May 25, 1993

LIB

Robert (Bob) Speller

Liberal

Mr. Bob Speller (Haldimand-Norfolk):

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this debate to show my support for the amendments put forward by my hon. colleague on the left. I read through his amendments. I think they are well thought out and address some of the concerns Canadians across this country have about trade problems.

Right off the bat I want to say I appreciate the fact the hon. minister has shown up for this debate. There is lot of confusion out there in Canada. A lot of Canadians really do not understand what this debate is about and really do not understand the issues because of misinformation.

On the one hand the government is saying that our future prosperity, jobs and growth in Canada will depend on some sort of North American free trading arrangement, without really telling Canadians how it is since the last free trade agreement in 1988 that we lost some 300,000 manufacturing jobs. The Canadian economy has been going down over the last number of years and Canadians have been losing their jobs.

Frankly many of them in my area blame it on the Canada-U.S. free trade deal. They wonder how the heck we could be signing another deal without the government first addressing some of the problems it created in the Canada-U.S. deal.

That is one of my concerns. It is one of the concerns expressed by my constituents and Canadians across the country on how a government could be hanging everything, its whole trading policy, on one deal with the Americans and Mexico, forgetting the opportunities that exist in the Pacific Rim and in the opening countries of eastern Europe.

I can say frankly that the debate to date on this issue lacks a lot of credibility. We as Canadians have had no hard facts from the government on how the deal will benefit a worker or a farmer in my area or a fisherman in Cape Breton. How will the deal this government has put so much effort into help Canadians?

That is why I support this amendment by my hon. colleague which says: "No provision of the agreement nor application of any such provision to any person or circumstances which is in conflict with any law in Canada shall have an effect".

We want to have an ability within this country, within this building, to make sure that the laws we make for Canada, for Canadians will not be undermined in some sort of international forum by trading arrangements that give a lot more help to the Americans and a greater ability for places like Mexico and Mexican companies to compete in the United States with Canadian exports.

I want to point out to Canadians who are at home that this is a deal. It is a heck of a deal. It is a big deal. Most of us have read most of it and a lot of it is pretty complicated. Unfortunately this government has not given us an opportunity to explain this to Canadians. Instead it has cut off debate in this House. Before members of Parliament had an opportunity in this House to rise and try to explain this deal to Canadians the government brought in a notice of motion that it will bring in time allocation. It is going to limit the time.

In this debate we are only going to be given three days to debate this document which affects some 28 pieces of legislation. Canadians are concerned. I have had telephone calls already in which people have said: "How can you go through all this, one of the major pieces of legislation as the Prime Minister said, and pass it in three days?"

One of the objectives in this legislation states, and I will read it: "to eliminate barriers to trade in and facilitate the cross border movement of goods and services between the territories of the parties". That is

May 25, 1993

what they told us under the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

As my colleague from Hamilton East has said, we did not get that in the steel industry either in her city or my area of Haldimand-Norfolk at Nanticoke. In my riding there is one of the largest and newest steel plants in the country, a plant one would think would be able to compete with any in the world. It can compete with any in the world as long as it has a level playing field on which to compete, as long as it can follow its market into the United States.

Let me explain what has happened in steel. A lot of Canadian companies have closed down because of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the world economy, and rationalization in companies. They have gone across the border. If there is a free trade deal they would think that they could sell their products to customers as they moved across the border. That is not the case.

Canadian companies have been hit at every occasion on which they have tried to follow that market across because we did not get the access. We did not eliminate the barriers to trade. Why? Because the Americans say that we are somehow subsidizing our steel, that our products are being subsidized.

However, when the American products come across the border, when the Americans dump steel into our market, what do the government cronies do? They say that what the Americans are doing is fine. They dumped but they did not hurt our markets. That does not do anything to help the steel worker in my area keep his job or put bread on the table for his family.

As my colleague from Hamilton East said-and I am a boy scout and I have been a boy scout all my life-it is time to stop. It is time to get tough. It is time to make sure that the Americans follow the rules. It is time to have a level playing field. It is time for us to be able to compete.

Another important aspect in my area is the agriculture industry. I want to read very briefly what the National Farmers' Union stated. It said: "NAFTA promotes further corporization of Canadian agriculture by relying

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solely on market forces. It supports economic policies in agriculture which fail to measure the human and social consequences of economic change. It is based on profit maximizing mechanisms which will invariably result in the elimination of supply management and increase in the degree of predatory dumping of agricultural and non-agricultural products into the Canadian domestic market and a continuation of trade distorting export subsidies".

The minister knows that Canadian supply management is not trade distorting. Yet in this deal he claims in the same document that he is protected somehow. The fact of the matter is that he has left it open, that in fact whatever GATT decides-and he has already caved in at the GATT-he will support that initiative.

Farmers will not accept that. They do not accept that GATT is over and they will fight this deal as they will fight at the GATT to make sure that Canadian supply management is protected.

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LIB

Mac Harb

Liberal

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I rise again to speak on the North American free trade agreement. On this side of the House we recognize the potential that exists from any free trade agreement with any nation providing there is a level playing field. In this particular case there is no level playing field yet.

While there are in excess of 350 million consumers that one could look at as a potential market and there are in excess of $7 trillion in that particular market, the government has failed to prepare Canadian industry to enter into that market fully equipped with the tools necessary to compete and succeed.

Make no mistake about it, the whole world is forming itself into different trading blocs, whether we talk about the Pacific Rim or the European Community or whether we talk about the North American communities. However, if you look at each one of those blocs and you look at the partners who are involved in those trading blocs, you find out that the partners involved are preparing themselves before deciding to enter into those trading blocs.

Unfortunately here in Canada, thanks to the provincial governments and the federal government that we have, we have not been able to even eliminate the trading blocs that exist within Canada itself. Take for example the national capital region. On the Ontario side

May 25, 1993

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and on the Outaouais side, which is the Quebec side, believe it or not there is almost a trade war in that the industry on the Ontario side cannot work on the Quebec side and vice versa to a large extent.

Before moving to the outside and fully benefiting from anything on the outside, Canada has to prepare itself from within. Why has this government failed to take an aggressive role when it comes to free trade within Canada itself? Why has this government not moved with a national strategy, with a national plan, that will eliminate the trading blocs within Canada?

