House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.


Points Of Order

10 a.m.


Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order regarding a conversation you and I had yesterday concerning a newspaper article that came out recently in the Ottawa Citizen . You had some concern that I was questioning the integrity of the Chair.

I would like to put on the record that I in no way am imputing any motives to you and that I am not questioning the integrity of the Chair or the Speaker.

Points Of Order

10 a.m.

The Speaker

I take it then there is a complete withdrawal of any statements which were attributed to her in the article?

Points Of Order

10 a.m.


Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Points Of Order

10 a.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member very much for her statement. These things happen from time to time. Quotations are taken out of context and I want the hon. member and the House to know that I accept her statement and I consider the matter closed.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario


Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 16 petitions.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to present two petitions. The first petition is on behalf of 40 residents of Edmonton Southwest and was put together by Lynette Ruptash. It asks that physicians not get involved in the taking of lives but to save lives. It brings to our attention the fact that the majority of Canadians are law-abiding citizens who respect the law and the sanctity of human life. The second petition has 30 signatures. It also asks that physicians not be involved in the taking of human life. It is against the whole notion of euthanasia and it is my pleasure to present it to the House.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.


Dave Chatters Reform Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 36 I would like to present a petition on behalf of the residents of Athabasca.

The petition requests an act serious enough to deter young people from committing crimes and tough enough to provide real justice.

I submit the petition and I support the petitioners.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.


John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition signed by 2,318 constituents of North Island-Powell River. They respectfully request the government enact stronger legislation to deal with young offenders of all crimes, to make them more accountable for their actions.

I endorse this petition. It was signed by 11.5 per cent of the people who live in the Powell River region and a higher percentage of the adult population.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a further two petitions.

The third petition asks the Parliament of Canada not to change any laws which would have the effect of including sexual orientation in the human rights act or as a prohibited grounds of discrimination.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

I have a further 30-name petition against euthanasia.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario


Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, on May 10 I submitted a question to the Minister of Health on the Order Paper. I wonder if the hon. parliamentary secretary to the House leader would respond to it.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.


Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I know that the hon. member has been very patient in waiting for the answer to his question. I assure him I have seen a draft reply to the question. It was unsatisfactory in that it did not provide an answer for the hon. member and it was sent back for further revision.

I am optimistic that a full and complete answer will be forthcoming very shortly. As soon as I receive it I will be more than happy to provide it to the hon. member here in the House.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Shall all questions stand?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members


World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Scarborough East Ontario


Doug Peters Liberalfor the Minister for International Trade

moved that Bill C-57, an act to implement the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, be read the third time and passed.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario


Mac Harb LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the legislation we are considering today at third reading, Bill C-57, an act to implement the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, will ensure the implementation of the GATT Uruguay round agreement which the Minister for International Trade signed on behalf of Canada in Marrakech on April 15, 1994.

Adoption of this legislation would enable Canada to reap the benefits of the biggest trade deal in history by creating a more open and stable international trading environment. This agreement will generate increased Canadian exports and investment which are crucial to Canada's continuing prosperity in the achievement of the government's jobs and growth agenda.

Since the second world war Canada's trade with other countries has risen by over 70 per cent as a share of the gross domestic product. This is due to trade liberalization, our ability to explore trade opportunities and a reduction of average tariff rates to Canada from over 10 per cent to an average as low as 3 per cent in 1992 figures. While this alone may not be directly responsible for economic growth, one can clearly conclude that trade liberalization and the removal of trade barriers such as tariffs can generate economic gains while at the same time create jobs.

Free trade and trade agreements have to be fair, comprehensive and transparent. Despite some of the unresolved trade issues between Canada and our trading partners, I believe that Canada's trade interests are served today more than ever before. Since the adoption of the first general agreement on tariffs and trade, GATT, in the 1940s, global production has increased over five times and the quality of life has improved for trading countries. Many trade barriers were removed and many third world countries moved up to join the ranks of developed economies. However, there is still room for improvement.

Before assuming office the government made it clear that we would continue to support the GATT as a cornerstone of Canada's trade policy. We undertook to focus our effort on breaking the deadlock in the Uruguay round negotiation and on building a new World Trade Organization. This legislation is the fruit of those efforts. The Uruguay round was the largest, most comprehensive trade negotiation ever undertaken.

The final package contains over 30 agreements, understandings and declarations. These agreements made many important gains for Canada. The following stand out as highlights for us.

First, the market access package includes the largest tariff deal in history with most industrial tariffs being cut by at least one-third. Second, the agricultural sector is brought under the rules based multilateral regime for the first time ever. Third, trade and services and trade related intellectual properties are brought within the framework of multilateral disciplines. Fourth, the agreement thoroughly reforms and strengthens subsidy and trade remedy rules, thus realizing one of Canada's priority objectives going into the round. Fifth, the new integrated dispute settlement system with clearer rules, tighter deadlines, an appeal process and binding effect is a major improvement over the existing GATT system and should effectively preclude unilateral measures responding to trade disputes.

Finally, the crowning achievement of the Uruguay round is the creation of a new World Trade Organization, WTO, that will oversee the preparation of the complex series of agreements resulting from the round. It will put international trade on a firm institutional footing. The World Trade Organization will be-

come the third pillar, along with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, of the world's commercial and financial structure.

Completion of the Uruguay round will have major implications for the world and for the Canadian economy well into the next century.

The GATT secretariat estimates that, in year 2005, global revenues will be at least $500 billion US higher than what they would have been without the Uruguay Round. Based on a conservative economic assumption, we estimate that quantifiable gains to Canada will amount to at least 0.4 per cent in terms of real income, or $3 billion per annum, once the agreement is fully in force. This means an income increase of $400 per year for each Canadian household.

However, these quantifiable gains are only a portion of the real earnings that we are almost sure to enjoy. Clearly, for Canada, the challenge now is to optimize its share of the economic benefits resulting from the Uruguay Round, through increased trade and investments, which in turn will promote job creation, higher income and a higher actual standard of living.

There are tremendous opportunities. In several traditionally strong sectors of the Canadian economy, such as forest, chemical and pharmaceutical products, tariffs will be eliminated or substantially reduced world-wide, not to mention that major non-tariff barriers will fall.

Our service sector, which accounts for 20 per cent of our export earnings, will benefit from more open and stable global markets. New agreements on intellectual property rights on exported goods, combined with clearer rules of the game for supporting research and development, will open up new prospects for our technology and knowledge intensive industries.

I especially want to emphasize the export and growth opportunities now open to small and medium sized enterprises to expand onto new niche markets abroad. It is these firms that are now the most important source of job creation in Canada.

Our service sector which accounts for 20 per cent of export earnings would benefit from improved and more secure global opportunities. New agreements on trade related intellectual property rights combined with clearer rules of the game for supporting research and development will open up new prospects for our technology and knowledge intensive industries.

I want to especially emphasize the export and growth opportunities presented to small and medium size enterprises to expand into new niche markets abroad. It is these firms that are now the most important source of job creation across Canada.

There is a saying that if one does not use it one will lose it. If our Canadian small and medium size businesses do not respond to these new opportunities our economy stands to lose a great deal. Here is why. Between 1979 and 1989 small and medium size firms created over 85 per cent of net jobs representing over 2.2 million people. Out of 920,729 firms in 1992 figures, 920,233 or 99.8 per cent of firms were small and medium size with less than 100 employees. Out of 10,736,700 private sector jobs, there are over 6,360,000 or around 59 per cent who are employed by small and medium size enterprise. Therefore, most of the new jobs will be generated by this sector of our economy.

