are a nation of traders. We need to have these things that make us collectively prosper, that allow us to build stronger ties and relationships and provide the security and the sense of certainty that it takes for someone to start a business or for a country to get behind a new program. These are great examples of the work that we do when we are here on behalf of Canadians.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the time you spend in the chair. I am sure there are many different ways you would rather spend your time than listening to me, but I do appreciate the work you do and I am sure my constituents do as well. I look forward to the challenges in the upcoming months and in the questions and comments I will hear from my fellow colleagues.
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View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-06-19 16:59 [p.29414]
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Madam Speaker, the member across the way is a fellow member on the INDU committee. We have had a lot of great discussions there, and a lot of them came as a result of our connections with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
I was the president of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. I was on the board of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and worked very closely with Perrin Beatty and his group at the Canadian chamber, who were supportive all the way through our negotiations on the new NAFTA, in particular saying we had to hold our ground when it came to the section 232 provisions on steel and aluminum. When we were successful, the Canadian chamber put out a press release saying that it supported the federal government's efforts to have the unjustified U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum products lifted. It took all of Canada standing together.
It sounds like the member was suggesting that we should be more like Mexico. Does he mean we should be reflective of the labour practices of Mexico, or the safety practices? How should we be more like Mexico?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2019-06-19 17:00 [p.29414]
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Madam Speaker, in my speech I pointed out that this is obviously a three-way agreement and that trade is influenced by many different things: the ease of transport, the tax regime, and tariffs, obviously, because that is what a free trade deal is supposed to deal with.
As I mentioned in my speech, Mexico has seen a rise in the development of its automotive sector because Mexico is not subject to many of the costs that are associated with doing business in Canada, such as the enhanced CPP, for which employers have to pay higher premiums, and the carbon tax, which increases the price of everything, particularly for processes that require a tremendous amount of energy, such as those in the automotive sector.
We must remain competitive if Canada, a nation of traders, is to compete in trade. We cannot take our products and services to other countries if we are priced out of the market because of our input costs. That is an area where we cannot allow Canada to fall back. I hope that when the time comes, the member will advocate for a new government to deal with the red tape and excessive taxation that the government has put on this country.
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View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-19 17:02 [p.29414]
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Madam Speaker, I would first like to thank the member for his many years of service. I know this is not easy work, and he has been doing it for a long time now.
I would also like to say that my colleagues in the NDP and I are fully aware of how important our trade relationship with the United States is. We want to have the best possible agreement with the United States and Mexico, but we must recognize that that is not what we have. That is also why there are people in the United States who want to renegotiate the agreement to get a better deal.
Why rush the vote on this agreement, when we could very well improve on it by waiting a bit and continuing to negotiate?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2019-06-19 17:03 [p.29415]
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Madam Speaker, I want to reiterate my thanks to the member for her kind words, and to say the same. We all should respect members who work so very hard for our constituents. I thank her for her service.
One thing I have learned as an elected official, both at the city council level and now as a member of Parliament, is that business asks for just one thing from government: certainty. While the negotiations kept going on, I heard right across the country at business round tables that people felt they could not make those once-in-a-lifetime or once-in-a-generation investments in their businesses on the Canadian side. Often the reason people chose to go south with those investment choices was that we did not have trade certainty.
I am fully cognizant that this deal is a sub-par deal that the government's approach led us to this position. I will support this only because the business owners I speak to and the people they employ are asking for that basic certainty.
However, we need to make sure that our entrepreneurs, our producers and ultimately our employees have a level playing field. Right now, I am very concerned about the competitiveness aspects of our country. While we maintain trade ties with Mexico and the United States, competitiveness is going to become more and more important. It is something that we should never take our eyes off of.
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View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:05 [p.29415]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his gracious final remarks.
We believe that in order for trade deals to be successful, they need to be inclusive. They need to bring onside the majority of the population so that all people benefit, not just the large multinational corporations.
Which of these provisions does the member find to be virtue-signalling? Is the labour chapter in the NAFTA deal virtue-signalling? Is the chapter that promotes gender equality virtue-signalling? Is the chapter that enforces environmental standards virtue-signalling? How about the committee that includes SMEs in the trade implementation? Is that virtue-signalling?
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2019-06-19 17:06 [p.29415]
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Madam Speaker, I will just go back to my speech.
Again, it is about putting forward values that may be important to the Prime Minister, that may be important to Canadians. He tried the same approach with China. China rejected that.
I would just ask it the other way around. If the leader of China came to Canada and said, “We want a free trade agreement, but here is what we want to see” and put values in it that are contrary to Canadian values, Canadians would rightly say that we were not in support.
In the case of Mexico, Mexico was laser-focused on where it could win. When we asked the government where it got any wins, the Liberals said that we kept chapter 19. If they cannot say where their wins are and can only say that they kept one component, it is not much of a win.
There was concession after concession, not to mention the steel and aluminum tariffs that kneecapped many in our industry. That was the wrong approach.
In my speech, I gave an alternative view. We should not have allowed Mexico to isolate Canada in those bilateral talks that ended up being trilateral ones. That was a key error, regardless of what the government says. I know there are Liberals on that side who would agree with that assessment.
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 17:07 [p.29415]
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Madam Speaker, I have a question about how the member feels about investor state dispute settlements being removed from the agreement, and also about article 22, which limits state-owned corporations.
In light of that, how does he feel about the Canada-China FIPA? It was an investment treaty, not a trade agreement, that was pushed through by the Harper government without any debate in this House, whereby Chinese state-owned corporations can use investor state dispute settlements to seek compensation for the loss of potential profit when our laws and policies get in the way of their profitability.
I am just curious about how the member feels about investor state agreements in trade agreements, about state-owned corporations, and about the Canada-China FIPA in light of those things.
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View Dan Albas Profile
CPC (BC)
View Dan Albas Profile
2019-06-19 17:08 [p.29415]
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Madam Speaker, the member seemed most offended by the Canada-China FIPA, so I will address that straight away.
First of all, the member should review the Constitution. It is the executive, in this case the Prime Minister and cabinet, that has the authority to enter into agreements with other countries. It was actually the Harper government that made changes that allowed those agreements to be tabled for 21 days here so that parliamentarians could review them.
If the member and his leader want to win enough seats to form an official party, they can make that the question on their opposition day.
When we push Canadian companies to sell their products and services abroad, and they choose to enter a place like China, they may not feel that they are going to be treated the same way they are in a rule-of-law country like Canada, like the United States and like many in the European Union, where there is due process and similar values in that due process. They would ask how they were going to protect themselves in case there was confiscation without compensation. Having that process in place in places like China allows some protection.
I would be happy to speak with the member further about his views.
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View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:09 [p.29415]
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Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak on the new NAFTA. Before I start, I would like to point out that I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
Let me take the time to highlight, first and foremost, our government's record on international trade. Consecutive governments have talked about trade diversification and trade expansion, but most governments have failed. I acknowledge that the previous government, under Mr. Harper, had started some negotiations, but unfortunately, it was not able to close the deals. When it came to the free trade agreement CETA, while the Conservatives started the negotiations, they could not close the deal. When it came to the CPTPP, the Conservatives negotiated the previous agreement known as TPP, but it failed. It took our government's leadership and our Prime Minister's leadership to renegotiate it to include progressive, inclusive elements and revive it, improve it and ratify it.
Canada is a trading nation. One out of six Canadian jobs is related to trade. Our government has recognized the value of trade. However, we also know that it is really important to make sure that when we sign trade agreements, they are inclusive. We keep in mind our middle class, we keep in mind small and medium-size enterprises and we keep in mind gender equality. Those issues are not virtue signalling. Those issues are economic issues. Those issues benefit all Canadians. They help lift many people out of poverty and invite them into our labour force to ensure that everyone is benefiting from those free trade agreements.
I want to talk about how we were able to close the deal on CETA, sign it and ratify it here in the House of Commons. We were able to renegotiate and improve the previous agreement known as the TPP, the CPTPP, sign it and ratify it here in the House of Commons. In fact, we were one of the first countries to ratify the CPTPP. We were also able to renegotiate NAFTA, and now we are in the midst of the ratification process.
If we add all that up, that is 1.5 billion new customers for Canadian businesses and Canadian workers. Today Canada is the only member of the G7 that has a free trade agreement with all other G7 nations. These are not just any free trade agreements. They are fair, inclusive trade agreements that keep in mind the interests of all Canadians, particularly our middle class.
I also want to highlight our investment in expanding trade. Our government has put the largest investment into trade infrastructure and trade support systems in Canada's history. We have invested over $1.2 billion in expanding our trade corridors, including ports, roads and rail. We have invested in the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which is our best asset. It is our Canadian businesses' and Canadian workers' best asset. It is Canada's global sales force. It is present in 160 countries around the world, promoting Canadian businesses and promoting Canadian interests, and we are proud to invest in it and to expand its presence around the world.
We are creating programs that support small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to expand and trade, because we know that small and medium-sized enterprises that trade pay better, are more resilient and are more profitable. It is in our best interest, if we want to continue to create more jobs, that we support small and medium-sized enterprises that export. Today only 14% of our SMEs trade, and we want to increase that number.
We have created programs such as CanExport that help small and medium-sized enterprises that are thinking about trade but are worried about the upfront costs. We are providing support to those SMEs all across our great country so that they are able to take advantage of those new markets that are available to them.
It does not end there. In 2018, foreign direct investment in Canada grew by 60%. Why? Canada is receiving an unprecedented level of foreign investment, because the rest of the world is noticing that Canada has access to an incredible array of markets. The U.S. market does not have the same access to foreign markets as Canada does.
International businesses are noticing. International investors are noticing. That is why we have seen a 60% increase in foreign trade investment. Direct investment from countries other than the U.S. has increased by 300%. Those investments bring jobs to our middle class. Those investments bring wealth to our businesses. This is good news for our country and good news for Canadians.
Let me take a moment to talk about NAFTA.
We had to renegotiate NAFTA when the current President of the United States campaigned on tearing up NAFTA. He told U.S. citizens that NAFTA needed to be torn up.
We started the negotiations with the new administration in good faith. We wanted to keep an open mind. NAFTA was over 20 years old, and it needed an overhaul. It was a tough negotiation process.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge how Canadians of all political stripes and Canadian businesses rallied around our government as we were in the midst of a tough negotiation with our partners.
However, many on the Conservative benches, and other Conservative voices, were asking us to capitulate. The Conservative Party loves to brag about Stephen Harper's record. Here is a direct quote from a memo written by Mr. Harper in 2017. He wrote, “it does not matter whether current American proposals are worse than what we have now.” He wanted us to capitulate, and he was encouraging people to put pressure on the Canadian government to capitulate.
My colleagues on the Conservative benches were asking questions in question period, and this is on the record. They were demanding that our government capitulate to U.S. demands. I am glad, and I am proud, that our Prime Minister, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, and our team did not capitulate. We stood firm for Canadian values. We stood firm for what made sense for Canadian businesses. We ended up with a great deal.
We did face a challenge with steel and aluminum tariffs, unjust and illegal steel and aluminum tariffs, but we hung in. We pushed and we advocated. At the time, my colleagues on the Conservative benches again asked us to drop our tariffs. They called them “dumb”. Our retaliatory tariffs worked, and we were able to negotiate the elimination of those tariffs with our partner, the United States.
My friends say that we were virtue-signalling. I would like to know from them what part of this new NAFTA is virtue-signalling. Is the new labour chapter virtue-signalling? Is the new chapter on the environment virtue-signalling? Is the new chapter on gender equity virtue-signalling? These inclusive chapters will benefit all Canadians and will raise their wages. They will make sure that we have more productive jobs for the middle class.
I am disappointed in the Conservatives. I am relieved that they will be voting for this agreement. It does not make sense to me, but still I am relieved that they will be voting for it. I ask them to join us and agree that those provisions and this deal are good for Canadians and good for middle-class Canadians.
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View Randy Hoback Profile
CPC (SK)
View Randy Hoback Profile
2019-06-19 17:19 [p.29417]
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Madam Speaker, I need to straighten out the record. The parliamentary secretary said that his government saved the TPP. The reality is that it was signed, and if we had passed it, we would not have had to renegotiate NAFTA. What happened? The government stalled. The Liberals dragged their feet. They kept hesitating. They kept making it impossible for the U.S. to move forward. If the Liberal government had embraced it and ratified it, we would not be talking about NAFTA today. That is the reality.
The Liberals have upset many of our trade partners around the world: China, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines. Which country has the Prime Minister travelled to where he has not upset someone?
The reality is that this agreement is not perfect, but it would provide stability, and business communities want stability.
Our structural steel is going to face tariffs in August. Our softwood lumber has tariffs right now. What are the Liberals going to do to solve those problems once they ratify this deal?
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View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:20 [p.29417]
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Madam Speaker, I have a lot of respect for my colleague, but I find it interesting that he is doubling down on the old TPP. I find it interesting that he has taken the side of the Saudi Arabian government over the Chinese government. I find it interesting that he is saying that we should not be upholding our own laws or values. I am really—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
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View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:21 [p.29417]
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Madam Speaker, when we are defending Canadian interests and values around the world, my hon. colleague should support us in that effort. Yes, we have disagreements domestically, but I wish he would not take the side of the Saudis or the Chinese government's side.
Our government has proven that we will continue to defend Canadians' interests. We will continue to defend the interests of the middle class. All of our trade negotiation results have proven that. We have a million jobs to speak for that, we have the lowest poverty rate in Canada's history to speak for those results and I am very proud of our government's record.
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View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-19 17:22 [p.29417]
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Madam Speaker, for some time now, the NDP has been calling on the government to establish a national pharmacare program that would cover everything.
However, the agreement we are currently discussing, and that the government wants to get signed quickly, includes patent extensions that would make pharmacare even harder and more expensive to implement.
Does my colleague not think that this kind of clause in the agreement with the United States and Mexico will hinder the implementation of a pharmacare program?
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View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:23 [p.29417]
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No, Madam Speaker, I disagree with my hon. colleague. We have seen this before. Twenty-five or 30 years ago, the New Democrats were dead set against the original NAFTA. They said the sky was going to fall and that we were going to lose so many jobs. It has been proven that free trade is good for Canadians. Today, once again, they are trying to scare Canadians, again claim that the sky is going to fall and that drugs are going to be so expensive. It is not true. The short answer to her question is no.
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View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2019-06-19 17:23 [p.29417]
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Madam Speaker, I want to ask the same question my colleague asked. He was quite right.
I am going to read from an article by Bill Curry on November 19, 2015. This was 13 or 14 months before Mr. Trump was even sworn in. Mr. Obama was in Manila and stated, “We are both soon to be signatories of the TPP agreement.” In other words, as my colleague said, we would not have had these problems if the Liberals had actually moved ahead on it. Mr. Obama was the most progressive president around and now, by doing this, there seems to be no leverage for the outstanding issues, like my colleague said, on steel, softwood lumber and the Buy American clause.
Could the parliamentary secretary please let us know how he is going to resolve those issues now that he has given away this leverage?
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View Omar Alghabra Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Omar Alghabra Profile
2019-06-19 17:24 [p.29417]
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Once again, Madam Speaker, I find it strange. Regardless of what Conservatives think of the TPP, and I disagree with him, the U.S. pulled out of the TPP. The claim is that if we had ratified the TPP, it would have solved so many problems, but the U.S. pulled out the TPP.
To answer his question, I can point to our record. Our Prime Minister, the Minister of International Trade Diversification, the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have proven that we will stand firm to defend Canadian interests and Canadian jobs.
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 17:25 [p.29417]
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Madam Speaker, it is an honour to stand here today and engage in the debate on NAFTA.
Many of my constituents in Nanaimo—Ladysmith will know that I am very passionate about trade issues and concerned about international trade and investment agreements.
First of all, I want to say that the Green Party of Canada supports trade. We think it is a vital part of our economy. However, what we want to see in trade agreements is respect for environmental regulations, labour standards, health and safety standards, and consumer protections. These things should be increased in trade agreements, the way that the European Union does. Countries that enter the European Union must increase their standards and regulations to meet the highest standards in the union. We think that those kinds of approaches to international trade are important.
About 15 years ago, I was focused on a lot of local issues and worked on films about local water. Somebody had asked me if I knew anything about the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the SPP, and I did not. Therefore, I went off to Ottawa to go to the people summit and learn about the SPP.
I went to Montebello to document the protests that were happening there, and I happened to videotape three police officers who were dressed as radicals with masks on who were attacking their own riot squad. They were unmasked in the process, and all of their boots matched with those of the riot squad. This raised questions for me about why the police would be involved in this kind of incitement, and I have footage of them banging rocks into shields, etc. I wondered why they would be involved in this kind of incitement at a peaceful protest, and they were later proven to be police officers.
