Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act

An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2020.



This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


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

This enactment implements the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, done at Buenos Aires on November 30, 2018, as amended by the Protocol of Amendment to that Agreement, done at Mexico City on December 10, 2019.
The general provisions of the enactment set out rules of interpretation and specify that no recourse is to be taken on the basis of sections 9 to 20 or any order made under those sections, or on the basis of the provisions of the Agreement, without the consent of the Attorney General of Canada.
Part 1 approves the Agreement, provides for the payment by Canada of its share of the expenditures associated with the operation of the institutional and administrative aspects of the Agreement and gives the Governor in Council the power to make orders in accordance with the Agreement.
Part 2 amends certain Acts to bring them into conformity with Canada’s obligations under the Agreement.
Part 3 contains the coming into force provisions.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Feb. 6, 2020 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States

Canada—United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

March 9th, 2021 / 6:35 p.m.
See context


Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, I will begin my speech, as I do with so many of my speeches, with an anecdote. I am privileged to have the opportunity to be here in the House to represent the good people of Calgary Midnapore and be their voice, and I am going to tell one of my favourite stories.

Several years ago, when I was a younger and fitter woman, I won the gold award from the Duke of Edinburgh. I was very excited to achieve and receive this award. I know that many young Canadians from coast to coast to coast strive for this award and the many different levels that can be achieved. I was very motivated by this gold award. It had numerous components. It had fitness, outdoors and community-service components. I undertook going after this award with great vigour and went on to achieve it, and it was presented to me by Prince Philip. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet him. I wish him and his family well at this time. That was one of my major introductions to the United Kingdom and all that it has to offer.

Of course, my interest in foreign affairs and diplomacy would continue, and in the early 2000s, when I wrote the foreign service exam and fortunately was accepted, I went on temporary duty to Argentina. I then went on to be the chargé d'affaires to El Salvador, which was a very proud moment for me.

It was a wonderful time to represent Canada abroad. As the chargé, when the head of mission is out of the country, I had the honour to act as Canada's representative. My accreditation ceremony was in El Salvador at the presidential palace. We had taken the motorcade through the nation, and when I received my accreditation along with my ambassador, I was told to always remain behind the ambassador except when she was out of the country. I was very proud to take on that role.

On one occasion I had an interesting bit of fortune. When Bill C-4, the Central American four agreement, was being negotiated with Canada, one round of negotiations was going to take place at a time when the head of mission was out of the country. As such, I became the representative. I was very excited and nervous. I went to the secure room, as a diplomat did back in the day, where a fax was printed out. I took the fax and read the notes over and over again about the positions on pork and sugar. I prepared and prepared.

The big moment came and I went off to the trade minister's office in El Salvador with my papers and my positions ready. The trade minister approached me, took the envelope out of my hand and told me to tell my government that El Salvador would get back to it in two weeks. The big moment I had prepared for had come and gone.

My point here is that diplomats only do what their governments ask them to do. I would later go on to speak about this in the chamber when our current leader of the official opposition asked me to respond to a situation that unfortunately took place at our high commission in India, after the government's administration organized an event and an accused terrorist was there. I went through the process of responding to this in the House. I walked the caucus through what goes into vetting a list of individuals who are invited to an event and what that looks like.

I still remain true to the fact that a diplomat and a trade negotiator only do what their government asks them to do, as was my experience with the Bill C-4 negotiation, which unfortunately did dissolve, and I believe ended up being a unilateral agreement with Honduras. Nonetheless something came out of it.

My sentiments right now in regard to the response of the government on so many things, but also in regard to this agreement as well, is disappointment, because so much more could be done. I think about what could have been the potential response for this pandemic in terms of trade opportunities. Certainly, it has been a very difficult year. We are coming up on the one-year anniversary, when we were all sent home from this beautiful chamber.

When this was occurring and we were seeing world forces shifting, I was considering the fact that it would be an incredible time for Canada to re-evaluate its position in the world. Were I the prime minister, I would have done a complete evaluation of our inventory from coast to coast to coast of natural resources, from energy, minerals, agriculture and textile, and really looked at how markets were changing and emerging, perhaps with less reliance on China and Europe turning inward to evaluate those opportunities.

We see opportunities missed within this legislation. This is a theme, unfortunately, with the government. What I am pointing to with the unfortunate situation that happened in India and with this trade agreement is that the government has had no guiding values for foreign policy. We have seen this time and time again. We have seen this with how it is handling the situation with China and the two Michaels who remain incarcerated. We saw this with the government's lack of will and gumption to stand up to China in regard to the Uighur motion. We saw this with the current deputy minister's tweets regarding Saudi Arabia. We saw this with a stance I wish would have been more firm regarding Venezuela.

All of these indicators have shown that the government has no foreign policy values. Again, this trade agreement is just a by-product of the government's inability to have a coherent strategic foreign policy that looks out for the best interests of Canadians and for Canada.

What makes me the most sad is when I think of the opportunities missed, comparably to the previous administration, of which the previous speaker belonged, and of the greats, of Harper and Kenney and Baird. I was very fortunate at the time to be a policy adviser. I took one year away from my foreign service career to serve the current member for Thornhill who was minister of state for the Americas at the time.

We had principles which guided us. Those included among them, democracy. Are we really standing up for democracy here in Canada and acting as an example to the world currently? I do not think we are. Are we standing up for justice? I do not think we are. Are we standing up for the prosperity of the world and the prosperity of Canadians right now? I do not think we are. I am certainly not seeing it within this trade agreement.

I extend this beyond this trade agreement. As I said, I feel as though the Liberal government has been a government of missed opportunities. We have seen this with the pandemic, the opportunity to prepare better, to prepare Canadians better, to avoid so much of the hardship, illness and death that we have seen as a result of this terrible last year, a result of not preparing better for the economy and missed opportunities here. I would include this trade agreement within this the inability to look forward.

This is the crux of the opposition motion that we have had here today, the inability to think forward for Canada's economic prosperity. Finally, it is the opportunity missed for foreign policy, to stand up for strong values, Canadian values, and that includes with this trade agreement.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 4th, 2021 / 10:30 a.m.
See context


Tracy Gray Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC


That, given that trade between Canada and the United States of America exceeds $1.5-billion per day, more than 300,000 people normally cross the common border monthly, the two countries have enjoyed one of the world's largest open trading blocs for the free movement of goods, services and people since 1989, the economic challenges caused by COVID-19, and the need for a serious plan for the economic recovery that recognizes the integration of the North American economy, the House appoint a special committee with the mandate to conduct hearings to examine and review all aspects of the economic relationship between Canada and the United States, including, but not limited to

(i) the expressed bilateral economic priorities of the governments of Canada and the United States,

(ii) natural resources issues, including oil and gas exports and transportation, softwood lumber exports, and related jobs,

(iii) "Buy America" procurement rules, requirements and policies,

(iv) the government's efforts with the United States' administration to ensure a stable and predictable supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses for Canada as a major border and trading partner,

provided that:

(a) the committee be composed of 12 members, of which six shall be from the government party, four shall be from the official opposition, one shall be from the Bloc Québécois, and one shall be from the New Democratic Party;

(b) the members shall be named by their respective whip by depositing with the Clerk of the House the list of their members to serve on the committee no later than Thursday, February 18, 2021;

(c) membership substitutions be permitted, if required, in the manner provided for in Standing Order 114(2);

(d) changes to the membership of the committee shall be effective immediately after notification by the relevant whip has been filed with the Clerk of the House;

(e) the Clerk of the House shall convene an organization meeting of the committee on Tuesday, February 23, 2021;

(f) the committee be chaired by a member of the government party and, notwithstanding Standing Order 106(2), there shall be one vice-chair from each of the other recognized parties;

(g) quorum of the committee be as provided for in Standing Order 118 and that the Chair be authorized to hold meetings to receive evidence and to have that evidence printed when a quorum is not present, provided that at least four members are present, including one member of the opposition and one member of the government party;

(h) the committee be granted all of the powers of a standing committee, as provided in the Standing Orders, provided that (i) the provisions of Standing Order 106(4) shall also extend to the committee, (ii) until Sunday, April 11, 2021, the committee shall not meet on a day when the House is sitting, except for (A) the meeting required by paragraph (e), (B) the committee's subcommittee on agenda, if one is appointed;

(i) the committee have the power to authorize video and audio broadcasting of any or all of its proceedings;

(j) the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, the Ambassador of Canada to the United States of America, and other ministers and senior officials be invited to appear as witnesses from time to time as the committee sees fit;

(k) the committee be instructed to present an interim report, concerning an analysis of the importance of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline to both countries' economies and the consequences of its possible closure, including the labour market implications caused by layoffs of unionized and other workers, together with recommendations to address and safeguard Canadian interests, no later than Thursday, April 15, 2021;

(l) the committee be instructed to present a second interim report, concerning current and proposed "Buy America" procurement rules, requirements and policies, together with recommendations to address and safeguard Canadian interests, no later than Thursday, June 17, 2021; and

(m) the provisions of the order adopted on Monday, January 25, 2021, authorizing virtual and hybrid committee proceedings, shall continue to apply to the committee and any of its subcommittees until Sunday, September 19, 2021.

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

I am proud today to speak on our official opposition day and bring forward a Conservative motion to create a special committee worthy of our focus, which is the economic relationship between Canada and the United States. It is long past the time when the government was being proactive rather than reactive in terms of our relationship with the United States, but the motion before the House today will allow us to do exactly that.

Trade between Canada and the U.S. exceeds $1.5 billion per day. Our partnership with the United States is of critical importance. Our two countries share more than a just a border. We share common ideals, and many Canadians and Americans work and live across our borders and have family or friends who reside on the other side of the border. Their lives are integrated. Our business relationships provide countless jobs across the country with our two-way trade.

Since the ratification of NAFTA in 1994, and more recently with CUSMA, our two nations have enjoyed the benefits of the free movement of goods, services and people. It is a strong relationship that has become only stronger over time. However, like every relationship, it takes effort and work.

I know many of my colleagues today will speak on a wide range of challenges that affect different sectors across our country, some old and some new, which highlight the need for this committee.

We have had Keystone XL cancelled and other pipeline issues, such as Line 5, which may lead to immediate fuel shortages in Ontario and Quebec, higher fuel prices and the loss of thousands of jobs; tariff issues; disputes on softwood lumber, dairy, and aluminum; low-priced Washington apples being dumped into Canada; stricter buy American policies; and investigations on several of our fruit and vegetable exports to the U.S.

We need strategic focus. Most of us on this side of the House come from the private sector. We have been entrepreneurs. We have founded and operated companies. We have been in senior leadership roles. We have been involved in strategic planning and risk management, and we have been responsible for people’s livelihoods. We have foregone pay cheques ourselves to make sure our workers, who often become our friends, get paid.

We take seriously people being able to keep their jobs and support their families. Leadership is acknowledging when there are areas that need focus. It is common practice and good governance to put extra effort into important topics.

Striking this committee would be comparable in the business environment to an ad hoc committee, which would have a specific goal or focus and exist for a set amount of time. At the international trade committee we already have several studies cued up. We are quite behind due to sitting only once between April and September 2020, partially due to the prorogation of Parliament. Other committees are in a similar position.

This Canada-U.S. committee would allow the freedom to focus on the important relationship with this partner. There is a new U.S. administration from which we have already seen some new policies that are affecting businesses and workers in Canada, and that are affecting everyday lives in important sectors.

Our economies and supply chains are integrated, and I will explain what that really means. We may have the raw materials in one country, let us say the U.S., which are shipped to the other country, Canada, where a product is made in a Canadian business, and then sent back to the U.S. and perhaps turned into another item. This is the integration of our supply chains. This happens every day across our border in multiple industries, likely in the ridings of almost every member of the House.

The Prime Minister’s response to important Canada-U.S. economic issues has been concern or disappointment. Canadian businesses and workers deserve hope and plans. Concern and disappointment are not enough, and they are neither a strategy nor a plan.

One emerging issue is the new buy American executive order signed by President Biden, which has stronger language than we have seen before. This executive order creates a new made in America office within the President’s office. It will substantially reduce the ability for Canadian businesses to participate in U.S. government procurement contracts.

We have already heard from business groups that are concerned, and there is a lot of uncertainly. A small manufacturing business in my riding explained to me that they sell through a distributor in the U.S., which sells to a department of the U.S. federal government. It is unclear if this new buy American policy will outright stop them being able to have these sales.

In 2019, Canadian companies had nearly 700 million dollars' worth of government contracts in the United States. I spoke with a representative of an industry association the other day who thought this might actually be higher due to the integration of our supply chains.

When buy America provisions were announced by the Obama administration a decade ago, the previous Conservative government got to work. They showed those on both sides of the border the importance of the integrated North American supply chain and that promoting and ensuring our mutual economic recoveries were important during the financial crisis of that time. The then Conservative government negotiated an agreement that allowed Canadian companies to be exempt from buy America policies and to continue participating in U.S. government procurement.

We need our current government to work immediately to do the same to ensure stability for our local manufacturing businesses and workers, who depend on this cross-border supply chain. We are in a vulnerable position because, while the buy America policy is addressed in chapter 13 of CUSMA, Canada did not negotiate this and it only applies to the U.S. and Mexico.

The establishment of a special committee on Canada-U.S. economic relations would allow members of Parliament to do a comprehensive dive into the Biden administration's buy America rules. This motion before us specifically addresses instructing the committee to present an interim report on this matter.

