An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Pest Control Products Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and to make related amendments to another Act

Sponsor

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment enables Canada to implement the Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which was done at Geneva by members of the World Trade Organization, including Canada, on November 27, 2014, as an amendment to Annex 1A of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization.

It amends the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Pest Control Products Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, to bring them into conformity with Canada’s obligations under the Agreement on Trade Facilitation.

It also makes related amendments to another Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Food and Drugs ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2016 / 3:50 p.m.
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LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to rise before the House today to speak to Bill C-13, legislation that would allow Canada to ratify the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade Facilitation, or TFA for short.

I would like to begin by thanking the Standing Committee on International Trade for its prompt and thorough review of Bill C-13 at the committee stage. Business associations appeared before the committee and raised a specific concern regarding a clause of the bill. I understand that the concern was rightfully addressed by the committee members through collaboration among themselves and with the business association in question, and they did this through an amendment, so I congratulate them.

I would also like to thank the hon. members opposite for recognizing the benefits of the TFA, and as a result, supporting this important piece of legislation.

The bill before us needs to be passed in a timely manner to allow Canada to implement our commitments under the TFA. As the first multilateral trade agreement concluded since the creation of the WTO more than two decades ago, the TFA is a monumental achievement for the global trading system. At its core, the agreement is about better, freer, and more open trade.

The world's developing and least-developed countries would particularly benefit from its trade-facilitation provisions, as would small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada and around the world.

Trade facilitation is essential for export competitiveness. The benefits of making it easier for goods to flow across borders are especially important in today's trading landscape, in which global production with value chains requires inputs and materials to clear customs in a timely fashion.

Some 95% of all companies worldwide are SMEs, and they, in particular, would benefit from the opening and easing of these kinds of restrictions.

Similarly, these businesses account for roughly half of the world's GDP and 70% of jobs globally when SMEs in formal and informal sectors are taken into account. However, gaining access to new markets is particularly difficult for SMEs and developing countries, which are disproportionately affected by trade costs.

Small businesses are less equipped and do not have the same resources as their larger competitors for dealing with heavy-handed and complex customs procedures. Related costs can be huge. In fact, a delay of just one day at the border can add 1% to the cost of a shipment.

Expediting release processes and customs clearance operations at international borders is therefore crucial to international trade. That is where the trade facilitation agreement comes in.

The TFA will help boost global trade by implementing measures to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods at the border. It also includes provisions to promote closer co-operation among the various border services.

For exporting companies, the TFA will reduce the cost of trade activities on the international scene by ensuring faster, simpler, and more predictable cross-border trade.

For governments, the improvements brought about by the TFA will reduce the potential for corruption and reinforce the process for collecting tariff revenues, particularly in developing economies.

Creating the best conditions for international trade for developing countries is not just a worthy cause. It also comes with tangible economic benefits.

In fact, the WTO estimates that full implementation of the TFA could boost global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion, including the up to $730 billion in export opportunities it will accrue to developing countries. The TFA should encourage trade between developing countries.

Trade costs for WTO members will decrease by an average of 14%, including an average of nearly 17% for least-developed countries.

Lowering trade costs for developing countries can increase trade, improve economic growth, and reduce poverty.

Here in Canada, less red tape on exports would help Canadian businesses, particularly SMEs, to export products to the fast-growing markets of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The TFA clearly represents a winning situation for Canada and the global trading community. Considering the benefits of the TFA for developed countries and developing countries alike, it is not surprising that the reaction from Canadian and foreign stakeholders has been beyond positive. The Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, a great number of agriculture and agrifood associations, as well as the B20, a coalition of leaders from 25 countries, all agree that the TFA should be implemented quickly.

Canada is a trading nation with an export economy. Trade currently represents 60% of Canada's annual gross domestic product, and one in five jobs is dependent on exports. We know that trade helps to improve people's standard of living and stimulates prosperity.

Trade helps companies grow, succeed, be innovative, and be competitive. In turn, this creates good paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it. But we want to grow trade the right way. We want to ensure that all segments of society can benefit from global economic opportunities. That is why our government is promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Canada and around the world as part of its progressive trade agenda.

Ratifying the TFA is an important part of these efforts. The agreement would cut red tape at the border and help Canadian businesses as well as those in developing nations to take better advantage of global trading opportunities. In addition, through our active participation in WTO initiatives like this one, we underscore our support for stronger and more predictable international trade rules, as well as the multilateral instrument that is the WTO.

The TFA will not enter into force until two-thirds of WTO members have ratified it. As of today, more than 90 WTO members have ratified the agreement, including all of Canada's major trading partners. Only 16 more are needed. Canada is the only G7 country that has not yet ratified the TFA. We are also one of only four G20 countries that have not yet ratified it. Canada committed at last month's G20 leaders summit to ratify the TFA by the end of 2016. Canada should do its part to bring the TFA into force as soon as possible.

The Standing Committee on International Trade has completed its exhaustive review of Bill C-13. In my view, Bill C-13 is ready for consideration by the Senate. I urge my hon. colleagues to vote in favour of the bill today so that work to promptly enact this legislation can continue. Members' support for the bill before the House will allow Canada to ratify the TFA and join our international partners in making trade freer, easier, and more predictable.

Food and Drugs ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2016 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to talk about free trade in general and Bill C-13 in particular.

Our caucus is of one mind on this bill. We agree on the importance of free trade in general, and we believe that these agreements benefit Canada in many ways.

This bill ratifies the multilateral agreement on trade facilitation. The agreement on trade facilitation breaks down non-tariff trade barriers and informal barriers. This is of vital importance. If all countries ratify the agreement, it could generate an estimated $1 trillion in new economic activity.

It is a pleasure for me to rise today to speak to Bill C-13. I always have to double-check when I find myself agreeing with what members of the government are doing just to ensure I have not missed anything. However, it is a pleasure for me to speak in favour of the bill. I do not know if the government will like everything I have to say in my speech today, because I will be somewhat critical of some of the things the government is doing with respect to trade. However, when it continues with good work that was started under the previous government, it is always worth recognizing that it is not all bad.

Broadly speaking, I want to do two things in my speech today. First, I want to speak specifically to some of the technical issues around the trade facilitation agreement, Bill C-13, and trade more generally. I also want to comment on our strategic situation in terms of trade, such as where it seems the government is going and where we should be going when it comes to our approach to trade.

Let me first speak to the technical side. By way of background, Bill C-13 would implement the trade facilitation agreement. Negotiations on the trade facilitation agreement started back in 2001. The agreement was completed at the WTO ministerial conference in December 2013.

This is the first multilateral agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization. We deal at times with bilateral trade agreements, which are trade agreements between Canada and one other country, or we deal with multilateral trade agreements that involve regional or perhaps like-minded blocs of nations. This, however, is a truly multilateral agreement that could include the full membership of the WTO if all of the nations involved choose to ratify the agreement. It is an important step forward.

