moved for leave to introduce Bill C-203, an act to amend the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to introduce my private member's bill, an act to amend the Agreement on Internal Trade Implementation Act.
The agreement on internal trade, which was signed nearly three years ago, was a start. However, it has not been completed. The main obstacle to completion has been the term consensus which was used by the negotiating committee comprising of cabinet, representatives from the federal, provincial and territorial governments.
This committee has interpreted consensus to mean unanimity. Therefore, any one government, regardless of the population it represents, can impede the progress of the agreement and of the Canadian economic union. This is what has happened many times.
My bill will allow the federal government to use its constitutional responsibility under sections 91 and 121 of the Canadian Constitution to complete sections of the agreement on internal trade.
It is important to note that this action will only be taken in situations where a co-operative agreement between the provinces has been sought and has not been reached. This proposed approval formula will require the agreement of at least two-thirds of the provinces that have at least 50 percent of the Canadian population. This provision will facilitate the removal of internal trade barriers and present growth opportunities to Canadian businesses which previously have been restricted by these interprovincial trade barriers.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)