moved that Bill C-30, An Act to implement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union and its Member States and to provide for certain other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, it is very appropriate that we should be beginning this debate following our discussion of the private member's motion that celebrates the close and historic connections between Canada and Germany. As we have just heard, Germany has indeed been one of the driving forces in getting this historic agreement signed.
I am delighted to rise in the House today in support of legislation to implement the Canada-EU comprehensive economic and trade agreement, CETA.
This is a historic day for everyone, a moment that I know very many hon. members of the House have worked hard to achieve. CETA is the most progressive trade agreement ever negotiated. It will help redefine what trade can and should be. It will lead to increased prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic, create well-paying middle-class jobs, which I will speak to further in a moment.
Our government believes strongly in an open global economy, and we will continue to champion the open society and open global trade. However, we cannot ignore the reality that, today, we are living in the most protectionist environment I have experienced in my lifetime, probably the most protectionist environment since the Second World War.
There is a reason for that. Many people simply feel that 21st century global capitalism is not working for them. This anxiety is manifesting itself, among other things, in a powerful backlash against globalization. For those of us who support the open society, and I hope and believe that includes all members of the House, it is incredibly important for us not to be in denial about the importance of these sentiments that are sweeping so much of the western industrialized world.
This is real. It is tempting for us to say that if only we could explain to people how positive the open society is, how valuable trade is, how costly protectionism is, if only we could find better words, everything would resolve itself. However, that is not going to be enough. We need to look more deeply than that and understand that this powerful wave of populist anti-globalization sentiment is based in the very real, very concrete experience of so many people in western industrialized countries, including our own. The answer has to be in more than trade deals, because the anxiety is about more than trade deals. It is about the impact of 21st century global capitalism.
The concerns people have, the economic concerns, the concerns they have for themselves, for their retirement, and for their children, are very real, and we need to address them. That is why our government is very proud to have cut taxes for the middle class. We are proud to have raised taxes on those who can afford them, the 1%. We are very proud to have created the Canada child benefit for the families most in need, and have boosted CPP for our seniors.
We are making essential investments every day that strengthen and support our middle class. We know and believe that that is why we can still proudly say in Canada that we have broad public support for the open society and globalization.
It is also why CETA is all the more important. Canada is raising the bar with CETA and establishing more inclusive trade and higher standards for how global economies must function in the 21st century. This agreement that we are debating today cements the paramount right of democratically elected governments to regulate in the interest of our citizens, to regulate the environment, labour standards, and in defence of the public sector.
We are proud to have made these changes to CETA since coming into office. We will continue to champion aggressive trade policies. As the Prime Minister said about CETA:
That leadership that we were able to show between Canada and Europe is not just something that will reassure our own citizens but should be an example to the world of how we can move forward on trade deals that do genuinely benefit everyone.
I must say, having just returned at five o'clock this morning from Lima, Peru, from the APEC trade summit of Asia Pacific countries, CETA was much discussed and seen as an example of how it is possible, even in 2016, to do progressive trade deals.
Most importantly, CETA will benefit Canadians. It will give benefits to consumers through lower prices and more choice; it will help workers with better quality jobs, because we know that jobs in export-oriented sectors pay 50% more; and it will help small and medium-sized businesses by lowering the tariff barriers their products face.
CETA sets new standards for trade in goods and services, non-tariff barriers, investment, and government procurement in addition to its very high labour and environmental standards.
CETA offers Canada, Canadian workers, and Canadian businesses preferential access to a dynamic market of more than half a billion people. This is the world's second largest market for goods. In fact, the EU's annual imports alone are worth more than Canada's entire GDP.
Of the EU's more than 9,000 tariff lines, approximately 98% will be duty-free for Canadian goods the moment CETA comes into force, and almost all of the remaining tariff lines will be eliminated when the agreement is fully implemented. This will translate into better market opportunities and more jobs for Canadian businesses of all sizes, in all sectors, and in every part of the country.
Consider Guelph's Linamar, a Canadian manufacturing success story with operations in Europe, which now stands to be even more competitive in the EU market as tariff barriers on products like its Skyjacks go down to zero; and Northland Power, with its clean and green power projects, which can expand even further into Europe; or one of my favourites, Manitoba Mukluks, a Métis-founded business, whose mukluks and moccasins are currently subject to a 17% tariff in Europe. That tariff will go down to zero when CETA enters into force.
Whether it is technology and software, aerospace, telecoms, clean tech, life sciences, agriculture, or infrastructure, Canadians working across our economy stand to benefit from this deal. This is great news for our middle class and those working hard to join it.
My hon. colleagues know, though, that trade today is about more than just tangible goods. It also includes services. In Canada and the EU, the service sector is responsible for most of our economies—more than 70% in both cases. CETA, a gold standard, modern agreement, recognizes the increasingly important role services play in global trade and creates a wealth of new business opportunities for Canadian service providers.
CETA offers Canadian businesses new opportunities to access EU government procurement contracts, which are estimated to be worth $3.3 trillion. In addition to increased access to markets, CETA also includes many other important benefits.
CETA is the first bilateral trade agreement in which Canada has included an entire chapter on regulatory co-operation. It includes a conformity assessment protocol, which will allow Canadian businesses in certain sectors to sell their products tested and certified in Canada without the European Union having to duplicate those testing and certification requirements.
CETA also includes a detailed framework for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, which is a key factor for labour mobility.
CETA is a progressive and modem trade agreement that fully integrates labour rights and environmental standards. It emphasizes the role played by public services and the right of states to pass regulations.
