Mr. Speaker, the Liberals let it slip there a bit. They thanked the Conservatives for leading the way on this. Canadians sometimes wonder what the difference between the two parties really is on trade.
We have seen trade deal after trade deal, with promises of improving labour and environmental standards. We had that great show of force from the Prime Minister, that he would go into NAFTA 2.0 and include gender into the agreement. However, when the NAFTA new deal was signed, that somehow was left out.
We have seen trade deal after trade deal where the environment and labour standards are talked about, yet they are always side agreements. We can look at the TPP, or this new version they call “comprehensive” and “progressive”, which was Canada's insistence. We can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Calling something “progressive” does not make it so. If we look for those labour standards in the agreement, are they baked into the deal or are they just side deals? If we look for the environmental conditions, will they lift up countries that have poor records right now? All this agreement asks them to do is confirm their commitment to the environment. What does that exactly mean in a country that does not have a strong commitment to the environment as it is right now? It is the status quo.
Trade can lift up all countries, but the promise is often not met in reality. We have not seen labour practices improve in South and Central America. We have not seen them improve in Asia through the successive rounds of trade deals.
How can my hon. friend expect people to keep buying this thing the Liberals are selling by simply putting a bit of lipstick on it and calling it progressive?