June 11, 2019

CPC

Dean Allison

Conservative

Mr. Dean Allison

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague mentioned before, I already mentioned my favourite one, which is chapter 19. I am going to leave it at that.

As I said, there was an opportunity right from the start for the government not to insert itself in the process. I really believe that at the end of the day, when Mr. Trump was concerned with tariffs, what he was really concerned about was China. If we look at what has happened recently with his involvement with China, when he was talking about unfair practices, I do not believe that was ever directed at us.

It was mentioned by the minister, when she spoke earlier, that they welcomed the opportunity to jump into this thing. As a government, Conservatives would have done things differently. We would have been down there right away. We would have said that in terms of some of the issues around China, the issue is not one that they were targeting us on, but they were targeting other people around the world for their unfair practices. We would have been in there and had a conversation. We would have dealt with this in a way that it would not have formed a crisis manufactured by ourselves that then had to be fixed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey

New Democratic Party

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk a bit about supply management, which was mentioned in my colleague's speech. We have really undermined Canada's dairy sector in this deal. Certainly, there were moves toward that in CETA and in CPTPP, and we have now opened up 10% of the market.

However, that is not all that we have done. We also have a provision in the new CUSMA that will grant U.S. oversight into the administration of the Canadian dairy system, which farmers say undermines our sovereignty. The member mentioned other pieces which are undermining to our sovereignty, such as the fact that we now need permission from the U.S. to enter into trade negotiations with certain countries.

On dairy in particular, in the egregious things that have happened, we actually agreed to a lower amount of export than we exported in the previous year. There are some strange things that have happened to dairy. It is not just opening the market access.

To be honest, I am a bit baffled by the Conservatives' position on this. They have raised all of the issues that we are raising over here regarding things that are not good for Canadians and, in this case, Canadian farmers.

Does the member support these changes to dairy that were given up, these concessions in the deal, and if he does not, then why are Conservatives supporting the deal?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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CPC

Dean Allison

Conservative

Mr. Dean Allison

Mr. Speaker, we have worked on a number of files as they relate to trade and all these things. As I mentioned before in my remarks, there has been a lot of discussion back and forth in the Conservative caucus regarding their support and non-support. I had a chance to talk to stakeholders last summer. I spoke to over 150 myself, and I had a number of other colleagues who were on the road speaking to individuals as well. By and large, all those people said to me that we needed to make sure we had a deal done. The context in which they said that was in eliminating the steel and aluminum tariffs.

When we signed the deal, which the Prime Minister said he would not sign unless steel and aluminum tariffs were done, and that he went ahead and signed anyway, the reality is that businesses needed certainty. Therefore, we were challenged, as the member mentioned. There are a number of issues that we have concerns with. Supply management is certainly one of those issues, in terms of the fact that we have given up the right to export some of the proteins, etc. However, there is also the fact that they have put provisions on what we are able to do in dealing with a non-market economy, or in this case, China.

That will be a bigger issue in terms of sovereignty as we get down the road. The U.S. has said that if it does not like the deal we create that it can deal with this new deal itself, and that will cause problems.

At the end of the day, we are challenged. We realize that this deal is not a good deal. However, it is what stakeholders, businesses and people have told us they need in order to have certainty so they can move forward with their relationships with the U.S.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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LIB

Karen Ludwig

Liberal

Ms. Karen Ludwig (New Brunswick Southwest, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, whom I share time with on the Standing Committee on International Trade, for his speech today. Over the last 15 years, we have not seen a significant growth of companies that have been trading internationally. Over the 10 years of the former Harper government, it was roughly 12% to 15%. We saw an increase in trade, but we are not seeing an increase in trade with the small to medium-sized exporters. In fact, I represent a riding in Atlantic Canada where 54% of businesses have one to four employees.

What did my colleague's government do to help the small to medium-sized exporters get involved in trade and to benefit to the extent that some of the larger exporters are?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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CPC

Dean Allison

Conservative

Mr. Dean Allison

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from New Brunswick Southwest. She is correct that we sit on the trade committee. We have had a number of discussions about how we can help our SMEs do a better job and to access these things. We can never forget that it was the Conservative government that was the government of trade. It was the Conservative government that worked to get CETA down the road and implemented. I realize that the Liberals came along and helped with the ratification, which we appreciate. I think that is important.

