Evidence of meeting #9 for International Trade in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was cusma.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Maryscott Greenwood  Chief Executive Officer, Canadian American Business Council
Charles Milliard  Chief Executive Officer, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec
Jennifer Mitchell  Director, Board of Directors, Music Publishers Canada
Andrea Kokonis  General Counsel, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada
Gilles Daigle  Consultant, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada
Kathy Megyery  Vice-President, Strategy and Economic Affairs, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec
Michel Leblanc  President and Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Stuart Trew  Researcher and Editor, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Mathieu Frigon  President and Chief Executive Officer, Dairy Processors Association of Canada
David Wiens  Chair, Dairy Farmers of Manitoba
Joel Prins  Partner, Prima Dairy Farm
Matthew Flaman  Chair, Saskatchewan Milk Marketing Board
Darren Erickson  Pharmacist Owner, Tofield PharmaChoice, As an Individual
Gayleen Erickson  Business Owner, Guardian Pharmacy, Tofield Medical Clinic, As an Individual

9:50 a.m.

Bloc

Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Great. I see now.

I'd like to ask Ms. Greenwood the same question.

You talked about the importance of moving very quickly, as soon as possible, and not challenging the agreement. Conversely, don't you think that sometimes it's a good idea to give the more disadvantaged sectors the time they need to at least adjust to the agreement?

9:50 a.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Canadian American Business Council

Maryscott Greenwood

It is important to seize a moment in time to ratify. I don't have a particular view on accommodations that will be made to sectors that are impacted, and what that should look like in each of the three countries, although I understand it's very important.

My point was about the legislative process at the federal level, recognizing that Mexico has already begun and the United States has been through a process. I worry that we'll miss a window in time if not ratifying. I understand your point, and it's an important one, about how affected sectors are impacted, and I'm not speaking to that point.

9:50 a.m.

Bloc

Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

I must say I'm a bit surprised by your answer. On one hand, you're telling us how important it is to ratify the deal quickly, to move forward without question and not to raise any red flags. On the other hand, you're telling us that you didn't consider the compensation issue and avenues to correct certain areas where the agreement went too far.

I have to tell you I'm extremely surprised by your answer.

9:55 a.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Canadian American Business Council

Maryscott Greenwood

The agreement was negotiated over almost a year, and there was a lot of back and forth between the three countries. As trade agreements go, it was a fairly fast negotiation, but now that we are at the end of that process, the negotiation period is really over.

I don't have an opinion, and I'm not an expert on what the compensation, accommodations or phase-in period should be for any particular sector within Canada. I'm not saying it's not important; that's just not my expertise. I'm only talking about the legislation, and the negotiations of the trade agreement itself.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Mr. Blaikie.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Ms. Greenwood, in your opening remarks you talked a bit about the interplay between the executive and the legislature in the United States, and the effect that had on this particular deal.

You may know, being familiar with Canada's trade process, that there really isn't much interplay at all between the legislature and the executive. Members of the NDP have worked in this process to create some, because we think that would be to the benefit of Canadians.

Could you expand a little more on that interplay? What is it that the executive owes to the legislature in the United States with respect to trade agreements? How do you see that having played out, not necessarily in the context of this agreement but if you have some thoughts on other instances where that has been a productive interplay?

9:55 a.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Canadian American Business Council

Maryscott Greenwood

Sure. Thank you for that.

What I would note at the outset is the difference between our constitutional form of democracy and your parliamentary form. They're very different.

In the United States, our system was set up to have separate branches of government that truly have different power bases. They were designed by our founders to be really jealous of each other, and they have different authorities. The states came first in our system. Then when the federal government came, historically, Congress was set up as a check to the executive branch, and you really need both to get anything done.

As you know much better than I do, the parliamentary system is a completely different animal. It's different in a majority government, as you know, versus a minority government. I'm not an expert on the parliamentary system, and I wouldn't want to weigh in on the appropriate level of back and forth between the parties.

What I will say is that, in our system, even when you have the same parties in the White House administration as in Congress, they're still separate branches of power, and they have to negotiate with each other. That's a long-standing tradition here, so the Trump administration knew that it would have to negotiate with Congress because that was baked in ever since the founding of our democracy.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Right on. Thank you very much for taking a little time to offer those reflections.

I want to ask our guests from the publishing industry a question. I certainly hear your representations loud and clear with respect to term extension. Clearly, there's frustration there that it hasn't happened sooner. Presumably, government isn't acting simply out of spite towards your industry. Who would you say are the winners of not moving ahead quickly with term extension?

9:55 a.m.

Consultant, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada

Gilles Daigle

I think we'll let our colleagues from Toronto address the question. They're trying to get into the fray, but it's hard.

9:55 a.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Sure, that works for me.

9:55 a.m.

Director, Board of Directors, Music Publishers Canada

Jennifer Mitchell

Who would I say are the winners from not extending the copyright term? I'm not sure that there are any winners, to be honest. The songwriters themselves, of course, are not the winners because what happens when you extend copyright is that we are able to continue to receive revenue on hit songs and songs that we have been publishing for many years. We take that revenue, and we reinvest it in songwriters.

For example, when I find songwriters, those songwriters don't just sit at home and write songs. If they want to be successful, I need to send them around the world to write with other writers—which is called co-writing—which is fairly expensive. We need to have those relationships in place so that they are able to write songs that are then going to be recorded by artists who generate revenue.

My inability to do that would definitely impact their ability to have careers. It would also mean less Canadian content for Canada, so I'm not sure that the public benefits either.

10 a.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Am I to understand from that, then, that successive Canadian governments of different political stripes have stubbornly refused to grant a copyright extension and nobody's asking for that?