I became interested in the Security and Prosperity Partnership and started to dig in. What I found was that in this process there was a deep integration of Canada, the United States and Mexico as part of a fortress North America after 9/11. It also included integration of our regulatory standards. I looked into who was negotiating on behalf of Canada for these regulatory standards. There were 20 corporations for each of three countries, Mexico, the United States and Canada. There were some great Canadian corporations representing Canada in this negotiation process, such as Home Depot Canada, Walmart Canada, Chevron Canada and Ford Canada.
I started to study trade agreements a little more and found that there really was no involvement of civil society in these agreements. These were corporate agreements. Therefore, I really appreciate in this new version of NAFTA that the government has involved labour organizations and environmental organizations as part of the negotiating process, and I see that as progress. This is what we need to be doing in our negotiations on international trade and investment. They cannot just be secretive processes where only the corporations and the bureaucrats are involved. We need people who represent consumers, workers and environmentalists so that we have a fair process that can look at all aspects of trade and make sure that our regulations and standards are protected.
One of the others things I learned working on this film was about investor-state dispute settlements. Chapter 11 in NAFTA was the first time that a developed country had signed on to this process. It was something that the Europeans had used with their former colonial states to kind of keep corporate control over mineral extraction, etc. However, when I looked into Chapter 11, there were cases such as Ethyl Corporation, which got $5 million when Canada blocked the use of MMT, an additive that was a neurotoxin in gasoline. Ethyl Corporation said that it was an unfair trade practice to ban it. There are also things in these investment chapters such as indirect expropriation, and we all know what expropriation is; national treatment; as well as most favoured nation status. These are all things that are used by corporations to challenge our laws and policies. Therefore, I was really happy to see that the investor-state dispute settlement was taken out of the new NAFTA.
Let us look at cases like Bilcon, where a foreign corporation is challenging our environmental assessment process and getting $7 million for doing nothing. It is not a process that makes sense. We see this used as a big stick by mining companies to get developed countries to accept mining and extraction projects.
We need to do something about softwood lumber. That is an important issue in my community.
I am also concerned about the extension of patents for pharmaceuticals from eight years to 10 years for biologics and how that will affect the cost of drugs. We see many people, seniors in particular, who are having to make decisions about what they spend their money on: rent, food or pharmaceuticals.
Article 22, the state-owned chapter, has a carve-out for the Trans Mountain expansion project. That is a concern for me as well.
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:45 [p.29435]
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Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand again to speak to the new NAFTA. I appreciate the Liberal Party giving me some time to speak about this.
When I left off, I was talking about investor-state dispute settlement and my appreciation that this part of NAFTA was removed. I know it will take three years for it to be completely removed and that some corporations will still be able to use that provision against Canadian laws and policies that get in the way of their profits.
I think it is time to get rid of investor-state provisions in all our trade agreements. It is undemocratic, and it undermines our sovereignty. As we have seen in many cases, such as in Bilcon v. Canada, three arbitration lawyers, whose only interest is keeping the system going, sit in a room and make decisions on our environmental assessment process.
In Bilcon v. Canada, there was a proposed quarry at Digby Neck. The community came out and experts came out and talked about the problems with the quarry. It was an area where the endangered North Atlantic right whales had their calving grounds. There was tourism for whale watching. There was lobster fishing. The community did not want the quarry. When the environmental assessment review panel ruled against Bilcon, after years of environmental assessments, Bilcon was able to take the dispute to a NAFTA panel. Bilcon wanted $470 million. It walked away with $7 million. That is outrageous. Using these kinds of processes to challenge our laws and policies is antithetical to democracy.
Investor-state provisions are being used in developing countries to force through extraction projects or to make developing countries pay through the nose.
A good example of this is Crystallex, a Canadian mining development company. It challenged Venezuela using investor-state provisions after Venezuela decided, on behalf of its indigenous population, that the Crystallex mine would not be in the interest of the indigenous population. It was a threat to the environment. Tenor Capital paid for the arbitration lawyers and invested $30 million. Crystallex ended up getting $1.2 billion in a settlement in this investor-state dispute, and Tenor Capital walked away with a 1,000% return, or $300 million. It is obscene.
I could give members example after example of these kinds of situations. I am glad this is out of NAFTA.
I am also glad to see that the proportionality clause is gone. Under this clause, we had to continue to export the same amount of energy to the United States, on average, as we had in the previous three years.
However, as I was saying earlier, there are a few things that disappoint me about the new NAFTA.
First is the extension of biological patents for pharmaceutical drugs. This is important for products like insulin and for people who have Crohn's disease. People are already struggling with the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. We need drug costs to come down. We must have a national pharmacare program rather than more money for big pharma.
Second is article 22, the carve-out for the Trans Mountain expansion. It looks to me as though it will continue to be a state-owned corporation, which is concerning.
Third is having bovine growth hormone in the American milk and dairy products we will import.
I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to the bill.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-06-19 20:50 [p.29436]
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Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the fact that we have had a government in the last three and a half years that has recognized the true value of trade. The trade agreement between Canada and Mexico further supports the fact that Canada is a trading nation. Having these trade agreements helps facilitate and secure markets. That helps Canada's middle class and those aspiring to become a part of it. It helps drive our economy. We are looking for new trade with new nations and with our best friends to the south.
Would the Green Party be in a position at some point in time where it would support a trade agreement or would it be more inclined to take the same approach to trade as the New Democrats?
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:51 [p.29436]
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Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned at the top of the speech, we support trade. What we look for in trade agreements is fair trade. We want to ensure labour rights are respected and that standards are improved for labour, health and safety and for consumer standards and environmental standards.
We like the European Union model. When a country joins the European Union, its standards need to be raised to the level of the highest standards of countries in the European Union. We should be looking to that model.
I appreciate that in this round of NAFTA there have been labour organizations and other civil society organizations involved in the actual negotiations, and that is important.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-19 20:52 [p.29436]
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Mr. Speaker, my colleague and friend from Nanaimo—Ladysmith has outlined a lot of concerns with the legislation and this trade agreement, including that it sides more with big corporations and pharmaceutical companies than it does with people and workers' rights.
What we have not heard from the Green Party is whether it will support the legislation. We would like to know that. Therefore, is the Green Party supporting this legislation? Will the members be voting in favour of Bill C-100, yes or no?
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:52 [p.29436]
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Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that I will support the bill. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands thinks that this might be as good as it gets.
I understand the New Democrats think the Democrats in the United States might be able to improve the deal. I know there is some progressive movement within that party, but it has been very neo-liberal in the past and I am not sure the leadership in the Democratic Party in the United States has changed enough that we will see progress from them on this issue.
The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands has less trust of the Democrats. I am not sure she thinks we will get a better deal than what we have. I think we could be getting a better deal. I am not whipped in my vote. We will see how it all comes down when we vote.
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View Mike Bossio Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mike Bossio Profile
2019-06-19 20:53 [p.29436]
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Mr. Speaker, the member said earlier that there could be trade deals that he might be in favour of, and he referred to the European Union. Of course Canada has a free trade agreement with the European Union. We also established a free trade agreement and approved the TPP by making it the comprehensive, progressive agreement. We brought labour and environmental issues into that trade deal. In the most recent new NAFTA deal, environmental and progressive trade practices are in there to protect the environment and labour.
Therefore, maybe the member could give us some specifics in areas, for example with CETA, where he did not see something that could have been it. What would make it a trade deal that he would support?
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 20:54 [p.29437]
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Mr. Speaker, the problem with CETA is that there is some change in the way investor-state dispute settlement is done, with the tribunal process, but it is still not good enough. I have listened to trade experts, like Gus Van Harten from Osgoode Hall. He says that it is basically the same kind of thing, the same sort of investor-state dispute settlement. It has just done it with a more permanent court.
We need to improve the judicial system. We need to deal with these issues within domestic boundaries. When we talk about domestic law, let us deal with disputes within domestic boundaries. If we are dealing with countries that do not have good judicial systems, let us make that part of the trade conditions.
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View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
2019-06-19 20:55 [p.29437]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today.
I support Bill C-100.
Not that long ago, our workers and our businesses were in a state of economic insecurity. The U.S. president had demanded a renegotiation of NAFTA, which has guided our shared North American economy for 25 years. In response to that challenge, our government rose to the task. We met it head on, and it brings me great pleasure to say that we have been successful.
We are now in a place where we have secured our access to the U.S. market and have secured stability for Canadians. We have projected the economic relationship that Canada, Mexico and the United States have built together. It is hard to overestimate the importance of this economic relationship to Canadians.
In 2017, trade between our countries exceeded $1 trillion, more than a threefold increase since 1994, when NAFTA was born. The North American free trade zone is the biggest economic region in the world, encompassing a $22-trillion regional market of more than 480 million consumers. Additionally, with CETA and the CPTPP, we have now secured markets of a combined total of 1.5 billion consumers. Not only have our renegotiations secured our access to this market, but the new NAFTA will reinforce the strong economic ties and support economic opportunities.
Our achievements have brought back predictability and stability to the economic relationships between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. This modern trilateral agreement turns the page and focuses on what makes our economic relationship so successful: stability, economic integration and rules that work for our businesses and our workers.
From the start of the negotiations, Canada had three primary objectives. The first was to preserve important NAFTA provisions and market access to the U.S. and Mexico. The second was to modernize and improve the agreement where possible. The third was to reinforce the security and stability of our market access into the U.S. and Mexico for Canadian businesses.
We have achieved those objectives.
First and foremost, the new agreement would preserve Canada's market access into the United States and Mexico, securing our most important trading partnership. Canada's preferential access to these markets is vital to the continuing prosperity of Canadian workers whose livelihoods rely on trade.
As two of Canada's largest trading partners, it was a priority for our government to ensure that modernizing NAFTA would not allow for any disruption of North American integrated supply chain. We understand how vital this is to Canadian companies and to exporters.
As an annual average, from 2015 to 2017, Canada exported more than 355 billion dollars' worth of goods to the United States, Canada's top export market. For the same time period, Canada exported an annual average of 12.4 billion dollars' worth of goods to Mexico, Canada's fifth-largest export market.
The CUSMA ensures continued preferential access to these key export destinations. The new NAFTA preserves our market access. This means that duty free access for all non-agricultural goods from NAFTA will be maintained. For agricultural goods, Canadian exports will also continue to benefit from duty-free access for nearly 89% of U.S. agriculture tariff lines and 91% of Mexican tariff lines.
This is a big deal for Canadian exporters and a big deal for Canadian farmers.
Maintaining these tariff outcomes provide Canadians with an advantage over those countries without a preferential trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. It also ensures predictability and continued secure market access for Canadian exporters to our largest trading partner.
Other key elements of NAFTA are also preserved, including chapter 19 and state-to-state dispute settlement, the cultural exception and temporary entry for business persons. The new agreement also creates new opportunities for Canadians. It opens new market access opportunities in the U.S. market and improves existing market access.
It has new customs and trade facilitation measures that will reduce red tape and make it easier for companies to move goods across our border, including by eliminating paper process and providing a single portal for trade to submit most important documents electronically. This will make it fast and efficient, while keeping up with a fast-paced industry in the 21st century.
The agreement includes a new stand-alone chapter on rules of origin and origin procedures for textiles and apparel goods that will support Canada's textile and apparel sector.
The new NAFTA enhances regulatory transparency and predictability, which will provide added assurance for exporters that their goods will make it to market and not be delayed by unjustified or unclear measures at the border.
The new NAFTA also ensures Canada's agricultural and processed food exports can rely on sanitary measures that are risk-based and that increase predictability of market access, so products make it to market in a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, the section 232 side letter on autos and auto parts provides added security and stability for Canadian automotive and parts companies that export to the U.S. market and will reaffirm Canada's attractiveness as an investment destination for automotive and parts manufacturers.
I want to speak a little about the auto sector now.
In the new NAFTA agreement, we made key changes. One was that the parts for automakers used to be at 62.5% of North American parts. The new NAFTA agreement will raise it to 75% by 2023. This will increase North American parts made and will ensure that we increase and stabilize the auto sector.
Another addition to this new NAFTA deal on auto is that wages are at least $16 an hour, which will help keep jobs in Canada, instead of what we have seen with jobs going to Mexico. This increase in wages and stability in wages will ensure we keep jobs here.
I want to talk about Toyota in my riding. Canada will now produce the Lexus NX crossover and it will selling the RX sport utility in 2022. Up until now, these two vehicles have only been made in Japan. This will be the first time these two lines will be made in Canada. We are securing jobs, particularly in and around my region of Kitchener South—Hespeler.
I also want to mention that the federal government last year invested $110 million to support 8,000 jobs in southwestern Ontario. That will help create an additional 450 new jobs in the auto sector.
This is a progressive agreement that meets the needs of the 21st century, including bringing obligations on labour and environment directly into the agreement and subjecting them to dispute settlement.
The new NAFTA preserves key elements of the North American trading relationship, allowing for our continued regional prosperity and stability. It reinforces the strong economic ties among Canada, Mexico and the United States, while also recognizing the importance of progressive and inclusive trade, including key outcomes in areas such as labour and environment. This modernized agreement is good for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses.
We have faced up to the largest challenge in U.S.-Canada relations in decades and we have achievements and outcomes that benefits us all. This is a great achievement for Canada. This is a great trade agreement. It modernizes it in the 21st century. I am happy to support it.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-19 21:04 [p.29438]
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Mr. Speaker, we have some concerns around this trade agreement, especially when it comes to biologic medicines that are the most expensive and profitable class of medicines out there. For example, popular biologics to treat rheumatic arthritis and Crohn's disease can cost between $20,000 and $30,000 annually. The cost for certain biologics designed to treat rare diseases can be substantially higher. Biosimilars can significantly lower these costs, increasing access and stretching heath dollars further. Even insulin costs are going up.
Why does the government want Canadians suffering from these types of illnesses to have to pay more for their medications? That is what is going to happen if this trade agreement is ratified as it is.
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View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
2019-06-19 21:05 [p.29438]
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Mr. Speaker, there have been many negotiations and we had a strong team of negotiators. They have illustrated that the price of prescription drugs would not be increased. This would actually have a positive benefit, because we would have more access to markets.
The statement that the hon. member just made is inaccurate. The cost of prescription drugs would not increase under this new NAFTA.
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View Tony Clement Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Tony Clement Profile
2019-06-19 21:06 [p.29438]
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Mr. Speaker, this is a very important trade deal, one I generally support, but I do have concerns about particular items, as do other members of the House.
As someone who was responsible for a time for changes to better protect copyright laws while balancing that with access for consumers, I am always concerned when the Americans bring up copyright. They are always trying to pursue with Canada and with Canadian law watering down some of our protections for consumers: for instance, the notice and take down provisions that the United States tries to push on Canada when it comes to posting on the Internet, and the fair dealing provisions that we have in Canada versus the fair use provisions that are found in the United States.
I am wondering whether the hon. member has a point of view on those issues as well.
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View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
2019-06-19 21:07 [p.29438]
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Mr. Speaker, when we were negotiating, we wanted to ensure that we protected jobs and Canadian culture, and we did that with this agreement. We fought really hard and it took many months to ensure that we got a great deal for Canadians, and Canadians should be proud.
Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said this:
The Chamber congratulates Minister Freeland and Canada's negotiating team for delivering an agreement that remains trilateral and that will continue to deliver prosperity for Canada, and for doing so under extraordinarily challenging conditions.
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View Raj Saini Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Raj Saini Profile
2019-06-19 21:07 [p.29438]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague and my neighbour, the hon. member for Kitchener South—Hespeler, for his very comprehensive review of the advantages of this deal.
We are both proud of representing a region that is very advanced in many things, whether it be education or insurance. Another thing we are very advanced in is advanced manufacturing. The pride and joy of our community is all the sub-suppliers and subcontractors that supply the Toyota plant in the hon. member's riding.
The member mentioned the side letters. He mentioned the impact of auto and the tremendous advantages this deal would provide to the auto industry in Canada. It would provide a lot of advantages to our region for people who live, work and play there.
Could my hon. friend highlight some of the advantages this deal would provide, not only for our region but also for the country?
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View Marwan Tabbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Marwan Tabbara Profile
2019-06-19 21:08 [p.29439]
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Mr. Speaker, our region is known for its high-tech sector, as well as for education, insurance and advanced manufacturing. We use a lot of high-tech technologies to advance some of the technology in our vehicles. That is why Toyota is investing in technology.
