Mr. Speaker, I am attempting to show that sovereignty, which is a very important part of what we feel is being abandoned by this agreement and very important in the amendments that are put forward by the hon. member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, is in fact being not only abrogated by the agreement but is in fact being abrogated by a whole host of pieces of legislation that have led up to this agreement.
Could I continue on that vein? I spoke about successive budgets and legislation which capped the transfer payments to the provinces used to pay for social assistance and higher education; the declining corporate tax rate while middle income earners have seen their tax bills increase; the goods and services tax; the passage of Bill C-91 by which Canadians will pay higher costs for prescription drugs as a direct result of the demands of the North American free trade agreement; and finally the NAFTA legislation itself that had limited committee hearings beginning a couple of weeks ago in Ottawa and
where the first order of business was the deadline for completing the committee. Here we are in the House having, as another speaker said earlier, to debate under the cover of darkness because it is not important enough to be debated during regular House hours.
I think it is absolutely critical, when we think about the line-up of legislation in this Parliament over the last couple of years, how we have abandoned our sovereignty under the free trade agreement and embraced clauses in this agreement which will allow the American government to in fact determine under its legislation how we will be governed in this economic charter of rights.
We have abandoned piece after piece of legislation in this country giving up our right to determine how we will run Canada and giving up the rights of our provinces to determine how they will overcome and create a new economy in Canada. Our provincial governments have their hands tied by this trade agreement when it comes to renewing the economy.
I would like to give some examples in my own riding. I spoke earlier about the transfer of raw logs to Mexico that is giving up our right to create value-added products in the pulp and paper industry. Even if we do not export raw logs the pulp and paper companies may choose to establish state of the art paper mills in Mexico to process B.C. pulp which would then be sent to the major markets across the border in the U.S. or on to Europe. Then they ask for barges of pulp chips to Mexico that will totally bypass B.C. for those value-added jobs.
The B.C. fishing industry has been adversely affected by the free trade agreement and we know the situation will not improve under the NAFTA. We have been hit with a GATT ruling which found that Canada did not have the right-this is again the abrogation of sovereignty-to legislate the use of our raw fish resources. The ruling found that foreign and Canadian interests could exploit our unprocessed species of salmon or herring. Our right to respond to the GATT ruling has been removed by the FTA because we are banned from placing an export tax on our raw products shipped to the United States. A free trade panel ruled against Canada when we demanded that our fish be landed, inspected and counted in Canada and we were ordered to allow up to 25 per cent of our fish to be shipped or processed at sea.
May 25, 1993
Cheap labour is the lure and there is nothing in the North American free trade agreement to ensure that once the fish are iced or frozen they will not stop in Mexico for processing en route to markets in Europe, Africa, or South America.
The more fish processed outside British Columbia, the fewer jobs and tax dollars we will have and the incentive to protect the industry will be lost.
Agriculture and supply management is being threatened by the North American free trade agreement. At a time when the GATT talks have yet to settle the issue of supply management through marketing boards the government move to the NAFTA may well make any GATT decision redundant. Marketing boards will be seen as trade distorting measures under the NAFTA and that will spell the end of our supply management system in a range of agricultural products.
Included will be dairy, eggs and poultry farming that are all dependent on supply management and are all important industries in my riding of Mission-Coquitlam.
Already farming in the Fraser Valley ol British Columbia is suffering the effects of cross-border shopping, U.S. dumping of soft fruits and vegetables and now the attack on supply management.
If the NAFTA turns the control of our food system to those with financial capital we truly doom the family farm in Canada. For Canada to turn its basic food production over to international agribusiness is to turn over its sovereignty. History has taught us many lessons about national sovereignty lost with the loss over the control over food production. If we do not learn from our history then we are doomed to repeat the mistakes ol the past.
I briefly want to mention water because we have some very interesting remarks from the hon. member across the way about water. Water is considered a good under the NAFTA. The annex to the NAFTA is categorical in stating that any attempt to limit the export of water would be in violation of the agreement. It does not say bottled water. It simply says water.
Even in the lower mainland where I live we have felt the effects already of water shortages. There are residents at the other end of Mission-Coquitlam and all through Mission-Coquitlam who in the past five years
in a rain forest have found their wells going dry. We all know of the huge demand for potable water in North America and we know that North American water diversion projects have been on the drawing boards for years. If there is a Canadian who believes what this government says, that water is not in that agreement, they are in for a big surprise.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: MEASURE TO ENACT