Mr. Speaker, I am happy to use a couple of minutes to add my support to the motion put forward by the member for Joliette. While we in the New Democratic Party support fair trade, we believe that some of the free trade agreements that our country has entered into on our behalf were badly negotiated, have left this country vulnerable and have actually jeopardized the whole issue of Canadian sovereignty.
My hon. colleague from Winnipeg North Centre has made the point that when we lose our economic sovereignty, we eventually lose our national sovereignty altogether.
The most galling aspect of the free trade agreements that we cite today and the one we believe was the most badly negotiated on our behalf was the chapter 11 aspect that gave corporations essentially the right to sue. It gives corporations nation state status in the sense that they can sue the nation state of Canada for lost opportunity. One of the examples that we predict will be a big issue is water. As soon as water becomes a marketable commodity, if an American corporation or any foreign corporation with which we have a free trade deal with the chapter 11 clause feel they should have a right to get into that marketplace and to deal in the marketing of fresh water and we denied them that right, we could be sued for lost opportunity.
Most Canadians would find that to be an absurd situation, to make us so vulnerable and to put us in a vulnerable position of that nature, but that is exactly what the negotiators of the free trade agreement have done. We have examples where in our country we saw fit to ban the gasoline additive MMT because we felt it was not healthy for our children to be breathing this gasoline additive. The American manufacturer of that additive said that we were interfering with its rights or opportunities to sell that commodity. It sued Canada for lost opportunity and Canada paid. This will become a mini industry by itself. If corporations were smart they would enter into this type of thing deliberately and find something that Canada is opposed to on principle and then sue it for lost opportunity. Why would we do that?
I have made that argument before. I believe that the people we sent down to negotiate the FTA and NAFTA were like Jack and the Beanstalk going to the market and trading the family cow for three beans, none of which has yet actually sprouted. In other words, we either settled too soon or we left glaring omissions in the deal where we should have taken steps to protect Canadian sovereignty.
The member's motion makes it clear that Canada, as we enter into free trade agreements with our trading partners around the world, should never again have a clause in a free trade agreement, such as chapter 11, that leaves Canada vulnerable and is a disservice to all Canadians in the interest of expanding trade. It compromises and surrenders Canadian sovereignty, as the member for Halifax so eloquently pointed out.
I support the motion. I urge all members of the House, even in their zeal to support freer trade, to take this cautionary note put forward by the member for Joliette to not have Canada enter into any trade agreements that would so fundamentally jeopardize our Canadian sovereignty.