10 a.m.

Director, Board of Directors, Music Publishers Canada

Jennifer Mitchell

I don't know if I would quite phrase it that way, but we have agreed through certain conventions, including the Berne Convention, where we were supposed to be aligned with our international trading partners. I'm sure that there are a lot of reasons why they decided not to proceed, including the point that copyright is kind of a complicated subject. Certainly, it's something that should have been done. Now that we have agreed, we'd like to see it implemented right away and not wait the 30 months.

10 a.m.

Casey Chisick

If I may, there are criticisms from academia in particular and concerns raised about the importance of a robust public domain. The difficulty with that argument is that there's very little evidence in practice that the economic or other implications of term extension are in fact a net negative for creativity in the public domain.

Then there's also the very practical consideration that, in reality, all that happens is that third party commercial entities end up taking advantage of works that fall into the public domain. The most recent example that I can think of in Canada was a record label that began to put out re-releases of public domain sound recordings for its own commercial gain, with no benefit for the artists who recorded them or for the entities that originally financed those recordings. It's very difficult to see who wins from the refusal of the government over the last many years to follow suit and join its international trading partners with a longer term for copyright.

10 a.m.

Director, Board of Directors, Music Publishers Canada

Jennifer Mitchell

I would also add that—

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

I'm sorry, but I have to cut you off. I'm going on to my next member here. Thank you very much.

Go ahead, Mr. Carrie.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I want to thank all the witnesses for being here.

I wanted to start off, too, by thanking Scotty. When these negotiations started, we all knew we were on a tight timeline. Whenever we went down to the U.S., you were always very quick to get good groups together so that we could get our input, and I want to thank you very much for that.

You mentioned in your opening that business loves certainty. We certainly are in agreement with that. We know that there has been a bit of a campaign in the U.S. saying that Conservatives are going to try to slow down this deal, but we want to be very clear with you: We're not. What we're trying to do is our due diligence.

It was very frustrating for us here in committee. Mr. Hoback actually wanted to do a pre-study on this last spring before the election. We were unable to do that. We knew that the U.S. International Trade Commission came out with some numbers saying that this deal would be a net positive for the U.S. and the number is about $68.2 billion.

We were just trying to get some Canadian lens on it. We were told before the election it was a win-win-win. We were told it was going to be a victory for Canadians, a positive. We've been asking the minister, and she's been very uncooperative in releasing any advice she's had. Just Friday, the C.D. Howe Institute came out and said this would be a $10-billion hit to Canadians' GDP. Even though that is a hit, they also commented that, if we don't have an agreement, it's going to be far worse, so we're in agreement with you that we do need to pass this and move on from there.

I was wondering if the Canadian American Business Council has any independent economic analysis that you might be able to share with this committee. As you heard, we're only going to get that information from the Canadian lens tomorrow, and we expect to go through clause-by-clause by the end of the week.

Do you have anything you could share with us, even today, or over the next couple of days, that would enlighten us somewhat?

10 a.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Canadian American Business Council

Maryscott Greenwood

I wish I had a barnful of economists I could make available to you for this. We're a pretty lean and mean operation here. That said, our members have done analysis over the last year about this. We're happy to provide that, or I'm sure the committee can avail itself of information from the chief economists of the various banks in Canada, for example, each of whom has looked at this.

I think it's important to do your homework, but I also think people can take statistics out of context sometimes. I think you have to think about, as you did in your remarks, the big picture and what the alternative is. It's not just in a vacuum. You either have the status quo or you have this new deal, but if you don't pass the deal, what happens then? What would be the impact of that? That gets into the realm of speculation. There are some think tanks that have done some work on it, but the only data I have would come from our members, and we're happy to provide that to everyone. The economists of TD, RBC and CIBC would be the relevant Canadian economists.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

That's great, and if you're able to flip that over, that would be wonderful.

I know we've had conversations and I know you guys were very supportive of the original TPP. One of the frustrations occurs when you look at that analysis through the Canadian lens. It was going to be a net positive, over $4.3 billion to our GDP, and now to see the only Canadian lens we have seeing a net negative of $10 billion is a little bit frustrating for us.

We will do our due diligence, but we want to make sure that, for Canadian families, businesses and sectors that are negatively affected, the government puts in programs and supports to help them get through the implementation of this agreement.

Thank you for that, and thank you for your continued support.

I wanted to talk to SOCAN as well, because the minister was here saying she consulted extensively with all the different sectors—

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Make it not too long a question, Mr. Carrie.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Basically, we had the dairy people and the pharmaceutical ones, who said they really weren't listened to when this agreement was formalized.

Would you be able to comment on whether your industry was listened to and whether what you said to the government was indicated in the agreement?

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Make it a short answer, please.

10:05 a.m.

Consultant, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada

Gilles Daigle

They heard us, but they did not want to hear what we had to say.

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you very much.

We will move on to Ms. Bendayan.

February 25th, 2020 / 10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you all for being here.

My question is for the FCCQ representatives.

First of all, thank you for supporting the agreement and calling for its swift ratification. As you know, trade between Quebec and the U.S. is extremely important, valued at more than $90 billion. As you so eloquently mentioned during your presentation, we need to provide businesses with the support they need to understand the opportunities that trade deals open up to them.

We strengthened the role of our trade commissioners, and to be clear, they are federal trade commissioners who work in more than 160 cities worldwide with a mandate to help small and medium-size businesses navigate international markets. We also have the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, which provides funding and highly specialized tailored support to business owners with a focus on small businesses. As well, we have Export Development Canada and CanExport, which provide support to small and medium-size businesses.

I'd like to know what you and your members think about all of those organizations and how we could make them more effective.