If we look at the TPP, we had a bow on it and it was gift-wrapped. All the Liberals needed to do was to take it across the finish line. However, for a couple of years, they were unsure whether they wanted to do anything. At the end of the day, we got a new deal. The new deal had a new name. Therefore, the only new thing we got was that it is now the CPTPP instead of the TPP.

To answer the member for New Brunswick Southwest, one of the things we did as a government was to promote the trade agenda. We moved it forward to create and access more markets so that our SMEs and other businesses had more opportunities to sell around the world.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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CPC

Larry Maguire

Conservative

Mr. Larry Maguire (Brandon—Souris, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, my Liberal colleague asked my colleague, the critic in this area and shadow cabinet minister in opposition regarding trade, about all the things he liked in the agreement. Of course, he mentioned chapter 19.

However, the government has failed to mention another very important area, which is softwood lumber. There is still not an agreement in that area. I wonder if the member could comment on that.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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CPC

Dean Allison

Conservative

Mr. Dean Allison

Mr. Speaker, as we look at the number of trade irritants we have with the United States, certainly softwood lumber is one that comes to mind. It was one of the things our former prime minister, Mr. Harper, dealt with. We had a deal in place that expired just after the current government came in. I have heard nothing from the government about its plan or what it would like to do with respect to softwood lumber. It has been languishing for these last three or four years on the issue.

Let us look at some of the things that have been going on. Let us talk about pipelines for a second. The current government likes to talk about all the pipelines we did not build, which is categorically false. We twinned, and did a number of things with at least four pipelines. However, I have not seen anything go in the ground over the last three and a half years.

When we talk about our forestry sector, our major concern is that there has been no action on softwood lumber. We thought that with the renegotiation of NAFTA, this would have been front and centre. The government would have recognized that it had to deal with that kind of thing. However, when I look at the way that these things have been handled—the fact that we had tariffs on steel and aluminum that we did not need to have, because if we had dealt with the issue of safeguards right from the start that would not have been the case—we have gone through pain and suffering.

There has been no mention of what is going to happen with softwood lumber. We see a history of what has happened with this party. As I mentioned in my speech, we see a party that is not prepared to begin the conversation around the renegotiation of NAFTA.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey

New Democratic Party

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, the rumours that the Liberals would push the legislation on the new NAFTA through after Mike Pence's visit are now a reality.

Since 2015, we have heard the government talk about its so-called progressive trade agenda time and again. The question that Canadians should be asking about the new NAFTA is: If the Liberals are truly interested in improving the deal, why are they undermining the efforts right now in the U.S. to improve it?

Right now, Congress and labour in the U.S. are working hard to improve the key progressive elements in this agreement. In four separate letters sent to Ambassador Lighthizer, they have laid out their call for stronger language to include labour and environmental provisions. They are also pushing hard to change the intellectual property protections in the new NAFTA that favour big pharma and will lock in high prescription drug costs for all three countries. No progressive party should be arguing to increase the cost of medication for citizens, and on this basis alone, we should support their efforts.

I have to note that it was quite interesting to hear the minister in the House earlier giving her speech. She did not even mention that the cost of drugs will be going up for Canadians. Certainly, I can understand why she would not want to wear that badge proudly, but it is something the Liberals need to be honest about with Canadians. They are now increasing the cost of medication on a whole host of biologics that many Canadians rely on for their health, and that is fundamentally wrong.

This renegotiation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to right the wrongs of the original NAFTA, which has cost Canadians hundreds of thousands of jobs. New Democrats believe that truly progressive trade means working with our partners to improve the lives of Canadians. Instead, it appears that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are choosing to ram this legislation through at the end of Parliament to bow to President Trump. It would be no surprise that Trump wants the new NAFTA signed to put pressure on the Democrats in Congress to back down from their progressive asks, but the real surprise here in Canada is that the self-proclaimed progressive government that claims to value the environment, fair working conditions and affordable medication is now bowing to U.S. pressure. That is not something Canadians are proud of, to see their government not trying to get improvements that would help the lives of Canadians.

We all know that the U.S. is our largest trading partner. I come from a region in southwestern Ontario. My riding is right on the border with the U.S. We have the largest border crossing on the Ambassador Bridge, soon to be the new Gordie Howe bridge. We have a tunnel crossing, a rail crossing and a ferry crossing. We are crossing in every way possible. Goods flow across that border every single day at a very high volume, so certainly, we understand the importance of trade in our region. However, we also have a responsibility to ensure that trade deals are being negotiated in the best interest of Canadians. There is no reason to rush this ratification in Canada.

