House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wto.


Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is ironic in speaking to the second reading of Bill C-50 that it is the hon. member for Vancouver Island North who should be speaking but guess what? The very qualified member is not with us today simply because it has to do with trade. It has to do with the breakdown in the WTO. I will come back to that later.

To complement what the minister said, whenever a company enters into a trade agreement there are two words that balance it. They both have five letters and they both begin with the letter t . One is trade and the other is trust. The two go together.

Opening up a trade agreement with a country as large as China means a great deal to both countries. It seems very appropriate at this time to recall that Canada does in the neighbourhood of $11 billion worth of trade every year with China. That is about $4 billion more than the total budget of the province in which I live. That gives some idea of what will happen with the implementation of the bill.

I agree with the minister. In the years to come the amount of trade with China will increase. However before we move on to more trade agreements, we are having severe difficulties in this country now with obligations, not Canadian obligations, but with other partners in the WTO and other partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Let us examine the purpose of the bill. The bill will amend the existing Canadian legislation allowing Canada to fully implement safeguards and anti-dumping rights that were agreed to when China came into the WTO. The safeguards will enable Canada to take temporary measures to protect Canadian industries.

Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in Canada. It certainly is the biggest industry where I come from. This industry is no longer protected. It was initially when we entered the WTO. It was 15 years ago. We were guaranteed it was going to be protected.

The other purpose of the bill is that in the event surges of imports from China could cost some industry, there is an agreement between the two countries.

Trade should bring trust. If we are trading with a nation, we must trust that nation. The more we trade with a nation, the more commonality we have in many respects.

Some people will call this simply a housekeeping bill. However the issue of deepening Canadian economic consultations with parliament on Canadian negotiating strategy in forums such as the World Trade Organization and a free trade agreement has not always been adequate. In looking at this bill, I feel that has been accomplished.

Parliament should be involved in ratifying agreements. It is good because it establishes a new economic relationship for Canada. Hopefully we will have new relationships with other countries.

About 15 years ago we in western Canada were told that if we got rid of the Crow rate agreement the other countries in the World Trade Organization would get rid of their subsidies at the same time. Let us make sure that is understood. Western Canadians were told if they gave up the Crow rate agreement on grain transportation which was guaranteed to them in legislation the other countries in the World Trade Organization, NAFTA and all the other agreements would drop their subsidies.

Let us look at what has happened. The industry in western Canada gave up that right. Yes, it was paid to do so. The payment it received was approximately one year's free freight. Since that time, for every bushel of grain produced on the prairies over a third of the price the farmer should get for the bushel has gone to transportation. As if that were not bad enough, the United States and the European common market have so abused the WTO that hundreds of farmers across the west are going broke.

As I mentioned at the outset, my hon. colleague from Vancouver North is not here because of the softwood lumber dispute. Thousands of Canadians are out of work. Negotiations have been going on probably for five years but intensively for six months. What has happened? Our gross national product has gone this way. What has happened as a result of these breakdowns? They have brought a lot of suffering to Canadians and particularly those in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.

There are two important words: trust and trade. I hope the government recognizes it must be vigilant and protect Canadians. Even though we have signed treaties it appears, certainly where I live, that there is no protection whatsoever.

There are three main points in the bill that would establish safeguards in dealing with Chinese imports. First, product specific safeguards could be applied to any goods originating in China that were causing or threatening to cause injury to Canadian industry. That is a good point and it makes up a good portion of the bill.

Second, there is a safeguard in the bill to prevent one market from overflowing and flooding into Canada. That is a good safeguard.

Third, for the textile industry in Canada there are safeguards relating to textiles and clothing.

All these safeguards are built into the bill.

The Minister for International Trade listed some agricultural items while he was speaking but failed to mention one that strikes home with me. He failed to mention the pulse industry which has grown big in western Canada. On the Soo Line, one of Canada's busiest railways which is just north of the city of Estevan, farmers have built a huge pulse terminal which handles lentils, peas and all those things.

These farmers were rejoicing about Bill C-50 because it meant there would be more freedom to trade with China, one of their biggest customers. Canola farmers were excited about it because they would have an open market to their product from western Canada.

The United States has a farm bill before congress. If my understanding of the bill is correct, the pulse producers of western Canada would get it big time as have the wheat and barley producers.

I am not sure producers where I come from are that concerned about Bill C-50. We on this side of the House and in my party feel it is a good bill because its safeguards are prudent. The problem in Canada is more on the other side of the House.

I am not saying Canada can match the subsidy levels of Great Britain or Washington. However what has the government done in the last five years to honour its agreements to settle issues in the World Trade Organization and NAFTA and protect Canadian industries? That is the question. The answer is absolutely zero.

We in my party support the bill and think it is good. More bills like it should be written and expanded to other countries. However it still comes back to two words: trust and trade. Softwood lumber producers and other producers in western Canada no longer trust the government to go to bat for them so they too can have livelihoods.

I will read from the Canadian Alliance policy statement:

We support a foreign policy that protects Canada's sovereignty and independence, promotes our national interests (political, economic and strategic), contributes to collective security and defence, promotes democratic principles and human rights--

Knowing the history of China, particularly in the last 50 years, let us hope for the sake of millions of people that this trade policy would result in an expansion of human rights in that great nation.

The policy statement continues:

We will pay particular attention to maintaining good bilateral relations with our most significant trading partners.

When I mentioned at the outset that the bill would mean about $11 billion a year, we must be cognizant that close to $2 billion a day goes between Canada and the United States. We are being strangled in Canada today because our neighbours to the south have chosen confrontation rather than co-operation in trade agreements.

As the minister pointed out, China once had one of the biggest and fastest growing economies in the world. It could again be the biggest within a few short years. We on this side of the House would join with the government in welcoming China into the WTO.

It is significant that the trade agreement with China would not hinder in one way or another the trade we currently have with Taiwan. That is a blessing. Although it cannot officially be a member of the WTO, Taiwan co-exists within its framework. Trade between Taiwan and mainland China grows each year.

We in my party are pleased to support the bill. However I am deeply disturbed, as are my colleagues on this side of the House, at the government's lack of attention to the softwood lumber issue in the last 5 years and to western agriculture in the last 15 years. These two industries have been vitally hurt by the government. I hope the government can see fit to do something within its power to bring back the original agreements of the WTO.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.


Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-50, which is at second reading.

In November, together with the Minister of International Trade and the member for Burnaby--Douglas, I attended the ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar. The purpose of this conference was to bring about a new round of WTO negotiations, and it succeeded in doing so, incidentally.

At the same time, I was also present for the birth of a new world economic order with the accession of China and Taiwan to the World Trade Organization.

Bill C-50, an act to amend certain acts as a result of the accession of the People's Republic of China to the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, was introduced in the House on February 5.

Let us state up front that my party, the Bloc Quebecois, supports the principle of the bill, as it is in line with our previously and clearly stated position in favour of China's accession to the WTO.

We believe that this new era of trade will promote China's development with respect to the international community.

