An Act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Jim Carr  Liberal

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 amends the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in order to implement the Canada – Israel Free Trade Amending Protocol 2018 signed on May 28, 2018.

In order to modernize the text of the Act and by that reflect the amendments brought about by the Protocol, this enactment repeals the preamble to that Act and amends the definition of Agreement, the provision setting out the purpose of the Act and the provisions related to the operation of the institutional and administrative aspects of the Agreement. It also amends that Act in order to confer on the Governor in Council the power to make orders in accordance with the amended Agreement.

Finally, the enactment amends certain Acts to bring them into conformity with Canada’s obligations resulting from the amendments brought about by the Protocol.

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.

Votes

Nov. 7, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-85, An Act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other Acts

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2019 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, today I rise on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of International Trade Diversification, to speak to Bill C-85. The bill calls on the government to take all necessary legislative steps to ratify the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, or CIFTA, something I encourage all members to support.

CIFTA is now a modern, forward-looking trade agreement that would better serve the sophisticated Canada-Israel trade relationship, while providing a framework to ensure the benefits of trade are more widely shared. Our government has said from day one that trade and open markets are vital for Canada's economic prosperity. Canada is a trading nation. We know that increased trade creates more and better-paying jobs. In fact, Canada is one of the most open G7 countries, rating second for trade and first for foreign direct investment as shares of GDP. Canadian exports of goods and services were equivalent to just over one-third of our GDP.

On trade diversification, the government is pursuing an ambitious trade diversification agenda, one that will make Canada the most globally connected economy in the world. Allow me to provide a few examples of this.

In October, Canada ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, with a speed reflecting the importance of this deal to farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and workers in all industries across Canada. This historic trade agreement came into force on December 30, 2018, and now Canadian businesses will have preferential access to over 500 million consumers, resulting in long-term gains for Canada in excess of $4.2 billion.

In September, we marked the one-year milestone of provisional application of the trade agreement with the European Union, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA. In this past year, Canadians added $1.6 billion in increased export to Europe and saw a 20% growth in container traffic at the Port of Montreal. We can just imagine the opportunities for Montrealers, Quebeckers and Canadians once this agreement is also passed.

We are also updating existing trade agreements with important partners to better match the realities of the 21st-century economy. We have a new agreement with Ukraine in place since 2017 and on Tuesday, a modernized and inclusive agreement with Chile came into force. The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement distinguishes Canada as the first G20 country to adopt a gender chapter in a free trade agreement.

We are modernizing the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement in the legislation before us today to enhance our relationship with this historical ally.

Finally, the government is actively pursuing opportunities in other important and fast-growing markets and making inroads. Canada is in FTA negotiations with its partners in the Americas, namely the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur, and is exploring possible FTA negotiations with ASEAN. Taken together, Canada has 14 FTAs in force covering 51 countries, connecting our businesses to 1.5 billion of the world's consumers.

While market access is vital, it alone does not create jobs and prosperity for Canadians. Our businesses need the right tools to actively pursue international opportunities, especially in markets covered by our trade agreements. That is why the fall economic statement proposed an export diversification strategy to grow Canada's overseas exports by 50% by 2025, with more assistance for small and medium-sized businesses to help them explore new export opportunities.

The trade diversification strategy will focus on three key priorities: first, investing in infrastructure to support trade; second, providing Canadian businesses with the resources to execute their export plans; and finally, enhancing trade services for Canadian exporters. We know that when we diversify our markets abroad we create well-paying jobs at home for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

Our efforts signal to the world that trade matters, that rules matter and that we will not be drawn into a world of protectionism. We firmly believe our international trade relationships are mutually beneficial. This is demonstrated in the modernized CIFTA, the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement before us today.

Since CIFTA first came into force over two decades ago, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Israel has more than tripled, totalling $1.7 billion last year. This is a testament to how FTAs help advance trade, yet there is room to grow and deepen the commercial relationship. Israel's economy has significant potential and offers diverse commercial opportunities for Canadian businesses given its well-educated population, solid industrial and scientific base and productive natural resource sectors, in particular agriculture and agri-tech.

By providing expanded market access and more predictable trading conditions, the modernized CIFTA would enable Canadian companies to take meaningful advantage of these opportunities. That is why Bill C-85 before us today is so important. Allow me to elaborate further on this point by turning to how this tangibly translates into real benefits for Canadian businesses.

Canada and Israel agreed in 2014 to modernize CIFTA, which, at the time, was a goods-only trade agreement. The result of those negotiations is an agreement that updates four of the original chapters, including dispute settlement to bring CIFTA up to the standard of a more recent trade agreement. It adds nine new chapters, including intellectual property and e-commerce. We have negotiated rules that are designed to help address non-tariff barriers, contribute to facilitating trade and reduce some of the costs to companies for doing business.

We also have improved the terms of market access for Canadian companies. Once enforced, close to 100% of all current Canadian agriculture, agri-food and seafood exports to Israel will benefit from some form of preferential tariff treatment, up from the current level of 90%. Meaningful market access for Canada's agriculture and agri-food processors was a key interest in these negotiations and the government delivered, including unlimited duty-free access on sweetened and dried cranberries, baked goods and pet food.

These important tariff outcomes for the agriculture and agri-food sector place Canada on a more level playing field with exporters from the United States and the European Union, which are our key competitors in this sector. They also give Canadian companies a leg-up on competitors in other countries that do not have a free trade agreement with Israel. In exchange, Canada agreed to eliminate tariffs on certain targeted Israeli agriculture and agri-food imports, such as certain fish and nuts, some tropical fruit and certain oils.

I want to reassure all hon. members and all Canadians that a modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, like its predecessor, fully respects Canada's supply management system. I am pleased that the negotiated outcome has the support of key Canadian agriculture stakeholders, including Pulse Canada, the Canola Council of Canada, the Canadian Vintners Association and companies including the processing of potatoes, cranberries, soybeans and pet food. These are only a few of the opportunities the modernized CIFTA provides.

I would like to now speak to an important aspect of the government's trade agenda that aims to ensure these opportunities are more widely shared among Canadians.

An important aspect of the modernized CIFTA is its forward-looking framework that includes new chapters on trade and gender, small and medium-sized enterprises, labour and environment, as well as a new provision on corporate social responsibility. This modernized agreement also provides institutional mechanisms to monitor or address human rights-related matters in the context of the trade agreement, including references and provisions relating to workers' rights and working conditions, responsible business conduct, transparency and anti-corruption. In this regard, this modernized agreement is a new forward-thinking partnership that reflects who we are as vibrant, diverse, open and democratic societies and as in the original CIFTA, just as with all Canada's FTAs, this modernized CIFTA can be terminated by either party unilaterally at any time for any reason.

Some inclusive trade highlights are the new chapters on trade and gender and on small and medium-sized enterprises. Both provide a framework for parties to work together to help ensure women and small and medium-sized enterprises can more fully benefit from the opportunities created by this modernized CIFTA. Each chapter establishes a bilateral committee to oversee activities, including co-operation and promotion activities that provide information and enhance the ability of women and small and medium-sized enterprises to benefit from the opportunities created by this modernized CIFTA.

The new gender chapter acknowledges the importance of incorporating a gender perspective in economic and trade issues to ensure that economic growth can benefit everyone. This chapter has it. This chapter builds on the work accomplished in Canada's first gender chapter, which was negotiated through the modernized Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. Only the third chapter of its kind, it is also the first such chapter negotiated by Israel. CIFTA's gender chapter, for the first time ever, will include a measure of enforceability through dispute resolution.

The new corporate social responsibility article affirms Canada and Israel's commitment to encourage the use of voluntary CSR standards by enterprises, with specific reference to the government-backed OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to which Israel and Canada are both parties.

The modernized agreement contains a new chapter on labour that commits both parties to enforce their laws in this area, which must respect the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. The new labour chapter provides protections for occupational health and safety, acceptable minimum employment standards and non-discrimination for migrant workers.

Allow me to draw to the attention of all hon. members that the successful negotiation of a high-quality labour chapter with Israel was a significant step in modernizing CIFTA. It is the first such chapter negotiated by Israel in a free trade agreement. The United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement does not include labour provisions. The EU-Israel association agreement, the legal basis for EU trade relations with Israel, makes only a few references to labour, with no enforceable obligations.

The modernized CIFTA is also the first time Israel has negotiated a chapter on the environment in a free trade agreement. The new environment chapter contains robust commitments, including to maintain high levels of environmental protection as we intensify our trade relationship. Importantly, both Canada and Israel commit to not lowering our levels of protection in order to attract trade or investment.

Our two countries, Canada and Israel, have a deep history. Canada's strong friendship and partnership with Israel spans more than 70 years and stretches back even further to the arrival of the earliest Jewish settlers in Canada more than 250 years ago, the first of successive waves of immigrants who would leave lasting and indelible impressions on the fabric of our Canadian society, economy and political landscape.

Today there are more than 350,000 Canadians of Jewish faith and heritage in Canada who are an important source of information and support in the political and commercial spheres for both Canada and Israel. There are also approximately 20,000 Canadians currently living and working in Israel. The Minister of International Trade Diversification had the opportunity to meet with some of these individuals during his visit to Israel last year.

For those in the House today who may not know, Israel has a long-standing reputation for technological prowess and a well-developed scientific and educational base. We know this very well in the riding of Waterloo. We see room to expand and build partnerships in these sectors and in many other areas.

When our Minister of International Trade Diversification was in Tel Aviv last September, he announced a pilot program to facilitate new cybersecurity solutions for the energy sector that will consider Israeli options to address the needs of Canadian natural gas delivery companies.

There are also great prospects for forging increased partnerships in the areas of joint research and development. Canadian and Israeli firms have joined forces to develop an ultraviolet water monitoring system that would ensure the safety of drinking water, and there are even more possibilities on the horizon that will change countless lives in communities around the world. Our government firmly believes that these kinds of global partnerships are needed now more than ever.

In conclusion, Canada represents just 0.5% of the world's population, but we account for five times more in global trade. Our continued competitiveness depends on businesses, including small and medium enterprises, pursuing trade opportunities and that we support them in doing so.

Successful trade provides for good employment opportunities. With one in six Canadian jobs linked directly to exports, our government is deeply committed to growing trade and expanding opportunities for all Canadians.

I therefore urge all hon. members to support Bill C-85 to enable Canada to do its part to bring the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement into force on a timely basis and to support Canadian companies as they seek to benefit from the opportunities it offers.

This legislation should be passed today so that the Senate can also do its due diligence. I thank members for their work in helping this legislation move forward rapidly.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2019 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, we believe that it is important that we build upon this important relationship between Canada and Israel. We recognize the importance of doing more work. I acknowledged that in my speech.

Bill C-85 is really about providing Canadian businesses with opportunities to grow and expand, creating more better-paying middle-class jobs and helping those fighting hard to join the middle class. We will continue to work hard for them.

We believe that trade is mutually beneficial for both countries, and that is why we believe that this modernized CIFTA should move forward rapidly. I agree with the member that we can always do more work, and I hope we can do that work together.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2019 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-85 modernizes that agreement.

This agreement has been in place for over two decades. This is an opportunity for us to modernize this agreement. That is why we see chapters in this agreement that other countries have not put forward.

We see for the first time in the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement that Israel has brought forward a chapter on gender. We see a chapter on the environment. It is important that we have trade that works for all Canadians and all Israelis. We will continue to ensure that this modernized agreement benefits more Canadians and more businesses so that more Canadian businesses can grow and succeed.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2019 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-85. It is a great honour to speak in this brand new chamber for the first time. As always, I am grateful for the opportunity.