The minister also said earlier that we are moving in tandem with our partners, but that is false. The U.S. has not even tabled legislation in Congress yet. Speaker Pelosi herself has said that they will not do that until they can come to some sort of agreement with Ambassador Lighthizer. Therefore, to say that we are moving in tandem is completely and utterly false. The U.S. is not moving at all in that process. Of course, it is in part of its TPA process right now; that is true, but to say that it is moving toward ratification is not the case.

The Liberal government could and should join New Democrats in our support of what is happening in Congress and its important efforts. If there is any attempt to improve this deal to protect jobs, workers, the environment and the cost of medication, why would the Liberal government not be supportive of that? It really is bizarre to me.

The Conservatives under Brian Mulroney were the original architects of NAFTA. At the time, they ignored the alarm bells that were being raised about job losses and impacts. The member for London—Fanshawe sat provincially at that time. She told me that at the time everything that they raised, all of the issues they brought forward prior to the signing, are exactly what has come to pass in these 25 years: the incredible number of job losses, the textile industry being completely eradicated in our country, the vintners and our wine sector losing 50%. We have had widespread job loss throughout our country, and for some reason, there seems to be no acknowledgement of that in the House.

The Liberals should not be so quick to make the same mistake. They should listen. Any attempt to improve labour provisions in particular should be supported and championed.

The NDP has repeatedly raised major concerns about the impact this deal would have on Canadians. The new NAFTA has sacrificed our dairy farms, locks in the increased cost of medication for sick and vulnerable people and provides no guarantee that workers' jobs would be protected.

Our number one priority is protecting Canadian jobs. If the Liberals rush this new NAFTA through, they will be sending a signal to working people in Canada that they are more interested in a trophy on their trade shelf than they are in improving the lives of working people who are deeply impacted by trade.

At the heart of NAFTA are millions of people who work every day for a decent life for their families and their communities. I am one of those people. Before I was elected, I was an auto worker in Ontario. I lost my job. I was laid off for three years, because investments were going only one way after the signing of NAFTA. They were heading down south chasing cheaper wages.

Twenty-three years ago when NAFTA was being originally negotiated by the Mulroney Conservatives, they tried desperately to sell Canadian workers on the idea that it is more than just a trade deal. They tried to make the case that this trilateral deal would bring prosperity to everyone across the continent. They claimed it was going to be an equalizer for all. There is an an analogy they use that really gets to me. They said that NAFTA was a high tide that would float all boats. The only boats that anyone saw raised were yachts and many of the other boats sank.

Working people studied NAFTA carefully at the time, and they began to raise alarm bells that it would not work. Labour and civil society brought their concerns to the streets over the weak side agreements. They rightly claimed that it would do nothing to change the inequalities if they did not improve the deal then.

Conservatives pressed on, and now in 2019, we see the impact this deal has had on every community across our country.

Successive governments have neglected to address the alarming reality that the NAFTA promise of 1994 has not led to an increased standard of living for all. The only benefit has been for those who already hold the power and influence.

Where are we today? Income inequality and wealth inequality in Canada are at a crisis level. Forty-six per per cent of Canadians are $200 away from financial trouble. To say that NAFTA has not played a role in that economic instability is complete nonsense.

As I said, I was an auto worker from southwestern Ontario. I saw the effects of NAFTA every day. When I started working 23 years ago at Ford Motor Company, we had six plants in Windsor and 6,700 people working. Today, we have two plants and 1,500 people working. There is a direct line between those job losses and NAFTA.

Every contract negotiation after NAFTA was signed reminded us that our jobs could go to Mexico in a heartbeat. That was always the threat, and it has been held over the heads of working people in the Canadian manufacturing sector at every contract table since NAFTA was signed.

We saw this at local 88 at CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll last year, where workers were out on the line, on strike, because they were being threatened that their jobs would be moved to Mexico. Not surprisingly, not one Liberal showed up on that line. Those people were living the reality of NAFTA and what has happened to working people.

I am not saying that working people in Mexico and the U.S. have it any better. In Mexico, people are constantly threatened to accept unsafe working conditions and keep their wages low. They are threatened that if they ask for more or better, they will not be able to attract that work away from Canada and the U.S. Labour conditions in Mexico in practice do not reflect their international standards or commitments and the regulations are not enforced. The minimum earned salary in Mexico is $142 Canadian per month. Even that does not meet the monthly minimum living wage in Mexico of $177 Canadian.