These figures follow a similar trend in most developed countries. If we were to compare the number of Canadian firms involved in trade with other countries we would find that Canadian small and medium size businesses are missing many opportunities. In fact, according to a 1990 study, 100 Canadian companies accounted for more than 60 per cent of the $141 billion of exports and only 7.6 per cent of all Canadian firms exported at all. However in Korea 42 per cent of their export is done by small and medium enterprise and in Taiwan it is 55.9 per cent. In China, 50 per cent of small and medium size enterprises are involved in export.

To increase the number of small and medium size enterprises involved in trade we must involve our small business sector and different levels of government must respond to their needs and concerns. Of course our competitors are already focusing on these very same opportunities. However, we must be smarter, more persistent and more aggressive in identifying and exploiting the hard won gains in access to both traditional and newly emerging markets around the world.

In response to this challenge the government has recently launched an international business initiative called Access 95. It is designed to translate the complex Uruguay round market opening measures into a strategy that targets the best export prospects among the billions of dollars in newly accessible global opportunities.

This initiative will help our business partners to select and develop more efficiently those new markets offering the highest value added returns over the long term. By enhancing industrial competitiveness, Access 95 will contribute to our domestic growth strategy to attract investment in the high tech industries and the jobs of the future.

Before outlining the Access 95 initiatives, I would like to highlight international trade opportunities that should open up to export industries across the country as a result of legislation before us today.

Agricultural producers across western Canada should benefit from a gradual increase in international prices for grains or oilseeds and special crops over the six year transition period and from expanded export opportunities.

Canadians will compete in a fair environment as European and American export subsidies for agricultural products are cut by 36 per cent. Quantitative import restrictions and variable import levies will be replaced by tariffs that will be cut by 15 per cent over six years, thereby stabilizing the export markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America for wheat, canola, barley, malt and alfalfa.

Our beef and pork producers should also profit from the replacement of foreign import restrictions and levies with a tariff based regime, as well as from improved and more uniform rules on sanitary and phytosanitary measures. These should foster increased export of breeding stock, embryos, plus beef and pork products to Europe, Japan, Korea and Australia.

Agri-food producers across the country can take advantage of greatly improved export prospects, especially for dairy products, seed potatoes, fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, beer, whisky and horticultural products.

Clearer international rules and fairer phytosanitary regulations will further stimulate exports and encourage Canadian processors to invest and plan upgrades and expansions. Our consumers will also benefit from access to a broader range of lower cost food products.

Manufacturers of horticultural, construction and mining machinery in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario will be able to build on the economies of scale which have already resulted from improved access to the U.S. market. The elimination of tariffs on many of these machineries in major offshore markets should spur our exports.

Western Canadian producers of large scale and special crop farming technologies are especially well positioned to take advantage of new market opportunities as our exporters of construction and mining material and handling equipment.

Export oriented chemical producers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario can also capitalize on tariff cuts of over 40 per cent and harmonization of rates between zero and 6 per cent. The prospects are excellent for chemical commodities in major industrial markets and for specialty products in each market.

Computer and instrumentation companies concentrated in Quebec and Ontario should welcome with enthusiasm the elimination or considerable reduction of tariffs in major industrial markets. They will enjoy wider access because of tariff consolidation in newly industrialized countries and tighter implementation of technical standards.

The generalized elimination of non-tariff barriers will open up new markets for manufacturers of computers and computer parts. The new rules on services and investments and better copyright protection will facilitate trade in computer services linked to hardware and software sales.

Manufacturers of electronics and industrial machinery throughout Canada should get ready to exploit new and exceptional export opportunities in key industrial markets where tariffs on electronics, most electrical appliances and industrial machinery will sometimes be cut by 65 per cent. Lower tariffs will also bring down the price of imported machinery, which is good news to Canadian investors thinking of equipping or modernizing their plants.

The fisheries industry in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and British Columbia can diversify exports of basic fish items and higher value added fish products to Europe, Japan and Korea where tariffs will be cut between 8 per cent and 30 per cent and non-tariff barriers reduced. Canadian tariffs on a wide variety of fish processing inputs and equipment will be reduced or eliminated.

The primary and fabricated metals industries in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec can also take advantage of substantial reductions on tariff and non-tariff barriers by our main trading partners to boost sales of primary and fabricated metals such as aluminum, nickel, zinc and copper. This could well induce new investment over the long term. Tariffs are to be eliminated on a wide range of steel products, creating a more stable investment climate and more secure access to key industrialized markets.

The subsidies and countervail agreement would provide clearer rules on actions that may be taken against our competitors' sales of subsidized iron and steel products that displace Canadian products in foreign markets as well as in the subsidizing country's domestic market.

Pharmaceutical and medical devices exporters across Canada will be major beneficiaries of the agreement as key trading partners eliminate pharmaceutical tariffs and reduce a wide range of non-tariff barriers. This more dynamic trading environment should foster Canadian research and development, investment and expansion of manufacturing. Freer trade with

developing countries should favour the export of specialized drug products. Export prospects for high technology medical devices in Europe and Asia should also improve along with sales of standard devices to Latin America.

For these industries which are driven by major and rapid technological innovation, the new intellectual property agreement will be of particular benefit in ensuring that the many proprietary aspects of drug and medical devices are not copied by offshore competitors.

Our telecommunications industries in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia are also poised for further expansion into major industrial markets as tariffs are eliminated or deeply cut. The binding of tariffs by many advanced developing countries would secure Canadian access to those booming markets. Moreover, our prospects for winning foreign contracts for telecommunications systems are much better given the improved access to foreign markets for service technicians under the agreement on trade in services.

Our transportation industries in Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario will also profit from a more level international playing field as a result of improved disciplines on the use of government subsidies. This will facilitate the export of business aircraft, small engines, avionics, landing gear, simulators plus parts and service contracts.

Tariff cuts reaching 33 per cent will stimulate exports from the automotive, urban transit and rail equipment sectors. As well, substantial Canadian tariff cuts on original automotive parts will reduce costs for original equipment manufacturers.

Wood processing companies in New Brunswick, Quebec and British Columbia will be more competitive on foreign markets where they will be subject to fairer regulations on the price and quantity of their products. Tariffs on lumber and wood products will go down by 50 per cent in major industrial markets and will decrease in many developing countries.

Since the implementation of standards such as the European Union's phytosanitary regulations and the development of product standards and building codes in Europe and Japan will be tightened, it will be easier for our businesses to break into these crucial foreign markets.

Pulp and paper companies in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces will enjoy unprecedented advantages on foreign markets. For the first time in history, most industrialized countries are committed to completely eliminating their tariffs. This decision applies in particular to the pulp and paper industry as well as to the book trade and other products printed on paper. Furthermore, many developing countries will reduce and consolidate their tariffs on paper products, thus providing Canadian exporters with excellent opportunities to diversify their value-added exports.

Besides the tariffs, which will be phased out over a ten-year period, some non-tariff barriers will also be abolished, in particular the European Union's requirements for waterproof paper. The agreement on import licensing procedures and the agreement on technical barriers to trade will give Canadian companies more stable access to foreign markets in general and to those of developing countries in particular.