We also believe that the opening of world markets to this unusual partner will accelerate reforms currently underway in China, and make it easier to raise the sensitive question of human rights and to defend human rights.

China's future partners, in the context of the World Trade Organization, have a great many expectations of the Chinese authorities on the issue of human rights. We have a moral responsibility to maintain pressure so that the Chinese people can achieve their full potential in freedom.

China's accession to the WTO prompts us once again to draw an interesting parallel between the globalization of markets and the equally fundamental, equally essential, and equally critical issue of international development.

I would like to take this opportunity today to reiterate the Bloc Quebecois' position on increasing spending for international assistance to 0.7% of the GNP and on the creation of a social development fund for the Americas.

When we talk about the accession of such an important country to the WTO, it is important to give a few figures to help our understanding. China is currently Canada's fourth largest trading partner. Trade between China and Canada totalled $15 billion in 2000. China is the seventh largest economy in the world and the ninth largest exporter. It is home to one fifth of the world's people—this is obviously a key fact. China was the largest economic power in the world not subject to WTO rights and obligations with respect to the administration of international trade, the resolution of trade disputes, and the pursuit of trade liberalization.

We can see the importance that China has with respect to international trade, and particularly the importance that it will have in the years to come.

More than 15 years ago, in 1986, China indicated its desire to join the ranks of countries governed by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the GATT as it was then called. Negotiations to that end began in earnest in 1994.

Bilateral negotiations with interested WTO members had to do with specific barriers to market access. In November 1999, Canada and China concluded a bilateral agreement smoothing out these difficulties.

In addition, there are approximately forty similar agreements between China and other WTO member countries. Lengthy and difficult multilateral negotiations took place with a view to getting China to agree to make changes to its trade regime so as to bring it into line with the obligations flowing from the WTO accord. The WTO also held 18 meetings of the working group, which culminated on September 17, 2000 in a detailed general agreement on the conditions for China's accession to the organization.

The bill we are debating today gives effect to the rights of Canada pursuant to the protocol on the accession of the People's Republic of China to the World Trade Organization that came into effect on December 11, 2001.

The enactment will amend the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, the Customs Tariff, and the Export and Import Permits Act.

This will authorize the government to impose, under certain conditions and after an inquiry by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, special trade measures to protect Canadian industries from injury or threat of injury that could be caused by imports from the People's Republic of China.

Special trade measures, commonly referred to as safeguards, will be available until December 11, 2013.

The text of the bill amends the Special Import Measures Act to allow the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency greater flexibility in conducting anti-dumping investigations related to imported Chinese goods when the price or the cost of production of those goods in China is not determined by market economy conditions.

Normally, the accession of a new WTO member country would not require Canadian legislation to be changed. However, in negotiating the conditions for China's accession, new rights were allocated to members. The amendments proposed in the bill are therefore designed to make these new rights part of Canadian law. They will, among other things, enable Canada, under certain circumstances, to impose new guarantees on imports from China and to apply the comparative pricing rules in anti-dumping investigations.

We should point out that all WTO member countries, moreover, are entitled to these same rights. Guarantees are common currency in trade agreements such as the WTO and NAFTA, and Canada already has legislation and regulations on their implementation.

In the event of sudden increases in imports causing or threatening to cause injury to the national industry, the guarantees allow governments to provide temporary support to the industries in question, so that they may make the necessary adjustments to enhance their competitive position. This support may be in the form of import duties, quantitative restrictions on imports, or the imposition of tariff quotas.

There are, however, three new guarantees contained in the conditions for China's accession to the WTO: first, a guarantee per product, which may be applied to any product originating in China that causes or threatens to cause injury to Canadian industry because of increased imports; second, a guarantee of diversion, which can be used to prevent Chinese products the access of which to a market has been closed by a guarantee per product from flooding the Canadian market and causing injury to Canadian industry; and third, a guarantee that applies to Chinese clothing and textile imports.

It was also agreed during the negotiations on China's accession to the WTO that members could impose special conditions on China within the framework of anti-dumping investigations, with a view to determining whether the imports are being sold under unfair conditions, that is at a lower price than the cost of production or at the prevailing market price in the country of origin.

Canadian legislation provides for special rules when costs and prices in the country of origin are not determined by the market. However, existing criteria may not apply perfectly to the transitory nature of the Chinese economy. This is why WTO members negotiated special anti-dumping conditions for a period of 15 years, from the time that China joins the WTO.

So, the Bloc Quebecois supports China's entry into the WTO. We firmly believe that the development of closer trade relations with the international community will help China's economic development. At the same time, we expect a reform with regard to human rights .

However, we are less optimistic than the Liberals, because we do not think that the opening up of the Chinese market is a cure-all, as the federal government seems to believe.

The human rights issue is far from being resolved in China, and we must continue to bring political and even economic pressure to bear. However, quite apart from the trade issue, there are other issues that are of concern to us, to Quebecers and to a large number of Canadians, including international development.

In fact, the hon. members for Joliette and Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay attended the world social forum in Pôrto Alegre and they know—and they show it regularly—that we can no longer talk about trade liberalization without being concerned about development. An increasing number of people are realizing this and are asking us to take into consideration this side of the issue.

In Doha, we heard developing countries complain that the rules of the Uruguay Round did not help them develop. Let us not forget that, in 1999, the Canadian government supported the idea of a tax on financial transactions to help international development. Was that just a smokescreen or will the federal government promote this idea to reduce speculation and to fund development?

The concept of development assistance is crucial, both at the international and the continental levels. If the federal government really wants to show some leadership, it could, for instance, reintroduce the idea of setting up a development fund for the Americas, which was supported by Mexican President, Vicente Fox, and the leader of the Bloc Quebecois.

This fund, which would help national economies in the Americas face the impact of economic integration in areas such as employment, infrastructure development, health, education, social and environmental protection, has gained strong support from the Quebec government, the FTQ, the CSQ, the CEQ, the Conseil du patronat du Québec, the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec, the UPA, the Union des artistes, the Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois, the Mouvement national des Québécoises et des Québécois, the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale, the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec and the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec.

So, where international assistance is concerned, Canada must set a deadline in order to reach the UN goal, which is to spend 0.7% of our GDP on aid to developing countries. But as we all know, as soon as the Liberals took office, they started making drastic cuts to international assistance.

For example, CIDA's budget has decreased 20% since 1993. In real terms, the drop was 30%. Therefore, the budget has been slashed by more than a quarter. The deepest of the cuts in CIDA's budget was 35% less than the 1993 budget.

Since taking office, the Liberals have cut $2.7 billion from international assistance. According to an OECD study, Canada is now one of the least generous countries when it comes to international assistance. This will do nothing to increase the pride with which some of my colleagues quote UN figures, among others, about “the best country in the world”.

The OECD's report ranks Canada 17th among 22 donor countries. In 1999, Canada was ranked 12th and, in 1995, we were ranked 6th. Canada currently contributes 0.25% of its GDP to international assistance, while the ratio back in 1992 was 0.46%.