How can workers in Canada compete with extremely low unfair wages for workers who are being treated poorly? It is shameful that Canadian companies and global companies are down in Mexico taking advantage of Mexican workers.

In the new NAFTA there is a $16 average wage but many across the labour movement are concerned. When looking at an average wage, it includes the entire plant, including the wages of executives and management. The wages of Mexican workers will not go up at all, because that is what the average wage is going to be. That is if corporations even pretend to try to achieve this at all because, quite frankly, the tariff is so low there is no incentive for them to even follow through with this.

This is a gamble we are taking on the backs of working people once again when we have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. There is the transnational blackmail that is happening between our countries and it has hurt all working people, because we are all connected. Working people are always looking to raise standards for others.

There is the disappearance of a chapter to promote gender equality. When the deal was signed, it included provisions for improving conditions for working women with respect to workplace harassment, pay equity and equality issues, but for some reason, they did not survive the scrub phase and have completely disappeared. What do Liberals have to say about this loss? Where did this promised gender chapter go? I have to be honest. New Democrats do not believe a chapter is sufficient and it is not the answer. There needs to be a full gender analysis and gender impact assessment on this deal and every trade deal we sign, but we have yet to see one from the Liberal government, nor have we been given any indication that this is the direction in which it is going. Once again, women have been knocked completely off the table in this deal, without any explanation from the minister today about why that happened.

The minister did talk about indigenous people. There was a promise of a chapter to promote indigenous rights, but that does not exist in the CUSMA either. Once again, Liberals are signing another trade agreement that disrespects article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states that they have to obtain free, prior and informed consent. New Democrats believe that indigenous peoples should not be just delegated to a chapter. They should be at the negotiating table and be considered a full partner in any trade deal. We heard the minister reference a lot of the provincial partners she worked with, but we did not hear her talk about the indigenous partners she worked with at the table because they simply were not at the table in an equal fashion.

There is a lot of uncertainty, and this has been talked about throughout the day, about what is happening in the States, but this is why Congress is working hard to improve this deal. I mentioned that I met with Nancy Pelosi and several other Democrats last week. I told her that New Democrats in Canada support the efforts and the important work that Congress and labour are pushing for in the States. It is quite incomprehensible why the Liberals, who came out with some of their objectives after we forced them to at the trade committee, have let those things completely fall off the table.

We have an opportunity to truly fix the problems in this deal, but it appears the Liberals do not want to be a part of that, and they cannot seem to answer why. Why are we in Canada putting pressure on them and doing Donald Trump's dirty work? Quite frankly, it is mind-boggling. There is this whole idea that somehow we are going to open a Pandora's box, that we all have to be afraid of that, that it is way too scary and we cannot actually improve the deal because we are afraid of what they might do. That is complete nonsense. This is happening in the States. They are pushing for this. There is a precedent of this happening before. In 2007, there were four trade agreements opened at the same time in a very targeted fashion and they were able to make improvements. Why would we not support that? Why are the Liberals fear-mongering to the Canadian public, trying to make people think that better is not possible?

I want to talk about dairy and supply management. Many people know that in the new NAFTA Canada has once again thrown our dairy families under the bus to appease the U.S. The U.S. will gain 3.59% access to our dairy market. On top of the concessions that were in the CPTPP and CETA, that brings the total loss to a 10% market share. I have to ask what other group or sector the Liberals and Conservatives would dare cut 10% of their market share from. That is mind-boggling. For some reason, dairy farmers have become the favourite to throw completely under the bus.

That is not even the worst of it for dairy farmers, who, by the way, are not the wealthy people that some in the House would have us believe. These are hard-working families in my community, in Essex, and across the country. They are people like Mark Stannard and Vicky Morrison. I have been to their farms and know how much pride they put into producing top-quality milk for our communities.

We all know that the bovine growth hormone is used by American dairy farmers and it increases milk production. By the way, that BGH is created by Monsanto. We have absolutely no studies on the effect on human health of this hormone that is being used. We live in a border city, and the people I know would much rather see that little blue cow and know that it is Canadian milk than wonder where it is coming from and what is in it. They would rather pay the prices that they pay, which are honestly right in line with the rest of the globe, to know that they are getting quality milk that is safe for their families.

