House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deal.

Topics

OpioidsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to table a petition on behalf of constituents from Courtenay—Alberni. It is primarily people from Courtenay who signed this petition.

They are calling on the government to draw its attention to the fact that over 12,500 Canadians have died due to opioid-related poisoning. They cite that these deaths total more than those of all public health emergencies in the last 20 years, including from SARS, H1N1 and Ebola.

Petitioners are saying that these poisonings are preventable. They are calling on the government to declare the current opioid overdose and fentanyl poisoning crisis a national public health emergency under the Emergencies Act in order to manage and resource it, with the aim to reduce and eliminate preventable deaths, reform current drug policy to decriminalize personal possession and create with urgency and immediacy a system to provide safe, unadulterated access to substances so that people who use substances experimentally, recreationally or chronically are not at imminent risk of overdose due to a contaminated source.

Petitioners are also citing that these are our children, family members, neighbours and people in our communities. They are calling on the government to take urgent action to address this crisis.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure for Votes in ChamberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

January 30th, 2020 / 10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Annie Koutrakis Liberal Vimy, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to address remarks I made with respect to the vote on the main motion of the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne on Monday, January 27, 2020, as well as my statement yesterday, Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

I would like to inform the House that I met with my whip to discuss my responsibilities in the voting process. At that meeting, it was clear to me that I profoundly misunderstood what the phrase “put the question to the House” meant. I thought that putting the question was the entire voting process and not, as I now know, when the Speaker actually reads the question to the House.

I was on my way to the House and unfortunately got lost on my way to the chamber. As a result, I was not in the House when the Speaker put the question and arrived when the table officers were calling the names of the members for the vote. I want to sincerely and unreservedly apologize to the House and to all members for the confusion caused by my remarks and for not clearly understanding the voting process.

I understand and accept that members are of the view I misled the House. It was certainly not my intention. I ask the House and its members to forgive me for this rookie mistake. I take this matter extremely seriously, and I promise never to repeat this error again. At no time did I intend to deliberately mislead the House.

As I mentioned in my remarks yesterday, I am a new member and am not familiar with the rules and practices of the House. That unfamiliarity with these important yet rather complicated rules and practices led me to making a mistake in understanding my obligations and duties in the voting process. From this rather unfortunate event, I have learned that I need to better understand the rules of the House.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to this matter, and I also thank members for their understanding of the challenges and the great responsibility of being a new member. I hope other new members can benefit from my experience in this matter.

Procedure for Votes in ChamberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I will take that under advisement and get back to the House with a ruling as soon as possible. I want to thank the hon. member.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

moved that Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

I am truly honoured to speak here today in support of Bill C-4, an act to implement the new NAFTA. Canadians have come a long way since 2017, when Canada's most important trading relationship, indeed our national prosperity itself, was put at serious risk. The years that followed were among the more turbulent in our history. We have emerged not only with the essential elements of the North American Free Trade Agreement intact, but with a better, more effective and fairer agreement than before.

This agreement is better for steel and aluminum workers, better for auto manufacturers and factory workers, better for farmers, forestry workers and energy workers. This agreements is better for the thousands of people working hard in our service industries. It is better for Canadian artists, singer-songwriters and filmmakers and better for the companies that hire them.

Canada has always been a trading nation. We have trade agreements with Europe and the Pacific in place, and we are about to have a modernized NAFTA. That means free trade with 1.5 billion people around the world and makes us one of the world's greatest trading nations.

That we achieved this at a time of considerable uncertainty in global trade, with the rules-based international order itself under strain, is something of which all Canadians can be rightly proud. It is a testament to the unrelenting work of thousands of patriotic Canadians from all walks of life, representing every political view from all orders of government and from all regions of our great country. This truly has been team Canada at work.

A little more than 25 years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement created the world's largest economic trading zone, but let us remember that it did not come about easily or without controversy. In fact, a federal election was fought over free trade in 1988, and my own mother ran against NAFTA for the New Democrats in the riding of Edmonton Strathcona. These were intense debates as many in the House will remember, yet today the Canadian consensus for free trade is overwhelming.

That consensus is a testament to NAFTA's long-term effectiveness as a vehicle for economic growth. More broadly speaking, it is also a testament to the fact that rules-based trade advances personal freedom, fosters entrepreneurial spirit and generates prosperity.