On the whole, freer world trade and more predictable access conditions should encourage our producers to modernize their plants and in the long term promote the re-establishment of pulp and paper companies.

Service industries across Canada are closely tied to the offshore export prospects of the related merchandise sector. It is estimated that every dollar of goods exported contains 39 cents worth of service output. Additionally stand alone exports of service amount to $25 billion a year and are growing at almost twice the rate of exports.

The general agreement on trade in services of the World Trade Organization provides for the first time a comprehensive framework of rules and discipline on measures affecting services, including banking and investment. Once a country has committed to open its service sectors to a specified degree, it must grant Canadian service firms in the sector the same treatment accorded to domestic companies.

These market openings and safeguard measures will greatly improve the access of Canadian firms to billions of dollars in requirements for computers, construction, specialized engineering, management, telecommunications, as well as environmental, financial and professional services.

Both the magnitude and complexity of these opportunities are reflected in the Uruguay text of 500 pages of trade rules in addition to some 26,000 pages of tariff schedules applicable to 120 countries. The objective of the government's Access 95 initiative is to transform some of these often highly technical and complex provisions into a trade strategy that helps Canadian businesses take advantage of our hard won gains in access to foreign markets.

Access 95 is one of several important government initiatives to respond to the rapidly changing needs of our business community. We are committed to ensuring that our international trade developmental resources are focused on opportunities that offer the highest payoff for industry in the nineties. Given the

current fiscal situation I should mention that the initiative will be funded from existing resources.

The government is especially determined to strengthen our partnership with small and medium sized enterprises. These businesses often lack the resources and market specific expertise to discover and pursue newly accessible offshore opportunities. The government is tailoring its programs and services to assist small and medium enterprises in developing their particular niches in the new offshore markets.

At the direction of the first ministers the Minister for International Trade and his provincial counterparts are working to implement a trade Team Canada approach to better co-ordinate international business development. The advantage of the approach was demonstrated by the signing of contracts worth potentially $8 billion in China and over $100 million in Vietnam when the Prime Minister led a team of first ministers and 375 business leaders to Asia earlier this month.

We envisage that cost effective delivery of streamlined business development programs through federal-provincial one-stop shops will improve accessibility for firms while eliminating wasteful duplication. The approach will entail joint enhancement of exporter awareness services to prepare small and medium enterprises to export or to expand beyond the U.S. market. The development of stronger investment and technology linkage will assist small and medium enterprise to find the most suitable production technologies and partners abroad.

The more effective focusing of existing federal resources has greatly improved the delivery capabilities of our international market information and intelligence network. This links posts abroad with industrial analysts and trade officers across Canada in gathering and disseminating to Canadian firms timely and in depth foreign market intelligence that relates directly to their priority interests.

The Access 95 initiative was designed on the basis of these priorities. Launched recently by the departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Agriculture and Industry, Access 95 will, first show Canadian exporters where tariffs and non-tariff barriers have been reduced; these reductions will be major gains for them because it will be easier for them to export some 200 key products and 11 types of services in 42 priority markets.

Secondly, it will provide information from our offices abroad on the most promising new markets and the key criteria for being competitive on these markets.

Thirdly, it will send information quickly and directly to interested companies through our market information network.

Fourthly, it will provide our exporters with the services of well-informed specialized consultants who can explain to them the complex provisions of the WTO agreement, in particular the implementation timetables, and indicate to them the best ways to overcome the obstacles they will meet abroad.

By specifically targeting the openings created by the Uruguay Round agreement, Access 95 should encourage our small and medium-size businesses, which are already prepared to export to the United States under the free trade agreement, to penetrate Latin American, Asian and European markets as well.

Before concluding my remarks today I want to thank hon. members on both sides for the constructive approach they have taken in the House and in committee to this most important piece of legislation. I look forward to a similar constructive approach from our colleagues in the upper chamber as Canada makes a special effort, together with our trading partners all over the world, to adopt implementing legislation in time to bring the agreement into force on January 1, 1995.

Let me assure my colleagues who may be concerned by legislative development or the lack thereof in other capitals around the world that we are keeping a close eye on the implementation process of all our major trading partners. I can repeat the assurances already offered by the Minister for International Trade that we will proclaim the legislation only after our principal partners have completed their requisite implementation procedures.

Moreover, Bill C-57 provides that the governor in council shall bring the legislation into force only when he is satisfied that the World Trade Organization agreement is in force.

In submitting the bill for approval the government counts on the support of all parties in the House for the fundamental principles of trade policy set out in the preamble of the bill. These are: that the cornerstone of Canadian trade policy is the multilateral system of mutually agreed market access conditions and non-discriminatory trade rules; that free, fair and open trade is essential for the future of the Canadian economy and for securing the competitiveness and long term sustainable development of Canada; and that trade expansion contributes to job creation, achieves a higher standard of living, offers a greater choice to consumers and strengthens the Canadian economic union.

These are the essential objectives the bill seeks to promote. I invite my colleagues to join me in assuring its timely adoption. Once again I thank my colleagues in the opposition for their excellent contributions at the committee level, at second reading stage in the House of Commons and at report stage.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.


Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, do not think that earlier, when I went to get a glass of water, I did not want to bring you one. Quite the contrary. I intend to eventually offer you something with more flavour, like an apple juice, since Quebec is one of the main apple juice producers.

That being said, we are now at third reading of Bill C-57, an act to implement the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, signed at Marrakesh on April 15, 1994, by some 125 trade partners. It took over eight years of negotiating to reach this historical compromise, which signing members can be proud of. As we have pointed out throughout the legislative process, the Bloc Quebecois and I support Bill C-57, in spite of a number of flaws which I will discuss later.

Why do we support Bill C-57? I have had a few opportunities to point out in this House that Quebec is fundamentally a free trader and is open to the world. Quebec was and still is a strong promoter of free trade between Canada, the United States, Mexico and, eventually, other trading partners. Quebec was and still is a promoter of NAFTA and, as I was saying, it is in favour of expanding this treaty to include other countries from the American continent.

Let me briefly mention the benefits, for Quebec and Canada, related to the signing of the agreement which followed the Uruguay Round of negotiations. First, our companies will have greater access to foreign markets, thanks to tariff reductions, for example on wood, pulp and paper, as well as pharmaceutical products. This will certainly result in increased exports, which is good and which is what we seek of course through this agreement.

Trade rules are also strengthened. In the past, GATT members often took advantage of the vagueness of some definitions to adopt protectionist measures. The new GATT, that is the agreements following the Uruguay Round of negotiations, clarifies a number of trade rules, particularly as regards the definition of a subsidy, the types of subsidies which are allowed, compensable or prohibited, as well as the use of countervailing duties, safeguard measures and anti-dumping duties, etc.

The new GATT also puts in place the foundations of a system based on the rule of law rather than on power plays. We like to hope that member states will make proper use of the rule of law set up in the new GATT. There will also be a new dispute settlement mechanism. The general council of the World Trade Organization will be responsible for this quicker and more efficient dispute settlement mechanism.

Again, with such a system based on the rule of law, smaller trade partners, like Canada for example, will be able to better defend themselves against the protectionism favoured by the economic superpowers, including Europe, Japan and the United States. It is also important to note that the World Trade Organization will be replacing the GATT secretariat. A new more modern structure will replace the old one, which was a bit outdated and unsuited to the increasingly popular protectionist strategies and to the new industries covered by these agreements, like the intellectual property and service industries. I will come back to these a little later on.