At the outset, let me begin by thanking the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, for his hospitality and outstanding efforts in encouraging all members of the Knesset to get involved in building relationships with other nations, particularly Canada. I know my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence will agree that Speaker Edelstein exemplifies statesmanship in our time. He is also a man who has endured unbelievable hardship, suffering in the gulags in the U.S.S.R. as one of the last refuseniks.

Canada and Israel are the greatest of friends and the most natural of allies. Since its founding in 1948, Canada supported Israel in its right to live in peace and security in one of the least stable regions of the world.

There may be no better friend to Canada than Israel, with which we are bound together by a shared belief in freedom, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. This renewed agreement is not only another step forward for Canada and Israel economically, but also with respect to our ever-important diplomatic alliance and personal friendships.

It was in May 1961, under Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, that Canadians first warmly welcomed Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to our country. It is fitting that in 2014 another Conservative prime minister was the first Canadian to be invited to speak at a session in the Knesset.

In that speech, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper emphasized the fundamental relationship that was so important. He stated, “Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so. This is a very Canadian trait, to do something for no reason other than it is right even when no immediate reward for, or threat to, ourselves is evident.”

Canadians are proud to do what is right, regardless of reward or threat, because that is the Canadian thing to do. That is why our Conservative government sought to actively support the people of Israel and the Jewish diaspora domestically and in the international arena. Indeed, from 2006 to 2015, the Canada-Israel relationship grew stronger than ever.

In November 2010, Canada hosted, in Ottawa, the conference on combatting anti-Semitism, which was an important international discussion, with representatives from over 50 countries, on addressing rising anti-Semitism in the world. Part of that discussion on anti-Semitism includes ensuring that we do our part to ensure that the atrocities that were committed against Jewish people during the Holocaust are never forgotten.

Our government pushed forward on fighting anti-Semitism and educating Canadians about the horrors that the international Jewish community had faced. We partnered with B'nai Brith to develop the national task force on holocaust research, remembrance and education.

It was former Conservative member Tim Uppal who brought forward the National Holocaust Monument Act as a reminder to Canadians and all those who visit our capital.

However, as the House acknowledged last year, Canada is not innocent when it comes to anti-Semitism. The MS St. Louis remains a dark chapter in our history, when Jewish refugees arrived in Canada after being turned away in Cuba, the United States and South America. We turned them back to Europe, many to face their death in Nazi concentration camps. As far as the Government of Canada at the time was concerned, none was too many.

In January 2011, alongside the Canadian Jewish Congress, former minister of immigration, Jason Kenney, revealed the Wheel of Conscience at Pier 21 in Halifax to commemorate the tragic journey of the St. Louis. The Wheel of Conscience serves to remind Canadians of the underlying attitudes that led to the St. Louis being turned away. The polished stainless steel wheel incorporates four interlocking gears, each bearing a word to represent factors of exclusion: anti-Semitism, xenophobia, racism and hatred. The back of the wheel bears the passenger list of the St. Louis, including the names of those who died at the hands of the Nazis upon their return to Europe.

Let that monument be a reminder of how far we have come. Truly, as a country, we have gone from darkness to light, thankfully.

The tragic events surrounding the St. Louis are just one reminder of how important it is for Canada to work with Israel to support the Jewish people's homeland and ensure it remains a vibrant and prosperous country that lives in peace with its neighbours, and, just as important, how important education and dialogue are to ensuring the horrific events of the Holocaust never happen again.

However, supporting the Jewish community means much more than recognizing the failures of the past. It also means moving forward in a way that supports its right to self-determination and to its homeland, and our government made landmark steps towards ensuring that the Jewish state would be able to continue to find prosperity and provide a safe home for its people in an increasingly complicated and dangerous world.

In 2009, our government cut funding to UNRWA, whose ties to Hamas and anti-Israel activities that threatened the lives Israelis and Palestinians alike were unacceptable.

In 2012, our Conservative government signed a new agreement on energy co-operation with Israel that advanced the interests of Canada's energy sector. This agreement also increased collaboration on renewable energy and improving practices for responsible development and reducing environmental impacts.

In 2014, our Conservative government signed the Canada-Israel Memorandum of Understanding, which laid the groundwork for greater economic and diplomatic co-operation to ensure new levels of growth, prosperity and security for our two countries. This framework, which was laid out in 2014, led to a new Canada-Israel air transport agreement to the benefit of Canadians and Israelis alike. It also, of course, led to this modernized free trade agreement that sits before us today, an agreement that was negotiated almost entirely by our Conservative government.

In January, 2014, our government and the Israel government agreed to a partnership to help launch the grand challenges Israel initiative, which promoted global health innovation and fostered scientific and technological innovations to solve health problems in a developing world.

In June, 2015, we announced the Canada-Israel health research initiative to fund up to 30 research projects with a focus on neurosciences and neurological disease.

In January that same year, our government signed the Canada-Israel Joint Declaration of Solidarity and Friendship to outline the path forward for our two countries. Canada committed to supporting Israel's right to live in peace with its neighbours, and we committed to fight any international efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel, and we kept our promise.

Time and again, our previous Conservative government stood up for the right of Israel to exist and to defend itself. While tyrannical regimes in Iran, Syria and other countries sought to delegitimize and dismantle the state, the international community repeatedly sought to unfairly single out Israel as well. Our government rejected what could only be described as targeting of the Jewish state.

Ultimately, if we wish to be a country that promotes democracy, human rights, innovation, freedom, those values that are so important to us as Canadians, then we must continue to forge closer ties with and support nations that embody those same values. This free trade agreement is a significant step forward in continuing our support for our friends in Israel and in promoting those values we share.

We cannot risk abstaining from votes at the United Nations either. These votes unfairly single out and target Israel. Motions from any country in any form that seek solely to undermine Israel's legitimacy and ignore the atrocities being committed by other countries cannot go ignored and must be challenged.

I have been involved in Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Group since I was first elected to this place. I served as the chair from 2011 to 2015, and I continue to be an active participant in the ongoing dialogue between our Parliament and the Knesset as a vice-chair.

In our many meetings, we have heard and discussed the important role that Canada has played internationally and how much our allies appreciate our efforts, but also how important it is for Canada to remain vigilant.

I have also been fortunate enough to travel to Israel on several occasions, including with former Prime Minister Harper, former Governor General David Johnston, with parliamentary delegations and on personal voyages. Across all of those journeys, it is the people of Israel throughout history; from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who travelled from Ur, the Chaldeans, which is now today's Iraq, and came to the promised land; to Joseph, who saved Israel by going to Egypt and ensuring the famine did not consume his brothers and his father; to Moses, who led Israelis into freedom from their bondage of slavery; to Joshua, King David, the prophets; to the Maccabees, and we celebrate Hanukkah today because the Maccabees were proud enough and strong enough to take back the temple that was being desecrated; to those who kept the Jewish flame alive throughout the years of anti-Semitism; to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust; to David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir; and to the Israelis today that has remained resilient against all odds and hardship. This amazes me the most.

I would like to highlight one more quote from Prime Minister Harper's address at the Knesset. He spoke about the story of Israel:

It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society. A vibrant democracy. A freedom-loving country with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary. An innovative, world-leading “start-up” nation.

If that is not the kind of country we want to grow our ties with, a country that believes in the rule of law and human rights, a country that is innovative, a country that serves as the only stable democracy in the region, then I do not know what country we should align ourselves with.

However, we also must address the domestic impacts of this agreement.

In light of the ongoing trade disputes with the United States, the potential fallout from China during this extradition dispute and the uncertainty in the European Union with Brexit, Canada must continue to look for new opportunities to get our goods to foreign markets.

Our caucus supports free trade. We are a party of free trade. We support a more competitive and prosperous Canada. Free trade is crucial to promoting competitiveness at home and getting Canadian goods to foreign markets.

Being the representative from a region that has been hit particularly hard by steel tariffs put in place by the American administration, I have heard from so many about the need to diversify our trading practices, and this renewed Canada-Israel agreement is a good start.

Between 2006 and 2015, our Conservative government secured access to over 50 countries, and this renewal imitative with Israel was a Conservative one that the government launched in 2014.

Our government negotiated the vast majority of this deal. I would like to thank the hon. member for Abbotsford, who worked tirelessly to finalize not only this agreement, but also the trans-Pacific partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, as well as the various other agreements that he was largely responsible for.

Our Conservative government negotiated an updated dispute settlement mechanism, which brought in new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. It was our government that negotiated reduced tariffs and new market access for Canadian goods, including agricultural and seafood products. We negotiated a new chapter on the environment to ensure that both countries pursued greater environmental protection alongside more liberalized trade.

New electronic commerce and intellectual property chapters, again negotiated by our Conservative government, commit both countries to not introduce barriers to commerce and to protect intellectual property rights.

New standards for food safety protect the health of Canadians and our food supply, while new labour standards ensure international norms are respected and workers in both countries are treated fairly.

Finally, initiatives to reduce red tape and barriers to trade will empower Canadian businesses to grow in Israel and for Canadians to benefit from greater access to Israeli goods.

Obviously our side is glad to see this important legislation, which we negotiated, finally coming through the House so it can be implemented, but quite frankly, it has taken too long for the Liberals to finally wake up and begin reacting to the many threats that our country faces.

As I have already said, free trade is an important aspect of ensuring our international competitiveness, but the Liberals are still forcing reckless and anti-competitive taxes and regulation down the throats of Canadians.

Under the Liberals, small businesses, which the Prime Minister believes are tax cheats, have seen their taxes go up and up, and the Prime Minister's new carbon tax is making it even harder for Canadian businesses to compete internationally against competitors in countries where the governments want to see their economy and their businesses grow and thrive.

Ultimately though, despite the poor economic path that the Prime Minister and the finance minister are taking us down, implementing this trade agreement, a final remnant of our Conservative government, will be an important and helpful step for both Canada and Israel.

I look forward to voting in favour of Bill C-85 and continuing to support a strong economic relationship with Canada and Israel.

I must reiterate that this trade agreement is so much more than an economic arrangement. This agreement is particularly important at this time when a new wave of anti-Semitism, weakly disguised under the veil of a supposed legitimate criticism of Israel, is emerging in Canada and across the world.

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, as well as the so-called Israeli Apartheid Week, are based at their very core in anti-Semitic and racist undertones that seek to do nothing more than spark hatred against Jews in their homeland. I have seen this locally in the city of Hamilton, on the campuses at McMaster University, and it is very troubling.

This agreement is a statement by the Parliament of Canada that in this time of rising anti-Semitism, Canadians will not tolerate the actions of groups that promote hate and prejudice. lt is one more denouncement of the efforts of those who seek to undermine our allies and their citizens. lt is a rejection of the terror that groups like Hamas and Hezbollah seek to instill in the Jewish people and it is repudiation of the tyrannical regimes that finance them. It is a rejection of the efforts of those on the West Bank that would litter children's curricula in schools with hatred towards Jews. It is an indictment against those who would name soccer fields and recreational centres after terrorists and suicide bombers.

Most importantly, it is a declaration of the bond between the Canadian and Israeli peoples, the friendship that has done so much for our countries.

Finally, in Solomon's Book of Wisdom, in the book of Proverbs, at 17:17 it says, “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.”

To my friends in Israel and the diaspora here in Canada, through fire and water we will stand together.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2019 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other acts.

As New Democrats have pointed out in previous debates on this bill, we have serious concerns about the lack of human rights protections contained in the act, particularly relating to the rights of Palestinians in territories occupied by Israel. The NDP tried to address these concerns at committee, but all amendments were voted down.