Today, Canada, the United States and Mexico account for nearly one-third of global GDP despite having just 7% of the global population. Every day, transactions worth about $2 billion Canadian and 400,000 people cross the Canada-U.S. border. Those are impressive numbers.

When we were first asked to renegotiate NAFTA, we were determined to improve the agreement, update it, refine it and modernize it for the 21st century. That is exactly what we did.

I would like to stress two points. Under the new NAFTA, 99.9% of our exports to the United States can be exported tariff-free, and when it comes into force, this agreement will be the most progressive trade deal our country has ever negotiated. Indeed, I believe it will be the most progressive trade deal in the world.

“Growth that works for everyone” is not just a slogan. It has been the animating, driving idea in our negotiations from the start.

Let us be honest: The negotiations that got us here were not always easy. There were some twists and turns along the way. There were, as I predicted at the outset, moments of drama. There were times when the prospect of success seemed distant, but we hung in there. Faced with a series of unconventional negotiating positions from the United States, a protectionist flurry unlike any this country has encountered before, we did not escalate and we also did not back down. We stayed focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs, economic growth, security and opportunity. That is how we stayed the course.

It was clear from the start that, in order to be successful, Canada as a whole had to come together and work as a team.

We began by consulting stakeholders across the country. We heard from Canadians in industry, agriculture, the service sector and labour. We sought and received advice and insight from across party lines. We reached out to current and former politicians, including provincial and territorial premiers, mayors, community leaders and indigenous leaders. We asked Canadians for their input and gathered over 400,000 submissions on the modernization of NAFTA.

We established the NAFTA council with people from different political parties, as well as business, labour and indigenous leaders.

I would like to thank every member of the NAFTA council for their wisdom, hard work and collegiality. Their insight helped guide our way forward at every step of the way, right up to the present moment.

I would also like to thank current and past members of the House for their contributions. With politics, there is always partisanship, but there can also be collaboration in the national interest. I know, from the many conversations I have had with colleagues across the aisle and across Canada, that every single one of us here shares the goal of working for Canada and Canadians. This negotiation has not been a political project. It has been a national one.

There have been many hurdles. During the negotiations, we were hit with unfair and arbitrary tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. We defended ourselves without rancour, but with firmness, imposing perfectly reciprocal, dollar-for-dollar tariffs on the United States even as team Canada fanned out across the U.S., reminding our friends, allies and neighbours that they rely on us for trade, too.

We were consistent. We were persistent. We never gave up. We just kept digging in the corners, if I may be allowed one NAFTA hockey metaphor.

The new NAFTA is a great agreement for Canada because we acted with resolve at the negotiating table to uphold the interests and values of Canadians. Our professional trade negotiators are, without exaggeration, the very best in the world. They are a group of true hard-working patriots, led by the inimitable Steve Verheul. I would like to thank them on behalf of all Canadians.

I would also like to thank Ambassador Bob Lighthizer. I found him to be a reliable and trustworthy counterpart, even though there were many times when we did not agree. He is someone who has become a friend. I would like to acknowledge his hard work, his professionalism and his willingness to find win-win compromises for our great continent. That made this agreement possible.

I would also like to recognize the efforts of my Mexican counterparts, who showed tremendous commitment, through a change in government, in renewing our trilateral relationship and in reaching a progressive outcome that raises working standards for workers across our shared continent.

Muchas gracias, amigos.

The benefits of this agreement for Canadians are concrete and considerable. The new NAFTA preserves Canada's tariff-free access to our most important market: 99.9% of our exports to the U.S. will be tariff-free. The agreement preserves the dispute settlement mechanism known as the famous chapter 19 in the original NAFTA, which provides an independent and impartial process for challenging anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

Critically, this mechanism is how we Canadians ensure a level playing field with a much larger trading partner. This mechanism is more valuable today than ever, with the WTO effectively paralyzed.

The new NAFTA preserves the general exception for cultural industries, which employ some 650,000 people across the country. These industries are an integral part of Canada's bilingual nature and our linguistic and cultural identity. This was a crucial factor, because those industries ensure that we can tell our own stories, as Canadians, in both official languages.

Our farmers are more crucial than ever to our collective prosperity. Canada and the United States have the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world in the area of agriculture, which is worth about $48 billon annually.