Another provision in CUSMA grants U.S. oversight of the administration of the Canadian dairy system. While the Liberals like to say that they protected it and they are not dismantling it, now they have to go to the U.S. to get permission to do anything in our own system. This is an issue of sovereignty, and the farmers are rightly raising it and asking why the Liberals have done this. We were forced to abandon our class 7 milk pricing. The agreement also allows the U.S. to limit and monitor our exports, not just to the U.S., but to the world. We have given up far more than just the percentage of market share when it comes to our dairy farmers, and our dairy farmers are certainly not happy about the situation we are in.

I want to talk about the cost of medication. Again, this is a major concession in this deal that the minister did not address earlier and fails to do so at every turn. We pay the second-highest prices in the western world, and the IP provisions the Liberals have agreed to in this deal, to appease big pharma, will increase the cost of drugs for two more years. We have extended the patent. These are biosimilar drugs, such as insulin or Humira, which can treat Crohn's disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

Thanks to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, my colleague, the member for Vancouver Kingsway, initiated a study, and we now know that the estimated drug costs of CUSMA in the first year alone are $169 million. We are literally making medication more expensive at a time when our country is demanding a national pharmacare program because people cannot afford their medication. If we did not know that the Liberals are doing the work of big pharma from the fact that they have not introduced national pharmacare in four years and keep dangling that carrot in front of Canadians, we certainly know that they did it in the new deal. They do not even want to talk about it or the reality of it.

This is one of the areas the U.S. Congress is trying to fix. Again, it is people and patients in all three countries who will pay the price, while profits continue to soar for big pharma. I know there are people who would say that we need that patent extension so there can be more R and D in our country. We are below 4% in R and D. There is no R and D investment happening in Canada. Big pharma has made this promise to us before, when it got an extension on the patent, and it did not follow through on that deal. Why do we keep rewarding it for bad behaviour that is costing Canadians, and Canadians are not even able to take the drugs they need?

The new copyright provisions in chapter 20 raise the term from life plus 50 to life plus 70 years. This is another TPP hangover that again the Liberals have happily signed onto. It would raise educational costs alone by millions of dollars. In fact, when we did the study on the TPP, we had Girl Guides and librarians coming to warn us about this provision and how it would not only cost us money but limit access to these works in our public space.

If we look at things like where we work, what we eat and the drugs we need, these are all things that matter to Canadians, and these are all concessions that the Liberals have made in this deal.

New Democrats will always stand for fair trade that benefits the lives of Canadians, and the new NAFTA is simply not good enough for Canadians in its current form. We are strongly united to see the changes and the work being done in the U.S. go through. We hope that the Liberals will stop this foolishness of ramming this through the House, because there is nothing happening in the States right now until this deal happens, and we hope they will join us to see a truly progressive deal for working people and for Canadians.

To be honest, working people should not be expected to pay the price for bad negotiations. If the Liberals force this legislation through, they are throwing away our greatest opportunity to make trade fairer for Canadians.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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LIB

MaryAnn Mihychuk

Liberal

Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk (Kildonan—St. Paul, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, that was an interesting speech. At this time, when there is so much exaggeration, we need to be very careful about how we present the facts. There is an onus on all of us to ensure that what we say has a sense of truth and validity and that we can back it up.

How can the member say that indigenous people have been somehow shortchanged or relegated to the back seat on this agreement? I want to take a minute to quote the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde. He said:

The provisions addressing Indigenous Peoples in the USMCA make it the most inclusive international trade agreement for Indigenous peoples to date. The protection for Indigenous people's rights in the general exceptions to the agreement will protect inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights as well as increase stability, certainty and integrity to international trade.

I would ask the member to explain why she put perhaps confusing statements on the record, when the truth is that indigenous people are proud of the Liberal government for making a better international agreement.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey

New Democratic Party

Ms. Tracey Ramsey

Mr. Speaker, I suppose that when there is a low bar for involving indigenous people, then I understand why the Liberals believe they have gotten over that bar, but we are actually signatories to article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which says that one must obtain “free, prior and informed consent”.

Why did the Liberals not achieve that and have yet to achieve that in any single trade deal that exists? That is not respecting indigenous people. I understand the Liberals think that having a few things in this agreement is better than what they previously had, which is quite a sad statement, because indigenous people should be full partners at the table, not relegated to a few lines in a trade agreement.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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CPC

Dean Allison

Conservative

Mr. Dean Allison (Niagara West, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I take exception to some of my colleague's comments on wine. We are going to have to talk about that later. NAFTA caused the Canadian industry to step up its game in a big way and, with the help of the government, to pull out some of the stuff they called wine before and plant some newer vinifera varieties.