Because of the fact that international development is important and essential for developing countries, because it is part of our collective responsibility, because this contribution is an integral part of our contribution to the world, of our shared sense of giving, and because it underscores, as such, the values that we defend as a society, Canada must increase its international development assistance to 0.7% of the GDP.

In closing, it is important to note that global economic development is achieved, obviously, through the development of international economic relations, and China's accession to the WTO is in line with this.

However, the flip side of the coin is just as important. Canada must have a greater presence and provide more international development assistance if we want to be known as more than just advocates of freer trade, and want to increase the standard of living throughout the world.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak on behalf of my New Democratic Party colleagues on Bill C-50, the bill which would amend a number of Canadian statutes as a direct result of the accession of the People's Republic of China to the WTO agreement. Largely Bill C-50 is a housekeeping bill in that it seeks to amend the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act, the Customs Tariff, the Export and Import Permits Act and the Special Import Measures Act, with the fundamental objective of protecting Canadian industries from being overwhelmed by new Chinese imports resulting from China's accession to the WTO.

These amendments are specific only to Canada's trade with China and they do not impact on trade with any other countries. I would point out as well that effectively as of December 11, 2001, the PRC formally acceded to the WTO after some 15 years of negotiations with member states. This legislation obviously does not in any way impact on the accession of China to the WTO. What it does is propose a number of changes to Canadian laws to deal with the reality that China is now a member of the WTO, and one of the most substantial members of the WTO. It is a country of 1.3 billion people, it has the world's seventh largest economy and it is the ninth largest exporter. It is clearly a very significant player.

There is no doubt that Canadian exporters are keen to gain increased access to this huge market, but a number of other Canadian industries are afraid that they may drown in the anticipated surge of Chinese imports. Member states, including Canada, conducted bilateral negotiations with China to determine the terms of trade which will come into effect with China's accession in an attempt to deal with a number of these concerns before China formally became a member of the WTO.

That is what this legislation is all about. It is in response to those bilateral negotiations between Canada and China as a result of China's accession to the WTO. Effectively it provides for the protection of Canadian industries during a transition period of some 12 years through the application of safeguard procedures. What are these safeguard procedures? They include such aspects as border restrictions on Chinese imports that cause or threaten to cause market disruption to Canadian industries. Essentially, if China and Canada cannot come to an agreement in cases where Chinese imports are threatening Canadian producers, Canada would be able to impose limits on Chinese imports in those sectors during this 12 year window.

As well Bill C-50 would allow Canada flexibility in conducting anti-dumping investigations in China in cases where Chinese marketplaces are dictated by the Chinese government rather than by market forces. Under the rules of the WTO, if a nation sells its products in another country at a price which is effectively lower than the cost of production or at a price which is lower than the market price for the product in the producing country, that is what is called dumping of that product in foreign markets, including Canada. If a WTO tribunal agrees that dumping is occurring, it allows the injured country to impose a countervail, tariffs in effect, to offset the artificially low price of the imported product.

What is the impact of this legislation? First, we have to be clear that it will affect only the People's Republic of China, which by the way excludes Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. It only affects the bilateral relationship between the People's Republic of China and Canada. For some time the Chinese government has been anxious to join the WTO so it can increase its export potential. However, there is no doubt that the terms of China's accession will permit a significant amount of agricultural products to enter China, including those from Canada, which presents a real threat to Chinese agricultural industries and particularly to rural Chinese communities. There is a real concern about what the impact of this might be on those rural communities.

Poverty in China is already a huge concern, particularly in rural areas. President Jiang Zemin acknowledged earlier this month, on February 5, that some 30 million Chinese live in absolute poverty. However, the Asian Development Bank just last week claimed that the Chinese government has unofficially admitted that an additional 60 million Chinese live in what it calls “vulnerable poverty”. Furthermore, under Chinese law migration from impoverished rural areas to the wealthier urban centres is strictly regulated. They cannot move. This accession to the WTO could have a very serious impact on poor people in rural communities in China.

Another area in which serious concern has been expressed with respect to the impact on China is the Chinese automotive industry. Reduced tariffs under the WTO agreement will mean that exports will very quickly flood the Chinese market. This again could mean a tremendous strain on Chinese workers. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions has reported that 10 million Chinese auto workers are forecast to lose their jobs as a result of China's entry to the WTO.

That is just an overview of the impact and the purpose of the legislation, but I want to take a few minutes on behalf of my colleagues in the New Democrat caucus to raise some fundamental concerns, not only about the legislation but, more important, about the WTO itself and its agenda.

First, with respect to this legislation and China, I would note that China has an absolutely appalling human rights record. Whether one reads the reports of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Asia Watch, the United States state department reports or, indeed, those of a number of respected Canadian NGOs, it is clear that in a whole range of areas the Chinese record on human rights is deeply disturbing. Just recently there have been new allegations of severe crackdowns on Falun Gong practitioners, with arrests and brutal treatment of Falun Gong practitioners as well as other religious leaders. Certainly that is something that I think all in parliament must be concerned about.

At the same time there are ongoing concerns about Tibet and the repression of religious freedom and the right to self-determination of the people of Tibet. I would note that in this accession process the Tibetan people effectively have been excluded. As the Canada Tibet Committee has noted recently, the Tibetan people have been excluded, have been shut out from the accession negotiation process. There is a real concern that under the Chinese accession to the WTO, Beijing authorities will use increased western investment as a two edged sword, first to consolidate their grip on the disputed territory in Tibet, and second, to exploit Tibet's natural resources.

At the same time concerns have been raised about CIDA's role in Tibet and its so-called poverty relief project that excluded input from the Tibetan government in exile and ignored recommendations submitted by the Canada Tibet Committee. There are real concerns here that have been ignored in the context of this trade relationship. I think we have to take the opportunity of this debate on China's accession to the WTO to put these concerns on the record.

With respect to the issue of workers' rights, this is an area in which China is perhaps one of the weakest countries in the world. China has shown total contempt for the rights of working people. In fact, in its accession to the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, China filed an explicit exemption or reservation under article 8.1(a) of the convention. Article 8.1(a) is the article of the covenant whereby states party to the covenant undertake to ensure the right of everyone to form trades unions and to join the trade union of his or her choice. What did the Chinese government have to say about this? It filed a reservation which states:

The application of Article 8.1 (a) of the Covenant to the People's Republic of China shall be consistent with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, Trade Union Law of the People's Republic of China and Labor Law of the People's Republic of China;--

In other words, collective bargaining rights, the most basic and fundamental collective bargaining rights for working men and women in China, are completely denied. That has to be a concern when we speak of the accession of China to the WTO because, as we know, the WTO completely ignores the rights of working people.

It is interesting to talk about trade in the context of the WTO. I was present at Doha in Qatar in November of last year when the new round was negotiated, along with my colleague from Charlevoix and the minister, the parliamentary secretary and others. I think it should be very clear what happened in the context of that negotiation of a new round. Some of the most fundamental issues that the poorest countries, the least developed countries, were seeking to have addressed were ignored in that process, which was fundamentally undemocratic. There have been a number of excellent articles written about what took place there, the kinds of threats, the kind of bullying and intimidation, the kinds of inducements given to countries to ultimately force them into agreeing to a consensus for a new round.