This trade agreement deals with the issue of trade facilitation. We are all familiar with what a formal barrier would look like to trade, for preventing countries from trading, or a tariff barrier, which is a tax on imports that a country might impose. The trade facilitation agreement seeks to deal with non-tariff barriers, or more informal barriers to trade, its regulatory misalignments, perhaps differences in regulations or administrative rules that have the effect of being a trade barrier. Perhaps they are not intended to be trade barriers and certainly are not advertised as such, but they end up preventing international commerce. This is a major issue for many businesses. If a company is seeking to trade with another country and it has to go through a detailed process of learning completely different regulations on relabelling then it becomes much more difficult for that company to do business.

What the committee heard when it studied this issue was something we had heard before. These non-tariff barriers in particular impose an additional and a unique burden on small and medium-sized businesses. A large corporation would have the capacity, the relationships in place, to understand what different regulatory regimes are and the effects of them and would have an easier time navigating these things. I do not want to suggest there is no impact on larger businesses, which employ many Canadians and many people around the world as well, but small and medium-sized businesses often have a much harder time responding to these non-tariff barriers. We know the importance of small business. It is the primary engine of growth and job creation in our country. Therefore, with respect to the impact on small business in particular, it is important we be concerned with non-tariff as well as tariff barriers on trade.

We have some information in terms of estimates from the World Trade Organization about what the impacts of this trade facilitation would be. If all countries ratify, global merchandise exports would be up by $1 trillion, and trade costs for World Trade Organization members would go down about 14%, and 17% for least developed countries. Therefore, we see significant benefits from the trade facilitation agreement. Of course if not every country ratifies, the agreements will be less, so we hope all countries ratify. However, the benefits will still be in place even if the two-thirds threshold that is required to bring this deal into force is met but not all countries involved signed.

I have a couple of other notes on trade facilitation. It provides business with predictability. One of the issues with non-tariff barriers to trade is that even if trade is possible, if trade can occur, non-tariff barriers, or arbitrary different regulatory structures can create uncertainty, which makes it much harder for importers or exporters to manage in the context of international trade. Therefore, it smooths out and aligns these regulations, and also establishes a consistency in place, a predictability for businesses to rely on to facilitate that trade to its full potential.

I also want to identify for members of the House that the requirement is that two-thirds of World Trade Organization members sign on in order for this deal to take effect. That requirement would be 110 members of the World Trade Organization. Currently, we are at 92. Some of our major trading partners, the U.S., China, the EU, Japan, have all ratified the agreement already. Therefore, we are very close to that 110 mark. With Canada taking this important step forward, a step that began in 2001 with negotiations, in 2013 with the signing of the agreement, and now moving forward for ratification, it is a step that will pay substantial dividends for all businesses but especially for our small and medium-sized businesses.

The good news is that most of our laws already comply with the trade facilitation agreement. However, Bill C-13 completes those legislative changes that are required to facilitate the full implementation of it. In particular, it makes two amendments that accord with different provisions of the trade facilitation agreement. One of those provisions is article 10.8.1 of the trade facilitation agreement. The amendment in Bill C-13 would give Canada the authority that we need to deal with goods that are brought into Canada that are non-compliant. This gives us the ability to respond to problems that come up, and opens the door for us to implement this agreement.

The other one is from article 11.8 of the agreement, which gives Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada the legislative authority to exempt certain goods from certain Canadian requirements if those goods are not destined to end up in Canada, but would transit through Canada. Therefore, if Canada is a transit point for certain goods and the requirements we have in Canada for those goods are not exactly met, perhaps from an environmental or health perspective, they can still transit through Canada, but only on the basis of regulations and exceptions made through those departments. At least there is a provision for those carve-outs to be made, but also there are protections in place to ensure that those goods do not end up in Canada.

This provides a good mechanism for complying with the requirements of the trade facilitation agreement for getting the benefits of it for our economy and for our job creators, especially for small business. Also, it does not negatively affect the health and safety of Canadians or the environment. Therefore, the legislation is good, it strikes a good balance, and it is one that I and my colleagues will support.

I want to talk as well about the importance of international trade. This is a positive step as a new international multilateral trade deal. Our support for it underlines our belief on this part of this side of the House that Canada is a trading nation, that we benefit from international trade, and further that there is solid economic science behind the idea of international trade. This is something that most economists agree has clear benefits.

It is not a commitment to trade, it is not a government agreement that governments will trade, but it opens up the freedom for individuals within different countries to freely exchange, to make mutually beneficial exchanges, with people in other countries. We know that the common effect of that is greater degrees of specialization and it allows partnerships to be forged between countries, which can lead to more efficient production, the realization of new markets, and the creation of new wealth.

Our country clearly has seen the benefit of international trade. Of course at the time when it was a Conservative government that pursued free trade with the United States, trade was opposed by both the Liberals and the NDP at that time. However, at least the Liberals have come to recognize the wisdom of that approach. Under the previous Conservative government we were very bullish in recognizing the benefits of international trade and moving forward with trade agreements.

We understood this basic economic science of trade, that giving people the freedom to make mutually beneficial exchanges was good for everyone. It would not make much sense to say that I cannot shop at certain restaurants because of what side of town I live on. Exactly the same principle applies for international trade.

There is that technical basis for international trade that we can prosper together as a global community and that we can draw on the wisdom of economics in terms of understanding those benefits.

On the other hand, there is a strategic dimension of trade. We do not just unilaterally open ourselves up to international trade, but we do proceed in a methodical way with negotiation with other countries to try and open up markets in a reciprocal way, but also to align ourselves as much as possible when it comes to human rights, protection of the environment, and labour. It is worth underlining why we do this. It is because we know trade allows us to prosper nationally and together with other countries, but trade also is an opportunity to build strategic partnerships with specific nations to deepen our friendship, to deepen the sharing of ideas and of commerce between those nations. As such, it is important that we approach trade in a way that reflects our values.

With regard to the trade facilitation agreement, it is very positive from a strategic perspective that we are able to move together as a relatively united global community on this, that this reflects a consensus of different countries. In our other trade dealings, it is important for us to move with this thought out strategic lens on the point of trade as well, and I say this with respect to the trans-Pacific partnership.

To its credit, however, the government has moved this particular issue fairly quickly through the committee. This was an issue that there was an ability to move forward in a thoughtful but time-sensitive way on it.

On the other hand, the trans-Pacific partnership has been sitting on the government's desk for a full year tomorrow, since the election. The government has not even taken a position on that issue. I and other members have spoken before about the economic benefits, we could perhaps say about the technical side in terms of the benefits of the trans-Pacific partnership, but it also has great strategic significance. This was a key part of President Obama's foreign policy in terms of aligning with other democratic nations throughout the Pacific region, nations which share our values, by and large, and establishing a trade agreement that would set the terms of trade in a way that was aligned with our values.

It is Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, among other nations, coming together with an agreement that provides those robust protections that reflect our Canadian values. It is a mechanism, yes, for pursuing economic prosperity, but also for achieving a strategic advantage that reflects our values.