At one point in the negotiations, the United States demanded that we abolish supply management. We refused that demand. This agreement secures the future of Canada's supply management system for this generation and generations to come.

The new agreement strengthens labour standards and working conditions in all three countries. This is a historic milestone with, for the first time, truly muscular and enforceable labour standards. This agreement, for the first time, levels the playing field in North America for Canadian workers.

It supports the advancement of fair and inclusive trade. It addresses issues related to migrant workers, forced or compulsory labour, and violence against union members, including gender violence. It enshrines obligations related to discrimination, including discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity.

This agreement modernizes our trade for the 21st century. Critically, it reduces cross-border red tape and simplifies procedures for Canadian exporters. It promotes increased trade and investment through new chapters dedicated to small and medium-sized businesses.

As well, the agreement preserves the provisions on temporary entry for business people. These provisions are essential to supporting cross-border trade and investments. Temporary entry ensures that investors can see their investments first-hand, and that service suppliers can enter the market to fulfill their contracts on-site.

At a time when walls are being built, temporary entry is a critical advantage for Canadians.

Crucially, the new NAFTA also shields Canada from arbitrary and unfair trade actions. For instance, our auto sector employs 125,000 people directly and another 400,000 indirectly through a network of dealers and after-market services. The side letter we signed with the new NAFTA protects this vital industry from any potential U.S. tariffs on automobile and auto parts.

The new NAFTA is great for Canadian auto workers. We see this in new, higher requirements for levels of North American content in the production of cars and trucks. We see it in the labour chapter, which includes key provisions to strengthen and improve labour standards in the NAFTA space.

One of our government's main objectives is to ensure that women have the opportunity to participate fully and equitably in the Canadian economy. The new NAFTA is no exception. The labour chapter includes a non-discrimination clause and addresses obstacles to the full participation of women.

Environmental stewardship is essential to our collective future. The new NAFTA includes a chapter on the environment that will help ensure that our trade partners do not receive unfair economic advantages because they failed to respect the environment.

The environment chapter requires that all the NAFTA partners maintain strong environmental protection and robust environmental governance. It introduces new commitments to address challenges like illegal wildlife trade, illegal fishing and the depletion of fish stocks, species at risk, conservation of biodiversity, ozone-depleting substances and marine pollution.

It also recognizes the unique role of indigenous peoples in the conservation of our shared biodiversity and in sustainable fisheries and forest management. This is a first. For the first time in a Canadian trade agreement, the new NAFTA confirms that the government can adopt or maintain measures it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations to indigenous peoples.

We should note that the obligations on labour and environment in the new NAFTA are subject to dispute settlement. This is a major accomplishment. This means any laggard can be held accountable.

In his speech to the U.S. National Governors Association in 2017, the Prime Minister referred to his father's famous metaphor about Canada, of our experience of sleeping next to an elephant. He said that, contrary to his father's phrase, Canada today is no mouse, more like a moose. This negotiation and its conclusion have shown how right he was.

Throughout the formal negotiations and in the months that followed, the Government of Canada has been intent on upholding the national interest. This work continued last year, culminating in a protocol of amendments signed by Canada, the United States and Mexico that strengthen state-to-state dispute settlements, labour protection, environmental protection and rules of origin.

Our government is committed to ensuring that the benefits of trade are widely and fairly shared.

The new NAFTA helps us accomplish that. It promotes progressive, free and fair economic growth. More generally, it strengthens rules-based trade at a time when those rules are in great need of strengthening. It brings back stability to the trade relationship between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Above all, this agreement provides stability and predictability for companies that employ hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Our focus in bringing the new NAFTA to Parliament has always been on preserving and fostering opportunity for Canadian workers, businesses, families and communities across the country. That is what we achieved, and this is what all Canadians have achieved together. It is something that all Canadians and every member of the House can be proud of. We are all here to serve Canadians.

I encourage all members in the House and Senate to work co-operatively with us to swiftly pass this legislation.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows in the House, we in the Conservative Party are the party of free trade. I know business is really welcoming the certainty of this agreement. We just want to get that message out to Canadians that we will do our due diligence. We are still awaiting the answers from the government for the seven questions we asked back in December. It is important in these negotiations how we behave and how professional we are.