Regarding another emerging issue in the past, 31 of my colleagues in the official opposition and I sent a letter to the Minister of International Trade and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food urging immediate government attention. Last September, the United States International Trade Commission began an investigation on U.S. blueberry imports. Additional investigations began on strawberries and bell peppers. Canada was the fourth-largest producer of total U.S. blueberry imports in 2019 and, according to the BC Blueberry Council, was the largest supplier of frozen blueberries. These numbers represent $750 million of our exports to the U.S., which support 8,300 farming families and thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

Our hard-working farmers play an integral role in the economy, and we urge the government for immediate action on this. Apple orchardists in my riding are selling below cost due to large quantities of low-priced apples coming in from the U.S., and many are near bankruptcy. The creation of this special committee would allow us to get ahead of these issues.

We also cannot forget that our forestry workers are still looking for stability and a resolution to the current softwood lumber dispute. The previous Conservative government successfully negotiated a softwood lumber agreement with the U.S. government providing this much-needed certainty. Unfortunately, the current government has yet to reach a similar agreement. While I welcome reduced duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports, which were announced last November, this would not have been an issue if we had been able to negotiate a new softwood lumber agreement with the United States.

When we were debating Bill C-4, the CUSMA implementation bill, around this same time last year, I recall the Conservatives raised the issue of the softwood lumber dispute not being addressed by the government then. This was a missed opportunity, as there were over 6,000 jobs lost in the second quarter of 2020 alone.

In my maiden speech of this House in 2019, I raised the issue of the only lumber mill in my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country, the Kelowna division of Tolko, announcing its decision to close at the beginning of 2020, creating hardship for all those families. This has been a trend in our resource sectors. It is important that we stand up for our responsible resource sectors, a backbone of our economy. We need to get the government to succeed in removing countervailing measures on softwood lumber exports and stand up for Canadian resources, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

I know my colleagues in this House across all party lines will talk on a number of important issues. I will move this conversation forward. We are talking about food security, energy security and mutual economic recovery. With the establishment of this committee, we can strengthen our resolve when acting on the best interests of Canadians.

We must start planning to rebuild, reopen our economy and get Canadians back to work. We are focused on securing jobs, our economy and our future. I encourage all members of this House to vote in favour of this motion, so we can get to work.

COVID-19 Pandemic and Other MattersGovernment Orders

July 8th, 2020 / 1:45 p.m.
See context


Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Madam Chair, with all due respect, I have to completely disagree with the member's statement and assertion. We have been working hard for workers from the time we were elected. Right off the bat, we had the implementation of Bill C-4, repealing Bill C-525 and Bill C-377, which were anti-union pieces legislation.

Let us look at some standards and enhancements that we have implemented: stronger labour standards, enhanced leaves, new leaves and flexible work hours. We have and we will continue to work hard for our workers in Canada.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

March 12th, 2020 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Honoré-Mercier Québec


Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

This afternoon we will continue debate on the NDP motion.

Tomorrow, we will resume debate on Bill C-4 on the free trade agreement with Mexico and the United States. We hope to conclude the debate that afternoon.

When hon. colleagues return from the constituency week, we will follow up with Bill C-7 on medical assistance in dying, Bill C-8 on conversion therapy and Bill C-3 on CBSA oversight.

Finally, I would like to inform the House that Monday, March 23, and Thursday, March 26, shall be allotted days.

March 12th, 2020 / 12:55 p.m.
See context


The Chair Liberal Sherry Romanado

With that, I'd like to thank the witnesses for sharing their stories and educating us on the realities that are facing Canadians today.

I'd like to ask the members to stay momentarily. We need to have a quick review of the three study budgets, including the one on Bill C-4, which has already been concluded, so that we can reimburse witnesses for some of their expenses.

I will let the clerk explain the documentation in front of you with respect to the three study budgets.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

March 11th, 2020 / 6:05 p.m.
See context


Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-4, which I will be supporting, as it turns out.

I am very satisfied with the work my political party did in the spirit of openness and collaboration. However, I would say this victory was bittersweet, because an economic sector was once again left out of this agreement. I am referring to softwood lumber. The forestry sector gets no respect from the Canadian federation and is constantly overlooked. That is holding me back from fully celebrating our victory on aluminum.

At a meeting of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, the Canadian negotiator told me that he did not include softwood lumber in CUSMA because he had to focus on other priorities. I think the phrase “focus on other priorities” says it all. It is the Canadian mantra. What are the priorities of Canada's economy? Ontario's auto industry and western Canada's oil industry, the same as for the past 25 years.

Is it perhaps because of a power imbalance? The Bloc Québécois now has 32 seats, and I feel like things are changing. However, Quebec's economic sectors are consistently ignored. The expression “focusing on other priorities” makes me think. Negotiations with the United States on softwood lumber are always pushed back.

This makes me think of an expression I often hear among federalists: “The fruit is not ripe enough”. When we talk about constitutional negotiations, many federalists use this somewhat perverse rhetoric: “The fruit is not ripe enough”. It appears to me that the fruit of federalism is currently rotting on the tree when it comes to softwood lumber and our role within this federation.

I do not want to only play the blame game, but I would like to come back to the importance of Quebec's forestry industry. It is important to note that Quebec has 2% of the world's forests, an area of 760,000 square kilometres, or the equivalent of Sweden and Norway combined. The industry provides 58,000 direct and indirect jobs in Quebec. The forestry industry is currently the economic driver of 160 of our municipalities.

If you look at Canada as a whole, the forestry sector provides 600,000 direct and indirect jobs, which is not insignificant. I cannot stress enough that we are facing global warming, and many experts have identified the forestry sector as our best shot at fighting climate change.

Our greatest misfortune, however, is that the United States is our main trading partner in the forestry industry, taking in 68% of our forest product exports. I find that unfortunate because I have the impression that the Canadian government has never really made much of an effort to develop new markets.

I am always amazed when I go to France and I see all kinds of infrastructure, bridges and big buildings built of wood or glulam even though France lacks the primary resource that is wood. We have it, but I feel like we are not doing anything with it.

Since the 2000s, the forestry industry has gone through tough times because the pulp and paper industry has gone through tough times now that less and less newsprint is being sold. We need to find new market opportunities. All this was exacerbated by a string of crises during negotiations with the United States.

During a Standing Committee on Natural Resources meeting, Beth MacNeil, Assistant Deputy Minister for Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Forest Service, told us that the forestry industry is at a crossroads. I thought that was very interesting. If my girlfriend told me we were at a crossroads, I would definitely be afraid because that would mean I had not taken care of her and had a lot to make up for.

The Canadian government is now at a crossroads with the forestry industry because past governments, both Liberal and Conservative, have chosen to focus on the oil industry in the west and Ontario's auto industry, not on the softwood lumber industry at all.

I see two big issues here. We have these trade agreements, which sometimes create barriers for the forestry sector, but we also have research and development. I find one statistic particularly interesting: From the early 1970s to the late 2000s, Canadians collectively invested $70 billion in the oil sands because that technology was not profitable. My father would call that a pretty penny, not to mention it was a raw deal for us. Of that $70 billion, $14 billion came from Quebec.