It is no secret, of course, that the kinds of values that are reflected in the trans-Pacific partnership are different from the approach taken by a country like China, which is also seeking dominance in the Asia-Pacific region with a different approach when it comes to human rights, the environment, labour rights. I would passionately say that our approach is more in line with an understanding of universal human values and an appreciation of universal human dignity. It is not a particularly western or exclusive approach. It is not an approach in terms of the human values that we emphasize as particular to one community or one culture. It is a set of values that we have that are worth using the mechanism of trade deals to strategically advance in that region.

I will just say, perhaps pre-empting a question from my friends in the NDP caucus, that they have been right to raise human rights issues in Brunei, which is part of the trans-Pacific partnership. There are human rights issues in some of the countries involved; there is no doubt about it. I think the situation in Brunei very well deserves the attention of members of the House. However, being a relatively small player in the scheme of the overall agreement, the agreement still very much reflects the values that we have here in Canada, the values that nations within our community of partners and allies of like-minded nations share together.

Yes, for economic technical reasons, but also for strategic reasons, it is important that we prioritize the trans-Pacific partnership. It is important that we move forward with that in order to set the terms of trade in the Asia-Pacific region in a way that reflects our values. Of course, we know that the government has a different approach when it comes to this strategic approach to trade. In the last year, it has not stated any kind of position on the trans-Pacific partnership, but it has talked in a very bullish way about moving forward with free trade with China on a bilateral basis.

My view is that we can be stronger in terms of our strategic interests when we work with our allies. When we do not, instead, we put ourselves in a position where we could very well be at a real disadvantage in terms of negotiations with China. It gives China an opportunity to try to set the terms of trade when it comes to human rights, when it comes to the environment, when it comes to labour rights and other kinds of issues.

We can benefit economically from trade at every level; there is no doubt about it. However, from a strategic perspective, would we not be wise to first move forward with the trans-Pacific partnership and continue to pursue trade arrangements with Europe? Hopefully, we will soon see the full ratification of the Canada-EU free trade deal, successfully negotiated as well under the previous government but continued with by the current government, to its credit. We should start by nailing down those trade deals with like-minded nations and then proceed collaboratively with those like-minded nations when we approach countries like China that do not share our fundamental values. We need to approach trade in a strategic way.

I think the trade facilitation agreement reflects our values. It is a positive step that the world is able to come together on, but we need to prioritize the advancement of our values and be strategic. That is why I really hope that at some point at least we will hear an answer from the government on TPP, and hopefully in the not too distant future, recognizing as well the technical benefits of trade, the economic benefits that I have spoken about, specifically for the trade facilitation agreement, but also the strategic benefits.

I am pleased to be supporting the bill. Hopefully, we will see its passage very soon and be able to move forward on some of these other trade issues that I have raised as well.

Food and Drugs ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2016 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend opposite for his contribution today and for his support of Bill C-13, which is very much appreciated. I think we come from the same point of view where free trade and fair trade is actually great for Canada, great for Canadians, good for the economy, and good for the middle class. We certainly share that, and we appreciate the support from that side of the aisle.

I want to talk a bit about his comments on the TPP. Being part of the trade committee, and frankly, having lived TPP since I was fortunate enough to be elected here almost a year ago, it has been on the top of my priority list in my short tenure as a member of Parliament.

There are some things I want to make sure the House is aware of. We are consulting with Canadians. It is not sitting on anyone's desk. We have heard from thousands upon thousands of people, at committee, through submissions, and through live witnesses of course. The ministry has travelled across the country. The committee travelled across the country as well, so we are hearing from Canadians, and we are hearing a divergence of opinions, which should not come as any surprise to anyone who has travelled across the country.

There is a lot of support for it, absolutely. There are also some concerns and opposition to it. We are trying to balance it all in a reasonable and objective manner. I can assure the member opposite that in due course there will be a report before the House. I look forward to what I know will be a hearty and fulsome debate on that point of view.

I take to heart the member's comments about China and the trans-Pacific partnership countries, but does he think it has to be an either-or? If it is the right deal, should we be as expansive as possible with the countries that we enter into free trade deals with?

Food and Drugs ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2016 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for his passion on trade. It is something I share, as vice-chair of the trade committee and critic for our party.

I found some of his comments quite interesting. I am happy he will be voting in support of Bill C-13. We did incredible work at our committee, although very fast. I commend everyone on the committee for the work we did on this file. I agree with the member, and I am glad to hear him say we need to approach trade strategically. That involves listening to a lot of different voices that, unfortunately, were not heard under the previous government. There were many people who sat before the trade committee as witnesses in the TPP discussions that, unfortunately, were not part of the conversation under the Conservative government. I am happy to see those people are represented now at the table.

I am curious about the TPP specifically. I agree that the NDP applies a human rights lens to trade, but we certainly include the cost of drugs for Canadians in that human rights lens. We know that in the trans-Pacific partnership and in CETA there will be an increased cost to Canadians. We already are one of the highest-priced countries in the OECD. Canadians cannot afford the medication that they currently need in our system.

I am curious. Earlier, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan and I were discussing this issue in the House and I questioned him as to whether he had had a town hall on the trans-Pacific partnership. Therefore, is his position here on the trans-Pacific partnership and the other trade agreements that he mentioned based on the views of his constituents? Has he actually consulted with them?

Food and Drugs ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2016 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak at third reading of Bill C-13, a bill the NDP supported at second reading and at committee, because of its potential benefit to Canadian small businesses that export their goods around the world.

Bill C-13 would amend the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Pest Control Products Act, and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. It is a largely technical bill that is required to bring Canada into compliance with the WTO trade facilitation agreement, or TFA.

The agreement's stated desire is to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, which is dealt with in the first section of the 24-article document. In this section there are two clauses—8.1 on rejected goods and 11.8 on goods in transit—which require action on Canada's part in order to ratify the agreement. Bill C-13 deals entirely with these two clauses.

The TFA's second section—articles 13 to 22—is entitled, “Special and Differential Treatment Provisions for Developing Country Members and Least-Developed Country Members.” The final two articles in the third section outline a committee structure and deal with final provisions.

The customs practices of developed countries like Canada are already mostly in line with the TFA. For developing countries, this is more of a challenge, which is why a lot of the agreement's provisions focuses on them.

One of the few groups in Canada to have expressed concern about the TFA is the Council of Canadians. According to officials from Global Affairs Canada, it is concerned that the agreement would only benefit large agribusiness firms and not small-scale farmers.

The Council of Canadians chair, Maude Barlow, criticized the agreement back in 2013. She said:

This was not a historic win for developing countries at the WTO. They scrape by with modest and temporary protections for food security policies that should be completely excluded from corporate trade rules....

I understand her concerns and read with concern how India had to defend its food security programs amidst the TFA negotiations.

The WTO is certainly a flawed organization. I am well aware of the many criticisms that are levelled against it.