It was our position as New Democrats, and the position of many of the NGOs who were present there, that before we launch a new round of the WTO we should be addressing some of the very serious outstanding issues, issues of existing implementation of commitments.

The poorest countries in the world, the least developed countries in the world, still too often are denied any meaningful access to markets in the north for their textiles and their agricultural products. Surely we should recognize that those products of the poorest countries must have an opportunity to be sold in our markets and the markets of the north without duties, without tariffs, in order to enable the desperately poor people of those countries to improve their standard of living. That was the promise that was made at the time the Uruguay round was concluded, but that promise has not been kept. What we have seen is a growing gap between the rich and the poor, and I say that this is the case both in Canada and globally.

There were other serious concerns as well. I have met with farmers, campesinos, in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and elsewhere who have talked about how poor farmers have been driven off the land and have lost their livelihoods because of having to compete with heavily subsidized agricultural products from the United States. Clearly that is not acceptable and yet that is part of the WTO agenda. Similarly, the WTO is now launching a new round in some areas, which will be very destructive to least developed countries and to poor people throughout the planet. It wants to launch a new round on issues such as investment and competition.

What does that mean? Does it mean that we will see, within the context of the WTO, the kind of protection of corporate rights that we have seen within NAFTA under the investor state provision, chapter 11 of NAFTA? What it means is that the MAI, the multilateral agreement on investment, which was defeated a couple of years ago, is now coming back under another guise, the guise of negotiating so-called investment rules. We vigorously oppose those negotiations.

At the same time, there is pressure under the existing GATS agreement, the general agreement on trade in services, to go even further down the road of privatizing fundamental public services: health care, education and other public services. Once again, that part of the WTO agenda is something that we want nothing whatsoever to do with.

The WTO is very good at protecting corporate rights, very good at protecting the rights of multinational corporations, but why is it that while it can protect intellectual property and patents, it cannot protect and it seems it does not want to protect the most fundamental and basic human rights, the most fundamental and basic rights of workers, the eight core labour standards as recognized by the International Labour Organization? Why is it that the WTO cannot protect the most basic international environmental rights as well, the rights as set out in a whole range of multilateral environmental agreements?

In Doha each of those issues was raised: human rights, workers' rights and the rights of people to have a clean and healthy environment. In each case they were shot down by the WTO under that agenda. Yes, there was some very modest progress around one of the most egregious breaches of the rights of working people, of poor people throughout the planet, particularly in Africa, Brazil and Asia, and that was on the issue of putting public health before the profits of multinational pharmaceutical companies under the so-called TRIPS agreement. There was a statement and it was a political statement. There was no amendment to the TRIPS agreement, but there was a political statement out of Doha saying that public health has to come first.

We welcome that, but unfortunately it does not go nearly far enough. It does not make it clear that those countries that have no manufacturing capacity whatsoever to manufacture affordable generic drugs should be able to import those drugs from other countries that can manufacture them.

I am calling today on the Government of Canada to make it very clear that we support unreservedly the right of those countries in a position to manufacture cheap, affordable pharmaceutical drugs, drugs that can deal with the epidemics of HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis and other epidemics, to make those drugs available to countries that have no manufacturing capacity. Surely the right of their citizens to have access to affordable drugs to fight these epidemics has to come before the right to profit of these multinational companies. That is still not clear in the context of the WTO.

For that reason as well we want to say that the accession to the WTO of China, while it is an important step in terms of including 1.3 billion people, still does not deal with the fundamental concerns about this undemocratic agenda of the World Trade Organization itself.

I want to say a word about Taiwan as well. I recently had the opportunity to participate in a forum of Asia-Pacific countries, some 24 or 25 countries of the Asia-Pacific region. During the course of that forum, a statement was made congratulating the People's Republic of China on its accession to the WTO. At the same time, when I attempted to include in that declaration from the Asia-Pacific forum a statement also congratulating Taiwan on its accession to the WTO, it was denied. The opportunity was denied by the People's Republic of China. This kind of heavy-handed thuggery by the People's Republic of China in terms of its relationship with Taiwan surely must be rejected, not only by parliament but by the Government of Canada as well. It is time we recognized that democracy is alive and well in Taiwan.

I had the opportunity and the great privilege of being able to participate as an observer in the recent December elections in Taiwan. It is a fiction to suggest that the People's Republic of China in any meaningful way represents the people of Taiwan. It is time that our government recognized that. It is time that our government recognized that the independent sovereign nation of Taiwan must be represented fully within international fora. I want to take this opportunity today, in the context of the debate on accession by China to the WTO, to call on our government to speak out much more vigorously to recognize the important role that Taiwan can and should be playing internationally in organizations such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations and other international fora as well. It is time that Canada ended its shameful acquiescence to the People's Republic of China in terms of its relationship with Taiwan. I hope that day will come sooner rather than later.

In closing, once again I want to say that because of our deep concerns about the undemocratic agenda of the WTO, because of the failure of the WTO to respect the rights of workers, to respect fundamental human rights and to ensure that the multilateral environmental agreements take precedence over the corporate rights of multinational companies, for all of those reasons, my colleagues in the New Democratic Party and I are opposing the principle of this legislation and calling for fair trade globally, not the kind of trade that the WTO is promoting.

As thousands said in Pôrto Alegre, Brazil just last month, un autre monde est possible, another world is possible, and it is that other world that we as New Democrats are striving for in the context of this debate today.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I have talked this about China in the past. I pose a number of questions for him based on what China has done to its population.

Look what it has done with regard to the Falun Gong and Falun Dafa movement. Look at its occupation and displacement of the people of Tibet. It has trampled pro-democracy movements. There have been mass arrests, beatings, deaths and torture as a result of Tiananmen Square. Also, I am frustrated with our own government that Taiwan is not recognized in diplomatic relations.

The government gives the largest amount of our foreign aid to China which has been used to build railways into Tibet so Chinese troops can go there to suppress any type of effort by the people of Tibet to stand up against the occupation. As well, China is taking huge chunks of its budget and spending it on the development of nuclear and other weapons. It is the only nation on the face of the earth that I know of today that is keeling new nuclear submarines in the water.

Given all these things, I wonder whether we should be bending over backwards to make things easier for China with regard to World Trade Organization status or trade when other countries, which are far less expansionist and hurtful in southeast Asia, should be getting better treatment vis-à-vis China.

Canadian International Trade Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that my hon. colleague from Calgary was unable to be here during the earlier part of the debate. I would have been most interested to hear his response to the comments of his colleague from the Canadian Alliance who was vigorously extolling the virtues of this legislation.

I have to ask this. Who is speaks for the Canadian Alliance? Is it the member from Saskatchewan who spoke earlier with a glowing defence of China's participation in the WTO or is it the member from Calgary who says it does not support this? It is just not clear to me who actually speaks on behalf of the Canadian Alliance on this issue.