That said, we are not opposed to a free trade agreement with Israel. New Democrats are in favour of international trade agreements that respect human rights, the rights of workers, the environment and all of our international obligations. In fact, we supported the bill at second reading and had proposed amendments that would have made Bill C-85 a truly progressive free trade agreement, the very sort of agreement the current government claims, with great bluster and swagger, to support, but never actually seems to sign.

Other parties like to say that the NDP does not support free trade and has never supported a free trade agreement. My response is that the NDP supports and actively encourages trade agreements that are fair and responsible, trade agreements that respect human rights, the rights of workers, the environment and all of our international obligations. Canada has yet to sign such an agreement, and if one judges by actions and interactions, is not particularly interested in doing so just yet.

I am quite proud of the amendments we proposed at committee for this bill. We brought forward amendments on human rights, gender rights, indigenous rights and labour rights—reasonable and achievable amendments, as proven by the advances made by the European Union in the update of its free trade agreement with Israel—to ensure that relations between Canada and Israel are based on respect for human rights and international law.

Our amendments, first and foremost, ensure this fundamental concept. They would ensure that the government undertakes an annual gender-based analysis and gender impact assessment that would be applied to the entire agreement, as well as enforceable corporate social responsibility and the standards and principles set out in the United Nations document entitled “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”.

As well, we brought amendments to ensure the provisions of the agreement would respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and that the rights of workers are protected through mandatory mechanisms laid out in the International Labour Organization's Decent Work Agenda, which lays out four pillars contained in the sustainable development goals. One mandatory mechanism is the creation of an independent labour secretariat with the power to oversee a dispute settlement process.

Another amendment was to ensure the creation of a framework for transnational bargaining to allow unions to represent workers in Canada and Israel.

Likewise, we brought forward amendments on environmental protections. These were brought forward in order to ensure a high level of environmental protection through comprehensive and legally binding commitments that meet Canada's obligations under the Paris Agreement reached on December 12, 2015, and to protect against bulk water exports and ensure that water is not labelled as a commodity, which is profoundly important.

We also tabled amendments to include a gender impact assessment, along with an economic impact analysis, a detailed job analysis and an analysis on the impacts of the act on human rights in both countries, including the occupied Palestinian territories.

As members can see, these are basic common sense proposals that are designed to ensure that everyone, and not just our multinationals, benefits from the agreement.

As our party's critic for international human rights, I am gravely concerned about the impact these trade agreements have on human rights in the nations involved. Economic objectives, unfortunately, conflict with human rights obligations in many scenarios.

Canada, for instance, has free trade agreements with a number of countries with appalling human rights records, such as Honduras; Mexico, a country whose very state apparatus has come perilously close to collapsing due to corruption by and conflict with the largest narcotics trafficking enterprises in the world; and Colombia, where over 400 human rights defenders have been murdered over the last three years.

As for this Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, I am deeply concerned about the lack of human rights protections in the bill and the lack of recognition of the rights of Palestinians living in their sovereign territories occupied by Israel.

Canadians expect their government to sign trade deals that respect human rights, international law and our foreign affairs policies. This legislation does not conform to these expectations. Without these protections, the Canadian government is not respecting Canada's commitment to a peaceful and just settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The European Union at least pushed for and received a human rights clause in its free trade agreement with Israel. Notably, since 2015, the EU, a member of the World Trade Organization, has required that products from the occupied territories be labelled as such. While the Israel government has opposed these measures, it has not challenged them at the World Trade Organization. This is important, as Canadians are concerned that Israeli wine, for instance, lacks proper labelling as to whether grapes were produced in the occupied territories.

In July of 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ruled that wines made in the occupied West Bank could not be labelled as products of Israel. After the ruling, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario directed its vendors to pull the products from their shelves. The CFIA emphasized that Canada does not recognize the occupied territories as part of Israel and that labelling products produced there as made in Israel was misleading for consumers and in violation of Canada's Food and Drugs Act.

After a strong backlash, the CFIA said, “We did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement”, which applies to the territory where the customs laws of Israel are applied. This is not acceptable.

This updated iteration of this free trade agreement was a perfect opportunity for us to address and specifically articulate this problem. Let me explain. This trade agreement appears to fail to distinguish between the State of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The European Union has, since 2015, as mentioned, required products from the occupied territories to be labelled as such, yet article1.4.1(b) of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement stipulates instead that the agreement applies to “the territory where its customs laws are applied”.

Under the terms of the 1994 Paris protocol, Israel and Palestine are part of a customs union under which Israel collects duties on goods destined for the Palestinian territories. However, the existence of a customs union does not change the fact that the West Bank, where illegal Israeli settlements have proliferated, remains occupied territory. Bill C-85 appears to cover the products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

Neither Canada nor the United Nations recognizes these settlements as part of Israel. These settlements are illegal. They clearly violate the fourth Geneva convention, which prohibits the settlement of territories acquired by war and the movement of indigenous people in those territories, among other things.

In fact, there is virtual global unanimity that the territories seized and occupied by Israel since 1967, which are the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza, are not part of Israel. Indeed, those territories are a fraction of the land awarded to the Palestinian people by the United Nations partition of 1947.

As stated, Palestinians have been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. That is 51 years. The Canadian government's own policy does not recognize permanent Israeli control over these territories, and stipulates that Israeli settlements, occupation and control violate the fourth Genera convention and many Security Council resolutions.

As stated as recently as 2016 at the United Nations Security Council:

[The Security Council] Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

It also goes on to call upon all states, including Canada, “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”. I would suggest to you that a trade instrument that respects international law would distinguish between the occupied territory and the State of Israel because a trade agreement is a relevant dealing.

I am gravely concerned that this agreement fails our international commitment. It fails its own international commitment to be a respected covenant of trade with another sovereign power. It puts us afoul of international law. Products made in the occupied territories in Palestine must be labelled as such. To fail to do so amounts to a countenance of illegal annexation of territory.

More broadly, I wish to speak for the millions of Canadians who want to see peace in this region and the creation of the secure and sovereign states of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace.

Israel has not complied with its obligations under the Geneva convention. Over time, it has steadily and consistently increased its illegal settlements in Palestine.

In the end, most Canadians wish for a safe, secure, sovereign Israel and Palestine, living in peace and friendship and in mutual co-operation. We all want to see increased commercial, political, social and cultural relations with Israel. However, we also want to see these very same relationship benefits extended to the Palestinians. Trade agreements are important legal instruments that play an important role, along with diplomacy, in ensuring that internationally recognized human rights standards and laws are adhered to and maintained.

They absolutely must themselves comply with these laws and norms. The Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement is not merely the technical construct of an economic relationship, with chapters and chapters on the exchange of goods and services and some voluntary feel-good promises; this is a political treatise that has profound influence on people. It is reckless to sign a free trade agreement that disregards the issue of occupied territory. This only exacerbates the situation, and for what?

I mentioned earlier that the NDP is in support of trade agreements that uphold our international commitments, human rights, the sustainable development goals, indigenous rights and gender rights, and that align with our own foreign policies. However, I would like to point out that a year on from the signing of CETA, our exports have decreased. It makes us question again a trade agreement that undermines human rights, that undermines social responsibility. Why would we sign a trade agreement with Israel that does not respect the position of Palestinian territory? It is reckless because it exacerbates the situation, and why? What is it all for?

We have other free trade agreements that were followed by a decrease in exports to the countries we have signed with. We have signed 14 trade agreements, and exports have decreased to those countries. There is a major fundamental issue, a major fundamental approach to the trade agreements that we have to address. There are underlying issues that have to be examined, and bolder steps have to be taken so that we align not only with our own foreign policies but with international law.

We covet a seat on the United Nations Security Council, and this is a perfect opportunity for this country to step up when it is updating this free trade agreement. In being so bold as to update it, we do not have to forge a path on our own. The European Union has articulated exactly the kinds of amendments that we see as putting us in alignment with our international commitments and our own domestic foreign policies that have been laid out.

We have fundamental issues that need to be addressed with the types of trade agreements that we are creating and signing, and if they are not actually creating opportunities for Canadians businesses, then that is a springboard. It is a definite impetus for us to delve in and see what is fundamentally wrong with these agreements. This is a perfect opportunity for the Government of Canada to change the trajectory.

Enough with the voluntary guidelines for corporate social responsibility. There need to be real, enforceable rules. We could have negotiated stronger language, just as the European Union did with Israel. We could take at least the astute step that the EU has taken on labelling the origin of a product for where it came from: occupied territory. Why mince words? Why not assert international law and human rights? Why not insist on it?

It is disappointing that with this iteration of the CIFTA, a valuable opportunity has been discarded with regard to Israel and Palestine. Canada's trade policy does not align with its foreign policy. The latter acknowledges the importance of international law and the fact that the settlements violate this law. By including settlement products in the provisions of the CIFTA, such treatment de facto legitimizes the settlements, encourages their economic growth and contributes to their permanence. In any free trade agreement, the question should always be “cui bono?”: who benefits?

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2019 / 12:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for St. John's East.

I am very proud to stand for the first time officially to give a speech in this new chamber. It is remarkable to see what the engineers and all the other people who have contributed to this success have been able to achieve.

I am proud to speak to C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act. This is not a new trade deal. This trade deal has existed for 20 years, and it has been very successful. We have seen trade revenues triple through this deal. They are now at $1.7 billion.

That trade deal was focused only on goods being traded. We were able to upgrade it back in 2017. It was agreed that we should modernize it and add chapters to it. That is what we did, and we signed off on it in 2018.

The updated pieces are extremely important. One is on dispute resolution. As members know, it is important that when two or more trading partners move forward on a trade deal, if there are any disputes, we need to have a process in place to ensure that we can find solutions and continue to trade. This is what we were able to add as an updated piece.

We also were able to eliminate or reduce heavily the tariffs on products and increase the number of products in this deal. The rules of origin in the supply chain are quite complex, but we were able to make some headway in that area as well, which is very important.

One new chapter is about e-commerce. I do not know if anyone in this chamber remembers much about online 20 years ago, but there were not too many people doing anything online then. Young people are probably not really aware of that as much as we are. However, 20 years ago, there was no online chapter, of course, and it is an important one for us.

The second one is on intellectual property, which is another very important piece. When we do research and development, we want companies to invest, and we want to make sure that those investments are going to continue. For that to happen, we have to have policies and copyrights that are guaranteed. That is an added piece.

We also added pieces on the protection of the environment, which is extremely important to our government. Two more chapters on labour law were also added.

The pieces I want to touch on the most are the progressive elements in this trade deal, such as gender equality. We have been talking about this in our trade deals for the last two years. Just bringing the perspective of a woman to decision-making at that level is very important, and we need to have more of it. This deal allows it to happen not just in Canada but in Israel as well. We know that this will also help the workforce, because we do not have enough people to fill all the jobs that are required as we continue to prosper.

With regard to small and medium-sized enterprises, when we talk about trade deals, we are often thinking about the big companies trading internationally or globally. What we have done here is recognize the importance of supporting small and medium-sized enterprises so that they can be big players in this trade deal as well. We have been able to achieve that.

We have also been able to move on corporate social responsibility. I know that some people have criticized that as being voluntary, but it brings people to the table. Then we can start to really have some good discussions to make things better. Having good corporate citizens is extremely important.

I have to speak about all these trade deals that our government has been able to accomplish. I listen to the Conservatives and they talk about having worked on such and such a trade deal, but they did not get the job done. We have enhanced and improved them, we got the job done and we are delivering. That is what is important.

We need to keep in mind that Canada is a trading nation. Sixty per cent of our GDP comes from trade, so we need to trade. If we look at CETA, which we signed over a year ago, it is very impressive. We have access now to half a billion people more. We have already seen an increase in the first year of 3.1%, which represents over $1 billion extra. That is important. Ninety-eight per cent of tariffs are off the products going across borders. It was 25% before and now it is 98% plus. It is almost 100%, and some are 100%. It is very impressive as well.