Could the minister comment on the conduct and comments of the Prime Minister during these negotiations, such as the personal attacks on the President, the irresponsible comments and being unprofessional when dealing with the American president?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me start by thanking the member for Oshawa for his personal commitment to Canadian workers and for the work he has done personally on this agreement. We have had a lot of conversations and I appreciate that.

I would also like to thank the member opposite and his party for their vote yesterday supporting the agreement and the recognition we just heard of the need for all of us to work together to bring certainty to the Canadian economy and Canadian workers.

When it comes to due diligence, I would expect nothing less from all the members of the House. Let us keep talking. As I said, the inimitable Steve Verheul is at the disposal of everyone here. He has worked with governments of various political stripes and I know all of us trust him very much.

When it comes to the conduct of the Prime Minister in this negotiation and in our relationship with the United States, here, respectfully, I must very strongly disagree with the member opposite. Our Prime Minister has been an exemplary leader for Canada in this often difficult negotiation.

The Prime Minister has, as I described the Canadian approach overall, pursued a course of neither escalating nor backing down. He has not been afraid to stand up for Canada and the national interest, and he has been successful at building and leading an effective working relationship.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the minister. Her speech was very interesting.

The Bloc Québécois is not particularly opposed to the agreement. There is only one provision that bothers us, and that is the one affecting the aluminum industry.

Can the minister explain why the aluminum industry did not get the same treatment as the steel industry in this agreement?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question.

I think it is essential to explain clearly to Canadians, as I did yesterday with my colleague for the people from Saguenay who were here, that our government is committed to defending the aluminum sector and its workers. I can give you a very clear example of that commitment. We fought to have the U.S. tariffs on aluminum fully lifted. It is important to note that out of all the aluminum producing countries, Canada is the only one that managed to have the tariffs fully lifted, without quotas. That is a tremendous advantage for Canada, the aluminum sector and its workers.

I also want to note that the new NAFTA will guarantee that 70% of the aluminum to be used in cars built in the area covered by NAFTA will come from North America. Currently that percentage is 0%. That seems like a big win to me, since 70% is much better than 0%.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of topics I would not mind hearing the minister's reflections on. The first is this.

Three agreements have been signed by this government: CETA, CPTPP and now CUSMA. In each case, there has been a bit of a different process, certainly with respect to the engagement of Parliament on those deals, and in some cases the engagement of the public and stakeholders as well.

I wonder if the minister can share some of the lessons she has learned in those different processes and give us some sense of whether she feels there may be a way to codify some of those lessons and establish a better trade process overall for Canada going forward.

I also want to know if there is a solid plan to help dairy producers and aluminum industry workers in Quebec and British Columbia. Considering the adverse effects this agreement will have for them, what is the government's plan and what steps will it take in future to ensure that these workers and industries are not overly penalized by the provisions of this new agreement?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me start by thanking the member for Elmwood—Transcona for those thoughtful questions and for the work he has been doing on this agreement. We have had some very constructive conversations. I appreciate that very much.

Also, as someone who personally lived through some of the NDP's struggles with NAFTA, I very much appreciated the vote yesterday by the NDP. I think that is an important sign of the NDP's commitment to Canadian workers, a commitment we share.

When it comes to the specific questions the member asked, he spoke about consultation with stakeholders and Canadians and about our experience during CETA, the TPP and the new NAFTA. What I have personally learned during that experience is the value of consultation and the value of continued, and I would even say continuous, dialogue with key stakeholders. I think we are seeing some of the results of that in the fact the premiers and the heads of municipalities have come out and spoken in favour of the new NAFTA, and in the fact that we see labour, business and indigenous leaders doing so as well. That is because we have all been talking.

Therefore, in conclusion, I would say to the hon. member that I think an important lesson of this process is that working closely with stakeholders and having a process that involves Canadians is a help and not a hindrance.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Kody Blois Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague the Deputy Prime Minister for her great speech and her great work on this file.

Kings—Hants has the largest concentration of agricultural producers east of Montreal, including many dairy farmers and poultry farmers. The entire House needs to remember that the United States wanted a provision included that would give it more access to these areas.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister inform the House about the work that has been done to preserve the supply management system, the work that has been done to ensure that farmers are compensated, and the work that our government is doing to make sure that farmers are successful in the days ahead?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome the member for Kings—Hants to the House and thank him for his thoughtful question.