The federal government invested $110 million in Toyota. This will build more RAV4 vehicles. Toyota cannot sell enough of these cars. They have been selling like crazy. Every time I meet with Toyota officials, they tell me they cannot keep pace with the demand. It is a very popular model, not only across the country but exported to markets in the United States. That is why this deal is great for the auto industry. It is great for Canada, and I am supporting this deal.
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2019-06-19 21:10 [p.29439]
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Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise in the House today in support of Bill C-100, the implementing legislation for the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement.
Last fall, we concluded negotiations on the new NAFTA with the U.S. and Mexico. Throughout the intense negotiations, we remained steadfast and focused on what really matters to Canadians: jobs, growth and, of course, expanding the middle class.
We refused to capitulate, and we secured a good deal for Canadians. Since negotiations began in August 2017, Canada has engaged constructively and pragmatically with our NAFTA partners to reach a good deal for Canadians.
The agreement provides key outcomes for Canadian businesses, workers and communities in areas such as labour, the environment, automotive trade, dispute resolution, culture and energy.
We guaranteed continued access for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses to our largest export market, and we succeeded in preserving key elements of NAFTA, including chapter 19, which is really the heart and soul of the agreement, the all-important dispute settlement mechanism and the cultural exception, something we had fought very hard for in the negotiations in the 1980s.
We addressed important bread-and-butter issues like cutting red tape to make it easier for Canadian businesses to export to the U.S. market.
The new NAFTA will safeguard more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade and tariff-free access.
I will provide just one example to the House. In 2017, trilateral trade exceeded $1 trillion, more than a threefold increase since 1994, when NAFTA was first born. The North American free trade zone is the biggest economic region in the world, encompassing a regional market of $22 trillion U.S. and over 480 million consumers. With only 7% of the world's population, the U.S., Canada and Mexico together now account for more than a quarter of the world's GDP.
The new NAFTA represents an opportunity for Canada to build upon the highly integrated economies in North America. Implementing and ratifying the new NAFTA will help maintain Canada's global competitive position. Our three countries are among one another's largest trading partners and sources of foreign investment.
It is important at this juncture to acknowledge all the work that went into these negotiations. I am referring to the Prime Minister, who was highly engaged on this, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other ministers who were very much embedded in the process and, of course, the many members of Parliament who consistently went to the United States to explain the significance of this agreement to Canadians.
Preferential access also means a level playing field for Canadian products and will provide Canadian companies with a leg-up on others that do not yet have the same level of access to the U.S. and Mexican markets. This will translate into increased profits and market opportunities for Canadian businesses of all sizes, in all sectors and in every part of our beautiful country.
Our relationship with the U.S. and Mexico is about more than simply trade. Our relationship is also about friendship, shared values, prosperity and security. We do not just trade with each other; we make things together and we co-operate to ensure the mutual safety and security of the continent.
It is important to emphasize that throughout the negotiations, this government worked hard to advocate for the interests of Canadian families. Our efforts extended to all levels of government and society, from continuing constructive dialogues between Prime Minister Trudeau and the U.S. and Mexican presidents to conversations—
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2019-06-19 21:15 [p.29439]
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Mr. Speaker, I apologize for that oversight.
Of course, what I meant to highlight and emphasize was that numerous people were highly engaged in this process. As I mentioned earlier, there were many members of this House who took their responsibilities very seriously. Of course, we also reached out to business leaders, labour leaders and everyone who could assist along the way.
I think it would be fair to say that, in all these interactions, we have been unwavering in sharing our message in the U.S., and our message was very simple. We were informing Americans that it was in their self-interest to keep strong relations with Canada. Good, middle-class jobs in every U.S. state depend directly on trade with and investment in Canada. Apart from being a friend and a neighbour, Canada is also the most like-minded ally the United States can find in the world.
Similarly, Canada and Mexico continue to weave ties for the future through our shared values and commitment to a secure, prosperous, inclusive and democratic world. I should highlight that this year marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Mexico, and we very much look forward to building on this milestone to create an even stronger partnership.
In negotiating the modernized agreement, we underscored that a good deal is one that reflects the Canadian national interests and in which Canadian values are defended. That was at the core of our negotiating priorities and approach, and we were consistent throughout.
The new NAFTA is a win-win-win agreement for Canada, the United States and Mexico.
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View Karine Trudel Profile
NDP (QC)
View Karine Trudel Profile
2019-06-19 21:17 [p.29440]
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Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech and was shocked when I heard the end part.
Back home in my riding of Jonquière we have a lot of dairy farmers. In the last budget the government announced a compensation plan, but there is no date and no money going directly to our dairy farmers. Now the government is boasting that the agreement is a win-win-win.
I have some news for the government. These farmers are the hands that feed us. They work every day to provide us with fresh food. The government promised them all kinds of things they are entitled to, but they have been shortchanged again. This is a third breach of supply management. The House will soon be adjourning and we still have nothing.
How does this government plan to compensate dairy farmers and comply with the agreement it signed with them?
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2019-06-19 21:18 [p.29440]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for raising an issue that is obviously of concern to our government as well.
As I indicated throughout my remarks, we were keen on maintaining a dialogue with various sectors of our economy, and that communication has been ongoing. I can tell the member that we have received every assurance that dialogue will be ongoing with dairy producers, and they have been very pleased with the progress we are making to ensure that we stand up for their interests and make the necessary changes.
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View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2019-06-19 21:19 [p.29440]
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Mr. Speaker, my question for the hon. member is about article 22 and annex IV, which gives a carve-out to the Trans Mountain expansion project.
When we are dealing with climate change, do we not think that perhaps it would be a good idea for other state-owned enterprises to be available to us in dealing with a climate emergency?
Also, I would like to know about this carve-out for the Trans Mountain expansion project. What is the plan? We have seen that it is not really economically feasible. I have read reports by Robyn Allan and others who say that this pipeline is not economically feasible.
What is the plan if the government cannot sell it to the private sector within the 10-year period, as outlined in article 22?
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2019-06-19 21:20 [p.29440]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for raising a very good concern.
Of course, as with any other trade agreement, it is important to make sure that we are focused on the details as negotiations go on. The member will recall, for example, that when the original NAFTA was negotiated, Canadian negotiators made sure that there were all sorts of reservations for various things. In that particular instance, the big issue Canadians expected us to stand up for and preserve was culture.
In this particular case, it was quite obvious to our American friends and to the Mexicans that the environment is something we take very seriously as a country. However, as with all negotiations, there were some carve-outs, which is something that epitomizes the process of negotiations.
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View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2019-06-19 21:21 [p.29440]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend and colleague for his speech. We have done some work on some tough files together. On behalf of my constituents, I appreciate his efforts.
We keep hearing the Liberal government is committed to the creation of a national pharmacare program. Maybe this member can explain why it would sign this trade deal, which includes patent extensions that would make it harder and more expensive to create a pharmacare plan.
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View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2019-06-19 21:22 [p.29440]
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Mr. Speaker, allow me to reciprocate and say I have very much enjoyed working with my hon. colleague.
As the member is well aware, these issues are serious issues. They are legal matters. They are issues that require that each of the negotiating parties be familiar with various provisions. I think it would be fair to say that lawyers in the department are very much aware of some of the limitations that might exist, but that will certainly not get in the way of this government's commitment to pharmacare in the future.
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View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-06-19 21:23 [p.29440]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak tonight. In the final days of Parliament, I would be remiss if I did not thank my colleagues in the NDP for our tireless fight for fair trade for Canadians, who represent farmers and workers, to keep the cost of pharmaceuticals low and to address the issues Canadians care about and matter to them in terms of trade.
I would like to thank my family for the time that I have been able to devote here, my husband Germaine, my sons Maxwell and Maliq. I thank them for their support and love and for the wild ride we have been on this last four years and I look forward to going further. I would like to say a quick thanks to my team. They are just so incredible. I thank Nadine, Lindsay, Katrina, Joseline and Megan and the many volunteers throughout the years.
We are back on Bill C-100 and I am pleased to rise to speak on this stage of the bill. I thank my colleague, the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, who brought forward a reasoned amendment, something the government should consider, which is to decline to give second reading to Bill C-100. Before I get into the reasons, which my colleague laid out quite well in her reasoned amendment last night, there has been a lot of discussion about what is happening in the U.S., the moves the Democrats are making. We know they have written four letters from the subcommittee on trade to Ambassador Lighthizer.
They are in the middle of negotiations right now and it is quite shocking to know that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs will be going to Washington, for Donald Trump, to pressure the Democrats to drop these progressive elements that they are trying to achieve. I do not think that is something that Canadians widely support. It is certainly not something that Speaker Pelosi has said she is willing to do. She said that the Democrat-controlled House will not take up legislation to ratify the deal until it is tweaked to address her concerns, which include issues with enforcement tools, labour reforms in Mexico, environmental protections and provisions on pharmaceuticals.
Are these not things that we in Canada should all be pursuing? Is this not something that the Liberal government should be getting behind and supporting instead of ramming this through, closing down debate in the dying days of Parliament with an uncertain future throughout the summer on Bill C-100? I understand that we are heading into an election and that it is in the best interests of Liberals to try to get this done, to put something on the shelf to show Canadians that they have achieved something on the trade file. I just say “something”. I reserve my comment as to the value of it or how this deal is being viewed.
I want to go back to the member for Windsor—Tecumseh and the reasoned amendment she put forward. The first reason she states is that this new deal, the NAFTA, the CUSMA, the USMCA, whichever one chooses to call it, fails to improve labour provisions necessary to protect jobs. This is entirely true. Yesterday, there were 12 witnesses at the trade committee. There was a witness from Unifor who expressed concerns about the labour provisions. Unfortunately, what was initially attempted was not fully achieved. We know the Democrats are working hard to improve it.
I want to talk about more specifics and the uncertainty that still exists. The first thing I want to talk about is working women. In the agreement that was signed last fall, there was a negotiation that included provisions for improving the conditions of working women, including workplace harassment, pay equity and equality issues, but in the scrub phase of this new deal, those things disappeared. They are completely gone from the agreement now. The Liberals have yet to answer why. They have yet to acknowledge that these important gender gains have completely disappeared and they have yet to ask what happened to them and say they need to be put back in Bill C-100. I would be curious to hear why the Liberals are not pushing for these gender changes that have now somehow disappeared.
There is a lot of discussion about the $16 U.S. per hour wage that has been talked about. The unfortunate part of this provision, and I hope that Canadians understand this, is that it is not a minimum $16 per hour; it is an average $16 per hour, and the determination of that has yet to be defined. If we use the example of an auto assembly plant or a manufacturing plant, we would have to include everyone, the CEO, all of the shareholders, all of the stakeholders, all the way down.
If we take the average wage of everyone working there, $16 an hour is not going to be what people are being paid in right-to-work states in the U.S. or in Mexico. It is simply what the average wage has to be among workers in that whole company. Again, while this appears to be something progressive on the surface, I want Canadians to understand there is no guarantee here that people will actually be paid that amount of money. That is definitely a concern to us.
We know that in the Mexican government, the people have moved toward some labour reforms. The problem is that we are taking a gamble on the backs of working people in hoping that this thing will correct the imbalance and have the jobs continue to drain down to Mexico. There are many Canadian companies that have footprints in Mexico that are not paying a fair wage to people in plants. These are North American multinational companies. Of course, when executives are looking where to put a new manufacturing facility, they know that in Mexico people are being paid a very low wage, there are no labour standards, no legitimate unions and no environmental provisions, and then they look at the Canadian standard.
This is the reason we have not had a new greenfield site in Canada over the life of NAFTA. We will continue to have this problem. It is a great gamble that is being taken, once again, on the backs of working people. We have lost 400,000 manufacturing jobs over the life of NAFTA. We lost our entire textile industry. We lost 50% of our vintners, our wineries that are in a lot of our ridings here in the House. There are a great many questions, to find out whether the provisions in this deal would actually work and would actually help the Mexican working people, the U.S. working people and the Canadians. It is a great gamble and risk that we are taking here. I do not believe that I have heard a strong argument from the other side, other than to say that this is the best that we could do. Canadian workers deserve better than that.
Most people, when they think of the U.S. and Canada and labour standards, certainly do not think of the U.S. as being more progressive than we are, but that is exactly what is happening there now. The Americans are actually trying to stand up for working people in the U.S. It is a shame that we do not see the same thing happening here in Canada.
The other thing I want to talk about, which my colleagues have touched upon and I have in my previous speech, is that this deal allows for the extension of drug patents, which would significantly increase the cost of medication for Canadians. We know that Dr. Hoskins came out with his report saying that we should move toward a single-payer universal pharmacare plan in Canada, something New Democrats have been saying and putting forward as a plan to Canadians for quite some time. It is disappointing to see the Liberals dangle that carrot once again in front of voters, saying, “Do not worry, we are going to do it”. We have been hearing that for 20 years.
Here is a deal that would make drugs like insulin, drugs that are used for Crohn's disease and drugs that are used for rheumatoid arthritis more expensive. That is so counterintuitive to where we need to be going because we know that Canadians already cannot afford the medication that they are taking. The fact is that Big Pharma is getting its way once again in a trade agreement. This is a complete TPP hangover. This was part of the original TPP that, thankfully, disappeared when the U.S. left, but it is right back on the table again.
My colleagues have rightly pointed out the impact on supply management. We heard from the egg farmers at committee yesterday. I just have to pause to point out that it is shameful that we had only 12 witnesses before the committee on a study on the new NAFTA, or the CUSMA, when we had over 400 on the TPP. We did a whole cross-country tour on the TPP, where we not only included everyone in the local communities but we also had open-mike periods. Now we have the complete opposite. While the Liberals keep saying this is our most important relationship and this is why we have to do this, I believe that is the reason it deserves proper attention and proper oversight. Certainly that is not what is happening here.
I am very pleased to rise to say that New Democrats will always fight for fair trade that is in the best interest of people, communities and workers, and we will put the poorest and most marginalized Canadians in the best position when we do so. When we continue to sign trade agreements that will have negative impacts and violate people's human rights, do not address gender inequality and do not work to make the wealth inequality in our country shrink, we are doing a disservice. We need to do better. New Democrats are committed to fair trade at every turn.
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View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
2019-06-19 21:33 [p.29442]
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Mr. Speaker, sometimes I wonder if the NDP would like no trade agreements, without regard for the consequences.
The hon. member, who gave a very eloquent speech, described the USMCA as “something on trade”, forgetting that it was an arduous negotiation that was carried out wonderfully by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the government.
However, I would like to go back to the extension of pharmaceutical patents. I would accept the hon. member's point if we were talking about traditional drugs. In the case of traditional drugs, generics are ready to pounce the moment a patent is lifted, but we are talking about biologics and biosimilars, which are the generic versions of biologics.
All experts agree that the barriers to entry into the biosimilars market are extremely high, because we are dealing with extremely complex drugs. The notion that patent extensions may be having an impact really is moot, because the barriers to entry will prevent biosimilars from quickly entering the market when there are no patent protections.
It is not really a proper parallel to make. It is alarming Canadians for no reason. Could the member comment on that?
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View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-06-19 21:34 [p.29442]
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Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member does not have an issue with what I am saying, but I think he should talk to the PBO.
The member for Vancouver Kingsway initiated a study on the new CUSMA with the PBO, and when the report came back, the PBO estimated that the increased drug costs would be $169 million in the first year alone.
I would encourage the member to look at that report from the PBO. I thank the PBO for the work that they have done throughout this Parliament. Certainly they have shone a light on things that the Liberal government does not want Canadians to know or understand. I would encourage the member to go and read that study. I would encourage Canadians to do the same.
I would say that the pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity in Canada is operated by the generic pharmaceutical industry, and there are about 11,000 Canadians who work in the industry. However, the true question is, if we could remove that regressive provision—because the member is saying, “Do not worry; it is not going to impact us”—as they are attempting to do in the U.S., would the Liberals not support that? That is the true question.
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View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2019-06-19 21:36 [p.29442]
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Mr. Speaker, when I hear the member speak, I think of her riding and the amount of time I have spent in the automotive industry, working on automation applications on tier 2s and tier 3s and also going on to tier 1s.
I want to correct one thing for the record. In terms of the labour value content, it states that 40% of a passenger vehicle and 45% of a pickup or cargo vehicle must be made by hourly workers who earn a wage of $16 U.S. an hour or more. There are other provisions in terms of R and D credits and credits for high labour value areas.
I have seen the automotive industry go up and down over the years. Usually it was the exchange rate that put us out of work, or it was changes in technology. Right now, we have really good conditions for the automotive industry, with the lowest marginal effective tax rate in the G7, 13.8%, and 100% writedown of investments on buildings when we are trying to green buildings. As well, our exchange rate is very stable where it is, so things should look pretty good for Windsor.