Export subsidies for agricultural products have also decreased. After some spirited discussions, the GATT members finally agreed to reduce export subsidies by 36 per cent in terms of total value of the exportations and by 21 per cent in terms of volumes. Of course, we are talking here in percentages and not real values.

The gap between countries that subsidize the least and the most will stay the same. So, there is something wrong here, since the developing countries and those, like Canada, which do not subsidize their industries a lot compared to a number of their trade partners, will continue to be at a disadvantage. This nonetheless constitutes a step forward, which reduces the upward pressure on what I would call less "subsidizing" countries and gives them a new hope.

The Uruguay Round agreements also clarify the rules governing intellectual property. It is the first time this issue is discussed at the GATT level. Creators and businesses benefit from a minimum protection or, as I would say, a bottom protection. These new provisions apply to royalties, trademarks, patents, etc. They limit industrial piracy and trade of counterfeit goods.

The Uruguay Round agreements also provide for an opening of government procurement contracting so that our businesses have an easier access to the competitive bidding system of our partners' government agencies and governments. These provisions are subject to prescribed limits on government procurement of goods and services and on building contracts.

Again, this will open new markets to our businesses, which, in return, will have to be more competitive and aggressive. Indeed, this is the challenge they have to face with free trade.

As I said earlier, service industries are now included in the GATT agreement pursuant to the new provisions, although free trade does not apply to services as much as to goods. It has to be understood that if, for the latter, years of experience and negotiations have brought about freer trade, this is only beginning in the service industries.

I want to point out that service industries represent 20 per cent of the world economy. Canadian and Quebec telecommunication companies, mentioned earlier by the parliamentary secretary, as well as the financial services sector will benefit from this liberalization.

There is still a long way to go because many differences of opinion remain concerning transportation, telecommunications, audiovisual material and financial services, in particular, among the main trade partners, including the United States, the European Union and Japan.

Finally, the Uruguay Round agreement contains provisions allowing each country to exclude cultural industries and co-production works from the list of subjects covered by GATT. I believe that we owe that exclusion to France. As it did with NAFTA, Canada excluded cultural industries and co-production agreements from its list of concessions.

This ends my enumeration of what could be considered the gains made under the Uruguay Round agreement and, if you allow me, I will now turn to the less positive side of that agreement, and therefore of Bill C-57.

Throughout the negotiation process leading to the agreement and a little later, when Bill C-57 was drafted, the federal government boasted about its desire to consult the provinces. Undoubtedly, there was an effort made in this regard with the preparation of a draft bill which was submitted to the provincial governments. I would add that the federal government did it only because it cannot implement the agreement without the co-operation of the provinces in their particular fields of jurisdiction. Nonetheless, the federal government has not acted on three basic demands of Quebec.

For one thing, we wanted to ensure that the bill contained a federal clause providing for consultation with the provinces concerning the application of the agreement in areas under provincial jurisdiction. The provinces, particularly Quebec, have agreed to adapt their respective legislation and regulations to the international agreement signed by Canada.

Quebec was hoping to be better protected by the Canadian government. The federal clause included in the Marrakech agreement is indeed too threatening and too restrictive in that it gives the federal government full responsibility for the implementation of the final agreement. At the very least, Quebec was hoping that this clause would not be changed from what it was in the former agreement. At best, it was hoping that the federal government would better protect the interests of the provinces in negotiating with its GATT partners a federal clause that would better reflect Canada's constitutional reality.

Section 24.12 of the final agreement stipulates that the Government of Canada is fully responsible for compliance with GATT provisions and will take all reasonable measures to ensure that this obligation is fulfilled by local governments. So this means that, according to what is provided for in the agreement, the federal government will not consult with the provinces, but it will make decisions for them.

Not only is Quebec opposed to this wording, but it would have liked to see in Bill C-57 provisions establishing a federal-provincial consultation process for important decisions and for decisions regarding matters under provincial jurisdiction.

Again, Mr. Speaker, allow me to point out that the federal system has proven its inability to produce agreements that are satisfactory to all the parties concerned.

I will come back to the federal-provincial dispute settlement mechanism later on. Of course, we were also hoping that the bill would provide for a number of adjustment programs for workers and businesses in soft sectors like textile and clothing, which are very important in Quebec. A promise to that effect appeared in the red book, a promise that apparently will not be kept. I will get back to this later on.

As I pointed out earlier, Bill C-57 is deficient in a number of ways, and we have tried to deal with that by proposing a number of amendments in committee and at the report stage. The government decided, on I would say philosophical grounds which are questionable, to say the least, to reject the whole package "en bloc". No pun intended. We hope that the government's failure to give these amendments serious consideration will not prove to be an obstacle to proper implementation of the Uruguay Round agreement.

The government must realize that by rejecting these amendments which, I should point out, had been toned down and modified to make them palatable to the government majority, it went against the wishes of several groups directly concerned by Bill C-57.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I may recall the various amendments we proposed and our reasons for proposing them, and then comment briefly on the disastrous impact of the government's rejection of these amendments.

First, we had the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Laval-Est, whose purpose was to establish a process for consultation with the provinces. Of course, this process would have applied specifically to matters within provincial jurisdiction. The consultation process could also have been extended to any matter relating to trade dispute resolution and any economic matter of major international significance.

I may also recall that this type of consultation process exists in the legislation now before the U.S. Congress, where it concerns both economic matters of major significance, according to section 102, part B of the U.S. bill, and also matters relating to trade dispute resolution, section 102, part C, paragraph 3 (i) .

In a context where trade disputes are frequent and increasingly concern matters within provincial jurisdiction, the government could have been expected to provide a mechanism for consultations with the provinces. I think that in a federal state like the one Canada claims to be, a state that claims to respect the jurisdictions of the provinces, it is necessary to provide a mechanism for dispute settlement as well as a mechanism for federal-provincial consultations.

The parliamentary secretary said earlier that the federal government and the provinces were co-operating well on trade issues. He mentioned Team Canada. Nevertheless the Government of Quebec has expressed the wish, and it still does, that a process for consultations be included in the bill. If the government is so anxious to consult the provinces, why does it persist in its refusal to provide specifically for such consultations in the bill? I cannot understand this attitude.

They mentioned Team Canada, but when people work as a team, all players should have a chance to get on the ice. The parliamentary secretary mentioned the glorious trip of Team Canada to Asia. Well, for technical reasons, the federal government steadfastly refused to let one of the players on to the ice. From the very start, Team Canada has not been running very smoothly.

The proposed amendment was also aimed at forcing the federal government to obtain the provinces' agreement before taking important steps which would ultimately have an impact on the provincial jurisdictions, for instance, a change in the allocation mechanisms for tariff quotas. As things now stand, the Minister of International Trade has full discretionary powers regarding the allocation of tariff quotas. It would have been desirable for the provinces to be consulted on the allocation of such quotas, and on the establishment or implementation of policies for selecting trade partners who would have access to the Canadian market.

If you will permit, Mr. Speaker, I will spend a few minutes on the issue of tariff quotas because I believe that it is an area of great concern. The purpose of this amendment was to ensure that the minister, when making decisions in respect of prices and quantities of subsidized exports, considers actions taken in the relevant areas by foreign competitors.