We have seen the elimination of tariffs in certain areas, of course in Nova Scotia, on food and seafood and many other industries, including agriculture. Those are very important industries for Nova Scotia and for Canada.

Let us talk about another half a billion people being added with our our deal on CPTPP with Asia. It is a new market, adding potential products leaving Canada and going to those 11 countries in all. The sectors include fisheries, forestry, agriculture, metal, etc.

Is there a theme here? Absolutely. It is a major theme because all these negotiations are for new agreements, which are putting Canada in another place internationally. It is extremely important. We are punching well over our weight and it is because of this progressive government. It is because of how we negotiate, which is extremely important. I will talk about negotiation in the very near future.

We are the only country that has trade agreements with all seven G7 nations. As well, we are the only country that has a free trade deal with the Americas, Europe and Asia. Therefore, we are doing extremely well.

What is important is what we do with those trade deals. It is the responsibility of all of us, the 338 members here, to ensure our business community and our people are well aware of these opportunities. We need to communicate those, which is why I have sent a letter to all 1,200 businesses in my riding. I have started communication on how I can help them to scale up. Let us work together to make it better.

Let us talk the new NAFTA that Canada has signed, and is a great agreement. We have some added features, for example, lower duties for online shopping. We have strengthened labour rights, which is very important. We have protected against possible auto tariffs, a Canada exemption.

I want to talk about Trump. Everybody says that Trump is a pretty good negotiator. I do not think he is a very good negotiator nor do Canadians. There are three big reasons why.

First, he said that there would be no deal unless there was a sunset clause, to renegotiate in five years or it was dead. We said that this was not going to happen, that we would never sign that deal. Guess what. He did.

Then he said that he would not have any deal while supply management was in place. The U.S. wanted to flood the Canadian market. We said absolutely not, no trade deals without it. Guess what. There were no trade deals again.

Finally, he was tweeting out, no trade deal unless we changed the dispute settlement, unless we traded the dispute resolution. Why? Because he lost every time we went to dispute settlement. He wanted the Americans to control the tribunal. Did he win? No, he did not. Did we win? Yes, we did.

Therefore, Canada actually got the best deal, with the Liberal Party. That is the difference between our party and the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party, from the time we started talking about the trade deal last year, was saying not to worry about it, to sign it. The Conservatives said that they had prepared it and we should sign it. We do not sign what is not good. We are there to ensure every Canadian will benefit from this, that the middle class will benefit from this. I am very happy with this agreement.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2019 / 12:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Nick Whalen Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to speak today on the motion before the House. It calls on the government to take the necessary legislative steps to ratify the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, or CIFTA. I encourage the entire House to support it.

CIFTA is now a modern, forward-looking trade agreement that will better serve the sophisticated Canada-Israel trade relationship, while seeking to ensure that benefits are more widely shared by both Canadians and Israelis.

Our government has said from day one that trade and open markets are vital for Canada's economic prosperity. Earlier, the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook elaborated on that. Canada is a trading nation, and we know that increased trade means more and better-paying jobs for Canadians.

Why modernize CIFTA if we have already been doing so well? Canada and Israel already enjoy a rich and fruitful commercial relationship. Since CIFTA came into force over two decades ago, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Israel has more than tripled, totalling $1.7 billion last year. However, as there was room to grow and deepen the commercial relationship, we made changes.

Israel's economy has significant potential and offers diverse commercial opportunities for Canadian businesses, given its well-educated population, solid industrial and scientific base and productive natural resources sectors. By providing expanded market access and more predictable trading conditions, the modernized CIFTA will enable Canadian companies to take meaningful advantage of these opportunities. This is why Bill C-85 is so important.

Israel is a good partner in trade, and we should capitalize on these additional opportunities for business. I will elaborate further on this point by turning to how this agreement will tangibly translate into real benefits for Canadian businesses.

Once the agreement is in force, close to 100% of all current Canadian agriculture, agri-food and seafood exports to Israel will benefit from some form of preferential tariff treatment. This is up from the current level of 90%. That is great for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the fishery, and also for people in the agri-food sector. This will generate benefits for Canadian companies in areas such as agriculture and agri-food, including products such as cranberries, baked goods, pet food, wine, fruit and fish and seafood.

Meaningful market access for Canadian agriculture and agri-food processors was a key interest in these negotiations, and the Government of Canada delivered by obtaining unlimited duty-free access for sweetened and dried cranberries, which currently have a 12% tariff; baked goods, which are currently tariffed up to 8%; and pet food, which currently has a tariff of 4%. These important tariff outcomes for the agriculture and agri-food sector place Canada on a more level playing field with exporters from the United States and the European Union, which are key competitors in this sector as we try to build our trading relationship with Israel.

This agreement will also give Canadian companies a leg up on competitors in other countries that do not have a free trade agreement with Israel. In exchange, Canada agreed to eliminate tariffs on certain targeted Israeli agriculture and agri-food imports, such as certain fish, certain nuts, some tropical fruits and certain oils.

I am pleased that the negotiated outcome has the support of key Canadian agricultural stakeholders, including Pulse Canada, the Canola Council of Canada, the Canadian Vintners Association and companies involved in the processing of potatoes, cranberries, soybeans and pet food. I am sure my colleagues from Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick will appreciate that as well.

In Newfoundland, there is a little-known winery in Whitbourne called Rodrigues Winery. It is in area of the province that is shared by the member for Avalon and the member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity. There, kosher-certified berry wines are produced, and they appear on shelves in Israel. Agreements like these benefit companies like Rodrigues Winery by providing access to the market in Israel and by keeping the trade relationship between our countries strong.

This modernized agreement and the benefits it provides will be an important tool for a sector that makes a tremendous contribution to the Canadian economy from coast to coast. Successful trade provides for good employment opportunities, and with one in six Canadian jobs linked directly to exports, we are deeply committed to growing trade with this nation and expanding the pie for all Canadians.

Interestingly, for online retailers and service providers, including those in my riding, such as Eclipse Stores, the agreement also includes commitments by Canada and Israel not to levy customs duties or other charges on digital products that are transmitted electronically.

When I first saw this note, I had some concerns about the relevant paragraphs, so I sought some advice from the department regarding what this meant and how it might affect the playing field between local and foreign retailers. I was assured that paragraph 2 in article 9.2 outlines that the moratorium on customs duties applied to digital products transmitted electronically does not preclude a party from imposing internal taxes or other internal charges, such as value-added taxes. I know that is important to some of my constituents.

These are a few opportunities that the modernized CIFTA would provide.

I would like to speak on some of the more important aspects of the government's trade agenda, which aims to ensure that these opportunities are more widely shared among Canadians. This is our inclusive trade partnership agenda.

A priority for this government is our inclusive approach to trade. Simply put, we believe that everyone should benefit from and participate in the opportunities that come from increased trade and investment. We demonstrated that with the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union and with the CPTPP, and we are also demonstrating it with this modernized agreement.

The modernized CIFTA incorporates several key inclusive trade elements. These features will help to ensure that economic gains complement important Canadian values and priorities, such as support for environmental protection and labour rights.

I appreciate some of the comments from members on the other side of the House from the New Democratic Party, who raised some issues about extending these benefits further. However, I believe we strike a good negotiated solution in the Canada-Israel relationship.

These trade elements also help to ensure everyone benefits from and can participate in the opportunities that flow from the agreement. The addition of these inclusive and forward-thinking trade elements signals a commitment from both Canada and Israel to create the right conditions for trade in our modern economies.

There are also additional resources for business. In order for the benefits of free trade agreements to be fully realized, Canadian businesses need to be aware of the agreements and the benefits they offer. Accordingly, the Prime Minister of Canada has mandated the Minister of International Trade Diversification to provide support to Canadian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that flow after trade agreements are signed, including by drawing on resources from across government and from public and private sector partners. In this regard, Global Affairs Canada has mobilized a free trade agreement promotion task force that is undertaking a comprehensive outreach and training program within the business community. Work on these leading agreements is scheduled to take place across Canada in early 2019 so that the task force can focus on the CETA with the European Union, the CPTPP and the implementing legislation that is currently before Parliament.

In addition, Canadian companies can access the free services and export advice provided by the trade commissioner service, the TCS. The TCS helps Canadian companies export by preparing businesses for international markets. I encourage all members of Parliament to encourage businesses that are exporting to take advantage of this service.

Online resources, such as the step-by-step guide to exporting, have also been developed to ensure that Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises from across the country can benefit.

In conclusion, trade is, at the end of the day, about the relationships between people, the opportunity to share in our common prosperity and to work together to create larger, more interesting markets. Canada's strong friendship and partnership with Israel spans 70 years and stretches back even farther, 250 years, to the arrival of the first Jewish settlers to Canada, the first of successive waves of immigrants who would leave lasting and indelible impressions on the fabric of our Canadian society, economy and political landscape.

Today there are more than 350,000 Canadians of Jewish faith and heritage in Canada. They are an important source of information and support in the political and commercial spheres for both Canada and Israel, and they are also good friends. There are also approximately 20,000 Canadians currently living and working in Israel. Such deep ties are important for many reasons. Strong trade relationships depend on people-to-people relationships, which Canada and Israel have in abundance, and they also create peace.

In St. John's East, I grew up just five doors down from our synagogue. People might not realize St. John's has a synagogue, but it does. It once had a very strong and thriving Jewish community, and now it has a strong but smaller one, since, like many other Newfoundlanders, many people have moved away.

My grade nine French teacher, Ms. Frankel-Slama, was one of the best French teachers I ever had, and she is Jewish.

I also want to mention my roommate, Jono Kalles, who organized cultural exchanges between Canada and Israel for many years. I never had the opportunity to go to Israel or Palestine with him, but I have heard other MPs say they had a chance to go so they could make their own contribution to maintaining good relations between our countries.

I would encourage all members to support Bill C-85 to help us accomplish that and a great deal more in the years to come.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 8th, 2019 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to join the debate. This is my first opportunity to rise and give a full speech in this new chamber.

It is not a secret that the former Conservative government was a strong believer in trade. Indeed, no Canadian prime minister in recent history successfully concluded as many trade deals as occurred under Mr. Harper. Obviously, that includes much of the current trade agreement with Israel we are here to debate today.

Before I begin my comments, I would like to share a few things about my riding. Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola is a large and very diverse riding. Yes, we have large urban areas, with West Kelowna and parts of Kelowna, but there are also vast rural areas in my riding. Ranching, mining, forestry, fruit growing, and of course, winemaking are just some of the activities my riding is well known for.

The exciting thing is that more trade deals have been created. This opens new markets and creates new opportunities. I can say first-hand that it is rewarding to meet with producers or growers who share with me that prosperous new ventures have been created for them courtesy of new trade deals. This is occurring increasingly. That is why I am excited about and supportive of this new, updated trade deal with Israel and the opportunities it will create.

Let us not forget that trade is a two-way street. There will be new trade opportunities in Israel as well as in Canada. Therefore, rather than talking about the trade agreement itself, let us look at a few of these new opportunities for a moment.

The first question to ask is what is in it for Israel. It is a great question. Did members know that, currently, one of the top exports from Israel to Canada is electronic items? These days many believe that electronics are largely made solely in China, when in fact, Israel has a thriving electronics sector. Optical, photo, technical and medical equipment is a leading export from Israel to Canada.

Other major exports include machinery, plastics, stone, precious stones and pharmaceutical products. This is on top of edible fruits, nuts, citrus peel and melons. This is all part of a fairly diversified group of products and commodities.