Also the action plan to prepare Canadian industry and Canadian workers to enter into this new era of globalization simply is not there. We are talking about a national objective, a national strategy. We cannot really go out and compete in the international arena when we have an illiteracy rate in our own society that exceeds 38 per cent of our population. We cannot compete in the international arena when we have over one-third of our students not finishing their high school education. We cannot compete in the international arena when we have over two-thirds of all jobs that are going to be available in our own society requiring at least a high school level of education and we just do not have it. We cannot compete in the global market when we have a shrinking population but yet, in parallel to that, we do not have a strategy in order to equip that shrinking work force with the tools necessary to compete.

Where is the government's strategy when it comes to those areas? Where is the government's strategy when it comes to a proper national education strategy that will help the Canadian youth and will equip them so they can compete in the international scene, never mind building a better life for themselves in the future? Where is the government's strategy that will deal with trying to help the industry to compete in the international market? Where is that strategy?

We have not seen much of it except thanks to a government such as the Ontario government. It has been the biggest booster to the Buffalo business sector by driving business out of Ontario by putting in place legislation that frightened the business community from one end of the province to the other and by imposing taxes day and night to the point where the small business

community as well as the medium-sized community are screaming loudly.

One would say, in the absence of a national strategy on the part of the federal government and with the regressive, oppressive strategy on the part of the provincial government in Ontario, the business communities and the workers of this country want to see some aggressive change taking place before this government moves ahead with its NAFTA deal.

We have been calling on the government to at least not proceed with this legislation until such time that the Canadian public has a chance to examine it closely, until the business communities have a chance to examine it closely and until such time that all of the disputed issues that we have on the table are dealt with. A number of disputed issues that are on the table have not been dealt with, from the anti-dumping legislation which discriminates against the businesses in this country to the unfair trading practices that are taking place to the lack of fulfilment on the part of our partners as it stands right now in the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

As my colleagues have indicated, and I join with them, the whole idea behind a free trade agreement is to give the Canadian industry access to a market. I suggest from what we have seen in the past that access to the market we want has not been fully available. At the best of times when it was available, it was for a very short period of time and then we were discriminated against.

I will give one example. In the area of procurement it was part of the agreement between Canada and the United States that on an annual basis both governments would provide to one another a list of all of the available contracts, all of the available opportunities and also a statement of account.

From 1989 until the middle of 1993 we have yet to see the Minister of Supply and Services making public that particular account. We have yet to see a fulfilment on the part of our partners when it comes to procurement in the free trade agreement.

When we look at the Canadian side we have fulfilled our commitment on a regular basis from year one up until now. One may ask what will happen when it comes to the North American free trade agreement. Are we going to have access?

May 25, 1993

As well, when it comes to the question of procurement, what has the government done since 1989 until now in trying to publicize to the business community across Canada and trying to inform them of the possibilities that might be available to them in the Canadian

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market in the area of procurement? I might suggest that it has been a failure on the part of the government in this area.

[Editor's Note: For continuation of proceedings see Volume B.]

Tuesday, May 25,1993

[Editor's Note: Continuation of proceedings from Volume A.)

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LIB

Mac Harb

Liberal

Mr. Harb:

None of the businesses and sectors involved have been properly informed about those possibilities and opportunities.

If we look at it on balance the government has failed on every single issue when it comes to the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the North American free trade agreement.

The government should withdraw this legislation and this is the perfect time for it; twelve o'clock, midnight.

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?

An hon. member:

The witching hour.

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LIB

Mac Harb

Liberal

Mr. Harb:

The government should wait until the United States and Mexico as well as the Canadian people have had a chance to look at it and approve it before we proceed with it. Otherwise as I have indicated clearly it is a waste of time; nothing more, nothing less.

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NDP

Lyle Stuart Kristiansen

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lyle Kristiansen (Kootenay West-Revelstoke):

Mr. Speaker, I wish the subject before us aroused more positive feelings in me, other members in the House, particularly those on the opposition side, and the majority of people in Canada.

The amendments before us, namely Motions Nos. 2,4, 5 and 6, are apparently not going to be supported by the government side. I do not imagine that comes as much of a surprise to anyone. I think this demonstrates very clearly to all of us and all Canadians that this government's agenda and the agenda of most ordinary Canadians are on diametrically opposite courses.

I would like to begin in the few minutes I have this evening by reading briefly from a letter to my constituents that I sent almost two years ago but it still seems particularly appropriate.

It said: "Summer time and the living is easy. That is what the song says and if it was not for the actions of our

federal government it could be and should be too, especially in Canada where we have more wealth, resources and fresh water per person than anywhere else on earth.

"If only we would use it and protect it ourselves instead of letting others manage it and misuse it for themselves in the name of some abstract global market doctrine that says it is wrong for a people, a nation or a community to act together in order to advance and defend their own jobs and their own interests."

The Tory Party, the Reform Party and other people right across Canada say that idea is wrong and horror of horrors it is protectionist. If a government cannot or will not act to protect its own people, their jobs and businesses, then what the devil is a government for?

Of course we have to compete in the global marketplace. Of course we have to make compromises but we do not throw away all the advantages we have. We bargain from our strength, not our weaknesses and before we start we draw our bottom line.

The Prime Minister says there is more to Canada than a few national programs, national services and national corporations. That is true but if he and his friends continue to break up or deregulate and weaken all the national services, programs and agencies that keep this country together like VTA Rail our national transport system, the CBC, medicare, Canada Post, Air Canada and Petro-Canada that could act to guarantee environmental standards and energy self-sufficiency at fair prices, what will we have left?

This government has attempted to incorporate that agenda for all time by incorporating and protecting those moves, first through the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and now by extending that to a North American free trade agreement. That is what makes this debate so important and what makes it so absolutely irresponsible for this government to attempt at this time to ram it through the House of Commons.

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More and more Canadians will ask themselves if all we get for our taxes is a flag, an anthem and an expensive government that we do not like. Is it really worth it? You tell me. We are fast on the road to becoming exactly that.

The United States, the republic to the south, is beginning to realize there is something of value in some of the institutions here north of the border. It is beginning what is going to be a very hard fought, drawn out campaign to establish some decent social services and social safety nets in that country that are good for all their people and not just some of their people. We have been and are in the process of dismantling almost every important national program that has made this country worth while and distinctive to most Canadians.

What is my bottom line and what is the bottom line of the NDP? It is Canada and it is Canadians. I hate to have to ask but I must ask the government members-and I know as individuals they believe they are good Canadians-what their bottom line is. For the life of me when I see what they have been doing for the last number of years I cannot believe their bottom line is the same as ours: Canada, Canadians and their long-term welfare.