One thing of note that is troublesome and that I want to focus on is Dutch disease. A few years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that when the Canadian dollar appreciates by one cent, there is an immediate domino effect and the forestry industry loses $500 million. It is an export industry, which requires that it be competitive. Investing $70 billion in the oil industry is a blow to the forestry industry. The circumstances are different today and I hope that the government will take action.

I would quickly like to review the impact on the forestry sector of the two main downturns. The first downturn, which began in 2003 and ended in 2008, resulted in the loss of 11,329 forestry jobs in Quebec alone. From January 2009 to January 2012, 8,600 jobs were lost. The government of the day took no action. I remember that the Conservatives promised to provide loan guarantees for the forestry industry in 2005.

What is troublesome is that the U.S. strategy is to ensure that major forestry producers are worn down. When that happens, they end up signing a cheap agreement. I believe that this happened often. There has been no agreement since 2017. Thus, I believe that this is happening again. They want to wear down the forestry industry so it accepts a cheap agreement. In the meantime, the government is not taking action. It is not offering loan guarantees. Neither Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions nor Export Development Canada has brought forward a strategy for developing new markets. There is no investment in research and development. No, the government prefers to focus on the usual sectors, the oil and automotive industries.

To sum up, from 2005 to 2011, Quebec's forestry industry lost 30% of its workforce, going from 130,000 workers in 2005 to barely 99,000 in 2011. From 2004 to 2005 and from 2012 to 2013, there was a 38% drop in jobs in silviculture and in timber harvesting, which reduced job numbers to a little more than 10,000 in those areas. It is disastrous for Quebec and again the government did not learn from its mistakes. In the CUSMA negotiation, it preferred to deliver that famous speech about the fruit not being quite ripe enough. At some point, we are going to take matters into our own hands and harvest our own fruit. We will become our own country.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

March 11th, 2020 / 6:05 p.m.
See context


Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, we certainly played our cards well. We maintained the same public stance by holding the government's feet to the fire and voting against Bill C-4 at first and second reading.

We negotiated with the government behind the scenes while keeping the pressure on it publicly. Ultimately, we made a great proposal. The government had no choice but to accept it and acknowledge that it was good. The collaboration started then. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs went to Washington, and we got a commitment from the government. All in all, I am pretty proud of the strategy used by the Bloc Québécois. We proved once again that we can get the job done.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

March 11th, 2020 / 5:55 p.m.
See context


Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very happy to be rising in the House again, this time to speak to Bill C-4 and also the aluminum industry.

I first want to acknowledge all those who worked hard to ensure that the Bloc Québécois could support the agreement. This includes elected officials, such as the mayor of Alma, Marc Asselin; the mayor of Saguenay, Josée Néron; union representatives, in particular Éric Drolet, Sylvain Maltais and Alain Gagnon; as well as economic stakeholders.

People were indeed expecting us to vote, but they wanted us to be voting for gains. Instead of ordering us to shut up and vote no questions asked, they instead chose to work with us, which worked out really well in the end.

Indeed, it was a pretty good idea. We used the full power of our positions to ensure that the fundamental interests of Quebec and its regions were protected. We were not simply criticizing without making any suggestions.

It may have been a long shot back in December, since the House seems to have forgotten that an opposition can do more than oppose for the sake of opposing. We had to believe that it was possible to make gains. Clearly, our belief ultimately paid off.

I will come back to the steps that finally led me to say that I would vote in favour of Bill C-4. It think they are worth mentioning, mainly for those who are watching at home and who are wondering what happened between two days before CUSMA was ratified and now regarding the loss of protection for aluminum.

On December 10, we learned that aluminum was no longer protected, as my colleague from Joliette so clearly pointed out. The government abandoned the aluminum industry even though aluminum is Quebec's second-largest export. What is worse, the government considered the matter to be closed for the next 10 years. That was a disaster for us and for many stakeholders in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, the North Shore and central Quebec.

On December 12, we clearly announced our intentions. We would not vote in favour of the agreement unless aluminum was given the same protections as steel. Even the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord was on our side. He told the media that he planned to vote against the agreement. He issued a press release with us, which basically said the following:

There are some good things in the agreement, but the lack of protection for the aluminum industry is constituents will always come first. The aluminum industry was not respected...and unless something is done to secure our place on the North American market or unless export programs are put in place, I am seriously considering voting against the agreement.

That has changed, but that is what he was saying not too long ago.

I imagine that he trusted us to do the rest. The following week, on December 19, we took part in a demonstration, without him, but with many unions, business owners, and municipal and provincial officials from all across Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. More people turned out than for LNG.

Aluminum has been a big industry for us for 100 years. What is more, the aluminum produced in my region and in Quebec is the greenest in the world.

Fundamentally, however, what everyone needs to remember is that when all this started, the Bloc Québécois were the only ones saying aluminum had not received the same protection as steel, because we were the only ones who had read the agreement carefully.

Curiously enough, the steel industry is concentrated in Ontario, and the aluminum industry, as we now know, is almost exclusively located in Quebec. In fact, 90% of Canada's aluminum is produced in Quebec, and 60% of that comes from Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. It is no surprise, really. Quebec is starting to get used to being used as a pawn in international treaties and being sacrificed for the sake of Ontario's auto industry and western Canada's oil industry.

We were the only ones saying it, while the Liberals kept trotting out the same old convoluted talking points. After repeating our arguments and proving them in debate, we eventually got the NDP and the Conservatives on our side. However, the Liberals continued to deny the sad truth. Unlike our colleagues in the other opposition parties, we could not let down our aluminum workers. We could not vote for the implementation of the agreement. There was just no way we could do that.

I may have mentioned this before, but I stuck a little note to the side of my nightstand that says, “Who do you work for”. It is the first thing I see every morning. The answer to that question is that I work for my constituents, for the people of Lac-Saint-Jean and for Quebeckers as a whole.

What do we do in this situation?

Some people said we were on our own. They did not reckon on the courage, strength and determination of our people. Our people mobilized, and we supported them politically and technically. We were not alone, and they were no longer alone. They all came here, to Ottawa, at the end of January, to air their concerns. Elected officials, workers and economic players from our regions came here to share their concerns, and they brought a study with them.

Basically, the study said that 30,000 jobs would be at risk if the expansion phases did not go through. Investments worth $6.2 billion were in jeopardy. That would have been $1 billion in economic spinoffs every year for 10 years gone if the agreement was not changed and a real solution not found. We needed a concrete proposal to provide better protection for aluminum.

Considering those massive numbers, should we have just sat there twiddling our thumbs?

We are talking about the vitality of our regions and of Quebec as a whole. We are talking about our families and our children, and that is why we all took a stand.

We did more than just criticize; that would not be our style. We also proposed a solution. Initially, no one on the other side of the House was listening to us. Life is like that, but only a fool will not change his mind. In the end, the Liberals did listen to reason. I will give them that, and I thank them for it.