From the Canadian perspective, what do we export to Israel? Industrial machinery is one of our largest exports, followed closely by aircraft and aircraft parts. We also export to Israel our fair share of electronic items and scientific and precision instruments.

We also have emerging agricultural trade. Our top agricultural exports are wheat, corn and lentils. I have spoken with many people from Israel who are always delighted to share with me how much they enjoy chickpeas from some of our prairie provinces, with Canada being the leading source of that staple. In addition, Canada's fish and seafood exports to Israel include fish fats and oils, scallops, mussels and lobsters.

From a provincial perspective, Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. all currently have some level of trade activity with Israel. This was built on the previous agreement and the work Mr. Harper did to bring our two countries together. This new version of the trade deal will only increase that further.

I have to pause here for a moment. In my view, as much as this is a mutually beneficial opportunity for Canada and Israel, I feel I must point out the obvious. This deal, once ratified, will make it easier for a winery in the Okanagan to directly sell to a customer in Israel than to one in Ontario. It will be easier for an Okanagan winery to ship to Tokyo, Texas or Tel Aviv than to Toronto or Alberta.

That we, as a Canadian people, continue to ignore internal trade barriers should trouble all of us, on all sides of this House. I do not want to make this a partisan issue, but we really need to start making some progress on internal trade.

Getting back to the agreement with Israel, I will close by indicating that I strongly support this agreement. I am always excited for the opportunity that new markets create for producers and for small business owners in my riding and elsewhere in Canada. We know that when Canadians can compete, when they have the chance to compete on the world stage, we can produce world-class results and win.

I will be strongly supporting Bill C-85. I would like to thank all members in this place for their contributions to the great Canadian success story of trade on the international front.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 7th, 2018 / 5 p.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be sharing my time with the member for Essex.

I am very proud to speak to Bill C-85. However, before I go into the bill itself, it is quite interesting to see the work our government has done in the last year. This is fourth trade deal on the table. That is very impressive, without a doubt, keeping in mind that 60% of our GDP is from trade deals, so no trade deals, no economy. That is pretty well how I would describe it. Therefore, they are extremely important.

The good thing about this as well is that small, medium and large Canadian companies are able to compete in the world, which is extremely important. There is nothing to fear, because we are among the best in the world and we can produce the best as well.

I would also like to share with members of the House, all 338 members, that in my opinion, it would be a good strategy, which I will focus on in the next few months, to meet with all business associations in our communities. For example, I have one in Sackville, one in Fall River, one in the Eastern Passage area and one in the Eastern Shore, the Porters Lake-Lake Echo area.

It is time to have some really strong conversations about the opportunities that have been created in the last year with these trade deals. People have to understand that these trade deals touch many sectors. As I go through my speech, they will hear about the 100% cut in tariffs. These are great opportunities. My question for all members is this. Are they communicating with our business communities? Are they aware of these changes? Are they aware of the potential opportunities? That is what is important.

I will talk about CIFTA, the Canada-Israel trade deal. This is not something new that has just come about. Last year, we agreed to amend and enhance this agreement. It had been 20 years. How much has this agreement brought to us? Over the last 20 years, we have seen two-way trade triple. It is now up to $1.7 billion, which is an enormous amount of money for two countries directly trading.

This trade deal, Bill C-85, has four amended chapters and seven new chapters. The amendments, as everyone will see, are very important to improving the trade deal, as well as the new chapters. Once again, our government is influencing major changes to enhance many areas of trade.

Let me start with dispute resolution and dispute settlement. As we know, that was crucial element in the USMCA deal and we were not going to sign any deal without it. That is how important it is. Not only is it in this trade deal, but in many chapters. This will make it that much stronger because there will be analysis and discussions on specific chapters and, therefore, over time, both countries will see the strengths and weaknesses and will be able to work through those processes.

This trade deal would provide more access to products, not just good products but all types of products. There will be almost 100% tariff reduction on fish, seafood and agriculture, which are major sectors in our economy.

We see improvement in the structure of the agreement. On the rules of origin, also very important, we were able to bring some relaxed focus to it, recognizing the global value chain and streamlining for tariff treatment. Again, it ensures the necessary conditions will be in place for greater success.

In the new chapters, we see the e-commerce, which is the online purchasing. Again, no tariff will be applied in any way, shape or form. It will also protect our intellectual properties, again because as Canadians, we have many areas where we have been number one. We have the best products and the best inventions. Therefore, we were able to ensure there would be relief on the copyright end.

Other measures we see in these new chapters are around food safety and environmental protection, which are extremely important, as well as labour standards. We have removed technical barriers to trade. These are very important points.

I want to touch on two areas in the added features where Canada has lead once again. The first is applying a gender lens to the trade deal. It is extremely important that we are able to apply that lens to ensure that both genders are able to contribute directly to the economy and these trade issues. We have shown how we can ensure greater success in the economy with direct contributions. It will benefit all Canadians, not just a certain group of Canadians. It is wide open in that sense.

The second area where we have really made some improvement is in the small and medium-sized businesses. As we know, small and medium-sized businesses in Canada are the backbone of our economy. We must ensure that they are successful and that we give them the tools to ensure that success. That is exactly what we have with this deal.

Let us look at how this this deal will affect my province of Nova Scotia. We can look at the CETA deal, for example. Ninety-six per cent of tariffs on fish and seafood are eliminated. In manufacturing, tires had a tariff of 4.5%, and that is gone. It is now zero percent. Machinery and equipment had tariffs of up to 8%. That is gone. Agriculture and agrifood, such as blueberries, had tariffs of up to 9.6% and now have zero tariffs. Maple syrup, which we are extremely well known for in Canada, now has zero tariffs.

These trade deals are extremely important. Our government has been a leader from day one. We are continuing on that. We have signed the CPTPP, with access to over 500 million people. Through both the CETA and the CPTPP, we now have access to a billion people. Again, in the CPTPP we are seeing major benefits to financial services, food, seafood, agriculture and variety of sectors.

Let me finish with a quote. A mining industry representative said, “We can’t afford to be outside of this trading bloc...It would put as at a huge disadvantage.”

It is obvious that this government is focused on the middle class and the economy. We know that 60% of our GDP is based on trade deals and these trade deals will continue to allow middle-class Canadians to prosper.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 7th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other acts.

There are many elements to any trade deal that can make them extremely complex, and they can be massive documents. However, today I want to focus on gender, labour and the important human rights obligations that this deal can address.

The original Canada-Israel FTA was negotiated in 1993, and has been expanded three times over the last 25 years. The last revision or modernization of this agreement was negotiated by the previous Conservative government and is now being brought into force legislatively by the Liberals, much like the original NAFTA deal and the recent CETA and CPTPP agreements.

New Democrats are supportive of the fact that this deal has a number of positive issues. One of them is that it would create more favourable conditions for exporters through important non-tariff commitments. On the trade committee we hear about non-tariff barriers far more than we hear about tariffs, as Canada is largely becoming tariff-free with the globe. It really is non-tariff barriers that we need to address to ensure that trade is flowing.

It would establish mechanisms whereby both nations can co-operate to resolve unjustified non-tariff barriers. It has provisions related to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. It would create potential new and improved market access for Canada, particularly in the areas of agriculture, agrifood, fish and seafood products. There are changes to the rules of origin that reflect many aspects of Canada's current approach, including recognizing the presence of global value chains and the integrated nation of North American production, as well as streamlining the provisions for obtaining preferential tariff treatment.

The environment chapter is another first for Israel and would ensure environmental protections are maintained with recourse to a chapter-specific dispute resolution practice.

There is a chapter on small and medium-sized enterprises that would improve transparency and commit both parties to co-operate with a view to removing barriers and improving access for SMEs to engage in trade. It is widely understood that we need greater supports for our domestic exporters to take advantage of this. Certainly, again at the trade committee, we hear consistently that SMEs are not able to trade in the same way that large players are.

For every FTA that we are signing, our exports are decreasing with the country that we are signing. I point to the recent signing of CETA. A year on from the signing of CETA, our exports have decreased. Therefore, there are major fundamental issues that need to be addressed with the types of trade agreements that we are creating and signing onto, if they are not actually creating opportunities for Canadian businesses.

The modernized CIFTA would provide new and improved market access for virtually 100%, up from 90%, of current exports of agricultural, agrifood, fish and seafood products. In the agriculture and agrifood sector, 92% of Canadian exports would enter Israel duty-free, in unlimited quantities, under the modernized CIFTA, which is up from a current level of 83%. The agreement offers the potential for deeper, broader and more prosperous commercial relationships between our two countries. Because of these provisions, New Democrats will support this bill at second reading, but will make constructive suggestions to include crucial human rights elements, and we hope that the Liberals and Conservatives will accept our amendments at committee.

I want to talk about social issues. We are pleased with the new language and the representation of more social aspects of the deal, such as the environment, small business, corporate social responsibility, labour and gender. However, we cannot understand why, with such a progressive trade agenda for the current government, that it would not have these provisions within the text of the agreement and fully enforceable.

I want to talk a bit about corporate social responsibility. The article references again voluntary OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises that are a broad application to this agreement. This is a good first step. However, with respect to this clause, the New Democrats would prefer to see a corporate social responsibility chapter that has some enforceability and some teeth to it. When corporate social responsibility is only voluntary, how can the government plan to hold corporations to account? Those who violate human rights make a bigger profit when there is no one there to ensure that they are not violating rights. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves why this provision is only voluntary.

As I mentioned, this was the Conservative-negotiated deal, but the Liberals were truly concerned with the provisions. They could have negotiated much stronger language, as was done in the European Union-Israel trade agreement, which states:

Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.

I have to ask why the government did not bother to include a similar general line, at the very least, on human rights provisions in this agreement.

I want to talk a bit about the gender chapter. The NDP would like to emphasize, as we have in other trade agreements, that the provisions around gender and equality cannot be just limited to one chapter, especially when it is unenforceable.

As in the international trade committee, where I am vice-chair, and in committee meetings regarding other trade deals, OXFAM Canada came and presented. It called the mainstreaming of gender rights throughout the entirety of this FTA the path that we need to be on, not only relegating to one small chapter.

Gender equality does not only concern issues of women entrepreneurs and business owners. Labour rights must also address injustices to women, like pay inequity, child labour and poor working conditions.

The NDP believes that for an agreement to be truly progressive when it comes to gender rights, it must address the systemic inequalities for all women.

We also believe that both gender analysis and gender impact assessment must be applied to all trade agreements and we would like to see this in the updated CIFTA. Every trade agreement that we sign should build on the previous gender provisions that we have achieved in other deals.

I want to talk a bit about labour. We are pleased to see that there is a labour chapter, which is a first for Israel in a free trade agreement. This would help to ensure that high labour standards are maintained, with recourse to labour-specific, enforceable, binding dispute settlement mechanisms where non-compliance can lead to monetary penalties.

The Canadian Labour Congress has also made it clear that in order to equally raise labour standards and all standards in an FTA, the labour chapter must include the International Labour Organization's eight core conventions and adhere to its decent work agenda. It also must include the creation of an independent labour secretariat to oversee a dispute settlement process when there are violations of labour rights.

The NDP also agrees with the CLC that the Government of Canada must look at due diligence for Canadian companies and funding agencies and create a framework for transnational bargaining to allow unions to represent workers in multiple countries.

Any FTA should be guided by the principle that no one should be disadvantaged. Working people cannot continue to be an afterthought in trade agreements.

Too often people talk about free trade and state that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and that simply trading with another country, they will emulate higher respect for workers, women and human rights. However, we know that is simply not the case.

