June 11, 2019

CPC

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Hon. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary Forest Lawn, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise once more in the House to talk about the NAFTA trade deal. I listened to the talking points of the Liberals. They talk about all the good things international trade and the free trade agreement do. They are the same old talking points.

Once upon a time when we were in government, we said the same thing in support of free trade. However, I need to remind members on the other side that it was the Conservatives who were the party that pushed for free trade. NAFTA came about because of the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney. No one in the country would say that NAFTA was not a good deal for Canada.

However, as my colleague from Prince Albert has just eloquently said, the problems are with NAFTA .5. When the parliamentary secretary says why .5 and not .0, simply and straightforwardly, we do not trust the Liberals to set up any kind of a good deal, knowing the results since they have come into power.

I remember very clearly that it was the Liberal Prime Minister who shunned TPP in Vietnam. He was the only leader not to go. At that time, he had his own idea of free trade. Even the Chinese shut the door in his face. The point of this story is the reason why the Conservative Party supports this, despite all the flaws and everything here, because the business community needs this. The Conservative Party has always been a very proud free trade party. During the time of Prime Minister Harper, we signed a lot of free trade agreements around the world because we knew it is right.

The biggest one for everyone was NAFTA. Today, we call it NAFTA .5. The Liberals want to call it NAFTA 2.0. Mexico calls it NAFTA 8. The fact is that, yes, the business community needs stability. The business community is looking for some kind of stability in this economy so it can move forward. This is one way in which we can bring that kind of stability.

However, to remind all Canadians, since the Liberal government has taken power, five premiers have written to the Prime Minister today. They has said that under his regime, Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 will threaten national unity. That has never happened before, where five premiers have written to say that Liberals have created an environment in the country that is not conducive to business and actually threatens the security of national unity. It is unprecedented. That is the record the Liberals have for the economy, which is why we do not trust them to get NAFTA back.

However, there is some hope in the sense that even with this flawed NAFTA deal, the business community will have some kind of confidence in the economy, forgetting about what the Liberals have done. The country needs to do it. We do not know where the Liberals are going with the Trans Mountain pipeline. Hopefully very soon we will have shovels in the ground.

I come from a province that has taken a massive hit by the Liberals' economic policy, and it continues. Right now, confidence in Canada is declining under the government.

Under Prime Minister Harper's government, confidence in Canada was going up. Under the current government, investor confidence in Canada is going down. We can talk to anyone out there, in London or New York and so on. If it comes to Canada, they slowly turn their heads away. The sunny days and sitting on the international stage by the Prime Minister has all evaporated in the air. He is no longer the darling of anything and if he continues the way he is, we could face serious economic poverty.

Hopefully, on October 21, Canadians will have a choice and will send the Liberals packing on their economic record, which is one of the most important things that needs done, because jobs bring stability.

I saw the most foolish ads yesterday when watching the Raptors. They were so-called third party advertisements against the leader of the official opposition. I have never seen a more idiotic advertisement. They will make Canadians more angry.

Unifor, the so-called journalists' union, is absolutely at the forefront of this sentiment, making it very clear that it does not like the Conservative Party. What it seems to forget, however, is this is not about Unifor; it is about Canadians and jobs. Unifor keeps saying it wants to fight for jobs. However, if it wants to fight for jobs, it should be honest about it. It should work for all Canadians and not be partisan.

Once more, I am standing in the House of Commons to stand up for free trade. We all know free trade has immense benefits for our country and for our jobs. If there were no tanker ban, no problematic Bill C-69, there would be such confidence in Canada. We would be a model country.

We have been blessed with natural resources. We do not have just one natural resource, but multiple. We should develop them, although I agree 100% that this should be environmentally sound.

Let us look at our oil production. We have one of the best systems in the world. We can compare it to those in countries like Venezuela and Nigeria, where there are no environmental standards. They are moving full steam ahead. Let us be honest. Let us work environmentally. It is time for the country to move forward with developing its natural resources.