Could the member comment on any positive things that she sees developing in the automotive industry in Windsor?
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View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-06-19 21:37 [p.29443]
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Mr. Speaker, I would have to say that the concern that auto workers have and the concern that the auto industry has is that the 2.5% tariff rate on auto and auto parts is not prohibitive enough for companies to actually want to reach this level.
We have watched 400,000 manufacturing jobs bleed out of our country. We cannot attract investment into auto because we are competing on such an unfair playing field. The things that have been established here are easy enough for companies to get over and to pay the 2.5%.
What the member is really asking is for southwestern Ontario auto workers and manufacturing workers across our country to take a chance that what has been established here will work in practice. It is a best guess whether or not the provisions here will actually end up being meaningful, and I have to say that these provisions are not even fully fleshed out yet. We do not even have the details of exactly what they will look at.
That is also a piece that is very concerning, because there are ministerial powers that have been written into the new CUSMA. The Liberals would like to say, “Do not worry; if something happens, the minister of the day will be able to override it, or cabinet will be able to override it.” Why should we trust that they are going to go and put these provisions in after the fact? If the deal is so good—
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2019-06-19 21:39 [p.29443]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity to say this as we close out the debate at second reading on this very important bill, Bill C-100. This bill will enable us to take the next steps toward ratification of one of the most important and progressive trade agreements that has ever been negotiated anywhere in the world.
We went into this discussion with three primary objectives: first, to preserve important NAFTA provisions and market access to $2 billion worth of trade into the U.S. and Mexico every day; second, to modernize and improve the agreement to make it a better agreement than NAFTA; and third, to reinforce the security and stability of market access into the U.S. and Mexico for Canadian businesses. Those were the objectives, and that is what we accomplished.
I want to take a moment to commend our Prime Minister, who has a spine of steel when it comes to these sorts of issues, and our formidable Minister of Foreign Affairs, because no one can negotiate anything in the world like she can. I want to thank her parliamentary secretary, the member for Orléans, who was engaged in this process, as well as the trade negotiators, the officials, and the members of opposition parties who were engaged in the council that did this work, which is really groundbreaking work to make a difference for Canadian labour, indigenous Canadians and workers in every sector to make sure our businesses remain competitive while we continue to grow them and have access to markets in the United States and around the world with the most diverse trading program that any country has ever developed.
One issue I want to spend a bit of time on, because there has been so much misinformation tonight, is with respect to biologics and patent protection, which was negotiated as part of this whole deal.
I want to be clear about this. There are pharmaceutical drugs that are compounds created from atoms being compounded to each other to create the drugs we know so well. Of the drugs that people in this room take, 95% are those kinds of drugs, while 5% of the medications we take are biologics. These are created from living organisms in a living organism and are extremely complex and expensive to make.
My career for four years as president of the Asthma Society of Canada led me to understand the very complex way that biologics are created. On the one hand, drugs made from compounds are generic drugs that are relatively easy to create and are exactly the same as the original drug. However, a biologic will never be replicated exactly. They are biosimilars. At times, I jokingly call them “bio-differents”, because they are different. They are extremely expensive to replicate, and most companies do not want to do it.
I am really glad some people are listening to this. The reality is that a biologic drug, if we have 10 years of protection for it, most likely will be replaced by another biologic. That is the way that the industry works.
I am not simply saying we do not need to worry about this because I am, on this side of the House, arguing for this trade agreement; I am arguing this because we have a very high stake in targeted medicine and in ensuring that Canadians have access to the biologics that are part of our medical care system.
I have heard various numbers quoted, which are mathematical calculations without any nuance whatsoever. When Amir Attaran, a professor at the University of Ottawa, a biomedical scientist and a lawyer, looked at everything we are doing, he recognized it is going to be a wash. We are changing regulations on the PMPRB, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. We are obviously committed to a pharmacare system that we can see is being developed through the early steps taken in this budget. We are moving on these issues.
I would ask every member of this House to commit themselves to the science, the creativity and the imagination that goes into our pharmaceutical industry. Quit beating up on big pharma.
I have taken on big pharma as part of a patient organization to ensure that Canadians have access to medication. I am not afraid of big pharma; I am respectful of pharmaceutical scientists and the companies that bring us the medications that, frankly, keep me alive. I need those medications and I am glad they are there. NAFTA will ensure that there is moderate protection, either under the 20 years as a drug or the 10 years as a biologic.
This is not something that is scientific. It is an embarrassment that some people in the House are misusing this idea to scare Canadians. The reality is that we have a progressive trade deal. It is the most progressive and inclusive trade deal to involve indigenous people. It has labour standards that are progressive and will become a worldwide model. We have a deal that will make sure that as Canadians move into the rest of the century, we will be effective and competitive.
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View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2019-06-19 21:45 [p.29444]
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It being 9:43 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Thursday, June 13, it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill now before the House.
The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion, the nays have it.
And five or more members having risen:
The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to an order made on Tuesday, May 28, the division stands deferred until Thursday, June 20, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.
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View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
View Cathy McLeod Profile
2019-06-18 15:06 [p.29312]
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Mr. Speaker, in March 2016, the Prime Minister promised to resolve the softwood lumber dispute. He said, “I’m confident that we are on a track towards resolving this irritant in the coming weeks and month.” That was three years ago. Yesterday, the third mill in my riding in two weeks closed its doors.
The Liberals have lots of time for their millionaire friends, but when it comes to B.C. workers, they cannot lift a finger.
Will the Prime Minister finally make good on his promise to resolve the softwood lumber dispute and save jobs?
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2019-06-18 15:07 [p.29312]
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Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, the Conservatives simply do not know what they are talking about on this issue. Our government saw the consequences of the wretched quota deal the Conservatives accepted on softwood lumber, which is why we refused to accept the tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum.
We are continuing our legal challenges against the U.S. softwood duties through NAFTA, through the WTO, where Canadian softwood has always won in the past.
Our government will always defend Canadian workers and Canadian industry.
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View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-06-18 20:46 [p.29354]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here once more in the House of Commons with all of my colleagues to talk about the benefits of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement for all Canadians.
In keeping with Canada's inclusive approach to trade, we have worked very hard since the negotiations began to get results that will advance the interests of Canada's middle class, small and medium-sized enterprises, women, indigenous peoples and entrepreneurs. The cultural exemption is also particularly important to me.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Ms. Linda Lapointe: Mr. Speaker, the members are talking very loudly, and it is bothering me.
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View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-06-18 20:48 [p.29354]
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Mr. Speaker, thank you for making sure everyone is listening. The agreement we are discussing is very important.
We worked hard to secure a good deal that will benefit all Canadians. For example, the provisions that protect women's rights, minority rights and indigenous rights are the strongest in any Canadian trade agreement to date. This includes obligations with respect to the elimination of employment discrimination based on gender. The new NAFTA is also the first international trade agreement that recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as grounds for discrimination in its labour chapter.
I would add that, from the very beginning of the negotiation process, we emphasized the need to protect middle-class jobs and support economic growth. The vast majority of Canadian businesses are SMEs. They employ over 10.5 million Canadians, accounting for about 90% of the private sector workforce. The new agreement will help these Canadian businesses by giving them access to the U.S. and Mexican markets and promoting collaboration between the parties to create more opportunities for trade and investment.
During the 42nd Parliament, I had the honour and privilege of being a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade for two and a half years. The agreements that we signed include CETA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, the agreement with the United States and Mexico is very important. The committee and parliamentarians worked very hard to move forward on this file, which is of vital importance to Canada. CUSMA includes a chapter on SMEs designed to complement the other commitments made throughout the agreement. It includes requirements to make available information that is specifically tailored to SMEs, including information on entrepreneurship, education programs for youth and under-represented groups, and information on obligations in the agreement that are particularly relevant to SMEs.
CUSMA also provides SMEs with an opportunity to collaborate in addressing any issue that could impact them in the future. In my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, which includes Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère, SMEs are the main employers. The new agreement establishes a committee on SME issues and an annual trilateral SME dialogue that brings together representatives of private sector employees, non-governmental organizations and other experts to discuss issues pertaining to the agreement that are relevant to SMEs. By doing so, CUSMA will give a voice to Canadian SMEs and facilitate discussions on issues that matter to them.
In keeping with our commitment to adopting an inclusive approach to trade, Canada carefully considered the interests of indigenous peoples throughout the negotiations. The Government of Canada is determined to advance the process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples through a renewed nation-to-nation relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect and co-operation. Given the efforts made by Canada to renew this relationship, one of Canada's objectives is to better advocate for the commercial interests of indigenous peoples. To that end, the Government of Canada has undertaken a vast consultation with chiefs and indigenous representatives and also with businesses and experts to better understand their commercial interests and obtain their advice on the priorities for the negotiations.
For the first time in a Canadian free trade agreement, the CUSMA includes a general exception that clearly states that the government can adopt or maintain measures it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations towards indigenous peoples. This exception is a testament to the commitment by all three countries to ensure that the agreement's obligations do not interfere with a country's legal obligations towards indigenous peoples.
We are proud to have made indigenous peoples the focus of the NAFTA renegotiations. As National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations said, the new NAFTA's provisions addressing indigenous peoples make this most inclusive international trade agreement for indigenous peoples to date. The provisions will uphold the ancestral, inherent and treaty rights of first nations.
Furthermore, we are proud to have included a chapter on the environment in lieu of the side letter to the original NAFTA.
The chapter on the environment recognizes the important role indigenous peoples play in long-term environmental and biodiversity conservation, as well as sustainable fishing and forestry. The environmental provisions also take into account the rights of indigenous peoples under the Constitution for the use and development of natural resources.
Finally, for the first time in a Canadian free trade agreement, the preamble recognizes how important it is for indigenous peoples to participate more in trade and investment decisions. In addition to achieving results for SMEs, indigenous peoples and, of course, the cultural exemption, Canada has made gender equality and women's empowerment top priorities.
For instance, the labour chapter levels the playing field when it comes to labour standards and working conditions in North America, and includes commitments to ensure that national laws and policies provide protections for fundamental principles and rights at work. This includes provisions on non-discrimination in the workplace, including gender discrimination. It also includes provisions that encourage the adoption of programs and policies to tackle barriers to the full participation of women in the workforce. The agreement supports co-operative activities dealing with questions on gender issues in the workplace, particularly gender equality.
The investment chapter includes a special provision that reaffirms the importance of encouraging businesses to uphold standards of corporate social responsibility, including those that apply to gender equality.
The chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises encourages the parties to collaborate on activities that will maximize trade opportunities for SMEs owned by women and promote their participation in international trade. Taken together, the agreement's provisions on equality address the issue directly.
I have to say a few words about the cultural exemption. I remember the Standing Committee on International Trade's trip to Washington. When I said that Canada has over eight million French speakers, they had no idea what I was talking about. That is why the cultural exemption is so important. It affects the cultural industry and means that Canada will still be able to create and maintain programs and policies that support our thriving cultural industries. The industry represents 75,000 jobs in Quebec, and culture represents 2.7% of our GDP and 3.6% of all jobs in Canada. That was a very important gain, and I am very proud of it.
In conclusion, let me reiterate that we worked incredibly hard to make sure the new agreement benefits Canadians, and not just middle-class workers and small businesses, but traditionally under-represented groups, such as women and indigenous peoples, too.
As I said, the cultural exemption was very important, and I can proudly say that our goals were met. We made significant progress in improving standards and benefits for all Canadians.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-18 20:57 [p.29355]
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Mr. Speaker, one of the problems with the agreement has to do with its impact on supply management. Farmers from across Canada are looking at the concessions that were made to the Americans on dairy and other products.
In New Westminster, I am seeing American milk on the shelves for the first time in my life. That milk is cheap because it contains ingredients like bovine growth hormone. Generally speaking, the quality of that milk is not as good, but it puts consumers in a difficult position because it costs less.
The question I want to ask my colleague is very simple. Why did Canada and the government make so many concessions with regard to supply management? They are undermining all of our existing supply managed products.
What is more, why did they not offer dairy farmers the kind of compensation they should be able to expect from a government that supports them?
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View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-06-18 20:58 [p.29355]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer my colleague's question about supply management. That issue is very important to me. We have heard a lot of talk about supply management in Quebec. However, from what dairy and poultry farmers are telling me, they are very satisfied.
It is important to remember that there are also new opportunities available. Take, for example, refined sugar and margarine. Markets are opening up. We are able to go there.
I would like my NDP colleague, who often speaks about international trade, to tell me whether there is an agreement, other than the one between Canada and Ukraine, that the NDP would have accepted. They do not think any agreement is good enough.
As for the official opposition, they were willing to accept any agreement as quickly as possible. They thought it we should just take whatever we could get without any negotiation.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-18 20:59 [p.29356]
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Mr. Speaker, I asked a question. It would have been enough to answer me, but as usual the Liberal government prefers to attack the NDP.
As far as trade agreements are concerned, the NDP has always supported trade agreements that are fair, while the Conservatives and Liberals never talk about fair trade agreements. They are more interested in agreements that leave a lot to be desired for Canada and Canadians.
I am very pleased that my colleague mentioned that the NDP is the only party that supports trade agreements that are fair. It is the only party. As usual, the old parties are prepared to sign anything at any price. We have always advocated for evaluating agreements to see what we are gaining and what we are losing, in order to have trade where everyone wins, a fair trade agreement. The Liberals have never offered a single—
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View Linda Lapointe Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Linda Lapointe Profile
2019-06-18 21:01 [p.29356]
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Madam Speaker, I find that interesting, but he still has not said what kind of agreement they would have accepted.
We have faith in our farmers and in all those who work in the agri-food sector. Furthermore, the free trade agreement that we will sign with Mexico and the United States offers plenty of opportunities. Quebec excels in producing fine cheeses. Do members know that the best Camembert in the world comes from Quebec? We can export it. We are developing markets. It is simply a matter of seeking opportunities and selling our products.
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View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2019-06-18 21:02 [p.29356]
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Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-100.
I want to start my remarks by recognizing that we are ending the session shortly and this could very well be my last speech in the 42nd Parliament. That will no doubt delight my Liberal friends, but if they stay to listen to the content of my final remarks, they will have no delight because they will outline their failures.
I want to also send special thanks to a couple of exceptional Canadians, Dr. David Stevens and Dr. Bill Plaxton in Kitchener Waterloo. I have been away the last week with my wife who had surgery. She was in the hands of those amazing medical professionals at Grand River Hospital. I want to thank them and I want to thank her for allowing me to come and speak tonight to NAFTA. I have been trying to help at home a little this last week.
All of us in the House rely on exceptional spouses, partners and families. If these are my last remarks of this Parliament, I think all of us do not thank our families enough. I love Rebecca and I love my family. The sacrifices we make in the House lead to reflection at this time of year. It has been good for me to spend time with my wife who is my partner in this adventure. I want to thank Dr. Stevens in particular for his exceptional care.
I will now proceed to upset my Liberal friends in discussing Bill C-100, back to my normal approach.
I hope a lot of Canadians are watching. I doubt they are, but I will push this out because we have to break this narrative that the government has approached the U.S. trade relationship and NAFTA renegotiations in any form of strategic fashion, because that has not been the case.
Much like almost every foreign relations approach under the Prime Minister, Canada has suffered, our sectors have suffered, employers, job creators, employees have suffered. The Liberal Party always puts the Prime Minister's brand and their own electoral fortune ahead of the national interest. Nothing highlights that more than the famous state visit to India. However, if we look at all the strained relationships Canada has around the world right now, we have never had so many. Almost all of these diplomatic entanglements are attributable to the Prime Minister's own approach, style and obsession with his image and electoral prospects.
We saw that with photographs from the India trip, but we have also seen it in flawed trade relations with China, where we are in the biggest dispute since we have had relations with China in the 1970s, with Saudi Arabia, with the Philippines. Countries like Italy have imposed tariffs on durum wheat. We are losing track of the number of countries that have a serious problem with Canada on trade, on security or in other relations because of the Prime Minister's government.
As much as I have some admiration for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, she is presiding over probably the worst period of modern diplomatic relations of Canada. I do not think 10 more magazine covers of Maclean's will correct that record.
Nothing should concern Canadians more than the situation with NAFTA. Two-thirds of our economy relies on trade with the United States. I have said this many times. Canada became lazy for the last half century, relying on the fact that we lived just north to the largest, most voracious free market economy in the world. In the post-world cycle, Canada traded, produced, were drawers of water and hewers of wood for the largest market just south of us.
