House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

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1:40 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member from the Alliance and I will put to him the comment made by Clayton Yeutter who was the U.S. trade representative when the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was signed. A few days after it was signed he was quoted as saying that the U.S. had signed an amazing agreement with Canada and that Canada did not understand what it had signed. He also said that in 20 years Canada would be sucked entirely into the U.S. economy. That was 13 years ago. We have seven to go. Would the hon. member care to comment on Mr. Yeutter's statement?

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1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have heard those predictions for centuries. Mr. Yeutter is probably not laughing today, 13 years later. Canada has an enormous trade surplus with the United States. I do not think he would be laughing about that now.

I suggest, frankly, that when members of the fourth party want credibility on the subject they regurgitate quotes that are a little younger than 13 years old.

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1:40 p.m.

An hon. member

Soon you will not even be a party.

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1:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

The member for Burnaby—Douglas is heckling and that is fine. I will never forget the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas at the battle in Seattle. Some of the protestors there had about as much credibility as a 13 year old quote.

My favourite scene from the riots is a protester, vehemently opposed to globalization and integration of nations, who picked up a rock, smashed the front window of a Radio Shack store and stole a satellite dish. Typical.

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1:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will resist the temptation to respond to that learned diatribe from the hon. member. However I would ask for clarification and for the edification of the House, if the hon. member could indicate who the official spokesperson is on international trade for the Alliance today? On Friday it was the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. Who is it today?

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1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, this speaks precisely to the comment I made earlier. If this is an issue of national sovereignty, if the member wants to debate the issue, and if the member wants to talk about the impact of NAFTA's chapter 11, why is he asking us who our trade critic is?

We have had a whole list of speakers. The member for Lethbridge has spoken. The member for Kootenay—Columbia, with whom I am sharing my time, will be speaking in a minute as well. We have consistently spoken up on this issue and consistently spoken for free trade.

I suggest to the member for Burnaby—Douglas that he ought to have his platform thoroughly ironed out with his provincial party and spend a little more time analyzing free trade agreements such as the Canada foreign investment protection agreement with Croatia. Members of his party have said nothing about it in the House. They are totally negligent of their responsibilities to bash capitalism. If he spent more time studying free trade rather than—

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1:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia.

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1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a couple of minutes to talk about a related issue. I will be speaking specifically to the NDP motion in just a second.

I wish to clarify something, because I have had this question asked of myself having been the chief critic for the Reform Party and now the Canadian Alliance. It is the issue of the truthfulness of the Prime Minister's Office with respect to his involvement at APEC and the APEC pepper spray events.

I wish to clarify and to be very precise. The protection provided by the police forces for international persons who were in Quebec City, as they did at APEC and as they did at every other event in Canada, was excellent. There have been some events where they have gone over the top, but when one is in a riot situation there will be situations where people will go over the top.

My position and the position of our party with respect to APEC is that the riot and the pepper spraying that went on there had nothing to do with the actions of the police. That will be something that the public complaints commission will decide under the leadership of the public complaints commissioner. It had everything to do with whether the Prime Minister's Office was forthcoming about whether the Prime Minister was actually involved in the event. That is an important distinction to make.

I would like to use two examples to speak specifically to the NDP motion. I would like to use two examples of how chapter 11 is supposed to work and why it is there. They are pure fabrications.

In British Columbia we have a very large multinational corporation from New Zealand that has a stake in our forest industry. We also have, as a result of the low exchange rate the government constantly gives us, a major B.C. corporation which has been taken over by a U.S. concern.

These companies enter Canada with funding operations and capital. Do they have the right as foreign owners to anticipate, given the rules with respect to logging and forestry practices and all of the other things that surround the rules and regulations, they would be treated in exactly the same way as a Canadian based corporation would be treated?

We have Canadian workers working for Weyerhaeuser Canada Ltd. and Fletcher Challenge. Should those workers and corporations be treated any differently than the workers working for West Fraser, Interfor or Canfor?