The Liberals agreed to negotiate, and we finally reached an agreement. At the end of the day, some of my hon. colleagues were able to set partisanship aside and put the interests of their constituents ahead of the interests of the parties in the House.

There are many things that divide us in this place. For instance, I strongly believe that Quebec should become a country, and as soon as possible. Despite the obvious differences in our political perspectives, we were able to secure a win and ensure that aluminum would be better protected. It was a Bloc Québécois proposal, but it was the Deputy Prime Minister who brought that proposal to Washington. I thank her for that.

Imagine what would have happened if we had just remained in our seats and voted in favour of implementing the agreement without making any demands. It is not complicated. If the Bloc had acted like all the other parties in the House, our aluminum workers would have been left out in the cold. The regions in Quebec would have been abandoned. Quebec's economy would have once again been the big loser in another international treaty signed by Ottawa.

This House was then able to see the principles that guide the Bloc Québécois. Above all, we are guided by our conscience. There is no denying that we have had a positive influence on how work is done in the House. So much the better if the other parties represented here are inspired by our approach. In the end, it is the men and women we represent who come out on top.

Who do we work for? I know. Now it is up to all my hon. colleagues to answer that question.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

March 11th, 2020 / 4:35 p.m.
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Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise this afternoon to speak to Bill C-4, an act to ratify the new free trade agreement among Canada, the United States and Mexico, sometimes referred to as the new NAFTA. Whatever one wishes to label the agreement, one thing is clear and that is, for Canadians, it falls far short of a win.

Before I elaborate on some of the shortcomings with respect to the new agreement, it is important to provide some context in terms of the history of how we got to where we are.

In November 2016, President Trump was elected, and it is no secret that President Trump was no fan of NAFTA. Indeed, he called it the worst trade deal ever. In the face of that, it was a little surprising that the Prime Minister pre-emptively invited the President to renegotiate NAFTA. The Prime Minister, ever so confident, stated that he would get a better deal. The Prime Minister boasted about a win-win-win: a win for Canada, a win for the United States and a win for Mexico.

It is no surprise that, given the President's position on NAFTA, he took the Prime Minister up on his offer at the earliest opportunity. What did the Prime Minister do once he got his wish? Effectively, he put forward a whole series of non-trade issues that alienated the United States. During the course of negotiations, we saw punitive steel and aluminum tariffs levelled against Canada that had a devastating impact that lasted for more than a year.

The Prime Minister spent a lot of time doing what this Prime Minister does: virtue signalling while Canadians paid. The United States concluded that Canada was not interested in reaching a deal. The United States negotiated a deal with Mexico. Most aspects of this agreement were negotiated between the United States and Mexico, including steel provisions and other components of the agreement. Canada was invited in at the eleventh hour when there were few items to resolve. In that respect, it was a fait accompli. The government was left with very little choice, either to sign the agreement or walk away. In the face of that, it is no surprise that Canada signed the agreement.

As a result of the Prime Minister's lack of leadership, what we got was not the better deal that the Prime Minister promised, but a worse deal. Instead of a win-win-win, a win for Canada, a win for the United States and a win for Mexico, we have an agreement that is a win for the United States, a win for Mexico and a loss for Canada. It is no wonder that the government was so reluctant to reveal its own economic impact analysis on this agreement until the eleventh hour. It did so one day before the trade committee went clause by clause on Bill C-4.

If this trade agreement were as good as the government would like Canadians to believe, then surely the government would be very eager to reveal its economic impact analysis to demonstrate what a good deal it was for Canada. However, the government did not do that.

Why did it not do that? Very simply, despite the rhetoric on the other side, the government knows that it is not a good deal and the Prime Minister did not get a better deal as he promised.

When we saw the economic impact analysis, the government's analysis compares the new deal to no deal at all. The appropriate comparator is not between the new deal and no deal at all, but between the new deal and the old NAFTA.

While the Liberal government quite deliberately did not undertake that analysis, in terms of what it has revealed publicly, the C.D. Howe Institute did undertake such an analysis. What the C.D. Howe Institute determined was that, under the new deal, Canada stands to lose $14.2 billion in GDP. Not only that, Canada stands to see a reduction in exports to the U.S. market in the sum of $3.2 billion, while Canada stands to import more American products in the sum of $8.6 billion. That is $8.6 billion more in U.S. exports, and $3.2 billion less in Canadian exports. Again, it is a good deal for the United States, and a bad deal for Canada.

Despite the fact that this agreement falls short, we on this side of the House are prepared to support the government, support the passage of Bill C-4 and support the speedy ratification of CUSMA. We support it because, at the end of the day, this deal is better than no deal.

We have heard, as the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook noted, that the business community and premiers want to see certainty. They want to see continued access to our most important trading partner, the United States. We know there is $2 billion in bilateral trade between Canada and the United States every day, and $900 billion in bilateral trade a year. To put that in perspective, that is nine times more than with our second-largest trading partner, China. Seventy-five per cent of Canadian exports are destined for the U.S. market.

In light of that, it would be irresponsible not to support the ratification of this agreement. If we were to not do so, there would be a risk of no agreement, which would benefit no one. However, while we support the ratification, we do so on a qualified basis. We will continue to remind the government of the shortcomings of this agreement.

The Liberal government opened up 3.6% of the dairy market, and got nothing in return. The government was not able to get the same protections for the Canadian aluminum industry that are in the agreement for the steel industry. We know that the government got nowhere in terms of buy America. Mexico got a chapter on buy America, but Canada did not. The consequence is that it leaves Canadian companies out of the opportunity to bid on large government procurement projects in the United States. The government also sold out Canadian sovereignty by requiring permission from Washington to negotiate new trade agreements with non-market economies, such as our second-largest trading partner, China.

While this is a deal that we will support, let us make no mistake about it: It is better than no deal, but it is not a good deal.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

March 11th, 2020 / 4:20 p.m.
See context

Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook Nova Scotia


Darrell Samson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, I am thankful for this great opportunity to share some wisdom on this very important bill, Bill C-4, on CUSMA, which is the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement.

However, before I get into the bill, I will speak about the economy. Trade deals are linked to the economy, and the economy here in Canada after five years of Liberal government is very strong compared to what it was when we took office.

Let us look at what has happened. What has changed in the last five years?

We have seen 1.2 million jobs created by Canadians. We have seen over one million people lifted out of poverty, with 353,000 of those being children, which is over 20% of the poverty rate in Canada, and 75,000 being seniors, mostly women. These are big and important numbers.

As well, we are seeing the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. These are the factors that are clearly stating how strong this economy is and how strong our government is, which has been focused on tax cuts and helping the middle class and those who want to join it.

Trade deals are extremely important to Canadians, and every province and territory is very happy with this trade deal. We had a trade deal before, but this one is new and improved.

We also have the CETA trade deal, which encompasses half a billion people. In that trade deal we have seen 98% of the tariffs removed, whereas in the past it was 25%. Members can imagine how the business community feels about that trade deal today. I know what the business community has to say about it my constituency.