When we talk about human rights there are concerns with this FTA due to the fact that there are no human rights provisions and protections and recognition of the rights of Palestinians living in occupied territories. Human rights must be a part of our relationship with Israel, rights that Canadians expect us to uphold throughout the globe. Bill C-85 does not ensure that CIFTA complies with international law. The government must respect Canada's commitment to a peaceful and just settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last week I travelled with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and on the trip to Israel and to Palestine, she repeatedly talked about the importance of Canada's commitment to a two-state solution. This trade agreement is an opportunity to address this issue in a meaningful way by including language that mirrors the Israel-EU agreement.

The agreement appears to cover products made in Israeli settlements and occupied territories. Neither Canada nor the United Nations recognize these settlements as part of Israel. These settlements are illegal and clearly violate the fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the settlement of territories acquired by war and the movement of indigenous people in those territories, among other things.

There is virtual global unanimity that the territories seized and occupied since 1967 by Israel, the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza and East Jerusalem are not part of Israel but form the basis of a sovereign Palestinian state. Those territories are a fraction of the land awarded to the Palestinian people by the United Nations partition of 1967.

As I said, New Democrats have worked for decades for a peaceful resolution in Israel and Palestine and we will continue to fight for fairness and justice for all, including within this agreement.

As I said at the beginning of my speech, there is much within this modernized agreement that is positive and that we agree with. We will work at committee to ensure respect of human rights is included in the newly updated CIFTA.

Trading with Canada is a privilege not just because of our incredible resources and products, but because of our global reputation. Fair trade can be a tool, among many others, that we use to positively contribute to the world around us. Together with our global partners, we can build a better future.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 7th, 2018 / 5:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. I rise today to speak to Bill C-85, the free trade agreement with Israel.

We heard some remarkable speeches today in the House from the Prime Minister, the opposition leader, the leaders of the NDP, and from the Bloc and the Green Party in apology for Canada's turning away of the MS St. Louis.

Remarkably, right after the speeches, we heard my colleague, the member for Calgary Nose Hill, give an impassioned speech in support of concurrence with the committee report on the resettlement of Yazidi women and children in Canada. I really hope that people took notice of that. It is about the same issue, namely, people who are facing genocide in a foreign land and that we are not doing our part to help. I hope the government will listen to the comments by my colleague, the member for Calgary Nose Hill, so that Canadians do not have to sit here a generation from now to hear another apology for turning our backs on these people.

Before I get back to Bill C-85, I want to express, as I am sure everyone in the House does, my sorrow about the horror of the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue a short time ago, an act of violent anti-Semitism and a reminder that this hatred still exists in our world today.

On a per capita basis in Canada, anti-Semitism is unfortunately still the most prevalent hate crime reported. The main synagogue in my riding of Edmonton West, Beth Israel, is a place of worship for a lot of friends of mine. I often visit for events, and I was there this Saturday for the drop-in for Shabbat. One thing I noticed as I approached was a police car across the street providing security and security at the door.

We do not see that security at any other place of worship in Canada, not at the Catholic church I attend, nor the Baptist church that one of my sons goes to for sporting events, nor at other places of worship, such as the mosque that several of my friends attend. It is only at the synagogue. It is disgraceful and very unfortunate in this day and age that this is still required in Canada, the United States, and other parts of the world.

What does this say about our society in Canada in this day and age that a synagogue still requires security? What does it say when a lunatic spouting violent anti-Semitic remarks goes out and kills 11 worshippers in a synagogue? It says that anti-Semitism, unfortunately, is still alive and well and strong.

I belong to an organization called Christians United for Israel. We have about 90,000 members in Canada. There are about 3 million members in the U.S. Why do I belong to it? Well, it is because the scourge of anti-Semitism still flourishes.

Today's debate is on trade with Israel, and I cannot discuss trade with Israel without noting the burgeoning anti-Semitic movement in Canada called BDS, the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement, which works to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. I will call the BDS movement what I believe it is, an anti-Semitic movement.

BDS supporters, hand over heart, will claim they are not anti-Jewish, that they are just anti-Israel. I think we need to call a spade a spade. BDS supporters claim its intent is to move Palestinian-Israeli negotiations forward. Fine and dandy, but it is funny that they are oddly silent about Turkey and Iraq bombing Kurdistan. They are oddly silent about Turkish products from illegally occupied Northern Cyprus. They are oddly silent in response to calls to sanction Morocco for its seizure of Western Sahara.

I have to ask, where is the outrage of the BDS supporters about Russia's illegal invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine? It is funny, I do not see them marching at universities over the tenfold increase in Russian imports into Canada over the last 10 years. Where is their outrage about the Saudi war in Yemen? I do not see them protesting up and down the St. Lawrence as tanker after tanker of Saudi crude sails in. However, I am sure we will see these same people screaming about the injustice of having an Israeli soda stream device for sale in a local store.

The leftists complain that Trump promotes violence with his rhetoric. I believe that BDS and its proponents do the same thing: they promote anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish messaging. To those who say they are not anti-Semitic, just anti-Israel, I say, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.

Why should we support this updated agreement with Israel? Well, Israel is the freest and most democratic nation in the Middle East. It is the only Liberal democracy in that part of the world, and reflects many of the values and beliefs that Canadians hold dear, including respect for democracy, the rule of law, tolerance of a multi-racial and multi-religious society, and tolerance of gender and sexual expression rights.

Israel is called a start-up nation for a reason. It is probably the most innovative nation in the entire world. It ranks first in the world for its attitude toward entrepreneurial risk and for the growth of innovative companies, and it is second, only after the U.S., for venture capital availability. It ranks 20th out of 140 countries listed in the latest competitiveness report for the freeness of economy. Canada can only gain by partnering and having stronger economic ties with such a country.

The fastest growth rates in Israel, averaging 8% annually, are to be found in its high-tech sectors, and 80% of its high-tech products are exported. However, despite all of this, despite its investment in R and D, despite 5.5% of its GDP going for national defence, I would like to point out to my colleagues across the way that the country of Israel still manages to have a budgetary surplus year after year.

As I mentioned, economically, Israel is a high-tech powerhouse, and we can only gain by strengthening our relationship with it. For Canadian companies, we can get improved access to it our agriculture, agri-food and seafood exports. We can get improved border efficiencies, better regulatory transparency and reduced red tape. However, it is odd that the Liberals, who are so in love with regulatory red tape and never pass on a chance to further burden our economy with it, love Israel for the fact that it is going to reduce red tape.

The bill has several new chapters. The new chapter on electronic commerce would commit Canada and Israel to not introduce tariffs and other barriers to commerce. The chapter on intellectual property would affirm commitments between Canada and Israel under the World Trade Organization to ensure proper protection of IP rights. The technical barriers to trade chapter would ensure that technical regulation, conformity assessment procedures and other standards-related measures could not be used as unjustified barriers to trade. The trade and environment chapter would ensure that Canada and Israel pursue high levels of environmental protection while realizing the benefit of liberalized trade. There is a new chapter on trade and labour, which would ensure effective enforcement of labour laws. The chapter on trade facilitation would enhance border efficiencies, increase regulatory transparency and reduce red tape for Canadian businesses. If only the government were as committed to reducing red tape in Canada as it is to trade with Israel. However, both countries would also benefit from an updated dispute settlement agreement and better rules of origin labelling.

We have much to gain from our friends in Israel. As I mentioned, it is literally the only Liberal democracy in the Middle East. It is a world leader in technological innovation. We also see that it leads in pharmaceutical innovation.

Before a friend of mine unfortunately passed away from ALS, he was a test subject who had his body equipped with a robotic walker so he could enjoy the final year of his life being able to walk. These are all advancements made by the Israeli tech industry, which is something Canada can gain from very much.

I would like to end with a quote from the great Milton Friedman about trade, who said:

The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.

I believe the amendments to this trade agreement would benefit both Canada and Israel, as well as our allies.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 7th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Edmonton West for his excellent and relevant speech. It reiterated the position of our party, the party of free trade and the economy. I also want to thank him for sharing his time with me. I am proud to do so.

Today is a very special day. Earlier in the House, we spared a very special thought for those of the Jewish faith. We reflected about them, apologized, and acknowledged the fact that they, as a people, experienced one of the greatest human tragedies and are still standing. I have a lot of respect for the Jewish people.

Unfortunately, on October 27, a synagogue in Pittsburgh was attacked. That is unacceptable. It reminds me of the massacre at the mosque in Sainte-Foy, where people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time fell victim to barbaric acts. These types of attacks are unacceptable in a civilized society. The government needs to put measures in place to eliminate as much as possible these barbaric acts motivated by race and religion.

Today I will be speaking to Bill C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other acts. We, the Conservatives, are the party of the economy, as I said at the outset. We are very proud of the markets that we opened up and developed. We are consistent, and we not only talk the talk, we walk the walk. We are going to support this bill at second reading because it is important to create trade routes, and this is one of them.

As a long-standing trade partner to Israel, Canada has a duty to continue this business relationship. Israel is a major market for Canadian goods and services. The relationship between Canada and Israel is based on shared values and interests. Canada derives tangible benefits from this strong relationship.

First off, with regard to security, Israel is an island of stability amid the turbulence that engulfs the Middle East. The knowledge and experience that Israel and Canada share are ever more important. We all know that in our modern world, threats do not stop at national borders. The security agreement signed by Canada and Israel in 2008 under Mr. Harper's Conservative government has permanently established this collaboration, which is so beneficial for Canada.

Second, there is the economy. Since 1996, Canada and Israel have had a free trade agreement that has significantly boosted trade between the two countries.

Third, there is technology. Israel has the second-largest concentration of high-tech companies after Silicon Valley, in the United States. Israel is a model of innovation. I would add that when I had the privilege, as a parliamentarian, of visiting Israel and Palestine, I observed that the people who live there are determined, intelligent and highly skilled. Canadian start-ups should take a page from their book.

Israel has an impressive approach to supporting and encouraging start-ups. For example, universities are involved in developing start-ups, and there risk is part of the equation. We should be looking at allowing more risk when it comes to start-ups in Canada, because when a company becomes a world leader, even if it is just one in a hundred, that definitely gives us an advantage.

It is therefore in our best interest to come up with a model for start-ups that aligns with the Israeli model.

We are already linked through the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation, or CIIRDF. That foundation takes in proposals for R and D projects in all areas of technology that have no military or defence applications. There is however a special focus on projects in aerospace, agriculture and processed food, financial services, information and communications technologies, life sciences, oil and gas, and sustainable technologies. These relationships are beneficial for both our countries.

The Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, or CIFTA, was signed on July 31, 1996 and came into force on January 1 of the following year. It has therefore been in effect for more than 20 years. This bill seeks to expand the scope of the agreement and deliver on negotiations that were launched in 2010 and 2014. In July 2015 Canada and Israel concluded negotiations on reduced tariffs on all agricultural products, investment protection mechanisms, sanitary measures, intellectual property and non-tariff barriers.

The Government of Canada website on the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement states, under the heading “Modernization overview and chapters”:

In July 2015, Canada and Israel completed negotiations to update four chapters in the Agreement: Dispute Settlement, Goods Market Access, Institutional Provisions, and Rules of Origin. The Agreement was also expanded to include seven new chapters: E-Commerce, Intellectual Property, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade and Environment, Trade and Labour, and Trade Facilitation.

That, to me, shows that three years were wasted updating an agreement that had been signed in 2015 under the Harper government. I might add that the protocol amending the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement was signed three years later in Montreal on May 28, 2018, but has yet to come into force. Until that happens, the 1997 free trade agreement continues to apply.

The discussions concluded in 2015, and we are now nearing the end of 2018. That means we wasted three years. This government's sluggishness has cost us billions of dollars. The Conservative government is the one that negotiated the agreements, while the current Liberal government is just patting itself on the back and signing the agreements.