The government signed a trade agreement that meant we had to become more competitive to survive and then followed an economic policy of deregulation, high interest rates and an artificially high dollar that seemed designed to make us less competitive and that is what happened. It is hard to believe its bottom line coincides with mine or that of my constituents.

Ross Perot, the independent candidate in the last U.S. presidential election, gave a very clear warning when he said that if the North American free trade agreement was consummated there would be a giant sucking sound as jobs were sucked south of the border from the United States into Mexico. We have already seen the truth of that in the last few years as close to half a million Canadian jobs have been sucked south into the United States.

A headline in today's Financial Post reads: "Canadian companies head to U.S." It says: "It has been a great month if you are an American looking for work at a Canadian company. Several big Canadian firms have

announced plans to expand in the U.S. Many senior executives expect more Canadian companies to move south because of lower taxes, cheaper labour and free trade." In the last few weeks it points out Jannock Ltd., Norbord Industries Inc., Metall Mining Corporation, Counsel Corporation and Interprovincial Pipe Line Systems Incorporated. The list goes on and on and it gives details.

Because they have this particular mind-set these companies say free trade was just one of about 15 factors in their decision to move south. Among the other important factors were reduced wage costs, cheaper hydro, lower taxes and better access to bigger markets. Those things are exactly what we said would be the result before the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement came into place.

Companies would be free to move to where labour costs and wages were lower and there were inadequate social services and as a result lower taxes because they did not have to provide them. There is a downward levelling that is taking place continuously on our side of the border where we used to enjoy some good social safety nets and good social programs. If that is not what is taking place then I do not know where we are at all.

That is exactly what we said would happen and we take no joy in having predicted it. Anyone who was not blind or deaf could have figured it out. I do not believe the government is deaf or blind so why has it led us down that path? Why is it continuing to lead us down that path in spite of the facts that are there for all of us to see?

Only the people of Canada can answer that question. The only answer I can think of is not a pretty one. That government has to go. That mind-set has to go. This agreement has to go. It is a bad agreement. It is bad for Canadians. It is bad for Canada.

Adopting these amendments will make it a little more liveable and a little more fair. If the government is not prepared to do that then it should give up. Call an election quickly and let us get this damn thing over with.

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LIB

William Warren Allmand

Liberal

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grace):

Mr. Speaker, at this late hour I want to start with a few words about process.

May 25, 1993

This debate indicates once again the low level to which this Conservative government has reduced Parliament and our parliamentary system.

Here we have one of the most important pieces of legislation to come before this House since the election of 1988. It is the North American free trade agreement which is a very large, long and complex piece of legislation. It looks like many of our telephone books with 193 pages and 242 sections.

This government with its disdain for Parliament has rushed through the second reading debate in two and a half days and expects us to deal with the 32 amendments that have been presented for this report stage in one day.

Even though we have extended hours for this evening, everybody knows this debate tonight took place while a very important hockey game was going on.

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?

Some hon. members:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Warren Allmand

Liberal

Mr. Allmand:

The government members say hear, hear because they really are not interested in having the Canadian public know about this piece of legislation. The only thing I might agree with is I was happy to see the Toronto team win tonight even though I am a Canadiens fan.

We have this long complex piece of legislation and this government is trying to ram it through Parliament in a very few days. There are 242 sections and on many of those sections there are opposing views. There are questions to be raised and we have raised them. Many of them are formulated in the 32 amendments which are before this House tonight yet the government will not listen to those opposing or different views. It does not want the Canadian public to know about those views. That is why it is closing debate.

Of course this is a government that since 1984 has used the process of closure and allocation of time more than any other government going back to Confederation. This is a government that does not believe in parliamentary debate. It does not believe in allowing the Canadian public to get an insight into complex legislation.

The government's view is to rush it through as quickly as possible so Canadians will really not know. Everybody knows this is a bill about free trade among Canada, the

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United States and Mexico but they do not know the details of the bill. If you were to ask the ordinary person on the street they do not know the details of the bill. A debate like this should allow Canadians some insight into the details of the bill.

If we were allowed to debate this legislation as we should debate legislation we could go through the various clauses of the bill and raise the questions. We could raise the opposing views that do not always come from our own sources but have been picked up from the various economic associations, think tanks and economists in the country. If we were allowed to raise those in the proper way by going through the various clauses, the Canadian public listening to us and the government might agree or disagree with us. That is fair play.

At least we would have a sound debate. Canadians could listen to us and to them. Of course those members are not even participating in the debate tonight. They are not even responding to the various arguments and points that are being raised on these amendments.

It is fair play for Canadians to agree or disagree with us once they have had a chance to listen. They are not going to have that opportunity.

Furthermore, this government is ramming through this legislation before the other two partners to the agreement, the United States and Mexico, have taken steps to ratify it by legislation. President Clinton has said quite clearly that there will be no legislation to ratify NAFTA until the side agreements that he wants on environment and labour are completed.

The Liberal Party for a long time has favoured freer trade. Our history is one that has been favourable to freer trade. It was the Liberal Party that spearheaded and supported GATT from its earliest stages and before 1984 Liberal governments had supported the lowering of tariffs with the United States.

As a matter of fact in 1988 at the time of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement 80 per cent of our trade with the United States was without tariffs and trade had been reduced by Liberal governments preceding the accession of the Conservative government from an average of a 32 per cent tariff to a 6 per cent average.

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At the time of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in 1988 with measures that had been introduced by Liberal governments we had a $20 billion trade surplus yet that Conservative government insisted on putting through its version of free trade. We maintain that this sold out Canadian interests and resources, especially energy interests. This had no subsidies code, did not serve Canadian industry well and certainly did not serve Canadian workers well.

The results are pretty evident today when we have over 11 per cent unemployment and 1.6 million Canadians unemployed. That is the result of a trade agreement that this government rammed through in a similar way in 1988. That agreement was not classical free trade but was rather an agreement for economic integration and union. It was not free trade. It called it free trade but it was really a much more demeaning type of agreement.

We said at the time that that agreement in 1988 would put pressure on our social policies to harmonize with those in the United States that were less beneficial to those citizens and which did not really do the job for those citizens as many of our social programs did.

As a matter of fact that is what happened. We predicted it in 1988. It has happened. There were changes to the unemployment insurance legislation, the generic drug legislation and the patent legislation which provided for generic drugs at a cheaper price for Canadians. Now there are attacks on our medicare programs.