As well, there is the CPTPP, the trans-Pacific trade deal, which, again, encompasses half a billion people. Between the three trade deals, we have a market of 1.5 billion people. In the Asia-Pacific deal most of the tariffs have been removed and 100% of the seafood tariffs are gone. Members can imagine that in my region of Atlantic Canada and in Nova Scotia this is a great opportunity to increase our exports, and it is extremely important.

How important is CUSMA, the Canada-U.S.-Mexico deal? It is $2 billion per day, which is an enormous sum, and 80% of Canadian exports go to these countries.

Who is supporting this trade deal? It is not just us. The premiers are saying they are behind this trade deal, which is important, and I will talk more about it, but we know that Premier Moe, Premier Kenney and company, as well as Brian Mulroney, do. The business community is happy. The unions are happy.

However, they say Trump is a good negotiator. Let us look at the three things he wanted.

First, he wanted a sunset clause at five years when we would have to renegotiate or the deal would be dead. However, that is not in there. We took that out and it is now 16 years.

Second, he wanted the end of supply management. We are the party that introduced supply management, and we are the party that is promoting supply management. We will continue to support supply management because it is important to Canadians.

Third, Trump wanted a dispute resolution tribunal where there would be American judges and courts. Do members think we would have agreed to that? Maybe a Conservative would have, but we did not agree to that. We then added another important piece where the Americans could not stop and must participate in tribunal panels, where in the past they could say no.

These are three key areas where our government has been very successful in negotiating with the Americans.

Let us bring it back to Nova Scotia. What does this trade deal represent to Nova Scotia? It is extremely important because $3.7 billion is spent by Americans in Nova Scotia. That is an extremely important investment yearly, as my colleagues can imagine. That is 68% of all our trade products leaving Nova Scotia and going to the States.

That means there are 18,000 jobs directly related to this trade deal for Nova Scotians. That is 18,000 directly related jobs; I forgot to mention the 7,000 indirect jobs. Colleagues can imagine how we feel in Nova Scotia. The premier, Mr. McNeil, said that this is a great deal for Canada and a great deal for Nova Scotia. That is a very clear message.

I want to talk about a company in my riding just down the street from me, Marid Industries. It is a steel industry and today it knows that with this deal it will be able to be competitive and move their products to the States and Mexico without tariffs. That is extremely important. That is making sure that it can move forward. These are great-paying jobs for the people who work in that industry.

Catherine Cobden from the Canadian Steel Producers Association said:

CUSMA is critical to strengthening the competitiveness of Canadian and North American steel industries and ensuring market access in the face of persistent global trade challenges and uncertainty.

That shows good, strong support from the steel industry.

Of course, we are seeing the strongest amendments in this trade deal when it come to labour and environment, two major areas that Canada is pushing forward. We are making sure that we have some criteria around strengthening labour standards as well as enforcement and inspection standards. That means that wages being paid will create a level playing field. It also affects work hours and conditions. Those are essential pieces to ensure that the playing field is level which is extremely important.

In the environment, as colleagues know, we have added some obligations in the fight against marine pollution. The other piece of it is air quality.

I must also mention pharmacare because in the last amendments we were able to remove the 10-year restriction on generic drugs, which is extremely important.

We have added new chapters protecting women's rights, minority rights and indigenous rights and that provide protection against discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. These are all important chapters that are in this trade deal and are so essential.

As well, there are cultural exemptions, which help all Canadians, including those in Quebec. That is very important.

We have work to do. We know that in a trade deal there is a bit of trade here or there. The poultry and egg industries have opened up a small percentage, 2%. We are compensating them not only for loss, but also supporting them so that they can purchase better and more up-to-date equipment. The products will then be better able to be traded internationally, opening up that potential market as well.

This is a very important deal. I am extremely proud to support this. The people in my constituency are just waiting for this to be ratified as soon as possible.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

March 11th, 2020 / 4:05 p.m.
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Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, to pass this legislation swiftly, as all stakeholders and constituents had requested, so the vacuum of uncertainty would be lifted on our trade relations with the U.S., our official opposition made many suggestions as to ways we would gladly co-operate with the government.

Knowing that the federal election was coming up in October, the Conservatives offered to begin a pre-study on the original legislation, Bill C-100, in May of this year. That way the government would only have to deal with clause by clause later on, but it declined. When the revised agreement was signed in December, the Conservatives offered to come back early from the Christmas break to begin work on the bill. Again, the government declined.

The international trade committee had approximately 200 requests come in on CUSMA, and the amount of work to do on the legislation had not changed. We consistently offered to commence that work earlier, but the government declined.

The Conservatives ultimately offered to complete clause-by-clause examination by no later than March 5, under the assumption that the government would not be recalling the House of Commons during the constituency break. Again, the government declined.

A unanimous motion was passed at the international trade committee, requesting that the government release its economic impact analysis for CUSMA. It was not provided until one day before committee conducted its clause-by-clause review and the government's economic impact report compared CUSMA to not having a NAFTA deal at all.

What this said was that the government wanted Canadians to believe that any trade deal, no matter how unbalanced or restrictive, would actually be better than nothing at all.

Thankfully, the C.D. Howe Institute released a report comparing CUSMA to the old NAFTA deal on February 21. It affirmed that CUSMA would reduce Canada's GDP by $14.2 billion. Canada's exports to the U.S. would fall by $3.2 billion, while our imports from the U.S. would increase by $8.6 billion. The C.D. Howe Institute's report shed some light on why the government said it was important to support the new agreement moving quickly and then balked at every opportunity we gave to expedite the passing of the legislation.

We are here now dealing with the issues around what was not good in the agreement. With those 200 organizations and individuals who wanted to come and talk to the committee, we were able to process through 100 of those.

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters said, “If we want Canada to take full advantage of this agreement, the government must take steps to insure Canadian manufacturers' productivity levels are equivalent to that of other OECD countries so they can succeed on North American markets and globally.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said, “The CUSMA, as signed last autumn, was in imperfect but necessary agreement to provide greater predictability in our relations with Canada's largest trading partner.” Predictability was lost to such an extent that we were to the point where people were saying that we needed to just get this done.

Last week, I met with my own chamber of commerce and also held a town hall, with the shadow minister for agriculture, in my riding with a number of farmers from the area.

Agriculture and agrifood producers, manufacturers, exporters and all the support services of small businesses in my riding are experiencing the serious impacts of uncertainty with which the government has plagued our economy: increased costs and a loss of customer base because of the punitive policies of the government: an uncertainty of our relationship with our biggest trading partner, plus the shutting down of supply routes due to strikes and lack of rail cars because oil is flowing on our tracks instead of safely through our pipelines; barricades that created dangerous situations and prevented products from being shipped; carbon taxes on heating and cooling systems that are necessary for manufacturing; and increased payroll taxes and red tape.