The Standing Committee on International Trade held a very quick study of Bill C-13. I was disappointed that we did not spend any time discussing the TFA in its broader context or dig into the supposed benefits of the agreement for Canadian traders.

We heard from Global Affairs officials, who answered specific questions about Bill C-13 and the various acts it would amend.

Two groups requested to appear: CropLife Canada, and the Canadian Consumer Speciality Products Association. It was important to hear from them because Bill C-13 has significant implications for them and, specifically, for the pest control industry.

Their first concern related to clause 31 of the bill, which they felt was unnecessary.

Their second concern was about the changes to be made to the definition of a label under the Pest Control Products Act. After some back-and-forth between the groups, the department, and committee members, we agreed to an amended definition that all parties seemed satisfied with.

As I mentioned, it would have been great to delve into the potential benefits of the TFA for Canada.

According to the government, the TFA could benefit Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses by strengthening the predictability of customs and border procedures for exports to developing countries. It could increase the ability of some Canadian SMEs to access emerging markets. However, there are a lot of reasons why more small businesses do not export.

The NDP believes strongly in the importance of supporting Canadian small businesses so they can thrive, grow, and hire. Coincidentally, this is Small Business Week in Canada. It is an opportunity to recognize the valuable contributions made by small businesses to communities across Canada.

My riding of Essex is home to hundreds of small businesses. They include auto parts manufacturers, tool and die makers, construction companies, wineries, retail stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and more. These are the small and independent businesses that help sustain our local economies and create local employment.

However, small businesses face big challenges. I am committed to working with the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and all groups in Essex to help our small businesses tackle these challenges head-on.

No doubt, many of the small businesses in my riding are some of the 12% of Canadian SMEs that export.

When we talk about SMEs and trade, the federal government should seize the opportunity to assist more SMEs to do business outside our borders. Only a fraction of small businesses will export their goods, and most of this trade is with the United States.

I frequently hear from businesses in Essex about problems they experience with getting goods across the border. There are still a lot of challenges when it comes to streamlining practices and providing greater predictability. Their concerns were front of mind as I studied this legislation and the TPP and other trade agreements. I am convinced that we need to do more to support Canadian traders.

As I speak about the TFA and small businesses, I am also speaking about the kind of trade that the NDP does support. As the NDP trade critic, it is my responsibility to look at trade deals with a critical lens and to consider whether they are in the best interests of Canadians, not just our businesses but for current and future generations of Canadians.

The trade minister's favourite talking point these days is about the need for a progressive trade agenda. She has spoken about changing the way trade deals are negotiated so they serve a broader good instead of just corporate greed. What does that mean?

We have seen some of the broad strokes of what progressive trade means to the minister. She has stated that “we also have to now start building into trade agreements real effective labour protections, environmental standards and ensure that that is as much a part of the trade agreement as protections for investors.” What the minister said makes me hopeful for a new way of negotiating trade.

As my friend Lana Payne recently wrote in an op-ed published in The Telegram, “The language is good, but the devil will be in the details....Saying something is progressive doesn’t make it so, but the minister has certainly put herself and her government out there”.

I have been critical of the Liberal government for having a trade agenda that seems pretty identical to that of the Conservatives. For example, many progressive groups in Canada have called for changes to CETA, but the minister has dismissed their concerns and is only focused on twisting the EU's arm into signing the deal.

Canadians are deeply concerned about ISDS and do not feel that revised systems under CETA address their more core concerns with this mechanism.

Canadians are also concerned that the government's recent joint declaration that is supposed to strengthen environmental and labour standards is nothing more than empty promises without any legal backing.

The very same things the minister claims are elements of a progressive trade policy are lacking from her so-called gold standard CETA deal.

Similarly, the TPP is not an average trade agreement. Traditionally, a trade agreement is negotiated between country A and country B, who come to an agreement about reducing trade barriers, such as lowering tariffs.

The NDP has supported some of these agreements in the past because, after careful evaluation, on balance the deals were in Canada's best interests.

We are supporting Bill C-13 today because it would facilitate the trade of goods, which can benefit Canadian small businesses that export abroad.

Trade is a rapidly changing concept in the 21st century. It is not just about the flow of goods anymore. It is about the flow of people and services. It is not just country A and country B sitting down to negotiate anymore. Instead, negotiations are largely driven by corporate interests and big business who are advocating for a set of rules that benefit their interests.

Why big business is included is no mystery. Pharmaceutical companies stand to gain from the extra two years of patented drug costs. This keeps them out of the generic market and ultimately costs Canadians more money. In my riding, like everyone in Canada, people are suffering from the costs of medication and often have to make difficult decisions about their health based on their ability to pay for medication. Even people with a benefit plan are not covered for all medications and are often capped on the amount they can claim. One such story stuck with me from campaigning last year.

In Amherstburg I met a lovely couple and their daughter on a beautiful summer day. They live in a working class neighbourhood with well-kept homes, and theirs was no exception. We started to talk and they told me of their recent struggles with his rare form of mouth cancer, how he had just retired from a good workplace with benefits. They were prepared to enjoy their retirement to the fullest when this diagnosis hit them. He had a good benefit package that included drug costs, but only to a lifetime maximum of $75,000. That sounds like a great deal of money but when one is faced with the diagnosis and treatment plan that he was faced with, the money was already gone. Thankfully, he was responding well to treatment, but it had changed their lives and they were justifiably worried about their ability to afford medication now with no money left in their coverage.

Many of today's so-called trade agreements are about so much more than trade. For example, only six of the TPP's 30 chapters deal with trade in the traditional sense of the term. The other 24 chapters are where we find the controversial aspects of the deal, like a new court system where investors can take democratically elected governments to court if they feel unfairly treated.

Trade agreements have to carve out governments' specific rights to legislate on issues as basic as cigarettes. It is absolutely shocking to me that legislatures have to fight to protect countries' rights to regulate things like cigarettes. In the TPP, a specific carve-out had to be made. At committee, the Canadian Cancer Society warned us that the tobacco industry has a history of abuse, seeking to turn to international trade and investment agreements to overturn bona fide public health, tobacco-control measures that apply equally to domestic and foreign companies.

We are also seeing trade agreements that dictate pharmaceutical rules that largely benefit pharmaceutical companies over the citizens governments are elected to serve. The increased patents on pharmaceuticals in the last two trade deals negotiated by the Harper governments are a deeply concerning and very contentious part of those agreements. Another woman I spoke with had to move in with her son in order to afford her medication. She was so thankful that her son was able to have her there so she could afford her own treatment and not worry about the cost of living alone. She told me that she worked hard but she was not making enough to even be able to take her own medication. These stories are not unique. They repeat, door after door in all of our communities.

We had the Canadian Nurses Association present to us at committee, and Carolyn Pullen told us in no uncertain terms that Canadians are already making difficult choices by skipping doses of medication and skipping days of treatment because they cannot afford their medication, even the generic brands. This does not speak well for us as a country. How are our most vulnerable being treated in our society? This systemic problem will continue to manifest itself in poor health outcomes for us all and in an increase in poverty for those who face the high cost of medication. Canada has the second-highest drug costs in the OECD. We are the only country in the world that has a public health care system that does not include a pharmacare program.