We said that that would take place because the economic integration and the market integration with the United States would put pressure on Canadian companies competing with companies in the United States without tariffs to bring down those social programs for competitive reasons. That has happened.

The stated goal of the Conservative government when it pursued the original free trade agreement with the United States and now with Mexico was to get rid of the real trade barriers between our two countries but they did not accomplish that. Countervailing still remains, U.S. anti-dumping legislation still remains. It was evident. We have seen what has happened to many of our industries such as the softwood lumber industry, the steel industry and the magnesium industry.

The Conservative government in pursuing the elements of free trade let down Canadians and were poor

negotiators. It has happened again. One of the reasons that we are opposing the present agreement is that the energy provisions of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that were not in the interests of Canada have not been changed. Furthermore the Mexicans have negotiated for their part energy provisions which are more favourable to them than the entrenched provisions in the original agreement of 1988 are to us. We said from the beginning that the NAFTA trade negotiations would be an opportunity to correct the deficiencies in the 1988 Canada-U.S. agreement. It was a great opportunity to correct the energy provisions and to provide for an anti-dumping code and a subsidies code and all those things that were not proper in the original agreement of 1988. However not only did the government not correct those things but it made it worse by ending up with uneven provisions for example with respect to energy for Mexico as compared with Canada. Those barriers remain and they remain because we had a government that did not know how to negotiate in the best interests of Canada.

We voted against this legislation at second reading. We are supporting amendments today and tonight which would improve the agreement which is seriously flawed. We have said that if we were to take power as a government we would seek changes to both the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement of 1988 and the North American free trade agreement.

We said that both need a subsidies code, an antidumping code, a more effective dispute-resolution mechanism, agreed upon labour standards, agreed upon environmental standards and the same energy protection as Mexico.

We will continue to oppose this legislation until it is made right and until legitimate Canadian interests are protected. They are not protected in this bill at the present time. Therefore we will vote for the amendments that are before the House tonight and hope that the government will see the light of day.

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NDP

Leonard William (Len) Taylor

New Democratic Party

Mr. Len Taylor (The Battlefords -Meadow Lake):

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity you are giving me this evening. It is after midnight, at 12.20 a.m., on this fine evening in Ottawa.

May 25, 1993

The debate that we are engaged in here tonight concerns the report stage and a grouping of motions on amendments to the North American free trade agreement implementing legislation.

The amendments grouped here are ones brought forward by the New Democratic trade critic, the member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, who has tried very hard in these amendments tonight to rectify some serious problems and flaws that are in the existing legislation.

That aside, Mr. Speaker, I think that you are aware as are virtually all of those people who may be watching us tonight at this hour of how fatally flawed this entire legislation is and what a change and effect this will have on our entire country if this legislation or this agreement is implemented. This is an agreement that in essence establishes an entirely new economic framework for North America. This framework takes control from the hands of Canadians and puts it into the hands of the multinational corporations.

I could not help tonight but be reminded of my very first speech in this House of Commons after being elected in 1988. It was an election that I fought on the issue of free trade with the United States. It was an issue that made the people of my constituency say to me on election day: "We cannot accept it." They have been proven right.

Those people in my constituency who supported my campaign have been proven correct. In fact the free trade agreement with the United States has been devastating for the Canadian economy. The hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been lost from this country as a result of this trade deal are just part of the the economic decline that has faced our country.

The province of Saskatchewan that is heavily dependent on agriculture has also been affected by the decline in the national economy. A very important message that the people of Saskatchewan have sent is that agribusiness cannot control the way in which payments are made to producers. It is the very backbone and the very heart of that prairie, regional, resource-based economy.

I say that I am reminded today of my veiy first speech in this House because it was on that free trade agreement with the United States. It was virtually in the middle of the night again on report stage as the govern-

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ment was pushing through that legislation without listening or caring to listen to the people of Canada.

During my very first speech in this House of Commons I was heckled by this government repeatedly about not knowing what I was talking about. What has history shown and who knew what? History has shown very strongly that the words that were spoken by those who opposed the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement were absolutely correct.

Tonight under certain similar circumstances and under closure by a government that continues to refuse to listen we are again debating very important legislation and an agreement on the economic future of Canada.

Is it any wonder Canadians are frustrated and angry with this institution? Is it any wonder that their frustration boils over? The government refuses to listen not just on the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, not just with the goods and services tax and not with agricultural legislation.

We debated in this House the whole issue of the interest-free cash advance. We said over and over again to this government that it could not remove the interest-free cash advance because of its devastating effect on western farmers. However this government barrelled ahead and removed it.

Every year since it has done that it has been forced for one year to reinstate it. It should never have changed the legislation to begin with. It is evident how the government will not listen.

There is the drought program and the GRIP. The Canadian people some of whom are my constituents have said over and over again: "Listen to us. We know what we are talking about." Each time the government has refused to listen and each time the people have been proven correct.

Once again we have the opportunity to address this veiy important issue that is the North American free trade agreement. In fact the government is refusing to listen. I know there are people out there tonight who want the government to listen. There are people out there who are watching us on their television screens who are saying: "I wish I could say something to those people. If they will not listen in the House of Commons maybe they will listen to anybody from the rest of Canada."

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If those people have pencils in their hands and write down this number 613-996-7441 they can talk to a Tory tonight today about the North American free trade agreement. The number is 613-996-7441. The phone will ring in the lobby and a Conservative member of Parliament will likely answer. The people who are watching tonight can say to a real Conservative member of Parliament: "Listen to what is being said about this agreement that is so drastically affect the way in which our country is operating."

People are frustrated now but can one imagine how frustrated they are going to be when the North American free trade agreement is implemented by this government or by the Liberal government if it forms the next government? Just think of how frustrated these people are going to be when they find out that the economic direction of this country is no longer in their hands. They can no longer hold their politicians accountable for economic decisions because the decisions are going to be made in the corporate board rooms in Washington, Mexico City or for all we know in some other capital city outside of Canada.

The economic decisions are not going to be made by the politicians who have to be accountable to the people of Canada. Those decisions are going to be made by a body that is not accountable to anyone. This government is handing that control to those corporate boardrooms as if it was a gift for some debt to be paid.

If there are debts to be paid it is to the ordinary working people and the producers of this country who have toiled for years and years and are being stepped on by the same multinational corporations.

