August 11, 1988 (33rd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Lloyd Axworthy


Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg-Fort Garry):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister. He will recall that some three or four months ago a Commons
committee unanimously reported to the House a recommendation that with the omnibus Trade Bill in the United States not giving an exemption to Canada we should not proceed with the trade agreement. At the same time, Ambassador Gotlieb, on behalf of the Government of Canada, wrote to the United States administration and Congressional leaders that: "The proposed redefinition of subsidy represents a significant and dangerous departure from generally accepted international norms. If enacted, they would undermine the GATT".
On Section 103 of that same Bill, Ambassador Gotlieb said: "These proposals could lead to U.S. actions inconsistent with the GATT and would exacerbate international trade tensions".
Yesterday the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade said the Government of Canada no longer has a problem with that Bill. He said that all of the matters have been dealt with and that there is no problem. Yet the very same concerns and issues raised by Ambassador Gotlieb are still in the Bill.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary speaking for the Government? If so, why has the Government changed its position? Why is the Government abandoning its previous position stated by the full Commons committee? Why is the Government not protesting U.S. trade action that will continue to harass Canadian exporters?

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