House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Paul Calandra

Throw in a George Bush reference.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

I know the truth hurts. Reformed Conservatives—

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
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6 p.m.

Paul Calandra

No good reformed Conservative—

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
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6 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North has the floor.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
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6 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is fine. I never mind the odd heckle or anything of that nature.

The point is that the Liberal Party has been consistent throughout the years. Not only do we believe in the potential of free trade and formal free trade agreements, but we also believe that there are other ways in which we can enhance trade between nations throughout the world. We need to be thinking outside of the box about developing those trade relations so that at the end of the day we would have more manufacturing jobs and more financial and hospitality industry jobs. There is so much potential within Canada. What we need is a government that is prepared to think outside of the box and fight for those jobs and for that trade.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, as always, I enjoyed listening to the intervention from the member for Winnipeg North and following on the Liberal critic, which is not an easy task.

I listened very intently to some of the things the member was suggesting. I heard him say that with international trade there will be times when there are winners and losers, and that is what often happens. I heard him say that it is extremely important for the Conservatives to have a plan mapped out for understanding who is going to win and who is going to lose so that they can develop strategies to ensure that the companies and employees who do lose are properly accounted for and that there are adequate transition programs.

Would the member confirm if that is in fact what he believes and if that is the kind of trade policy he would support?

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
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6 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, not necessarily. I would like to think through his question as he has put it forward. Not all trade agreements are a formal document. Not all decisions the government makes come out in a formal trade document. The example I used was the Canadian Wheat Board. Under the Canadian Wheat Board, there is a winner and a loser. The losers, unfortunately, are going to be prairie grain farmers. There are going to be hundreds fewer prairie grain farmers as a direct result. It was a bad decision and had a serious impact on trade.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I have one question, but I have to make a point at the beginning. The member talked about potatoes and how important the potato market was to Manitoba. I see some Manitoba members here. I want to point out that Manitoba is still in second place. Prince Edward Island is the largest producer of potatoes in Canada.

My question really relates to the open collective bargaining part of the agreement. One thing that is outlined by Canada and the ILO is how important it is to have collective bargaining happen in Jordan. I want my colleague's response on this. The problem is that Canada is setting a bad example, because the Minister of Labour has cut the collective bargaining process off at the knees by always coming in on the side of management. That is not free and open collective bargaining.

Does the member think that might have an impact as we tell Jordan it should have free and open collective bargaining, when our own government is abusing that collective bargaining process in its use of government powers?

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
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6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is right in the sense that when we are looking at free trade, labour laws and environmental laws, we want to be on a level playing field. What message do we send, as my colleague points out, when the Minister of Labour brings in back-to-work legislation or does rollbacks on Canada Post workers and intervenes far too often on the side of big business over labour? There is a certain amount of hypocrisy, potentially, that might exist, which might be worthy of looking into.

The point is that there need to be labour and environmental considerations whenever we enter into any sort of free trade agreement or into agreements internationally.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham
Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, we are in kind of a bizarro world here, in that the NDP and the Liberals are fighting with each other to see who is more supportive of free trade. I have been here since 2008, and they have both been opposed to just about every single trade initiative we brought forward.

Of course, they have seen the result of 750,000 new jobs being created in Canada by small business, medium-sized business and large business. I am wondering if that means they are now going to start to support cutting taxes for families and businesses and support some of the investments we are making so that Canadian businesses can actually compete. In light of the fact that they have now come to the realization that trading with countries is a good thing, will they now be fighting with each other to support us on some of the other initiatives that we are bringing forward?

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the record will show that the Liberal Party of Canada, whether in government or opposition, has consistently looked at trade agreements on their merits and has been very open to them. In fact, the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement would not have happened if it were not for the Liberal Party.

There has been ample evidence in the past to clearly show that, but this is not necessarily about the past. We should be talking about the future. The future will be good if the government does its homework and looks at nation building. We could explore the idea of enhancing trade relations in many countries, but let us not forget the top 10 countries that consume more than 90% of our product. The government has really been dropping the ball on those top 10 countries.

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6:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak for a few moments on this important issue in support of the member for Vancouver Kingsway who was up a little earlier this afternoon and spoke so well, articulating the increased clarity of the position of the official opposition as it relates to international trade. I want not only to support him but to reiterate a number of the very important points he made. I have said in this House before that we are a trading nation, that I am from a trading province, Nova Scotia, and that we have always engaged in trade and we will always engage in trade.