Until the Harper government, we did not look much beyond our shores to enhance free trade and develop partnerships to diversify our trade relationships. We were so reliant, but we were also pioneers in free trade.
We can go back to the Harper and Mulroney governments, even back to Pearson with the auto pact of the mid-1960s when there was free trade in automobiles for the first time between two modern industrial countries. An automobile assembled in Oshawa by people like my father and his colleagues who worked in Oshawa where I grew up, or an automobile assembled in Windsor, or Oakville or Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec was considered just the same as if it had been assembled in Michigan.
Over the subsequent decades, we saw a Great Lakes free trade based in auto. It was the epicentre of the global auto industry. With just-in-time manufacturing, a part could be made in Aurora, put on final assembly in Oshawa and 70% of the vehicles produced in our Ontario auto plants were for sale in the United States anyway. Therefore, our free trade with the United States was built upon the auto industry.
I say this for two reasons. The first is because representing Oshawa and that industry, the retirees and the workers there now is a priority for me. The second reason is because it should trouble Canadians that the minister did not mention the auto industry in her priority speech on NAFTA, despite the fact the Liberals' best friend, Jerry Dias, was on the NAFTA advisory committee. I was pushing for auto to be a priority. whereas Jerry Dias was applauding the Prime Minister for an agenda that did not mention the auto industry.
Let us do a recap. President Trump was elected, and before his inauguration, before he was president, the Prime Minister volunteered to renegotiate NAFTA. There have been so many mistakes between now and then, we forget that our Prime Minister inserted us into something that was likely going to be focused on modernization with Mexico. Later on, the U.S. outlined what it wanted.
In July 2017, a United States trade representative laid out a series of priorities for the U.S. It spelled them out in detail, including things related to state-owned enterprises and non-market economy-type structures, which were a surprise to people at the end. The U.S. laid it out in July 2017 in detail, rules of origin, part content and the fact it wanted to go after what it perceived to be subsidies in the agriculture sector in Canada, despite the fact the U.S. spends more on agricultural subsidies than we spend on our military. However, it laid out what it wanted to talk about.
What did the Liberal Party lay out a few months later in August 2017 at the University of Ottawa? The minister launched her vaunted progressive agenda speech. There was no response to what the U.S. had already put out on trade. That is how a negotiation is supposed to work. The U.S. talks about the priorities it wants to talk about at the table and we put forward a contrary position. We should have pushed back and said that the U.S. had to stop subsidizing its agriculture sector before it could lecture us. However, the Liberals did not do that. They proceeded to make it all about the Prime Minister again. The “progressive agenda” they called it.
I invite Canadians to look at the speech. The core objectives of the minister's speech were laid out in detail and they were failures across the board. I know the minister has a high degree of education, but if she was getting marked on her paper, her speech, she would have failed.
Let me take the House through the core objectives laid out by the Liberal Party at the beginning of NAFTA.
The first objective was to modernize NAFTA for the digital revolution. That did not happen. In fact, there are concerns with respect to data transfer and localized storage of digital information that Canada was not able to negotiate into the new NAFTA. Therefore, the first core objective was a failure.
The second objective was the progressive section within NAFTA, where the minister, and later on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and others, said that the government wanted clear, new chapters on climate change, gender rights, indigenous issues regarding reconciliation, those sorts of things. At the time, I said it was hard to be critical of things that were very important social programming and policy issues, particularly reconciliation. I take that responsibility very seriously. However, I also recognize that NAFTA is a trade agreement. There is not even a constitutional alignment between first nations and indigenous peoples, between Mexico, the United States and Canada, so how could we ever negotiate a trade agreement with a chapter on indigenous issues, for example? It was impossible.
Why were those elements the second prong of Canada's NAFTA strategy? Because it was the Prime Minister's brand. That could have been ripped out of the 2015 Liberal election platform.
When we are putting up policies to ensure we guarantee almost two-thirds of our economic activity as a nation, we should not be doing the posturing that the Liberals do on all these relationships. It leads to bad outcomes.
The third core objective the Liberal Party outlined was harmonizing regulations. That did not happen either. In fact, the last government had regulatory co-operation in the western hemispheric travel initiative, beyond the border initiatives. We have gone way back. We are not harmonizing any regulations.
The fourth core objective was government procurement and eliminating local content and buy American provisions. The Liberals failed on that one too. There remain buy America provisions, and the trend is getting worse.
The fifth core objective was to make the movement of professionals easier with respect to allowing Canadian professionals or people transferred to work in the United States. They failed on that front too. They did not secure that. That should have been low hanging fruit.
The sixth core objective was supply management, which the Liberals caved on as well. What I never heard the government say was the fact that the supply management system was criticized relentlessly. We heard President Trump talk about high tariff rates. I never heard a Liberal minister push back on the United States and say that its collection of direct agriculture subsidies amounted to more subsidization of the agricultural sector in the United States than in Canada by a country mile. In fact, the Americans spend more on agricultural subsidies on average each year than we spend on our military. We should have been pushing back at this narrative.
Those were the six core objectives of the minister's speech at the University of Ottawa. I would invite Canadians to look at it. We did not achieve a single objective. If that is not failure of colossal proportions, I do not know what is.
At the same time, we had section 232 speculation about steel and aluminum tariffs. The Conservatives said at the time that we needed to talk security, that we needed to talk trade, that we needed to ensure we could use NORAD and other relationships that were unique to Canada as a way to ensure we did not have section 232 tariffs applied.
The Prime Minister did a steel town tour when the government gained a one month exemption from tariffs. A month later the tariffs applied and they hurt Canada hard for a year. If we look at the statements by Secretary Ross in the United States, we could have avoided it.
Bill C-101 that is before the House now on safeguards is what the U.S. had been asking for. Had we aligned on concerns about oversupply of steel from China, had we aligned on security provisions, we could have avoided section 232 tariffs and we could have had a better NAFTA.
At the time, the Conservatives publicly told the minister to use the North American defence relationship to distinguish Canada. Only Canada has a defence and homeland security partnership with the United States. Mexico does not. Europe does not. NAFTA does not. Only Canada does, and we have had that since the 1950s.
When we are talking trade, or security, or oversupply of commodities from China, we should have been aligned. Oversupply of Chinese steel was something the Obama administration started taking on in the early days of the Liberal government, as the administration was winding down. This was not all about it being hard to align with Trump. No attempt was made by the Liberal government.
The damage the so-called progressive agenda did allowed Mexico to negotiate an agreement before Canada. It should astound Canadians to know that in the final months of negotiations, Canada was not at the table but Mexico was. Mexico had 85 direct meetings with administration officials even though it was starting in a much worse position. The border relationship with Mexico was part of the U.S. presidential election. However, Mexico was strategic. It did not posture. It did not virtue signal. It did not try and run its next election using NAFTA negotiations as the stage.
I cannot stress enough that on almost every major diplomatic entanglement we have had under the current government, it has been the result of the Liberal Party putting its own election fortunes ahead of our national interests, ahead of steelworkers, ahead auto workers and ahead of the softwood lumber industry, which was hardly even mentioned by the government. We have seen those sectors, agriculture and others, let down time after time because of the Prime Minister's particular agenda and his desire to make this all about him. In this Parliament, we should be serving Canadians and not the electoral fortunes of that party.
What has Mexico done? It has surpassed us under the Liberals. In fact, Mexico is now the largest bilateral trade partner with the United States at $97.4 billion in the first two months of this year. That was ahead of our $92.4 billion, even though it is caught in the trade disruption. Mexico has been smarter than the current government has, so much so that it reached an agreement, and Canada was given an option to join it. There were no further negotiations, despite the minister's frequent trips to Washington and storming into the building. The deal was done, and if members go to Washington, everyone knows that. The deal was done, and Canada was given the ability to sign on.
Now we hear the Liberals holding on to things like culture, which was exempted. Culture was never mentioned by the U.S. once. It was not a priority in the minister's speech, and the Prime Minister never mentioned it. The Liberals are now trying to cobble together things they try to say they saved. We already had chapter 19. They are saying that culture was not changed. The Americans were not trying to change it. I read through the six core objectives in the minister's speech. The Liberals failed on every single one.
We have tried to work with them. In fact, the relief from the section 232 tariffs was initiated by the Conservative caucus going down there and saying that we would work with the government on ratification, and the member for Malpeque knows that. He and many people are leaving, because they do not like the way the Prime Minister approached it. I have lost track of how many more Liberal first-timers have resigned today. They do not agree with his approach.
We went down and said that we would try to use the dying days of Parliament to pass a new NAFTA, even though we think it is a step back. Our leader has called it NAFTA 0.5, because we wanted those steel and aluminum tariffs off. They were hurting manufacturers in Ontario. They were hurting people in my riding, like Ranfar Steel, and steel plants in Prince Edward Island that I visited last summer. They were being hurt in Quebec. Therefore, we made an agreement to say that we would try to work with the government on ratifying a deal, which we think is a step back, just to get trade certainty. Businesses want some certainty, even if it means taking a worse deal. This will be a priority for us.
I want to end with remarks that are etched on the walls of the U.S. embassy in Canada. We can let personalities get in the way on both sides, but it will be a priority for the Conservative government to get this relationship back on track.
In 1961 in this chamber, John F. Kennedy said this:
Geography has made us neighbours. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder
He said that in this chamber, and that is a challenge to us. These are our closest allies, trade partners and familial connections going back to the origins of our country. We have to be able to fight for our interests and co-operate on security and trade. To do that, the Conservatives wanted to work with the government to get the tariffs done and work with the NAFTA agreement as we have it. We will fix the gaps after a change in government, sector by sector, including auto, softwood and agriculture. To get the certainty, we were prepared to try to work with the government, even though we would have taken a very different approach.
I look forward to questions, including from my friend, the MP for Malpeque.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-18 21:22 [p.29359]
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Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise and talk about the auto industry, coming from the auto capital of Canada, Windsor.
We have seen trade relations erode, and we have seen our current footprint shrink, most notably in the last number of years. I think it is important to recognize that it was actually 1965 when Canada got the Auto Pact in place. We had a trade deficit with the United States, despite the fact that my region was actually the birthplace of the Canadian auto sector. It actually developed with Detroit.
Fast forward from 1965 and we go from an auto deficit with the United States to actually having a significant surplus, which led to some consternation in the United States. In fact, it was the Mulroney Conservative government that killed the Auto Pact with the original NAFTA. That is the reality.
What I would like to know from the Conservatives is what the difference would be in the auto sector with regard to these new negotiations and this trade agreement, given the fact that it was the Mulroney government that actually got rid of the Auto Pact.
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View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2019-06-18 21:23 [p.29359]
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Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member for Windsor West. As he recognized, I mentioned the Auto Pact in my remarks as the first example of sectoral free trade between two large industrial countries.
Canada did benefit in a large way. His area of Windsor, my area of Oshawa, places like Oakville, Sainte-Thérèse, Mississauga and Aurora grew what became a Great Lakes basin of auto parts, auto supply and assembly.
There are a number of reasons we have seen Canadian competitiveness erode in the last few years. This negotiation is one of them. In fact, some of the best years, when that member was working in the auto industry, came in the early nineties, when we had record levels of assembly with the United States. I know the member was part of that at the time.
What we are seeing now is protectionism with the U.S. We should have made sure that auto was our priority from the start. The fact that our minister did not mention auto as a priority in her core objectives speech should concern Canadians. It should concern Jerry Dias, who was on the committee. Where was Jerry? That is a good question. Now the Liberals are putting him on other advisory committees, at least for the next few months.
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View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-06-18 21:25 [p.29359]
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Madam Speaker, my colleague made a comment about how the tariffs have been hitting our steel industry hard.
I was looking at the PBO report, and two things stuck out. Last year, the Liberals collected $1.1 billion more in tariffs than they actually delivered to our suffering steel companies. In the fall economic statement, the Liberals further forecast that the Liberal government would bank an additional $3.54 billion in tariffs instead of actually using that money to help our suffering steel industry.
I wonder if my friend could comment on the duplicity of the Liberal government, saying that it stands behind our steelworkers when it is actually just taking the money and putting it right in the bank.
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View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2019-06-18 21:25 [p.29359]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Edmonton West for his work. In fact, he and his office knew the last budget and the errors in it better than the Minister of Finance and his entire department. I think the people of Edmonton should be very proud of the team we have there. It will be growing by two in a few months.
The $3.5 billion in tariffs is part of our push-back on Bill C-101. The government promised certain things in terms of tariff relief. When it imposed the retaliatory tariffs on the U.S., it knew that it was having an adverse effect on Canadian producers and suppliers. In fact, I called some of them dumb, because the minister had promised me that she would adjust if those retaliatory tariffs were having virtually no impact in the U.S. but a huge impact in our community. We all know boat sellers across the country, like the Junkin family in my riding. They have received no relief. They now have stranded inventory.
As part of our support for the safeguard bill the Liberals are rushing through at the end, we have asked for a plan to get rid of that $3.5 billion. That is tax they collected that is in government revenues. It should go out to the small steel fabricators. It should go out to the boat retailers. It should go out to the SMEs impacted by Liberal trade disruption.
When are the Liberals going to dispense the money these Canadian enterprises, particularly in western Canada, need so much?
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View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2019-06-18 21:27 [p.29360]
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Madam Speaker, I could not resist standing, because there was so much boom and bust and bluster from the member for Durham that it provoked me to ask a question.
There was a lot of fiction and very few facts in his remarks this evening. The fact of the matter is that we should be thanking the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the negotiating team for getting a pretty darn decent agreement at the end of the day. The Conservatives, on the other hand, in the initial stages of the negotiations, were taking the position that we should just cave in and give the Americans what they wanted.
The member for Durham talked about supply management, but what did President Trump put on the table when he was speaking with the dairy farmers from Wisconsin? He said he wanted the supply management system gone in its entirety. That is not where we ended up. We saved supply management. Yes, we gave a little bit of access, but we saved the system and negotiated a good agreement for Canada.
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View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2019-06-18 21:28 [p.29360]
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Madam Speaker, I am glad I provoked my friend from Malpeque to stand. We are going to miss him when he retires shortly.
I would direct him to MacDougall Steel Erectors in Borden-Carleton. They are great people. They know the member well, and they know he has been frustrated. MacDougall is a great example of a supplier that has worked with companies in Quebec that are working on buildings in Manhattan. It is amazing. They can get specialized steel products made on Prince Edward Island into a Quebec company's bid for a Manhattan high-rise. What the tariffs were doing, under the Liberals' watch, when they allowed them to happen, was pricing the Quebec steel company and the P.E.I. company out of North American supply chains. We could not have another year of companies like MacDougall stuck out of these supply chains. That is why Conservatives are working with the government to get the tariffs off, and if it means a NAFTA 0.5, we will fix it after the election.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-18 21:30 [p.29360]
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Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Durham for his speech.
Today we are debating the new NAFTA. The government announced that it wanted to fast-track it. For the Trans-Pacific Partnership we heard more than 400 witnesses in committee. There are just three days left before the House adjourns for the summer, followed by the election.
Does the member for Durham think this is all a pre-election spectacle by the government to show Canadians that it is resolving the matter of free trade, or is the Prime Minister simply sending a message to President Trump, telling him that he is taking care of it and will see him next week?
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View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2019-06-18 21:31 [p.29360]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
Free trade agreements like NAFTA, the TPP and CETA are very important to our future, because we need to seek out new markets around the world. Trade between Canada and the United States is currently being disrupted, especially with respect to steel and aluminum. The Conservative Party will work with the government if we have a normal agreement and if there are no tariffs going forward.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-18 21:32 [p.29360]
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Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois does not oppose the implementation of the new NAFTA, now known as CUSMA. We had two conditions for agreeing to consider the bill. We stated our reasons more than once, and I even wrote about them in the U.S. media. First, we wanted the issue of the steel and aluminum tariffs to be resolved. That has been done. However, there is also the issue of supply management, which has not been resolved.
The government wants to ram through the implementation bill for the agreement, and we are opposed to that. As I indicated in my previous question, more than 400 witnesses were invited to appear before the committee when it was studying the trans-Pacific partnership. However, to date, no witnesses have been invited to speak about CUSMA, the new NAFTA. We are therefore opposed to its implementation, because it puts the cart before the horse.
In Washington, Congress has barely started looking at the new agreement, and Congress has the authority to sign international agreements. The text that the Prime Minister signed in November may change. We know that the Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, disagree with the Republicans, who control the U.S. Senate, about a number of things. The Democrats may well demand changes to the agreement before they endorse it. As of now, Congress has not even drafted the bills to implement the agreement, yet here we are debating ours. This makes no sense. Implementing an agreement that has not even been finalized is nothing more than pre-election smoke and mirrors.