I asked the minister about the ratification process and the timing. I agree with the member in terms of the confusion or the lack of direction in the U.S. around ratification, as it relates to the Democrats and Mr. Trump. I asked the minister whether something about ratification would happen now or later. My thoughts are that the Liberals should hold off until the U.S. is actually in a position to move forward so we do not play all our cards and box ourselves into a position.

Does the member believe that the Liberals are looking to ratify this as a way to show in the window for the next election “Look at us; we've ratified it”, even though that is disingenuous, given the fact that there is so much uncertainty in the U.S. right now?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey

New Democratic Party

Ms. Tracey Ramsey

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian vintners have a great presentation on the impact of NAFTA. I cannot say it is great, because it actually shows that we lost 50% market share. I invite him to contact them to get that information.

As for ratification and rushing this through, I certainly agree with him. In my speech, I said that the Liberals are trying to put a trophy on the trade shelf. Their record on trade is quite abysmal. The member mentioned the softwood lumber agreement; we still have no resolution on that. The steel and aluminum tariffs are not gone; there are still provisions for them to be returned. We have auto tariffs, where the section 232 decision has a six-month extension. There are still numerous threats that exist, and our trading relationship with the U.S. is quite precarious at the moment. To say otherwise is disingenuous.

When it comes to the ratification process and why this is being rushed through, in my speech I mentioned that I believe the Liberals are doing the work of Donald Trump. Donald Trump wants to stop the work that is happening in Congress, and we all see what is happening in that relationship in the United States right now, and the Liberals apparently have decided, potentially after the visit of Vice-President Pence, that they are going to help him do that work. They are not interested in a progressive—

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Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker

Questions and comments. The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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GP

Elizabeth May

Green Party

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

Mr. Speaker, I certainly share many of the concerns of the hon. member for Essex about this new version, NAFTA 2.0, CUSMA or USMCA, depending on where people stand and what country they are in.

I have concerns and I am also torn. CUSMA certainly is a vast improvement in finally getting rid of the investor-state provisions in chapter 11. It is certainly an improvement to get rid of the energy proportionality. That clause really tied Canada's hands on energy security.

It is lamentable to see it chip away at supply management, as the member has pointed out, and it is certainly worrying that it does more to protect big pharma in patent protection.

In figuring out where we go with this as a Parliament, how do we discount the importance of getting rid of U.S.-based corporations having the right to sue Canada? Invariably, they win and we lose.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey

New Democratic Party

Ms. Tracey Ramsey

Mr. Speaker, the IP provisions on their own are quite extensive, and I mentioned the copyright. I do not believe I mentioned sovereignty, but we can talk about sovereignty and the fact that we now need permission from the States, not just on trade agreements but on regulatory issues.

Chapter 11 has been a long, hard fight, and New Democrats have been part of that fight, as well as labour and civil society. It is interesting to me that Liberals are now on board with that, when we know that it was a U.S. ask. They still argue for it in CETA, the CPTTP and other trade agreements. They seemed to think it is okay there, but not in this one, because the U.S. wanted it removed.

I really credit all the people on the ground for the work they did to see that removed, but there are many ways the U.S., in a regulatory way, can still come into our space and try to determine what we do and what we regulate. The idea that we have somehow eliminated that corporate pressure on us is not entirely true. We still need to be vigilant about other countries and corporations being able to dictate to us what we can legislate.

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Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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NDP

Scott Duvall

New Democratic Party

Mr. Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Essex for all the great work she has done on this file. The passion she has for this file, and making sure we get it right, has been totally amazing.

One of the issues and concerns we had in Hamilton and across the country, in the provinces that have steel industries and manufacturing industries, was tariffs. We were very happy when we heard the announcement that the tariffs were lifted.

However, do we know all the details of that agreement? The reason I ask is that one of the problems the steel industry had was about quotas. I understand that no quotas are mentioned in the new document, which is very good. However, a new word has been invented, “surge”. What does that mean? Does that mean that tariffs can come back on at any time if there is a surge? Have the tariffs definitely gone away?

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Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey

New Democratic Party

Ms. Tracey Ramsey

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has done incredible work on the steel file as well. We sit on the steel caucus together. It really has been a team effort, certainly working with labour and all the stakeholders to see the removal of the tariffs.