Certainly with respect to the human rights issues raised by my friend, indeed I raised precisely those concerns earlier with respect to the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, for example, and with respect to the ongoing, brutal repression of religious freedom in Tibet.

I also note that on the issue of the rights of workers in China, China has one of the worst records of any country in the world on the issue of workplace health and safety. In the year 2000 alone more than 47,000 industrial accidents were reported in China. Its record is a shameful one. As the member from Calgary has quite properly pointed out, it is not at all clear to me that we should be rewarding that record.

As well, the member raised the issue of China's nuclear proliferation. On that issue we do not have to look just to China. We only have to look at some of the recent announcements by the United States with respect national missile defence and some of the real concerns many of us have that this will lead to the weaponization of outer space, which is also a very great threat to world peace and security. We have to recognize that there are a number of threats in this area.

On the legislation itself, as I indicated earlier, my colleagues and I in the New Democratic Party are opposing the legislation. I would be most interested to know what the position is of the Canadian Alliance. Is it supporting the legislation or opposing it?

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4:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the member's speech on the WTO acceptance of China. Like the hon. member, I have had the opportunity to travel China with the Canada-China Legislative Association. I am sure there are still a lot of issues that we are working on in terms of human rights and the migration of rural folks to the city. The same phenomenon is occurring in this country. However we do not live in a perfect world and I believe acceptance of China to the WTO is good for world peace.

It is the fourth largest trading partner with Canada. Thank God Canada took a positive position back 30 some odd years ago with China or else we would not be in this position today.

Perhaps the hon. member could answer this question. Is accepting China into the WTO good for world peace?

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4:30 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would not suggest that the acceptance of China into the WTO will promote world peace. There is no question that my party has long said there must be significant dialogue with China on human rights issues. I myself have travelled to China on a number of occasions and raised these concerns.

However we have to look at the impact of WTO policies in many other parts of the world. Are these policies that promote justice? Are these policies that promote economic justice? Are these policies that reduce the gap between rich and poor? No, quite the contrary. They raise that gap.

There is a real fear that in the context of China, particularly the poor and rural people will suffer from this. My colleague from Dauphin--Swan River said it is the same thing in Canada. He is absolutely right. In Canada we see that growing gap between the rich and the poor. It is precisely for that reason that we reject this neo-liberal model. We are calling for an alternative model of fair trade which will ensure there is not only trade, but that there is equity and that that trade promotes respect for the environment, promotes the rights of workers and human rights and reduces and ultimately eliminates the gap between rich and poor, hopefully.

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4:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe the hon. member from the NDP just said what he did about globalization. The facts speak very clearly for themselves. Globalization is a way for countries to develop rules based mechanisms for human rights, the environment, labour laws and for removing the barriers to trade. Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations, a person who is hardly considered to be right of centre, said that developing countries need is free trade.

Is the hon. member in favour of free and fair trade, which is what the WTO is trying to do, or does he want to pursue a socialist course of erecting barriers to trade around countries?

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4:35 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do want to pursue a democratic socialist course. For me the essence of democratic socialism is respect for fundamental human rights and respect for the opportunity of working men and women around the planet to have a more decent life.

When the hon. member talks about trade, the reality is these so-called trade agreements in many cases have nothing whatsoever to do with trade. For example, we have the whole issue of access to pharmaceutical drugs. The hon. member is a doctor so he should know about this. Under the provisions of the WTO, multinational pharmaceutical companies are trumping the rights of poor people to have access to desperately needed drugs to fight the epidemics of HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and others. The WTO told us that we could not stockpile generic drugs so that they would be available quickly to Canadians once the patent period expired. That will cost Canadian taxpayers far more. We used to have some of the lowest priced pharmaceuticals in the world under compulsory licensing. This has nothing whatsoever to do with trade.

Ask the poor farmers in Chiapas, Mexico or in Pôrto Alegre, Brazil if so-called trade under the WTO has benefited them and they will tell us absolutely not. They have been driven off their land. We need another world than that.

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4:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the alternative to globalization is the erection of barriers to trade. My question for the hon. member is very simple. He knows full well that in Mexico and Brazil trade has actually improved the lives of some of the poorest people. Does he believe that the health and welfare of the people of Mexico is better after NAFTA or before NAFTA?

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4:35 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, the evidence is very clear. NAFTA has been a disaster for working people in Mexico, in the United States and in Canada. Just ask the women working in the maquiladora zones in Mexico, or the campesinos working in Chiapas, or the people of the town of Guadalcazar, Mexico who were told that they had to have a toxic waste dump in their community under chapter 11 of NAFTA.

NAFTA has been a disaster for working people in all three countries.

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4:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester, Foreign Affairs.

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4:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-50, a bill that would allow Canada to adapt its regulations and laws to accommodate the accession of the People's Republic of China to the WTO.

I always listen to the arguments of the hon. members because they make me think and then I add a lot of comments to my notes. I always end up with a mess on my page because I have so many notes.

Certainly whenever I hear somebody say, and I have heard this often today, that this is a housekeeping bill, I wonder if it is a housekeeping bill. In this case it is not a housekeeping bill. The bill amends many acts of our Canadian legislature. It would do a lot to provide protection for Canadian industry and would eventually affect human rights in China and probably in other countries. The bill, if passed, will have a major impact on many of us.

It is rather ironic that we are talking about the accession of China to the WTO when, as we speak, the deputy minister for international trade is in Washington with six officials from six provinces to discuss softwood lumber issues which have come to an impasse.

When the negotiators wrote the NAFTA agreement and made all the arrangements that would give us free trade with the United States, I wonder if they predicted that the domestic laws in the U.S. would throw up so many hurdles to our trade in Canada.

I come back to this being a housekeeping bill. I am wondering what things we are missing and what the impact will be from this in three, four, five or even ten years and from the things we overlooked, the things we thought we had.

Certainly with the United States we thought we had free trade, but because of the domestic laws and the tools available to the U.S. industry and the reluctance of the U.S. government to take a leadership role and get a handle on this, it is now trying to rule what we in Canada do in our forestry industry.

All these trade bills and agreements have far reaching impacts and are not just housekeeping bills. When we are talking about dealing with a country that has 40 times the population of Canada, it is hard to imagine the imbalance of trade. We all know how difficult it is and all the problems we have with our trading partner, the U.S., and it only has 10 times our population. China has 40 times our population and there will probably be 40 times the problems as this trade agreement proceeds.

As the hon. member for Burnaby--Douglas said, there are human rights aspects to this agreement. I am sorry he is not here to hear this part of the discussion because he and I were on a human rights mission in Colombia last week. Colombia's huge problem is the drug trade. Part of the problem with the drug trade is that there are no options for the farmers in the jungles and fields where they have their cocaine. If it had more trade and a more advanced economy the people would have more options to get out of the drug trade, which would have a big impact on that country.

