Thank you, Chair, and thank you to our presenters today.
I think we're at a point where modern trade agreements have become about so much more than just trade. Therefore, to say that we could somehow extract them at this point would, I think, be very difficult, because the stories Mr. Neve brought us today—horrific stories of human rights conditions that most Canadians would be shocked to learn about—are happening in the countries that we're considering as trading partners.
We can't continue to trade with no regard for its impact on people. That means on people here in Canada, but also on people in the countries we're trading with. We need to ensure that we have robust human rights provisions that are enforceable, that allow people who are working on the ground in these countries on behalf of Canada to have mechanisms to challenge this behaviour, particular when it's a Canadian company that's participating in the behaviour. We could certainly look to what's happening in Mexico in the extraction sector for examples of that. Of course, an ombudsperson has been announced, which we're supportive of, but that needs some fleshing out.
I don't believe that Canada should promote lower standards in accepting this, because it also hurts Canadian workers. When we accept lower standards in other countries, it has a direct impact on workers here in Canada, because we start to compete on very uneven playing fields, if you will.
We had the Global Affairs officials here on December 11, and I did ask them about the human rights tools they were using in the Canada-Pacific Alliance agreement. We couldn't get a direct commitment from them. I specifically mentioned Guiding principles on human rights impact assessments of trade and investment agreements, which I'm sure you know well—it's been published by the UN. You've mentioned another tool that you're bringing us today.
What tools do you feel the government should be using, and what training do our trade negotiators potentially require to understand the impact and use of these tools?