Our common objective is to ensure that globalization is a positive force based on our shared values and high aspirations. That is this agreement's raison d'être and why it is so important.
I will now address some of CETA's more progressive elements. CETA's preamble recognizes that the agreement's provisions reaffirm the parties’ right to regulate within their respective territories to achieve legitimate policy objectives, such as the protection of public health, safety, the environment, public morals, and the promotion and protection of cultural diversity.
Article 8.9 of the chapter on investment makes it clear that the parties to the agreement preserve the right to regulate in order to achieve legitimate policy objectives.
Changes were made to the investor dispute settlement provisions to include more detailed commitments on the independence and ethical behaviour of members of the tribunal, as well as establish a revised process for selecting members of the tribunal and an appeal mechanism.
Nothing in CETA prevents governments from regulating in the public interest, including by granting preferential treatment to indigenous peoples or adopting measures to protect or promote Canadian culture.
CETA will not necessarily lead to the privatization of public services. Canada has a great deal of experience using the negative list approach and is sure that CETA will give it free rein when it comes to policy making.
Articles 23.2 and 23.4 under the labour and trade chapter address labour rights and recognize the right of Canada and the European Union to set their own labour priorities and protections and stipulate that it is inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or reducing the levels of protection afforded in their labour law and standards.
In the chapter of CETA on trade and the environment, Canada and the European Union also reaffirm that environmental standards cannot be lowered in order to promote trade or attract investment. Those are two very important points for both us and the European Union.
CETA also recognizes the European Union's and Canada's right to define their own environmental priorities and levels of environmental protection and to pass or amend their own laws and policies accordingly.
What is more, CETA includes a commitment to co-operate on trade-related environmental issues of common interest, such as environmental assessments, climate change, and the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Our government has been tireless since the day we assumed office, pushing this deal forward and leaving no stone unturned. I would like now to recognize some of the people who have worked so hard on this historic agreement.
I would like to start, of course, with my Prime Minister, whose relentless advocacy, in public and in private, whose work directly with Europe's leaders, and whose work at home and abroad, were essential in getting to where we are today. I thank him for his leadership on CETA, and more generally for his voice in Canada and the world in speaking for the open society.
Many of my cabinet colleagues, as well as my exceptional parliamentary secretary, have worked extremely hard on this agreement, both in Canada and in Europe. Their engagement has been absolutely essential. In fact, my parliamentary secretary and our CETA envoy have spent a great deal of time over the past weeks and months across Canada, and particularly working with our partners in Europe.
Hon. members in this House, and particularly our Quebec caucus, worked very hard in the final days before the signing of CETA, personally reaching out to our European partners, to legislators in Europe in national and subnational assemblies, explaining to them how important this agreement was, and speaking about the shared values between Canada and Europe, including our shared membership of La Francophonie.
I would like to sincerely thank my colleagues for this absolutely critical work.
Our provincial and territorial partners have been extremely engaged in working on CETA. I am very proud to say that when we were in Europe a few weeks ago to sign CETA, the Europeans pointed to Canada as an example of effective federalism, of federalism that works. The degree of co-operation between the provinces and the federal government on this essential deal has been outstanding, and I would like to strongly thank the trade ministers of Canada's provinces and territories and their chief negotiators, who worked so hard on the agreement.
I would like to single out the role that Quebec has played in working on the agreement. The leadership of Quebec, including strong advocacy for CETA in Europe, was very important, and played a particular role in securing the support of francophone Europe for this deal.
I would like to thank my Quebec colleagues.
I would like to very warmly recognize and thank the exceptional work of our public service. We in Canada are extremely lucky to have outstanding public servants, and, as trade minister, I say our trade negotiators are the best of the best. They have done an outstanding deal on CETA.
I would like to personally recognize Steve Verheul, our chief negotiator for CETA. I would like to thank him for his years of dedicated work to ensuring that we as a country could conclude negotiations on this progressive gold standard agreement. It will serve as an international standard and also offer tremendous specific, concrete benefits to Canadian workers and Canadian businesses.
I would also like to recognize the hard work of the previous government on getting this deal done. Canada's strength is when we can work together across party lines, across this aisle, and pass the ball from one government to another and finally get it over the finish line. I would like to personally recognize the leadership of the former prime minister, Stephen Harper, on this issue.
CETA will set the bar for future trade agreements, and it forms the cornerstone of our government's progressive trade agenda. This is an agenda linked to our government's core focus here at home on reducing income inequality and enhancing inclusive growth that benefits all Canadians. CETA sends a clear signal, at an essential moment, to the whole world, that we in Canada believe in an open society. We believe in a society that welcomes immigrants and welcomes investments, and believes that by doing that we have more jobs and more growth. After all, at our core, we are a trading nation, a nation of immigrants, and we are very proud of that.
CETA sends a message to the world that Canada and the EU reject protectionism and we are committed to a freer and more open global economy. At a time when so much of the world is saying no to trade and no to the global economy, I am very proud that on Canada's behalf, and through CETA, we can resoundingly say yes.
We are sending an unmistakable signal to the rest of the world that even now, at a time of some uncertainty, Canada believes in building bridges, not walls. Now is the time to embrace stronger partnerships with our friends around the world. Now is the time to pursue prosperity and economic growth with a progressive trade agenda, built from the ground up, to help strengthen the middle class here at home.
I welcome this week's debate on CETA, and I hope all members will support this important agreement.