Today the government is preparing to reward those corporations for the exploitation of Canadian workers and institute an agreement that is going to exploit not only Canadian workers but also workers in the United States and Mexico. These workers and producers are trying hard to make this a country they can be proud of and their children will be proud of when they are gone. They know their parents would be proud of them.

I have made many environment speeches in this House. The one thing I said over and over again to the members on the opposite side in government in this House is that we have a responsibility to leave this world

a better place than we found it. The North American free trade agreement and the legislation that is implementing it does just the opposite. We are making this place a poorer place than we found it. If there is nothing else we can do tonight, we must come to some realization that we have to defeat this legislation and get on with other business that is more important.

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LIB

Marlene Catterall

Liberal

Mrs. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West):

Mr. Speaker, yes indeed, what is happening in this House tonight and this week is obscene.

We are dealing with a document that is very thick, the North American free trade agreement. We are dealing with another document that gives us a summary of the chapters in that agreement. We are dealing with a 200-page piece of legislation and a very thick book is required to explain that piece of legislation.

This government is asking us to spend less than half a good working week debating this whole mess, trying to debate all the issues involved in it and leaving the public with some clear understanding of what it is ramroding through the House this week. That is obscene, evil and not worthy of this place. It is not worthy of any government of this country.

I remember during the last election talking to seniors in my riding about the free trade agreement. The most touching comments came from elderly people, mostly women who told me their husband, brother, father, son or nephew died in a war to save this country and now these people are giving it away. The seniors in my riding of Ottawa West feel they are losing the dream they built of this country, but they are also looking at their grandchildren and saying their hopes for the future for those grandchildren are being destroyed.

The government knew this agreement would seriously disrupt the Canadian economy. It knew because it forced internal documents in its own government to be amended when they said detrimental things about the impacts of the free trade agreement. It suppressed information and forced public servants to change then-analysis of the agreement. It put in place no action plan to deal with the detrimental effects, no training programs and no economic plan to help this country through an adjustment period. We did not get access to the American markets in the free trade agreement and we are not getting access in this agreement.

May 25, 1993

Four years ago I made the then minister of international trade aware that in Ontario where half the manufacturing jobs in Canada are, municipalities are specifically prohibited from subsidising industries to locate in their communities. Yet every month millions of dollars in bribes from American communities come into this province in magazine advertisements for Canadian companies to leave Canada. That is only one measure of how urgent it is to deal with the subsidies issue which in five years this government has not dealt with. It is leaving us further at the mercy of that kind of buy-out of Canadian firms through bribery from American communities.

I want to talk for a couple of minutes about the hocus-pocus on the environment. The Minister for International Trade and the Minister of the Environment claim that somehow this free trade agreement makes great progress on the environment and ties environmental issues to trade issues as sustainable development principles would have it do.

It does not. The Minister for International Trade has claimed that he went to the bargaining table with Mexico with a proposal to protect the environment and the Americans turned it down. It is a little hard to believe that now, when a new administration in the United States has opened up the opportunity for strong provisions on environmental protection, improving environmental standards and improving the protection of the very resources that are fundamental to our economy. The minister now runs like a scared rabbit from those negotiations and does not want to put in place what he claims he wanted at the bargaining table six months ago.

I want to quote the minister's own words in an interview just a couple of weeks ago. He said: "Well, let's take the environment. We have under the NAFTA the right to establish our own standards and enforce our own standards. Now, do we want the Americans or the Mexicans coming in and telling us how to enforce our environmental standards? I would say no."

One might think from that the minister wanted to establish high standards to protect the environment, but

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that is not so. Just two minutes later the minister went on to make it quite clear that this government wants to be able to bend the environmental assessment rules and water them down, even in contravention of the Supreme Court of Canada as it did on the Oldman River dam and not be subject to any trade action by our other partners in the NAFTA.

The Minister of the Environment, one might think, would like to protect the environment and in fact want to raise environmental standards in all three trading partners. I might have believed that until last week when the Minister of the Environment refused to use his regulation-making power to ban the export of tetraethyl lead which we know is damaging, especially to the health of children. That very same minister who refused to control a poisonous substance by regulation turned around and amended the regulations so hot rod races could go ahead in Montreal because he was under pressure from a delegate for another leadership candidate.

That shows a total lack of commitment to protect the environment in trade. What was the excuse? We needed to harmonize with the United States regulations. We needed to remain competitive. We are prepared to move backward on our environmental regulations instead of moving forward. If anyone doubted the hypocrisy of both ministers when it comes to protecting the environment in trade matters, they have no reason to doubt that hypocrisy any more.

We have talked before about the energy provisions in the NAFTA and again this Minister for International Trade gave up on an issue that the Mexicans were able to get protection for in the NAFTA. In other words, we have agreed to obligations to supply our trading partners with energy even in times of shortage when Mexico stood firm and protected its right to determine who it would sell its energy to and when.

No wonder the Americans do not want Canada to have that right. They say it is okay for us to subsidize our energy. They want to ensure that they can buy our energy which is subsidized by Canadian taxpayers. In other words, it would be an indirect subsidy from Canadian taxpayers to American industry.

May 25, 1993

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I want to say a couple of words about social programs. I want to ask both the Minister of National Health and Welfare and the Minister of Finance to share with Canadians its hidden agenda to dismantle our social security system. We have already seen it with the UI system and now there is talk in the leadership campaign about user fees in the medicare system. We have seen it with the actions on prescription drugs.

I would like the Minister of Finance or the Minister of International Trade to tell the House that the recent address by the Deputy Minister of Finance to the Canadian Association of Business Economics calling for an overhaul of the public pension system was approved by the minister, approved by the government and how it is related to this NAFTA deal that is before us tonight.

What the Deputy Minister of Finance said in his remarks contains alarming and disturbing policy options including cutting public pension benefits and perhaps even eliminating the Old Age Security. This is the legacy of the free trade agreement and the NAFTA. This is harmonization with our trading partners to the south.

Is it not perhaps time for this government to tell Canadians how it plans to restructure our public pension system to bring it in line with the American social security retirement system? I know the government is going to sit there and say it has no such intention and our social safety net is a sacred trust. I think we have heard all that before and we know how much that statement by the government means.

We can only assume if we look carefully at the American pension plan and compare ours to theirs, which is purely income related, that this government plans to create a new generation of poor senior citizens.

If it goes to the American pension plan it is quite clear that we will also have increased poverty among elderly women who throughout their lifetimes have had very little opportunity to earn income on which a better pension could be based.

