This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker, Ms. Denise Savoie

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

The House will now resume with the remaining business under routine proceedings.

Canada Post CorporationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, I have the honour, under Standing Order 36, to present a petition containing 500 or 600 signatures.

The petitioners call upon Parliament and the Government of Canada to maintain the moratorium on post office closures and the threat of legislation to legalize remailers. They also call upon the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to maintain, expand and improve postal services.

Transportation Safety StandardsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to present the first in what will be many petitions coming to this House of Commons from several hundred representatives, citizens of southern Ontario, the region of Toronto, eastern Ontario, Orléans, Montreal, Quebec, indeed, right across central Canada. These petitioners will be added to the hundreds and hundreds of names coming in from all over the country.

The petitioners are concerned about the issue of privatizing or outsourcing of transportation safety standards. The self-serve safety that was pushed forward by the government was stopped cold by the NDP opposition, and so the legislation was never adopted. However, the government is trying to go through the back door and adopt the same kind of standards.

These petitioners call on the Government of Canada to initiate a commission of inquiry to conduct a judicial review and examine the state of national aviation safety.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, it is my honour to present this petition, signed by residents of Canada, calling on the Government of Canada to support the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

The petition states that, first, there is scientific consensus and public acknowledgement that animals can feel pain and suffering. All efforts should be made to prevent animal cruelty and reduce animal suffering.

Second, over one billion people around the world rely on animals for their livelihood and many others rely on animals for companionship.

Third, animals are often significantly affected by natural disasters, and yet are seldom considered during relief efforts and emergency planning, despite their recognized importance to humans.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade AgreementPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, my petition today is a call to stop the Canada-Colombia trade deal, a familiar topic in this Parliament.

Violence against workers in Colombia has not abated at all. More than 2,200 trade unionists have been murdered since 1991. There has been a host of violence committed against indigenous people, Afro-Colombians, human rights activists, workers, farmers, labour leaders and journalists.

When the Canada-Colombia trade agreement was negotiated along the lines of NAFTA, its benefits really accrued to the corporations and not the people at large. There has not been any big improvement, certainly under NAFTA anyway, to the labour standards. In the case of Mexico, over a million agriculture jobs have been lost since NAFTA was approved.

The petitioners call upon the Parliament of Canada to reject the Canada-Colombia trade deal until an independent human rights impact assessment is carried out and the resulting concerns addressed, and that the agreement be re-negotiated along the principles of a fair trade, which would fully take into account the environmental and social impacts as well as genuinely respecting and enhancing labour rights and the rights of all affected parties.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade AgreementPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I remind all members that presenting petitions is not a time for debate. Petitions should not be read verbatim.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Drugs and PharmaceuticalsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to present yet another petition from Canadians who want to see changes to the Canadian access to medicine regime, so we can return to that noble goal of sending drugs as quickly and as cheaply as possible to sub-Saharan Africa and other countries.

The petitioners call upon the House to support my private member's bill, Bill C-393, a bill which is also similar to the one in the Senate being debated today, Bill S-232, a bill which just heard representation from experts showing, in fact, how nothing in these two bills contravenes the World Trade Organization, and is totally in compliance with everything we stand for in this country.

They call upon Parliament to help ensure access to affordable medicines wherever they are needed throughout the world as quickly as possible.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

November 19th, 2009 / 1:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, Question No. 449 will be answered today.

Question No. 449Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

With regard to the harmonized federal/provincial sales tax in British Columbia, and the Memorandum of Agreement Concerning a Canada-British Columbia Comprehensive Integrated Tax Co-ordination Agreement: (a) which party first indicated intent to begin negotiations and on what date; (b) what was the substance of the federal government's initial position and proposal; (c) on what date did the discussions or negotiations begin; (d) on what date was the final agreement reached; and (e) what timelines were agreed to for making public the implementation of the agreement?

Question No. 449Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in response to parts (a), (b) and (c), a decision to adopt the federal harmonized sales tax in the province of British Columbia rests with the provincial government of British Columbia. Negotiations to implement the decision are matters of federal-provincial relations. Nevertheless, as the Minister of Finance noted in the House of Commons on September 29, 2009, “the discussions that I had with the province of British Columbia began after the provincial election in British Columbia.”

In response to part (d), the Governments of Canada and British Columbia signed the memorandum of agreement, MOA, concerning a Canada-British Columbia comprehensive integrated tax co-ordination agreement, CITCA, on July 23, 2009. For more information, visit the Government of British Columbia online at http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2009PREM0017-000141.htm.