Canadians remember clearly that one of the key, explicit negotiating objectives of our American counterparts was the complete abolition of our supply management system. It is no secret to Canadians that this has been an objective of long standing. In the face of that American objective, Canada stood firm. We preserved the supply management system for today and for generations to come.

My hon. colleague also asked an important question about compensation for farmers in the supply management sector. We have been very clear that just and equitable compensation is essential.

We are a trading nation and we need to do trade deals. In order to have popular support for those trade deals, we need to be fair to all Canadians as trade deals are concluded. That is what we are absolutely committed to doing. As farmers in the supply management sector know, we have already been working in detail with them for some time to put together the details of what is inevitably a complex program.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am going to do something a little unusual here this morning. It is something all parties have already been briefed on.

The government would like to see this legislation moved rather rapidly through the House and I know that a lot of businesses and the premiers are asking us to do this as quickly as possible, so I would like to ask for unanimous consent to allow my time to be dropped to 10 minutes to allow another member to have an opportunity to speak to this issue. If it would be the will of the House for me to have unanimous consent to do that, that is what I would like to do.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Does the hon. member for Prince Albert have the unanimous consent of the House to divided his time in this first round?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Some. hon. members

Agreed.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is great to start off this debate with the co-operation of all parties, which we are going to need as we proceed down this road.

I will be splitting my time with the new member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, whose riding happens to be right next to mine. I think this chamber will come to enjoy working with him, seeing his positive contribution to the House and watching him in action with his speech.

I want to thank the minister; the team; the negotiator, Steve Verheul; and the guys in the background, such as Andrew Leslie, the member for Malpeque, Mark Eyking and the other members of the trade committee. There are all these people, such as the member for Oshawa, who is sitting right next to me. There was a tremendous effort put forward to make sure that there was a team Canada approach so that everybody understood how important this deal was, not only here in Canada but also in the U.S.

I know that those on the team tried their best and did their best. That said, there are some shortfalls and problems, which is why we need to do our due diligence and go through it. Where there are problems and shortfalls, we will do things like we did with the briefing here this week. There the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord said that we have the greenest aluminum in the world, which comes out of his riding, and made the point to Steve Verheul, the negotiator, that we could sell it under the environmental chapter, so why not put that into the implementation side of things? We could see that the negotiator was thinking that he had not thought of that, but it was a good idea.

These are the types of things we can do if we work together and if we have proper briefings and documents to solve or mitigate some of the issues or missed opportunities in this agreement.

Today we begin debate on Bill C-4, the implementation of the legislation for the new NAFTA. This deal, as described by President Trump, is something negotiated totally on his own terms, which I think is right. It is sad, but I think that is what has happened here. I think that the reality is that President Trump sat down with Mexico, and they did a deal and told Canada to take it or leave it, which is disappointing. It did not have to be that way.

The good news is that after rigorous debate in Parliament and in committee, Canada will continue to have a trade agreement with our largest trading partner. The bad news is that it was negotiated by the Liberal government, which made concession after concession to the United States and Mexico. The good news is that we have an agreement, but the bad news is that it could have been better.

This agreement, if we had done it right, would have set North America up for the next 50 years to become the most competitive sector in the world. With companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico using our strengths and working together as we have in the past, we could have been so competitive that we could compete with anybody around the world. However, we did not get that in this agreement. In fact, if anything, we got more barriers, more red tape and more hassles for our businesses. It is disappointing.

Unfortunately, the mismanagement of the deal by the Liberal government is going to cost taxpayers money, because the reality is that we will have to have a plan for the sectors and industries that have been left out. During the election we heard quite clearly President Trump talking in the Rust Belt states about people who supposedly lost their jobs because of previous trade deals. There were other things in play, such as modernization and robotics and things like that, which never got talked about, but there was this idea that people were left behind. We cannot do that. In a new trade deal in this day and age, we cannot leave sectors behind, which is why, again, we need to have the proper documents and processes in order to go through the deal, do what we can to mitigate it and create a plan for those people who may have been negatively impacted by it.

However, I want to make it clear that our party supports and wants the free trade deal with the Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Some things are just too big to play politics with.

The United States is our largest trading partner, and NAFTA has been good for Canada, with $2 billion a day in trade crossing our border, which represents 75% of all Canadian exports. U.S. direct investment in Canada in 2018 was over $400 billion, which is huge. Since NAFTA was first implemented, over 5 million jobs have been created, and total trilateral trade has quadrupled to $1.2 trillion. Who says trade does not work? This is proof that trade does work.