If members are wondering why I have been talking about the cost of medication in Canada, it is because under the provisions in CETA and the TPP, the patents for brand-name pharmaceuticals in Canada would be extended. It should come as no surprise that these extensions would lead to increased costs for all of us. On the one hand, we have people who cannot afford medication and who, along with the NDP, are calling on the government for a pharmacare program in our country. On the other hand, we have a government that is signing trade agreements that would make this current situation worse.

Some might say that increasing the length of patents makes sense because it would encourage the pharmaceutical companies to undertake more research and development in Canada. This is a widely held view. However, history shows us that the opposite has happened. In the late 1980s, pharmaceutical companies came to the federal government requesting a patent extension for these exact reasons. They committed to investing in Canadian R and D to a level of 10% of sales. For many years, there was a steady rise in the percentage being spent, and we eventually peaked at 11%. Then we hit a cliff. Our R and D nosedived to its current level of 4% and has held steady at this level for many years. That promise has not been kept and we have all paid the price for it. Yet here we are with CETA and the TPP giving the pharmaceutical companies another extension, with the only argument for it being that it will result in an increase in R and D. Let us be honest about what this means.

The point I make is that trade agreements like CETA or TPP would not be so controversial if they focused only on trade. Instead, they are omnibus agreements that, frankly, do not receive the study and oversight they deserve. On the other hand, before us today is a pretty straightforward initiative that addresses how countries like Canada can deal with goods at our borders. Although this is a highly technical piece, this is the kind of trade remedy that we in the NDP can support, and we will vote in support of Bill C-13.

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October 18th, 2016 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Newmarket—Aurora for his work on the committee and certainly his commitment to trade in our country, fair trade in our country, which we see being represented in Bill C-13.

In response to the member's question, I would like to say that trade is incredibly important in southwestern Ontario. We have the largest border crossing that exists between our country and our largest trading partner, the United States.

One of the concerns that was raised at committee was around the ability of Canada Border Services Agency to handle this increase in trade that Bill C-13 would see. Personnel would have added responsibilities when they are holding goods. They would also have added responsibility with goods that are in transit through our country, understanding that is their sole purpose versus actually stopping here in Canada.

Of course, I support the men and women who protect our borders in Canada and also facilitate trade across them every single day. I also advocate for an increase in the number of people who are working at our borders, so that we can properly facilitate the trade we would be signing on to in Bill C-13. I think the member opposite would agree that we would want to give all the support we can to ensure that the men and women who are at our borders have enough people to service not just the border in southwestern Ontario but all of our international borders.

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October 18th, 2016 / 4:55 p.m.
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his very responsible, very good question to all the members of this House.

We have a responsibility as parliamentarians not just to read the reports that come before us but to actually investigate how the trade agreements will affect us. These trade agreements have grown in size, exponentially. CETA is around 1,500 pages. The TPP is around 6,000 pages. I understand that is difficult for parliamentarians to digest, on top of our already busy schedules, but it is critically important that we do so and that we listen to stakeholders, not just in our communities but across Canada.

One of the things that has been highlighted at the trade committee level, specifically around the trans-Pacific partnership, is that many presenters to our committee only look at one or two chapters within this agreement. This trade agreement has far more to do with things other than just traditional trade.

We in the NDP definitely support the easement of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and we support trade flowing through our borders for those sectors that are anxious to get into markets that could benefit Canadians, bring more work here, more value-added work. We would like to see that out of our resource sector as well, that we have more of the actual value-added chain here in Canada versus just exporting our raw materials to other countries for them to enjoy the benefits of those jobs in those communities.

Returning to the member's point, it is critical that we look at this deal on balance, that we do not just laser focus into the few chapters that deal with that traditional trade. That is what we were able to do with Bill C-13, largely because of the size of its scope. It was quite small in comparison to the other agreements that we are facing, so we were able to commit ourselves fully to looking at the two provisions that would change in this very important piece of trade facilitation to which we are signing on.

I do think it is critical that, when we are looking at trade on the whole, we have a responsibility as party members and as members of Parliament to look at the entire deal, to look at the things that would benefit Canadians, and to look at the things that could potentially harm Canadians.

Although there are sectors that would benefit—and I would like to see that trade flow happen for them; I would like to see that increase—at the same time, when we are looking at trade agreements like those I mentioned, CETA and TPP, we do not want to see an increased cost of drugs for Canadians.

The labour mobility chapter is a prime example. One of the members mentioned earlier about consultations and who was brought in. Labour never entered into the conversation, because this is the first time we have seen this provision in a trade deal. How would they have known to go to the government and say, “You are negotiating a trade deal; I think we should be in on the conversation.” They had absolutely no knowledge that they would be included in the trade deal.

That speaks to the secrecy of the way these trade deals have been negotiated. These groups, even though they have seen things on government pages saying it is looking into a trade deal, have never been included in a trade deal before, so it has never occurred to them to actually go and consult with the government.

Now that we are looking at negative trade deals, where everything is on the table, unfortunately everyone in Canada has to go to the government with their concerns, because they could potentially be part of a trade agreement when they never had been before. We all have a responsibility to look at the trans-Pacific partnership on balance, look at every chapter, and speak to every stakeholder we can.

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October 18th, 2016 / 5:05 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I hope to get into many of the discussions by the members who have already spoken to the broader trade issue.

Although Canada is already compliant with the vast majority of the World Trade Organization trade facilitation agreement provisions, legislative amendments are required to enable Canada to comply with two specific provisions to ratify the agreement.

The required legislative amendments are contained in Bill C-13, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act, the Hazardous Products Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Pest Control Products Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and to make related amendments to another act.

All legislative amendments proposed in Bill C-13 are related to Articles 10.8.1 and 11.8 of the TFA, which address non-compliant goods and goods in transit, respectively.

From my perspective and the government's perspective, this is a very important piece of legislation. If we feel that world trade is important, this is the type of legislation members should be voting in favour of.

In listening to members from all sides of the House, it appears that there is unanimous support for Bill C-13, which is positive. I say that because at the G20 conference in Istanbul, Turkey, in November 2015, the Prime Minister said that this government would ratify the WTO agreement, which is why we are doing this now. We made a commitment to ratify it, and it is the government's intention to do it as quickly as possible.

Why is this an important agreement? We have all heard of the World Trade Organization. It was formed in 1994. The WTO is made up of 162 countries, and we are one of them. The trade facilitation agreement is the first substantive agreement that has come out of the World Trade Organization. That is a significant accomplishment. It took many years of negotiations, starting in 2001-02 and leading up to when it was signed in December 2013.