In response to part (e), the MOA was released shortly after the public announcement by British Columbia of its decision. For more information, visit the Government of British Columbia online at http://www.gov.bc.ca/hst/Documents/HST_MOA.pdf.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, if Questions Nos. 450, 451 and 452 could be made orders for returns these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 450Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

What are the names and titles of the Official Languages Champions in each department and agency for each year from 2004 to 2009?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 451Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

With respect to language training, for each fiscal year from 2005–2006 to 2008–2009: (a) how much did the government spend in each province and territory to help newcomers learn (i) French, (ii) English; (b) how much did the government give to third parties in each province and territory to help newcomers learn (i) French, (ii) English; and (c) what are the names of the third parties that received funding for this purpose?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 452Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

With regard to Canadians diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): (a) given that the Statistics Canada Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) showed a more than 60% increase in Canadians diagnosed with ME/CFS between 2001 and 2005, (i) what, if any, funding has been allocated to research this illness in the last four years, (ii) how does the government propose to encourage Canadian research into ME/CFS so that the level of research into this complex, multi-system illness is commensurate with its extent and impact, (iii) what is the government doing to develop strategies and programs to meet the needs of Canadians with ME/CFS; (b) how is the government ensuring that health professionals are aware of the following documents, (i) the Canadian Consensus Document for ME/CFS (ME/CFS: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners) developed by an expert panel selected by Health Canada, so that this illness can be diagnosed consistently and accurately, (ii) the Canadian Consensus Document for Fibromyalgia (Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners), also developed by an expert panel, so that these illnesses can be appropriately and differentially diagnosed; (c) when will the government perform the following tasks in relation to the Consensus Document for ME/CFS posted on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website, (i) improve the location of the document on the website in order to facilitate location of this document, (ii) post the French version of this document; (d) why is the Fibromyalgia Consensus Document not posted as a guideline on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website; (e) what steps is the government taking to ensure that health professionals, patients, and the public have access to science-based, authoritative and timely information on ME/CFS; (f) how soon will the government post other information related to ME/CFS on government websites; (g) what is the government doing to ensure access to ME/CFS knowledgeable physicians and appropriate health care on a timely basis and how is the government working with the provinces, territories, professional organizations, educational institutions and other stakeholders to meet these needs; (h) how is the government working with stakeholders to deal with other needs of Canadians with ME/CFS shown by the 2005 CCHS including, (i) reducing the levels of unmet home care needs, (ii) reducing the levels of food insecurity, (iii) increasing the sense of community belonging experienced by Canadians with this condition; (i) how will the surveillance report on ME/CFS, prepared from analysis of data collected from the 2005 CCHS, be used to improve the situation for Canadians with ME/CFS; and (j) how will the government monitor the extent and impact of ME/CFS and these other conditions on an annual basis given that questions regarding ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities were dropped from the CCHS after 2005?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Madam Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Madam Speaker, it is certainly an honour to rise in this chamber to speak to the second reading of Bill C-57, the free trade agreement between Canada and Jordan.

I need to preface my speech with some very frank comments. Unfortunately, free trade discussions and free trade agreements have very much been hijacked by the chamber, and I would ask all hon. members in this place to look at the merit of this agreement for what the agreement is. We continue to hear discussions about how there is no such thing as fair trade, how there is no fair trade agreement anywhere in the world, how there has never been one signed, and how they sound good on paper but they do not exist in reality.

We sign comprehensive trading agreements and we sign free trade agreements. I would ask all hon. members to also consider another point, that we are signing these agreements with countries that we are already trading with. This is not brand new. I have listened to a lot of discussion about our free trade agreement with Colombia, and the opposition members talk as if we are not trading with Colombia already, but the reality is that we are and that our industries are working at a competitive disadvantage against other nations in the world that have already signed free trade agreements with Colombia. Nations around the world like Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein have embraced free trade as a methodology for rules-based trading that helps Canadian workers and helps Canadian consumers.

This agreement with Jordan will directly benefit a number of sectors of the Canadian economy at precisely the time when Canadians need competitive access to global markets. In these challenging economic times, we need to do everything we can to help Canadians and Canadian businesses build links to the global economy. Protectionism is not the answer; partnerships are. From the very start of the global economic downturn, the Prime Minister has been very clear that opening doors to trade and investment is the right approach to create opportunities for Canadians in key global markets such as India, which the Prime Minister is visiting right now, and China, where the Prime Minister will travel in a few short weeks, and Jordan.

Over the years, Canada and Jordan have built a strong mutually beneficial relationship. It is a relationship grounded in common aspirations such as peace, stability and prosperity for our citizens. As the Minister of International Trade saw earlier this year, it is a relationship with deep commercial roots as well. Many Canadian companies already have a solid presence in the Jordanian marketplace. The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, for instance, is one of Jordan's top foreign investors. It is joined by companies like Research In Motion, Bombardier, SNC-Lavalin, Four Seasons Hotels, Second Cup coffee shops and many others which are also active in Jordan.