Getting back to the issue of tariff quotas, I just want to say that the federal government will impose nearly no duties on a certain number of agricultural products entering Canada. Beyond established quantities, tariffs will increase significantly, up to 200 or 300 per cent. It is the minister, acting on behalf of the federal government, who will have the authority to decide which importers will be allowed to import under these preferential tariffs.

The federal government, under more or less formal agreements, will determine from which country certain agricultural products will be imported into Canada under these preferential tariffs. We believed that it was essential to ensure that the provinces could voice their opinion regarding the choice of importers who will benefit from these low tariffs.

It is all the more important because the provinces may often have competing interests; therefore, the process should be as open as possible, in order to avoid scheming and conflicts of interest. We know, for example, that the federal government has already entered into agreements with some countries -including New Zealand which was granted a significant butter tariff quota, probably in exchange for a similar quota for Canadian beef exports to New Zealand; under such agreements, the government guarantees a country access to the Canadian market for certain of its products in exchange for access to its market.

On the one hand, this kind of agreement can have serious consequences for local producers and can antagonize our other trade partners. On the other hand, developing countries-I think it is important to recognize it-are the big losers with this type of agreement, because they have nothing to offer in exchange for access to our markets. We have to take that into account, Mr. Speaker.

Our amendment was intended to avoid the possibility of haggling over the granting of tariff quotas and the risk of conflicts of interest for the minister. We wanted to avoid putting the minister in a situation where he would have to set tariff quotas while taking into consideration the conflicting interests of the various provinces.

This amendment was also intended to prevent the minister from allowing products imported outside tariff quotas, in case of shortages on the domestic market, to be sold more cheaply than the same goods produced on the domestic market.

I will now move to the amendment to clause 3 proposed by the hon. member for Longueuil. Its goal was to ensure minimal follow-up by Parliament which would have forced the government to make a public evaluation of the implementation of the agreement. This was, in my opinion, the least we could ask as a safety measure. That amendment had been suggested to us by the Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, when they came before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

There again, the government decided that this amendment was not worthy of consideration, and it was rejected late yesterday.

This amendment would have also required that we examine the implementation of the agreement by our main trading partners, most notably the United States. I might add that the American legislation presently before Congress contains such

provisions in its section 424. That section of the American bill states that, no later than six months after the day the agreement has come into force, the President shall report on Canada's performance fulfilling its commitments respecting dairy products and poultry.

Such a clause is not overly aggressive. It does not violate the scheme of the Uruguay Round agreements. It simply keeps us on our toes regarding our major trading partners, who may at times be aggressive towards us.

The amendment was also designed to ensure that the government table an annual report on the impact of the agreement on workers and companies, as I said earlier.

The Liberal government made promises in that respect during the election campaign. We know that many workers and companies will be affected by the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements. There is no doubt that they are prepared to take up the challenge of the Uruguay Round agreements, but they could use a little boost to face this new reality.

I now move on to the amendment to Clause 58 brought forth by the hon. member for Louis-Hébert, to ensure that the protection would apply not only in the present but also in the future. The intention was to make the clause technologically neutral, that is to say not to limit its application to today's or yesterday's technologies, because the clause actually provides for the protection of recordings made on perforated rolls. Imagine that, Mr. Speaker, perforated rolls!

As I indicated in the debate at report stage, I would probably have had less of a problem with this aspect if I had been debating the bill to implement the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization as a member of this House immediately after the Second World War. Then, I would have told myself that the days of the perforated roll, as a recording medium, were not so long gone after all. But in 1994, in the age of the laser and the optic fibre, I think that we should come up with a technologically neutral clause, that is to say a clause that does not apply only to technologies that existed in the old days or exist today, but that also allows for the development of new technologies, new means of fixing information.

It was a purely technical amendment, simple but fundamentally important. Today, as noted in the Union des artistes' brief to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade: "The perforated roll makes us laugh because it is so obsolete as a way to reproduce sounds. Tomorrow it may well be digital tapes or laser disks that make us smile because they will seem like technologies from another age".

The government's approach of limiting comments to the perforated roll appears timorous and hesitant. It does not augur well for the review of the Copyright Act. Just because we proposed only one amendment in this regard does not mean that we agree with the position of the current government, which is unduly delaying the introduction of a bill to amend the Copyright Act.

As we clearly pointed out last week, the government must not use trade treaties as an excuse to review the Copyright Act in an haphazard and incidental way. Again, as suggested in the report of the Liberal majority on the Special Joint Committee Reviewing Canada's Foreign Policy, the government is taking over areas of shared jurisdiction under the pretext that it is the only one entitled to deal with their extension on the international scene.

The amendment to clause 185, which I had the honour to put forward, was simply aimed at clarifying the guidelines used by the trade tribunal to rule on dumping cases. Clause 185 in Bill C-57 outlines how the Canadian International Trade Tribunal must deal with dumping complaints. Complainants had to prove to the tribunal not only that dumping effectively took place but also that it had caused injury to Canadian industry.

The bill also provides that the tribunal can recognize injury only if the circumstances causing the said injury are clearly planned and imminent. As you can see, Mr. Speaker, this "planned and imminent" provision is much too vague and restrictive. What we wanted to achieve through this amendment was simply to clarify a little bit the circumstances that can cause injury, which are now quite vague.

This bill also provides that the Governor in Council can, on the finance minister's recommendation and if he feels like it, set regulatory guidelines that will give the Canadian International Trade Tribunal more specific directives on acceptable evidence as well as the general interpretation of new dumping conditions.

Canadian steel producers submitted to us that the U.S. legislation was much more precise and, as I just said, gave their courts much clearer and more precise indications as to how these new conditions should be interpreted and what evidence could be presented to a court.

Given this state of affairs, Canadian producers are clearly at a disadvantage compared to their American competitors, since they have absolutely no indication of how they will have to prove that they are victims of dumping by their U.S. counterparts. I mentioned how important the steel industry is for Canada's economy. I will not cover the same ground again, but we should understand how urgent such an amendment to the bill was, not only for the steel industry but also for very many industries and sectors of the Canadian economy.

The purpose of the amendment was to require rather than to simply permit the Governor in Council to establish regulations to guide businesses and the court in its decisions; it was also intended to specify the kinds of evidence which should be included in the regulation and also suggested that the Minister of Industry be involved in the operation since obviously he is

probably the one who is best able to judge how various sectors of the Canadian economy are doing.

At this point, I would like to mention the important contribution of my colleague from The Battlefords-Meadow Lake, who presented some amendments to this House. In most cases, these were similar to amendments proposed by the Bloc Quebecois and, unfortunately, were also rejected. In his statements, he too clearly pointed out the difference between U.S. legislation, which provides some defence for American industries, and Canadian legislation, which leaves it up to the good will of the World Trade Organization and the strict application of the rules of law. This is a dangerously narrow approach and with all my heart I hope it will turn out to be a viable strategy that will benefit the Canadian economy.

It is important to say a few words about the progress of legislation in the U.S. Congress. Over the last few days we learned that the situation had changed and that a majority of American senators now intended to support the bill on the Uruguay Round agreements, even though, as Lloyd Bentson, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, put it, the GATT vote was not a done deal. We have every reason to be very optimistic at this moment.