The names I am bandying around are to show that within the forest industry in British Columbia there is a potpourri of ownership. I submit that any domestic or foreign corporation investing in the forest industry in British Columbia should anticipate that the rules and regulations of the B.C. forest practices code will be applied equally.

It makes no difference which corporation by virtue of its ownership is doing it. It makes a big difference to the workers within the forest industry, which is so important to British Columbia. It is equally important to the workers in every other industry in Canada.

I will go to the other extreme. We should expect in return what we give. I assume that under the FTAA there is an article 11 type of mechanism included. What difference would that make for the people who are in the mining industry in my constituency?

My constituency happens to produce the majority of the metallurgical coal for export from Canada. There are about 12,000 people directly impacted by coal production in my constituency. There is also at the tag end of its life what was the largest lead-zinc deposit in the entire Commonwealth in Kimberley and under Cominco.

Why would we want to see a chapter 11 on behalf of people working in the mining industry in my constituency? If Teck, Cominco, Canadian Pacific or any of the Canadian based corporations were to go with their mining expertise to Chile, Ecuador, Peru or Argentina, I would assume that having explored and having found an ore deposit the corporation would go into production. It would then end up putting a quarter of a billion, a half a billion or perhaps a billion dollars into the infrastructure required to actually work the ore deposit.

Let us assume that we do not have an article 11 in the FTAA and one of these nations very flippantly decides to bring in some special regulations against the Canadian based company. Suddenly this quarter billion, half billion or billion dollar investment by the Canadian corporation is standing in a very cold draft because one of these countries decided to pay special attention to the Canadian company.

Corporations must have the ability to protect themselves against capricious acts on the part of foreign governments. This is not to impute any ill will. It is simply to give some feeling of security when corporations invest funds.

I will extend that further. What does it mean to the workers at the mines in my constituency? In this fabricated case I will assume that the full billion dollars invested in Chile, Ecuador, Peru or Argentina was suddenly at risk. By putting the billion dollars invested in that ore deposit at risk, suddenly the cash flow of the multinational Canadian company is in jeopardy. It is in peril.

What would the company do? The company may very well have to pull back on its operations in Sparwood, Fernie, Elkford or any other place in Canada.

This is true of any corporation where we are talking about the free flow of capital around the world, of Canadian corporations having the opportunity to be able to invest as they see fit and of growing their businesses as they see fit. Corporations want to know that their money will not be in jeopardy.

Members of the NDP are always talking about the worker. I agree that the working people in Canada are exceptionally important. These people would be protected by virtue of the fact that their employers, by virtue of chapter 11, would have more surety knowing what would be happening within their domain of commerce.

It is only logical and reasonable that when money is to be invested, whether it is people coming into Canada with money or Canadian money going out of Canada to invest for the betterment of the Canadian company, those corporations would know what are the rules and that the foreign governments would not be able to act in a capricious way against them. That is all chapter 11 is about.

I am surprised that my friends in the New Democratic Party are not more prepared to work for some surety for the working people of Canada.

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1:55 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park
Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise today to speak to the NDP motion concerning chapter 11. I do so as the former chair of the subcommittee on international trade, trade disputes and investment in the last session of parliament.

The general purpose of chapter 11 of NAFTA is to protect foreign investors and foreign investment from trade distorting discriminatory treatment. This general purpose would protect Canadian investors and Canadian investment in the United States and Mexico and would help to create jobs, prosperity and wealth for Canadians.

Protection for the ability of Canadians to trade is very important to Canada's prosperity. Exports of Canadian goods and services account for more than 45% of Canada's gross domestic product. Canada's economic success depends on open markets, a stable trading environment and a rules based system.

Investment is also very important to Canada. Since 1993 direct investment in Canada has more than doubled. This inward investment helps build a knowledge economy to prepare Canada to compete confidently on a global stage.