With respect to the new NAFTA that has just been signed, all my colleagues have, very eloquently, made it clear that it has serious flaws. We want confidence. It is the one piece of legislation the government has brought forward that can give some kind of confidence to the business community that Canada is a free trade country.

Many people do not understand the amount of money Canadian businesses invest overseas. It is in the trillions of dollars. If it were not for free trade agreements, Canadian businesses would be unable to invest overseas. The Canadian investments of over $1 trillion will, in the longer term, help our country's economy, making businesses very strong.

Free trade agreements go both ways. They are for us and the countries with which we sign. That is why so many are signing on to the TPP. I am glad that the government finally, after insulting the leaders of the TPP, came to its senses. This came after China told us to take a hike when Canada went to China to sign a free trade agreement.

In the end, the Conservatives will support the bill because we believe Canadians need confidence, the economy needs confidence and the business community needs confidence so we can proceed forward and create jobs that will benefit each and every Canadian.

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

Julie Dabrusin

Liberal

Ms. Julie Dabrusin (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I was very happy to hear my colleague across the way speak about the importance of jobs and supporting different industries. Of particular importance are our cultural industries across our country. I know this as I am chair of the Canadian heritage committee.

I would like the member to comment on Magazine Canada's response to the USMCA. It said:

Magazines Canada’s nearly 400 members across the country congratulate [the] Prime Minister...[the] Minister [of Foreign Affairs]...[the] Minister [of Canadian Heritage] and the Canadian negotiating team for their successful preservation of the cultural exemption in the USMCA.... We are especially pleased that the cultural exemption applies in both the analogue and digital spaces. This digital inclusion will be critical to Canadian magazines and other cultural industries in the years to come.

The magazine points out that there is about a $1.7-billion contribution to Canada's GDP from the magazine industry.

Could the member respond to the notion that this is a success for our cultural industries?

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

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Hon. Deepak Obhrai

Mr. Speaker, we are a small country. The U.S.A. is a very large country. Naturally, being a small country, we have to safeguard our cultural industries. Otherwise, we will be overpowered by big American companies.

This is why we have stated that we will support the free trade agreement. However, we need to improve on it. There are finer details to note on the issues the member raised, but in the larger scheme of things, indeed Canadian culture is thriving.

Governments do not have to give money for Canadian culture. Governments do not have to give money for newspapers to stay alive. Right across the country, wherever I go, Canadian culture is thriving.

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

Martin Shields

Conservative

Mr. Martin Shields (Bow River, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's knowledge and history in this chamber, and his understanding of many of the trade issues that have occurred. This particular situation seems to have arisen with the President of the United States talking about some trade issues he had with Mexico, and then the Prime Minister of Canada wanted to be involved. We are not sure why he did that. I know he would understand that some people might think the softwood trade agreement that we often hear about has something to do with British Columbia. However, it is not just British Columbia. He might be able to respond about how big an issue this is for Canada from coast to coast.

Could my colleague respond with what he knows about the history of trade and other things that are important that are not in this agreement?

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

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Hon. Deepak Obhrai

Mr. Speaker, actually my hon. colleague is my member of Parliament, so he can ask me that question. However, he brought up a point rightly. We just said that we are resource rich across this country. Every region has its strengths and weaknesses. Every region has its own natural resources. Right now, there is fossil fuel in Alberta, softwood lumber, when we talk about British Columbia, and fisheries and lobster across the east.

It is critically important that when we sign free trade agreements that we take all of that into account and do not just sign sector by sector by sector, which is why this is critically important. I have seen TPP in Australia and New Zealand and their issues. There is no question or doubt about the free trade agreement and natural resources. There is no question about being environmentally friendly. Climate change is there, and it is important that we take that into account now that we are developing our resources.

I can assure my friend that when we were in power, we did well. When we are in power, we will do better.

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

Terry Sheehan

Liberal

Mr. Terry Sheehan (Sault Ste. Marie, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, seeing that the member is from Alberta and was talking about premiers earlier, I want to know if he would agree with Premier Jason Kenney on Twitter, May 17, who said, “The removal of US tariffs from Canadian steel and aluminum products is good news for our economy. Thank you to the federal government for its successful efforts, and to the US Administration for doing the right thing.”