One of the big issues at that time, which was presented to the hon. member for Burnaby--Douglas, myself and other members of the committee, was that the country needed new opportunities for trade and new opportunities for the economies to grow. Trade agreements such as this are the way to do that. They are not perfect. We cannot just snap our fingers and suddenly impose human rights issues to meet our human rights approaches to change in either Colombia, China or anywhere else. The only way we influence these societies is if we do trade and communicate with them and make their citizens aware of the options to a way of life.

I often think of the Middle East and the fact that the people in some of the countries that have a repressed society are now seeing the optional standards of living that are offered by other countries around the world. That is creating stresses and strains in those countries which has resulted in a lot of the conflicts and differences we have unfortunately experienced.

Bill C-50 would change our rules to accommodate the accession of China to the WTO. It is an interesting process that has been going on since 1986. An agreement has been reached for China to enter the WTO. The agreement will help our agricultural industries and manufacturers to access this market, which is a closed market, to a great extent. These rules will help us to enter their markets, which again is 40 times larger than our market, while at the same time provides some protection for our own industries which feel threatened by this trade arrangement, as evidenced by many of the presentations made to our committee.

The textile industry is concerned that China could actually have 100% market share, whereas now the market share is divided among perhaps 20 countries. However certain specific items that were brought to the committee's attention could eventually be totally supplied by China.

It is interesting to see how these agreements evolve and the things that are involved with them. For instance, China had to change a lot of things to become a member of the WTO. One of the things required of China was transparency. All its trade related laws and regulations had to be published and available to the other WTO partners prior to their implementation so that the other countries and other members of the WTO could influence those changes. I am sure this is a whole new ball game for China and a healthy and positive step.

Domestic and foreign companies that are affected by trade related, judicial and administrative decisions can now request formal reviews. This is a new opening for China and will create public awareness by the business communities in China and Canada about the different cultures and standards.

Product standards and related procedures are to be imported and brought into line with international practice. That makes sense. It will bring costs down for consumers, make products more competitive and allow us to enter China's market and China to enter ours. Canadian companies that are competitive will be able to compete.

The requirements previously imposed on foreign investors will be eliminated. Canadian investors, for the very first time, will be able to invest in a more open market and in different aspects of the Chinese economy. That will establish lines of communications and connections between our two societies, two philosophies and two cultures. It also has to be a positive move with respect to human rights and standards of society.

China will be required to meet these requirements and abide by them, although in some cases I note that the American congressional study identified certain areas where China has not been very consistent and that its track record for following through on agreements has not been very good. We will have to follow up on that to ensure that they do, as will, I am sure, the WTO.

As Canada's fourth largest trading partner and having 40 times our population, having access to China's market has to be a positive move for the Canadian economy . Canada's duties and tariffs have not changed for China. The committee was comfortable with some of the witnesses' concerns. Some of the increases in imports that are expected by some of the industries will not occur because of the lack of change in imports and duties. However, we will be following up on the red flags that have been raised.

Growth sectors for Canada include cultural industries, environmental technologies, financial services, specialized machinery, auto parts and plastic goods. That is a wide array of products and opportunities for Canada to a market with a population 40 times larger than Canada's population.

Safeguards have been put in place. I hope the government has done a satisfactory job in making sure the regulations and safeguards are bulletproof because we are finding out that where we thought we were safe and protected in other trade agreements, we were not. The best example right now is with the United States which is trying to impose its forestry practices on Canada. As a result, thousands of Canadians in the forestry industry are out of work. Once again, we thought we had free trade with the United States but we do not.

Another positive aspect is that China will be forced to upgrade its economy to international standards and eliminate unaccepted practices that have gone on for many years, which would not be acceptable in most other societies or cultures.

We are optimistic that by creating public awareness and opening lines of communication, we will be able to influence the standards of human rights and democracy as a part of the trade issue. Human rights and democracy cannot be separated. They are tied together. Perhaps some would rather not have them tied together, but they are.

I noted earlier that the Chinese track record for abiding by agreements and trade negotiations is not stable. A U.S. congressional committee recently stated that China has broken every agreement made with the U.S. in the last 10 years.

The process for invoking safeguards provided by the bill is convoluted and lengthy. Again in context with the softwood lumber, the Canadian softwood lumber industry has no protection. The safeguards we thought were there are not because the domestic laws and avenues available to the U.S. industry have created havoc in Canada over the softwood lumber issue.

It has been suggested that privatization in China has already driven up unemployment. When this happens there can be a backlash. It could end up in civil demonstrations or even worse. Any time an economy changes dramatically, as we learned from the Russian experience, it must be done slowly and incrementally. Countries like Canada, the United States and other major economies must help these countries adjust from their current processes to a market based economy.

We support the bill in principle. We certainly support having China join the WTO. We are skeptical about some the aspects of the bill simply because we have been surprised before and are paying a huge price for it. We hope it will induce further communication between our two societies and raise awareness in the citizens of China of optional lifestyles. Hopefully it will lead to improvements in both of our economies and in democracy and human rights in China.

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4:50 p.m.

London—Fanshawe Ontario


Pat O'Brien LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments of my friend. I am glad to hear his high level of support for this initiative.

He made some reference to the ongoing saga of the softwood lumber dispute. I note to him that the problem in this file is that the free trade agreement is not being respected, and that really is the problem.

In referring to human rights, my friend mentioned that these agreements were not perfect. This is exactly the case. Unfortunately, we can have a free trade agreement, be it bilateral or trilateral as NAFTA or the WTO, where a country cannot live up to its obligations. That is the reality. We do not have and probably never will have a perfect trade agreement.

I would like to ask my friend two questions. First, given such shortcomings and such problems which crop up from time to time, such as softwood lumber, and no doubt will crop up under the WTO, does he not think that a rules based trading system is by far the best way for a country to go, particularly Canada? Canada is so dependent on trade for its economic success.

Second, I would like to give him an opportunity to comment on the Kofi Annan comment made by one of my Alliance colleagues earlier, and I will add to that comment. Mr. Annan said that globalized and liberalized free trade, and he quantified it, would mean as much as $150 billion for the developing nations of the world.

My Alliance colleague asked my NDP colleague from Burnaby--Douglas the question and unfortunately he ducked it, as he did when I asked him. I have never heard that party attempt to answer the question. What is the reaction of my colleague from the PC/DR coalition to the comments of Mr. Annan?

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4:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad that the parliamentary secretary asked me a question because I have a question for him. If he gets a chance, I would like him to give us the answer.

It is a simple question about China. I would like to know which six provinces are represented in the United States, in Washington, on the softwood lumber issue. I could not find that out.

Moving on to the question the parliamentary secretary asked me, I totally believe in rules based trade. I not only believe in it because of trade issues and because it provides consistency and usually an appeal process, but because it is just a natural way to do business. It ends up extending into human rights issues and rules based societies. I do not believe that in this day and age we can remove human rights from trade issues completely. They are affected by each other.

As far as Kofi Annan's comments are concerned, I can think of specific cases where people are asking for more opportunities and more broadly based economies which would result from free trade and trade agreements.