Our two-way trade is very diverse, covering everything from forestry to agriculture, from food to machinery, as well as communications, technologies and apparel. Canada's expertise in nuclear power is another sector of great interest to Jordan, especially as it embarks on a nuclear energy program to meet its energy needs in the years ahead. Canada's nuclear industry has a lot to offer the government and the private sector in Jordan, especially following the signing of our bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement earlier this year. It is yet another example of how sophisticated our relationship is becoming on several fronts.

In 2008, our two-way merchandise trade reached over $90 million. Canada is the supplier to Jordan of a range of goods including paper, copper, vegetables, machinery and wood. In fact Canadian exporters enjoyed a 21% rise in exports over the previous year, making Jordan a growing market in the Middle East for Canada.

At a time of global recession, when export markets are dropping and decreasing around the world, we have seen an increase in our market with Jordan. This growing trade relationship is one reason our businesses are supportive of closer ties with the Jordanian marketplace.

Our leaders see potential as well. In 2007, the Prime Minister joined His Majesty King Abdullah II in a commitment to take our commercial relationship to the next level. Formal FTA negotiations launched in February of 2008 were concluded after three rounds. In June of this year, Canada and Jordan signed not only a free trade agreement but also agreements on labour cooperation and the environment, and a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement.

These are all important components in our evolving commercial relationship, but the free trade agreement is the centrepiece, the one that will benefit Canadians and Jordanians alike. It will give Canadian and Jordanian exporters unprecedented access to our respective markets, eliminating tariffs on a number of key products. World-leading Canadian sectors such as forestry, manufacturing and agriculture and agri-food will benefit.

Our beef producers too stand to benefit from the agreement. Not only did Jordan fully reopen its market to Canadian beef and cattle in February, but through this FTA, Canadian beef producers will enjoy competitive advantages in a market that the Canada Beef Export Federation estimates to be worth approximately $1 million per Canadian exporter.

In addition to providing these great benefits, this agreement also sharpens our competitive edge. After all, Jordan has free trade agreements with some of our key competitors such as the United States and the European Union. This FTA will help ensure a level playing field for Canadians in the Jordanian market. In fact 67% of Jordan's tariff lines, covering over 99% of Canadian exports, will be eliminated when the agreement is first implemented, and the remaining tariff reductions will take place within three to five years.

An FTA with Jordan also demonstrates Canada's support for an Arab state that supports peace and security in the Middle East, but as I have said before, the FTA was just one agreement we signed with Jordan this year. We also signed parallel labour cooperation and environmental agreements that will help ensure progress on labour rights and environmental protection. Our government firmly believes that increased commerce can play a positive role in society, and these agreements prove our commitment.

We also signed a bilateral foreign investment protection and promotion agreement, or FIPA, that establishes clear rules for investment between our countries. It provides Canadian and Jordanian investors alike with the predictability and certainty they need when investing in each other's markets.

Canadian investors are particularly excited about opportunities in Jordan's resource extraction, nuclear energy, telecommunications, transportation and infrastructure sectors, and Jordan has been very receptive to Canada's many investment advantages, such as our sound, stable economy; our globally recognized banking system; our competitive business taxes; our ongoing investments in infrastructure, science and education; our unmatched position in the North American market; and the skills, ingenuity and innovation of the Canadian people.

This agreement will help us promote investment between our nations and create new opportunities for our citizens. Canada believes that our ability to weather the current economic storm depends in great part on the global partnerships we pursue. That is why this Conservative government is moving so aggressively on trade negotiations with our global partners.

On July 1, we celebrated the official entry into force of Canada's first free trade agreement since 2002, with the European Free Trade Association's states of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. On August 1, we were celebrating again with the entry into force of the Canada-Peru FTA.

The Prime Minister was in Panama City on August 11, along with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, to mark the conclusion of the Canada-Panama free trade negotiations, and of course, the legislation to implement the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement is currently before Parliament.

There is much more to come.

On October 23, Canada and the European Union concluded a successful first round of negotiations towards a comprehensive economic and trade agreement. The Canadian and EU chief negotiators commended the efforts made by both sides to identify common ground and their readiness to reconcile differences.

Free trade talks are also under way with other countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean community.

We have also announced exploratory talks with India, Morocco and Ukraine, three more exciting opportunities to link Canadians to opportunities in these important markets.

The agreements we have signed with Jordan are an important part of these efforts. They speak directly to our government's ongoing commitment to open more doors and create more jobs for Canadians in these tough economic times.

I would ask that all hon. members fully support these efforts and, specifically, the Canada-Jordan free trade agreement and related agreements that I have outlined today.

Just to wrap up, I would ask very clearly and openly for the support of the opposition parties. This is a minority Parliament. There is no way the government alone can pass these bills through the House. These are good bills. They offer tremendous opportunity, not just for Canadian companies, but for Canadian workers and in turn for Canadian consumers. So I would certainly call upon all of the opposition parties, especially the official opposition which has been a free trader in the past, to look at the opportunities here, to assess them and to support them.