Let us look at how it would be ratified. There are 162 countries, and two-thirds of those countries need to ratify it for it to become law. As of today, I believe there are 92. I know that back in June, it was closer to 80, so there is momentum. If we look at our major trading partners, whether it is China, the EU, or the U.S., they have already ratified the agreement. Our Prime Minister has made a commitment to ratify the agreement. The momentum is there. I believe that the will of the House is to see Bill C-13 pass, which is encouraging.

It was not that long ago that it was adopted at second reading and went to committee. I was encouraged today to hear about the goodwill at committee stage, where committee members from all sides worked together to make some changes to the legislation. That is what we are debating now. I believe that it is better legislation, because the Prime Minister was true to his word when he said that we want to see committees be more productive and look at ways to improve legislation, and we have now seen a committee do just that. In a more apolitical fashion, it brought forward possible changes and included stakeholders and members of the opposition, working alongside the government.

Throughout this debate we have heard about how important the World Trade Organization trade facilitation agreement is to our country. According to WTO estimates, with full implementation, and by full implementation we are talking about all 162 countries ratifying and implementing it, the global economy will be boosted in terms of merchandise exports by over $1 trillion, including up to $730 billion in export opportunities accruing to developing countries. That is significant, and that is why I mentioned that if we believe in the importance of trade, this is something all members should get behind.

It would also decrease trade costs for World Trade Organization members, including Canada, by an estimated average of 14%, and for the countries that are least developed, by 17%. It would help small businesses in Canada increase their export presence in emerging markets.

We hear a lot about the importance of small business. I hear from the government House leader on an ongoing basis that small businesses are the backbone of our Canadian economy. I was thinking of doing a special Standing Order 31 on an important celebration. Maybe I could make reference to it now.

This year marks 50 years of four-wheel-drive tractors in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Versatile was the first company to mass produce articulated four-wheel-drive tractors and is the only Canadian manufacturer of agricultural tractors. It was founded in 1966 by Peter Pakosh and Roy Robinson. It covers almost 700,000 square feet, with complete manufacturing and assembly capabilities and full research and development facilities.

Why would I bring that up now? The incredible tractors coming off this line, I would argue, are the best in the world because of the amazing individuals who put them together. We have markets around the world for these tractors. When a tractor is sold to another country, it creates opportunities for Canadians.

I often talk about Manitoba's pork industry. I had the good fortune to follow it through from being a consumer eating pork to actual production. I eat a little bit of pork, I must say.

I visited some of these farms. Hog farms today are quite different from when I was a teenager visiting family farms, where there would be a few pigs in a stall. Today they have large productions. The first room I walked into was a shower room, where people have to disinfect. The second room was a computer room, followed by large barn rooms with thousands of hogs. At a certain point, those hogs go to, in my case, Maple Leaf Foods in Brandon. I know that my colleague from Brandon—Souris is here, and he will attest to it. Go to Maple Leaf farms and see thousands--

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October 18th, 2016 / 5:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

It is one of those newbie mistakes, Mr. Speaker.

My colleague from Brandon will attest to just how important those jobs are in Brandon. I believe that there are over 1,300 direct jobs. We have more pigs in Manitoba than we actually have people, so it is not Manitobans who are consuming all those hogs. Rather, what we have is a viable and strong industry. Why? It is because of trade. It is exports. Much like we manufacture the best tractors in the world, we have the best pork products in the world coming out of Manitoba. I might be a little biased, but the point is that it creates good, tangible jobs.

If we were to go out to the parking lot of Maple Leaf Foods, what would we see? There are a lot of cars, and those cars are purchased in Brandon and the surrounding area. The indirect jobs are real. This is not unique to Brandon or to Winnipeg or to our province. This is really all about Canada.

When we think of the World Trade Organization and what it embodies as an organization, in terms of both symbolism and tangible doors to exports, it means that Canada has the ability to export. Through exports, we create, literally, tens of thousands of direct jobs, not to mention the many thousands of indirect jobs.

This is why this is such an important issue for us. Voting for Bill C-13 is important for all of us. What we are really doing is acknowledging the many benefits of world trade. That is something our Prime Minister and our government have advocated strongly for. All we have to do is look at what has taken place in the last nine months under our Minister of International Trade and the parliamentary secretary and at the work they have done. We can talk about securing markets for our beef and pork. We can talk about the canola issue in my home province and the relationship with China. We are talking about $1 billion plus. These issues were resolved in a relatively short time and literally meant millions of dollars, if not tens of millions of dollars, for my province, let alone our country.

We can look at the formal trade agreements. When I listen to my New Democratic friends, at times there is a bit of a confusing message. I know, for example, that there was a lot of discussion at second reading, and even today, about CETA and the TPP. These are two very important labour trade issues. I look forward to ongoing debate in regard to them. The TPP is still under consultation. We are working very aggressively in regard to CETA.

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October 18th, 2016 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have seen in the House in the past that people like to frame my caucus as being against trade. This is a great example of the kind of collaboration that we would like to use to achieve healthy agreements that facilitate trade. This is in contrast, of course, to the TPP, which is actually not a trade deal but an investor rights deal that undermines democracy and some of those frameworks.

With regard to the advantages of this deal, Bill C-13 would be advantageous to small and medium-sized businesses, as long as we can fortify our Canada Border Services Agency. I would like the member, if he could, to expand a little on the advantages for small and medium-sized businesses that have been disappointed by the government in the past. It would be important to reinforce those advantages today.

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October 18th, 2016 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Madam Speaker, it is great to come up and speak to Bill C-13. Before I go on, I want to recognize that I am sharing my time with the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington. He is such a great member, and another good member of the committee. I will talk a bit more about him later.

Being a member of the trade committee, I do want to compliment the committee on how well the members worked together in getting this agreement done. I want to compliment the committee because this is something that we actually worked on together and got it through.

I also want to highlight the fact that there has been lots of discussion of Bill C-13. I do not think I need to repeat all that. I think we all know what Bill C-13 is, but I do want to highlight one thing. This agreement would just enforce things that we are already doing at our borders and customs. It would bring the world level up to the Canadian level. It is very important to highlight the fact that other countries in the world looked at the Canadian system that was, under the Conservative government, pretty good, and said that they agreed and they were going to bring their systems up to the Canadian system as it was under the Conservative government. Let us hope the Liberals do not drop the ball on that one.

Sixty per cent of our GDP is reliant on trade. Canada is a trading nation. In order for Canadians to succeed and thrive and have strong families and the quality of life they deserve, we have to sell things abroad. However, people love what we have to offer. The parliamentary secretary talked about tractors out of Winnipeg. Ukrainians love those tractors. Americans love those tractors. There are so many Versatile tractors in Australia it is unreal, and so many Versatile tractors in Ukraine. I know first-hand because I worked in that sector.

However, the member could have also talked about MacDon Industries out of Winnipeg. Again, the machinery it makes is sold all over the world, and it is so good at it that big companies like John Deere, New Holland, Case, and AGCO would rather just buy from these guys. They know they do it so well, so why compete? Just let them do it. That is a great company out of Winnipeg.

