Mr. Speaker, on November 19, I asked the Minister of International Trade a very direct question. Would the Canada-European trade agreement, CETA, which the government is negotiating, result in Canadians paying increased drug costs?
In the past, the minister has described the possibility of increased drug costs as a myth. However, in his response that day, he did not in any way deny that as a result of what the government is negotiating, Canadians would be facing increased drug costs. He did not deny it. He was fairly bland about it.
It is time the government came clean and informed Canadians about what has been negotiated away and the implications in terms of the costs Canadians will have to carry, specifically in terms of, but not limited to, health care costs.
The minister's final line in his answer was that “[t]hese negotiations have been, and continue to be, the most open and transparent in Canada's history”.
In that statement, nothing could be further from the truth. This is the most secretive government and the least transparent, most controlling and most unaccountable crew the country has ever seen. As we're seeing daily in here, with the minister resigning the other day, it is an increasingly corrupt government. As hard as it is to believe, getting information and getting the minister to answer questions before committee is nearly impossible.
I see the parliamentary secretary getting ready to answer. However, the House should know that the fearless Conservatives will not even allow a motion, imagine that, to ask the minister to come before committee on what the chair of the committee himself admits, in terms of the CETA agreement, would make NAFTA look like a relic. It is a huge agreement with huge implications, and the fearless Conservative members would not allow the motion to be debated in public. That is pretty pathetic.
What are the Conservatives afraid of? The minister is allowed to go to Washington to give a little speech. He is allowed to travel around the world and give speeches here and there. He is allowed to hold press conferences and answer questions. However, he is not allowed to come before committee and answer to the representatives of Canadians on the implications of this trade agreement.
Canadians deserve the truth. They deserve information on what the costs of drugs would be as a result of the deal.
When the chief negotiator was before the committee, he indicated that some studies had been done but that he would not make them available to committee members. We are the committee members. We should have that information. The minister should appear before committee and answer questions directly. That is what democracy is supposed to be all about. It is how this place is supposed to operate.