April 22, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Margaret Anne Mitchell

New Democratic Party

Ms. Margaret Mitchell (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker,
I think the remarks my colleague put on the record are tremendously important. They show the ethical and moral reasons that the North American free trade agreement must be defeated.
I would like to comment on his remarks in which he said that the free trade agreement has had a tremendous impact on many of the industries where women are working at very low wages, and more often than not they
are immigrant women. The situation he describes in Spadina is very similar to that in my own riding of Vancouver East where the free trade agreement has largely been responsible for the fact that fish processing plants have been closing. Some of them have moved south of the border. One of the Liberal members mentioned earlier how we must have value added to our products. The trade deal certainly has been prohibiting that in many industries. The export of raw logs is another one.
I agree with the hon. member completely that in the garment industry it is a particular tragedy. Not only do we have plants closing and jobs going and many of the plants leaving the country, but we have this move to home industries. They do not have the standards of work that women predominantly should have. They are really including the cost of all the overhead and having to pay it out of very minimum wages.
I would like him to comment further on that and to explain why the NAFTA agreement will add to this tragedy.

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