Where is the fire? NAFTA is still in force and will remain in force after the dissolution of the House. There is no rush. I understand the government wanting to cross a few things off its to-do list, but doing a sloppy job is not the right way to bolster its record. Doing things properly means waiting. Furthermore, this agreement has some very real implications, and the government has not even bothered to listen to the people it will affect. That is a major problem.
Like all agreements, this one has winners and losers. The losers will need compensation, guidance and help, and that needs to happen at the same time as ratification, not afterwards, on the 12th of never. We know that promises made before ratification are quickly forgotten. Just look at the workers in the shipbuilding industry. They were told they would be compensated, and the next day, they were forgotten. We can also think of workers in the clothing, furniture, agriculture and automotive industries. They are getting no support.
We all know that this agreement was signed at the expense of our supply-managed farmers, our regions and our agricultural model. There is nothing to help them deal with this, nothing but vague promises. There was nothing in the notice of ways and means motion tabled a few weeks ago either.
After four years, we know what this government's promises are worth. It has been two years since CETA and the TPP were signed, but our farmers have yet to see even a hint of any cheques, and they will not get one red cent before the election. Despite its lofty promises, the government has done nothing. It should be ashamed. Because of its inaction, any commitments made in the budget have become campaign promises. Canadians have been burned, so all trust is gone.
With respect to CUSMA, the programs should already be in place when the agreement comes into force. Our farmers have been fleeced twice now, but they will not be fleeced a third time.
I want to address another issue of concern to dairy farmers. With CUSMA, Donald Trump will have control over the export of milk proteins, class 7. That is an unprecedented surrender of sovereignty by this government. Our farmers can currently sell surplus milk protein on foreign markets. If the agreement comes into force too quickly, there is a good chance that Washington and President Donald Trump will completely block our exports. It is worrisome. The risk is very real. That would completely destabilize Quebec's dairy industry.
If we get our protein exports in order before the agreement is implemented, there is a chance that the Americans will see the matter as resolved and will let it go. That is what we want. The last three agreements were signed at the expense of our producers. If the government implements this agreement in the worst way possible, it will cause irreparable harm. I think our farmers have been punished enough by the government. Enough is enough. For this reason alone, it is worth waiting. I think we all agree on that.
As I was saying, we do not systematically oppose every free trade agreement. We support free trade in principle. Quebec needs free trade. I also want to say that CUSMA, the new NAFTA, is not all bad. If I were a Canadian, I would probably think that the Minister of Foreign Affairs got a good deal. For example, she shielded Ontario's auto sector from potential tariffs. She also protected Canada's banking sector from American competition. That is not nothing. It is good for Ontario. She maintained access to the American market for grain from the west. This is good for the Prairies. This is a good agreement for Canada.
She also took back Canada's control over the oil trade, which Brian Mulroney abandoned in 1988. Alberta must be happy. For once, I am not being heckled too much. She did away with the infamous chapter 11 on investments and preserved the cultural exception. That is good. However, the specific gains for Quebec are less clear. I talked about supply-managed producers. I could talk about how the Government of Quebec will have to pay more for biologic drugs and will no longer be able to collect QST on packages arriving from the United States from Amazon or other web giants. Small retailers will find themselves at a disadvantage. What is more, copyright will be extended from 50 years to 70.
In short, we need to look at all of those things in order to implement measures that will help Quebeckers benefit from the new opportunities that are available and put programs in place to compensate those the government abandoned during the negotiations. We need to do all that before we vote on this legislation. No party in the House deserves to be given a blank cheque.
I hope that, after the election, the Bloc Québécois will have the balance of power. That is what political analysts are saying could happen. Then, there will be no more blank cheques.
An hon. member: Oh, oh!
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie: Madam Speaker, the member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert will see. For the first time in years, Quebeckers will be able to rest assured that their interests are being taken into account. In order to do that, we need to wait before voting on the NAFTA implementation bill. There is no hurry.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-18 21:40 [p.29361]
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Madam Speaker, one of the concerns that we have with regard to the deal that is being arranged here is important to note. The Liberals are trying to put Canada first in this agreement, but the reality is that in the United States and everywhere else in the world, it is being branded as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement because Canada was the third party involved in the current state of affairs. In fact, it was a bilateral agreement with the United States and Mexico that we later got involved in because the government got out-negotiated during the process.
With regard to the extension of copyright for an additional 20 years with regard to authors and publications, do the member and his party support that? If they do, are there any concerns? I know for a fact that it will have consequences for artists with regard to materials, but I would like to hear from the member on that.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-18 21:41 [p.29361]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his thoughtful question.
Before I answer, I do not think I made myself clear in my speech, so I wanted to say again that I will be sharing my time with the member for Davenport. The microphone was off, but—
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-18 21:41 [p.29362]
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The member had already finished his speech, and I had already announced questions and comments. The member has 10 minutes for questions and comments, unless he wishes to seek the unanimous consent of the House.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-18 21:42 [p.29362]
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Madam Speaker, I also said that I wanted to share my time with the member for Davenport, but you could not hear me because the microphone was off.
I therefore ask the unanimous consent of the House to share my time.
An hon. member: No.
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View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
BQ (QC)
View Gabriel Ste-Marie Profile
2019-06-18 21:42 [p.29362]
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Madam Speaker, I am really disappointed that the member who asked the question opposed the motion.
There are times when we do not get our requests met as we would like. It is nice when we manage to agree on how to play the parliamentary game, but when people act in bad faith, it complicates things.
Indeed, it is troubling that the copyright period has been extended from 50 years to 70 years. It is important to take the time in committee to consult experts and the people who could be affected. Extending it from 50 to 70 years will have many repercussions on radio stations that broadcast cultural programming. Let me give a bit of a silly example. Playing Elvis Presley songs did not cost anything, but what is it going to cost for another 20 years? That is problematic. That said, we need to listen to producers and broadcasters to properly evaluate it. That is why I am saying we should not rush this.
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View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
View Carol Hughes Profile
2019-06-18 21:44 [p.29362]
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The member for Joliette has already spoken so the hon. member is not going to be able to share her time, but she can share her time with somebody else if she would like.
The hon. member for Davenport.
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2019-06-18 21:44 [p.29362]
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Madam Speaker, while we are figuring that out, I will speak to the bill.
It is an absolute pleasure for me to be speaking, on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport, to Bill C-100, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States. Indeed, this will be my last speech in this 42nd Parliament, and I am delighted to be speaking on such an important topic.
Before I speak to Bill C-100, I want to marvel at the accomplishments of our federal government over the last few years. We signed not one, not two, but three trade agreements since we came into office in late 2015. I am very proud that we signed the Canada-Europe trade agreement, the CPTPP and the USMCA, which we are now debating. These three agreements give Canada tariff-free access to 1.5 billion customers around the world. It is absolutely amazing. I would also like to point out that Canada is the only country to have a free trade agreement with each of the G7 countries.
I think both of these things are remarkable to note. We should be very congratulatory about the fact that we have been able to accomplish them over the last few years. I think it will truly be beneficial for Canada's economy moving forward.
As members know, we are a trading nation. Geographically, we are a massive country, but we are small in terms of people. Indeed, for our economy to be strong, both now and moving forward, we need these trade agreements.
I want to point out two other trade agreements that I follow in particular, because they have a direct impact on key groups in my riding. The first relates to the Hispanic and Brazilian communities.
In March 2018, our Minister of International Trade Diversification launched negotiations on Mercosur, which is a trading bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. These are really important markets for us and are very important for many members of my particular community. I am delighted that we have embarked on this. I hope to hear about its conclusions by the end of this year or early next year.
The other agreement I want to mention, as it is important to a group I am very proud to be a part of, relates to the Turkish community. Very recently, on June 8, the JETCO was signed between the hon. Ruhsar Pekcan, Turkey's Minister of Trade, and our Minister of International Trade Diversification at the G20 summit in Japan. We signed this JETCO because we want to further trade and investment between our two countries. We want to put a specific emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises, strategic venture initiatives and technical and scientific co-operation. I am delighted with this. I currently serve as the chair of the Canada-Turkey Friendship Group, and I know this is exciting for both countries. I think it will be a benefit for both of us as well.
In my downtown west riding of Davenport, people are very supportive of trade agreements. This is partly because over 52% of them were born outside of Canada. For them, increasing trade between countries not only is beneficial for Canada overall but is also a way for many of the diasporas in my community to build closer relationships with their home countries or the home countries of their parents or grandparents. I find this particularly endearing. They are very positive toward trade agreements and are absolutely delighted with the CUSMA.
I will provide a few facts and figures. I do not think I will say anything that members have not heard many times before, but it is important for me to reiterate them.
The North American free trade zone is the biggest economic region in the world, worth $22 trillion U.S. in our regional market, and it encompasses more than 480 million consumers. This new updated agreement preserves Canada's market access to the United States and Mexico, securing our most important trading relationship.
I am delighted that this deal would increase trade between all three countries. I also like that it strengthens relations between Canada and the U.S. and between Canada and Mexico. Canada's preferential access to these markets is vital to the continued prosperity of Canadian workers, whose livelihoods rely on trade.
We did have some concerns after we signed the original agreement, which I believe was on November 30, 2018. The reason we had some concern is that the U.S. had imposed some steel and aluminum tariffs.
I am very glad to say that, after months of hard work and effort from our government, particularly our Minister of Foreign Affairs, our Minister of Finance and our Prime Minister, Canadians are now in a very different situation. We have secured a full lifting of the steel and aluminum tariffs and, despite the Conservatives' call to drop our retaliatory measures, we held firm. We have stuck to our principles and there are no longer tariffs on our steel and aluminum, about which I am absolutely delighted.
In terms of benefits, the new agreement preserves NAFTA's chapter 19, which is the binational panel that will settle disputes between our countries on any trade issues. Chapter 19 provides Canada with recourse to an independent and impartial process to challenge U.S. or Mexican anti-dumping and countervailing duties. This is particularly important for our country's softwood lumber industry, which exported product worth billions of dollars to the United States in 2017.
Another benefit is the ease of trade going across our borders. We all know what it is like to wait in a lineup to cross the Canada-U.S. border, and the new NAFTA has new customs and trade facilitation measures that will make it easier for companies to move goods across the border. It will also eliminate paper processes and provide a single portal for traders to submit documentation electronically. Then, of course, there is enhanced regulatory transparency and predictability, which will provide additional assurance for exporters that their goods will make it to new markets.
The other benefit of the agreement is that there is a new chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises, which I believe is going to foster greater co-operation among all three countries in terms of small businesses. It is also going to increase trade investment opportunities. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy here in Canada, and I think they are delighted at this particular addition.
We have talked quite a bit today about the progressive elements of the deal. In particular, I want to mention a couple of them. The first is the agreement's labour chapter. Its key aim is to level the playing field on labour standards and working conditions in North America. It also contains commitments to ensure that national laws and policies provide protections for fundamental principles and rights at work.
The chapter also includes unprecedented protections against gender-based discrimination that are subject to dispute settlement, and there are also specific provisions around sexual orientation, sexual harassment, gender identity, caregiving responsibilities and wage discrimination. Gender equality and women's economic empowerment are important priorities for our government. They are also important priorities in spurring economic development and in making sure that trade works for everyone.
This new agreement is also very strong on the environment. I think that is top of mind for all Canadians right now, particularly since we have now officially declared a national climate emergency. The environment will be top of mind for not only our government but for all governments right around the world. The new and comprehensive environment chapter includes ambitious environmental provisions with core obligations for countries to maintain high levels of environmental protection and robust environmental governance.
Since I have 11 minutes, I will continue with all the benefits of the new NAFTA. I am delighted to be speaking longer on this, and I will continue with the benefits to the environment.
In terms of additional benefits, the updated NAFTA, or the USMCA, also introduces its new commitments to address global environmental challenges such as illegal wildlife trade, illegal fishing and the depletion of fish stocks, species at risk, conservation of biological diversity, ozone-depleting substances and marine pollution. Canadians care about the environment and are delighted that we have these additional provisions.
I always like hearing from third parties in terms of what they think about the agreement, so I want to highlight some of the key third parties and what they have said about the benefits of this agreement. Then I am going to go on as to its benefits for the cultural industry, which is really also very important for my riding of Davenport.
The Business Council of Canada stated:
We applaud your government’s success in negotiating a comprehensive and high-standard agreement on North American trade. The [new NAFTA] maintains our country’s preferential access to the United States and Mexico—Canada’s largest and third-largest trading partners respectively—while modernizing long-outdated elements of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Also, I have a wonderful quote from one of our former prime ministers, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, who was the chief negotiator of the original NAFTA. He said that NAFTA got what it wanted and that it was a good deal. Therefore, he wholeheartedly endorsed this as well.
Because we talked a bit about labour provisions, I also have a wonderful quote from Hassan Yussuff, who is head of the Canadian Labour Congress, who said this new agreement, “gets it right on labour provisions, including provisions to protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of gender.”
Therefore, as members can tell, there is quite a bit of support for the new NAFTA, and there are a number of third-party groups who provided these wonderful quotes.
What I would like to spend a couple of minutes on now is the positive impacts of this new updated agreement on cultural industries in Canada. As members may know, Davenport is home to one of the largest communities of artists, creators and those working in the cultural industries. Therefore, whenever I see any new agreements or announcements, I am always looking to see how they are going to benefit artists not only in my community but right across this country. Indeed, there are many benefits.
The USMCA will help strengthen Canada's unique cultural identity, including the French language and the independent Canadian media. The agreement will preserve the Canadian cultural exception that was demanded by Canada, especially in the digital world. It protects our cultural industries and more than 650,000 jobs across Canada. The cultural exception is essential for preserving identity and continuing to showcase our vibrant francophone culture, which is unique in North America.
I want to point out, because I am always proud of it, that I have a really wonderful growing francophone community in my downtown west riding of Davenport. We have a wonderful group called CHOQ-FM, which promotes really wonderful radio programs and really promotes the French language and francophone culture not only across Toronto but beyond.
I want to talk about some additional benefits without a cultural exception, federal and provincial tax credits and program funds to support our newspapers and magazines.
The cultural exception also protects Canada's broadcasting system, ensuring sustained investment in content created and produced by fellow Canadians.
I have some quotes from various leaders within the cultural industry who support the new USMCA and say it is beneficial for the industry.
I will provide a quote from Eric Baptiste of SOCAN, who stated:
Today is a great day for Canadian creators. SOCAN would like to thank the Canadian government for its efforts to defend the interests of the Canadian cultural sector and to provide greater protection for our creators.
I have a great quote from the Canadian Media Producers Association, which stated:
Throughout the NAFTA negotiations, the federal government consistently identified cultural exemption as a key priority. In securing this exemption in the new agreement, [the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs], and the entire negotiating team have stood tall for Canada and defended our cultural sovereignty. We applaud their successful efforts, and congratulate the government on this new deal.
Then I also have a great quote from Margaret McGuffin, who is with the Canadian Music Publishers Association, who stated:
Canada's music publishers and their songwriting partners welcomed the trade agreement reached between the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Finally, I have a wonderful quote from Melanie Rutledge of Magazines Canada, who said, “Magazines Canada's nearly 400 members across the country congratulate” the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and all the other players within the Canadian government who played a role in negotiating this updated free trade agreement. She also said:
We are especially pleased that the cultural exemption applies in both the analogue and digital spaces. This digital inclusion will be critical to Canadian magazines and other cultural industries in the years to come.
As we can see, there is lots of support from artists and those in the cultural industry.
I will also mention a couple of areas where I think it will be very supportive. Canadians are very proud of our health care system and see it as part of our identity. One of the key things we have done is that this agreement continues to support our health care system.
The new agreement is a renewed understanding among Canada, the United States and Mexico on the significance of our mutual trade agreement. It preserves key elements of our trading relationship and incorporates new and updated provisions that seek to address 21st century trade issues to the benefit of all of Canada's provinces and territories.
I did not expect to speak for more than 10 minutes and I have spoken for about 17 minutes now, but it has been a pleasure. This really is a key and fundamental agreement among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. As I mentioned, our economy greatly depends on trade. Canadians were worried for a while whether or not we would finally have an updated agreement. I think they can now set aside that worry.
We now have that updated agreement in place. We have charted a course moving forward. It gives us a wonderful foundation from which to continue to build our businesses between Canada and the U.S.; Canada, the U.S. and Mexico; and Canada and Mexico. It will serve us well as we develop closer business relations and as we all seek to improve our economies moving forward.