The real tragedy of this being forced through right now is we are in negotiations with our trading partners on parallel accords on issues that are important to them and important to us-

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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

The hon. member's time has expired.

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LIB

Alfonso Gagliano (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Alfonso Gagliano (Saint-Leonard):

Mr. Speaker, at this fairly late hour we are debating at report stage the bill to implement the North American free trade agreement. It is incredible to think of the immense changes this bill will mean not only for the way companies do business in Canada but also for the way Canadians act. Our whole society will be affected by these provisions.

Yet we had scarcely two and a half hours of debate at second reading when the government moved closure. In committee, the same thing. Just a few weeks ago, representatives of cities as major as Toronto and Montreal had not been able to appear before the committee.

Today, since ten o'clock this morning, or yesterday morning I should say because we are already at a quarter to one in the morning, we started debate at report stage. After just a few hours of debate the government once again wants to invoke closure. To allow us members of the opposition to debate the some 32 amendments on the OrderPaper, we get unlimited time, which means we are going to be able to debate all night long.

We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every day to televise our debates all across Canada. This costs a great deal of money. With a debate as important as this one, we have to do it at night when most Canadians are asleep. Once again we are wasting money and preventing Canadians from being part of the debate.

This bill, as I said earlier, will not just affect the way Canadians do business in Canada and on the North American continent, it will affect our whole society. We have already gone through this with the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States. We know how hard hit our workers have been by job losses. That is not over yet, it is still happening. The government during the 1988 debates promised us and promised Canadians as a whole that once the free trade agreement with the United States was in force, all the problems we were having at that time with the American states and the industrial sector would be settled by the agreement. Yet here we are today faced with all these current crises.

May 25, 1993

I would like to cite just one example, that of the furniture industry. Not long ago, the STCUM, Montreal urban community transit authority, gave a contract worth about $2 million to an American furniture manufacturer. The Quebec furniture industry is convinced that the American company is dumping.

I would like to refer to an article in the Journal de Montreal, of May 5, 1993, in which the executive vicepresident of the Association des fabricants de meubles du Quebec, Quebec furniture manufacturers' association, says:

The scandal is that they suspect the American company of dumping, in other words selling its products for less here than it would in the United States, which is an illegal trade practice, and they can't even defend themselves.

In the United States, even a presumption of dumping by another country brings an immediate reaction from Washington.

Here, the procedure to prove dumping is so drawn-out, complex and ruinous, that it's practically impossible for us to undertake it.

In the case of the STCUM contract, we would have to invest at least $500,000 to prepare our case. In Canada the government doesn't defend industry, its policy is to fold its hands and do nothing.

That is what is happening. That is a real case. It is not the opposition criticizing, it is the executive vice-president of the Association des fabricants de meubles du Quebec talking about a specific case, a contract. It would take $500,000 to defend this case while in the United States all a company has to do is pay a visit to Washington, D.C. and the wheels start to turn. Why is the Canadian government not defending Canadian industry? Why does it sit with its hands folded when this inaction is destroying our industry? That is why we are against this agreement.

The worst thing about it is the government does not understand. On the one hand invokes closure at every stage to get the bill passed quickly; on the other we see that the United States wants to negotiate parallel agreements. That was clear last week when the negotiators were here in Ottawa. It did not agree at all. The President and the congressional leaders have said that without parallel agreements they will not proceed.

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Why is the Canadian government in such a hurry, to the point of making us debate the bill in the middle of the night while Canadians sleep? It is a sign of just how completely this government has lost all moral authority. It would come into effect on January 1. We could have debated it in order to afford all members an opportunity to receive criticisms and comments from their constituents, to urge the public to understand what we are talking about, to understand all about this massive bill that we are trying to push through as fast as we can during the night.

These are the questions that Canadians are asking themselves and the government is turning a deaf ear. We have one day for report stage and one day for third reading. It is already being said that next week the Senate will be faced with closure on the bill. This bill will become law by the end of the first week in June.

I think we have to keep on fighting for Quebec's furniture industry and for many other industries such as the steel industry, and for the entire industrial sector, because we have a government whose laissez-faire policy means that they can continue to sit back and do nothing and that they can give up on our industries. Obviously, behind all this there are jobs that have been lost by the hundreds of thousands and the figure is rising. If this government goes on like this, things will get even worse.

We will continue to push for the amendments and if the government does not want to be reasonable, we will absolutely vote against the government's bill.

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NDP

Philip Edmonston

New Democratic Party

Mr. Phillip Edmonston (Chambly):

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise tonight at this late hour to speak on the motions that are before us.

This is the second time that I have had a chance to speak on the motions. As one knows we are dealing with the second grouping of motions. The first dealt primarily with the environment. Now we are dealing with questions of predominance of Canadian law and Bill C-115.

May 25, 1993

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I rise to push for the amendments to Bill C-115 that have been put forward by my party as well as by my colleagues, amendments that are intended to amend the bill to implement NAFTA.

For the people who are watching and listening to us tonight and who are wondering what NAFTA is, it is the North American free trade agreement. The reason why we are supporting the amendments proposed by our Liberal colleagues, as well as the ones from our party, is that we know that the bill as it now stands is imperfect. It is a bill that we cannot accept and that we thought worth while to amend, at least in substance, in order to make it less cumbersome and more acceptable for Canada.

The problem with this bill is a fundamental one. I would like to ask you to intervene-Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, but-

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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

Order please.

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LIB

Sheila Finestone

Liberal

Mrs. Finestone:

I am sorry Phil. We were trying to figure out who is speaking next.

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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

The hon. member cannot see the Chair. That is what it is.

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NDP

Philip Edmonston

New Democratic Party

Mr. Edmonston:

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, what we have even greater need of here in Canada is a domestic free trade agreement between our provinces, rather than a free trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. I refer to that because I worked on the committee along with my Liberal colleague who has so much experience with cultural groups in Quebec. I recall that we heard representations from several Quebec cultural groups who claimed that with Bill C-115, Quebec song writers, film makers and producers would be forced to accept less than they had already obtained under the Berne convention signed in 1971.

The Berne convention awards Quebec and Canadian artists a certain amount of protection. Following their death, their works retain a certain value and are bequeathed to their heirs.

