December 20, 1988 (34th Parliament, 1st Session)


Steve Butland

New Democratic Party

Mr. Butland:

It is not false. What of the reconciliation, the healing process of which the Prime Minister speaks? There was no thought to entertaining any amendments to the Free Trade Agreement no matter how innocuous. Specifically, our Amendment No. 14 to Bill C-2 states that the Bill should be amended immediately after line 7 at page 4. For greater certainty the Government will bring immediately trade adjustment legislation for those dislocated as a result of the agreement.
The tribunal that we would form should be made up of representatives from government, business, workers, communities, and other interested groups. The tribunal shall receive and investigate representations from groups of companies and workers who believe that they are or are likely to be adversely affected by subsided U.S. imports, including those provided by the U.S. Defense Department. The tribunal shall report annually to Parliament on the status of adjustment to the agreement and make recommendations for improving the process. None of this will be heard in the appropriate forum.
The wounds are only deeper as a result of this process that we are going through. We are speaking to be heard, but I am sure that no one is listening.
Professor Ross A. Rotstein of the University of Toronto said it perfectly when he stated: "Sometimes I suspect that members of the free trade camp are so intoxicated by the classical free trade rhetoric that they find it hard to come down to earth and look at the specifics of the agreement".
Let me look at the specifics. For example, Article 1602-national treatment of Americans; Article 604- harmonization of laws; Article 1902-either party can
change anti-dumping laws or countervail duties at any time.
The bottom line will be the loss of our unique Canadian identity. This will happen over time. One does not lose one's identity over a short period of time but over a long period of time. I believe that it will happen. If we will not monitor changes as they occur, put on the blinders and ignore what is happening, it surely will happen. In some areas it will be imperceptibly, and in other areas it will be dramatically. We are genuinely fearful. It indeed is a leap of faith rather than a leap of trust. When one takes a leap one ensures that there is a safety net or a cord to keep him or her from straying too far into whatever abyss there is. Neither is provided by the Government.
In conclusion, I hope Members opposite are correct. If they are wrong, they will have committed the ultimate treason. It will be small consolation that history books will condemn them. I pray Members opposite are right for the sake of Canada.

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