The majority of major industry associations in Canada want us to ratify this deal. The Canadian premiers put out a joint statement urging us to ratify it quickly, but it is our democratic obligation to analyze this legislation, and we have to do our due diligence. It is even more important for us to do our due diligence since the government is still refusing, 50 days now since we made the request, to release the economic impact analysis that it has on this new NAFTA.

It looks like the government has something to hide, which is probably true because even though the majority of industries support the deal, many of them have expressed concerns and are looking for clarification on how this deal is actually going to affect them.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce wants further details, especially with respect to the intellectual property provisions. CAFTA wants to confirm that any changes would not negatively impact their producers. The CME wants to know what steps the government has taken to ensure that Canadian productivity levels are equal to those of other OECD countries, to maintain competitiveness here in North America. They also want to know what the impacts of the concessions will be to our aluminum industry.

The shortcomings and missed opportunities of the deal are clear.

First, the Canadian dairy industry is possibly the biggest loser in this deal, as 3.6% of the Canadian market is now opened up to imports. Milk classes 6 and 7 have been eliminated. That is a big deal. That is very important to dairy producers. That was a way for them to get extra value from some of the dairy products that they produce and they now have lost that opportunity.

The deal dictates specific thresholds for Canadian exports to anywhere in the world on milk protein concentrates, skim milk powder and infant formula. As the industry grows and wants to export more, or if the industry should have a surplus in these products to export abroad, it is limited to quotas. If the industry actually does exceed the thresholds, Canada adds duties to the exports in excess. That makes them more expensive, so it makes them uncompetitive to export. That is something Canada has never agreed to before. We really need to see the ramifications. It also sets a precedence for future trade deals.

We have relinquished some of our sovereignty. If we want to do a deal with a non-market country, for example, China, we have to actually go to Big Brother, the United States, and get permission. That does not make sense to me. That is a growing market. It is a market that we have to trade into. We have to find a path forward to have a proper relationship with China. However, we should not be worrying about the U.S. and its issues with China. We should not be drawn into those issues. We should have our own relationship with China and this could impact our ability to do that.

Second, the missed opportunities in this deal make up a long list. Aluminum is not afforded the same provisions as steel. To defined as North American, it would have to be smelted and poured in one of these three countries. We do not know why aluminum was left out. Why did it not get the same treatment as steel, other than maybe something was going on in the U.S. and China that they wanted aluminum to come through Mexico and go down that path.

On temporary entry for business persons, the list of professionals in chapter 16 was not expanded to include professions that exist in the 21st century. Why did we not modernize that list? We could have added a whole pile of new jobs that have been created in the high-tech sector and the service sector. That was not done.

Buy American was not addressed. Mexico got a chapter on Buy American; we did not.

Our forestry workers are hurting. They are going through some tough times. This should have been talked about in the deal. I understand we had a claim in front of the WTO. I also understand that the WTO appellate body is in trouble right now because of the U.S. not appointing judges. Who is paying for that? That would be the guys who were laid off in British Columbia and the folks who were laid off in New Brunswick in the forestry sector because that market has turned down due to the unfair, illegal tariffs of the U.S. government.

Third, the Liberal government made concessions that will result in continued business uncertainty to a certain extent. The ISDS chapter was removed, with no more protections from politics in the U.S. and Mexico. A sunset clause sets out a formal review of the agreement every six years. The agreement will terminate in 16 years unless it is renegotiated. Again, when someone is looking at their business and trying to plan things, it makes it really tough to work in those types of cycles because it does create some instability.

There are more things in this deal I could talk about, but I understand I am down to the last minute and I will use my time at committee to do that.

However, I want to say one thing. We are plugging our noses because the industries and communities say we need to get that bankability, that stability of a trade deal with the U.S., and we are going to provide that. This deal will go through, but we really need to look at who is impacted negatively by this deal. The government really needs to come up with a serious plan, whether it is compensation, finding new markets, training or reallocation. I am not sure what those are. Every sector might have a different solution, but they need to have a plan.

I look forward to working in the committee to identify those sectors, giving them a chance to speak on how this is going to impact them and also trying to find solutions so that we can move forward. In the end, Canadian businesses will win from this deal, but it could have been better.