With that, I am going to wrap up my comments. On behalf of the residents of Davenport, I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity to speak to this very important bill. I encourage everyone in the House to support it.
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View Mel Arnold Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mel Arnold Profile
2019-06-18 22:02 [p.29364]
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Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Davenport for her valiant attempt to defend something that is indefensible. She talked for 20 minutes trying to extol the virtues of this agreement, yet in that 20 minutes she never once mentioned the softwood lumber agreement.
In March 2016, her Prime Minister and her trade minister promised to have a deal framework within 100 days. We are now years past that 100 days and nothing has ever been done by the government on the softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S.
Currently, in my home province, British Columbia, and in my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap, we have mills shutting down because of the difficulties in the market, because there is no certainty created for them out of this trade deal whatsoever. The Liberals have completely abandoned the softwood lumber agreement and left those mills in limbo.
Could the member explain why she did not even mention that in her 20-minute intervention?
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2019-06-18 22:03 [p.29365]
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Madam Speaker, indeed the softwood lumber industry is absolutely important in Canada. I did slightly mention it in my over 17 minutes of speaking today. I mentioned it when I was talking about chapter 19.
As everyone in the House knows, when we were deep in negotiations, our Minister of Foreign Affairs was adamant about keeping chapter 19, which we had in the original NAFTA. It is a bi-national panel dispute settlement mechanism. Chapter 19 provides Canada with recourse to an independent and impartial process to challenge the U.S. or Mexico for anti-dumping or countervailing duties.
I did indicate that this is particularly important for our country's softwood lumber industry, which exported over four billion dollars' worth of product to the United States in 2017. I want to let the hon. member know that softwood lumber is an absolutely essential industry for Canada. It is an industry that creates many good-paying, middle-class jobs. We have absolutely preserved chapter 19, which will continue to provide us with a mechanism for any future disputes with the United States.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-18 22:05 [p.29365]
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Madam Speaker, one of the things taking place right now is that Democrats in Congress are trying to negotiate a better deal based on the principles of enforcement particular to labour and the environment. I would like the member for Davenport to expand upon the reasons why we are pushing this through now, when one of the representatives, Congresswoman Dingell from Michigan, said, “We're not ready”, and Nancy Pelosi said, “No enforcement, no treaty.”
Given that we have two strong voices in the U.S. calling for support to improve labour and environmental enforcement provisions, which are critical for those who are disadvantaged and for gender equality, why are the Liberals trying to undermine the negotiations right now in the U.S.?
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2019-06-18 22:06 [p.29365]
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Madam Speaker, I talked about the environmental benefits, as well as the labour benefits, of the new USMCA. I mentioned how we have provided some additional protections around the environment and labour, and we are very proud of those enhancements. It does not mean that moving forward, we will not continue to improve on those areas among our respective countries, or that we should not try to improve on them as we move forward. I do not think everything needs to be negotiated in just one trade agreement. There are many other opportunities for us to work together on these key and very important areas.
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View Ken Hardie Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Ken Hardie Profile
2019-06-18 22:07 [p.29365]
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Madam Speaker, it is a little difficult to hear criticism from the Conservative side on this, simply because Conservatives played such a great part in Team Canada. Rona Ambrose, John Baird and others were there, shoulder to shoulder with our negotiating team, and yet there was the spectacle of members on the benches opposite appearing on American media and undercutting the work we were trying to do. It seems that the effort put in by Team Canada on this, with the governors, congressmen, senators, even the mayors, right across the United States, has really established a firm foundation for an ongoing relationship that will remain strong, in spite of the leadership of the United States, which loves tariffs an awful lot.
I am wondering if the member for Davenport could comment on what she sees in the future for Canada-U.S. relationships based on what we have accomplished in this round of negotiations.
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2019-06-18 22:08 [p.29365]
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Madam Speaker, we all know that for over a year Canada negotiated hard to modernize our free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, because we knew how important it was to get a deal that was good for Canadian workers, Canadian businesses and communities across Canada. Finally, we have this deal, and all three parliamentary bodies in our respective countries are moving as quickly as they can to ratify it. We are doing this because the new NAFTA will protect millions of jobs, create more opportunities for hard-working Canadians and for small businesses right across this country, indeed in all three countries, and keep all of our respective economies strong.
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View Michael Barrett Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, my question for the member across the way has to do with competitiveness. I have heard from businesses in my riding and across Canada that small and medium-sized enterprises really got hammered with the tariffs and counter-tariffs. Government coffers swelled with the money collected, while these businesses suffered, not being able to fairly compete with our trading partner, the United States. The government put on retaliatory tariffs, with no pain to the United States but great pain to our SMEs. The ones that survived are looking for relief, but this comes at the same time that a punishing carbon tax has been put on these businesses, which do not get a $300 cheque in the mail. They are the ones funding the money going back to families in this pyramid scheme that the Liberals have cooked up.
The anti-competitive Liberal government is really harming Canadians and small and medium-sized enterprises. I wonder if the member could tell us when the government will flow the money from the tariffs that it collected as relief to those businesses.
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View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Julie Dzerowicz Profile
2019-06-18 22:10 [p.29365]
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Madam Speaker, I do not quite agree with everything the hon. member mentioned, but I agree that our small businesses are the heart and soul of our economy. Our government has spent a lot of time trying to do everything it can to support our businesses.
We have reduced small business taxes from 11% to 9% in the time we have been in office over the last three and a half years. We have ensured that we have a really strong economy, which is what we have right now. We have created over a million jobs. We have the lowest unemployment rate since the 1970s, and we have made historic investments in infrastructure. Those are all good things for small businesses. Even signing these three historic trade agreements is also excellent for our small businesses, because it provides them with opportunities for growth, both today and tomorrow.
In terms of our price on pollution, the carbon pricing we have put on, a Nobel Prize economist has said it is the right thing to do. The Pope has said it is the right thing to do. We made a recent announcement about providing support to small businesses to help them transition to a low-carbon economy. It is something we all have to do. From sitting on the environment committee, I can tell the House that all industry groups would come and say to us that they believe in carbon pricing because it will force them to innovate and to be competitive, both nationally and internationally.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-18 22:12 [p.29366]
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Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise today and speak to Bill C-100. I will be splitting my time with the member for Windsor—Tecumseh from our region, which I am quite glad to do. It is important. I know that this has been portrayed as a Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement with regard to some of the discussion with the government that has been taking place. However, really this is a USMCA and that needs to be told, because this is a concession-based deal.
I was in Washington at the time of the decision-making, meeting with trade lawyers as part of the Canada-U.S. parliamentary association. Trade lawyers going through the documents from the first day to this day know that this is a concession-based deal for Canada. That is why it is a U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. The government got out-negotiated and out-foxed by Mexico with regard to its position on the negotiations and, more important, also with the concession-based agreement that we have to this day.
We have to live with a number of provisions in this agreement. At the same time, there are Democrats who are looking to improve the deal right now in Washington, in particular on labour and also on environmental improvements that will increase our competitiveness, not only domestically but also within our trading bloc for the future. The current government is undermining those efforts by ramming this through now and doing it in a way that is consistently undermining even the Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Dingell from Michigan and others who have been advocating for the improvement of those issues.
I would say that no matter what we do with regard to the situation right now, we should be focusing on the best decision for our future. Giving ourselves at least an opportunity for the Democrats to enhance our capabilities would be the smart and wise thing to do. In fact, it would fix some of the damage with this agreement.
I am going to go through a couple of things, but first and foremost we have to look at a Prime Minister here who set upon this himself, who actually initiated the fact that he wanted a new deal. The deal comes because of the Prime Minister's negotiating it. We would think that when he started with something he would want to come out better and further ahead. However, as we have heard, softwood lumber was not even part of the equation here. One of the cankerous elements with regard to our trading agreement with the United States, softwood lumber was left off the table to begin with.
We go into negotiations and we get steel tariffs that are put on our auto and other manufacturers. To this day, the government has collected a billion dollars from steelmakers across Canada. It has been an increased tax on them, and the government has not rebated it back to the actual companies. In fact, very little has gotten back when the Liberals promised it would be a dollar-for-dollar exchange. It has made it more difficult to compete. In fact, some have given up competing because they know they could not actually carry the debt load. The government was taking their money from them and never returning it. It is over a billion dollars.
At that time when we were looking for a new deal, coming from a number of perspectives, we had lumber left off the table. We still have unresolved professions and qualifications that go back to the previous deal. With regard to this today, if this deal does not pass right now, we go back to NAFTA to a better deal. That is what happens. It is clear that our path forward, if this does not happen right now, is that nothing changes. We continue without the concessions on dairy, copyright, auto and intellectual property. That is what is going to take place.
Regarding the current steel issue, first, it did not start until this Prime Minister tried to negotiate something, so he created that himself. Second, it has so many escape holes through it that it could be easily undermined right from the get-go. It is really a Pyrrhic victory. Let us be clear. If Trump wanted to get out of the NAFTA that we have right now, we would then have to have a process that involves Congress, the Senate and legal aspects that would be involved to pull us back to the free trade agreement. Past that, we would go back to the World Trade Organization agreement.
We have a long, storied road to go down before we would have a series of things that would undermine our current competitiveness.
It was argued that we should do a deal with the United States because we can develop certainty, but certainty has not been created in this deal. In fact, some of the implementation processes that are in place give more conditions to cabinet to change regulations in the future. We could change those regulations unilaterally, without this Parliament and without the other House looking at it. Again, that would leave more uncertainty. It would not create the conditions that we want because the president creates uncertainty because that is what he wants. He wants to destabilize things, so that they have relocation back in the U.S. This agreement would not achieve those objectives.
What is important is that we saw some efforts taking place in the U.S. House of Representatives. We saw improvements to create more specifics, for example, on the environment and labour.
I come from the Windsor-Detroit region. Thirty-five per cent of economic trade activity in my riding crosses over the U.S. border every day. That is about $1 billion. Thirty-five per cent of our daily trade with the United States takes place along two kilometres of border. We have been fighting for a new border crossing for some time and we are finally going to get a new one.
Interestingly enough, we are seeing the rollout of community benefits, something New Democrats proposed from the get-go. We are the only party that has consistently fought for a publicly owned border crossing, while the Conservatives often dallied with the DRTP, a private entity group from OMERS that was a complete and utter disaster.
At times, the Liberals backed out of the process with comments and positions proposed by former transport people and representatives like Joe Volpe and others. New Democrats have consistently been trying to get a new border crossing built. We are proud to be the ones who continue to advocate for local supports for the community that will make things better.
With regard to the auto industry, as I said earlier, the auto pact was dismantled because of Brian Mulroney's free trade agreement. The Conservatives at that time left an escape hatch open for the WTO challenge by the Japanese and other automakers, which led to us going from a revelled state to where, under the Liberals, our footprint has shrunk quite dramatically when it comes to the auto industry.
The Liberals often brag about the $6 billion they say they have invested during their four years in office. Detroit alone is upwards of $12 billion to $14 billion in investment and most of it being in the innovative sector with regards to electrification and automation, so we have potential access to those markets, but the government has not worked on that plan.
The labour and environmental standards that the Democrats are successfully trying to negotiate right now are related to ensuring there are measurables. Measurables make sure Mexican wages are not going to be used to undermine. There is no enforcement on that. There is also no enforcement on the environment.
Mexican labour representatives have been here in Ottawa advocating for those enforcement measures as well, and that is important. They know that with enforcement, they will see better terms and conditions for themselves and their families.
It is important to recognize that if this agreement does not go forward in its current form right now, our trade relations remain constant and steady under our current position. We do not get concessions on labour, the environment, digital property, intellectual property and supply management. We do not get concessions on a whole host of things in this agreement. That is why we believe in giving the democrats a chance to fix some of these enforcements so we can get those benefits. That would be better in the long term.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-18 22:22 [p.29367]
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Madam Speaker, the member for Windsor West is the foremost member of Parliament in the House in terms of border issues. He has been a long-standing leader in the House talking about both border issues and our relationship with the United States. As a result of his expertise in industry and the automobile sector, he understands the importance of Canada being strong when we negotiate agreements.
What we saw under the Conservative government and now we are seeing under the Liberal government is basically governments that do not seem well prepared. They go into negotiations without understanding the implications of what they are negotiating. We have not seen in any case under Conservatives or Liberals even an evaluation of the impacts of measures that are taken in the trade agreements.
I would like to ask the member for Windsor West if he sees this lack of preparation, this lack of due diligence, the lack of doing homework that we have seen from both Conservative and Liberal governments?
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-18 22:23 [p.29367]
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Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his comments on this. Of course it has been interesting to watch.
As one of the vice-chairs for the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, I am going to give kudos to the Liberal member for Malpeque who worked with us on that, and also Senator Mike MacDonald. We have worked in a bipartisan way, in the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, to be lobbying in Washington on a regular basis for the 17 years I have been in Parliament.
What I saw from the government side with regard to the lead-up to negotiations and then in the actual process was rather bizarre. In fact, some of the representatives, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs went to some committees and went to some other out-of-her way events to basically poke the Americans in the eye at that time.
It was done without a full plan. We did not have some things on the table. Most importantly, it became evident, and at one point we received criticism as New Democrats for suggesting that we should be looking at a bilateral start in our work with the United States. We were criticized and attacked by the Liberals about that.
Sure enough, what happened was Mexico and the U.S. started working together, and that is why Canada is at the very end of the agreement, and even the end of the name.
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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Darrell Samson Profile
2019-06-18 22:25 [p.29367]
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Madam Speaker, my colleague delivered an excellent speech. I just want to come back to a couple of points that he made.
I have to share some of what I picked up from Jerry Dias, Unifor, who said, “There are some incredible victories in this deal, things we’ve been arguing and fighting for the last 24 years.” He went on to say, “Traditionally, trade deals have been about profit, not people.”
Then of course we have the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie who said, “I just want to congratulate everybody in this room for the fantastic job that you did, for the leadership of Unifor, to be sure, that we can get the best deal possible and protect workers all around this country.”
Those are very important quotes and comments that I want to share with the member. How would he respond to the sharing of that precise information we received?
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-18 22:26 [p.29367]
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Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. I think it is important to note that the fact is, as we have seen the deal evolve, it is has shown some of its weaknesses as the analytical process went through.
We know it is concession based on a number of different things, but most importantly, right now, we see a fix to some of these problems and concerns that are important, not only just for Jerry Dias but also our party and others with regard to labour and the environment.
Why would the government want to undermine those negotiations and the strength of the capabilities to get those elements together? Right now, Nancy Pelosi and others have been working hard to actually get the enforcement aspect. I think it is understandable to see changes right now, as the deal is coming forward. It would actually make a better deal for everybody at the end of the day.
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View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
NDP (ON)
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
2019-06-18 22:27 [p.29368]
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Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise during this last week of the 42nd Parliament to represent my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh and voice our concerns and issues with free trade agreements in general, and specifically with Bill C-100, an act to implement the free trade agreement between Canada, the United States of America and Mexico.
New Democrats understand the importance of our trading relationship with the U.S., our largest trading partner, and we believe that a better NAFTA can improve the welfare of all North Americans. New Democrats are in favour of international trade agreements that respect human rights, the rights of workers, the environment and all of our international obligations. In fact, we supported the bill at second reading and proposed some excellent amendments that would have made for a truly progressive free trade agreement, the very sort of agreement that the current government pretends to support but never actually seems to sign.
The other parties like to take simplistic jabs at the NDP, as happened earlier tonight with the parliamentary secretary saying that the NDP has never supported a free trade agreement, ever. Well, I would ask the other parties to name just one trade agreement that actually respects human rights, the rights of workers, the environment and all of our international obligations, including to indigenous people. The other parties cannot answer that, because it has not happened yet. However, we had the opportunity to improve this key trade deal and make it about improving the lives of Canadians, forging ties for sustainable jobs and really leveraging our relationship.
In my role as vice-chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, one important issue related to trade agreements is supply chain transparency, or supply chain due diligence. How exactly does a nation ensure that no product finds its way into its borders that was not made by utilizing child labour or forced labour? This issue surrounding modern slavery is complex and includes multi-faceted problems.
According to recent figures released by the International Labour Organization, 64 million girls and 88 million boys, for a total of 152 million children, are all in child labour globally, accounting for almost one in 10 of all children worldwide. Nearly half of those in child labour, 73 million children in absolute terms, are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and development. Children in employment, a broader measure comprising both child labour and permitted forms of employment involving children of legal working age, number 218 million. Widely reported instances of child labour and forced labour in the global supply chains of everyday goods, such as coffee, seafood, apparel, palm oil and the metals used in our electronics, have linked multinational companies with some of these human rights abuses.