The question is: As a country, how are we going to do that? What is our relationship going to be like with countries around the world? Are we going to go into relationships with a formal economic deal? Are we going to come up with a pattern, with a template? Are we going to ensure we combine economic trade with relations as they relate to human rights, as they relate to the environment, as they relate to other international negotiations on issues relative to global security, for example? Is that the way we are going to go about presenting ourselves in the world?

I think that is extremely important as we consider where we are going.

The government has, on numerous occasions, attacked the NDP, the opposition, as being anti-trade and against any trade deal, saying for some reason that we want to hide our heads in the sand.

We have said in response to that, of course, time and again, far from it. The New Democratic Party has laid out a number of principles we have established that underline the values-based approach we want to take to our relationships on the international stage and how it is that we want to participate in the international economy. That is exactly what I am talking about and what I want to talk about a little more here today, the fact that as a country we are already negotiating deals, we are already participating, our companies are participating in economic relationships around the world.

As a responsible government, then, we need to ensure we are aiding those relationships, helping to encourage them, helping to foster them, helping to make sure they are sufficiently constructive, not only for this country but for the countries that were participating with that. I believe that is the responsibility we have as a nation.

We can stand aside and say that no deal is the best deal, or we can recognize that no deal is going to be perfect but it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can as a government, and as a Parliament I would suggest, to ensure we do everything in our power to make sure our relationship is as positive and as constructive as it can possibly be.

That is why, whether we talk about the free trade deal with the United States or whether we talk about CETA or whether we talk about the deal with Panama, there are certain principles in those deals about which we have had concern. They deal with things like labour rights. They deal with how the country we are participating with honours a principle that is in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms; that is, the right to freely associate and to bargain collectively. That is a principle we should ensure we support with any nation we are going to be working with, and we give some credit that it has been recognized to some degree in the deal with Jordan.

The ILO has recognized that Jordan is moving forward considerably in honouring free collective bargaining in that country. That is a good thing. Human rights is an area in some of the deals about which we have raised concerns. We talked in here about the deal that was passed last year with Colombia and its history with the attack on trade union leaders and human rights abuses that have been waged in that country affecting farmers, small business owners and other people in the community. That is a very serious concern. We suggested Panama has a very serious problem in terms of the lack of transparency as it relates to financial transactions. It has been identified as a tax haven. It has not been sufficiently transparent on the international stage on those matters.

These are contrary to principles that we have as Canadians and that I feel should be the basis upon which we negotiate or participate in relationships with other countries. With regard to the environment, how is it that the country in question administers some kind of control over the activities of companies and the development that happens within the country? Does it appropriately respect the principles that we would suggest are important in terms of environmental sustainability, that it not allow wanton development that destroys ecosystems and the ability of people in its communities to drink clean water, to breathe clean air and to ensure their children are able to play outdoors without being made sick by contaminated soil?

It is important to recognize that these are things that go on around the world in different countries, and we need to make sure we are, in carrying out our activities on behalf of Canadians, reflecting the values we share and hold so dear as a country. That is why in the past and continuing into the future, as these deals are brought before the House, these are the kinds of principles that members of our caucus will continue to be concerned about.

I want to move a little to talk more specifically about the whole question of a framework for future trade. I mentioned earlier that this government and the Liberal government before it tend to have a strategy on trade in which they have a template that they throw down on top of any trade deal or any negotiations, regardless of whether it is the European community or Panama. The contrast between those countries is huge, but they want the same template to apply. I am suggesting that is not appropriate; there need to be nuances and flexibilities, but ultimately we need to have some underlying principles that form the framework we are going to develop for moving forward.

I want to go over a few principles that I think are important. There are five key principles.

Trade needs to lead to more trade. In other words, and I have said this before in the House, most trading nations have an industrial policy so that the government understands where the strengths and weaknesses are in the economy in terms of resource development, manufacturing, biotech and innovation. The reason is that when the government is negotiating with another country, it can evaluate what that country wants and what we want on the basis of its impact on our overall economy. That is extremely important, because any negotiation is a give and take. Trade is going on and choices are being made at the table, in which we want this but we are willing to give up some of that.

We have to understand what the impact is going to be. We need to understand the other nation and the organizations and the companies within that nation. We need to understand what sectors are deemed a priority for the country. If industries are going to be negatively affected by whatever deal is negotiated, then we have to have already prepared an adjustment plan.