However, as the member points out, in the agreement that we have, the tariffs are not actually gone. They could still be imposed at any time. The surge is completely undefined. Some of my Conservative colleagues talk about the importance of certainty and businesses being able to know what they can expect. However, we have undefined terms. I have asked the minister this question directly in question period, and I have not received an answer from her. I do not believe there is an interpretation or a joint understanding of what “surge” means.

There are loopholes that one could drive a truck through in removing these tariffs. There is a lot of uncertainty and fear on the ground that those tariffs could come back.

There is another piece that we gave up. Everyone knows that we did not just reciprocate on the tariffs but we had that secondary list, trying to impose some pressure. We have given up that ability. We can reciprocate, but we cannot have any further tariffs on the U.S.

We have actually given up quite a bit in achieving velocities and there is no certainty for people who work across the steel sector, steel producers or steel manufacturers like Atlas Tube in my riding.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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LIB

Mark Eyking

Liberal

Hon. Mark Eyking (Sydney—Victoria, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for New Brunswick Southwest, who is a hard-working member of our committee. Wherever we go, she mentions how important trade is to her riding, as it borders on the United States, so I am glad to split my time with her.

I rise today add my voice in support of Bill C-100, the Canada-United States-Mexico free trade agreement, or what some would call the old NAFTA or NAFTA 2.

I have had the great pleasure of chairing our international trade committee over the last four years. Some say it is the most active, vibrant, hard-working committee on the Hill. It helps when I bring lobsters once in a while to get everybody to work together. We do not always agree, but we all work together for Canadian companies and for Canadians in making sure we have fair agreements and that they are good for us. Together, we went through the European agreement, the TPP and of course the new NAFTA.

I would like to thank the clerk and staff of the committee, who travel around with us. They put our travel itineraries and our studies together, making sure they are in proper form and getting them to the House. We could not do work at committee without the great staff we have around us.

I would like to commend the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister for the great job they have done. I also commend the premiers. A lot of premiers worked closely with governors in the United States and Mexico. They went down there on their own dime from their own provinces and helped us work this through. There were even some mayors from our country, and of course Canadian stakeholders went back and forth as well to help us get through this deal.

Unions also helped. They were often there with us. In Washington, they worked with us. They worked with their counterparts south of the border. This was very important, and we saw that in what we did for the Mexican workers to improve their lives.

Canada is a trading nation, and currently we have 15 trade agreements. I think we have more than any other G20 country. Our government understands how important international trade is in growing and strengthening our economy, and that is exactly what we are doing. In fact, in 2017, the total trilateral trade among the three countries reached over $1 trillion U.S., which represents almost 30% of the world's GDP. It is amazing, and it is the envy of countries all over the world that would love to be in this trading bloc.

Our trade committee had the privilege to travel not only to Capitol Hill in Washington a couple of times, but also to San Francisco, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago and other places in the United States, where we had very productive meetings with senators, members of Congress and chambers of commerce. In these meetings, we stressed the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement, what it holds for all three economies and how deeply connected our countries are.

My son-in-law is from Mexico, and I have cousins in the United States and friends in Florida. Our countries are closely connected with each other, not only in regard to trade and the military, but in all the things we do.

Our committee was at a chamber of commerce meeting in San Francisco where the guest speaker was George Shultz. He is a former United States secretary of state who worked under a couple of presidents. He made a wonderful speech. He told us that people can have a good job when they start life and can have a good home, but there is nothing like having a good neighbour. He said Canada is the best neighbour that any country could have. I was very proud to hear that from him.

He also said we could work on those things, and said—surprisingly, as he worked for the Republicans—that the next big thing after the trade agreements is to work together on the environment. It was very progressive of him to state that if we work together on that, we can change what is going on in the world with our environmental standards and also be leaders in the business of environmental technology.

We had a big job to do in going to the United States. Most Canadians realize how important trade is, but many times American politicians do not realize the importance of American trade with Canada. The staff at the Canadian embassy in Washington did a great job for us and gave us a map of the United States, which I have with me, showing what each state sells to Canada. Out of the 50 states, every state sells at least $1 billion of product to us.

These are some of the numbers for a year: Florida sells $8 billion to us; Washington state, $10 billion; New York state, $20 billion a year; Ohio, $22 billion, out of Columbus; California, $28 billion. People would think it is mostly the border states, but the biggest is Texas, where we buy over $32 billion worth of product.