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

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Hon. Deepak Obhrai

Mr. Speaker, it was very clear right from the first, when the tariffs were put here, that we took a very strong stand, which Jason Kenney has done. However, for the government to take credit for it is not right. As my colleague has said, all of us worked on it, including members of the trade committee, who went to the U.S. and lobbied everywhere. Let me put it this way: Irrespective, it was good for Canada.

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

Sukh Dhaliwal

Liberal

Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey—Newton, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, whom I had the opportunity to work with on the Standing Committee on International Trade before she became the deputy whip. She did excellent work for her constituents and for Canadians.

Strong and diverse trade is key to Canada's economy. That is why I am proud to speak in support of the benefits of a modernized free trade agreement between Canada, United States and Mexico. Trade has always been at the core of Canada's economy. As a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade, I heard from Canadians about the importance of trade for our economic prosperity and well-being. The goods, the innovation and the skills that we export are the backbone of our economy. It supports the growth of small businesses and creates good, well-paying jobs for Canadians.

In the last four years, we have created over one million new jobs and brought our unemployment rate to its lowest point in over 40 years. Our expanding trade markets are a key part of this growth and have created new opportunities for businesses to grow. When the time came to renegotiate NAFTA, our government approached the task with clear determination and strength.

Our free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico represents the biggest economic region in the world. More than $2.2 billion in goods and services are traded daily. For British Columbia, NAFTA means continued market access security for over 20 billion dollars' worth of exports that we send to the U.S. each year.

However, this negotiation was more important than just what the numbers represent. It was about making sure that Canadian workers who rely on well-paying export-dependant jobs were being protected, as well as making sure that Canadian businesses would have the opportunity to grow and prosper, with access to 480-million consumers in North America.

Throughout this process, the right hon. Prime Minister, along with the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, showed strong leadership in getting this deal finalized.

Since our government began negotiations, representatives have visited the United States more than 300 times. We made more than 500 individual contacts with American officials, of whom over 310 were members of Congress, and met with many governors and other business leaders. It is because of this leadership and hard work that we are here today discussing the successful negotiation of this NAFTA agreement.

This agreement preserves free trade across North America's $25-trillion market, which has grown significantly since the original NAFTA was adopted in 1993. lt does this while making sure that we are protected from the threat of auto tariffs that would put thousands of good-paying jobs and families at risk.

There are a number of key elements within this deal that are going to provide protections for Canadians. First, this deal fully upholds the impartial dispute resolution of chapter 19 of the original NAFTA. With this system, any disagreement over trade goes to an independent binational panel that gets to decide on how the matter will be resolved.

Second, this agreement removes the proportionality clause that was not in the interest of Canada's energy sector. It is because of these changes that the oil industry will save more than $60 million a year in administrative fees and costs.

Third, we have successfully negotiated the removal of the investor-state dispute resolution system that has allowed companies to sue the Canadian government. Since coming into effect, this has cost Canadians taxpayers more than $300 million in penalties and legal fees. This system put the rights of corporations over those of the governments, and we have brought an end to that.

As an MP from British Columbia, I am very pleased to note the regional benefits to British Columbia. This means stability for workers in the lumber industry, energy and the processed food sector, to name a few. For agriculture goods under the new agreement, Canadian exports will continue to benefit from duty-free access for nearly 89% of the U.S. agriculture tariff lines and 91% of Mexican tariff lines. This is a big deal for British Columbia. In 2017 alone, farmers in British Columbia exported over $2.1 billion to the U.S. markets. New gains in this agreement mean new market access opportunities for British Columbia exporters of everything, from berries, dairy products and even sugar.

The preservation of chapter 19 is especially important for British Columbia's softwood lumber industry, which exported $4.3 billion to the United States in 2017. It also ensures that British Columbia's 178,000 small and medium-sized businesses will have an easier time shipping their products to the U.S. and Mexico, by eliminating paper processes and providing a single portal for traders to submit documentation electronically. The new chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises will foster co-operation to increase trade and investment opportunities for businesses.