People feel they have been attacked and ignored by the government. They know that CUSMA is an imperfect, but necessary agreement to provide better predictability in our relationships with Canada's largest trading partner. Therefore, we are here ready to pass Bill C-4.

The Aluminum Association of Canada said, “As part of the ongoing collaboration between the Government of Canada and industry, we intend to initiate discussions with the government to encourage Mexico to implement a similar measure, which would help limit the arrival of products that do not comply with the rules of the agreement between our three countries.” Canada's aluminum industry is concerned by the government's failure to secure the same made-in-North American provision for aluminum as was given to steel. Canada is North America's largest producer of aluminum.

While the 70% rule of origin included looks good on paper, in reality the failure to include a smelted and poured definition, which is what the industry is asking of in Mexico, will leave the North American industry vulnerable to dumping from overseas, particularly through Mexico.

As well, the government needs to report on the status of the $2 billion in tariffs, the revenue that it has collected thus far, to ensure it actually was used to support Canadian businesses impacted by those tariffs. The manufacturers in my communities were very discouraged by what they saw in the government's behaviour when they were facing shut downs, including its suggestion that it help the manufacturers deal with it by giving more EI. They did not want more EI; they wanted to keep those people working.

As well, there is an urgency to develop a strategy to market Canadian aluminum as the greenest in the world to help shore up our competitiveness in existing and emerging markets. This is part of the Conservative environmental plan. It looks at showcasing and bragging to the world about what Canada already has done and how we can help to impact the global issues on climate change that have impacted so many other countries that are not as clean as Canada.

Then there are our dairy farmers.

The largest group left behind by the government during the negotiations is Canada's dairy sector. The government has managed to simultaneously shrink the opportunities for dairy producers and processors at home, while also limiting their ability to grow by exporting.

Canada agreed to place a worldwide cap on exports of certain dairy products in CUSMA, which is unprecedented in regional trade agreements. As the nation's prosperity depends on reliable access to global markets in every market, but specifically in dairy, Canada must not agree to this kind of provision in any future trade agreement. Why would the government say yes to giving the U.S. that kind of power over our sovereignty and our opportunity to trade as we wish with other countries?

This concession is an affront to our sovereignty and there is no excuse or rational argument for this capitulation to go hat in hand to the U.S. to ask if we can please have its permission to export dairy to any country with which we choose to trade.

There are so many areas that are faulty in this agreement, which stakeholders brought to the attention of the committee, and we were able to create recommendations for the government to move forward and to rectify a lot of those issues.

Regarding government procurement, we have no chapter on being able to secure Canada's access to the U.S. market.

Regarding auto, Canada's exports of motor vehicles to the U.S. will decline by $1.5 billion relative to the current trade regime under NAFTA, and imports would decrease by $1.2 billion. In light of the hardships faced by Ontario's auto sector, which were compounded by the punitive actions of the government against our competitiveness, it must fulfill the auto sector's request to delay the implementation of CUSMA for the auto sector until January 2021 to allow it to adjust to the new climate of the deal.

Regarding forestry, so many mills have closed and support services, small businesses and whole communities have been brought to a standstill by the government's indifference. They do not deserve this attitude from their Prime Minister, whom they expect to re-engage right now with the United States trade representative to find a solution to this issue.

Regarding cultural exemption, the price of protecting it in CUSMA was to open ourselves up to retaliatory tariffs not limited to that sector. For example, if Canada decides to implement a digital service tax for a company such as Netflix, the United States would be within its right, as per CUSMA, to place a tariff of equal commercial effect on any Canadian export.

These are just a few of the examples of where the government has capitulated to the U.S.. The U.S. reply to the whole document is a huge document of all of its successes. Ours, from what I understand the previous minister of trade on this side of the House said, was 72 pages long. Clearly, Canada has not come out on the best circumstances here, but as stakeholders have said, we just need to get this done and move on, hopefully in the future with better arrangements.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

March 11th, 2020 / 3:35 p.m.
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Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on Bill C-4, the Canada–United States–Mexico agreement implementation act.

I would specifically like to thank my colleague, the member for Elmwood—Transcona, for his work on this file. Through extensive negotiation with the government, I am so proud that my colleague secured more openness and transparency for Canada's trade process.

Too often the opposition says that the NDP does not understand trade, but this could not be further from the truth. What we do not support is the neo-liberal trade agenda. New Democrats understand the importance of our trading relationship with the U.S., our largest trading partner, and we believe that a better NAFTA could improve the welfare of all North Americans. We believe that all trade agreements must be transparent, inclusive and forward-looking. They must address important issues, like income inequality, sovereignty and climate change. Above all, they must strengthen human rights. They must be transparent and fair for everyone.

Too many trade agreements are approached with the idea of how to make the rich richer. They focus on growing the wealth and power of those who already hold a great deal of wealth and power. They do not consider bettering the lives of all Canadians.

Certainly, people in southwestern Ontario, in my riding, know all too well what Liberal- and Conservative-negotiated trade agreements have created for them and their families. We see what were once highly productive manufacturing hubs now boarded up. One only has to drive along Dundas Street in London, Ontario to know the history of these trade agreements, and what it means to workers in my riding.

The original NAFTA was negotiated by Conservatives and signed by Liberals in 1994. People were promised jobs, rising productivity and secure access to the largest market in the world. It seemed like we were on the cusp of a dream, and all we had to do was sell our soul to cash in.

What happened was far from that dream, and instead Canadian workers faced a nightmare. Canada lost over 400,000 manufacturing jobs and its textile industry. In addition, Canada paid millions of dollars in court fees and penalties when sued by corporations under the ISDS resolution mechanism.

Despite some improvements, this NAFTA continues a disturbing trend of giving more enforceable rights to corporations in trade agreements than to the real people involved and the environment. Over the last 25 years, because of NAFTA, our North American auto and manufacturing industry has become highly dependent on the integrated supply chain. In fact, automobiles and parts will often cross our borders hundreds of times before a vehicle is completed.

Since 2001, after we lost the Auto Pact, 44,000 Canadian auto jobs were lost. After this devastating announcement at GM in Oshawa a few years ago, Canadians are learning that no amount of language in free trade deals, including the new NAFTA, will stop corporations from leaving Canada and heading to Mexico, where they are taking advantage of a low-wage economy and a country that does not respect the environment.

Workers are left to fend for themselves, despite the fact that the Liberals will say that this agreement is good for the automotive sector. In fact, Liberals also ensured that GM Oshawa had no ties to Canada once they provided a multi-million dollar bailout, and let the corporation off the hook from ever paying Canadians back.

The Liberals were nowhere to be found when those GM auto workers were fighting for their jobs in Oshawa. They were certainly not on the front lines, desperately searching for answers about their future or their livelihoods.

Interestingly, the Liberals claimed they were working hard for auto workers by signing the new NAFTA last spring. They insisted that the deal was fantastic and no improvements could be made. Funnily enough, the American Democrats proved them wrong. It would seem that the Liberals were not the skilled negotiators they claimed to be.