Then manufacturers out of Saskatchewan are Bourgault Industries, Morris Industries, Seed Hawk, Conserva Pak, and Flexi-Coil, the company I used to work with, which is part of New Holland now. These guys sell machinery around the world.

The interesting thing about this machinery, and it kind of ties into the carbon sequestering comments, is that they have been sequestering carbon with no-till probably for 12 to 15 years now. They have been sinking that carbon in the soil by going no-till. They have reduced erosion. They have reduced their chemical and water usage. It used to be that a crop in the Prairies needed about 12 to 15 inches of rain to go from planting to harvest. If there was not that amount of rain, the farmers would not get a crop. I was talking to a farmer this past summer and he said that if he had four inches, he would get a crop. He said he had such great organic material in his soil it was second to none, so his fertilizer use is going down and his chemical use is going down, and his yields are going up. That is all based on innovation in Saskatchewan and in western Canada, which now the rest of the world is embracing and wants to buy. We have to make sure those people get access to it.

Bill C-13 will go through the House I assume unopposed, and it should. All the heavy lifting was done in the committee, and the committee did a great job. That is where I want to talk about the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington. He was sitting there and he was so co-operative, providing positive input, and moving the bill forward. This is the type of co-operation that Canadians want to see on something as simple as this, because it is so good for all of Canada to have it go through. There is no reason to play politics with it and it never happened. There were no politics played with this one. It actually moved forward and came back to the House. I assume it will go through very quickly here also.

However, I do have to talk about CETA and about TPP. It would be a shame to let the parliamentary secretary get away with some of the comments he made there.

On CETA, we gave the Liberals the playbook. When the Liberals took government, CETA was done. They had to make a few little adjustments and then they had to get it across the finish line. To say that they are out renegotiating the CETA deal is just not right.

TPP is one thing that I think we need to really embrace. When we have CETA and we have TPP and Canada is in the middle, look at the customers we have and look at the spending power that the customers have to buy our products.

When I was the marketing manager for seeding equipment in eastern and western Europe and into the Ukraine, one of the problems we always had was getting cash for our product. These markets in western Europe are rich markets. These markets in Asia are wealthy markets. They have the money to buy the goods that we build and create, and to buy our technology. They want it. We have to give them access to it. We need to have trade agreements like CETA and TPP to do that.

What is really confusing for our manufacturers, farmers, and other service sectors here in Canada is when they see something like TPP they say, “It is great. It is going to open up this whole market. The Japanese are going to be in it now. I am going to have access to sell my beef into that market tariff free”. Then they see the Liberals just saying that they are going to restudy it.

I find that really interesting. They say we did not consult; Conservatives did not consult. I asked who was told they could not participate in the consultations; who asked if they could be involved in the consultations to whom we said no. I cannot find anybody. Anybody who wanted to be consulted, who wanted to consult with us and be part of the process, could have. The process was there.

The witnesses who come in front of the committee on TPP—because we have been studying it now for almost a year—are saying that this is the third or fourth time they have made their presentation on this topic and are asking why they are doing it again.

The sad thing about it is that we will do the report, it will come back into the House, hopefully the Liberals will see the light of the day and actually bring in legislation, and then it will go back to the committee. Then we will do it for a fifth time.

Is that a good use of resources? I do not think so. I think Canadians would be very upset if they realized what a dog and pony show is going on with these TPP consultations.

It is one thing to talk about the importance of trade, and it is one thing for some parties to say that they are pro-trade when they are not, and it is quite obvious in how they go about conducting themselves. It is quite obvious in how they go and ask the questions, how they conduct themselves in committee, and how they conduct themselves here in the House.

Some parties just do not understand the importance of trade. They do not understand that Canadians can compete with anybody in the world. They are not scared to compete. Our small and medium enterprises are not scared to go out and compete with anybody in the world. If they are given a level playing field, they will compete.

What they are concerned about is having things forced upon them, like a carbon tax that brings up their costs and that their competitors do not have. Look at a situation where there is a product made with hydro out of Manitoba, which is very green power, and yet they are competing against somebody making something in China, using coal. They can look at that and say they are paying a carbon tax with green power and losing market share because their costs are so high, but the same product made in China with coal power is now coming in and taking their market. That is what is concerning them about this carbon tax.

That is why it is very dangerous for one jurisdiction to move into situations like this, on a carbon tax or a green power program like the one they did here in Ontario, by itself without having other jurisdictions follow. If we have a true commitment to reduce global warming and carbon, then we have to do it as a globe. That means it has to be a level playing field across the globe. We cannot give preferential treatment to other areas of the world and expect Canadians to bear the brunt of it.

When I look back to trade, I also want to highlight some of the other things that are very important about trade. We can talk about the Honduras deal. That is a deal that will hopefully help Honduras and the people of Honduras establish themselves in a quality of life that actually will help them raise their families, get educated, and get good jobs, so they can turn away from violence and crime and just have a good job and be able to go home and spend time with their family, go to church on Sunday morning. That is what they really want, but when they are not given the opportunities to sell what they have and they do not have the opportunities to have investment into their country, then that does not happen. What happens is they relate to crime and other things.

I will stop right there and take questions on this. The reality is that Bill C-13 should be done. It should go through here with no problem at all. I look forward to seeing TPP come forward. I am looking forward to CETA coming forward. I think that is a trade deal to which everybody in Canada is looking forward.

As one last point, I was talking to some lobster guys in Nova Scotia. Do members know how much lobster is being shipped because of TPP and other trade deals now? The impact of trade deals and what they do for people's quality of life is amazing. Do members know who is driving the new trucks in Nova Scotia? It is lobster fishermen. That tells us of the impacts of trade deals. These guys have a better quality of life, and they buy a truck. Where is the truck made? It is made in Ontario. I cannot see how that can be a bad thing.

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October 18th, 2016 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for Prince Albert for an excellent speech. I understand why he is so passionate when he talks about free trade, because it is a subject that is near and dear to all of us who serve on the committee.

To paraphrase Patrick Henry, I regret that I have but 10 minutes to give to this because I think I could speak about this for a long, long time. Why do we benefit from free trade? We had the foreign affairs committee in front of us and it gave us a great tag line: simplify, modify, and standardize. Let us get a quick overview of Canada and why reducing trade costs by 14%—or 17% for the least developed nations—makes a big difference to Canada.

In 1970, Korea was one of the most impoverished nations in the world. Today, we know that Korea is one of the most advanced nations, with an advanced economy. It did that with virtually nothing but produced exports.

Canada, on the other hand, has very much to offer, very much to export. Let us begin with mining. We have large reserves of coal; 32% of the mining in B.C. is coal, 32% is copper, and there is silver and gold. In Alberta we have vast fields of oil and gas. Saskatchewan is the second largest producer of potash. Uranium is also there. I am just nabbing a few; there are so many others as well.