However, should the American Senate or Congress reject the GATT agreement, and should the U.S. close its markets, a return to protectionism at the international level would be a distinct possibility and would have disastrous consequences for the economy world-wide. Consequently, the signal which will be sent by our major trading partner is vital. We will follow the proceedings in Congress with great interest. We hope that the Canadian Minister for International Trade will use every available means to convince our trading partner to pass its bill on the Uruguay Round agreements as quickly as possible, and also to make stubborn American legislators aware of what is at stake here.

I want to conclude by making some criticisms regarding the process to which we were subjected over the last few weeks. There is no doubt now, and in fact that was the case from the very beginning, that the Bloc Quebecois supports this legislation to implement the Uruguay Round agreements. We know that the Reform Party also supports the bill.

Consequently, why did the government wait for so long before tabling its legislation? It did so at the last minute and then it put all kinds of pressure to rush the bill through every stage of the process, including in committee. The government thus kept us from conducting a thorough review of Bill C-57 which, as you know, includes over 200 clauses.

Given the scope and the volume of this legislation, the government should at least have consulted us, as it did regarding other bills. A draft bill was distributed to various sectors of the Canadian economy, as well as to the provinces, and that is certainly a good thing.

Considering the consensus that prevailed in this House, we would have hoped that the government would at least have had the decency to provide other parliamentarians with a copy of its draft bill, so that we could have looked at it and even made suggestions before the bill was studied in the House and in committee. But now the government is stuck. In an attempt to ensure transparency and to protect its image, it is rejecting every compromise and every amendment to its bill.

The committee heard a limited number of witnesses, who had very little time to get ready. In any case, none of their presentations was taken into account and, with the way the committee's business was organized, it was impossible to take into consideration their requests. Public hearings ended two weeks ago, on a Wednesday, and the following day we were already studying the bill clause by clause.

How could we have taken into account the proposals, comments and suggestions made by the witnesses when right the following day we were asked to railroad the almost 200 clauses of this bill?

To conclude, I just want to say that we will, of course, support this bill to implement the trade agreements reached during the Uruguay Round. I stressed the importance of this bill for Quebec and I mentioned the consensus that prevailed in this House on this issue.

We give our support to this bill in the hope that the government remembers the reservations we have had ever since this bill was introduced, most of which have been expressed by the witnesses before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, including the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the Union des producteurs agricoles, the Union des artistes, and the Canadian Steel Producers Association. I just want to remind members that several concerns and several suggestions came up, but the government chose not to take them into account. We hope that the government will at least take these various reservations into consideration when it prepares the regulations.

Obviously, we hope that these flaws in Bill C-57 will not have regrettable impacts on already frail areas of our economy and that these flaws will not place businesses in Quebec and in Canada at a disadvantage in relation to our major trade partners.

As for the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements, we hope, since that is all we can do, that the federal government will keep its word and will be so kind as to consult with the provinces before making major decisions on matters of concern to them.

We also hope that the government will do a proper follow-up, that it will monitor the conduct of our major trade partners, and

that it will keep its promise in the red book with respect to adjustment programs for workers and businesses. In that regard, it is important to quote the following excerpt from the red book: "Governments must assist individuals and firms to deal with the restructuring that is occurring as a result of trade liberalization. Such assistance is critical to building acceptance of structural reforms in the Canadian economy".

We know very well that given the current state of government finances, the Liberal government could be tempted to disregard the promise to set up restructuring programs for those businesses most heavily affected by the Uruguay Round agreements and NAFTA.

Of course, the Bloc Quebecois and I readily recognize the need to reduce the monstrous Canadian deficit in an intelligent manner. However, we are also aware of the fact that workers in some sectors of the economy will have to make an extra effort to adjust to new market realities.

While I am absolutely sure that workers and businesses in Quebec and in Canada will be able to show the innovation and energy needed to deal with these new realities, I also know that government intervention is absolutely necessary in some cases.

Before I conclude, I too would like to thank all members who took part in proceedings on Bill C-57 in this House, including my colleagues from Louis-Hébert, Laval East and Longueuil, and my colleagues on the government side and in the Reform Party, and more particularly organizations and individuals who, despite the inconvenience of the process, came to Ottawa at taxpayers' expense to appear before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, even if their concerns and suggestions have not been taken into consideration.

The parliamentary secretary mentioned the positive approach taken by members on both sides of the House. I have to say that I cannot give the government such high marks, because it did not co-operate as much as we would have liked.

That being said, we will certainly support this bill.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.


Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to support Bill C-57, an act to implement the World Trade Organization under GATT.

I think it is a tribute to this House and to Canadians that we have all-party agreement for this to move forward. We recognize there are some problems that have to be worked out as a result of this trade deal as it applies to internal policy in Canada, but Canada needs this deal very badly. We have been a world leader in trade promotion and trade rules since the second world war.

In 1947 Canada was one of the early leaders in proposing a rules based trade arrangement with the GATT that took place. We have also been working very hard in the last seven years under the Uruguay round to bring about international trade rules that bring sectors such as agriculture and the service sector under international trade rules for the very first time. These sectors have been operating without these international trade rules and we believe they are very important.

We in the Reform Party are very supportive of the implementation of the GATT and the World Trade Organization. We are looking forward to the organization getting organized and up and running quickly.

Canada needs a rules based trading relationship. We will benefit. We have a small population in a big country; we have a lot of resources. About 30 per cent of our GNP is directly related to trade. Unlike some countries for example the United States which is far more self-contained, Canada needs to trade and we are a world leader in terms of trade.

One reason we need this is we have had a trade war going on in agriculture for approximately the last 10 years. We have seen how destructive this can be to the economy of the industry affected. Without the Uruguay round we were in danger of this expanding into other sectors, something Canada could not have had happen. It was very important to us.

We cannot play the game if everybody is playing by different rules. That is what we are saying by trying to get international trade rules. In that way trade is very much like a game. We always hear the term level playing field and there is a reason for that. It means we need to have rules that are equal and every team has the same opportunity under those rules.

To use an analogy, for me it is very much like hockey. Hockey is my favourite sport. It is a sport that Canada invented. We have set the rules for hockey over the years. We are very good nationally. We need to work as a national team when we go abroad. We have to recruit the very best players and we have to train those players. To that degree, it is very much like the Uruguay round. We need international rules in hockey as well as international rules in trade.

We need a neutral referee in hockey and in trade. The World Trade Organization is going to be that neutral referee applying the rules fairly. The Acting Speaker who was in the chair earlier will certainly know something about refereeing. He was in the National Hockey League as a referee for a number of years. The one qualification referees need is good eyesight. They have to be very vigilant and that will be the role of the World Trade Organization.

Canada is a trading nation and will benefit greatly by trade liberalization. Canada produces a surplus of many goods and services in demand around the world. Yet Canada cannot possibly produce the full range of goods and services that Canadians need. In that way it is to our advantage to export those goods and services we produce best. We do produce a lot of these very well, just as it is to our advantage to import those goods and services that other countries produce best.

In 1993 Canada exported $181 billion in goods and services totalling about 30 per cent of our gross domestic product, very high. For every billion dollars in new exports, over 1,100 new jobs are created. It is very important to Canada that we continue to be good traders.

With more liberalized trade the overall prosperity of Canadians will be enhanced. In Canada trade accounts for one out of every four jobs generated. In my riding of Peace River we are very dependent on trade to provide jobs.

The Peace River area of Alberta is booming right now. The economy is very strong. Agriculture is doing well. The oil and gas sector is booming. The forestry sector is booming as well. It is the good fortune of my riding that all of these industries have healthy export sales and it is no more evident than it is in the Peace River riding of Alberta.