As I mentioned earlier, all of these achievements took hard work, resolve and, above all, the strong leadership of this Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. When the United States applied tariffs to Canadian steel and aluminum products, we responded quickly with our own dollar-for-dollar tariffs. Despite calls from the Conservatives to drop our retaliatory measures, we held firm and secured the full lifting of steel and aluminum tariffs.

It was the NDP that wanted us to hold off on signing the side letters that protected our auto industry from tariffs. This agreement is going to help the auto industry in Ontario. Despite the all-or-nothing calls from the NDP, we know that Canadians' economic prosperity is too important to sacrifice for political gains.

This modernized and upgraded NAFTA agreement is going to make sure that our economy continues to grow, Canadians continue to work in good-paying jobs and our interests as a country are protected for many years to come.

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

Terry Sheehan

Liberal

Mr. Terry Sheehan (Sault Ste. Marie, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of sitting on the trade committee with the hon. member. He certainly is a valuable asset.

I would like to ask the member what his feelings are about the agreement as it relates to the constituents he represents so well in British Columbia? What opportunities are there for people in B.C. as well as the rest of Canada?

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

Sukh Dhaliwal

Liberal

Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal

Mr. Speaker, I work with the member for Sault Ste. Marie on the international trade committee. When it came to the tariffs on steel and aluminum, the member showed great leadership. He mentored us in the right direction. We were able to get a deal done that his constituents wanted.

My riding of Surrey—Newton in British Columbia is only minutes away from the U.S. border. This agreement would give us stability and predictability so businesses in Surrey—Newton and the rest of British Columbia can flourish and do well.

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

Monique Pauzé

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Monique Pauzé (Repentigny, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I heard my colleague's comments about the softwood lumber, steel, aluminum and automotive sectors, but I did not hear him say anything about supply-managed producers.

We are being asked to ratify this quickly, but would that not mean giving the government a blank cheque to ratify the agreement without compensating our supply-managed producers? We should be sending a cheque to every supply-managed producer rather than giving this government a blank cheque.

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

Sukh Dhaliwal

Liberal

Mr. Sukh Dhaliwal

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for raising the issue of supply management. It was the Conservatives that wanted to eliminate supply management and it was our government that protected it so our farmers can do well in the coming years.

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

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker

There will be two and a half minutes remaining for questions and comments for the member for Surrey—Newton when the House next gets back to debate on the question.

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

Monique Pauzé

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Monique Pauzé (Repentigny, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, when the people of Lac-Mégantic called for a public inquiry into the rail disaster that happened in their town, the Minister of Transport called them conspiracy theorists. However, a number of questions remain unanswered, including the following:

Why did Transport Canada allow a negligent company to operate massive convoys of oil tankers with only one employee on board?

Why was that allowed even after the National Research Council had warned that safety was an issue?

Who decided to ignore the known deficiencies, and under what kind of pressure?

Why is it that the initial investigation identified six causes for the disaster, all connected to the one-member crew, but they were all removed from the final report?

Why did the Transportation Safety Board not hold a public inquiry, when it could have done so?

Why has the number of rail incidents increased since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy?

Why did an identical derailment kill three people in British Columbia in February?

All these questions show that, rather than insulting people, the Minister of Transport should launch a public inquiry immediately.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Lac-Mégantic
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LIB

Kate Young

Liberal

Ms. Kate Young (London West, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to opioid use and addiction, Canada is facing a national public health crisis. The city of London is one that has been greatly affected. I was extremely disappointed to learn that the Ford government in Ontario has rejected funding for a permanent supervised consumption site on York Street in London. Permanent supervised consumption sites save lives.