Going back to Colombia, many of the people in the drug trade business say “We will get out of the drug trade business if there is an option, but there is no option for us. Give us other options. Let us do anything. Give us other opportunities, other ways to make a living, so that we can feed and educate our children”. However, there are no other ways so they resort to the drug trade.

I certainly look forward to the parliamentary secretary's answer to my question.

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4:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Before we get to that, we are going to see what the hon. member for Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca wants to ask you.

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4:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was in Colombia and saw what was there.

I would suggest to him that the farmers are having difficulty exporting because of trade barriers. Trade barriers were one of the major obstacles for Colombian farmers to grow something other than coca.

Does the hon. member agree that what needs to be done here in North America is reduce the consumption of drugs? Probably that is the most effective way in which we can reduce that bloody conflict in Colombia that has claimed more than 30,000 lives over the last 20 years.

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4:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, certainly trade barriers are a problem for Colombia. However, Colombia has so many problems it would be hard to say that is the key problem.

The farmers in Colombia also suffer from a lack of transportation. They suffer from thugs and criminals who impose themselves on them, threaten them, put fear in their lives and direct their operations in many ways, despite what I think are tremendous efforts by the Colombian government with limited resources to combat that.

Certainly in Colombia there are a lot of problems to address. One of them is trade barriers. At the moment there are much bigger problems to deal with and I hope Colombia is successful in dealing with them.

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4:55 p.m.


Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I almost thought I was back in question period when my colleague asked me a question even though I had not given a speech.

In the spirit of the co-operation I have enjoyed with my colleague and friend across the way, I will confer with our officials and report to him this day exactly which provinces are represented because as always, I would not want to give him any inaccurate information.

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4:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Calgary West.

I have a great deal of difficulty with the bill but I support it. My party supports it. Our hope is that the removal of trade barriers and the inclusion of China in the WTO will add to a liberalization of the country and an improvement in human rights within that country.

China represents one-fifth of the earth's population. It is our fourth largest trading partner. It has the largest economy not currently in the WTO.

Part of the reason we would like to see the removal of trade barriers is that trade does not necessarily confer a moral agreement with the regime in power. Trade exists between individuals and firms. We cannot confuse our moral condonement of a nation's policies and behaviour with a desire to increase bilateral trade. Our hope is that when we look at this in 20 years we will see that the improvement of trade has actually increased discourse between cultures and individuals and that it has managed to liberalize the political environment within China.

One of the primary faults in geopolitics is the belief that there is only one superpower, the United States. I believe that is a myth. China's behaviour could best be summed up in a comment made by Sun tzu, the famous Chinese philosopher. He said that one of the best ways of displaying strength is to show a rather benign and weak front to an opponent but behind that, to develop an extraordinary amount of strength.

China has been doing that for some time. Not only has it had a super heated economy but it has had a super heated military machine. While we have been looking at other problems around the world, China has been developing ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities. It has been purchasing and producing large scale armaments, including aircraft carriers which will enable it to extend its reach abroad. This is often denied and ignored in international foreign policy.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister with our allies must pay close heed to this behaviour in future dealings with China. We simply cannot ignore it. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Some people have articulated very well what China has been doing over the years.

China's behaviour is another matter. If we look at the Spratly Islands, Taiwan and Tibet in particular, which my friend and colleague will discuss, China has displayed repeatedly an absolute utter neglect for the basic norms of human rights that Canadians and the international community hold dear.

China is among the worst abusers of human rights in the world. Tibet is a case in point. In the 1940s China annexed a good chunk of Tibet and was responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Tibetans. The Chinese murdered thousands of monks and nuns and burned down almost all the 6,400 monasteries in Tibet. It was an act of cultural genocide. This is something the international community has chosen to pay little heed to.

It is instructive to judge a country's future by looking at its past. The repressive regime in China thinks very little of human rights or human life. Today it continues to abuse the basic human rights of people in Tibet. In fact, 74% of the political prisoners in Tibet held by the Chinese are nuns and monks. It is a case of overt religious oppression by a repressive regime.

Other members have mentioned this eloquently both inside and outside the House. The government could have spoken more forcefully on this issue. The government could have been more aggressive by bringing the issue to international fora such as the UN but it has chosen not to.

It is sad, because if we do not discuss these egregious abuses of human rights, in a way we become party to them. We have seen many cases in history where our neglect to examine abuses of the basic human rights of people has caused widespread traumatic problems for all of us.

Fair trade is good, but we simply cannot ignore the situation on the ground. The saving grace in the liberalization of trade is perhaps the response of the more hard line members of the Chinese regime, those who would wish to support and continue the status quo. They are against the normalization of trade between countries. That fact gives me hope that what we are trying to do is the right thing, that it will improve human rights, liberalize the country and ensure that the basic human rights of Chinese people will be improved and not worsened and that by liberalizing trade we are not part and party unwillingly and unwittingly to a worsening of human rights.

The militarists and reactionaries of China oppose the liberalization of trade. They correctly see it as a threat to their repressive regime. My hope is that in the engagement of trade we also put in conditions that China cannot engage in human rights abuses on one hand while engaging in the normalization of trade on the other.

In the discussions on including China in the WTO, it was very interesting to see the behaviour of China. China tried to introduce a number of loopholes through which it could be included in the WTO if it were to adhere to the spirit and meaning of the WTO. That is a vague and open-ended statement if ever there was one. We cannot tolerate that. China has to adhere to the same human rights norms that we, the United States and all parties to the WTO must adhere to. It is not an either/or situation. It is a condition upon China being introduced and becoming a full, respected member of the WTO.

China must not engage in behaviour that will compromise the regional security in that area. I mentioned the Spratly Islands, Taiwan and Tibet. The international community cannot turn a blind eye to that type of behaviour. Nor can it turn a blind eye to the acquisition of ballistic missiles, nuclear capable technology and the expansion of China's military hardware.

I find it remarkable that the government chooses to give aid to China, a country that is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on improving and expanding its military capabilities. I do not think Canadian taxpayers want to see their hard earned money sent under the guise of official development assistance to a country like China, which is one of the largest economic powers in the world, to build up its military hardware. That is not why we help underprivileged countries. The government should stop its official development assistance to China immediately.

I strongly encourage the government to speak out more forcefully against the human rights abuses against the people of Tibet and China's egregious abuses of the norms of international security when it rattles sabres against Taiwan. The only resolution to the Taiwan-China situation will occur through peaceful negotiation. Sabre rattling against Taiwan or the Spratly Islands only causes concern for the international community as well as for the region.

In conclusion, our party supports the inclusion of China in the WTO but it is not support at any cost. The Canadian Alliance will be paying close attention to the behaviour of China on human rights and religious freedoms and in engaging in fair trade, not the abusive trade practices of the past.

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5:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I commend my hon. colleague from Esquimalt for his eloquent remarks. He is well esteemed in this place as one of its principle and most consistent voices in defence of human rights. I associate myself strongly with his critique of the policies of the People's Republic of China.