One of our biggest jobs as the committee was going down there and explaining to the senators and congresspeople how much we buy from the U.S.A. I was very proud of our committee and the work we did. We met all these different representatives, and it was part of doing the job. We are a smaller country, but the job we have to do sometimes is to reinforce that understanding.

In my riding alone in Cape Breton and in Atlantic Canada, how much trade we do is unbelievable. For instance, in my riding we have Victoria Co-operative Fisheries. It is a co-operative that started years ago. After the Depression, the co-op movement was big in Cape Breton, and these fishermen got together and had their own co-op. They process their own fish. They buy their supplies together. It is a very good co-op, and when I was talking to them, it was amazing to find out that over three-quarters of their product is sold into the U.S. market. They have beautiful products.

That is just one company in my riding. We also have Protocase, a new company in Sydney that is making electronic boxes and selling them all over the world, but of course the biggest customer is the United States.

We also have Copol International. We are talking a lot lately about plastics; Copol International, from North Sydney, buys plastic pellets from Ohio or Louisiana and mixes discarded shells from lobster, crab and shrimp with the plastic so the plastic can be biodegradable. The company is making a great product and is selling it to California.

That is just in my riding alone, but in all of Atlantic Canada, 62% of exports go to the United States. In Nova Scotia, our biggest export to the United States, over $1 billion, is seafood, which comes from all over Nova Scotia.

We also have Michelin Tires, which has three plants in Nova Scotia, with 3,500 employees, and most of those tires are sold all through the United States. Nova Scotia is also the biggest exporter of wild blueberries, and 50% of Nova Scotia's frozen wild blueberries go to the United States.

In the other provinces, in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Irvings sell lumber. In P.E.I., we cannot have lobster and crab without a feed of French fries or potatoes. Over $1 billion worth of French fries and potatoes come right out of P.E.I. and New Brunswick.

We see the importance of trade. Agricultural trade alone in Canada is $50 billion. It is almost half and half. We buy $25 billion in agriculture and we sell $25 billion. The numbers are huge, and the United States is not the only major partner: Mexico is Canada's fourth-largest market, where we export $2 billion every year in just wheat, canola and beef.

Our trade committee studied e-commerce as another opportunity for Canada to export more products to Mexico. Canada imported almost $30 billion in trade from Mexico in 2017, so trade is not just with the United States; though we often focus on that, it is with other countries also.

What I am getting at with all these important statistics is that this new agreement is not only preserving existing trade agreements to keep what we have but also improving on them. Every agreement needs a touch-up once in a while. We have to strengthen our economies and open up more doors to opportunity. Trilateral trade among our three countries has always been strong, and now it is going to be stronger.

I am proud to work with this government and this committee and I am proud of what we have done on this agreement. It is not there yet, but we are getting there.

Our committee visited Washington and we have to go in tandem there a bit with them, but I am sure we are going to get it done. It is not just for us in this Parliament; it is for the men and women who are working in fish plants, in the car assemblies or in the pulp and paper mills or on the grain farms. That is what we are here for. We are here to help them, to make sure that trade comes, because without that trade, we do not have prosperity.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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CPC

Ted Falk

Conservative

Mr. Ted Falk (Provencher, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member across the way for demonstrating his passion and commitment and for recognizing the importance of the U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement.

There was talk in the last minute or so of agreements needing improvements every once in a while, but we gave up on the auto sector, we gave up on pharmaceuticals, we gave up on supply management. We did not get a softwood lumber agreement and we did not get a steel and aluminum tariff removal as part of the package.

Is there any area where we actually benefited in trade capacity from the previous agreement, and could the member tell me what the might be?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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LIB

Mark Eyking

Liberal

Hon. Mark Eyking

Mr. Speaker, the number one thing that I hear from people back home and across the country is stability. What we have created here is stability for companies to invest, for example, in the automotive sector or fish plants, and they know they can invest with stability down the road.

On supply management, when our committee was down in the United States, we met with Wisconsin, who said that they did not get enough and wished they could have had more dairy.

The member also talked about pharmaceuticals. We only got 10 years and we wanted 12. Is it perfect and is it what everybody wanted? No, but when we go down there and talk to them, they wish they had more too.

At the end of the day, we had the best negotiators in the world, and we have seen that with our other agreements. We see that in action right here. However, number one is that we have to look at stability for investment in this country. Nobody is going to invest in our country unless stability is there so that men and women can continue to have a job.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act
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June 11, 2019