Last year we attracted a record $93.2 billion in new foreign direct investment. In 2000 our inward investment reached $291 billion. At the same time Canadian investment abroad grew from $98 billion in 1990 to $301 billion in 2000.

When Canadian companies look abroad for new opportunities they often invest to gain a foothold in foreign markets. In the year 2000 Canadians invested nearly $62 billion to expand our global presence abroad—

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1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member but it being two o'clock it is now time to proceed with statements by members. The hon. member will have eight and a half minutes or so remaining in the time for her remarks when we resume the debate.

Gold Mining
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Natural Resources, should introduce emergency legislation on providing assistance in the operation of gold mines in Canada in order to help the operators of these mines deal with significant increases in the costs of production, while assuring them of a set price for the gold they produce.

I repeat. The Government of Canada, through the Minister of Natural Resources, should introduce emergency legislation on providing assistance in the operation of gold mines in Canada in order to help the operators of these mines deal with significant increases in the costs of production, while assuring them of a set price for the gold they produce.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remind the government that former students of Indian residential schools are still looking to it for leadership.

There have been 3,700 lawsuits launched by former students against the government. We are still waiting to see how it plans to respond and help these people. There is a strong possibility that more lawsuits will be launched, so there is a need to know how the government will deal with this problem.

As well, churches named in the lawsuits are still waiting for a signal from the government on how it plans to deal with these legal charges. Some churches have gone broke paying lawyers while waiting for answers and are preparing for bankruptcy because of the government's inaction. This is unfair not only to the churches but to those former students who need to move forward to rebuild their damaged lives.

Most important, we must ensure that whatever is decided, healing and reconciliation of the victims is the first priority.

Billions of dollars are at stake in this issue. I call on the government to provide that leadership and tell all Canadians how it plans to bring closure to this tragic chapter of our history.

Fresh Water Resources
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada enjoys one of the largest supply of fresh water in the world. Lakes account for 7.6% of our country's area. That is over 755,000 square kilometres.

Our scientists have an extraordinary record in the knowledge and protection of our fresh water resources. New problems, such as climate changes and toxic pollutants, threaten our lakes and waterways. This is why the Liberal government has taken steps to protect them.

The Government of Canada is ensuring that all stakeholders in this matter have the means and the knowledge to enable us to protect our precious natural resources for future generations.

This is one way the Liberal government is achieving its objective of improving quality of life in Canada.

Children's Park
Statements By Members

May 1st, 2001 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment today to talk about childhood dreams and a special playground in my riding.

EVERYkidspark in Orangeville, Ontario, is Canada's first boundless playground. What I mean by boundless is that it is accessible to children of various ability levels. A child who is bound to a wheelchair can at this park feel the thrill of going down a slide in total comfort. She or he can explore new challenges and play alongside his or her able-bodied siblings and friends.

This is a wonderful childhood pleasure and a dream come true for children with special needs, but it was not arrived at easily. EVERYkidspark committee has worked hard to garner tremendous support from the community to make this park a reality.

I extend to those devoted parents and professionals, especially Wendy Cook, the project's originator, best wishes for every success in expanding upon the limitless possibilities of this playground, which is every child's dream come true.

Jeunes En Tête
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, I was a most enthusiastic participant in the opening of the second Congrès pour AJIRR, Avenir des jeunes innovateurs regroupés en région, which took place in Mont-Laurier.

This activity was sponsored by a non-profit organization called Jeunes en tête, which was established in 1999 and is a financial partner with other federal and provincial organizations.

The mission of Jeunes en tête is to defend the interests of young people in the regional municipality of Antoine-Labelle and to promote their participation in the political, economic and social life of their community.

This year's congress addressed a topic of concern to me: the exodus of our young people to urban centres.

This problem puts the very future of our rural communities at risk. These young people, who possess the necessary skills and qualities to meet the demands of a difficult labour market, have worked together to develop action plans aimed at helping get other young people back to our regions.

In closing, I wish to extend my congratulations to all those involved in this laudable initiative.