Under the NAFTA, which we are discussing this evening, Quebec and Canadian artists will have less

protection. This is a very important point because when I speak of less protection, it means that when, for example, we speak of Quebec as a distinct society, Bill C-115 will make Quebec less distinct. Artists all across Canada will be less protected. That is unfortunate because that which they have already acquired under the Berne convention will no longer exist.

We were astonished to learn this in the course of the committee meetings into this question. This is not merely a question of vested rights. Today, as the United States wonders whether it can accept the NAFTA without sanctions, and until now, the United States has determined that it cannot endorse the NAFTA without provisions respecting the environment and worker protection, we here in Canada are not even asking ourselves the same question. We here in Quebec, in Canada and in this House are being forced to speak now at one o'clock in the morning on draft legislation which is being bulldozed through Parliament. We are being forced to vote on this bill whereas the United States has decided to apply the brakes.

As a Canadian citizen and as the member for Chambly, I am truly uncomfortable with this bill because when I chose Canada 25 years ago, I did not want to choose a country like the United States. I wanted a country that was better than the United States, a country that appreciated its artists and appreciated the value of their works.

Unfortunately, tonight, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, if we fail to stop or to substantially amend this bill, it is clear that Canada will be significantly changed in several years' time or over the next few decades, that is 20, 30 or 40 years down the road. How will Canada have changed? Canada will resemble the United States, it will be carried along by U.S. policies.

One thing about this bill surprised me. When European countries engaged in negotiations with the European Economic Community over the past 13 years, they engaged in a dispassionate, comprehensive and open debate of the various aspects of the proposed legislation before them. They wanted to achieve unity and to have as many participants and as many different viewpoints as possible to ultimately determine where everyone stood on the proposed legislation respecting the European Economic Community.

May 25, 1993

Unfortunately, the problem we have today is that we are dealing with a government that wants to accomplish in three days what it took the European Economic Community 13 years to accomplish-three days as compared to 13 years. How then can we have a dispassionate, rational, effective, intelligent debate as parliamentarians when we are being bulldozed into taking part in it? An intelligent debate is impossible under these kinds of conditions.

You can understand then why I find this process, this debating climate, unhealthy. Furthermore, given the reluctance on the part of the U.S. government to endorse NAFTA as it now stands, without sanctions and without parallel agreements on environmental protection, without parallel agreements on U.S. worker protection, I wonder why are we in such a hurry. I remind you that 24 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have already made it known-I repeat that that these Americans, these members of the U.S. House of Representatives-have already made it known that they will not endorse NAFTA, even if it contained parallel agreements on the environment and on worker protection.

I must also say that after listening to the fisheries minister, who was quoted in several newspaper articles, state that the opposition to and the dissatisfaction with NAFTA, the North American free trade agreement, came only from unions and their membership, I am truly disgusted with such a statement, because I know for a fact that many other people, not just unions and their members, are opposed to the agreement.

I would like to quote from an article published in Le Devoir because it mentions the fisheries minister and also because I find it most interesting. The article states the following: "Mr. Crosbie notes that unions in Canada have voiced their staunch opposition'' to NAFTA. The minister pointed out that unions are opposed to everything, including NAFTA. Said the minister jokingly: "Every time the unions get a pimple on their nose, they blame it on NAFTA."

NAFTA is no joking matter. It is not merely a matter for the unions or for fringe groups. Almost two thirds of the Canadian population are opposed to the agreement. Unfortunately, they are not here today, but we as parliamentarians represent them. We realize just how

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arrogant the government is when it claims that only a small, marginal group is opposed to NAFTA when in reality more than two thirds of all Canadians are opposed to this agreement and to signing it. The government is making the same stupid mistake it made in the past with the Constitution. You recall, Mr. Speaker, what they said at the time: "Come on, only marginal groups are against the Charlottetown agreement".

In conclusion, let me say that most Canadians are opposed to this bill respecting NAFTA because they are far more intelligent than this government.

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LIB

Fred J. Mifflin

Liberal

Mr. Fred J. Mifflin (Bonavista-Trinity-Conception):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this subject at this ungodly hour because I feel motivated to make certain points.

I spoke earlier and compared the promises that were made for the free trade agreement with the United States five years ago with the promises that were made and the risks that were encountered in the situation now.

I would like to open my presentation this morning by saying that given the choice of the two by far I would much rather take the free trade agreement although it has led us down the garden path. It is a bad choice, but as bad as it is I think NAFTA is about 10 times worse. I will tell you why.

To begin with, the free trade agreement signed by the United States and Canada five years ago was supposed to give us access to the American market and bring growth and prosperity to Canada. We have never had such little growth in the history of the country. Any prosperity, considering the unemployment we have right now, has to be called at a minimum jobless prosperity. I do not accept that the promises made for free trade with the United States have come to pass.

I would liken the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement to going into a poker game where you could possibly win $50 but lose $500. Using the same comparison, the way we are going about the free trade agreement is like going into a poker game, taking every penny that you have, putting it on the table and then showing your cards and saying: "Okay, now we can start the game".

May 25, 1993

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It is absolutely incredible that we are debating this seriously following a weekend when the negotiators were in Canada and failed to come to an agreement. There are serious difficulties.

I am not going to read the presentation because I will be wasting time. Anybody can read The Toronto Star and see what it says. In any paper for the last three or four days we can read about the inability of the chief negotiators to come to agreement in the areas that are of most importance to us. That is pretty obvious.

There are other troublesome areas that I want to raise this evening. The first one is with respect to a level playing field. We know the difficulties we had with the United States and the level playing field and I referred to some of those earlier this evening.

I want to go through four areas: textiles, automotives, petrochemicals and computers and give the salary difference between Canada and Mexico. In textiles the average salary in Canada is $28,000, in Mexico it is $4,000. In automotive in Canada it is $43,000, in Mexico $5,000. In petrochemicals in Canada it is $50,000, in Mexico $6,500. In the computer field in Canada it is $36,000 average per year, in Mexico $7,500 per year. That is a wide range in salaries. I will leave that and go on to an area that concerns me more.

These are the tools of national policy. I believe if they are not disappearing now, with the implementation of the North American free trade agreement the policy controls that help keep the transnational corporate decision-making accountable to the national or the provincial priorities set by democratically elected governments will be taken away from us. In other words, we will lose the controls we now have that make our economy relative to the manufacturing and the import-export potential we have.

These include, and I see them in the agreement, performance requirements regarding such things as domestic added value, technology transfer and resource management tools such as export taxes to shape competitive advantage and compulsory licensing of patents to nurture home-grown technology. There are others but those are the ones that concern me the most because most of them actually impact in the high-tech area.