Let us not forget the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. This multilateral free trade agreement, which was signed on February 4, 2016, aims to integrate the economies of the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas. The negotiation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership began in 2008 under the Harper government. In June 2012, Canada and Mexico joined the negotiations. On February 4, 2016, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership was signed. It must now be ratified by 12 countires, and that process is still under way. Once again, this shows how slowly things move under the Liberals.

Then there is the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA. Who put that in place? Once again, it was the Harper government. It was the Conservative Party, the party that understands the economy and seeks to open new trade routes. I think that is a very legitimate thing to do since our neighbour to the south is unpredictable. Unfortunately, again this morning, I read that our Prime Minister announced that we are going to sign the agreement with the United States even though the tariffs on steel, softwood lumber and aluminum have not been lifted.

It is good to sign agreements, but we need to use our bargaining power. Unfortunately, when this government signs agreements, it uses our agreements and our objectives and simply continues the work we started. Things would not have gone the way they did with the USMCA if the Conservatives were in office.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

November 7th, 2018 / 6 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-85, which implements the new Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.

Earlier today, the House acknowledged the atrocities suffered by the victims of the Shoah, particularly the passengers of the MS St. Louis. Because of a heartless policy, indisputably motivated by anti-Semitism, Canada prevented these 907 passengers from finding refuge here at home. We all bear some responsibility for what awaited them when they returned to Europe.

Ironically, this afternoon we are discussing Bill C-85 to modernize the free trade agreement between Canada and Israel. In 1939, Jews did not have a country they could consider their own, where they could be confident they would be safe. Maybe that is what made them so vulnerable and almost wiped them from the face of the Earth, victims of the madness of some and the indifference of others. Today, almost 80 years later, they have a prosperous country and we are talking about modernizing a free trade agreement linking Canada and Israel. We have come a long way.

We note that Bill C-85 is not introducing free trade between Canada and Israel. It is updating an agreement that has existed since 1997, so for 22 years. Israel is one of the first countries in the world with which Canada reached a free trade agreement. In terms of trade, Quebec and Israel have a lot in common. Israel is a modern country, one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, especially in communication and information, and so is Quebec. In any given year, between 40% and 45% of Canada's technology exports originate in Quebec. Also, Israel is a global leader in the electrification of transportation. Quebec is poised to become one. The only thing missing is a little boost from Ottawa.

In those two areas and in many others, there are numerous and logical linkages between Quebec and Israeli companies. That is why we will be supporting Bill C-85 at second reading.

That said, I want to point out an anomaly in the agreement as drafted that must be corrected. Although we are supposed to be debating a free trade agreement between Canada and Israel, that is not what the text states. In fact, this seems to be an agreement with Israel and the occupied territories. By ratifying the agreement as written, Canada would be in some way recognizing that the occupied territories actually belong to Israel. Such a position is in contravention to Canada's foreign policy, international law and the will of the UN Security Council.

To properly understand this point, let us look at the history. In 1947, the United Nations adopted a partition plan in order to create two states in the territory of British Palestine: a Jewish state, which today is Israel, and an Arab state, which would become Palestine. Unfortunately, things were not so simple.

Arab countries rejected the partition plan, war broke out, and to the surprise of many, the Israeli army forced back the Arab forces throughout the territory. It was in this context of war that the State of Israel was created. When the warring parties agreed to the ceasefire in 1949, the international community accepted the ceasefire line as the Israeli border. Palestine, however, was not born. Egypt occupied Gaza while Jordan occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. There was no peace, however, this was just a ceasefire.

After years of tension, war broke out again in 1967, and Israel, after driving out the Arab armies, began occupying all the Palestinian territory.

Since 1967, the conflict has been frozen. The international community's position has not changed. The State of Israel's territory is what belonged to it in 1949. The rest of the territory it occupies does not really belong to the country. Any change should be the outcome of a bilateral agreement, not a bilateral agreement between Canada and Israel such as the one we are discussing today, but an agreement between Israel and Palestinians.

Canada supports the international consensus. As the Global Affairs Canada website states

:Canada does not recognize Israel's unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem. ...Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967.... Israeli settlements in the occupied territories... constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

Canada's position is clear. It is in line with international law, which the Bloc Québécois fully supports.

That is why I mentioned an anomaly earlier. The free trade agreement appears to deviate from that stance. Article 1.7 specifies that Israeli territory is the territory where its customs laws are applied.

An occupied territory is a territory on which laws are imposed and enforced. This is the very meaning of an occupation.

The agreement as is includes the occupied territories, and in particular the settlements. It states that they are part of Israeli territory, which is at odds with Canada's foreign policy.

When the agreement was signed in May, the Minister of International Trade said the following to The Canadian Press: “In international trade law, the way a territory is defined is the physical territory where the customs laws apply.”

However, this does not have to be the case. Europe chose to make its trade policy comply with its foreign policy. Article 83 of the Europe-Israel free trade agreement quite simply states that the agreement applies to the territory of the State of Israel.

There has been no movement in the Israeli conflict, and it is festering. As settlements continue to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult for Israel to put an end to the occupation, and it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve what everyone here in this House wants, which is for the two states to live in peace, side by side, within recognized borders.

The UN Security Council understood that well. It also understood that a provision like the one in the agreement does not promote peace. In resolution 2334, which was passed unanimously in December 2017, the Security Council called on all states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”.

Quebeckers are friends with Israel, but they are also friends with Palestinians. Above all, they care about peace. That is why, after passing Bill C-85 at second reading, we will ensure this anomaly is corrected.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

October 29th, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
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Jim Carr Minister of International Trade Diversification, Lib.

moved that Bill C-85, an act to amend the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act and to make related amendments to other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by adding my voice to the eloquent words of others earlier on in the House today expressing their horror at the tragedy in Pittsburgh over the weekend taking lives only because Jews were targeted. I will say more about this later on in my remarks because this is my community. I will talk about the ties between Israel and Canada which are based on family, friendship, shared values and understanding the importance of these relationships in an uncertain world.

I rise in the House today in support of legislation to implement the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, or CIFTA.

As Minister of International Trade Diversification, I can attest that today, more than ever, we need to diversify our trade and tap new markets so that more Canadians can compete and succeed worldwide. This government has secured the North American platform with the new USMCA. When we add to that the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, in place since last year, and the now ratified Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, that platform actually extends east and west, from Tokyo to Tallinn.

In CETA's first year, Canadians have added $1.1 billion in increased exports to Europe. With 500 million European consumers at our doorstep, that number is sure to grow. In the fast-growing Asia-Pacific markets, the CPTPP will add a further 500 million consumers to Canada's ever-increasing network of free trade.

Canada is now the only G7 country with free trade links to all of the others. Think about the importance of that reality. We have 41 FTAs connecting us to 1.5 billion of the world's consumers. lnvestors recognize how important this is. FTAs are the bridges, but to truly realize the opportunity we have created, we need people, the entrepreneurs and first-time exporters, to cross those bridges. Our diversity is our economic strength.

Canada and Israel have long been connected through the power of people-to-people ties, a shared commitment to democracy and a friendship that started 70 years ago when Israel became a nation. It continues to grow with each passing year.

Israel is the home of the Jewish people and if we needed reminding why this is so important, why affirming and reaffirming our bonds is so important, we horrifically saw why when on Saturday, 11 worshippers were killed in Pittsburgh only because they were Jewish.

Jewish people have been in Canada since 1759 and now our community of more than 350,000 continues to contribute impressively to our national mosaic. My grandparents came to Canada in 1906, escaping the pogroms of the tsar. They were persecuted only because they were Jewish. That is yet another reason to underline the importance of security to the State of Israel.

I have visited Israel many times and made my first trip as Canada's Minister of International Trade Diversification in August. Canada and Israel have forged a partnership that continues to deepen with each passing year. Strengthening those bonds depends on constant renewal, which is why our government recently modernized the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. The agreement creates opportunities for Canadians and Israelis to partner in the growing fields of science, technology and innovation across our vibrant markets. The agreement has the potential for more people to work together, creating well-paying jobs for hard-working Canadians as a result.

Bill C-85 before the House today stands as testimony to Canada's and Israel's shared commitment to maintain openness, celebrate our friendship and expand our links so that more of our people and more of our businesses can benefit from them.

I am especially pleased that this modernized trade agreement strengthens our commercial ties, generating more business for both our countries. When Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen travelled to Canada this year to sign our modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, we built on that partnership. We committed to a forward-looking framework for trade that expanded meaningful access to each other's markets and introduced chapters on gender, labour, environmental protection, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. Minister Cohen said at that time, “We are witnessing a historical step in the trade relations between the two countries with the signing of the upgraded agreement.”

In some respects Minister Cohen was even a little understated. We expanded market access for more Canadians and Israelis, but we also pushed the envelope by writing new international law, putting an end to inequality of access to job-creating trade and investment. The new chapters on gender, the environment and labour are explicitly about growing our trading relationship while expanding access for those who did not necessarily see themselves or their values reflected in the agreements of the past.

There is enormous untapped economic potential, but for too long we have focused on the few and not on the many. We are changing that. We are encouraging more of these would-be exporters to get in the game, and these chapters are about showing workers and their families that trade can work for them. Israel is clearly thinking longer term to future-proof its own economy, taking full advantage of its entrepreneurial spirit to develop a high-tech industry and to promote clean technologies.

Israelis have every right to tout the initiatives launched by the Israel Innovation Authority to drive public sector innovation. We see room to expand Canadian-Israeli business partnerships, innovating our way into greater prosperity.

Since the original CIFTA came into force in 1997, merchandising trade between Canada and Israel has more than tripled, reaching $1.7 billion in 2017. This demonstrates the importance of trade agreements to bilateral trade.

The modernized CIFTA will open new doors and make Canadian goods more competitive in the Israeli market. For example, in this new agreement, we have expanded market access for goods by eliminating tariffs on nearly all products traded between Canada and Israel, nearly all products. This will make Canadian agri-food, agriculture, fish and seafood products more competitive in the Israeli market, benefiting a range of companies in all those sectors.

We have also negotiated rules that are designed to address non-tariff barriers, facilitate trade, make it more predictable, and reduce red tape, including some of the costs to companies for doing business. The modernized CIFTA also adopts a new framework that includes chapters on trade and gender, small and medium enterprises, labour and the environment, as well as a new provision on corporate social responsibility.

The modernized agreement reflects who we are as vibrant, diverse, open and democratic societies. This agreement is not only for today but for future generations.

The new chapters on trade and gender and on small and medium enterprises ensure that the benefits and opportunities that flow from trade and investment are more widely shared. Both chapters provide frameworks for Canada and Israel to work together to encourage women and small and medium enterprises to take full advantage of this agreement.

The new chapter on environment includes robust commitments so that parties maintain high levels of environmental protection, while liberalizing trade. This is in line with other Canadian FTAs, including more environmental governance. This is the first environmental chapter that Israel has ever agreed to in a free trade agreement.

Canada and Israel also agreed to a chapter on labour that includes comprehensive and enforceable obligations to protect and promote internationally recognized labour principles and rights. The labour chapter recognizes that economic development is not achieved at the expense of workers' rights, backed by an enforceable dispute settlement mechanism.

A modernized CIFTA shows the world that we put our people first and are committed to embracing that value as an economic strength.

One in six Canadian jobs are directly linked to exports, and that is one of the reasons we are so committed to expanding the pie for all Canadians. The more bridges we build, the more opportunities there are for people to cross those bridges with goods, services and investments.