However I am not entirely persuaded by my hon. friend's argument that passage of Bill C-50 and the accession of the People's Republic of China to the World Trade Organization would lead to an improvement of the human rights situation. I am not entirely persuaded it would end the cultural genocide in Tibet or stop aggressive militaristic Chinese foreign policy vis-à-vis Taiwan.

Does the hon. member not think granting the dictatorial Chinese communist authorities treasured access to international markets would reward them for perpetuating a system based on denial of human dignity and violation of human rights? Does he not think it perverse to reward the Chinese government with economic opportunity before it has shown concrete steps toward ending the repugnant practices to which his speech referred?

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5:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for his question. It is an essential moral question I struggled with regarding Bill C-50. I do not know the answer. As I said in my speech, we must look at it 10 years down the line to see if it has worked. My hope and prayer is that it will.

I take some solace in Bill C-50 because the most hardline supporters of the despotic regime in China are those most opposed to the liberalization of trade. That fact alone gives me hope that by liberalizing trade and increasing discourse between China and the free world we would be able to improve the norms of human rights within China.

Do I think it would change the situation in Tibet overnight? I absolutely do not. Nor do I think it would change in the intermediate term. The only way to change the situation in Tibet and China is by fostering repeated and increasing discourse between the free world and China. We need to break down barriers and strengthen the Chinese middle class. We need to make the young and the middle class in China understand that basic human rights are fundamental to the security of a country. We need to show them that respect for human rights in other countries is fundamental to the strength of China as a nation. My hope is that this will occur.

As I said in my speech, liberalizing trade would not give tacit moral approval to the Chinese regime. Trade is a discourse between individuals and firms. We could use other measures to express our dissatisfaction. If China took a hard turn toward becoming more despotic we could use WTO trade levers against it. I hope the government has the courage to do that. Members of the Canadian Alliance would be pushing the government to do it.

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5:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has touched on a lot of the issues. I will address an issue I did not hear in his speech.

The People's Republic of China is using our foreign aid to build a railway from its interior regions to the area that used to be known as Tibet, an area which was significantly larger before the turn of the last century. If we look at atlases from that period Tibet was probably three times the size of the area China recognizes today. Canadian foreign aid is being used to build a railway so Chinese troops can be sent to suppress potential independence movements in Tibet.

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5:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, China has annexed over half the territory of Tibet. Not only that has happened. In the World Bank there was a proposal to move large numbers of Chinese people into eastern Tibet. It is an issue many of us in the Canadian Alliance have fought hard against and put a freeze on for the time being.

As a party we are completely and unequivocally opposed to the use of Canadian taxpayer funds for the abuse in any way, shape or form of the Chinese people or the aggressive extraterritorial actions of the Chinese regime.

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5:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, in response to the question of the member for Calgary Southeast regarding China's accession to the World Trade Organization, Bill C-50 would implement safeguards and anti-dumping rights so we could protect Canadian industries in the event there were surges of imports from China that could cause injury.

Bill C-50 raises a number of difficult moral questions. I am generally a big believer in free trade. That being said, we jeopardize free trade when we allow countries to wipe out our ability to produce strategic goods by flooding us with cheap products of their own. Such is the case with microchips, precision small ball bearings and whatnot. We do not want to lose our ability to produce the things that are essential for the security of our economy. That is where I draw the line.

The hon. member for Calgary Southeast and my other colleague raised another moral quandary. It is tough to imagine a country with a worse record than China with regard to human rights issues, expansionism or militarism. China is probably the single greatest human rights abuser in the world today. We need to consider whether a country like China should receive the open trade policies and foreign aid Canada condones giving it.

First, let us take the Falun Gong or Falun Dafa movement. It exists outside China, but those who practice it inside China are detained without trial. They suffer beatings. They have died in massive numbers in custody. They have had their tapes and printed materials confiscated and destroyed. What has it all been for? The pacifist group is today's moral equivalent of Mahatma Gandhi. It is persecuted in China because it has a larger potential support base than the communist party. That is the chief reason Falun Gong practitioners are persecuted.

I am not raising these questions only with regard to what goes on in China. I am talking about what China's embassies, missions and consulates in other countries do to Falun Gong practitioners on behalf of the policies of the People's Republic.

Canadians living here have had their business dealings interfered with. Officers of the People's Republic of China have gathered information about them and communicated with their families back home to apply pressure. The issue goes above and beyond anything China is doing within its own territory or to its neighbours. It is affecting people here in Canada.

With regard to Taiwan, some hon. members have talked about China's gunboat threats, patrols and exercises in the Formosa Strait. During the Taiwanese elections Chinese military leaders bragged about two stage rocket technology with a range that could hit Los Angeles. Let us imagine conducting an election campaign next to a massive nation with a population of 1.3 billion and one of the largest armies in the world. Let us imagine it rattling sabres and talking about how it could storm not only you but the biggest ally that could ever hope to defend you. Compared to that, other issues seem benign.

China does not recognize the independence of Taiwan. It fights diplomatic recognition of Taiwan whenever it can. I will go on record in this place as saying I support the Canadian government getting off the fence and giving Taiwan full diplomatic recognition.

It goes on from there. In 1997 Hong Kong went back to Chinese control. What have we seen since? Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Hong Kong and come to Canada for refuge. One might ask why. It is because there has been a chilling of freedom of the press and a suppression of freedom of speech.

The main Chinese population which happens to be Han is flooding Hong Kong. According to estimates anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 Chinese of Han ethnicity have flooded into Hong Kong to try to drown out what was a symbol of free trade and free enterprise. Cantonese, the language commonly spoken on the streets of Hong Kong five years ago, is giving way to Mandarin.

As one of my hon. colleagues mentioned, China's military is building aircraft carriers. It is trying to develop three stage rocket technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles. It is still putting new nuclear submarines into the water.

With regard to Tibet China has seized the Panchen Lama, the person who would succeed the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is exiled. He must operate out of a base in northern India at the Dip-Tse-Chok-Ling monastery among other places.

My hon. colleagues have talked about religious repression, the murders of tens of thousands of monks and nuns, foreign aid being used to build railways so the Chinese can suppress Tibetan independence, and the flooding of Tibet with members of the Chinese Han population as a form of territorial expansion.

Within its own population China enforces its one child policy by forcing abortions on women at the end of a bayonet.

With regard to student democracy movements, we all know what happened in Tiananmen Square where tens of thousands of students were arrested and many were killed.

Not a single one of these activities should be supported, condoned, or given any form of reward. It is troubling. Edmund Burke said evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Turning a blind eye to the activities of the People's Republic of China toward its neighbours, its own citizens and the operations of its missions, consulates and embassies overseas would be a grave mistake. Its activities should not be rewarded or condoned. We should not treat them lightly as though China were just another peaceful neighbour.

China has territorial expansionist aspirations. Such things should be checked. With regard to free trade policies we should be helping countries like India. India's one billion population and non-expansionist behaviour would make it a far better trading partner than a regime like the People's Republic of China.