At every step of the process, the Liberals have said the same thing, that this trade agreement is a great deal. First, they said they were happy with the original NAFTA and did not want to renegotiate. Then they said the first version of CUSMA was the best we could get, and now they say this latest version is the best that they can get. Well which one is it?

When the NDP called on the government to wait to ratify the first version of CUSMA so the Democrats in the States could improve it, Deputy Prime Minister said:

Mr. Speaker, what the NDP needs to understand is that reopening this agreement would be like opening Pandora's box ... It would be naive for the NDP to believe that Canadians would benefit from reopening this agreement.

However, the Liberals are now keen to brag about improvements made by Democrats in the United States.

Income and wealth inequality in Canada today is at a crisis level with 46% of Canadians $200 away from financial trouble. Working people, like people in London—Fanshawe, are struggling to get by and the wonders of this new NAFTA, like the old NAFTA, will not materialize for the majority of people in my riding. The fact of the matter is, neo-liberal trade agreements do not work for workers.

New Democrats have been consistent in our calls for a transparent trade process in Canada that makes the government more accountable and allows Parliament to play a greater role than that of a simple rubber stamp.

The Liberals over-promised and under-delivered on holding meaningful public consultations on this agreement.

The NDP believes that in all trade negotiations, the government should consult Canadians and their members of Parliament from all parties in a meaningful, comprehensive and public way.

I would like to address some of the concerns that I have about chapter 11, the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. We are pleased with the elimination of chapter 11, there is no doubt about that. However, it has been replaced with mandatory regulatory co-operation, and further influence has been given to corporations. While, in principle, international regulatory co-operation has the potential to raise standards, experts argue that under the new terms, corporate influence has increased at the expense of public protections, and limits government's ability to regulate in areas such as toxic chemicals, food safety, rail safety, workers' health and safety, and the environment.

This agreement would give corporations advance notice of new regulations and ensure that they are allowed a consultation process before any regulation goes through a legislative process.

Regulatory co-operation is subject to dispute resolution. This means corporations can still directly challenge government actions, which is the highest form of regulatory chill. Regulators have to vigorously defend proposed regulations and are even required to suggest alternatives that do not involve regulating. They have to provide extensive analysis, including cost benefits, to industry. This makes governments accountable to industry, not to people.

I would also like to address the gender concerns that I have in this agreement. The Liberals promised an entire chapter to promote gender equality, and this was not delivered in CUSMA. The Liberals appear to have abandoned their promise before it could take root. Their limited language regarding the importance of gender equality does not exist as there is no gender chapter.

Experts testified at the international trade committee that these agreements should not just have a gender chapter, though, but that they must also mainstream gender rights throughout the entirety of an agreement, and that gender equality does not concern only the issues of women entrepreneurs and business owners.

The only chapter that addresses the links between gender and trade in any substantive fashion is the labour chapter. Otherwise, the addition of gender equality language is more superficial than substantive. 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 of all women. The NDP believes that both a gender analysis and a gendered impact assessment must be applied to all trade agreements.

A professor in my hometown of London, Dr. Erin Hannah, testified to the international trade committee:

Overwhelmingly we've put attention on women entrepreneurs in the gender in global trade agenda. That's important.... But the lion's share of women in the developing world work in the informal economy.

We don't have very good tools for assessing the impact of all sorts of things in the lives of women working in the informal economy, but particularly trade....[There are no] methodological tools to study the impact of proposed trade deals on women who are not in the formal economy.

That raise much bigger questions, though, about whether the objective of these initiatives is to bring women into the formal economy, to transition women out of the informal economy into the formal economy. It raises a whole host of other issues. I think it's important to think about how that would change these women's lives. We have a data problem, but we also have an ideological problem.

The NDP believes that, like other socially progressive ideals that can be brought forward in trade agreements, words are not enough. For gender, labour, indigenous, environmental or human rights to be truly advanced, there must be tools in place to achieve that progress. As Dr. Hannah rightfully pointed out, Canada has a lot to do itself on the gender agenda. We do not have pay equity. We do not have universal child care. It is clear that to move forward globally and negotiate progressive trade agreements internationally, nationally we must have domestic tools in place that work effectively.

In conclusion, I would like to talk about indigenous rights. My colleague across the way mentioned that again this deal is absent of any mention of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We believe, in the NDP, that the government must abide by article 19 of the UN declaration and obtain free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people before adopting any measures that may affect them.

As was noted by Pam Palmater at the international trade committee during the conversations about Mercosur, indigenous rights should be addressed throughout the entirety of a trade agreement, not only related to one chapter. She also noted that throughout the Pacific Alliance nations, there are large numbers of indigenous people who experience a great deal of violence from transnational corporations involved in trade. That is certainly something we see in NAFTA.

These are some of the concerns I have about the trade deal, and I appreciate the time that this House has given me to discuss them. I appreciate any questions.

The House resumed from March 10 consideration of the motion that Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be read the third time and passed.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

March 10th, 2020 / 6:50 p.m.
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Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague again for his support and also for raising this important issue, because I know that it is very important to many Canadian businesses and workers.

I want to take a moment to remind the member and colleagues here in the House that we were negotiating with an American president who wanted to limit trade and make it very difficult to access a free flow of products and services between our two countries. It was a challenge at times, but we persisted. We insisted on protecting the interests of Canadian businesses and workers, and we reached a good deal.

That said, there is still a lot of work to be done, and just as we have collaborated on Bill C-4, I look forward to continuing to collaborate with our colleagues in the NDP to achieve an even better agreement in the future.

International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

March 10th, 2020 / 6:50 p.m.
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Mississauga Centre Ontario


Omar Alghabra LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Public Service Renewal) and to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the question my hon. colleague from Elmwood—Transcona asked is timely because today we started debating third reading of Bill C-4. Hopefully the bill will be passed in this Parliament with the support of all political parties in the House, including the NDP. I want to thank the member and his colleagues for their support.

The issue of buy America is very important. Our Prime Minister and our Deputy Prime Minister, who at the time was Minister of Foreign Affairs, have been very public and vocal about our intent and desire to resolve this issue with our American friends. There has not been a public or a private opportunity that the Deputy Prime Minister has not raised this issue. In fact, we utilized the support we have from team Canada, which includes provincial premiers, legislators in the House of Commons, senators, and governors in the United States, to make sure we sent a strong message to our friends in the United States.

Last summer I attended the National Governors Association conference in Utah and I had a chance to meet with several governors. Some of them were surprised to learn that 34 out of the 50 states have Canada as their number one customer. In fact, all 50 states have Canada as their number one, number two or number three customer. We made every effort to remind our friends in the United States that it is important to treat Canadian businesses with equal access to economic opportunities, because doing so is not only in the best interest of Canadian workers and Canadian businesses; it also serves the interests of American businesses and American workers.