If a government has decided in its wisdom based on its industrial policy that whatever it is doing is considered a sunset industry, then it must build in some transition so that workers, for example, can be moved from that occupation to another. If environmental remediation is needed, we need to ensure it is provided for in the agreement.

My point is that when we talk about trade leading to more trade, we need to understand what we are trying to do. We need to understand what the impact will be. We need to engage in any agreement with our eyes open. A key point on this principle is that we need to ensure we are trying to do more than just get a deal signed, that we are building an economic relationship that has social, environmental and human rights aspects to it. We need to understand that this may be just the beginning or the midway point. The relationship is going to develop further as we go forward, so we need to make sure it is a deal that has some flexibility and some enforcement provisions and the opportunity to be improved as we go forward. Trade needs to lead to more trade.

The second thing is reciprocity. Canada is finding itself in the international world at the moment participating in bilateral deals, one-offs with individual countries. However we are not alone. We are trying to gain preferred nation status. We are trying to get in there before China or the European community or the U.S. We are trying to get ahead of somebody else so that we can get a one-up.

What happens with that is we get more short-term deals. We get people selling to the highest bidder, kind of thing. We find that not everybody is engaged and things are rushed and not complete.

Canada needs to work at the World Trade Organization, the WTO, table on the Doha round of free trade negotiations. We need to recognize that it is more important. This globe is getting smaller every day and every year. We need to ensure we are negotiating agreements that are in our best interests, not just the two parties at the table. We had better pay attention because countries in the southern hemisphere are recognizing the importance of that principle. Countries in the southern hemisphere are working together, I would suggest, much more proactively than are countries in the northern hemisphere.

It has been suggested to me that there are two worlds now. There is the developing world in the southern hemisphere and then there is the post-World War II alliance in the northern hemisphere, and that one, I would suggest, is increasing gaining ascendency, and that is the southern hemisphere, but they are working together to build a stronger economy that will benefit all of them.

The third principle is the whole question of job creation and innovation. We need to ensure that our trade deals are not just simply selling Canadian jobs down the road. We need to ensure we are building a stronger economy with family supporting jobs here in Canada, not at the expense of another country, but ensuring that the deals we are doing, the economies of scale that we are working on with other countries ensures a stronger labour force where the wages, benefits and the ability to pay are improved.

We also need to ensure, in our discussions with other countries that the principle of innovation, the principle of technological development, needs to be key and front and centre. Our deal needs to be nimble. We need to ensure that there are productivity targets. We also need to recognize that issues, like intellectual property, copyright laws and so on, are sufficiently protected to ensure we are building our asset value, whether that be intellectual, value added in manufacturing or our resources, for the long term.

The fourth principle is that no deal does damage or undermines the Canadian democracy. We need to ensure that our trade deals do not affect the ability of other levels of government to make decisions that are in their best interests or the best interests of their nation. There have been concerns raised about CIDA and the impact it has on subnational governments.

The final point is the principles with respect to protecting the environment. Trade deals should not weaken environmental laws simply to attract investment.

These are the kinds of things I am suggesting the NDP believes in. We believe in free and sustainable trade but we need to ensure that there is a clear trade agenda that advocates for free, fair and sustainable trading nations.

In closing I will reaffirm the commitment that our critic has made that we will be supporting the bill.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 4th, 2012 / 6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, this House has seen an amazing sight this afternoon as the NDP has swallowed itself whole with regard to the trade file. It is absolutely amazing because there is no difference in the principle of the Jordan free trade agreement wherein it is not a perfect world. We heard some of the most horrendous testimony in committee with regard to what is happening in some of the factories, which is no different from what is happening in Colombia, perhaps in Panama and in some of the other countries with which we have free trade agreements that the NDP says that it will not support.

The principle is the same. It is not a perfect world but we try to make it better by engaging not disengaging. It is absolutely amazing and I will ask a quick question.

The leader of the official opposition was just up in the oil sands of Alberta. He had to go to the oil sands of Alberta to pull his head out of the sand on the trade file. When is the next time that he will go up there to learn more about how important trade is and take the rest of his caucus with him?

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Robert Chisholm Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is the chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade and he and I have had discussions. I used to be on that file and participated in those committees. For him to suggest that what I am saying is somehow new, I, frankly, find a bit disingenuous, to say the least.

With respect to the leader of the official opposition, the NDP and our leader is participating in important discussions that affect policy across this country that are meant to ensure that we develop our natural resources in a way that benefits everybody, that ensures that people pay their way and that we do not devastate the environment at the same time we—

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Unfortunately, we have run out of time.