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10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Kody Blois Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for his vote yesterday and signifying that the Conservative Party will support this moving forward.

Part of his speech talked about the suggestion that this government has somehow hidden the agenda, and I take great exception to that. The Deputy Prime Minister made her remarks earlier this morning. She talked about the fact that there was a NAFTA council in place, and I know that there has been an inner partisan working group on this issue. I want to relay that to my colleague across the way.

The former interim leader of the Conservative Party, Rona Ambrose, had said that this was the best deal that could be struck. Now this member suggests that this deal could have been better. Is he suggesting that Rona Ambrose does not know what she is talking about?

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10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for Rona Ambrose; she is a very wise person. This is being taken out of context. In light of who we had negotiating the deal here in Canada, it was the best that they could do. If we had had a Conservative prime minister, a Conservative finance minister and a Conservative trade minister, it would have been a better deal, no doubt about it.

I have been to Kings—Hants and I have talked to dairy producers there. I know they are very concerned about what they have given up in market access and their inability to take advantage of possible opportunities in the future to sell infant formula and powdered milk. That was taken away from them. Why would the member say that is a good deal? It is not a good deal. The disappointing part of this deal is there were so many things that should have been done to position our country in North America going into the future. It did not happen, and it could have.

It would have been different if we had a prime minister who was not insulting the President every third day. The reality is that when we started these negotiations, Canada was not the target, it was Mexico. It ended up that the U.S. and Mexico did the deal and Canada got the leftovers.

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10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, earlier today, my colleague from Jonquière asked the hon. minister if she could explain why aluminum did not get the same treatement as steel under the new NAFTA.

She answered indirectly by saying that 70% of aluminum is protected. Unfortunately, that is not true. It is actually 70% of parts made from aluminum that are protected. This means that parts manufacturers can source their aluminum from anywhere in the world, including China, which produces the dirtiest aluminum, whereas Quebec makes the greenest aluminum in the world.

I was a little disappointed that the question was not answered directly, so I will put it to my hon. colleague. Why does he think steel got better treatment than aluminum in the new NAFTA?

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10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, one could speculate about all sorts of reasons why it was not given the same consideration. Maybe the U.S. just felt that it would rather have the ability to use Mexico as a place to bring in Chinese steel that is dumped into Mexico. Maybe the U.S. does not have a big enough aluminum industry to worry about. One could speculate on a variety of things.

However, the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord made some good suggestions for the workers in his riding. He talked about green aluminum. I think the member would also agree that green aluminum should have been focused on. That could have been our angle going in. We could have said that this is why Canadian aluminum should be bought and why that dirt cheap aluminum from China should not be bought. The good quality stuff from Quebec here in Canada should be bought.

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10:55 a.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will admit that I am somewhat confused by the comments of the member for Prince Albert. I remember six or seven months ago, when we had a very similar deal with respect to the dairy sector and the requirement to consult the U.S. on a new trade agreement with China, the Conservatives said that the only problem with the Liberals was that they were not ratifying the deal quickly enough. Then some changes were made and we have gotten rid of requirements that would raise the price of prescription drugs and there are more protections for workers in Mexico, and now the Conservatives are saying that this is a terrible deal.

I am just trying to understand what changed between the first iteration of the deal and this iteration of the deal, such that we have gone from saying that we need to ratify this as quickly as possible to saying this is a really bad deal, we need to study it and we are not sure we should have it at all.

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10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the member's comments on that. If he goes back to the last election, the Conservative Party leader was saying this is not a great deal and a Conservative government would make it a better deal. It was part of his election platform, so I am not sure why the member thinks Conservatives were so quick to say this is such a good deal.

The reality on this piece of legislation is that the premiers, the aluminum associations and the dairy associations are kind of saying they are going to pay for it, but they understand they have to give something up. There are a lot of people saying that overall, they have to let this happen. Do they like it? No. Anyone who speaks to the members individually knows they are not happy. A lot of them would like to just stay with what they have. The reality is that is not an option either, so what do they do? They want bankability, stability, to make sure the economy keeps growing and to maintain partnerships with the U.S. and Mexico. Yes, there are some flaws for sure, but when a Conservative government is elected next time around, it can maybe start addressing those flaws one by one, pick away at them and make sure they are better for producers, consumers and manufacturers.