In Manitoba, copper, zinc, gold, silver, platinum, and a number of rare earth minerals are so important to today's market. In Ontario, we have the largest gold mines and nickel and copper as well as platinum and these same rare earth groups as well. Quebec is an amazing story as well. For a while it put the lid on mining, and today 1% of that vast province is mined and 5% is available for mining. The mining there is just incredible. There are so many opportunities. It has re-established itself as one of the world's most attractive mining jurisdictions in the world. I mentioned the minerals that are found there.

We can go on to the Maritimes: Nova Scotia where there is gold being mined; New Brunswick where lead, zinc, copper, and potash are also being mined; Newfoundland where iron ore, nickel, copper, cobalt, and gold are being mined and many others are being discovered.

We could go on to forestry, and every province in this country has a forestry industry. It is a huge industry in B.C., Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick.

My colleague was talking about farming, and many of us have mentioned the importance of farming. In my riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington, we are the number one producers of wheat and the second for soybeans.

We could go on across this country. We have huge beef and pork industries, and in the west canola is being produced. Pulse crops are an amazing story: 25 years ago there were virtually no pulse crops grown and today the prairie provinces, particularly Saskatchewan, are becoming the world leader in pulse crops.

I talked in my last speech about the greenhouse industry, and I will do a little more bragging about my riding in Leamington, which has the largest collection of greenhouses in North America. Think about that. It is expanding in Chatham-Kent as well. It is larger than the greenhouse industry in California.

There are potatoes in P.E.I. and blueberries in the Maritime provinces as well. Cranberries are beginning to be an important crop in B.C., Quebec, and Ontario as well.

As we travelled with the committee, we had the opportunity to speak to Maritimers to see how important seafood is. It has been mentioned here before. The U.S.A. was our biggest customer, but today the Asian market is representing huge opportunities. There is Japan, with 120 million people, Korea, and Vietnam, with 90 million people.

Fish, of course, is what we think about with seafood, but snow crab, shrimp, lobster, and scallops are all beginning to be important industries as well.

A lot of times, we like to give up on manufacturing. We think we have lost our manufacturing, and we have suffered. My colleagues from my neck of the woods will tell members about that too.

However, we still have a strong manufacturing base, and we still are growing that base. We have a strong Japanese presence in manufacturing, in the auto industry, in my neck of the woods. The Detroit three are still producing: Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors.

Ford, as a matter of fact, in Oakville, is now going to produce a vehicle for the entire world. Think of the opportunities that will represent when we continue to expand our free trade agreements.

The Honda CR-V, in Alliston, which was moved, incidentally, from the United States, will be expanded to Europe.

We are a trading nation, and we all benefit from it. However, there is another that benefits that we can never forget, and that is the consumer. The free market system has created something for the consumer that rivals anything since the beginning of time.

Free trade, I should add, is the engine of the free market system. The unguided hand is released. Businesses can begin to expand, whatever the opportunity.

When we were travelling with our trade committee, I sat beside a businessman on the airplane who told me he saw an opportunity because of the expanded trade in the oyster industry. He was taking those shells and crushing them and had created a whole new industry in fertilizer. He was telling me how many people were employed as a result.

That is just one story in so many.

If we think back, in North America, to the turn of the 20th century, 40% of the workforce was on the farm. When that 40% was released, men like Henry Ford began to take their ingenuity and what they had learned on the farm to create a whole new industry. Here is a mechanic, from my neck of the woods, again, in Detroit, Ann Arbor, who created the Ford Motor Company. Along with that came so many other industries. The Goodyear, Goodrich, and Dunlop families all produced tires for the auto industry. The many fuel companies began to produce fuel for that industry. There was transportation, shipping, trains, trucking, and the roads. This is just a small piece of what the auto industry did for the North American market. The average American, the average Canadian, could own an automobile.

Competition ensued as a result of that. We had new companies that started up, with improvements and better cars, and it spread to other sectors.

We mentioned our food industry. We talk so much about food, better farming practices, healthier foods, and lower prices. Today about 10% of what we make is spent on food for the average family.

We could go on and on. I think we all agree that what has transpired as a result of the free market system and the free trade that has ensued has been good. It has been good for Canada, but it has not only been good for Canada; it has been good for the world.

As we close this debate, as we move on to vote, I encourage everyone to strike a yea vote for Bill C-13. Let us get this passed, and let us keep on down the road in a direction that we all know is good for this planet and for everyone who lives here.

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September 20th, 2016 / 10:20 a.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, I actually did not raise the TPP during my speech, but I would be happy to answer.

The concerns the NDP members have raised, and they are concerns brought to us by many stakeholders, not just here in Canada but at the beginning of the discussions on the TPP, were that they were done in private and created an agreement that, basically, we cannot amend right now.

Let us imagine that someone went to buy an automobile—my personal preference, in terms of my riding, would be a Pacifica—and in trying to negotiate the sale was given a contract, with the only option being to sign that contract.

Later on, when there were discussions and hearings, as we are having, we heard concerns that people were not consulted during the creation and have no avenue to deal with the issue.

I would continue to at least look at some of the benefits and some of the challenges we have. On Bill C-13, I have talked a lot about organized crime and the exposure of our ports, with goods and services coming into Canada, which would expand, as would the problems we have with organized crime.

Interestingly, we are going to have a chance in this chamber very soon to deal with a bill on organized crime. It is my private member's bill, Bill C-221, which is up for a vote on Wednesday. That bill alone will end a $10-billion annual benefit, in cash, for organized crime in Canada alone, and $4 billion in Canadian money that goes offshore.

We can affect things right here, right now. This bill, C-13, will have further challenges if we want to tackle organized crime.

Food and Drugs ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2016 / 10:20 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, Bill C-13 is about a meeting that took place among the World Trade Organization members. Some 160-plus countries came together, recognizing that there was a need to facilitate an agreement to ensure that the world would be better off in terms of trade.

Two-thirds of those countries need to approve the agreement, signed in December 2013, to ultimately implement it. Since June, just over 80 countries have ratified it.

Bill C-13 is about ratification by Canada so that we accept what is being proposed. My understanding is that the New Democrats will be supporting Bill C-13 going to committee.

Is the member aware of any amendments he might want to share with the House that he believes should be brought forward at the committee stage?

Food and Drugs ActGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2016 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Madam Speaker, I have raised this extensively because Bill C-13 would amend several pieces of legislation that deal with everything from poisons, to hazardous material, to other potential contraband coming into Canada. Organized crime uses this as a serious plank for operations, and that is why I spoke earlier about my private member's bill that will be up for a vote on Wednesday to send it to committee. It deals with single event sports betting in Canada, which amounts to $10 billion annually that goes to organized crime base, minimum. Last time, Joe Comartin's bill passed to the Senate, and since then there has been about $50 billion of estimated gaming revenue going to organized crime, with no public good.

There is $4 billion that goes offshore for other types of practices as well, and people are asking for regulation. This chamber will have a chance on Wednesday to strike first and fast at organized crime's number one tool, and I am hoping Bill C-13 could be the second tool for that issue.