For those here today who may not know, Israel has a long-standing reputation for technological prowess, with a well-developed scientific and educational base. We see room to expand and build partnerships in these sectors and many others. There are exciting opportunities for Canadian companies in sectors such as aerospace, smart mobility, sustainable technologies, information and communications technology, life sciences and energy.

There are also great prospects for joint research and development. For example, Canadian and Israeli firms have joined forces to develop an ultraviolet water monitoring system that ensures the safety of drinking water. There are even more possibilities on the horizon that will change countless lives in communities across the globe. When I was in Tel Aviv in September, I announced a pilot program to facilitate new cybersecurity solutions for the energy sector, matching expertise in areas like anti-hacking with the needs of Canada's natural gas delivery companies.

With so much potential and opportunity on both sides, it simply makes sense that we work together and knit our economies even tighter. Not surprisingly, the government's consultations, in the context of the negotiations, have consistently revealed support for a modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. Canadians want to do more business in and with Israel in the years ahead. A modernized free trade agreement between our countries is a surefire way to make that happen. Our competitiveness depends on small and medium-sized enterprises pursuing trade opportunities and for us to support them in doing so.

The Prime Minister has prioritized, in my mandate as minister of international trade and diversification, support for Canadian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that flow after trade agreements are signed, including by drawing on resources from across government and from public and private sector partners.

In order for the benefits of FTAs to be fully realized, Canadian businesses need to be aware of the agreements and the benefits they offer. Once ratified, I will work hard to promote awareness of the modernized agreement so would-be exporters have the information they need to get into the market.

My department has mobilized a free trade agreement promotion task force that is undertaking a comprehensive outreach and training program for the business community. Efforts of the task force are currently focused on flagship agreements, like Canada's trade agreement with the European Union, or CETA, and the CPTPP, which last week received royal assent and was subsequently ratified. I want to pause here and thank all members of the House who co-operated so fully to ensure that Canada was among the first tranche to ratify, which gives us a first advantage that will be meaningful for our entrepreneurs and our exporters, and ultimately will create jobs for Canadians.

Once CIFTA is ratified, I will ensure this promotion work is extended to this agreement too. At the same time, Canadian companies can access the free services and export advice offered by the Canadian trade commissioner service, TCS, which is 1,000 strong around the world. The TCS helps Canadian companies export by preparing businesses for international markets, providing market potential assessments, offering connections to qualified contacts abroad and assisting in resolving business problems.

The CanExport program, which is delivered by the TCS in partnership with the National Research Council industrial research assistance program, helps Canadians take the practical and necessary steps to make their first sale overseas. This five-year, $50-million program provides direct financial assistance to Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises to make that happen. In June 2018, the government announced an additional $40 million for the CanExport program. The new funding, along with enhancements to the program, will provide Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises with more opportunities to diversify their export markets, including to Israel.

Now we need to give life to our agreement by taking advantage of the two-way trade between our knowledge-based, innovation-driven economies.

With our expanded air transport agreement, we need more travel between our two countries and the flights to support it.

There are ample reasons to be optimistic about our future. Not only does working together support economic prosperity and job creation in both countries, it raises the international bar for the rules-based and inclusive trading order on which economies like ours depend. This is yet another example where two states recognize that our future prosperity depends on liberalized trade.

We know in Canada that there are protectionist forces and that is why we convened 12 nations just last week to push for concrete reforms to the WTO so that the future of global trade is put on a better footing.

We need more partnerships in the world that reflect this approach and the approach we have taken with Israel in CIFTA.

We need to create the conditions for small and medium-sized businesses to compete and succeed because they are the lifeblood of both of our economies.

Going about the business of trade differently is not just about exporting values, it is about adding value to our respective bottom lines. We can only do that if we focus on the middle class and the confidence they need to make their first international sale or deal.

Our modernized trade agreement is an example of what happens when two governments decide to put the middle class at the heart of our trade agenda.

I therefore urge all hon. members to support Bill C-85 and thereby enable Canada to do its part to bring the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement into force in a timely way.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

October 29th, 2018 / 5:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West, ON

Madam Speaker, I also want to extend my condolences, sympathies and utter outrage at what happened to the Jewish community in Pittsburgh. My heart goes out to those in Pittsburgh and to the greater Jewish community. It is absolutely reprehensible that anyone would come into a place of worship, a place so sacred, and do what happened. This was a very heinous crime. I just want them to know that they have our support here on this side of the House, as has been mentioned by all members in the House today.

I want to start by saying that the Conservatives will support Bill C-85, the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. This agreement was overwhelmingly negotiated by our former Conservative government. In October 2011, we began the consultation with Canadians. In January 2014, Prime Minister Harper and Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the launch of the CIFTA negotiations. In July 2015, Canada and Israel announced the successful conclusion of the revised agreement.

Amendments to the original deal included four updated chapters: dispute settlement, good market access, governance and rules of origin. The agreement also added seven new chapters: e-commerce, environment, intellectual property, labour, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, and trade facilitation.

The modernized CIFTA breaks down many old barriers. It creates new export opportunities for Canadian agriculture and agrifood. It creates new opportunities for our fish and seafood companies in the Israeli market. As members can see, we are very proud to have been the main drivers of this agreement.

Israel is our closest partner in the region and also the only democracy in the region. Israel's economy is a very modern and advanced one. Our two countries enjoy an excellent commercial relationship. Since the original agreement came into force over 20 years ago, trade between our two countries has tripled, totalling $1.7 billion in 2017.

Israel's market has a lot of potential and offers many opportunities for our Canadian businesses. Israel is also placed in a very economically strategic region in the Middle East. With one of the best educated populations in the world, a solid industrial and scientific base, and abundant natural resources, specifically in the agricultural and agri-tech sectors, Israel makes for a great partner in trade.

It is also important to mention that this agreement will further strengthen Canada's support for Israel, which should be very important to all of us. As we bring Canada and Israel closer through this trade deal, we begin to see a very positive pattern for Conservatives when it comes to negotiating free trade deals, a pattern of Conservative-negotiated agreements.

Conservatives negotiated the original NAFTA, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, CETA with the Europeans, and now the modernization of CIFTA. The biggest free trade agreements were done under Conservative governments. We are very proud of that.

We are also very proud of the member for Abbotsford, who worked tirelessly to complete the negotiations on CIFTA, the TPP, and CETA. I have tremendous respect for him on a personal level, and of course, as the former international trade minister.

I have to say that although this agreement will likely pass without much delay, there is a greater concern Canadians have with the Liberal government when it comes to the economy. That concern is about competitiveness.

Canadians are worried that the Prime Minister and the Liberals are making our economy uncompetitive. While our neighbours to the south are cutting corporate taxes and getting rid of massive amounts of burdensome red tape, the Prime Minister keeps raising taxes and adding more red tape to everything he touches. He is raising taxes everywhere he can. He is putting in ridiculous regulations and massive roadblocks that serve to kill pipeline construction and many of its offshoot jobs.

This is no secret. In fact, he admits it every day in question period and every time he speaks around the country. He just sugar-coats it, smiles for the cameras, and relies on his pals in the media to sell it.

Let us take the carbon tax as an example. Last week, the Prime Minister announced that he will be forcing Canadians living in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick to pay his carbon tax. While he claims that he will return 90% of all the money he collects, Conservatives know that the Prime Minister and his Liberals are simply looking for more ways to sustain this massive debt and out-of-control deficits.

Unless large and developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, global emissions will not decrease. Let me repeat that one more time: Unless large and developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, global emissions will not decrease. The Prime Minister's carbon tax will not save the environment. It will only hurt Canada's economy, Canada's small businesses, and Canadian families.

Canadians are not fooled by the carbon tax. They know the Prime Minister's carbon tax is a tax plan dressed up like an emissions plan. Canadians see it for what it is, another tax or an election gimmick. Only the Liberals could argue that a new tax will mean money in our pockets while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

To make matters worse, the Prime Minister is personally withholding documents that show the true cost of the carbon tax, both for families and businesses. The reality is that the Prime Minister's carbon tax will make everything more expensive, from driving to work to feeding our families to filling our gas tanks. Canadians will see through this election gimmick, and we will hold the government and the Prime Minister to account for it.

I know the Liberals will keep on repeating the same old tired message they have been repeating, a message that asks for our plan. I would like to be very clear. The Liberals do not have an environment plan. They have a tax plan, an election gimmick. It is another tax. It is nothing more. However, they have no plan to lower emissions. We believe that it is more important to arrive at a plan that will actually reduce global emissions, and that takes time to carefully consider. I would also like to be very clear that we will be unveiling a detailed and comprehensive environmental plan before the next election.

On top of taxing Canadians more through the carbon tax, the Prime Minister and the Liberals are working against Canadian jobs in the oil and gas sector, making our economy even more uncompetitive.

The Liberals have no plan to get the Trans Mountain expansion built. Thousands of workers have already lost their jobs because of the Prime Minister's failure to get any pipelines built. Canadians have lost their jobs because of the Liberals' damaging anti-energy policies. This cannot continue. The Liberals' anti-energy policies have driven more than $100 billion of investment out of Canada in the last two years. Talk about being uncompetitive; this is totally unacceptable.

The Federal Court of Appeal gave the Liberals clear direction to address their failure to properly consult with indigenous communities on the Trans Mountain expansion. However, instead of following those directions, the Liberals announced that they will launch another process, with no timeline, that will only further delay construction.

Canadian families cannot wait until next year for a plan. For the workers and communities affected by the Prime Minister's failure, every day counts. Getting the Trans Mountain expansion built should be the Prime Minister's top priority. What exactly is going on? He spent nearly $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money on the existing pipeline and still cannot tell workers when construction will start, how much it will cost or when it will be completed. The pipeline is crucial for workers across Canada, including the 43 first nation communities that have benefit agreements worth over $400 million, which now hang in the balance.

It seems like the Prime Minister is doing everything he can to phase out our energy sector. We just have to look at Bill C-69. This Liberal bill would again fail Canadian workers and the Canadian resource sector, making us even more uncompetitive. It would kill future resource development, drive jobs and investment out of the country and do nothing to enhance environmental protection.

Before the current Prime Minister became thePrime Minister , there were three private companies willing to invest more than $30 billion to build three nation-building pipelines that would have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated billions in economic activity. The Prime Minister killed two of them and put the Trans Mountain expansion on life support. Bill C-69 would block all future pipelines.

When the Prime Minister says he wants to phase out the oil sands, Canadians should believe him. In the last two years, over $100 billion of investment in the energy sector has been cancelled by the Liberal government. Over 100,000 good-paying, high-quality jobs in the resource sector have been lost. Under the current Prime Minister, energy investment in Canada has seen its biggest decline in over 70 years. Now the Bank of Canada predicts no new energy investment in Canada until after 2019.

The current Liberal government seems incapable of doing anything but raising taxes, creating red tape, and getting in the way of the energy sector. Our country's competitiveness is at stake, and the Liberals do not seem to care.

Yes, walking completed Conservative free trade agreements across the finish line is a good thing. They seem to be doing that, and we appreciate it. Whether it is the TPP, CETA or the modernized CIFTA, the government seems to understand the value of the free trade agreements that we, the Conservatives, helped arrange and worked on. However, it is important to understand that unless the Liberals stop raising taxes and creating out-of-control regulatory burdens, we will not be able to produce anything to trade with anyone. There needs to be a shift in thinking on the part of this anti-energy government. We hope this shift will start soon.

Let us hope that the modernized CIFTA is the beginning of some pragmatic thinking for the Liberals. CIFTA was a great achievement when concluded by our former Conservative government, and it is still very much worthy of supporting now.

As great friends of Israel, my Conservative colleagues and I will be supporting this agreement when it comes to a vote later.