We do have some problems in making this trade deal work. Some of them are right here at home. In that way I compare it with our national team playing hockey. We have to work with our players to make this deal work effectively for Canada, the players in this case being the business community and provinces, and we have to work together.

If I may continue with my analogy for a moment, if we cannot practise together how can we learn to play the game? Young players start by playing locally in the neighbourhood rink. If you are limited to your backyard, however, where do you get your expertise and where do you learn how to make the moves necessary to move on to the next level?

Recently GATT has rebuked Canada for having too many internal trade barriers. I think we have to pay attention. Having minimum compliance and getting Bill C-57 established and getting it into effect is the right approach. We want this agreement to be in effect very quickly. To do that we have minimum compliance. That means amending approximately 31 acts to bring us into minimum compliance.

It shows that we have some serious flaws in our domestic policy that have to be addressed. I hope that the manager of the team, the coach, the federal government, will be working to pay attention to those problems. Some of them are concerns over transportation regulation, transportation subsidies, government regulations, regional development. All of these things are really slowing us down in terms of competing effectively abroad.

There are many categories of barriers. In agriculture and the food processing industries there are over 100 of these barriers. They include marketing boards, production quotas, quality and packaging standards and transportation and stabilization subsidies.

In the liquor and wine industries we have provincial production requirements, local bottling requirements, differential markups, quotas, packaging requirements and marketing favouritism.

In the transportation industry we have different licensing requirements in different provinces, size and weight requirements, safety regulations, provincial transport board discretionary powers and varying fuel and sales taxes. It has been said that we have more barriers to trade internally than in all of the European Union. That is something we have to work very hard at to overcome.

In the area of government procurement we find explicit and implicit preferences for local suppliers and requirements for locally produced materials. With government procurement expenditures exceeding $100 billion per year, approximately 20 per cent of our gross domestic product, this is by no means insignificant.

In the area of labour mobility there are different licensing requirements for professionals and tradepersons from province to province. These barriers parade significant impediments to people wishing to move to other provinces since skilled workers have to meet additional licensing requirements.

Then there is the area of capital mobility where industrial incentives, local investment funds and local tax incentives are barriers.

Such barriers are often used for regional development and create an inefficient allocation of financial resources. The cost to our nation of these and other internal trade barriers is in the neighbourhood of $6.5 billion per year, something that simply is not acceptable and which we have to work on.

Interprovincial trade barriers have fragmented the Canadian marketplace and hindered Canada's ability to compete internationally. Furthermore, these barriers give competitive advantages to large firms that can afford to comply with the stringent rules imposed by government. At the same time they hinder small businesses from reaching their market potential. Unless we can improve competition within our own borders we will never be able to reap the rewards of these expanded trade opportunities.

Yesterday an interesting item was reported in the press. Garth Whyte, director of national affairs at the Canadian Federation of

Independent Business, says that he finds it ironic that Ottawa and the provinces appeared to work so well together in Asia but cannot agree on bringing down interprovincial trade barriers back at home. This is something I have mentioned many times in the past in this House and something that is really tying one arm of our business people behind their backs in their ability to trade internationally.

Mr. Whyte goes on to say that many members of the CFIB, which represents 85,000 small and medium size businesses across Canada, do not even dream of tackling foreign markets because they cannot expand into next door provinces that would allow them to grow big enough to compete abroad. It is one of our Achilles' heels. It has been recognized in our foreign policy review that we need to create a better international business environment at home, giving small and medium size businesses the opportunity to compete.

Most of our international trade is done by about 100 companies in Canada. There is much opportunity for small and medium size businesses to compete but we have to start opening up these trade problems and barriers at home to allow them to get a bigger share of the domestic market so they can use that as a chance to expand into the international field.

Our national team has some problems. We are not working together as a team. That is the job of the coach, the manager of the team on the other side. Team Canada has to work more effectively at home so we can do a better job abroad.

I see some problems coming as well with the implementation of the World Trade Organization and how it will affect us in Canada. It is something we have to work to resolve. There will be some disputes ahead that need to be settled by this government. To get back to my hockey analogy, if we slow down the game too much with too many penalties it does slow the game down. In this case it is tariffs and interprovincial trade barriers.

I believe that some of the problems we are facing are tariff rate quotas, the allocation of them. We have some problems with our supply management sector that have to be worked out. We have some problems under the Western Grain Transportation Act that will have to be resolved as a matter of the implementation of the World Trade Organization, and the export volume caps that are going to be imposed.

I would hope that government would work very closely with industry and the provinces involved to make this a very easy adjustment to be phased in so that eventually we can phase down quotas, subsidies and tariffs all across the country and Canada will be a free trading nation.

I want to quote a couple of examples, one of them being the beef industry. We are getting representation from both sides of that issue, which may be good or may be bad. One group is saying that the tariff rate quotas are high enough and it does not want them lifted. The other side of the industry is saying that they are much too low and it needs better access. I can see some problems coming. There will even be a market trade in tariff rate quotas which I do not believe is necessarily a good thing.

We heard earlier today from the parliamentary secretary, the critic for the Bloc and us. Everyone is looking at what the other major team, Team U.S.A., is doing. It is trying to change the rules of the game, adding many requirements and regulations as a part of its implementation legislation. It is not the right approach.

I believe that the referee, in this case the World Trade Organization, will look at that very closely when considering the disputes brought forward before the World Trade Organization. All of the relevant factors will be taken into account and we will have the weight of 123 member countries behind us when these rulings are made in favour of whatever party.

I would welcome very much that we move quickly to the implementation of the World Trade Organization, allow some of these disputes that have been lingering in Canada for some time such as the wheat dispute in western Canada. We all know about the amount of cases taken to the dispute panel in the United States with regard to steel. Those are two that should be moved quickly to the World Trade Organization to be resolved and have the weight of all of the member countries behind them.

What happens in the United States is of principal interest to Canada because currently it accounts for about 75 per cent of Canada's two way trade. We have a strong relationship with the United States which has allowed Canada to become the seventh largest trading nation in the world, even though we have a population that only ranks 31st in the world.

In conclusion, we in this party support moving quickly to the World Trade Organization, the full implementation of the GATT. We think we can do quite well. We are going to have a neutral referee with good eyesight, I hope. We are going to rely on the things that we do best, skill and agility. We are not going to resort to the tactics of some teams that tend to get the enforcers in place. We think we can do quite well based on skill. We can trade well with any country as long as we have a level playing field.

Let us get on with the game, let us get on with implementing this as quickly as we can and let Canada continue to take a leadership role at the World Trade Organization as it needs to be changed in future reforms. Let us at home continue to work hard, be diligent to resolve some of the problems that we have in terms of trade barriers. Let us be diligent at home with regard to getting our debt and deficit under control because we know that is one of the biggest costs in business. It is one of the reasons that we do not compete well internationally. We have a very high

tax rate. We think we can win the game if we look after that and do very well in trade.

We believe that Team Canada can hold its own with any team in the world, given the same rules.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:35 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Before resuming debate I want to remind the House that pursuant to Standing Order 74, following the first three members this morning, the next five hours of debate will give members the opportunity of 20 minutes maximum for speeches, subject to a 10 minute question or comment period. Sometimes the practice is that members split their time and I would hope that if members are going to be splitting their time they would indicate that to the Chair.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:35 a.m.


Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the government side we will be splitting the 20 minutes for the first five hours. There will be two speakers for every 20 minutes.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:35 a.m.


Gordon Kirkby Liberal Prince Albert—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak in support of Bill C-57, a bill to implement the Uruguay round of agreements of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

In excess of 120 countries are signatories to this agreement and this bill will make Canada party to the most comprehensive trade agreement in history.

This government was elected on the basis of a number of factors. These same factors have kept the government in high regard. We have the leader, we have the team and we have the plan, the red book. The focus of the red book was all about job creation and getting Canadians back to work, to give all Canadians an opportunity to participate in the economy, to allow all people the dignity that comes with having a job, and the pride that comes with the ability to put bread and butter on one's own table.

Since the election of our Prime Minister and the new government over 300,000 new jobs have been created, most of them being full time. In addition, business and consumer confidence is way up. This is because the government has been single minded about its promise to create jobs. The government, together with all Canadians, is succeeding.

Whether we are talking about the infrastructure program which has resulted in the construction of roads, sewers, sidewalks, health care facilities and other valuable projects, tens of thousands of Canadians are now back at work as a direct result of this program.

Whether we are talking about the review for science and technology, whether we are talking about the Minister of Human Resources Development and his review of the western diversification program or his very important and necessary review of the social safety net, in all of these areas we are looking to see how best we can create a climate of economic growth and jobs in this country.

We look to see how we can make Canada a better competitor on the global marketplace. The success of our Minister for International Trade and our Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food at the GATT is no exception to the government's direction which is to create jobs and economic growth in Canada.

The Uruguay round of GATT is an international agreement but it has many significant, positive local impacts in Prince Albert, Churchill River and all throughout Saskatchewan.

A significant industry that will be helped in Saskatchewan is the agricultural machinery manufacturing sector. Tariffs on these products will be eliminated internationally over a five-year period. Western Canadians and Saskatchewan based farm machinery manufacturers are particularly well positioned to take advantage of this new economic reality as exports of our large scale dry land farming technology is on the cutting edge worldwide both in terms of environmental protection and encouraging economic efficiency and effective production.

These industries are already very competitive because of a close proximity to the American market and good access at the present time. Therefore we can effectively take advantage of these new market opportunities.

I believe in Saskatchewan farmers because they have been through drought. At the same time they were subjected to low commodity prices brought on by the devastating grain subsidy war waged between the Americans and the European Union.

There is no doubt that Saskatchewan farmers are among the most efficient producers of agricultural products in the world. A reduction in subsidies on the international level is going to be good news for our farmers because they are already so efficient.

One of our most significant changes produced by this agreement is the end to this terribly damaging international grain subsidy war between the Americans and European Union. The volumes of European Union and American wheat exported will be reduced by over 40 per cent over the next six years. This will significantly improve the access and the market prospects for Canadian farmers who grow grains and oilseeds.

This is good news for farmers. As the subsidies are reduced the economic incentive for the growth of industries in the area of processing of agricultural products in western Canada will also increase. For too long we have in western Canada been hewers of wood and drawers of water. For too long we have been shipping our produce outside the province and outside the country to be processed.

We will see the day when we will achieve a much greater economic diversity in Saskatchewan. We will see the day when our farmers will not have to ship such a large percentage of their agricultural products out of the province or out of the country for processing. Saskatchewan people will do it right at home.

We will soon see secondary processing of agricultural products in our province. We will be less dependent on the uncertainties of international raw commodity prices for our economic stability, diversity of economic activity and diversity of markets. It is a sure formula for economic improvement and stability.

The GATT also provides greater protection for the Canadian farmers in that the United States will no longer be able to use existing repressive trade laws and other regulations against imports of Canadian wheat or other agricultural products.

This agreement is also good news for the red meat sector of the Saskatchewan economy. There will be greater export opportunities and greater likelihood of investment in the meat processing industry. The mining sector will also benefit from having more trade rules which will ensure continued and more certain access to markets with respect to raw products. In addition we will see more secondary processing of metals which are now precluded from economic export opportunities by tariff barriers in other countries.

The GATT will also help the pulp sectors of our economies again by the reduction of tariffs. This will enhance the viability of the Canadian industry and enhance the economies of Weyerhauser Canada Limited, the owners of an already successful pulp and paper complex in the riding which I represent. The production of wood products and wood will also be enhanced for the same basic reasons.

The GATT is certainly a big help in terms of specific primary production sectors that will benefit from the reduction in tariffs and in terms of secondary or processed products.

One of the largest benefits to Canada from the GATT is the fact that clearer trading rules have been established and more effective measures for settling disputes have been put into place. This is particularly important and beneficial to Canada which has a mid-size economy. This will also ensure that the rule of law determines trade disputes and not simply have trade disputes resolved by who has the biggest economy or who can throw their economic weight around on the international scene.

This is particularly helpful to third world economies that for too long have been controlled by arbitrary economic interests outside their borders and by the economies of industrialized nations. This allows them access to fair treatment. When they can rely on the rule of law as opposed to economic might they will achieve greater economic self-sufficiency. This will allow the economies of such third world countries to grow. When their economies grow they will have greater economic wherewithal to achieve and to purchase more goods and services from countries like Canada.

This deal is good for all of Canada but it is good for western Canada, Saskatchewan and Prince Albert-Churchill River. Whether we are talking about opportunities of a more substantial nature in the pulp and paper industry, the mining sector, the agricultural sector, the wood products sector or any manufacturing or value added industries or activities associated with primary resource production, all these opportunities will have a very positive impact on the good people of my riding.

The agreement will free up the truly entrepreneurial spirit which already exists in fine measure in my riding and across the country. Over time increased wealth and opportunity will result, which is good for all our people.

Once again I congratulate the Minister for International Trade and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for their efforts, their vision and their success in doing their part to ensure the government will live up to its commitment contained in the red book to create jobs and bring dignity back to the lives of many Canadians who are out of work through no fault of their own. This is what we promised to do. This is what we are doing. This is what we will continue to do with the help of all Canadians to create jobs and economic opportunity and stability.

The GATT is a good agreement. The bill and consequent amendments supporting the agreement are in the best interests of all of Canada, and I speak in favour of it. Finally, I thank all members from the opposition parties who supported this excellent initiative and agreement.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.


Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's comments.

We have been dealing with the backtracking of grain for the last year and we still have not seen any action on it by the minister. How much time does the hon. member think we have to resolve some of these issues? They will be very critical when we come into the World Trade Organization. I would appreciate a few comments on that.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.


Gordon Kirkby Liberal Prince Albert—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, on the question of the hon. member with respect to backtracking, it has been made clear by the minister of agriculture that this type of wasteful practice must be dealt with.

The minister has already conducted extensive consultations and they are still ongoing. I think there is general agreement among all players across the country who see this type of backtracking presently going on that the practice must stop. The

consultation process must continue and will continue. Action will be taken once the appropriate legislative changes are made.

It is certainly our desire to implement all changes necessary to ensure that Canada complies with the international agreement on tariffs and trade. We will take those steps. The minister of agriculture is working very hard and will be coming up with a solution to the particular issue.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.


Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, we all realize that Canada is at its best during periods of negotiation agreements outside the country.

The problems that I hear from many business people in Canada seem to be interprovincial trade barriers along with high taxation in Canada. What does the hon. member think about interprovincial trade barriers?