On the same subject but a slight digression, I see dangerous trends. I want to take some figures that give or take 5 per cent or 10 per cent are fairly indisputable. I am going to quote them here and then perhaps develop a trend to come up with what I consider some pretty startling statistics.

Between 1984 and 1990, the first six years of this government's mandate, the deregulation that it engendered has resulted in a rise in foreign control of Canadian manufacturing capital to 52 per cent from 48 per cent. That is an increase of almost 10 per cent in those six years. In the resource control, there was another 10 per cent increase, 43 per cent from 38 per cent. It does not sound like very much when it is said like that but it is over a relatively short period of time and in an important area.

It is predicted that if the present trend continues, by the year 2000, with the effective removal of foreign investment regulations under the free trade agreement and the NAFTA combined, foreign control of Canadian manufacturing will have jumped to 60 per cent. The foreign control of resources, which is mostly U.S., will have jumped to 50 per cent. Those figures are pretty startling, but I want to give more startling figures and a more recent period of time.

From 1987 to 1990, 799 Canadian-controlled firms were sold to foreign-controlled firms, mostly U.S. This trend has accelerated under the free trade agreement and is expected to even increase more under the NAFTA. Perhaps more frightening, the trend will accelerate even more than the trend by the 799 that were acquired in those three years for hundreds of Canadian high-tech companies.

We have a lack of confidence and increased difficulty in acquiring and developing technology under the intellectual property rules. We also have a lack of government assistance because of the free trade agreement and the NAFTA restrictions. We have continuing harassment as we have seen in the last three or four years in softwood lumber, in pork, in steel, the Honda situation. We will have continued harassment under U.S. trade laws that will force Canadian companies to sell out, causing an incalculable loss of research and development potential to say nothing of the high value-added jobs.

May 25, 1993

In the time remaining I want to make mention of the Maquiladora. We have not heard too much talk about that here this evening, but it is a concern. On the Mexican-U.S. border, there are 2,100 companies that employ approximately 500,000 Mexicans. There is nothing wrong with that per se but the difficulty I see is that they have increased by 30 per cent in the last four years and there is every indication-which is causing a great concern to Canadian labour-that these Maquiladora industries will increase in the near future, particularly if the NAFTA will permit them to be more permissive in their growth and the consequent loss of jobs, many high-tech, to the Maquiladora area.

With these trends and the figures that are undeniable, which have been put together in the last six or seven years and in some cases the last three or four years, and projecting them, given the concerns and the dangerous trends that are inherent in the NAFTA, I think these are some pretty frightening areas.

It is not surprising that Ralph Nader, an internationally recognized authority on consumer concerns, made a comment about 10 days ago to the effect that if Canadians allow the NAFTA to be signed, they are crazy. That is because what they are really doing is signing their country away. They are totally removing anything Canadian and making it American.

That is a very startling statement. It is a statement that was made by a recognized authority. Whether one agrees with it or not, combine that statement with these trends and these figures and the lack of agreement of the chief negotiators on the weekend and one wonders why we are here tonight trying to seriously convince the government not to pass this NAFTA.

It is absolutely ludicrous. It is madness. It is the maddest thing I have done since I have been here. I regret to be part of it, but I have no choice.

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LIB

Sheila Finestone

Liberal

Mrs. Sheila Finestone (Mount royal):

Mr. Speaker, we are now at 1:15 in the morning. Anyone who is not a night-time worker should be asleep and not paying much attention. Yet we are discussing, and I am asked to speak to and address the questions which fall within Bill C-115. That is the bill this government has brought in to apply NAFTA, the Canada-U.S.-Mexico free trade agreement.

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Maybe it is past the midnight hour and maybe it is the dark of night, but I am standing here asking myself: What on earth are we doing debating at this hour? What normal, rational people should be forced into a situation like this seeming to address a major bill, a bill which is going to change the social, cultural, economic and political structure of Canada? Yet here we are discussing this vital issue at this ungodly hour.

Each political formation has the right to a difference of opinion in a democratic society such as ours where we have a great sense of pride in the way we conduct ourselves. Or we did have a great sense of pride in the way we conducted ourselves and had respect for honourable differences.

I would say with all due respect to my colleagues across the floor and I suppose I should be cutting throats at this hour, but that is not my wont and particularly at this time, I would say their point of view is their point of view. They are entitled to that thought and they can present it in a rational and a normal form but we have a different point of view. I happen to be of the belief that our point of view is better in the interest of Canadians, of the men, women and children who make up this country.

Even so, reasonable people should be able to look each other in the eye and have an intelligent discourse, an exchange with constructive points of view being put forward dealing with the concerns, founded or unfounded, that are being expressed by society.

Members of this House know that the Canadian public rightly or wrongly blames thousands and tens of thousands of job losses on the free trade agreement. Sometimes you can prove it, sometimes you cannot, but the 450,000, 500,000, 30,000, whatever the job losses, whatever the cause, whatever the reason, is one of two things. It is that ridiculously bad GST or it is the FTA.

If members opposite had any sensitivity and were listening to their constituents, and they all go back to their constituencies the same way as I do, they would know that the people are cynical. The people are disturbed. The people feel that they have been used. The people feel that there are too many hands in their pockets. They cannot afford the lifestyle they are now living and here we are discussing another change in this country's economic, social and political culture. We are doing it in the middle of the night without really having the transparency and the sense that people are listening.

May 25, 1993

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What are we saying here? We are saying that the government should not have called closure. It has called closure too often. Closure has been called over 19 times by this government. People do not understand the word closure but they certainly know that it means all debate is cut off. It cuts off the right to exchange points of view, to bring forward the necessary drafting changes and errors which are in the bill and to effect the kinds of changes that will improve even on the government's vision of what this society should be.

Not only that, there are agreements that have not been put into place. We are faced with a NAFTA accord that does not have a description of subsidies and does not define the anti-dumping code.

We know that GATT is addressing those issues but how do we know that the GATT will be in our interests? How do we know when and if that GATT agreement is going to come in? Not only are we not addressing the questions of subsidies and anti-dumping codes but the government along with the Americans has cancelled the working groups.

It has been brought to my attention by my colleague from Hamilton and I really appreciate this. The member who moved this ridiculous motion for this all-night sitting which now has me standing here at 1.21 a.m., the hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, has gone home to bed. I do not think that is fair.

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May 25, 1993