Since the opioid crisis escalated in 2016, our government has taken significant action. We have invested over $331 million in efforts to respond to the crisis and address broader substance abuse. The Ford government is putting the lives of Londoners addicted to opioids at risk by saying no to this permanent consumption site. Our government will continue to monitor the situation closely and respond to the crisis at the federal level.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Health
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CPC

Marilyn Gladu

Conservative

Ms. Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia—Lambton, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the environment minister says that if someone repeats a talking point and says it louder, people will totally believe it. She has been misleading Canadians by telling them that they will get back all of the money they pay for the carbon tax, all the money totally back.

I got my climate action rebate when I did my taxes this year. I received $169, but it is costing me $10 more every time I fill up with gas each week. If I add that up over a year, that is more than $500, and that is before I add in the increased costs of home heating, groceries, etc. Clearly, the Liberals are taking more from my pocket and the pockets of all other Canadians with this carbon tax and they definitely are not giving it back, not all the money, not totally back.

This carbon tax is not as advertised.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Environment
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LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, today I recognize this year's laureates for the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame.

Jack and Carlotta Kelly founded Bulk Carriers (P.E.I.) Limited in 1970 from the basement of their house. Today, the company has over 150 employees, 100 tractor-trailers and a reputation for trust and excellence across the country.

Kevin and Kathy Murphy are hospitality all-stars. After opening their first restaurant in 1980, the Murphys quickly expanded their operation to include hotels, restaurants and breweries across Atlantic Canada.

Sadly, inductee Kathleen “Kay” MacPhee died last month. Kay used her expertise and passion as a teacher to create literacy software for children, helping her hearing-impaired son Lowell and countless others develop reading and language skills.

Each of these laureates reflects the best the island has to offer. They have made enduring contributions to Canada. Congratulations to all.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame Laureates
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NDP

Georgina Jolibois

New Democratic Party

Ms. Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the national day of healing and reconciliation and the anniversary of the government's apology for residential schools.

As MPs, we recognize the harms that Canada has inflicted on first nations, Métis and Inuit people. Though we can never truly understand the loss of culture and language, and the family separations Canada has caused, I continue to be inspired by the young people across Canada who are working on building a path forward. That includes people like Renée Carrière and her students at Charlebois Community School in Cumberland House. Their book entitled Muskrats and Fire teaches youth about indigenous cultural practices and how they benefit the ecosystem in northern Saskatchewan.

Reconciliation and healing are done in small and profound ways. I challenge all Canadians to follow the example of the students at Charlebois Community School to turn the promise of reconciliation into action within their communities.

Hiy hiy.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Indigenous Affairs
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LIB

Lloyd Longfield

Liberal

Mr. Lloyd Longfield (Guelph, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, under sunny skies, thousands of people converged on Riverside Park for the 33rd Annual Guelph and District Multicultural Festival.

Local craft vendors, performers and food vendors shared their passion for art, culture and cuisine. On the main stage, performers shared their cultural music and dance, while from the giant food tent, people could tour the world, sampling food from 25 countries.

I want to thank the organizing committee, chaired by Anu Saxena, executive director Meher Parakh and the sponsors and many volunteers who make the event an amazing success every single year.

Canada was the first country in the world to adopt a multiculturalism policy. It is at the foundation of what makes Canada the true north strong and free country that we are all proud to call home. Canada needs to continue to be a compassionate, accepting and welcoming country that is an example to the world.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Guelph and District Multicultural Festival
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CPC

Scott Reid

Conservative

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, by an unhappy coincidence, it was four years ago today that I first urged the House to place automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, into all 5,600 RCMP cruisers. Based on the experience of other Canadian police forces, this would have saved the lives of over 300 heart attack victims a year, at a one-time cost of $5 million, plus maintenance.

Four years have gone by and the RCMP has done nothing but invent excuses for its inaction. Therefore, 1,200 Canadians who would have been alive today are now dead. We could fill this room four times over with the bodies of those who died because we could not find the $5 million.

On the other hand, we parliamentarians have had no trouble finding over 100 times as much, $500 million, to renovate the building in which we meet today, and if estimates are right, we will spend even more on Centre Block. Could we take just 1% of that to save 300 lives next year, the year after and the year after that, or do we just not care?

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Automated External Defibrillators
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June 11, 2019