Canadian companies are not immune from these risks. According to World Vision's research, 1,200 companies operating in Canada imported goods at risk of being produced by child labour or forced labour in 2015, worth a total of approximately $34 billion. The majority of companies in Canada disclose very little meaningful information about the policies, practices and due diligence they have in place to prevent child labour and forced labour in their global supply chains. Obviously, this makes it hard for our friends in civil society, not to mention consumers, investors and trade unions, to constructively engage with these companies. It is even more difficult to hold them accountable to their human rights responsibilities.
This is not for want of proposals out there that might bring an end to forced labour in these supply chains. First and foremost, we must get children into schools. As enrolment rates increase, child labour declines. Since 2000, governments have increased the number of children in school by 110 million, making it much less likely that those children will end up in the labour market.
Next, a strong legal framework must be enacted. When governments enforce child labour laws through effective inspections and penalties for employers who exploit children, child labour is less likely to flourish.
Without targeted legislation requiring more information on corporate supply chains, we can only guess whether abuses perpetrated by Canadian corporations overseas, as alleged in several civil lawsuits in Canadian courts, are common occurrences or isolated incidents.
Human Rights Watch calls for the beginning of a process for the adoption of new, international, legally binding standards that oblige governments to require businesses to conduct human rights due diligence in global supply chains. UNICEF has made similar recommendations.
Free trade agreements are international treaties that should put human rights at the forefront, not as side agreements. These are the issues that should be focused on first and foremost and form the basis when we are renegotiating trade agreements. NAFTA 2.0 is a perfect example of that.
The original NAFTA was negotiated by Conservatives and signed by Liberals in 1994. People were promised jobs, rising productivity and access to the largest market in the world. Instead, Canada lost over 400,000 manufacturing jobs and its textile industry. In addition, Canada paid millions of dollars in court fees and penalties when sued by corporations under investor state dispute resolution mechanisms.
The Democrats in the U.S. are working hard to achieve a better NAFTA. They want improved labour provisions that will protect jobs; they want to fight big pharma on the extension of drug patents, which will result in higher costs; they want to ensure that the environment is protected, and they want to ensure clear, meaningful enforceability.
Canadians expect the Liberal government to push for these progressive changes. The new NAFTA, or CUSMA, resulted in illegal tariffs on aluminum and steel for over a year and the devastation of Canadian businesses and workers. The tariffs were lifted on May 20, 2019, and the cost has been incredibly high. Canada has lost over 1,000 well-paying, community-building jobs while watching these businesses close.
In my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh and the rest of Windsor-Essex County, we know the devastating effects of poorly negotiated trade agreements like the first version of NAFTA: the race to the bottom. The Liberals scoffed at our warnings then, and now they are presenting today's version, which is CUSMA.
At its core, the new NAFTA is about giving more power to corporations, as it gives enforceable rights to investors and limits the powers of current and future governments and the citizens who elect them. For New Democrats to support this agreement, CUSMA must not set the stage for exploitation, and it must protect the poorest and most marginalized people. For that reason, I move:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-100, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, because it:
a) fails to improve labour provisions that are necessary to protect good jobs;
b) allows for an extension of drug patents that will significantly increase the cost of medicine for Canadians;
c) leaves the environment vulnerable due to the absence of clear, enforceable protection provisions;
d) is being rushed through the legislative process, without adequate time and attention for such a crucial trade agreement;
e) will shift the levers of power within the economy away from governments and workers, in favour of corporations, by weakening public regulations on public health and the environment; and
f) puts the poorest and most marginalized Canadians at further risk by failing to ensure the protection of human rights, gender equality and inclusive economic growth.
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View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Geoff Regan Profile
2019-06-18 22:37 [p.29369]
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Questions and comments, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
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View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2019-06-18 22:38 [p.29369]
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Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear about this deal. Canadians asked for a good deal, and they got a good deal. Canadians recognized that it was an opportunity of a generation to make a difference and improve the old NAFTA.
This morning at the international trade committee, National Chief Perry Bellegarde said this was “the most inclusive international trade agreement for Indigenous peoples to date.”
Labour leaders are also saying it has the strongest labour protections of any free trade agreement in the world. It is the most progressive trade agreement, the most inclusive for indigenous peoples, and the most impressive and important deal for labour. Why would the member not support this?
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View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
NDP (ON)
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
2019-06-18 22:39 [p.29369]
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Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member has pointed out how weak our existing free trade agreements are, if what we are getting now is going to be groundbreaking.
As a matter of fact, the Democrats in the United States are pushing forward for the kinds of expectations we had for the free trade agreement and for the rhetoric the Liberals had about this free trade agreement. These are half measures, and there are voluntary and discretionary measures and excerpts within the agreement that are going to make it vulnerable to those who want to undermine it. Indeed, we know from experience that will happen, especially in my riding, where we have seen manufacturing jobs leave.
When I discussed earlier how people called NAFTA the race to the bottom, some of those same people in the labour community predicted exactly that. It is of no satisfaction to me that certain people are now endorsing it because of these half measures. They are just better than what exists now.
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
View Peter Julian Profile
2019-06-18 22:41 [p.29369]
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Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Windsor—Tecumseh for speaking so eloquently on trade issues, as she has throughout this Parliament. She has been very effective. Living close to the border, she understands the issues and the importance of having a strong partnership with the United States, but also the importance of having Canadian governments actually stand up for Canada.
That certainly has not happened here, as it did not happen under the Conservatives either. They were in haste to sign whatever they could, rather than actually doing the kind of hard slogging and the homework that is required to prepare the ground for negotiations and to understand what the impact analysis is and what the impacts are in every sector.
For the decade and a half I have been in the House we have not seen one single agreement that the government adequately prepared for, which is why in so many cases under both the Conservatives and the Liberals, exports from the other market increase as exports in Canada fall. Given that the homework and the due diligence are not done by governments, and the Liberals are following along the same path as Mr. Harper's government did, could the member for Windsor—Tecumseh tell us why it is so important to do the due diligence and understand, going into negotiations, what is at stake?
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View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
NDP (ON)
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
2019-06-18 22:42 [p.29369]
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Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question allows me to share some very crucial examples of what happens when we do not do our due diligence and when we rush through an agreement. We cannot adequately explain what labour value content rules are and how they are going to be enforced.
Right now there is a clause about labour value content that requires a $16 U.S. per hour average wage. How does that translate when averaging in the more expensive executive management positions? No one is explaining how that is going to be excluded yet, so that is inadequate.
How is this for a quote from validators of our position? “Canadians will not sit idly by and watch our Internet be conceded by politicians trading horses. These kinds of digital policies do not belong in trade agreements. Canada is in the midst of a national consultation on Canada's Copyright Act, which has just been dramatically knee-capped with this agreement...Copyright reforms in this deal may be beneficial to corporate American rights-holders, but the Canadian government does not work for them. This is a bad deal for Canada.”
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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Darrell Samson Profile
2019-06-18 22:44 [p.29370]
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Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House tonight, as the member of Parliament for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, in Nova Scotia, excited to to speak to this important bill, yet saddened, as this will be my last speech in the House for the 42nd Parliament. I have mixed feelings.
In my closing speech for the 42nd Parliament, the theme I would like to speak on is CUSMA. Bill C-100 is a great example of the work our government has done throughout the four years it has been in power.
If we want a country to be strong, we have to ensure Canadians, the business community and all citizens have opportunities. This is the third trade deal we have brought forward.
A couple of years ago, we brought forward CETA, which was a very important deal with the European Union. With that deal, we potentially have access to 500 million people who can purchase our goods as well. We need to remember that under that deal, 98% of tariffs are gone. In the past, it was only 25%. We are opening the market tremendously and there is great potential for Canadians to move forward with important opportunities.
Our second deal was the CPTPP, once again providing us access to 500 million people. We now have access one billion people. It is an outstanding potential opportunity in Asia and the Pacific. We know we have great entrepreneurs who continue to innovate. They are able to sell and trade with those countries.
The third deal is CUSMA, which is extremely important. Of course, it adds access to 500 million people more. We are now have access to 1.5 billion people.
This is a continuation of what is happening in this great country right now. Our unemployment rate has changed from the time we took power. When the Conservatives left four years ago, we had a 7.2% unemployment rate. Today, as I stand before the House, the unemployment rate is 5.2%. It is outstanding.
There has been job creation. Who has created those jobs? Canadians. How many jobs have they created since 2015? Over one million jobs. How many Canadians were lifted out of poverty during that time? Over 825,000. It is very impressive.
What else have we done? We are investing in Canadians to create a strong Canada, ensuring we build a Canada that Canadians can be proud of and from which Canadians will be able to benefit. We brought forward a national housing strategy for Canadians. We brought forward the CPP. We brought forward a national early learning and child care framework. Canadians should just watch us now, though. We are bringing forward pharmacare for all Canadians. This is what we are doing.
It is important to share with members this victory. It is tremendous.
This is such an important victory for Canadians and I have to tell them how it turned out. President Trump was waking up in the middle of the night and tweeting about what he felt the Americans needed if a deal was to be had. He talked about three major areas.
The first one was the five-year sunset clause, or a shotgun clause, whatever we want to call it. If there was no renegotiation on that, the deal was dead. Canada said no. We cannot expect business communities, businessmen and women and business entrepreneurs to invest, upgrade and modernize when they only have five years of guaranteed potential. We know what the Conservatives were saying. From the start, they were saying we should sign any deal. It did not matter, we just had to get it done. However, that is not what we did. We got what we wanted.
The second thing Trump tweeted about in the middle of the night was that we had to end supply management. The Americans did not want that in the deal. Do we have supply management today? Absolutely. That is a very important. The Americans will not flood our markets with their cheap products. We will not have it. We are proud Canadians, and we will continue to defend supply management for all Canadians.
The third thing President Trump said was he could not sign a deal unless we changed the dispute management mechanism. It was important to the Americans that we changed that. Why? Because the Americans were losing 98% of the time when things went to the tribunal. He wanted to do away with the international tribunal and have American lawyers and judges determine what was right and what was wrong in the deal. The Tories wanted to sign. We said it would not happen and it never happened. That also is important.
I think back to when the Conservatives were criticizing us, saying “Sign Sign”, but we stayed on the path. We were successful. The former prime minister of the country, Brian Mulroney, said that Canada did very well. He said it was a great deal. He was speaking, of course, for the Conservatives.
For the NDP, there is no such thing as an NDP deal. The New Democrats are anti-trade. We could not make it good enough for them. There will always be an issue or a problem.
There is one good, solid New Democrat when it comes to trade, and that is my colleague, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I think he wants to be a Liberal. I believe he is more Liberal than New Democratic. This is what he said:
I just want to congratulate everybody in this room for the fantastic job that you did, for the leadership of Unifor, to be sure, that we can get the best deal possible and protect workers all around this country.
That was pretty impressive for a New Democratic member who really understands the importance of trade deals.
Let us talk quickly about CUSMA. There are certain aspects that we were victorious on, over and above the fact that we told Trump those three were not going to happen, and that he should get over it. I guess he did get over it. He never showed up last week. He sent Pence here. He knows he did not get the best deal for the United States. He knows that Canada got the best deal. He knows the Liberal Government of Canada got the deal done.
Another very important piece we were successful on was labour. We were able to bring a more ambitious and robust piece to the labour portion of the agreement. The new auto rule of origin that we were successful in getting for the auto industry allows auto workers guaranteed work over time. The auto industry is very proud of that.
The environmental changes we brought forward are very important and are incorporated in the agreement. We are talking about air quality, water and marine. They are all very important aspects.
Of course, who can forget the very important gender lens? We are a party that will work to ensure all genders have opportunities. We put in place a mechanism to protect women's rights. It is very important to recognize gender identity and sexual orientation.
We cannot forget this. The Conservatives, NDP, Bloc and the Greens asked us how we could sign a deal that did not remove steel and aluminum tariffs. We knew what we were doing. Not only were we working on ratifying and ensuring we had a the deal, but we did not ratify this deal before the tariffs were removed. The tariffs on steel and aluminum are gone. They are history. We were able to do that successfully.
I want all members in the House of Commons not to forget that Canadians have a victory with this deal. The people from Nova Scotia have a big victory with this deal. This is very important for people from Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook as well. This bill will create good middle-class jobs for all Canadians.
We have strong deals because we believe in industry. Our products, when we have a level playing field, are the best in the world. We are proving that by implementing these trade deals. Canadians have created over a million jobs. Those jobs have been created before seeing the success of these trade deals.
This is a very good deal for Canadians. I am very proud of this deal and I know all Canadians are proud of it.
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View Erin O'Toole Profile
CPC (ON)
View Erin O'Toole Profile
2019-06-18 22:57 [p.29371]
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Mr. Speaker, what to say after that speech? Winston Churchill once said that a man was about as big as the things that made him angry. Certainly, the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook was quite angry tonight, trying to defend the government's record on trade, which is not a good one. It reminds me a little bit of the advice he was given by the minister for climate change when she said that if we wanted people to believe something, just keep saying it, yell it, get angry and then they would totally believe it.
I would ask the member this. He talked a lot about how the Prime Minister fought for the progressive agenda in the U.S. trade deal. Of course, in the last two months of this trade deal, which is represented in Bill C-100, Canada was not even at the negotiating table. Mexico got the deal. We had to be added to it.
The member talked about the signature of the progressive agenda and he mentioned the gender lens. I would like that member to refer me to the chapter in the agreement on gender. Here is a hint for Canadians watching: There is no chapter. None of the items the government laid out in their objectives were met.
I know the member worked a lot in education. I think he will be going back to that in the fall. Could he tell me something? In the six core objectives, when the Liberals got zero out of six, would he fail a student with that mark?
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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Darrell Samson Profile
2019-06-18 22:58 [p.29371]
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Mr. Speaker, my colleague needs to understand one thing first. I did not deliver that speech because I am angry. I delivered that speech because I am passionate. The angriness is on that side of the House. We are passionate about what we are doing for Canadians. I want my colleague to remember what happened under the Conservatives. Exports hardly grew under the Harper government. It had the slowest economy post-war.
The member should remember what the Business Council of Canada said. It applauded the government's success in negotiating a comprehensive, high-standard agreement on North American trade. That is pretty impressive. He needs to read that closely because there are great things in there for Canadians.
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View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2019-06-18 23:00 [p.29371]
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Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize that Democrats in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Dingell and others, are proposing changes on the enforcement provisions with regard to labour and the environment, which include some of the women's equality issues the member noted. The effort to fast-track this will eliminate the potential of the agreement that relates to enforcement on labour and the environment.
I would like the hon. member to reflect on the fact that the Liberals are undermining those efforts and that we could sign a deal that later on excludes the elements that have been included in the United States.
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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Darrell Samson Profile
2019-06-18 23:01 [p.29371]
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Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of things I need to correct. We are not fast-tracking. This is a process that was in place, and we are moving step by step. We will not allow the Conservatives, the NDP and others to slow us down, because Canadians need this.
The second thing I would tell my colleague is that he should look at the statistics. There are more women working in Canada today than ever before. That is extremely important, and the member should keep an eye on that.
I could go on, because there are lots of quotes that talk about how this deal is good for Canada. There are so many more jobs being created for Canadians. There are some in agriculture who did not get as much as they wanted. We have compensation for them and investment and innovation. That is what I call looking at the big picture and delivering for Canadians.
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View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
View Kelly McCauley Profile
2019-06-18 23:02 [p.29372]
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Mr. Speaker, I do not know how you could have possibly heard the member for Barrie—Innisfil over that. If the good people of Winnipeg North ever come to their senses and elect a Conservative MP and the Liberals are looking for another MP to stand and rage incoherently on demand, I think we have our winner.
The member talked a lot about job growth. I want to point out that according to the Library of Parliament, the participation of women in the workforce as a percentage has actually dropped under the current government. He talked about unemployment dropping in Canada, and it is great that it has, but I want to point out again some information, again from the Library of Parliament.
There is a great bumper sticker that says, “Trigger a Liberal: use facts and logic”, so here is a trigger warning right now. Since the Liberals were elected, in Germany unemployment has dropped 27%. In England, with all the problems with Brexit, unemployment has dropped 24%. In Japan, with its massively aging workforce, unemployment has dropped 19%. In the United States, unemployment has dropped 28%, and under the Liberal government, unemployment has dropped 16%. The high tide is lifting all boats, but the Liberals are sitting on the dock while their boat is drifting away.
Why has the government so underperformed compared to the rest of the booming world in the creation of jobs and dropping unemployment?
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