Mr. Howard McCurdy (Windsor-St. Clair):
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have at least this opportunity to speak. I will do so in general and perhaps somewhat different terms in some respects than others who have spoken with respect to the North American free trade agreement and its twin the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States.
However, I could not approach this topic without observing, as others have observed, that never in the history of Canada has a government acted with such contempt for this place, such contempt for the Constitution of this country and with such contempt for the people that this government is supposed to represent. Never before in the history of this place has there been levied upon it such abuse in the form of time allocation or closure as this government has accomplished in four years of a near dictatorship which is a deep offence to Parliament, to me, to my colleagues in this party, I think to all members of this House and certainly it will be learned on election day to all of the people in this country.
It is very interesting to listen to this debate. As the Conservative member who just spoke, many on that side, as well as in the Liberal Party, continue to talk about the North American free trade agreement and its twin, the free trade agreement, as if all we are talking about are
tariffs and larger markets, prosperity to be gained through competition.
What we are talking about is something far more fundamental than this. Many have talked about the death of social democracy, the notion that says that governments should act on behalf of all of its citizens to ensure that equity and economic prosperity go together, what the free trade agreement is a part of and what NAFTA is a part of. It is a whole series of arrangements that began with the Liberal government and only culminated with the the Conservative government to free transnational corporations from any limits that might be imposed by governments, to free them from any obligations that they may have to nations or to people.
What we are creating is a situation in which transnational corporations will be free to sell, invest, build factories or move jobs wherever they choose in the interests of competition.
This is a process that began with the Liberal Party, that began with the reconstruction of the tax system so that it would benefit the large corporations and the wealthy at the expense of all the rest back in 1975, thus bringing the deficit and all of the harm that that has caused. The specifics of free trade were promoted by a Liberal who chaired the Macdonald commission.
The Liberals talk about these deals as if there were merely trade deals. I cannot believe they are missing the point. We are talking about a fundamental change in the Constitution of the country and a fundamental change among governments, corporations and people in general.
We have in these deals an accord of complete freedom to the transnational corporations to seek the lowest wages, and they have; to seek the lowest levels of taxation and support of programs to benefit the people, and they have; to seek the lowest environmental standards; and to seek the lowest health standards.
The people in my city know the results of following the possibility of moving where labour is cheap and profits are great. My city has experienced the loss of a great many factories and a great many jobs. We could talk about Kelsey-Hayes, Windsor Bumper, the GM transmission plant, and on and on.
May 26, 1993
It is true in recent months Windsor has been a beneficiary of some significant investment for which we thank the Ontario government, a government severely strapped by the situation that has been created. Provincial governments have had their degree of freedom to serve the people severely limited precisely because the corporate agenda has been successful in disarming governments in their effort to protect and serve the people.
We hear the Liberals citing, as we have cited, the heavy toll of unemployment: 1.6 million Canadians and 2.5 million more dependent upon social assistance. Deficits plague all governments because revenues have fallen and costs have risen. Who pays for this? It is not the corporations. The Ontario government will dare not raise the taxes on companies because the companies could flee to Mexico or the United States by virtue of the free trade agreement and NAFTA as well.
They sit watching this misery in full cognizance of the purpose of the corporate agenda which the Conservatives have completed. It is nothing but an arrangement to ensure the easy movement of goods and services from Canadian plants and Canadian businesses to a larger market that will somehow benefit all Canadians, and it is not happening.
What do they say? They are going to renegotiate and make it better. Let us listen carefully to their list of items to be renegotiated. It dances around the edge. Yes, we agree that the dispute settling mechanism should be improved, that we should be exempted from anti-dumping legislation and all that. However when the Liberals say they are going to renegotiate conjures up a picture that is ridiculous to anybody in Windsor who knows anything about negotiation. I can just imagine the CAW sitting down with Ford and saying: "Hey, folks, we have a contract but we do not want to break it. We just want to renegotiate it".
Ordinarily my colleague from Windsor West is an astute person, but he was almost swallowing his words in uttering such a ridiculous concept as renegotiating without abrogating. What will they do? They are going to renegotiate. They will say: "What are the Americans going to give up?" Are the Americans going to give up complete access to our energy? As a country that has the greatest energy requirements of any industrial nation, the largest nation in the world, the coldest nation of the
world, we have given them access to our energy at our prices. Are the Americans going to give that up? Are the Americans going to give up their access to government procurement? Are the Americans going to give up the elimination of performance rules? Are the Americans going to give up access to unprocessed wood, minerals and fish?
It is difficult to imagine how otherwise intelligent people could propose to the Canadians that they are going to renegotiate a deal without abrogation.
Now they are going to say that New Democrats are trying to build walls. We build walls only high enough to ensure that trade is balanced and fair and to ensure that corporations pay their share of the benefits in infrastructure and everything else on the basis upon which they make profits.
We will abrogate the deal, and if NAFTA is approved this legislation will be abrogated. That is what the Canadian people want. They do not want wishy-washy Liberals who from one day to the next cannot figure out what side they are on because their leader cannot decide which part of the caucus he is going to follow. We know where we stand. We stand for Canadian people.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT