House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nafta.

Topics

House of Commons

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I invite the House to take note that today we are using the wooden mace.

It serves as a reminder of the fire that claimed seven lives and destroyed the original Parliament buildings during the night of February 3, 1916.

Among the items destroyed in that fire was the old mace. The wooden copy that you see today was subsequently made and used temporarily until the current one was given to us by the United Kingdom in 1917.

The wooden mace is being used today as a reminder of what happened 104 years ago.

The House resumed from January 31 consideration of the motion 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.

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11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Resuming debate. The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader has three minutes remaining.

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11:05 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 thought I would just emphasize the importance of the legislation that we are debating today. One of the ways to look at the trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico is as a modernization of the free trade agreement. This is something that is really good for workers, businesses and communities across our country.

We need to recognize that Canada is very much dependent on trade. Through trade we are able to continue to support and often lift our middle class. That is something which this government has been very much focused on since taking office back in 2015. We realize that building on Canada's middle class and supporting the middle class is good for Canada's economy. Both areas will benefit.

We have seen that through different approaches dealing with public policy. One of those policy measures is the idea of expanding the economy by securing markets through free trade agreements. I would suggest to members on all sides of this House that our government has been very progressive in moving forward and taking specific actions on free trade agreements.

In fact, in looking at the agreement with the European Union with, I believe it is 28 countries, along with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and some of the other smaller agreements, such as the trade agreement with Ukraine, the World Trade Organization, and legislation brought forward by this government a few years back, we will see that the government has really recognized the importance of trade. That was reinforced over the weekend for me in the city of Winnipeg where New Flyer recently entered into an agreement to sell and export a number of electric buses to the United States. I believe it is a total of 100 buses, although I could be wrong.

In terms of the actual numbers, the point is that many companies all over Canada very much need those export markets. When it comes to the United States, we are talking about billions of dollars, about $9 billion every day of commerce between our two countries. We have a very strong desire to ensure that we secure those markets. The best way of doing that is to have these trade agreements in place.

What is really nice about this particular agreement is that Canadians, different stakeholders, organizations, non-profits, governments and political parties of all stripes have really been engaged over the last two and half years to ultimately achieve the final product, which is what we are debating today.

I listened very closely to the debate and the concerns that members across the way have expressed, but I think the overall agreement that we have before us is the best agreement that we could have delivered for Canadians. I recognize that opposition parties will always want to believe that they could have done better. I respect that. However, at the end of the day, I believe that what we are presenting through this legislation is the best agreement for Canada and that all Canadians in all regions will benefit directly as a result of it. It was really encouraging to see the Conservatives, the Greens and the New Democrats support the ways and means motion with respect to this legislation.

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11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Madam Speaker, it would be greatly appreciated if the member opposite could name three important areas in this agreement where Canada has won.

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11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, one of our greatest wins by signing this agreement is with respect to supply management. We were able to resist the pressure. Many outside groups would have loved to see the demise of supply management in Canada. Our current Deputy Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and our caucus have been behind supply management for years. I would argue it was a Liberal administration that brought in the system of supply management.

Farmers in all regions of the country are very much supportive of it. We cannot underestimate the pressure we received from U.S. industries and the United States government for us to abandon supply management. I am proud of the fact this agreement continues to ensure that supply management will always be part of the Canadian economy. I see that as the strongest benefit in this agreement. However, that is my personal opinion.

Another win is the fact we have an agreement. This was not an easy thing to achieve given the changes that were being asked for. I believe we are doing exceptionally well with the agreement.

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11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened to what my colleague across the way said. I was reassured to hear that he seems to care about supply management.

However, recent history proves otherwise. The government often promises to protect this system but, every time, it ends up giving up a little chunk. Under this agreement, the local market will lose a total of 18% of the market. That is a lot, and it is starting to hurt our farmers.

Would my colleague agree that it is time to stop throwing roadblocks in the way of this system and protect supply management through legislation? Would he be open to that proposal?

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11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I have always been a very strong advocate of supply management. I have witnessed first-hand both in the provincial legislature of Manitoba and as a member of Parliament how the industry itself has benefited. More specifically I have witnessed how consumers and Canadians have benefited, whether it is with respect to the quality of products, job creation or the fact we have something worth fighting for. I suspect we will find that universally applied within the Liberal caucus, in particular with our members of Parliament from the province of Quebec, who are very much aware of the importance of supply management.

We will continue to be there to protect the industry. At times there needs to be a form of compensation. Once we get to the second reading vote on this legislation, I would encourage the Bloc members to give it their consideration and recognize that we have an agreement that is in the best interests of all of Canada. We have great support crossing political lines from the different premiers across the country. I hope the Bloc will give extra consideration to recognizing the value of this agreement.

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11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Levitt Liberal York Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for opening up the debate for us this morning.

On his last note, he mentioned co-operation across party lines. That is not just with respect to political co-operation, but also co-operation across labour, business and indigenous groups, and the political co-operation that came together with respect to the NAFTA advisory council. I wonder if the hon. member would reflect a bit on how that all came together to get this good, hard work done on this new NAFTA.

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11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the member is quite right. However, to say that this took place within a month or two would be wrong. It has taken a great deal of time and effort by a good number of people from different stakeholder forums, including political and non-profit. We had a great group of people. We have a wonderful agreement, which we should be looking at passing.

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11:15 a.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to the new NAFTA, the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement.

New Democrats recognize that the United States is Canada's most significant trading partner, and that the trade enabled by the agreement we are debating today is critical to Canada's economic success. Since the signing of the original free trade agreement, Canadian exports to the United States increased from $110 billion in 1993 to $349 billion in 2014. However, it is vital that the wealth generated through trade creates good jobs for working people in Canada and not simply for the interests of the wealthiest few.

When the initial agreement was signed back in November 2018, the NDP raised serious concerns about how the new trade deal addressed workers' rights and environmental regulations. Disappointingly, it was left to the Democrats in the U.S. rather than the Liberal government to stand up to the Trump administration and fight for these important changes.

I would like to use my time today to address three broad areas of concern. First, I will highlight two industries in my riding of Skeena—Bulkley Valley that I believe should have done better by the deal the government signed. Second, I will address the failure of this deal to engage indigenous people and to uphold their rights. Third, I will speak on our thoughts about the closed-door process by which our government negotiates deals such as this one.

While we have seen some sectors thrive and bring jobs and opportunities to northern British Columbia, we have also seen some industries struggle. We have heard a fair bit in the House already with regard to how this agreement would affect Canada's aluminum industry.

Canada's aluminum industry is the fifth largest in the world with an annual production of 2.9 million tonnes of primary aluminum. All of this is produced with a lower carbon footprint than other international producers.

The only aluminum smelter in western Canada is located in my riding in northern British Columbia. Rio Tinto's Kitimat smelter employs more than 1,000 workers in the town of Kitimat and contributes over $500 million annually to British Columbia's economy. As anyone who knows Kitimat will say, it is hard to overstate the importance of the smelter to this community. Indeed, it was the primary reason for the founding and construction of the community in the 1950s. However, for over a year, illegal steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the U.S. left workers in Kitimat anxious about their community's future. While people in my riding were left wondering whether they would continue to have work, the government went ahead and signed the new NAFTA deal with those tariffs still in place.

The cost of the government's inaction on aluminum has been high. It has been estimated that across the country over 1,000 jobs have been lost. While the government is celebrating the lifting of these tariffs, I am still hearing concerns from aluminum workers in my riding.

The U.S. has made it clear that it would be willing to reinstate tariffs at any time, and all it would take is for President Trump to decide that there has been a surge in aluminum imports for these tariffs to return. Unfortunately, we do not have a definition in this agreement for what would constitute a surge in imports, which means continued uncertainty for workers in my riding regardless of whether this agreement is ratified.

I have also heard concern with how the amended agreement deals with rules of origin in the automotive sector, a topic we have heard about in the House over the past few days. While the agreement requires that 70% of steel and aluminum used in the manufacture of automobiles be from North America, no one seems to have bothered to ask what percentage the industry currently uses. Without that information, how can Canadians determine if this threshold will stimulate our industry or simply be a backstop?

Furthermore, the requirement that 70% of aluminum be North American is undermined again by the lack of a definition for what is meant by “North American”. For steel, the agreement sets out a specific definition, which reads, “for steel to be considered as originating under this Article, all steel manufacturing processes must occur in one or more of the Parties, except for metallurgical processes involving the refinement of steel additives....”

Such processes include the initial melting and mixing and continues through the coating stage, yet for aluminum, no such definition exists. This calls into question whether Mexican auto parts manufacturers could import cheap aluminum ingots from China without running afoul of the 70% rule. If this is indeed possible, it begs the question as to what the value is of having the 70% provision included in the agreement at all.

It appears that weaker aluminum provisions were the cost of getting this agreement signed, a concession that poses a real risk to the economy of the region I represent. Should this deal be ratified, workers in my riding deserve to hear more from the government about how it plans to protect aluminum workers and increase the market for Canadian aluminum.

A second area of concern I have heard about from people in my riding is softwood lumber. In Skeena—Bulkley Valley, as many as 3,500 people are employed in the forestry sector. However, for many communities, falling lumber prices have led to tough times. We have seen layoffs, curtailments and mill closures across northern B.C. At such a tough time, what we needed was a government in Ottawa on the side of forestry workers, but that has just not been the case.

While it is vital and positive that the NAFTA dispute mechanism has remained in the new trade agreement so that Canada can continue to argue for independent arbitration when the U.S. seeks to impose tariffs on Canadian softwood, we see very little in this agreement for the forestry sector. Since the previous softwood agreement expired in October 2015, we have desperately needed a new agreement to give forestry workers certainty that their product will still have access to the U.S. market. Instead, we have seen the Trump administration imposing softwood tariffs.

It would seem that during all those trips to Washington, getting a fair deal in the softwood lumber dispute was never on the table, but we will never know because of the opaque process by which this agreement has been negotiated. I would have thought that while we were opening up trade negotiations with the U.S., getting a stable resolution on softwood would be at the top of the agenda.

Another real concern with this new agreement is indigenous rights. In 2017, the Liberal government promised it would negotiate an entire chapter in this agreement to promote indigenous rights, but again we are left disappointed with what the government has delivered. It is so disheartening, as we work toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples across North America, that this agreement makes no mention of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We see again that the government has put the interests of big corporations ahead of indigenous peoples, who are seeking justice and respect on their own lands.

Finally, I would like to address the process by which this agreement was negotiated.

Throughout the negotiations, we heard from the Liberals that this was the best deal possible, but then the Democrats in the United States were able to deliver the important changes that the Liberals told Canadians were just not possible. Now we are hearing more concerns from some sectors, and again it is difficult for Canadians to have their voices heard. For people in northwest British Columbia, it feels like the government is just not listening.

People are rightly concerned that such an important agreement for Canada's economy would be adopted without a thorough examination. Why is it that Canadians know more about the negotiation strategy and objectives of our trading partner than they do of their own government?

Going forward, we need to see a real commitment to changing how Canada negotiates international trade agreements. Too often we see deals made behind closed doors, with everyday Canadians having little input. We need a commitment to increase transparency and a government that gives voice to working people most affected by trade agreements, not just to corporate lobbyists that stand to profit most from the outcome.

That is why the New Democrats support a thorough study of this deal along with the creation of a transparent trade process that holds our government more accountable and allows Parliament to play a more meaningful role than that of a simple rubber stamp. We owe it to Canadians.

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11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to welcome our new member.

After second reading, Parliament will refer the legislation to a committee. As chair of that committee, I expect we will have several hours, many hours possibly, to hear from witnesses who want to comment. In spite of the very long process, many Canadians had an opportunity to contribute, but we want to ensure that if any other comments need to be put on the record, Canadians have the opportunity to do that.

With reference to aluminum in particular, what kind of protection do aluminum workers currently have, prior to this agreement?

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11:25 a.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the warm welcome.

I do not doubt that there will be a robust debate at committee concerning the bill and that there will be important discussions, but the question is what bearing it will have on the bill itself.

Comparing the process here in Canada to that in the United States, members of Congress have a more meaningful role in making changes to legislation. I believe that the discussion at debate in Canada comes after the fact and that our role as Parliament is little more than to give a rubber stamp or there will be no deal at all. That is what the New Democrats would like to see changed.

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11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for his excellent intervention.

The Bloc Québécois is also concerned about these agreements being negotiated behind closed doors, because the details are often slow to emerge.

For instance, does my colleague know that the Canadian government agreed to limit exports of milk by-products, milk protein concentrate and infant formula to countries outside the agreement? This provision is something we have never seen before, and I would like to hear what my colleague thinks about it.

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11:25 a.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, what the hon. member has raised is precisely why we need a better process, one that is transparent and engages Canadians in the debate around what the objectives and the strategy for negotiating these trade agreements should be at the front end of the process, not the back end. The example he raised is a good one.

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11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to welcome my colleague to this place. My sister and brother live in his constituency, so I know his neck of the woods very well. It is a beautiful part of the country.

I am not 100% sure whether the hon. member is supporting this trade deal, but I get the impression he is not. In addition to our accessing more markets around the world, what does he have to say about competitiveness here in Canada?

Also, I know that things like the carbon tax put us offside in terms of competing with the world, particularly on things like aluminum. I am wondering if he has any thoughts on that.

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11:25 a.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I do indeed know that the hon. member has family connections in my riding. We had a lovely chat earlier about that.

His question is about competitiveness, and obviously Canada's competitiveness in the world is important. I believe his question is broader than the debate we are having today specifically around this trade agreement. In a world moving toward a low-carbon economy, which we all know is an imperative, having regulations and systems in place that show we are being responsible is indeed going to be a competitive advantage and will open Canada to new markets around the world.

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11:30 a.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency)

Madam Speaker, I have two quick comments. One is on the question of competitiveness just raised by the opposition. We put a plan in place to cover and take care of large final emitters, and the Conservatives have spoken against it.

The second is on quotas, in particular the new ones that were just raised. Canada is not producing an amount near those quotas at the moment, so it is not going to adversely affect us.

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11:30 a.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, are the quotas the hon. members raises the quotas for aluminum?

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11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Baby formula.

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11:30 a.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

I apologize. He raises a good point. I do not have the depth of knowledge on that particular aspect and I look forward to learning more.

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11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise today not only as the member of Parliament for Humber River—Black Creek but also as the chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade to speak in favour of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement and to encourage my hon. colleagues to support the legislation.

I would like to recognize my committee colleagues from all parties for their dedication to their constituents and their country. I look forward to working with them as we go through the parliamentary process. All members have made it clear to me that their sincerest intent is to collaborate, co-operate and come together as a committee to make sure we do the job we were elected to do and do it right.

For over year, Canada negotiated hard for a modernized free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. During this time, government officials consulted with over 47,000 Canadians and over 1,000 stakeholders from all areas of Canada's economy to ensure that the deal we struck represented the best interests of Canadian workers and businesses from coast to coast to coast. Our foremost concern throughout the negotiation was always Canadian workers and their families: protecting workers' jobs, their families and the planet and ensuring that the deal would grow our economy.

In these respects, the deal we have struck is a winner. The new NAFTA safeguards the over $2 billion of daily cross-border trade, ensures tariff-free access to our largest trading partner and protects Canadian jobs. I have been encouraged by the spirited debate in the House by my hon. colleagues and their commitment and interest. I know that every member shares the same commitment to protecting Canadian workers and maintaining economic growth. In these especially turbulent times for global political discourse, I would like to thank my colleagues for restraining the partnership on all levels, wherever possible, and maintaining the respect and decency that this chamber commands. I hope that will continue.

We must keep in mind that negotiating transformational trade deals like the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement is always tense and difficult. I remind colleagues of the attitudes that existed when NAFTA was being negotiated. Canadians were worried about the impact of NAFTA on not only the Canadian economy but also our national identity. Not only have we found those fears unrealized, and we are very grateful for that, but we now know that NAFTA is one of the pillars of our relationship with the United States and Mexico and one of the cruxes of our economic strength. It is my sincere belief, notwithstanding the occasionally adversarial nature of the debate on this agreement, that we will look back on this deal years from now with the same lens through which we viewed the original NAFTA: a good deal that has contributed a significant amount to Canadian economic prosperity.

From coast to coast to coast, from agriculture to aluminum, to automobiles, every sector of the Canadian economy will stand to gain from this agreement. On the farm, we have successfully defended our supply management system for dairy, poultry and eggs, despite attempts to completely dismantle it. We have gained new market access for refined sugar and margarine and protected billions of dollars in agricultural and agri-food trade. I am well aware of this, as the former minister of agriculture spoke about those issues a lot in the House.

In the factory, we have a gold-plated insurance policy against a possible 232 tariffs on cars and car parts. I would be remiss if I did not remind my hon. colleagues that we are the only G7 country that has been afforded that protection.

We have strengthened labour protections that have been praised by union workers. Jerry Dias of Unifor has endorsed the deal, noting that it is a better deal than the one signed in 1994. We ensured enforceable labour obligations were included in the new deal to protect workers from discrimination in the workplace, in particular on the basis of gender. The improvements made on labour rights for Mexican workers will help level the playing field for Canadian workers, especially in our automotive industry.

In my riding of Humber River—Black Creek, companies such as Etobicoke Ironworks were feeling the pressure of the tariffs imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum. These tariffs were affecting their competitiveness not only abroad but also domestically. I had the distinct pleasure of touring its facilities last year and saw first-hand the important work that it does and how damaging these tariffs were on its competitiveness and ability to plan for the future.

With this new agreement, with the certainty that its products are protected, Etobicoke Ironworks can continue to innovate, expand its operational capacity and provide Canada, the United States and Mexico with high-quality Canadian steel and aluminum.

However, it is not just in the critical sectors of steel and aluminum that we have ensured the protection of Canadian workers and taxpayers. The investor-state dispute resolution, which was a provision of the original NAFTA, was a dispute resolution system that allowed companies to sue the Canadian government. This system cost Canadian taxpayers over $300 million in penalties and legal fees. It elevated the rights of corporations over those of sovereign governments. It is now gone. With the removal of the ISDR, our government's right to regulate in the public interest, especially with respect to the protection of public health and the environment, has been significantly strengthened.

Our climate is changing. For too long, we have known this and not taken the requisite action. The election and re-election of this government is no doubt due in part to our commitment to protecting the environment. On that note, perhaps some of the most important wins in the new NAFTA deal can be found in the environmental protections that have been included in this agreement.

In replacing the separate side agreement regarding the environment, the new NAFTA has a dedicated chapter on the protection of the environment. We now have far more robust and enforceable standards for air and marine pollution.

This is a good deal for auto workers, through the lifting of harmful tariffs; for dairy farmers through the protection of supply management; for indigenous people through the protection of their culture and land; and for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We have heard from all Canadians of all political stripes who echo their support for this deal, from Premier Moe of Saskatchewan to Premier Kenney of Alberta and Premier Legault of Quebec. There is consensus among political leaders in the country that this is a good deal.

We have also heard from important stakeholders such as the Canadian Labour Congress, the Business Council of Canada and the Canadian Steel Producers Association, which all speak in favour of rapid ratification of this agreement.

Arrival at the agreement would have been impossible without so many people rowing in the same direction. As many others have rightly said, this was a pan-Canadian effort, and I am optimistic that we will see more of this spirit of Canadian co-operation over the course of this Parliament.

I look forward to hearing from my colleagues.

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11:35 a.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, one of the concerns that have been raised about the new agreement is its failure to acknowledge indigenous rights. It makes no mention of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The other area of deep concern is related to the environment and the fact that this new agreement does not have binding and enforceable provisions to ensure we meet climate targets at a time of climate emergency. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on those aspects.

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11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Madam Speaker, I welcome the hon. member. I am very glad that she has joined us.

On the environment side, the new NAFTA has an enforceable environmental chapter, which is something we did not have before. We had a side agreement that clearly was inadequate. The new agreement will help us to move forward with better protections for the environment. We clearly believe that commitments to high levels of environmental protection are an important part of trade agreements and should be part of all trade agreements, not just the NAFTA agreement. We need to move forward urgently when it comes to the issues of climate change, as we see the impacts every day. I look forward to all of us in this House working toward implementing the right protections.

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11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Humber River—Black Creek on her speech in the House today. I appreciate it. It was much more accurate than the speech given by her colleague, the member for Winnipeg North.

The member for Winnipeg North said there was $9 billion a day of trade going on between Canada and the U.S. I believe her number of $2 billion a day is much closer to the facts. He took credit for 28 trade agreements. His own minister showed a response of friendship in the middle of the floor here for the member for Abbotsford, who negotiated the CETA and TPP agreements before the CPTPP. The member for Winnipeg North was asked to find three things of importance or three benefits in the trade agreement that was signed, and he could only come up with one, which was dairy.

If the agreement was so good, what did they get for giving up class 6 and 7 in the milk quotas? There was also no softwood lumber agreement at all. Could the the member for Humber River—Black Creek expand on some of those areas to correct her colleague?

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11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Madam Speaker, on the issue of supply management, the member said it was number three, but supply management was number one. From some of my work in the House over the last 20 years, I know supply management has been under attack and threatened. My personal concern through the NAFTA agreement negotiations was that we would lose the entirety of supply management. I am very happy that our negotiators were able to fight for that and maintain it.

Protecting the auto industry with the steel agreement is a win for Canada and all auto workers, many whom are in Ontario. I am well aware of the pressure on the steel side. We are able to protect the aluminum industry for 70%. Right now they have very little protection, if any. This agreement will help the aluminum industry by protecting it through the 70% number.

Is there more to be done? Of course. This is a beginning, and as things progress, I suspect we will hear, at the committee level as well, other areas we need to work on. I look forward to working with my colleagues, because I recognize that we all have one basic interest, which is protecting the interests of Canadian workers and advancing the opportunities for Canada's economy.

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11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would not want to intentionally mislead anyone. On Friday, I had indicated that it is $2 billion a day. Today, I believe I did say $9 billion a day, but it should have been $2 billion.

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11:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Point taken.

The hon. member for Perth—Wellington.

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11:40 a.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to continue debate on Bill C-4, which would implement the new NAFTA between Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Since this is my first opportunity to address the House at some length in this Parliament, I would like to very briefly thank the good people of Perth—Wellington for giving me the honour of serving a second term as their representative here in Ottawa. While I have a great fondness for the 105,000 constituents in Perth—Wellington, I want to thank four constituents in particular: my wonderful wife Justine and our three kids Ainsley, Bennett and Caroline. They have been my biggest supporters, my greatest fans and my rock of support over these past four years and into the current Parliament as well.

The Conservative Party's record on trade is clear. In the previous Conservative government, our government negotiated trade deals with over 40 different countries. We recognize the importance of trade on a global scale, and at a personal level, in my great riding of Perth—Wellington, we recognize the importance of trade for our local agriculture industry and also for the manufacturing industry there, so the concerns of this new trade deal are there as well.

The Liberals appear to not be entirely aware that they are now operating in a minority Parliament, that the basis for their support is not limited only to their party and that they need and require the support of opposition parties to negotiate and to pass these types of trade deals. Therefore, relying on us as the official opposition to blindly rubber-stamp any piece of legislation, but in particular a piece of legislation like this, would be foolhardy. We will not idly vote simply to ratify a deal without certain provisions and certain information being provided to us as the official opposition.

That said, we do recognize the stability that is provided by a continental trade deal such as the new NAFTA. In Perth—Wellington, we are landlocked. We do not share a border with our friends south of the border, but the industries in Perth—Wellington are global in nature. They are reliant on trade deals to export their products all over the world.

After all, Perth County is number one for pork producers in Ontario. Wellington County is right behind it at number three. Perth County and Wellington County have over 100,000 cattle, placing them in the top five for cattle production. Perth—Wellington has, literally, some of the most fertile farmland in the world. Prices for farmland are as high as $25,000 an acre. If we believe the gossip at the coffee shop, the price is approaching $30,000 per acre because of the great nature of the farmland in Perth—Wellington.

Chicken production in Perth and Wellington counties accounts for nearly one-quarter of all chicken production in Ontario. Zones 6 and zone 7 for the egg farmers of Ontario have over 800,000 and over 1.7 million laying hens respectively. Of course, the dairy industry in Perth—Wellington is massive. There are more dairy farmers in Perth—Wellington than in any other electoral district in this country, so when we talk about trade deals and we talk about agriculture, Perth—Wellington is truly at the heart of these discussions on a global scale.

However, it is not just agriculture. It is auto parts manufacturing as well. We have many auto parts facilities in our riding in the city of Stratford, but auto parts facilities across the riding in Palmerston, Arthur, Listowel and St. Marys also provide inputs to the auto parts industry, so it is important that we provide the stability of this trade deal.

At the same time, this trade deal saw concessions. Typically in any negotiation, when we make concessions, we receive something in return. We saw concession after concession after concession, but all we got in return was maintaining the status quo. There was not any new market access. There were not any new opportunities for farmers and farm families and auto parts manufacturers in Perth—Wellington to expand on the global scale. What we saw were concessions, including 3.6% in the dairy industry and the elimination of milk classes 6 and 7. What we saw were potential limits on future exports in the dairy industry, all against the backdrop of $619 million worth of dairy imports already coming into Canada from the United States.

We saw an agreement that will see 10 million dozen more eggs coming into Canada. We saw 57 metric tons more of products from the chicken industry that will flow into Canada, which is nearly double that negotiated under the trans-Pacific partnership.

On the issue of sovereignty, we saw a trade agreement in which we need permission from another country, the United States, to explore trade deals with non-market countries. This is a concern for people across Canada and people in Perth—Wellington.

Despite all these concessions, despite all these opportunities where we gave, what did we see in return? We did not see a softwood lumber agreement, which has been called for since the beginning of the previous Parliament to help the forestry sector. We saw that the “buy American” provisions have remained. While Mexico was able to negotiate a specific chapter on “buy American”, Canada did not.

We also saw concerns raised around the aluminum industry. My colleague, the hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, has been a strong voice on this, not only for his constituents but for the aluminum industry as a whole. He has proposed meaningful solutions to help address these concerns. He is truly a champion for the people of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, but also for the aluminum industry as a whole.

Trade is important, particularly with the Canada-United States relationship. Estimates from places like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have indicated that two-way trade is as high as $627.8 billion on an annual basis. That is approximately $320 billion of exports from Canada, and about $307 billion of imports back into Canada.

This is important for industry, but it goes back to our minority Parliament context and the information that is important and needed by all parties, but in particular the opposition parties to implement this trade agreement.

On December 12, members of the official opposition met with staff and members of Parliament for the government. They requested very specific information about the economic impact that this trade deal would have on specific sectors. Here we are on February 3, and that information is still outstanding.

In fact, on January 28, this question was asked in question period and the minister responsible said that the chief economist from Global Affairs Canada was working on the economic impact and was working on getting that information. However, here we are, still without that information, still being asked to ratify this trade deal despite not having all the information that is needed to ratify it.

We, as the official opposition, have a duty to analyze any piece of legislation that comes before the House, but in particular one that has such a lasting and broad impact on our economy, across every province and every territory, including my riding of Perth—Wellington. For us to do that meaningfully, we need the information that is required.

We need the government to provide us with the economic impact assessments that would tell us the impact this would have on the dairy industry, on supply-managed commodities, on the aluminum industry and on the auto parts industry, in our ridings and across the country.

I am proud to put our record of negotiation up against any. However, we cannot simply idly stand by and ratify an agreement until this information is available to parliamentarians. I look forward to continued debate on this matter. I look forward to the key sector and stakeholder groups appearing before committee and telling us how they see the economy and our country being impacted by this trade deal. We have not gotten the information, as of yet, from the government.

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11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for a very well-reasoned speech today. We know that almost certainly those economic impact figures are available but, for reasons we can only suspect, they are being withheld from Canadians.

I would like to ask my colleague about the 70% rule that the Liberals seem so proud of, saying it did not exist in the original NAFTA. It was not necessary in the original NAFTA, because in the 1990s Russia, China, India and Canada were all basically producing the same volume of aluminum. However, in this century, China has grown to be the largest producer, at 33 metric tons in 2018, 10 times what Canada produced at only 2.9 metric tons.

Mexico, our partner in the new NAFTA, did not have any aluminum production at all. All of a sudden, Chinese aluminum being dumped through Mexico is showing up in the United States, in India and in Vietnam. We will not know until we see the actual figures, but this very deficient treaty with very serious potential impacts is having a very serious impact on the Canadian aluminum industry.

I wonder if my colleague could comment on this backdoor corruption of what was at one time a Canadian-dominant partnership in the North American aluminum sector.

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11:55 a.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Madam Speaker, that is the concern being expressed by my friend and colleague, the hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord. He is such a strong advocate for the aluminum industry, particularly in his riding. No one on this side of the House wants to see the potential for that industry to become corrupted by the dumping of aluminum from China into Mexico.

The 70% rule looks good on its face, but it ignores the reality of what we are going to see on the ground. It ignores the reality of what we are seeing today, where the market cap is already above that 70%. It is already having a major role here, but we are seeing the impact of that down the road. How can we know this for a fact without the economic impact assessments that have been promised to the opposition parties since December 12? Here we are on day three of debate on Bill C-4 and the government still has not provided those statements.

In question period, we heard that the government was working on this. If Liberals have been working on it since December 12, are we simply supposed to take their word that, yes, it is as they have said? That is not good enough for the people in the aluminum industry. It is not good enough for the people in Perth—Wellington. It is not good enough for the Canadian people who are impacted by this trade agreement.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:55 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

Madam Speaker, in the original trade agreement with then prime minister Brian Mulroney, John Crosbie played a critical role in the whole free trade agreement. On one of the days, he indicated that he had not read the agreement in its entirety.

We had the TPP under Stephen Harper, when we had Thomas Mulcair stand and say that New Democrats opposed the TPP and there was absolutely no information being provided by the government.

In the last two and a half years, there has been a wide spectrum of debate and discussion. Parties have put their thoughts and ideas on the record. I am wondering if the member would do a comparison in terms of the amount of discussion, dialogue and debate on this agreement with previous agreements with other administrations. I think this agreement would fare quite well.

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11:55 a.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the House leader's question gives me the opportunity to talk about the Conservative Party record on trade and in particular the work of the member for Abbotsford and the former agriculture minister, Gerry Ritz, who were instrumental in negotiating the trans-Pacific partnership.

I have spoken with stakeholder groups, especially in the agricultural industry, who received phone calls at all hours from these two gentlemen when negotiations were being undertaken, updating them on negotiations, letting them know where Canada was going as a country and making sure that they were on board and onside with the important discussions that were taking place. They stood up for our country. They stood up for the agricultural industry, and I am proud of people like the member for Abbotsford and Gerry Ritz.

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11:55 a.m.

Scarborough—Rouge Park Ontario

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to speak this morning in support of the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, Bill C-4.

I want to start by acknowledging that we are gathered here on the traditional lands of the Algonquin peoples.

Let me take this opportunity to thank our Deputy Prime Minister and her outstanding team for their efforts in securing this deal for Canada. There were many moments of angst, but our minister was diligent and focused on getting not just any deal, but the best deal for all Canadians.

The new CUSMA is a big win for Canadian businesses, Canadian jobs and Canada as a whole. The agreement solidifies our government's resolve to expand trade around the world through agreements such as CETA, CPTPP and a renewed NAFTA. It will help our middle class grow and allow more jobs to be created right here in Canada. The agreement has wins for all parts of the country and in many sectors.

Trade is more important today than at any other time. Access to other markets, free of tariffs, allows us to compete around the world. It also gives our businesses certainty and predictability.

The agreement allows over 500 million people in North America to trade freely, move freely and build an area of trade that is unprecedented in the world. Last Friday, we saw our good friends in the United Kingdom exit the European Union after 47 years. We know that many parts of the world are contracting, in terms of trade. This is an opportunity for Canada and North America to shine as we solidify and reaffirm our interconnectedness, the people-to-people ties and the enormous economic benefits we have seen over the last 24 years through NAFTA.

This bill is about NAFTA and advances it in many significant ways. I want to outline a few key points in the agreement.

First, there is a lot of conversation on agriculture and the very important issue of supply management. This was central to our negotiations in this agreement. As we can see, supply management is secured in this agreement. It allows our farmers to benefit from existing policies. Of course, it opens up a bit of market share to others, but fundamentally for all farmers it secures the supply management system that we have.

It is important because, in 2017, Canada-U.S. bilateral agricultural trade was $63 billion and Canada-Mexico bilateral agricultural trade was $4.6 billion. Together, that represents close to $70 billion in trade. This allows our farmers to be secure in the work they do. Of course we will compensate those who are affected, with cheques going to them as early as this month.

The auto sector is very important to our economy. It affects us across the country, but particularly in Ontario and Scarborough, where we have a lot of auto workers and auto-related jobs.

Over the last 25 years, we have lost many jobs. I grew up in a place called the golden mile, which is within walking distance of my apartment. In the golden mile area, we had Ford, GM and many auto manufacturers and suppliers. Over the years, we saw many of those jobs move.

What is critical is there is still a very strong auto industry in Canada. We see the pressures in Europe. We see Germany, France and the United Kingdom struggling to maintain a strong auto industry. I believe this agreement will ensure that the Canadian auto industry remains strong and vibrant, and will ensure high-paying jobs for Canadians going forward.

As members know, on November 30 our government signed a side agreement that essentially ensures us against possible 232 tariffs on cars and car parts. This is critical for the protection of auto jobs. Canada is, in fact, the only G7 country to have such a protection, and it really does allow us to advance the auto industry.

I will speak briefly on the cultural exemption that was negotiated in this agreement.

Previously, I was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage, and in that role I met with many stakeholders in the cultural sector. There are over 650,000 quality jobs for the middle class as a result of our cultural industries, with 75,000 just in Quebec, and it is a $53.8-billion industry.

This is an important part of our economy and an important part of who we are as a people. The cultural exemption provisions allow our cultural industries to continue without diluting their ability to create content. It is such an important part of this agreement.

There was a great deal of skepticism when the minister and our government spoke about protection for the environment, gender equality and labour. There was a great deal of criticism from others saying that this is a trade agreement and we should not bring issues that may appear to be ancillary to trade into these discussions. I am very proud to say that we did not give in to that.

We knew, and we know, that we can have good trade and good social policies at the same time, and we can advance many important values that Canada espouses through these trade agreements. This particular agreement is an example of how we were able to do that.

On the environment, for the first time we are ensuring that we are upholding air quality in flights and addressing marine pollution. We believe that commitments to high levels of environmental protection are an important part of not just this trade agreement but all trade agreements. They protect our workers and they protect our planet.

On gender equality, we worked hard to achieve a good deal that benefits everyone, but particularly to ensure that provisions that protect women's, minority and indigenous rights and environmental protections are the strongest in any of the agreements that we currently have. We also included protection for labour to ensure that there are minimum standards across our three countries.

I believe this is why, for a variety of reasons, we have Canadians from many different backgrounds supporting this agreement. For example, Premier Moe of Saskatchewan has said that a signed USMCA trade deal is good news for Saskatchewan and for Canada. Also, Hassan Yussuff, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said, “The USMCA gets it right on labour provisions, including provisions to protect workers against employment discrimination on the basis of gender.”

I will conclude by saying that this is a very important step in protecting our economy, creating middle-class jobs, ensuring our businesses are able to compete and ensuring that Canadians have secured access to this market of 500 million. It is an important step forward in advancing our economy.

I look forward to all parties coming together to support this agreement. No agreement is perfect, but there are sufficient benefits here for many sectors and across the country that warrant the support of all parties.

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12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's speech, but I have a couple of brief comments. I find it very interesting that the members of the government are very quick to criticize certain premiers across this country, except when they quote them to further their agenda. I find that very concerning, so I preface my comments with that.

I also find it interesting that the members opposite are quick to say they accomplished so much in this trade deal. However, at the briefing last week on the new NAFTA, or I would like to suggest maybe NAFTA 0.7, the negotiators who hosted it said that they virtually did not get anything accomplished regarding the environment and that they got hardly anything they hoped for on some of the cultural and social exemptions, which the government seems to be boasting so much about.

Can the member expand on why the perspective of the hard-working public servants who provided the briefing last week is so different from the perspective that we are hearing from the members across the floor?

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12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Madam Speaker, I first want to congratulate my friend opposite for his election to the House and to say that in this renewed agreement many things were on the table.

We know that, for example, cultural content was on the table to be negotiated. I believe our minister and our team worked very hard to secure cultural exemptions as part of the agreement. It was integral that we were able to push back and secure them within the agreement, ensuring that over 650,000 content producers employed in the sector are protected. Those are the types of advances, I believe, that we see in this agreement.

That is why I am asking the member opposite and the party opposite to support this deal.

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12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, in the member's speech he mentioned that the automotive industry is thriving in Canada. I am not sure if “thriving” is the word I would use. I think it was just yesterday I read that FCA is reducing production here in Canada. I noticed there is a cap on the number of units that we are able to produce here in Canada. Therefore, I do not think that this is a new NAFTA, rather it is a half NAFTA.

The other thing I want to point out is that the forestry sector is a huge part, at least a third, of the economy where I come from. However, we have no security with softwood lumber in this agreement.

I wonder what my colleague has to say about the comment that this agreement is a half NAFTA, not NAFTA 2.0.

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12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Madam Speaker, to my friend opposite, we worked very closely on the indigenous affairs committee in the last Parliament and I look forward to working with him again in this Parliament.

I do disagree with him on a number of issues, particularly when he describes this as a “half NAFTA”. In fact, this is a newly improved agreement that will protect Canadian jobs, ensure that our businesses are able to compete and continue to allow our middle class to grow. That is really what this agreement is about.

There are provisions in the agreement that protect our auto workers. It allows our auto industry to continue its groundbreaking work, and it makes sure that our workers are protected. I view it in the context of other areas in other countries where the auto sectors are struggling in relation to the Canadian auto sector. Of course, we have seen some reduction in employment. What is important is that we have enough protection within this agreement to allow our auto sector to continue to build on what it is doing already.

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12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I have been hearing plenty of glowing praise for the Canada—United States—Mexico agreement from my colleagues opposite. They say the agreement is a big win for Canada on many fronts. I just want to say “you're welcome” on behalf of Quebec's aluminum workers and supply managed farmers, whose major sacrifices gave Canada that win.

Now that aluminum workers and supply managed farmers have made those sacrifices, would my colleague be willing to enshrine supply management in law so that it cannot be touched during future international trade negotiations? Also, could they perhaps stop saying that the agreement protects cast aluminum and make it clear that the agreement protects only North American aluminum parts?

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12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummond for his question.

What is important in terms of aluminum is that there are protections in this agreement that were not in the original NAFTA. This is progress and it protects workers.

As for the cultural exemption, it will directly impact workers in Quebec. In fact, 75,000 workers in Quebec are protected because of the cultural exemption provisions contained in this agreement. It will allow for our creative sectors to continue and thrive within Canada.

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12:15 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, this is a broad and heavy topic, so today, I will just keep to the country of origin rule. I will give a brief history to explain where that comes from, why it is important and how this agreement threatens Quebec's aluminum industry.

First, modern agreements originated with the European Economic Community, which was established under the Treaty of Rome in 1957. At the time, the parties concerned created a customs union where goods could move within their countries tariff-free.

The six countries could move goods and services without any trade barriers. However, when they negotiated with other countries, a single negotiator spoke on their behalf. At the time, this decision was made to ensure they could better compete with the Americans under GATT, for example. This was not complicated for them. I will give an example that is easy to follow. Under that agreement, if a Japanese car wanted to enter any of the six countries, the same tariffs would apply for all six. There was no advantage for the car to enter one country first and then be sent to another. At the time, that was how things were done.

The Canada-U.S. agreement signed and implemented in 1989 is a bit different. Canada and the United States decided to merge their markets to remove any trade barriers between the two countries. Tariffs could not be imposed on products being exported from Quebec or Canada to the United States.

Take the example of the Japanese car to be exported to the United States. The Americans had the right to independently decide that products from Japan would not be imported to the U.S. In a free trade zone, the Japanese car could enter Canada and then get a free pass to go to the United States. Obviously, that was disrespectful and inconsistent with the intentions of those who had signed the agreement.

To protect themselves from that, the Americans and Canadians told the Japanese, among others, that if they wanted to take advantage of this customs free zone between the countries, they would have to manufacture the car in Canada and then export it unencumbered to the United States. For a car to be able to go to the United States, the country of origin rule stated that at least 50% of the car needed to be manufactured within Canada's borders.

When Mexico joined the agreement in 1994, this percentage rose to 62.5%. Today, this is a free trade zone where three countries have some sovereignty over what can happen in other countries. Two out of the three countries produce aluminum, namely Canada and the United States. Mexico does not produce any. There is one foreign producer, which is China. In five years, China has increased its production by 48%. It produces four times as much aluminum as the second-largest producer in the world. This is a hefty competitor. It produces 15 times as much aluminum as we do. It is well known that China is dumping products.

Dumping refers to the practice of producing goods that are then sold at a loss. There are several reasons why China would do this, but one of the main reasons is that it can eliminate competition in a country and take over the entire market. It can then increase rates and its profit margins.

That is the game played by countries that engage in dumping. Canada and the United States, both aluminum producers, passed anti-dumping legislation, since they have the right to protect their own markets. China's solution was to go through Mexico. Mexico does not produce aluminum and has no need for an anti-dumping law to protect its market. In two months, between May and July 2019, the Chinese increased their aluminum exports to Mexico by 240%. No, they are not all dressing up as RoboCop. They simply figured out a way around the rules. The Chinese sell their aluminum to the Mexicans, who process this aluminum into aluminum parts, which are then sent across the border into the United States and Canada.

They could not get that aluminum across the border because we have anti-dumping laws. This is a way for Mexico to get dumped materials into markets that are supposed to have protections against dumping. To get this aluminum across borders, to create jobs in Mexico and to support Chinese production, which is the most polluting in the world, the aluminum is transformed into automotive parts. It is a good scheme. Between May and July, aluminum parts exports from Mexico to the United States increased by 260%. This is an established, well-known and lucrative scheme that must absolutely be eliminated.

The agreement does nothing to address this. Given that Canada, and especially Quebec, relies heavily on aluminum production, the Liberals talked a good game and said all the right things to lull people to sleep. They said that 70% of aluminum parts used in automotive manufacturing had to be produced in Mexico, Canada or the U.S. What I just explained is supported by the numbers, and numbers do not lie. As the numbers show, this scheme will continue under this trade agreement.

There is a lot of talk about Donald Trump. Everyone is afraid of Donald Trump. Essentially, the government did not capitulate to Donald Trump, it capitulated to Mexico, which decided to produce auto parts with aluminum dumped by China. They are doing this right under our noses and think we will not notice. We figured out this scheme and have condemned it many times because aluminum is Quebec's second-largest export. It is an extremely important market for us. Just go to Lac-Saint-Jean or visit an aluminum plant in Quebec, on the North Shore or elsewhere, and you will see the number of people working in this sector. They have well-paying jobs. We are talking about more than 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, not to mention those that would be created by planned expansions. That is the legacy the government will leave with a flawed agreement. It was unable to negotiate perhaps because it is used to making concessions, but somehow it is always Quebec that ends up making the concessions, and we are sick of it. It is quite clear that Quebec is always the one to make concessions.

We are here to say that this agreement must be amended. We need to agree on that. I know the government is not going to reopen the agreement and renegotiate it, but there are things it can do. We are calling on the government to do what must be done because Quebeckers' jobs depend on it, because Quebec's second-largest export depends on it and because regions depend on it.

That is why the Bloc is rising. We are in the right here. We know we are defending Quebec's interests. That is why we were elected, and that is what we are going to fight for throughout this Parliament.

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12:20 p.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

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's passion on this issue. Obviously, it is an important issue for all of Canada, with particular focus from the Bloc with respect to the aluminum industry in the province of Quebec.

I would ask the member to reflect on what is currently in place prior to this particular agreement. This agreement would provide something that was not there previously. I see that as a good thing. Hopefully, we may be able to get some of the more specific questions answered once it gets to committee.

I would further note that even the Premier of Quebec is strongly in favour of this agreement. He has raised concerns, but also encourages its passage. Could the member provide his thoughts in regards to that?

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12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

Obviously, trade deals are always a good thing for the parties and countries involved. This has been known since Adam Smith published his thesis in 1776. I do not fall off my chair when I hear someone talk about the importance of trade deals.

Our fundamental problem is that we missed out on getting an agreement that addressed the scheme that is currently leaving Quebeckers in an extremely uncomfortable situation with regard to aluminum. The scheme that was created for aluminum is Chinese dumping in Mexico. The figures are growing, they are soaring, and this is a recent situation. The government should have negotiated an agreement that put an end to this unfair competition from China. The government did not do that, and once again, Quebec is paying the price.

Yes, it is a good thing to have an agreement, and there are good aspects to this. We are not denying that. What we are saying is that this agreement has been drafted with a loophole that jeopardizes a major industry in Quebec. Why not close that loophole? It would be feasible, and the government has the wherewithal to do it.

I am reaching out to the other side. Let us get it done together, make sure Quebec stops being the one to pay the price, and sign agreements on an expedited basis.

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12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Stephanie Kusie Conservative Calgary Midnapore, AB

Madam Speaker, I heard what the member said.

We, the Conservatives, absolutely agree that not enough work was done on this agreement, particularly on aluminum. Yes, we support the Bloc. We support the province of Quebec and, of course, we support the aluminum industry.

That being said, I would like to know what the member and the Bloc Québécois will do to support Alberta's oil industry.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, we are not bargaining here.

We are not about to say that we will trade support for aluminum for support for other industries. That is not what is happening here. We have here a trade agreement that does not close the insidious loophole that was forced down Quebecker's throats when it comes to aluminum. That is where we are now. Before we start talking about other industries that are not affected by this agreement, before we get into any more analyses, let us start by working in favour of Quebeckers' legitimate interests. All we want is for justice to be done, nothing more. We want to be on equal footing with the other aluminum producers in the world.

We can do good things. We produce the cleanest aluminum in the world. We can compete with anyone, but not if the competition is unfair. We should not have to deal with unfair competition. No country in the world would accept that, and Quebec will not either.

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12:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, the Bloc Québécois House leader.

I have a question for him. As I understand it, the new NAFTA provides more protection to the aluminum industry than the existing one. It is natural to want more, but I think the new NAFTA is better for the aluminum sector than the old NAFTA.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, first of all, the dairy sector and the steel sector both got the kind of protection I was talking about earlier.

I talked about the history of international relations within various organizations, such as customs unions and free trade zones. The steel industry got this measure; why not the aluminum industry? Why are people saying there is an emergency now that was not there before?

The urgency of the situation is ramping up for two reasons. We are in a vicious cycle. I have the numbers to prove it, which I shared earlier in my speech. Chinese aluminum dumping is a threat to Quebec aluminum because aluminum parts are being made in Mexico. The trade agreement endorses that.

If we let this slide, that could eventually mean a death sentence for the cleanest aluminum in the world, which is from Quebec.

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12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, I stand among my colleagues today with the duty of holding the Liberals accountable over the new NAFTA they have agreed to and now asked the House to ratify. I would note that they want us to ratify this as soon as possible, yet they still have not provided the requested documents, including the cost-benefit analysis.

I do intend on voting to ratify this agreement because industry, especially the automotive sector, needs certainty so we can keep Canadians working and obtain new investment. Sadly, it is too late for Oshawa. Though this trade agreement has its issues, the certainty of a trade deal will keep our exporting companies in Canada and hopefully bring an end to four turbulent years.

When the Prime Minister originally took office, he had the TPP and CETA ready to sign. We had good relations with both China and India. There were talks of potential trade agreements with each of those growing economies.

However, both China and India want nothing to do with the Prime Minister and the new TPP is a shell of its original form. It does not include the United States. One in four may be average for a baseball player, but it is an awful record for the Prime Minister.

The government has misstepped at every possible turn on the world stage. In fact, this all could have been avoided five years ago with the signing of the original trans-Pacific partnership in 2015 or 2016. The TPP was set to open up Canada to some of the largest markets in the world, over 1.2 billion people. Canada is now a signatory to a new version of the agreement, but there is one noticeably absent signatory: the United States.

The trans-Pacific partnership, in its original form, was the renegotiation of NAFTA, given both Mexico and the United States were involved in the agreement. It solved key bilateral and, more importantly, multilateral issues. One of the TPP's main purposes was to counter the rapid economic expansionism of China, an issue that is growing larger day by day. China is now holding its economic power over our heads as the Prime Minister tries to navigate the current situation he created.

I rose in this House during the last month of the previous Parliament to raise the point that the Prime Minister had the opportunity to avoid the turbulent last four years of NAFTA renegotiation if he had just signed the original TPP. In response, the member for Mississauga Centre completely ignored history and said, “The claim is that if we had ratified the TPP, it would have solved so many problems, but the U.S. pulled out [of] the TPP.” This attitude is still taken by the Liberals today. They cannot seem to remember that the Prime Minister refused to sign the original TPP more than once.

By October 6, 2015, almost two weeks before the 2015 election, the ministers from each of the 12 signatories gathered to announce that the negotiations were complete for the TPP. All the Prime Minister had to do was put pen to paper.

As reported by Bill Curry on November 15, 2015, 14 months before President Trump was sworn in, the Prime Minister's best friend internationally, Barack Obama, was in the Philippines and referenced Canada when he said, “We are both soon to be signatories of the TPP agreement.” Alas, the Prime Minister did not sign.

If we fast forward to March 2016, it is still nine or 10 months before President Trump took office. This time the Prime Minister said he was confident that the softwood lumber dispute would be resolved in a matter of weeks to a month under the TPP, a sentiment shared by President Obama during the Prime Minister's first official to the White House. Sadly, the Prime Minister did not sign again. Even with the most progressive president in recent U.S. history and the Prime Minister's BFF, he refused to sign the agreement because it was not progressive enough for him.

Virtue-signalling aside, the TPP was important because it was set to resolve many issues that we still face today. For example, under the agreement, there would not have been issues with section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. Signing that agreement would have stopped this years-long debacle in its tracks before it even started.

President Trump may have been able to renegotiate a trade agreement with two other countries, as he did with NAFTA, but he did that over the past two years. Trying to negotiate a trade deal with 11 other signatories would have been next to impossible and the original TPP was a template for that agreement going forward. If the Prime Minister had signed the TPP in the first place, this mess he created would likely have been avoided.

The handling of the TPP was the first time the Prime Minister angered other world leaders, but it would not be the last. After the Prime Minister kicked the TPP down the road, a new president took the Oval Office. President Trump pulled our southern neighbour out of the agreement.

The remaining countries proceeded without the U.S. and were ready to sign in 2017. In fact, the leaders of each soon-to-be signatory gathered in a room for a historic event, but the Prime Minister decided to play hooky and refused to sign once again.

The Prime Minister was nowhere to be found; he just did not show up. Over and over again, the Prime Minister has failed Canada on the international trade file and has angered our global partners.

In response to these antics, the leaders of the aspiring TPP signatories were outraged. High-level Australian officials described the Prime Minister's no-show as “sabotaging the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, according to the National Post. One official even told Australia's ABC News that Canada screwed everybody. How bad does it have to be for Australia to get so upset?

The Prime Minister later signed the updated agreement, but not until he angered world leaders and waited for the United States to withdraw.

It gets worse. In 2017, when President Trump officially indicated his intention to renegotiate NAFTA, the administration issued a list of specific provisions and issues that it was looking to have renegotiated. At that time, it put forward concerns regarding supply management, rules of origin and other specific areas of interest. The Liberal government responded by voicing its outspoken commitment to the so-called progressive agenda and did not even address the list of priorities put forward by the United States administration.

This began a negotiating process that saw our U.S. counterparts leave the negotiating table and deal only with Mexico until they had worked out all the details, without Canadian input. The government's inability to get the job done appropriately led Canada to an agreement that would only maintain certain standards and provisions, but would gain nothing over the original NAFTA agreement.

This is basically a Mexico-United States agreement, and we are only involved because Mexico felt bad for Canada. The Liberal government's negotiating team was forced to sit at the kids' table while the adults settled the details.

I have never been the prime minister of this great country, but it does not take a genius to know that if one screws up an opportunity like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one should at least try to make up for it. However, the Prime Minister decided not to bring an end to the softwood lumber dispute and made our trade relationships with lndo-Pacific nations like China and India even worse.

Rather than finding a solution to the softwood lumber dispute and getting exemptions to buy America, the Prime Minister's logic has been to give away our trade sovereignty to the United States. For example, if Canada wants to sign a trade agreement with a non-market economy like China, we now have to ask the U.S. for permission. The last time I checked, Canada was a strong, powerful country that should not need to ask dad for a treat.

I can understand why the Prime Minister might not trust his own decision-making, but to forfeit Canada's sovereignty is not the solution. The Prime Minister needs to understand that people's entire livelihoods are at stake when he repeatedly makes mistakes that could have been easily avoided. We know this all too well in Oshawa: Our assembly plant did not receive a new product allocation. While the Prime Minister dithered, Oshawa lost.

We are debating this bill in its current form, yet issues remain. On December 12, members of the Conservative caucus requested the release of the economic impact study for the new NAFTA agreement. It has now been 54 days since the request and we have yet to see the report.

On this side of the House, we have been asking when the economic impact study will be released and, as usual, the Prime Minister and his government are ducking the questions. It is a simple question that does not need to be dodged. The economic impact study will give greater insight on the effects of the agreement. The question remains: What do the Liberals have to hide?

This study is important because Canada deserves a trade agreement that will benefit all of us. For example, something that is very important in my community is that the agreement requires that 40% of cars produced in Mexico be completed by workers making at least $16 per hour. However, because of this, there is an assumption that automotive manufacturing jobs will migrate north. How many jobs are expected to be created in Canada? It is impossible to know because the economic impact study has not been released. As well, what effect will this have on the price of cars? Again, we do not know, because the Liberals refuse to release the study.

With that said, I plan on supporting the deal. Though the agreement has issues as a result of the Prime Minister's bad decisions, premiers, small businesses, farmers and manufacturers need the certainty so they can resume their day-to-day business. Canadian businesses cannot wait any longer for certainty and they need to make investments and decisions for their livelihoods. Canadians need a deal, and that is why I plan on supporting the agreement.

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12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Madam Speaker, I had the opportunity to sit with the hon. member on the international trade committee.

If the member could recall the election of 2015, the Liberal Party made a commitment to Canadians to consult widely, to have a trade agreement be transparent and accountable to Canadians. With the member, we travelled from coast to coast to coast to many different communities. We heard from the people. We heard from agricultural groups, industry groups and labour groups. In the presidential debate, we heard that the United States would rip up the TPP.

We wanted to ensure that this government got it right, and that is what we did. Does the member not think it was right to consult with all stakeholders, especially with the people of Canada, allowing them to speak, rather than what the Conservative government wanted, which was to do things in secret and push through a TPP that was not in Canada's interest?

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12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, the hypocrisy of the Liberals is unbelievable. I have worked with him and I have a lot of respect for the member for Mississauga-East—Cooksville.

However, the Liberal government has not even given us the economic impact studies. It is saying that it wants this passed as soon as possible. We requested the studies in December, and the Liberals still have not given them to us. He says that the Liberals had to do their due diligence, which I actually agree with, but the member omits the fact that Conservatives had already done much of that.

The TPP was an agreement we worked on with President Obama for seven years. It was his legacy. He wanted to have it. With the Americans onboard with the new TPP, which was part of NAFTA, it could have been resolved. All this silliness could have been resolved if the Liberals had just signed that agreement.

By the way, just a note for the hon. member. The Liberals did sign the agreement eventually. He would remember we had the bureaucrats in front of committee, and it was exactly the same agreement except for two sidebars. Of course the United States was not in it. We could have avoided this whole mess if the Liberals had signed it five years ago and we could have been working on other agreements, such as the agreements with China and India, on which the Americans are already ahead of us.

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12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I see the two main parties passing the buck back and forth and blaming each other for past failings in various deals over the years. What does all this really amount to? Concessions have been granted over the years, especially in supply management, and now in the aluminum sector. Virtually all the concessions made to reach a comprehensive agreement that is good for all of Canada have one thing in common: Quebec pays the price. It is unfortunate, but there is no other way to see it.

I would ask the House, the government and specifically my Conservative colleague whether they would be willing to put an end, once and for all, to these concessions that are undermining our agricultural system and supply management. We have already given up 18% of our market. The government has conceded not only on that but also on our capacity to export to countries that are not even parties to the agreement. This is unheard of, and it is just not right. I would like the political parties to make a clear commitment and tell us whether they will protect supply management, through legislation, to ensure that this never happens again.

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12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, negotiations should never be on the backs of hard-working farmers. I do appreciate the fact that the member is speaking up for all Canadian farmers in the supply management field.

I will go back to the original TPP agreement, on which there were some concessions. Our Conservative government was very proactive and very committed in saying that there would be proper compensation for that.

We have the agreement with NAFTA, and my colleague is absolutely right in asking what the plan is moving forward. We have been asking the Liberals about this. I know my friends in the Bloc want to see the cost benefit analysis too, showing exactly how things will be affected and the industries that will be hurt by this. The Bloc members have brought up supply management, but there is also the aluminum sector. Again, with this agreement, we now have new rules for aluminum, which we did not have in the past.

I am in agreement. In committee, we will bring forward witnesses to ensure the government has a plan, so if somebody is negatively affected, a proactive approach can be taken to ensure certain compensation is available for that, like our Conservative government did. We have to let the government know that to dither any further is not appropriate.

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12:45 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House for the first time in 2020. On top of that, I do so as you preside over this august chamber. I am happy for you, and I thank you for giving me the floor.

I am very pleased to be here to present to the House of Commons an important result the government obtained for the cultural sector with the new NAFTA, also known as CUSMA.

Canada has managed to retain the general exemption for cultural industries, a key provision designed to preserve Canada's cultural sovereignty. This is an important aspect of the original NAFTA.

The general exemption for cultural industries fully preserves the latitude Canada has to adopt and maintain the programs and policies that support the creation and dissemination of Canadian artistic expression or content, including in the digital environment.

At the outset of the negotiations, our government made it clear that it wanted to preserve the cultural exemption and did not back down on that objective throughout the negotiation process, to get the result we have today. The cultural exemption is a matter of national interest that enjoys overwhelming support from Canada's cultural industries, and most certainly those of Quebec, all the provinces and territories, and several municipal and local governments.

Today I am very proud to say that Canada fought hard at the negotiating table to ultimately achieve our objectives in the cultural sector by retaining the cultural exemption.

Why is that so important? As countries' economies become increasingly integrated, different nations need a strong culture and national cultural expressions to preserve their sovereignty and their sense of identity.

Canada is proud of its cultural diversity. We are proud of our heritage, stories, culture and population. As a Quebecker, I can say that we have a very rich culture, a culture we export to just about every corner of the planet. That is also true for the entire country. We should be proud of this, and that is why the cultural exemption is essential. We must preserve the vitality of this important sector. I will speak a little later not only about Canada's fabric, but also about the very important economic benefits of culture.

We understand that culture is important at a number of levels. It helps build our societies, it strengthens social cohesion and pride, it supports economic prosperity, it is an integral part of who we are as Canadians and it enriches our lives.

Historically, culture has been treated differently in Canada's free trade agreements. Since the bilateral agreement we signed with the United States in 1988, Canada has chosen to exempt cultural industries from the obligations of free trade agreements.

The cultural exemption in the new agreement protects Canada's right to pursue its cultural policy goals. This enhances the benefits of the original Canada-U.S. free trade agreement and the original NAFTA.

The new CUSMA recognizes that Canada has a right to promote its cultural industries through incentives like grants, tax credits, regulations and other forms of support. This is why the cultural exemption is so important.

I should also point out that the cultural exemption is neutral on technology. This means that the exemption applies to both the physical world and the digital world. Because of its horizontal scope, this exemption takes precedence over the disciplines on trade associated with the cultural industries in all chapters of the new agreement, including the chapter on digital trade.

The definition of cultural industries in Canada takes into account the key role that both Canadian and non-Canadian online platforms now play in distributing Canadian cultural content. That is why we worked so hard to make sure the cultural exemption would fully apply to the online environment. During the negotiations, we stressed that our ability to take action to adopt measures aimed at promoting Canadian cultural expression in the digital realm needed to be recognized and preserved in the new agreement.

The digital environment is evolving at a fast pace, and it is in this country's interest to keep its strategic options open in the future, especially since we are in the process of reviewing the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act and the Radiocommunication Act.

Canada not only maintained its existing programs and policies, but it also ensured that it would have the flexibility to intervene strategically to support cultural industries in the future. Over the years, Canada's approach to culture when negotiating free trade agreements has played a decisive role in promoting Canada's national cultural industries and has therefore contributed to economic growth, job creation and prosperity. Since music, television shows, movies and books are not just entertaining, but also essential to our quality of life, as I mentioned earlier, they represent a major industry and a significant segment of our economy.

Together, Canada's cultural industries account for more than 660,000 jobs and contribute $53 billion to our economy. In 2017, our cultural industries accounted for about 3% of Canada's GDP and exports worth nearly $16 billion.

The cultural industries have much to offer the world. Just think of artists like Céline Dion, Drake and The Weeknd, who have propelled Canada onto the international stage. We are an exporter of culture, and we need to celebrate that. Quebec has some amazing filmmakers, such as Xavier Dolan, Denis Villeneuve and Jean-Marc Vallée, who are internationally renowned for their talent and their storytelling. The list goes on and on.

It is our collective responsibility as a government to support this industry, which is the foundation of our national identity, and to create the conditions needed to support the artists of today and help develop the talent of tomorrow.

I would also like to point out that Canada's vibrant cultural industries are ready to do business. In recent years, for example, Canada has become Hollywood North as a result of its welcoming film production environment, world-class production infrastructure—including skilled labour—and strategic tax credits. It is no surprise that over the past five years alone the number of foreign productions filmed in Canada has increased by 160%, more quickly than in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Our commitment to protect culture includes much more than free trade agreements. Canada is a global advocate of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which was adopted by UNESCO in 2005. This convention recognizes both the economic and social value of cultural goods and services and reaffirms the right of governments to adopt their own cultural policies.

In addition, the government made the single largest reinvestment in Canadian arts and culture not only in over 30 years, but also in the entire G7, precisely to bring in the tools needed to support Canada's entire cultural ecosystem. That makes me very proud. It is one of the first things we did when we came to power in 2015, as early as budget 2016, after the cultural sector took such a hard hit during the previous decade under the Conservatives.

I believe it is important to show our support, especially when we see both the social and economic value of culture. We know that the money invested generates returns both for jobs and the GDP. This industry represents 3% of our GDP, which is huge. It is important that the government support our content creators, our artists, artisans and Canadian cultural industries, which are so vital.

I would like to reiterate that the cultural component of the new agreement represents a major victory for the Canadian cultural industry and for all Canadians. Indeed, Canadians will continue to have access to rich and diverse cultural expressions across all media and all formats.

In future, we will continue to tell our stories and express our culture in all its diversity and on every platform. I think that all members of the House should be pleased that in spite of tough negotiations, Canada succeeded in preserving our country's cultural exemption and ensuring that it applies in the digital age.

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12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague talked at length about the cultural exemptions.

We appreciate the briefing that the Liberals provided to members of Parliament last week, in which the hard-working public servants who were part of the negotiating team briefed us on matters relating to this new NAFTA. However, while we all recognize in the House the importance of a North American trade deal, these negotiators shared with us that, although they did make some gains on the cultural side of things, they did not on the government's so-called priorities for the environment and gender.

I wonder if the member could highlight his feelings on the areas that the negotiators made very clear they were not able to make progress on.

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12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Madam Speaker, I was not at the briefing that the hon. member is referring to. I will look into exactly what was said.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the public servants who worked tirelessly for months on these negotiations. They did a wonderful job under the direction of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, who oversaw the NAFTA renegotiation.

I believe it is important to point out today that we had a long way to go on these negotiations. That was the very essence of my speech. However, we achieved very good results. We got a modernized agreement that maintains the cultural exemption, which has always been fundamental to Canada and even more so to Quebec. I cannot help but be pleased about that. I think that was well received by everyone in the cultural industry. From a cultural perspective, the results of the renegotiation were very well received. Overall, this agreement was well received by economic and political actors across the country, with the exception of the Bloc Québécois. It is still hard to understand the Bloc Québécois's position, when the Premier of Quebec is calling for the quick ratification of this agreement.

Overall, it is a good agreement. With regard to the cultural exemption, it is a victory for Canada and Quebec.

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12:55 p.m.

Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his speech.

Hearing him talk about culture was music to my ears. Speaking of ears, I am a little worried that he still does not understand why the Bloc Québécois opposes the agreement, because we have explained our position at great length.

Getting back to culture, I certainly welcome good provisions. However, the aspects protected in the agreement are things we do not even have in Quebec and Canada. The cultural industry, especially in Quebec, has expressed concerns about the glaring lack of resources in the industry, about artists who are going hungry and have a hard time making ends meet and who have have been calling for government money for years. My colleague opposite blames the previous Conservative government for the cuts, but I do not think the Liberals have done much in four years to make up for those cuts.

When will the government sit down with the industry and with cultural industry representatives in Quebec, listen to their concerns and address this serious problem?

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12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Madam Speaker, let me thank my colleague. He said it was music to his ears, which I think is appropriate considering the subject of my speech.

I am very pleased to remind him that, when we came to power, we invested over $2.3 billion. We doubled the budget of the National Film Board of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. We made massive investments. Never in the past 30 years has a federal government invested as much in culture as we have since taking office in 2015.

Canada's cultural sector went through a very dark decade because, as we all know, it was not a priority for Mr. Harper's government or the Conservative Party. It was a priority for us and still is. In fact, we are the only G7 country to have invested so heavily in culture. I think it is something we can be very proud of, actually.

Just talk to people at the CBC, the National Film Board or Telefilm Canada. Most people in the arts felt the difference right from when we took office. As a Quebecker, I intend to continue to push the government to invest more in culture because it is essential for our identity and our economy.

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12:55 p.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, taking a different tack, I am wondering if the member could speak a bit about the process by which the House engages on trade agreements. We have heard a little about the comparison between the process the United States follows and the one that we follow, whereby the House debates the content of the agreement after it has been signed, at the ratification stage.

I wonder whether the member would agree that Canada would benefit from a more robust process that provides a formal role for the House in shaping the content of trade agreements.

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1 p.m.

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Madam Speaker, I believe that we must always respect parliamentarians' work. Any suggestion may have merit. This debate has merit, but there must also be an understanding of the context in which negotiations were held. Ultimately, it is important to ratify the agreement to benefit the Canadian economy. That view is held by business owners, unions and the provincial and territorial premiers. There is a consensus that this agreement must be ratified as quickly as possible.

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1 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Madam Speaker, as this is my first opportunity to address the House in formal debate, let me first thank the amazing citizens of Red Deer—Mountain View for their support during the last election. None of us makes it to this place on our own. From that perspective, I wish not only to recognize the numerous volunteers who have supported me, but also my devoted family who has stood beside me all along the way. My wife Judy, our son Devin, our daughter Megan, our son-in-law Hanno and our grandchildren Julian, Serena and Conrad are my inspiration for my service to my community.

I have been blessed to have so many wonderful people guide me along my political journey. Over the past 12 years, I have continually felt that same sense of duty and honour each time I enter this chamber. I reflect upon the love, passion, desires and counsel my parents, brothers, family, colleagues and friends have taught me, and I strive to live up to the honour they have bestowed upon me by allowing me to serve as their representative.

During the last Parliament, I was honoured to serve on the international trade committee. Committee members had a unique view of the negotiation process and numerous opportunities to meet with parliamentarians from around the world, including our American neighbours.

I was also honoured to accompany Prime Minister Harper to London in the final days of the CETA negotiations, where discussions with Canadian producers, manufacturers and distributors looking to do business with their European counterparts took place.

Canada is a trading nation. As Conservatives, we truly are the party of trade. This was obvious from the respect that Prime Minister Harper commanded as he spoke with global leaders. It saddens me to hear how the current Liberal government continually tries to minimize the great work done by our former government and how it desperately tries to weave its way into the international trade narrative.

When it comes to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, the current government was handed CETA on a silver platter. All the Prime Minister had to do was retrieve the ball the Harper government had hit over the fence for the walk-off home run, and sign it.

The government's insistence that it reopen parts of the agreement caused serious confusion with our trading partners and showed inconsistencies and weaknesses of which other signatories were quick to take advantage. This became the opening that encouraged one of those European partners, Italy, to initiate unsubstantiated, non-tariff trade barriers against Canadian durum wheat. Ironically, its ploy was to demonize us for herbicide use. This came from a region that uses three to six times the amount of herbicide our Canadian farmers do. Because the current government had no strategy or ability to help our farmers, the rest of the world saw this administration as weak.

Canadian farmers once again took it on the chin when the government chose to tweet in Arabic about internal issues in Saudi Arabia, which had always previously been dealt with professionally through proper diplomatic channels.

Similarly unexplainable behaviour by the Prime Minister created a near disaster with Vietnam at a time when tensions were high after the U.S. pulled out of TPP discussions. Because the TPP was a template for a renewed North American trade agreement and was so close to being a reality in July 2015, it was with disbelief that we saw the Prime Minister once again put our position in jeopardy by creating a scene during these negotiations. Whether it was the entire reason or not, the consequence is that we have another non-tariff trade barrier with Vietnam that once again affects our agricultural exports.

Then we had our problems with India. The trade committee happened to be in Malaysia on the last leg of an ASEAN trade tour when the Prime Minister's Indian antics hit the global news wire. To say that all of us were embarrassed would be an understatement. If it had just been the costume party, that would have been bad enough, but revelations about his guest list and the snubbing of the Indian prime minister went beyond the pale.

Canada had always had agreements with India regarding our pulse exports, but these agreements needed constant vigilance. The government dropped the ball, and all of a sudden we had an international incident: another non-tariff trade barrier that put our Canadian pulse producers in jeopardy. This multi-billion dollar market became another casualty of a disjointed government strategy that lacked both knowledge and direction.

Sadly, Canadians are no longer surprised by these types of unforced errors from the Prime Minister. This has also been the underpinning of his attitude with our southern neighbours. This was obvious from the Prime Minister's confrontational commentary once he thought the American president was out of earshot. His irresponsible statements inflamed our relationship with the United States at a time when we should have been addressing solvable irritants with our southern neighbours.

There may have been a sense of bravado at the PMO, but the result was that the U.S. administration lost its respect for its traditional ally and stopped listening to us.

This heightened the problems associated with the stalled steel and aluminum tariffs, slowed any action on softwood lumber, and in the new NAFTA, solidified their entrenched position on dairy.

The issues that we have with China today are complex and I wish our diplomatic team success as it deals with these concerns. On the trade file, the concerns we have today have been exacerbated by the government's global, knee-jerk response to serious trade issues and the serious diplomatic missteps that have been a hallmark of the government.

If Canada would not stand up to the non-tariff issues of the countries I previously mentioned, then the Chinese government was pretty confident that we would not stand up to its import restrictions either. Canola, pork and beef were to become pawns in this debate. With the present developments with the U.S.A.-China agreement, we find ourselves on the outside looking in. Quite frankly, neither of these important trading partners have time for us. No longer are we that soft middle power that both our U.S. neighbours and the Chinese government would seek counsel from when issues arose. The egos of the leaders and administration of all three countries now dominate the discussion and as Canadians, we suffer the most.

Where does this leave us with the new NAFTA? We have always had strong relationships with our southern neighbours and we must continue to value these trusted partners through a strong, well-thought-out free trade agreement. However, while doing so, we must always think of our Canadian workers and their combined expertise, our manufacturers and their ability to compete with Canadian raw materials, our farmers and their world-class food production, and our natural resource industry and its respected environmentally friendly footprint.

These are the people, and the industries in which they toil, that any free trade agreement must consider. In our present national discussions, we hear a lot of talk about the environmental practices of our mining, oil and gas, agriculture, forestry and other industrial users and naively think that this matters to the rest of the world.

As a western Canadian, I would love it if we would use our environmental record as a lever for global acceptance of best practices and that as a nation we would champion this expertise so that the world would take notice. Sadly, our global competitors that pile on when it comes to natural resource development have found allies with anti-development actors that have infiltrated political parties, honest ecological activists and inculcated our education system. All this to portray our natural resource industries in a negative light.

In Alberta, we did not look for sweetheart deals from the federal government to allow our heavy emitters to put actual pollutants into the air or to get permission to pour raw sewage into our rivers. Instead, we set up strong environmental conditions that made sense for our geography, that recognized our natural resource advantages from forestry and agriculture, and our desire to build on all resources for the betterment of the nation. We wanted to do our part.

Do any of these things seem to matter to the eco-activists that will do all they can to shutter in our resources while ignoring the blatant economic sabotage and environmental disasters that are practised by our competitors? No, but we in the west still forge ahead despite these attacks because we know that this is how we can help build a nation.

We will stand up for the green aluminum producers from Quebec because we are proud of what they produce, because it is the right thing to do. We will stand up for our oil and gas industry because by doing so we can help displace poorly regulated and environmental suspect energy from other global suppliers, because it is the right thing to do. We will stand up for our forestry workers and we will stand up for our great farmers and ranchers who produce the best food in the world with the softest environmental footprint, because it is the right thing to do.

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1:10 p.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

Madam Speaker, when the member stands and talks about the reputation of the Prime Minister and what the government has done outside of Canada's borders, I would suggest that we only need to look at the area that we are debating today and that is the area of trade.

We have an incredible group of civil servants, arguably some of the best negotiators in the world, who have been working with the Government of Canada to achieve significant trade agreements. When the member makes reference to the world looking in, I would suggest that Canada is envied around the world for the number of trade agreements and the amount of trade that takes place between Canada, a population base of 36 million, compared to other countries around the world.

Would my colleague not agree that, on the trade file, Canada is one of the most aggressive countries in completing trade agreements second to no other western world country?

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1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Madam Speaker, sadly, the current government has done all it can to make things difficult for the Canadian producers and our Canadian trade people. Yes, there are some fantastic folks who are working on behalf of Canada, but unfortunately, they take direction from the Prime Minister and his trade people in his party.

Sadly, it has caused us problems. The latest statement from the wheat growers estimates that market losses in the last 36 months, as the result of non-tariff trade barriers imposed by the six countries that I mentioned, amount to $3.7 billion. That is the type of thing that we are talking about.

No, making a show of oneself in an international scene is not something that Canadians are proud of.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, I will say that unfortunately the member and I do not see eye to eye on some of the environmental concerns. However, as a member who represents a more rural and remote riding, I understand that using our resources is really important.

In my riding, dairy farmers are very concerned. There are several dairy farms in my riding and they are very concerned about the changes that are happening and the impacts that those changes will have on their communities. One of the things I would like to hear the member speak on is when we look at trade agreements how we can start to do a better job of remembering the rural and remote communities, where we have those huge impacts, if we are not thoughtful in moving forward.

I would love to hear how the member plans to move toward some really meaningful climate activism that we need to do across this country. We have not done well in our emissions in this country, but let us just leave it on the rural and remote communities and making sure that as trade agreements are negotiated, that lens is put in place. I feel that they are not looked at seriously enough at this point.

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1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Madam Speaker, one of the things one should recognize is that in the CETA there were discussions between the dairy industry and the government, and they went forward so that they understood what was happening. They understood, as well, that there was going to be money put aside to backstop for any damage that might possibly have occurred because of the agreement. The dairy producers indicated that they thought that if they got this market, they would have an opportunity and would not even need to go into that, or certainly might not have to take all of it.

That disappeared when the Liberals took over. Now we are in a situation where they have given away even more concessions to the United States: class 6 and 7 milk and other issues concerning overproduction or production that we might have, if we wanted to sell baby formula around the world.

Those are the kinds of things that happened on the dairy front, and I think that is significant. I will leave it at that.

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1:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Madam Speaker, this morning in the media, Teck Resources said that the mine that the federal government needs to be approving at the end of this month will be emissions-free by 2050.

We have blockers of pipelines in this country who continue to talk about green aluminum. I would like the member to talk a little about the green efforts that are happening in Canada's oil and gas industry.

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Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Madam Speaker, not only do we have people blocking pipelines around the country, we have them here in this particular House.

What has been lost in the discussion, as far as aluminum is concerned when it comes to production and distribution, is who the global competitors of Canadian aluminum are now and how confident we are that we can trust those competitors to play by the rules. Since aluminum sourced in Canada is some of the most environmentally and ethically sourced on the planet, how can we effectively leverage this green aluminum at the global-conscious level? If we do that and are prepared to help the people of Quebec, we then have to have them understand that the strides that have been made in Alberta for all of the energy sources have been amazing.

Why do the Liberals not spend a little time paying attention to what is real, and look at the people around the world who are destroying this planet?

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1:15 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Liberal Party for sharing this speaking time with me so I can add my voice and perspective to this important debate on the new NAFTA or, as it is called now, CUSMA.

I would like to congratulate the Canadian negotiating team for getting this deal done with a U.S. administration that, at best, can be described as difficult to deal with.

This is not a perfect agreement. As parliamentarians, we are being asked to choose between the original version of NAFTA and this updated version. The original NAFTA successfully created an integrated supply chain that benefited businesses and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, there are many flaws in the agreement that created and accelerated inequality.

For more than a decade, the Green Party has called for the renegotiation of NAFTA and the removal of problematic components. In our view, the worst part of the original agreement was the investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms and the proportionality clause, both of which have been removed in CUSMA. The investor-state provisions in NAFTA allowed foreign corporations to seek financial compensation from taxpayers through private arbitration tribunals when laws and regulations got in the way of their profits. Canada is the most-sued country under these NAFTA investor-state rules, and taxpayers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to U.S. companies, but no Canadian company has ever successfully won compensation from the U.S. government.

For more than 10 years, I have worked to raise awareness about the serious problems created by investor-state provisions in our trade agreements. These provisions are anti-democratic and they obstruct good public policy and environmental protections, including action on climate change. I am happy to see the investor-state provisions removed from the CUSMA. This is a win. I would like to see investor-state dispute settlement provisions removed from all trade agreements and investment treaties that Canada has signed, and they should be excluded from any new agreements.

NAFTA's proportionality clause required that Canada export the same proportion of energy that it had on average in the previous three years, even in an energy crisis. Mexico did not agree to the inclusion of this clause. Canada, the coldest NAFTA country, signed away too much control of its energy sector. Fortunately, the proportionality clause was removed from the CUSMA. This is also a win.

The continued exemption of bulk water exports is encouraging, and the Canadian cultural exemption remains intact. These are wins as well.

The Green Party believes in fair and equitable trade that does not exploit lower labour, health, safety or environmental standards in other countries or result in the lowering of standards in Canada. Done right, trade can be an effective way to improve conditions for people and the planet rather than creating a race to the bottom.

Free trade agreements have allowed corporations to exploit lower wages and standards in other countries. Under NAFTA, many jobs in Canada were moved to Mexico for this reason. This hollowed out Canada's manufacturing and textile sectors and led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs here. When NAFTA was negotiated and signed, Canadians were promised that it would increase prosperity. In reality, NAFTA increased the wealth of the rich at the expense of working Canadians, whose wages have stagnated.

As an international human rights observer in the 1990s, I accompanied labour activists who were trying to organize workers in Guatemala's sweatshops, which produced low-cost goods for the North American market. The simple act of trying to create a union led to intimidation, violence, disappearances and murder. This was not how international trade should work. I am pleased that CUSMA would create stricter enforcement of labour standards in Mexico, would guarantee Mexican workers the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining, and would help to strengthen the labour movement there. The agreement includes a rapid response mechanism for labour violations.

These labour standards were strengthened in the new, improved version of the agreement, thanks to a push by Democrats in the United States who were not happy with the lack of proper labour standards or enforcement in the first signed version of CUSMA.

U.S. Democrats also managed to roll back the patent extensions on biologic drugs proposed in the first version of the CUSMA agreement. This change will save Canadian consumers money and make it more affordable to create a universal pharmacare program in Canada.

Thankfully, the Canadian Parliament did not rush to ratify this first signed version of the agreement, so we can all benefit from these important changes made by U.S. Democrats.

Another area of improvement is the rules of origin. Higher levels of North American content are now required before goods can be certified as made in North America. There is a new 70% North American steel and aluminum requirement for automobiles, but while the steel content requirement guarantees that steel must be produced in North America, there is not an equal requirement for aluminum. This requirement should have been included in the agreement..

Our supply management system for dairy and poultry farmers will remain intact, but one of the drawbacks of the new agreement is that it will allow imports of dairy products from the U.S. This will undermine the economic viability of Canadian farms and will require compensation to farmers.

In addition, many dairy products in the U.S. contain a genetically modified bovine growth hormone called rBGH, which is banned in Canada. We need legislation in place to ensure that U.S. products containing rBGH are either labelled or blocked from entering this country.

The CUSMA agreement makes some progress on environmental protections. Countries are committed to meet their obligations on a number of multilateral environmental treaties they have signed. These agreements are all enforceable. However, what CUSMA is missing is any mention of climate change and any obligation for the three CUSMA countries to uphold their commitments under the climate accords. While the climate change targets established in Paris are binding, there are no enforcement mechanisms or penalties for countries that do not live up to their commitments.

Increasing trade in goods will accelerate climate change. One of the best ways to combat climate change is to localize our economies as much as possible. This is especially true for agricultural products. Redundant trade, such as importing products that can easily be produced locally, does not make sense.

There are other concerns with CUSMA. The agreement fails to address the decades-long softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the United States. Getting the proper agreement on softwood is critical to the health of the Canadian forest industry.

The good regulatory practices chapter is also of concern. Who decides what good regulatory practices are? Will this process involve only business and government, or will civil society organizations representing labour, consumers, and the environment be involved?

The extension of copyright from 50 years after an author's death to 75 years is an unnecessary change.

It is ironic to hear the Conservatives complaining about not having enough access during the negotiation process and having to study an agreement that is a done deal. This really speaks to the lack of a clear and transparent process for negotiating trade agreements. The process of negotiating CUSMA included briefings for an expanded group of stakeholders, going beyond just the business organizations and corporations that were consulted in the past. That is an improvement, but there is still work to do to make the trade agreement negotiation process more transparent. It is unacceptable that Canadians, and the parliamentarians who represent them, can only get involved in a debate about the merits of a trade agreement once it has been completed and signed.

Both the Liberals and Conservatives complained about the secretive nature of the negotiation process while they were in opposition. The Greens believe that we should be following the European Union model for trade negotiations. We should have an open and transparent discussion and debate about Canada's objectives before negotiations start. That debate should continue during and after negotiations are concluded. Also, a socio-economic analysis of the potential impacts and benefits of a new trade agreement should be made available to all Canadians.

For years I have spoken out loudly against the corporate free trade model, so people who know me might wonder why I intend to support the CUSMA agreement. This is not a perfect agreement, the negotiation process is flawed and we can and should do better, but this is a choice between retaining the old flawed NAFTA and ratifying this new, improved version. A step forward is preferable to the status quo.

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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

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the position of the Green Party and the comments, which recognize that it is of value to do a comparison of the modernization of the old agreement and that some significant steps have been taken in going forward. Some of them are very much socially progressive measures, as has already been mentioned.

I ask my colleague to recognize that there has been a great deal of discussion about the process. I have stated before that we have an incredible group of people, civil servants who have assisted in the negotiations and even made this agreement possible with the leadership of the government. That said, no one would be surprised that there have been talks, discussions and consultations over the last two to two and a half years.

Could my colleague provide his thoughts in regard to the many dialogues that took place well in advance of the agreement being signed? Would he not assign some value to that?

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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that there has been expanded consultation on this agreement in particular and with CPTPP. I think that we need to continue that process and have more debate in Parliament before we enter into a process of starting a trade negotiation. For example, the Conservatives want a trade agreement with China. We have a committee right now that is looking at problems with China and the socio-economic impacts of getting into a trade negotiation with China.

I appreciate having those discussions in advance, and a more open and transparent process. I appreciate the openness that has happened and I would like to see more of it in the future.

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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my fellow British Columbian's contributions to the House today, although he has made a materially wrong contribution by saying that the Conservative Party supports a free trade agreement with China.

In fact, our leader has been very clear on this matter. We believe that the Liberals are being very naive on all things related to China. We have seen rejection after rejection, including the issue of an extradition agreement that the government actually tried to reach with the Government of China.

I ask the member to keep those things in mind and again challenge the Green Party on its continued opposition to all trade, particularly when it comes to the issue of investor-state provisions. There are many things to disagree about in terms of process and whatnot.

Does the member think that when we are encouraging many of our businesses in British Columbia to trade abroad, if they had a choice to do it in a country where the court system and the rule of law are not the same as in in Canada, they would feel comfortable taking their claim if they had expropriation without compensation in that country? They would much rather see the World Trade Organization rules apply, I think.

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1:30 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, my apologies to the Conservatives. You may not be in favour of a trade agreement with China at this point, but you did sign the Canada-China FIPA, and I am wondering if you have regrets now about the extensive power that has been given to—

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An hon. member

Do not say “you”.

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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I am wondering if the Conservatives have regrets now about the extensive power that they have given to Chinese state-owned corporations to seek damages through this investor-state process, whereby they can take us on for environmental protections, labour standards, health and safety standards, or for opposing the purchase of retirement homes and providing substandard services to our communities and seniors. Investor-state—

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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Questions and comments, very rapidly, the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.

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NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, there are a couple of areas that the hon. member totally neglected to discuss in his comments.

One is in regard to gender. Of course we know that the Liberal government promised an entire chapter to promote gender equality. It failed to do that. The government also promised to include an entire chapter to talk about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It failed to do that.

Considering the makeup of a huge portion of the member's electorate, I wonder why he neglected to mention those two critical areas in his statement.

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1:30 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I was given 10 minutes to speak.

I definitely think that those areas are important, crucial areas. I have four first nations in my riding, and having an indigenous lens on trade and investment is very important. Having a gender lens on trade and investment is very important as well. It was not neglect but a lack of time to cover all of the issues that I would like to speak about.

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1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak about the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement.

After a long and gruelling process, it is great that we have arrived where we are. Parliamentarians now have the chance to review this new agreement and ensure that free trade with our continental partners continues to benefit all Canadians.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs rely on this international trade, and the North American Free Trade Agreement has been a critically important component of that trade. In fact, one in five Canadians who have jobs in Canada have them as a result of this agreement.

However, there is merit in occasionally updating agreements like NAFTA. There are always going to be things changing, new developments that require reviewing and adjusting existing agreements, but with respect to this latest renegotiation, it seems that the Prime Minister was just a little too eager to open things up when he stated that he was more than happy to renegotiate NAFTA with incoming president Donald Trump.

It was something of a shock when the Prime Minister voluntarily submitted Canada to this renegotiation when it was widely known that the U.S. was primarily concerned with the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. Canada was suddenly drawn into what would become a long and tumultuous couple of years of negotiating. Thankfully, we seem to have arrived near the end of this stage.

I know that those on the negotiating team put in extensive hours, and for that I want to thank our officials and bureaucrats for the efforts they have contributed. I realize that they are handcuffed and restricted from using the tools and environment in which they are working. However, I am confident that they worked tirelessly and that they did their best to make as good a deal for Canada as they could.

Frustratingly, along the way there were some serious missteps that made this process even more difficult. For example, let us take the time that the Prime Minister went to New York City, President Trump's hometown, to deliver a commencement speech at a university. Naturally, he took some time for a photo op, which was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine during this visit. I do not ever expect to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, but I am sure that is quite an accomplishment. To further exacerbate the situation, the article in Rolling Stone magazine portrayed the Prime Minister as an opponent of the president, making the whole trip seem like it was nothing more than an opportunity to poke the President of the United States in the eye. Why would the Prime Minister risk insulting the president right in the middle of tough negotiations with his country when Canadian jobs were on the line?

I have had the opportunity to negotiate many deals in business over the years. I have learned over the years that the best way to make a good deal is to make a connection with the person we are dealing with, develop a relationship of mutual trust and respect and not to try to provoke and intimidate the person and think that we will end up walking away with a fair and equitable deal.

Understandably, the missteps and challenges of this renegotiation have left the agreement with certain shortfalls. I am talking about the Liberals' sellout of our supply management farmers and aluminum producers. Then there were the missed opportunities, such as failing to address the softwood lumber dispute, failing to respond to the buy America clause and failing to move to update the list of professionals eligible for temporary business entry to reflect the 21st century economy, just to name a few examples.

When President Trump signed the agreement at the White House last week, he called the CUSMA the “largest, fairest, most balanced and modern trade agreement ever achieved.” In Canada, the Liberals have not used that same terminology, and I do not think that they appear nearly as confident that we got an agreement that is as fair, balanced and modern as they would have liked. I think that this recognition shows in the way they comment on this particular agreement.

Despite these realities, with Canada's economy slowing and vulnerable, a lack of access to U.S. markets would further weaken business investments and exports. Free trade with our southern neighbour represents opportunities for all Canadians, and we need to embrace those opportunities even as we work to resolve the problems the Liberals have created with this agreement.

Here on this side of the House, the Conservative Party is proud to be the party of trade. It was of course a Conservative government that developed the first free trade agreement with the United States in the first place, generating increased economic activity and jobs for the last few decades.

The United States is our largest trading partner, with roughly $2 billion in bilateral trade per day crossing our international borders. This represents 75% of all Canadian exports. In fact, since the time NAFTA was introduced, more than five million jobs have been created. The total trilateral trade, when we include Mexico, has increased fourfold, to $1.2 trillion annually. Therefore, the Conservatives recognize there is a lot of potential for continued growth, continued investment and continued prosperity with a strong agreement in place.

Like all Canadians, I want the best deal for our families, the best deal for our workers and the best deal for our businesses. Having a free trade agreement in place is important, but it has to do right by Canadians. After the Liberal mismanagement, the reality is that the CUSMA will cost taxpayer money. We need to now ensure that the sectors and industries in areas of our economy and businesses that have been left behind by this agreement have a soft landing.

Allow me for a moment to speak about supply management, for example, for dairy, chicken, eggs, egg products, turkey and broiler hatching eggs.

My riding in Manitoba is home to the largest concentration of supply management farmers in the province. It goes without saying that these folks really are not just farmers. They are pillars in southeast Manitoba communities. They are heavily involved in communities. They are employers. They are what make my constituency of Provencher the most generous constituency in all of Canada when we look at Statistics Canada's numbers for charitable donations, second only to Abbotsford. We are very proud.

Part of the success of being noted as a very charitable riding comes from the fact that our supply management sector contributes heavily to that. However, these folks, unfortunately, have been left behind by the Liberal government. The Liberals agreed to open up 3.6% of the Canadian market to increase dairy imports in this new agreement. That is more than what was even agreed to under the TPP.

When it comes to supply management, we need to remember that under the TPP, the United States was part of that access into our markets. Instead of backing that out when the Americans withdrew from the TPP agreement and we eventually signed the CPTPP, we left that market access in for Asian countries. Now, in addition to that, the Americans have tacked on additional 3.6% market access, really taking that market away from our Canadian producers. I am sure our supply management folks do not view this as a new and improved NAFTA agreement.

Under the CUSMA, Canada will adopt tariff rate quotas providing U.S. dairy farmers with access to Canada's dairy market. That includes milk, concentrated milk and milk powders, cream and cream powder, buttermilk and even ice cream. The CUSMA also dictates specific thresholds for Canadian milk protein concentrates, skim milk and infant formula. When export thresholds for these are exceeded, Canada will be obligated to add duties to the exports that are in excess, making them even more expensive.

Our dairy farmers have anticipated annual losses of $190 million, an additional $50 million on export caps. On top of that, our dairy processors have estimated that their losses will be $300 million to $350 million annually. That is significant and is a lot of money that needs to be made up.

Our chicken farmers are going to experience challenges as well. Under the new agreement, Canada will allow 47,000 metric tons of chicken to enter the country duty-free from the United States. That begins in the very first year, once the deal has been ratified, and will increase to almost 63,000 metric tons annually of chicken coming in from the United States.

The Conservatives are, nonetheless, a party of free trade and we need to find a path forward. A majority of major industry associations want the House to ratify the deal. No one was really looking for these changes, but we are faced with them regardless. I am certainly very clear-eyed looking at the contents of a new CUSMA, but the importance of free trade to so many industries and so many jobs in the country means we simply cannot walk away.

The Conservatives will be there to hold the Liberals accountable and ensure that those negatively impacted by this agreement will have the tools they need to succeed in the aftermath.

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Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague talk about his concerns with the Prime Minister after the President of the United States clearly said that renegotiating NAFTA was his number one priority and that he was going to do it, come hell or high water.

The Prime Minister said that he was willing to negotiate and to meet with the President on those terms. Was there a way the Conservatives could have avoided President Trump renegotiating? There seemed to be a suggestion in the hon. member's presentation that the Liberal government should have refused to talk to President Trump, should have refused to renegotiate and should have refused to meet the President on his terms. Quite clearly this was the President's number one priority heading into office. Now it appears to be the number one claim the President makes to his legacy.

How were the Conservatives going to avoid dealing with President Trump if he insisted on ripping up the old agreement?

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Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, I was at home in my riding this past weekend. My grandson told me he had been invited to the principal's office. When I asked him why, he said that one of his friends was getting beat up, so he decided to help him out. The principal promptly advised him that unless things were really lopsided and his friend was in severe danger, that maybe next time he should just leave him alone.

When President Trump was elected, he made it very clear that he was unhappy with Mexico's position in the existing NAFTA agreement. Many lucrative manufacturing jobs and businesses were migrating south into Mexico, where there were poorer working conditions, the worker was not looked after and wages were low. This put it at competitiveness advantage to the United States. That was his primary target in wanting to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement.

Canada was not on the radar initially. It was Mexico that was particularly troublesome to President Trump. When the Prime Minister heard the interaction between President Trump and the President of Mexico, he said that he was very happy to renegotiate. It should have never happened.

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Bloc

Michel Boudrias Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Madam Speaker, it was really interesting to listen to my colleague's speech.

The Conservative Party is talking about concerns over threats to Canadian sovereignty from U.S. protectionism, which make the negotiations that much more complex and difficult. Common concerns are being voiced from east to west regarding supply management and aluminum. However, both main parties say they are going to ratify this agreement.

The Bloc Québécois has proposed constructive solutions for solving these problems, which, as I noticed while listening to my colleague's speech, are having economically disastrous consequences that are trickling down to his own riding.

Over the past few years, in deal after deal, Quebec's interests have been used as a bargaining chip, and Quebec is suffering setbacks. Do members know that, day by day, every setback brings Quebeckers closer to the realization that the only valid solution is to take their decisions into their own hands, by which I mean become sovereign so they can negotiate for themselves, freely and without obstruction?

Ultimately, our colleagues will need to realize that their refusal to act only bolsters our case for sovereignty. I thank them for that.

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Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Madam Speaker, if the member had listened very carefully to my speech, he would have recognized that our position is in response to looking at the whole picture, to looking at all of Canada.

If we look at the different industry associations and farm associations that have petitioned us, they have asked us to sign the agreement, not because it a a great agreement or as good as what they had, but because they need the agreement signed.

I clearly stated during my speech that our bilateral trade between Canada and the United is over $2 billion daily. That is significant. We cannot just say that we are not going to sign the agreement, jeopardizing billions and billions of dollars of international trade. That would do us, and Quebec and its business people and their agricultural sector, incredible harm. This would be a foolish position to take.

We have to look at the whole picture. Yes. it is not as good an agreement as what we had but we need this agreement. We can live with it, and if we know the certainty of the agreement, our industries and our farmers can adapt.

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1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Madam Speaker, since this is the first time I have spoken in this Parliament, I want take this opportunity to thank the residents and families of Mississauga-East—Cooksville. I thank them for their support, their trust, their belief in a better tomorrow and for electing me for a second term. I would be remiss if I did not thank my greatest supporters, my wife Christina and my twin boys, Sebastien and Alexander.

When I get the opportunity to visit schools, I meet many children, such as the young girl who loves science and wants to be our next scientist to discover the cure for cancer or the little boy who loves to plant things in the yard and will be our next farmer who will grow the safe and healthy food we eat. They are why we do this work, for them.

We do this work for the seniors who have toiled and worked so hard to build our country. We want to support them with a life of dignity and respect. We do this work for some of our newest Canadians, so they have the opportunity to contribute fully and fulfill their Canadian dreams.

I am not alone with these desires. I have heard them from all members of Parliament from all sides of the House.

An intersection in my riding of Mississauga-East—Cooksville, at Hurontario and Dundas, is called the four corners. At any time of day, people from the four corners of the world will be at that intersection. They have come to Canada to share and contribute to our goals and values, those of peace, democracy, freedom, fairness of the rule of law, safety, security, opportunity, teamwork, friendship and trust, all the things we value as Canadians. It is the same values that brought all of us to Canada, and our forefathers.

I will take everybody back to the U.S. election debates of 2016, when the threat of ripping up NAFTA came to light. That existential threat soon became real. Our country was seized with this new reality and we rose to the challenge. We became a unified force, team Canada. The Canadian people, the industry and labour sectors, all levels of government, indigenous people and all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, manufacturing and environment, worked together to protect and enhance this agreement.

Canadians believed in the plan. Canadians believed in the process. Canadians ultimately believed in the goal. The goal was to have a win-win-win agreement. Canadians believed that was possible, and we made it possible.

I want to thank the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister for their work in bringing all members of the House together, across the aisle and on this side. We understood how big and important this was.

I appreciate the opportunity I had to be on the international trade committee, to criss-cross the country and listen to Canadians and stakeholders. We received 47,000 submissions on the new NAFTA to ensure that this agreement was good for Canada and Canadians and that we could all prosper through free and fair trade.

That did not only happen here. We went to the United States, through our committee and ministers' offices. Many members here had the opportunity to speak to senators and representatives, We were able to share with our friends, the Americans, how important this agreement was, not only to us but to the U.S. and Mexico, to create this trading block that has brought so much prosperity to all of us.

I want to thank Steve Verheul and the amazing negotiators we have in Canada, who were at the table and did not give an inch when it came to our values. They understood that we were open to change, to making things better and to modernizing this agreement, which is what we did. We did it through the voices of the House, through stakeholders, through much consultation and through listening to people.

That is the difference with this agreement, which has put Canada in an enviable place, being the only G7 country to have agreements with the Pacific Rim, Europe and North America. This agreement covers 1.5 billion people. In this economic region, we are talking about $23 trillion, with $2 billion going between the United States and Canada every single day.

This agreement touches everyone in a good way. It is a progressive agreement that takes into account indigenous peoples, our cultural sector, the environment and our labour sector, many things that others never thought could be touched. However, we took a progressive approach to this agreement. Through that plan, that process and the belief that this was the right way to do things, we were able to achieve this good agreement for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

That is why I am so proud of the work all of us have done. I say that to both sides of the aisles, because the input that came from the opposition, and many of those who were skeptical, was important. It helped shape the agreement to what it is today, and much of that input was brought into the agreement.

In my riding of Mississauga-East—Cooksville, having met with stakeholders, small businesses and some bigger enterprises, I have heard positive reactions regarding supply chains and the many workers they employ. People are saying that we got it done.

It was difficult. At many times, we did not know if this agreement would happen, but we have reached an agreement. We are at a stage right now where we must all come together again in this Parliament. We come together because it is an opportunity for us to debate the agreement and talk about the many wins and benefits that will come to Canadians in all different sectors, but also an opportunity to think about and discuss the fact that we have a very good agreement for Canadians.

I have heard some of the debates, as well as some of the questions that have been asked and answered by members. I always look at the glass as being half full. I have heard about things that we could do in the future that may be better, and I agree: We can always do better. Better is always possible. We know that. The opportunity to debate and hear from members about how we can make things better in the future is terrific.

At this time, we also need to come together and understand that there has been a significant amount of listening, working and toiling by all of us. We have to get this agreement past the finish line for the prosperity of all Canadians and businesses, so that we can bring them the stability they have been looking for, for a very long time. This modernized agreement is good for Canadians. It is going to provide the predictability and stability that businesses and workers need.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, it is always good to stand in the House and stand up for my riding of Cariboo—Prince George. However, it will not surprise my hon. colleague across the way that I am going to stand up for all the forestry workers and the hard-working forestry families from the province of British Columbia. Over 140,000 jobs, either directly or indirectly, are tied to forestry, and 140 communities are forestry-dependent.

In the last year, we have lost 10,000 jobs, yet there was not one mention of forestry in the Speech from the Throne, and forestry could not have been thrown in or a new softwood lumber agreement could not have been thrown into the CUSMA. My simple question is why.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Madam Speaker, I feel for those forestry workers, for their families. They have been unjustly and unfairly hurt by what is happening with this dispute when it comes to softwood lumber. It has gone before the courts many a time, five times, and Canada has won every single time.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

An hon. member

Seven times.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

I hear, “seven times”, Madam Speaker.

We will win again. We are with our forestry workers, and we will support them through this.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

There will be three minutes and 35 seconds for questions and comments on the member's speech after question period.

Ruth BrewerStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize and celebrate the life of Ruth Brewer of Cavendish, who passed away peacefully in December at age 96.

Ruth's love for and dedication to her community was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. For many years, Ruth was a councillor at Cavendish Resort Municipality, and was a driving force in the growth and success of one of P.E.I.'s most famous destinations.

Well known for her work with children, she was a specialist in early childhood education, particularly with preschool children and those with special needs.

Ruth was a trailblazer and champion for nurse practitioners and rural health clinics in P.E.I., and was responsible for the establishment of the North Rustico Clinic. Ruth lived in the North Rustico lighthouse in the 1960s and 1970s, where she researched and wrote a book on the history of the harbour.

We salute Ruth. Her community and indeed all of Canada are a better place thanks to her life's work. May she rest in peace.

Canadian Walk for VeteransStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak for the first time in the 43rd Parliament as the member for the wonderful riding of South Surrey—White Rock. I thank my husband Brent, my four children, so many amazing volunteers and of course the citizens of my riding who have placed their trust in me to represent them here in Ottawa.

Ours is a vibrant coastal community in southwest B.C., home to the Semiahmoo First Nation. It is also home to the Equitas Society, which supports injured Canadian soldiers suffering lifelong disabilities, who are seeking equity and fairness from the Canadian government and a path back to civilian life after service.

The society sponsors the Canadian Walk for Veterans, to be held nationwide this year on September 26, to engage, inspire and thank our veteran community. I will be joining in and urge all Canadians to also register and show their gratitude.

World Interfaith Harmony WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Madam Speaker, the first week of February, designated by the UN General Assembly as World Interfaith Harmony Week, WIHW, is celebrating its 10th year. The City of Toronto has proclaimed the week of Feb 1 to 7 as WIHW week. The theme for 2020 is harmony in diversity. This is a very appropriate topic in today's world where, through misunderstanding, there is anger and hatred against the other.

I would like to thank the chair of the Toronto WIHW, John Voorpostel, for his leadership in gathering people of all faiths through dialogue, music, culture and art to show the world that peace and harmony can exist irrespective of faith, culture or creed.

I was fortunate to attend St. Philip's Lutheran Church this Sunday and present a certificate to Mr. Chander Khanna for his contribution to interfaith dialogue.

I say salaam and peace to all.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marie-Hélène Gaudreau Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, we are celebrating Black History Month, as we do every February. Throughout the month, we will be making statements in the House to recognize influential members of Quebec's black community.

The theme is “Here and now”. With those words, we hope to bring to light the concerns of our fellow citizens who are black, because black lives matter here, too.

We want to take a stand for fair and equitable treatment in every segment of our society, and we are calling for better representation of the black community in the media and in politics.

As the Bloc Québécois spokesperson on communal harmony, I would like to begin this month by paying special tribute to my colleagues from the black community. They are role models for black youth, and we need more of them among us in order to have better representation in this democratic institution.

Port of MontrealStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anju Dhillon Liberal Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 6, I had the honour of attending a ceremony on behalf of the Minister of Transport at which a gold-headed cane was presented to Captain Qin Xiao Fei, master of the Exeborg, the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2020.

The Port of Montreal is Canada's second-largest port and a major economic driver for my riding, the city of Montreal, the province of Quebec and the rest of Canada. That is why our government has invested in several projects to improve its productivity. For the first time in its history, the Port of Montreal passed the milestone of 40 million tonnes of cargo handled.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the president and CEO of the Port of Montreal, Sylvie Vachon, along with her team and pilots from the Corporation of Mid St. Lawrence Pilots, for their hard work.

Charitable GivingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are generous people. Recently, for the 16th year in a row, Abbotsford—Mission was named the most charitable region of Canada. The average annual donation to charity in my community was an astonishing $840 per person. Abbotsford is home to numerous charities and faith communities, including the Cyrus Centre, LIFE Recovery, Food for the Hungry and MCC, all of which support the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

Recently an Abbotsford man took generosity to a whole new level by offering to give the gift of life. Local hotdog vendor, Andrew “Skully” White, heard that one of his customers was very sick and desperately needed a new kidney. Skully bravely stepped forward and is in the process of donating one of his own kidneys to save his customer's life.

I thank all Canadians who sacrificially give of themselves and their resources to make our world a better place.

International DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week marks the 30th anniversary of International Development Week, under the theme “Go for the Goals”, referring to the United Nations 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

I recently visited a Canadian-funded project in Tanzania with Results Canada, where I saw aid investments improve children's health and well-being. Thanks to the investments made by the Government of Canada through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, one municipality in in Dar es Salaam was able to immunize 91% of children with life-saving vaccines against devastating diseases like polio. Canada has been a leader in polio eradication through its support of the global polio eradication initiative, and we have never been closer to finishing the job. Projects focusing on strengthening the health and well-being of countries like Tanzania through routine immunizations, adequate water and sanitation, and proper nutrition are essential.

This year I encourage all members in the House to “Go for the Goals”.

Laurent Duvernay-TardifStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has added another title to his already impressive resumé: Super Bowl champion. Last night the Kansas City Chiefs won the Vince Lombardi trophy for the first time in 50 years. Duvernay-Tardif became the first Quebecker in the NFL to play in the Super Bowl and the first to win. That is not all. Originally from Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, this McGill med school graduate, who played for the Redmen football team, is also the first active doctor to play in and win the Super Bowl.

I speak on behalf of all members of the House, all Canadians, all Quebeckers and all McGill graduates when I say that we are so proud of Dr. Duvernay-Tardif. Congratulations to him and his family.

AdoptionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, children need love and stability to thrive and become productive citizens. Tens of thousands of Canadian children are currently living in foster care, and our foster agencies across the country are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of kids in care. Some 30,000 children are currently eligible for adoption and are desperately awaiting the love and stability of a forever family.

Sadly, for too many Canadian children this dream never becomes reality. Older children, those with disabilities and indigenous children are less likely to be adopted, many of them aging out of the system without ever realizing the dream, the love and the stability of a forever family.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of Canadian families who open their hearts and homes and share their love as foster and adoptive parents.

I would ask my colleagues of all parties to work together to raise awareness of this important issue, find real solutions and help Canadian kids find their forever homes.

John ForbesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour Sergeant John Forbes, a Second World War veteran who passed away last December.

John joined the army at age 16 and was sent to England in 1940. He landed in Normandy shortly after D-Day and was wounded by a landmine during the advance from Holland to Germany in 1945. Following five months in hospital, he was released and returned to civilian life.

John continued his service by becoming a reserve soldier and helping other veterans in need. He was a strong advocate in schools and the community, and at the age of 96, John was still helping others and promoting commemorations.

He has been recognized many times for his dedicated and long-term service, including with the French Legion of Honour. John will receive the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation posthumously.

Let us never forget that the freedom we are enjoying today in Canada is because of the sacrifice made by people like John Forbes.

Laurent Duvernay-TardifStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the first Quebecker to ever be part of a team's starting lineup in the great church of football has now won Super Bowl LIV.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif accomplished something quite extraordinary. He is an inspiration to our young people. Thanks to his determination, perseverance, discipline and passion, he was able to win football's highest honour. It is important to promote and acknowledge Quebeckers. I invite the Prime Minister to remember the name of this Quebecker: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.

My thoughts are with the parents of this athlete, who stood by him in all his years of training. Young girls and boys in Canada should look up to him and believe in their own potential to achieve their dreams.

In addition to being an exceptional athlete, this francophone, fully bilingual doctor is an excellent ambassador for Canadians on the world stage.

Congratulations, Laurent. You are a true champion.

Freedom of the PressStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government likes to pat itself on the back for openness and transparency, but when we look a bit closer at the man behind the curtain, we see clearly how Orwellian its plans are.

Rather than fixing the problems with the CRTC, in typical Liberal fashion the government is planning on piling more rules and taxes on the backs of the private sector, the creative industry as a whole and of course the taxpayer.

Then there is the issue of press freedom. Andrew Coyne says it best. If the government goes through with its plan, “there won't be a syllable that is breathed or printed...anywhere in this country that does not come under the commission's supervision.”

The heritage minister says media licensing will likely be proportionate, but as in the case of everything under the government, it will likely be a massive failure. I want to remind the Minister of Heritage that Big Brother is just a TV show and not a blueprint for the government.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise on behalf of my caucus colleagues in the NDP in celebration of the black excellence and contribution to Canada of the African diaspora and her descendants.

To those who blazed the trails we followed, I would like to personally thank the likes of the Hon. Lincoln Alexander, the Hon. Jean Augustine, Howard McCurdy, Rosemary Brown and Celina Caesar-Chavannes.

Let it be recorded that Canadians of African descent are in fact all living histories, each an example of the resilience and perseverance of our ancestors, and the present-day embodiment of freedom seekers. Let the record also show our deepest gratitude to those from all backgrounds who continue the proud abolitionist history of Canada to end racism in all of its pernicious forms.

From The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole to Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard to Until We Are Free by Black Lives Matter Toronto, our history continues to be written. However, the question remains, is Canada ready for it to be read?

National Suicide Prevention WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Thériault Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the 30th National Suicide Prevention Week and this year's theme is, "Talking about suicide saves lives". The objective of this prevention week is to rally the public to change the culture around suicide by raising awareness among citizens and decision-makers and also promoting resources to help. I want to take this opportunity to recognize the work of all mental health workers, which has resulted in a decrease in suicides in Quebec.

Nevertheless, 12 in 100,000 people still take this fatal step and 75% of them are men. Twenty years ago, we believed that there was nothing we could do about suicide. Now we know that it is a preventable cause of death. Every suicide is a failure on the part of our society. The first thing each one of us must do is talk openly about suicide and, above all, listen.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

February 3rd, 2020 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, Black History Month is a time to celebrate, recognize and remember the significant contributions made by black Canadians to build our great country. From Hogan's Alley in Vancouver to Africville north of Halifax, black Canadians have a rich culture and generations-long history and have persevered through adversity and discrimination to thrive in Canada.

Our party is home to many trailblazers who have served our country with distinction, like Lincoln Alexander, Canada's first black member of Parliament, cabinet minister and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Closer to home, the 2019 Manitoba provincial election saw three MLAs of black heritage elected to the legislature for the very first time, including my friend and former colleague, Audrey Gordon, MLA for Southdale. Their elections are points of pride for Manitoba's strong black Canadian communities.

I will give a special acknowledgement to my constituent Devon Clunis, who rose through the ranks of the Winnipeg Police Service over his 29-year career to become Canada's first police chief of black heritage.

My colleagues and I look forward to celebrating Black History Month across this country.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, as you know, February is Black History Month. This is a great opportunity to celebrate and recognize the contributions black Canadians have made to our great country.

History is not static, and awareness is the only way that history can remain fluid. For example, did members know that in 1800, Philemon Wright, the so-called founder of our national capital region, was accompanied by London Oxford and his family? As we can see, the contributions of black Canadians are well known in Canada. Our history is full of such examples.

Our history is full of contributions by black Canadians, and I urge all Canadians and parliamentarians to celebrate Black History Month.

Happy Black History Month to one and all.

News Media IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage proposed the creation of new regulations for the media and the way news is disseminated online. He went as far as to say that the government was going to define what sources of information are trustworthy and issue licences to the media. When faced with the public's outrage, the minister only created more confusion.

Can the Prime Minister confirm that these ideas will never see the light of day on his watch?

News Media IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we believe in a strong, free and independent press.

The report we received proposes to exempt news media from licensing requirements. I want to be unequivocal: We will not impose licensing requirements on news organizations, nor will we regulate news content.

Our focus is on ensuring that Canadians have access to high-quality, credible news. We are currently studying the recommendations of this report.

News Media IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four was supposed to be a cautionary tale about the evils of big government, not an instruction manual for the Prime Minister.

It is no wonder that Canadians are suspicious about this. This is the same Prime Minister who has admiration for China's basic dictatorship; the same Prime Minister who heaped praise on Fidel Castro, a man who was responsible for the deaths of millions; and of course, he put Jerry Dias on a panel to decide which news organizations will get cash.

In today's press conference, the minister actually said that media organizations—

News Media IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The right hon. Prime Minister.

News Media IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we believe in a strong, free and independent press. The third party report we received proposes to exempt news media from licensing requirements. I want to be unequivocal: We will not impose licensing requirements on news organizations, nor will we regulate news content. Our focus is on ensuring—

News Media IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

News Media IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I want to remind hon. members that it is one question at a time. Therefore, while someone is giving an answer, we cannot throw questions across and expect answers. Let us try to keep this as orderly as possible.

The right hon. Prime Minister.

News Media IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, as always, our focus is on ensuring Canadians have access to diverse, high-quality and credible news. We are currently studying the recommendations of this report.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is understandable why the Liberals would want to control the news because the news is getting increasingly bleak about the government's economic performance. Forecasts are consistently being downgraded and the Prime Minister keeps moving the yardstick on how to measure his own mismanagement. First, the promise was to have a small, temporary deficit. When that did not work out, then it was going to be that the debt-to-GDP ratio never changed. Now, his new justification is that the country's credit rating is still okay. That is like saying that the credit card company keeps increasing the limit.

When will the Prime Minister realize that this is a recipe for disaster?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite wants to talk about measurements. How about over a million new jobs created over the past four years? How about close to a million Canadians lifted out of poverty? How about 300,000-plus kids lifted out of poverty?

As opposed to the stubborn years of low growth under the Harper Conservatives, we have invested in our communities, grown our economy, and created opportunities and a real and fair chance for Canadians to succeed. That is what this government has done.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the facts are exactly the opposite. Under our government, we saw growth in the private sector. Under the current government, we see growth in wasteful government spending. We look at our partners around the world and growth is higher in over half the G7 countries than it is here at home in Canada. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has confirmed that the billions booked in infrastructure spending did not have a single bit of impact on the GDP.

When will the Prime Minister realize that a high-tax, wasteful-spending agenda will hurt Canada's economy?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives consistently try to twist the truth, but the reality is that we lowered taxes for the middle class, which was the very first thing we did, and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1%. We also moved forward, as promised, as our first thing in this new mandate, with lowering taxes ever further for the middle class.

The average Canadian family is $2,000 better off today than they were under Stephen Harper, and it is because we choose to invest in Canadians and invest in our future.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, real wage growth was up under the previous Conservative government. Wages are barely keeping pace with inflation. GDP growth is barely keeping pace with population growth. Foreign investment is down. Bankruptcies and insolvencies are up.

However, it is good news if one is a well-connected Liberal insider. We have now learned that Mastercard's senior lobbyist is a former Liberal adviser who made numerous contributions to the Liberal Party.

Can the Prime Minister confirm that Mastercard's lobbyist and its connections to the Liberal Party helped it get the $50-million grant from Canadian taxpayers?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this investment is an investment in Canadians' welfare and Canadian jobs. It supports a new, world-class cybersecurity centre in Vancouver. It will create hundreds of good jobs and protect Canadians from cyberthreats in an increasingly digital world.

Just in September, someone said, “It is vital, that the government adopt new policies and keep up with technology to make sure that Canadians—their money and their personal information—is protected.” Who said that? It was the Leader of the Opposition.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has less than a month to say yes or no to Frontier, Teck's mega-polluting megaproject. The project means 260,000 barrels a day and four million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year for 40 years. That is what is on the table. Many trees will have to be planted if we still want to meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets. The government has a choice to make.

The question is simple: Will it choose the Frontier project or the fight against climate change?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadians elected us to protect the environment, grow the economy, advance reconciliation and create good jobs. They also expect fair and thorough environmental assessments.

Cabinet will be making its decision on this project soon, based on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. We are considering a number of factors, including our commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, promoting reconciliation, creating good jobs for the middle class, and growing the economy while protecting the environment.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, unless the Prime Minister is an environmentalist in name only, he should drop the rhetoric and start taking real action. He should have the courage of his alleged convictions. Rejecting the Teck Frontier project would be a good start. Approving it would be a total disaster. This project will release 160 megatonnes of greenhouse gases over its 40-year life span. That is twice the amount of greenhouse gases that Quebec emits in a year.

Will this government say no to a project that is harmful to Quebec, harmful to Canada and harmful to the entire planet?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I always find it a little ironic to hear the Bloc Québécois talking about action over rhetoric. We on this side of the House are taking action. We are banning single-use plastics. We are putting a price on pollution across the country. We are protecting a record amount of land and ocean areas to ensure a better future. We are making progress towards our Paris targets, and we are going to keep protecting the environment while creating jobs across the country.

That is the kind of action we on this side of the House are taking.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is bragging about Canada's reputation on the world stage but is refusing to condemn Trump's new Middle East policy, which will legitimize the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, exacerbate tensions and complicate a peaceful solution. Rather than denouncing the plan, the Liberals want to study it. There is nothing to study. This plan will not help the two parties negotiate lasting peace or put an end to the injustices faced by Palestinians.

When will the government denounce Donald Trump's new policy?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada's policy regarding the Middle East has been established for a long time and is very clear. We are committed to a two-state solution negotiated directly by the two parties involved. That takes a safe and democratic Israel and a safe and democratic Palestine. We are still working toward this goal in a reasonable way with our partners in the region and throughout the world.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, time and time again, we learn more about the Liberal government's will to bend over backward for large corporations instead of working for Canadians. The U.S. has levelled Volkswagen $20 billion in fines for breaking the law, whereas in Canada the government is bragging about a $2.5-million fine. This is after Export Development Canada loaned Volkswagen $525 million to build vehicles in other countries while carrying out its environmental crimes. What an embarrassment.

Why do lobbyists and insiders always win with the Prime Minister's government?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this investigation, all related prosecution matters and the judge's approval of the penalty are made independently of ministers' offices. The company paid an unprecedented fine in Canada as a result of the investigation. Indeed, it was 23 times greater than the highest federal environmental fine ever imposed.

The Public Prosecution Service determines what charges can be sustained, and it has sole jurisdiction to pursue a prosecution. Funds from the fine will go toward projects that protect our environment.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Mr. Speaker, the World Health Organization has called the coronavirus a global health emergency. Other countries are taking proactive measures by declaring a public health emergency. Other countries are cancelling all flights into and out of China. The United States said it is implementing these measures to increase its ability to detect and contain the coronavirus.

Why has Canada not done the same?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the situation around coronavirus has, indeed, been declared a world public health emergency. Here in Canada we have very different processes in place than in the United States. For example, we do not need to call a public health emergency here because we already have the structures, the systems and the authorities to spend appropriate dollars necessary to respond, treat and maintain our public health systems.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are now four confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Canada. We have learned that Canadians in China will be brought back to Canada and placed under quarantine. However, we asked many times what had been done for passengers on flight CZ311, on which the two first cases were detected. Unfortunately the government has yet to respond.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether all passengers from flight CZ311 have been contacted? Do we know where they are? What is being done to make sure they do not have the coronavirus?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to correct the record. I have said in this House that all 27 passengers that were undergoing contact tracing have, in fact, been found and do not have the virus. There are no other confirmed cases in Canada at this time. We continue to work very closely with our local, provincial and territorial partners to make sure that we continue the process of screening, detection, isolation in the instance of a case and further reporting mechanisms.

Consular AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Leona Alleslev Conservative Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are watching the government with anticipation and disappointment as the flight that they were told would bring Canadians home from China has yet to take off. The U.K., the U.S., EU countries, Japan and South Korea have all been successful in evacuating their citizens affected by the coronavirus from China. What is the hold up? Is the delay in evacuation due to the disastrous state of Canada-China relations?

When will the government be able to set a date for the flight to get Canadian citizens in China home?

Consular AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, to answer the question of my colleague, the answer is not at all.

Once there is an emergency, the first thing that needs to be done is to assess the needs, and this is what we did. The second thing to do is to charter a plane, and this is what we did. What we are working on now is in respect to authorization and organizing the ground logistics. We will be there for Canadians who want to be repatriated, and I will inform Canadians at every step of the way what this government is doing for them.

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage is trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, but that is not working.

The Liberals are trying to control the media and journalists. They tried to buy journalists off with a $600-million subsidy, but that was not enough. Yesterday the minister said that he would impose licences on news organizations. Big Brother has nothing on him.

When will the Minister of Canadian Heritage stop indulging in these undemocratic whims and start looking after the cultural sector?

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our government will always support a strong, free and independent press. My colleague from Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis said last week that the report was interesting and that he welcomed it.

Unlike the Conservatives, we will work to ensure that our cultural policy is not defined in Hollywood, but rather here, by Canadians and Quebeckers.

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have seen a jaw-dropping erosion of rights under the Liberal government, for example, Bill C-76, which rigged election rules in the Liberals' favour, and the $600-million bailout of selected struggling newspapers.

Now the Liberals have embraced the shocking recommendation to license media companies, an Orwellian tool used by ruthless authoritarian governments. Are the Liberals so desperate to cling to power they would emulate dystopian societies in Russia, China, North Korea and Iran?

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the report, done by an independent body, which we received last week specifically said that news media should be exempted from licence requirements. Let me be clear on our intentions. Our government will not plan to impose licensing requirements on news organizations. We will—

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Order. I am having a hard time hearing the hon. minister. I want everyone to maybe take a deep breath.

The hon. minister.

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault Liberal Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, nor will we regulate news content.

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, both the minister and the Prime Minister have said that certain news media outlets will be exempt from their licences, which means that there are licences to be exempt from. There should be no restrictions on freedom of speech or freedom of the press.

On this side of the House, we will protect Canadians' hard-won freedoms. Why will the super-woke government not do the same?

Media IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Liberal

Steven Guilbeault LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our government will always support a strong, free and independent press. Let me repeat what I have already said. The report we received from an independent panel recommends that news media be exempted for licence requirements. I want to be clear about our intentions: Our government will not impose licensing requirements on news organizations, nor will we regulate news content.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the proposed Teck Frontier oil sands mine will produce at least four million tonnes of greenhouse gas every year for 40 years. That is like putting an extra one million cars on our roads or driving from Vancouver to Montreal and back four million times.

During the election campaign, the Prime Minister promised that Canada would be carbon neutral by 2050.

The Frontier mine is going to pollute until at least 2067, so will the government show some consistency and say no to this project?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, the government will take many factors into account in making a decision about this project. Among other things, it will take into account our promise to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, work toward reconciliation, create good jobs and grow our economy. This is a major project that our government is examining very closely. As required by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, a decision will be made by the end of February.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Teck Frontier project will lead us straight into disaster. The government claims it will offset the oil sands' greenhouse gas emissions by planting two billion trees. Let's do the math. Those two billion trees will reduce greenhouse gases by 30 megatonnes within 10 years. The Frontier project alone would increase emissions by 40 megatonnes over the same period, and that is not even counting the entire oil industry or the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Will the government stop treating us like dummies and say no to the Frontier project?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, as I said, there is a process. We are currently working very hard to come to a decision by the end of February. Environmental effects will, of course, have a major impact on that decision.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I keep getting the same answer so I will try my luck with the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

I completely agreed with him when he was on Tout le monde en parle two weeks ago and said that every minister is responsible for climate change. I completely agree with that assessment. His office is getting ready to make a decision on the Teck Frontier oil sands mine, which is projected to produce 160 megatonnes of greenhouse gases in its lifetime.

Will the minister ask his colleagues to forget about Teck's Frontier project?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague said, every MP and every department has a responsibility to think about climate change. This is a very important issue for all Canadians, especially young people. It is something we must work on and think about when we make decisions on any project including this one.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Mr. Speaker, the project being proposed by Teck Resources would create 9,500 jobs for Canadians and generate tens of billions of dollars for our economy. While the Liberals are eager to meet with foreign-funded environmental activists, they have not yet had meaningful consultations with stakeholders in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Will the Prime Minister agree to meet with the municipality of Wood Buffalo and the key stakeholders regarding the pending decision on the Frontier project?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, this government was elected on a platform of ensuring that we have appropriate processes in place and that we follow those processes. This is an environmental assessment process. We are following the process to make a decision before the end of February.

During that process, extensive consultations were undertaken by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The cabinet will now need to weigh all the various considerations and look at all the environmental impacts in order to make a decision.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, in July, after eight years of an evidence-based review, experts did recommend approval of the Teck Frontier mine. It checks every box with world-class environmental practices, and every local indigenous community and every local municipality supporting it.

Each Alberta oil sands job creates 3.2 jobs in the rest of Canada, but the Liberals are holding hostage 10,000 much-needed jobs in Alberta after 200,000 losses there already under them. No wonder Alberta says this decision is a national unity issue.

When will the Liberals approve Teck Frontier?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, this is a project like any other project that goes through a process. It is governed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. We are mandated to review the environmental impacts of all of those projects. The process is proceeding as it is intended to do so.

The hon. member should read the law. This is entirely within the process and we will be making a decision by the end of February.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Teck Frontier oil sands projects is good for Canadians from coast to coast. It will create nearly 10,000 jobs and inject $20 billion into the Canadian economy. Everything has been done by the book. Everything that was supposed to be done was done properly. All the steps were followed. The 14 first nations directly affected by the project have endorsed it. All the provincial and federal regulatory requirements have been fulfilled. Everything is in place. There is just one thing missing: the federal government's approval.

Why is the Liberal Party once again standing in the way of appropriate development of all of Canada's natural resources?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the government will take a number of factors into account in making a decision about this project, such as our promises to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, work toward reconciliation and create good jobs. This is a major project that our government is examining very closely. As required by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, a decision will be made by the end of February.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, this House unanimously passed an NDP motion to help veterans by automatically carrying forward unspent funds to the following year. This did not happen.

Last year alone, the Liberal government shortchanged veterans by $381 million. While the department is facing staggering backlogs of disability claims and failing on more than half of its service standards, veterans are struggling to get their basic needs met.

Why is the government breaking promises to our veterans?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I know my hon. colleague cares.

The fact is that our benefits are demand-driven. This means that the money is always there for veterans. We are not leaving any money unspent. We are making sure that the money is always available.

In Veterans Affairs, our job is to improve our benefits and care for our veterans. I can assure my hon. colleague that is what we are doing, and that is what we will continue to do.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, over $100 million this year alone was left on the table. When we know veterans are struggling every day to get some of their key supports met, we know that we have to see the government do better.

I want to repeat that there was a unanimous motion where we all agreed, across every party in the House, to take care of veterans who we know are on wait-lists, waiting for the immediate services that they need now. We know that the service standards are not even close to meeting their targets, and we know that workers are getting burnt out every single day.

Why does this money continue to be left on the table?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, again, my hon. colleague truly cares, but in fact we have hired quite a number of case workers. In fact, the previous government had fired most of them. We now have over 500 case workers.

As I indicated, our programs would be demand-driven, and the money—

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am having a hard time hearing the answer, and I am about 20 feet away from the hon. member.

I am sure the folks down at the other end are having a harder time, so I am just going to ask the hon. members to maybe keep it down and whisper to each other. I am sure, as we get older, we have a hard time hearing and they are shouting so that the person next to them can hear.

Believe me, it is not that bad.

The hon. minister.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, we had a lot of work to do when we formed government. Along with that we invested $10 billion in veterans' benefits.

As I said before, we have and will continue to make sure that our veterans in this country are cared for.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sven Spengemann Liberal Mississauga—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, plastic pollution is a growing problem in our communities. Plastic waste ends up in our landfills, litters our parks and beaches, and pollutes our rivers, lakes and oceans. Canadians across the country, including the residents of Mississauga—Lakeshore, have made it clear that they want action.

Could the Minister of Environment and Climate Change please update the House on what the government is doing to tackle plastic pollution?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Liberal

Jonathan Wilkinson LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Mississauga—Lakeshore for his advocacy on this issue.

Last week, our government released a robust science assessment of plastic pollution, which confirms that plastic pollution is harming our environment. In the coming weeks, we will announce next steps under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. This will include steps toward a ban on harmful single-use plastics in 2021, and broader strategies to manage the life cycle of plastics. By tackling plastic pollution, we can seize on the economic opportunity of the circular economy and protect our environment.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, farmers are trying to recover from last year's devastating harvest, but the carbon tax is only making it harder. Today, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan released some stunning numbers. They predict that our farmers will lose, on average, 12% of their total net income because of the carbon tax. For an average Saskatchewan grain farm, that means losing up to $15,000 in revenue. The Liberals' farm-killing carbon tax threatens the livelihood of Canadian farm families.

Why are the Liberals so intent on bankrupting farmers with their carbon tax?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Compton—Stanstead Québec

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the agricultural producers of Saskatchewan for providing me with additional information.

We recognize that 2019 was a very difficult year for them and all the farmers across Canada. It was challenging because of trade disruption and climate, as well. I am always open to listen to more information. I am working hard with my provincial colleagues, as well as with the industry, to find optimal practical solutions to support our farmers.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, it has been trying because the Liberal policies are crushing Canadian agriculture.

The previous Liberal agriculture minister said that farmers were fully supportive of the carbon tax. The current Liberal agriculture minister does not seem to really care. She has admitted she is not even collecting data on the carbon tax and how it impacts Canadian farmers. The Liberal carbon tax is costing Canadian farmers tens of thousands of dollars. The APAS president, Todd Lewis, says that it is comparable to having 12% of one's paycheque just disappear.

Why is the Liberal agriculture minister standing idly by while the carbon tax bankrupts Canadian farm families?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Compton—Stanstead Québec

Liberal

Marie-Claude Bibeau LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, once again I want to thank the agricultural producers of Saskatchewan for sharing this information with me, which I received today. We stand by our farmers. We know that 2019 was a difficult year. We have done important work on improving our business risk management tools, and we are working as well with our provincial colleagues and with the industry.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, Marylène Levesque was murdered by a man who was known for his violence against women. Not only was he convicted for murdering his wife, but he also had been banned from visiting Ms. Levesque's place of work due to his history of violence. What is truly shocking is that the Parole Board of Canada endorsed a society reintegration strategy that allowed him to meet women in order to address his “sexual needs”.

Will the minister fire the parole officer who put this man's “sexual needs” over the safety of women in his community?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as we have said, the tragic murder of Ms. Levesque should never have occurred, and that is exactly why we have ordered a thorough investigation with external advisers to take place and to determine all of the circumstances that gave rise to this tragedy. The investigation will be transparent, the findings will be shared with the public and our first priority will always be to keep Canadians safe. We will work tirelessly to prevent similar tragedies from ever occurring again.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is not that much to investigate. It is right there in black and white: Parole Board members gave this killer permission to see escorts. Government-appointed board members gave him that permission. We asked the Prime Minister to fire them. What is he waiting for?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, in fact, last September, the Parole Board of Canada explicitly opposed letting this particular accused visit massage parlours while on day parole. That is why it is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation to examine whether Correctional Service Canada and the Parole Board of Canada followed the proper protocol, and what changes may be appropriate to prevent this from occurring again. We will get the facts and then we will hold individuals and organizations to account.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has spoken a great deal about its concerns with respect to the failure to protect Quebec's aluminum in CUSMA.

Naturally, jobs and economic impacts were mentioned, but we are also concerned because, in light of climate change, the whole world should be using Quebec aluminum. It is the greenest aluminum in the world and there is a risk that it will be replaced on the North American market by the dirtiest aluminum in the world.

How could the government agree to jeopardize our aluminum for the benefit of China's?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we did not agree to that.

I must point out that the new NAFTA is a good agreement for Canada, Quebec and our aluminum sector. Today, we have no guarantee for the aluminum used in North American auto manufacturing. Under the new NAFTA we will have a guarantee that 70% of the aluminum used is sourced in North America. I believe that 70% is better than nothing.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the lack of protection for Quebec aluminum in CUSMA is putting the brakes on six investment projects in Quebec at a time when the industry is on the verge of producing the first carbon neutral aluminum in the world. It is a complete revolution.

This lack of protection is benefiting China, which uses coal to produce 90% of its aluminum and produces eight times more greenhouse gas emissions than Quebec's aluminum industry. The government is penalizing the head of the class and favouring the worst student.

Why is the government depriving Quebec of a golden business opportunity in an era of climate change?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, with regard to Quebec and the new NAFTA, I want to quote the Premier of Quebec, Mr. Legault, who said, “I think that the Bloc must defend the interests of Quebeckers, and it is in the interests of Quebeckers that this agreement be adopted and ratified”.

I think it is the duty of all members from Quebec to stand up for the interests of Quebec. In order to do that, they must ratify the new NAFTA, which is in the interests of Quebec and all of Canada.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2019 the Liberals left $105 million meant for veterans unspent. This, despite the Prime Minister promising he would not do so if elected, and after telling Canadian veterans that they were asking for more than the government could give.

How much of this $105 million would have been given to veterans if they were not trapped in the benefits backlog boondoggle of the Liberal government's making?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's question, but I wish the member for Brantford—Brant had that feeling when the Conservative government was in power. In fact, when the Conservatives were in power, they fired 1,000 employees, which really cut and hurt the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Our government invested $10 billion in the Department of Veterans Affairs and also in benefits that are demand-driven. We always make sure that the funding is there for every veteran who is qualified to receive benefits.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian lobster and snow crab fishermen are being blindsided by regulations forced on them by the U.S. A full-time U.S. ambassador might be able to intervene, but one has not been appointed.

Is the fisheries minister going to continue the practice of regulating lobster and snow crab fisheries under duress from the U.S., or will she work with stakeholders and the U.S. to come up with regulations that will work for all?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margarets Nova Scotia

Liberal

Bernadette Jordan LiberalMinister of Fisheries

Mr. Speaker, we recognize the importance of seafood exports across this country. That is why we are working with our harvesters, our communities and our partners in the U.S. to address these issues. We will continue to do that as we go forward.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, violence is escalating and mayors are pleading for help.

Mayor John Tory said recently:

...sentences...must fit the extreme gravity of...gun crimes. And right now, they often don’t.

Even Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said that his community is deflated, and front-line officers are frustrated, with repeat gun offenders being granted bail.

The mayors have also called for decisive action on guns coming across the Canada-U.S. border.

Why can the Liberals not see that their soft-on-crime approach is doing the opposite of what leaders are calling for, and work on solving the real causes of gun violence in Canada?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear that, across the country, we have heard a strong consensus to strengthen gun control laws, and to make investments in policing and in our communities to reduce gun violence.

Based on the member opposite's question, I am looking forward to his support for the initiatives that we will bring forward to give the police new tools, new authorities and new resources to deal with the issue of guns coming across our borders, being diverted from legitimate owners and being stolen.

We will take the steps necessary to keep our communities safe.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Annie Koutrakis Liberal Vimy, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's aluminum workers are envied throughout the world for their know-how, talent and expertise. They play a very important role in our economy, in Quebec and across the country.

Could the minister please tell Canadians what our government is doing to ensure a cleaner, more sustainable future for Canada's aluminum sector and to guarantee good, middle-class jobs in this important sector?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mississauga—Malton Ontario

Liberal

Navdeep Bains LiberalMinister of Innovation

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Vimy for her question.

Our government has always been there for Quebec's aluminum workers and, since 2018, we have been investing in our aluminum smelters, thereby supporting nearly 2,500 good jobs in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, in Deschambault and in Sept-Îles.

This will help guarantee good, long-term jobs in an industry that is innovative and more sustainable.

PrivacyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government revealed that 38 departments and agencies mishandled sensitive information more than 5,000 times last year. Clearly this is not a one-off. This is a pattern across the Liberal government. Information was mismanaged and misplaced. It is clear the Liberals do not care about the privacy of Canadians.

When will the Prime Minister hold his ministers to account and demand that they protect the privacy of Canadians?

PrivacyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to safeguarding sensitive government information and maintaining the highest standards of document security, as prescribed in our policies. Each employee receives proper training on this and a minimum of safeguards for protected and classified documents are outlined in the directive on security management.

We will continue to monitor and ensure the privacy of Canadians are protected.

PrivacyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, last year the government had over 5,000 security breaches related to classified documents. That is 20 for everyday work, with no one fired and no one's security clearance revoked.

If that was not bad enough, one ministry felt it was above the will of Canadians. In an affront to Parliament, Global Affairs Canada did not even bother to disclose its breaches: So much for an open and accountable government.

Will the Prime Minister protect democracy now and demand that Global Affairs Canada release its breaches?

PrivacyOral Questions

3 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the security of Canadians' personal information is very important to our government. Our government is determined to safeguard the personal information of Canadians, as well as government information. Every employee receives training on security measures. We will certainly continue our good work on this issue.

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week trade officials confirmed at committee that the government had a policy of promoting the active involvement of Canadian companies in China's belt and road initiative. This expansionist foreign policy initiative is infamous for ensnaring developing countries into a debt trap, leaving them forever indebted to Beijing.

Could the minister confirm that it is in fact the Liberals' policy to promote the active participation of Canadian businesses in China's belt and road initiative?

International TradeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a deep and long-standing relationship with China based on mutual economic prosperity, strengthened by our people-to-people ties. These ties are rooted in tradition, history and mutual respect.

Since the arrests of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, our government has made it our absolute priority to secure their immediate release. We remain focused on that goal.

Our trade policy will always be motivated by what is in the interests of Canadians.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Saturday was the first day of Black History Month 2020. I look forward to participating in events that celebrate and honour the legacy of black Canadians in Canada.

This year's theme is “Canadians of African Descent: Going Forward, Guided by the Past”. Let us learn more about the important role of black Canadians.

Could the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth please update the House on the efforts our government has taken to invest in black communities?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

3 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalMinister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Bourassa for his leadership and for giving me the opportunity to speak about the work we are doing at the request of the black Canadian community.

We recognize the U.N. International Decade for People of African Descent, invested $9 million to enhance support for black Canadian youth, $10 million for focused mental health programs, $25 million to build capacity in black Canadian communities and $45 million for the anti-racism strategy and the anti-racism secretariat.

I encourage all Canadians to take part in Black History Month and to learn the rich history of black Canadians.

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government's record on the treatment of first nations children is getting worse by the day. We have learned that the government has actually spent not $5 million but over $9 million on legal fees to fight first nations children in courts. This is shameful for a government that was found guilty for willfully and recklessly discriminating against first nations children on reserve.

What price is the Prime Minister willing to spend on lawyers to continue violating the human rights of first nations children?

Indigenous AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite's question underscores a very important point of the historic tragedy that has faced first nations kids in the country and the discrimination they have endured, discrimination that we are committed to correct.

With respect to the issue of legal costs that she has raised, we are working very closely with the legal officials involved and lawyers on both sides. Certain matters are covered by solicitor-client privilege that cannot be disclosed, but we are working carefully with the lawyers to ensure that their legal fees are paid and that justice is rendered for these children.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the hon. Prime Minister.

The B.C. salmon season of 2019 was a complete disaster. It constituted an emergency situation for many indigenous peoples for whom salmon is a staple food of deep cultural and spiritual significance.

For the fishermen, tendermen and shore-workers, it is an economic disaster. These groups wrote and asked the government before the election for emergency salmon relief. The United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union and The Native Brotherhood of British Columbia have still had no answer.

When will salmon relief come for these communities?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to protecting wild Pacific salmon stocks. Many runs are in steep decline and we sympathize with first nations, workers and their families that indeed have had a difficult year.

The ministers are working with indigenous communities and stakeholders to ensure the salmon stocks are protected. We have invested over $142 million to fund projects, supporting research, conservation and innovation for the fishing industry on the west coast.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order arising out of question period. I would like to comment on the Minister of Veterans Affairs's comments about cuts in the previous government.

With the permission of the House, I would like to table a report from the Library of Parliament, showing that the Liberal government actually slashed 14% of full-time equivalents from Veterans Affairs since coming to power. According to department plans for the next three years, it is cutting another 10%.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to table the report?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

RCMPRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2018 annual report on the RCMP's use of law enforcement justification provisions. This report addresses the RCMP's use of specified provisions within the law enforcement justification regime, which is set out in sections 25(1) and 25(4) of the Criminal Code. This report also documents the nature of the investigations in which these provisions were used.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.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, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find consent to adopt the following motion.

That the membership of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be amended as follows: Member for Whitby for member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity; and Member for Mississauga Centre for member for Winnipeg North.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Does the member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The House has heard the terms of the the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

(Motion agreed to)

Pacific Herring FisheryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and table a petition on behalf of constituents of Courtenay, Hornby Island, Denman Island and Oceanside.

The petitioners call upon the government to suspend the Pacific herring fishery in the Salish Sea for 2020. They highlight that DFO's practices and guidelines around the fishery led to overfishing in 2019. They also say that the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and Islands Trust's near unanimous call on the government to suspend this fishery would be in light of the government saying that it supports local knowledge and local decision-making. Also, the Qualicum First Nation has asked for this fishery to be suspended and the K'ómoks First Nation has asked for it to be curtailed.

Herring is critical for the food web for salmon, southern resident killer whales and shore birds, and are important to the whole ecosystem on the west coast. They are also noting that DFO has cited that the overall risk the fishery poses to the stock has changed to high. Therefore, the petitioners do not understand why the minister would allow this fishery to be opened next month.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House to present two petitions.

The first petition is from Canadian residents who point out that animal testing is unnecessary to prove the safety of cosmetic products, whereas a ban on cosmetic animal testing would not impact current cosmetic products for sale in Canada. Also, the European Union already bans the testing on animals for cosmetic products. As we have a trade agreement with the European Union, it only makes sense to make things similar to promote trade.

The petitioners therefore call upon the House of Commons to ban the sale and manufacture of animal-tested cosmetics and their ingredients in Canada.

PharmacarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two second petitions that are the same.

The petitioners draw the attention of the government to the fact that the cost of prescription medications and necessary medical supplies are excessive and that many Canadians cannot afford the cost of these prescription medicines.

The petitioners therefore request the Government of Canada to develop a comprehensive pan-Canadian, single-payer, universal program that ensures all Canadians are able to access prescription medicines regardless of their ability to pay.

Rail TransportationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Eric Duncan Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to present my first petition to the House on behalf of not only 691 residents of my riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry but also of people across the country. It is in regard to the CN rail strike. Constituents and farmers in rural communities want to ensure we have an end to that.

I acknowledge that while the strike has ended, it certainly raised awareness of the necessity for Canadians not only in rural areas of this country but in every part of the country to have access to natural gas. The petitioners want to make sure that this does not happen again.

I am pleased to present this petition today.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, marine protected areas are really important to my riding as part of the 25-25-25 agenda of the Liberal government.

I have a petition to present today signed by constituents who request that the federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard work with all relevant government branches to simplify multilateral communication and responsibilities on the subject of marine protected areas. We want to see some of these areas protected as soon as we can.

Carbon PricingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to table today from constituents in my riding.

The first petition is signed by 27 of my constituents, who remind the government that the Alberta government repealed the carbon tax and also that the environmental tax known as the carbon tax is not an environmental plan. It is a tax plan that will raise the cost of everything from gasoline to groceries. The petitioners state that the carbon tax will be very destructive to Alberta families and will fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to scrap the punishing federal carbon tax.

Natural ResourcesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition I wish to present is signed by 26 of my constituents.

The petitioners call upon the federal government to repeal Bill C-48 and Bill C-69. They draw the attention of the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to the amount of pipeline built in the previous government being substantially lower than previous ones. They state that we have lost over 7,000 kilometres of proposed pipeline and well over 125,000 jobs. The petitioners also point out that $100 billion in energy investment has fled the country.

Bee PopulationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by constituents throughout my riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands.

The petitioners are concerned about the global crisis in the threat to pollinators. We are losing bees, and the evidence, particularly from the European Union, which has taken action, is that this is largely due to the pesticides based in neonicotinoids.

The petitioners are asking that Government of Canada apply the precautionary principle, follow Europe's lead and take action to ban neonicotinoids.

HealthPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Green

Jenica Atwin Green Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, this petition is around reproductive justice and ensuring that the Government of New Brunswick repeal paragraph (a.1) in schedule 2 of Regulation 84-20 under the Medical Services Payment Act, creating a billing code that adequately reflects the provision of services by the provider and facility, thereby meeting the Canada Health Act's requirements of accessibility for residents of New Brunswick to publicly funded abortion services in medically and regionally appropriate settings.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.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 would ask that all questions be allowed to stand at this time.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure for Votes in ChamberPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am ready to make a statement regarding the question of privilege raised on January 29, 2020, by the member for Chilliwack—Hope concerning the statement that the member for Vimy made about her vote on the motion for the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne held on January 27, 2020.

What troubled the member for Chilliwack—Hope was that the member for Vimy repeated on two occasions, on January 27 and January 29, that she was present in the chamber during the reading of the motion, while that was clearly not the case. He felt that the member for Vimy was in contempt of the House because she had deliberately misled it, both during the initial statement after the vote was held and during her second intervention two days later, which sought to clarify the situation and to ask that her vote be withdrawn.

While the question of the validity of her vote was settled after the second intervention, the intervention by the member for Chilliwack—Hope stressed that the substance of her words was still in doubt.

In a third intervention on January 30, the member for Vimy explained the circumstances surrounding the events decried by the member for Chilliwack—Hope. She then indicated that she had not fully understood the nature of the objections raised and apologized for the confusion that her initial remarks had created. In fact, in her final intervention, she recognized having made a mistake due to her misunderstanding of the rules and procedures that govern our work. Her apologies reveal that she had realized the gravity of the situation, although she said she had not acted deliberately. Thanks to that third intervention, as a result of the vigilance of the member for Chilliwack—Hope and the leader of the official opposition in the House, we were able to shed some light on this matter and arrive at a common understanding of the facts.

This incident demonstrates the extent to which it is incumbent on all members, new or not, to respect the practices and procedures that govern our deliberations. There is a panoply of resources to assist members in that regard: their more experienced colleagues, the table officers, the procedural authorities. and I could go on. It is also imperative that members always weigh their words so as not to inadvertently raise doubts about their sincerity or their integrity.

As for the recorded division in question, the rules should now be known to all: A member must be present in the chamber from the time a question is being put on the motion. The division bells are rung expressly to allow members to return to the chamber before the question is put by the Chair.

When a member is not present in the chamber in time to hear the start of a question being read, it is expected that they will admit it. Assistant Deputy Speaker Devolin said it well in a ruling on June 5, 2014, at page 6257 of Debates:…there is an onus on the members not only to be on time but, if they are not here on time, to own up to that and to either not participate in the vote or, if it is pointed out, to subsequently say that their vote ought not to be counted.

Moreover, members must be in their seats when voting begins and remain seated until the results are announced if their votes are to be recorded. Since the member for Vimy acknowledged that she was not in the chamber when the motion was read and that she took her seat during the vote, her vote was withdrawn and will no longer appear in the Journals of January 27. However, our procedures and practices were respected in this regard due to the interventions of vigilant members, and not owing to this explanation provided.

It was upon her third intervention on the matter that the member understood which rules were at issue. After realizing that her misunderstanding had led her to inadvertently mislead the House, she expressed her deep and sincere regret. The final intervention was complete and contrite. In light of the member for Vimy's apology and the fact that the incident seems to have arisen from a misunderstanding of parliamentary terminology rather than a deliberate act, I consider that this matter is now closed.

As a final comment, let us consider this event as an opportunity to remind the House once again that its honour depends on the integrity of each and every member.

I thank the members for their attention.

The House resumed consideration of the motion 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.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Chris d'Entremont Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand to talk about the new NAFTA and speak on behalf of the concerns of the good residents of West Nova, and by extension Nova Scotia generally.

It could be my Maritime sense of humour, but we keep calling it CUSMA, or the Canadian-U.S.-Mexico agreement. Quite honestly, “NAFTA” meant that the North American population was benefiting, but we know now from the things we have been seeing and hearing that Canada is not necessarily benefiting from many of these concessions.

Maybe we should change the name to the organization or country that is making the most out of this. Then it would be the USMCA, because it seems that the Americans ran the gamut here and won all the concessions they needed. Let us just call it the new NAFTA in the hope that North Americans are benefiting from this new Liberal trade agreement.

This debate has been going on for a long time and as an agreement such as this one is very complicated, our partners have their own outcomes, making negotiations challenging.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I will interrupt the hon. member for a moment. I want to remind hon. members that eating in the chamber is not permitted. I can see a few people chewing and eating something. I just want to point that out and make sure that we are all aware of that. I am sure the member who is eating will move out of the chamber or stop.

The hon. member for West Nova.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Chris d'Entremont Conservative West Nova, NS

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for that intervention. These are all learning experiences for us, especially for those of us who are new to Parliament.

As I said, it makes our outcome for negotiating challenging. We find ourselves in the last two weeks toward final ratification of this agreement. Mexico did all its work ahead of time and the U.S. spent a number of weeks ratifying its side of the agreement. Here we are on February 3 and we find ourselves trying to ratify the Liberals' agreement as brought forward. It is only through this process that the Liberal government has realized that it is a minority government and it needs the opposition to support and pass the bill.

I was asked several questions about the new NAFTA during the election, as many of us were. Most of them revolved around the dairy industry or supply-managed commodities and I will get to that in a few moments, but first I would like to underline some statistics about Nova Scotia's exports to the United States. The numbers I have are from 2015, 2017 and 2018.

In 2015, the United States was the destination for 69.39% of Nova Scotia's international goods exports. The U.S. by far is Nova Scotia's number one trading partner. Europe, at about 10%, and other countries, at about 20%, received the balance of Nova Scotia's exports in 2015.

Four U.S. regions received about 85% of Nova Scotia's U.S. trade in goods in 2015. About 37% was sent to New England, as one would expect, on the eastern side of the country. About 24% went to the southeast region, 15% to the Great Lakes region and about 8% to the mid-east region. The remaining 14.77% was distributed among other regions in the U.S.

In 2015, rubber or tires from Michelin and fish products added up to about 55% of the total exports for Nova Scotia. They were the main domestic exports to the United States. Another 17% of exports to the U.S. were paper, mineral fuels and plastics. The remaining 28% consisted of other miscellaneous goods.

In 2018, fish products accounted for 24%, or $883.5 million, of total exports from Nova Scotia to the U.S. Crustaceans, lobsters, crabs and others, represented about 69%, or $605 million, of this product group.

Nova Scotia's exports continue to diversify by destination, with declining exports to the U.S. They were down about 0.6% when comparing January and February 2018 with January and February 2017. Exports to other destinations rose and were up about 31%. This is also the case for many other provinces in Canada. Exports from New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where growth in exports to the U.S. outpaced growth to other destinations, grew more concentrated in the U.S.

Nova Scotia's exports to the U.S. were down by about $3.4 million as declining values for energy, forestry, electronics, motor vehicles and parts, aircraft and other transportation equipment and consumer goods more than offset the gains in farm, fishing, intermediate food, metal ores, metal, mineral products, chemicals, plastics, rubber and machinery equipment.

As an aside in this discussion, the coronavirus is creating tremendous challenges for our exporters. China is Nova Scotia's second-largest export destination. Comparing January and February 2018 with the same months in 2017, Nova Scotia's exports grew by about $36 million, mostly on gains in forest products and consumer goods.

To say that U.S. trade is important to us is truly an understatement and the trade deal that supports it is paramount.

I spend a lot of time talking about the fishing industry in the riding of West Nova which, as we can see, exports almost all its products outside the country, so I thought I would spend the remaining time talking about the agricultural industry. It may not export quite as much, but it was affected quite substantially by the changes in protections pertaining to supply-managed commodities. It seems that every time Canada negotiates a free trade agreement, those commodities take a hit.

A few years ago, in 2005, when I was a provincial minister of agriculture, I attended the WTO negotiations in Hong Kong. At that time there was a protracted discussion on Canada's continued support of supply-managed commodities, pressure from the European Union and the U.S. The Liberal government of the day was ready to allow access to other countries at that time.

It was not until the provincial ministers, Liberal, Conservative and NDP, came together, supported by the national commodity associations, that the negotiating team finally took it off the table. Since that time, and before that time, I have been a supporter of our commodities. Now that I represent the largest agricultural area in Nova Scotia, that support has become even stronger.

Nova Scotia's agricultural community is small compared to those in other provinces, but the backbone is dairy and poultry. Without those, the other commodities would have trouble existing. That is why any loss of market affects Nova Scotia more than others. A 3.6% loss of the dairy market truly affects the small farms in Nova Scotia, which is why the adjustment payments are important to allow better cash flow due to these market changes.

I am a big believer in grassroots government. We must listen to those in our community. I therefore want to underline what we have heard from others.

The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, or CAFTA, stated:

CAFTA welcomes the announcement that negotiations have concluded on updating the CUSMA.

We look forward to receiving confirmation that the changes don’t negatively impact our members.

Since the initial negotiations concluded well over a year ago, the prolonged discussions required to secure support in the U.S. Congress have undermined business certainty.

CAFTA is waiting for answers on what the final decision is going to be.

Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada said that in a parliamentary system, “all bills, including those aimed at ratifying international agreements, are subject to a legislative process designed to improve them, and it’s important not only for the dairy sector, but also for aluminum workers, that this agreement be put through that process.”

I hope that everybody has the opportunity to talk to the dairy farmers who will be coming to Parliament Hill over the next number of days.

The North American free trade agreement is extremely important to producers in my riding, but not any old deal will do. We need one that benefits our industries and which does not take one area of the country for granted, as we are looking at with the aluminum issue. The government must prove to us, and better yet, prove to Canadians, that it is getting it right. That is in the court of the government today.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.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

Madam Speaker, I know that the dairy farmers are in Ottawa this week. I am hoping to meet with some tomorrow morning. I am sure many of my colleagues on all sides of the House will be engaged with the dairy farmers in the coming days.

Having said that, whether it is this trade agreement or previous ones, one of the issues has always been supply management. Our negotiators on the Canadian side, along with politicians on all sides of the House, and perhaps some more so than others, have always had a strong sense of compassion and emotion in ensuring we maintain supply management. The dairy sector is probably one of the best examples as to why it is important we do just that.

In the Liberal caucus, there is very strong support for supply management and there always has been. Perhaps my colleague could provide his personal perspective, and possibly even the perspective of his caucus, on supply management.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Chris d'Entremont Conservative West Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, we have heard the continued support for supply-managed commodities on a number of occasions when different members have spoken of the new NAFTA. We talk a lot about dairy because that is the one area that seems to be hit the most, but we also heard about chickens and other poultry coming across our border. We will continue to be supporters of free trade, but at the same time, we understand the challenges we have in our supply-managed commodities.

As I said, in Nova Scotia, without dairy, without the monies that come in because of that protection, if we want to call it that, they are the ones who have the money for tractors and new equipment, which falls into support for the rest of that industry.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to draw my hon. colleague's attention to one particular section in the agreement that places threshold limits on dairy exports, notably milk protein powders and infant formula. This agreement would establish export thresholds whereby if Canada goes beyond them, we have agreed to slap on punitive tariffs, basically pricing ourselves out of the market. I would like to know what the United States got in return for our agreeing to this.

Does my hon. colleague know of any other example around the world where a country has so ceded its sovereignty over its ability to determine where it wants to sell its exports? Just what kind of economic damage might this mean for our important dairy producers across the country going into the future?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Chris d'Entremont Conservative West Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I had to cut my speech a bit short, but one thing we have been wondering is what the government got in exchange for forfeiting our sovereignty over our exports of milk protein concentrate, skim milk powder and infant formula.

Even within our caucus, we have the same questions as the member just asked, namely what the government offered up in exchange and how it is going to fix this situation.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, the member has spoken about what would happen with the supply management system with this accord. We know there have been some compromises made by the government in order to get this on the table. The issue was not just the fact that this was there, but in the shadow of the agreement that preceded it, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, some room was ceded by the supply-managed industries to foreign powers. No expectations seemed to arise when the government met with the other parties to the NAFTA that this would also have to be offered to our strongest trading partners.

Would the member like to comment on the lack of preparation and the lack of reality which the government entered into these negotiations with, as opposed to our previous trade agreements when we actually walked in from positions of strength so we were able to negotiate give and take with our trading partners? I look forward to that answer.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Chris d'Entremont Conservative West Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, it has seemed that all through the process we have not been a part of it, until this point when we as an opposition are actually part of this discussion. We were dragged into this discussion. Mexico seemed to be able to do more than we did in negotiation. We actually seemed to be put aside during part of this discussion, which created a tremendous challenge for us. This would have been better if we had been at the table the whole time.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill.

I would like to take a moment to thank the managers at the Montérégie-Ouest CISSS. When I was part of the management team overseeing senior support services, they gave me a chance to fulfill my passion and my dream and put the right conditions in place for me to do the work that I am doing right now in the House of Commons. I want to thank all the managers who made it possible for me to enter politics. These female managers enabled a woman to enter politics. They walked the talk.

That was a short digression to say that I am very pleased to rise. Quite frankly, what I am really interested in today is talking about the situation affecting dairy producers. What we have seen, and this has been mentioned on numerous occasions, is that there are always winners and losers when a trade agreement is signed. It is important to recognize what the losers are losing. It is important that they have a voice and that we understand them. We need to debate these issues among parliamentarians. The Bloc Québécois intends to debate these issues for as long as possible and to continue the debate in committee so that all the witnesses, individuals, companies and industries that want to have a say about this agreement have the opportunity to do so.

In the latest trade agreements, Quebeckers have been the big losers. In the agreement that we are debating today, we are talking about the aluminum industry, a key industry for Quebec, as well as the supply managed industry. All dairy, turkey, chicken and other poultry producers were victims of the agreement.

Over 3% of our market will be open to American dairy products, which represents an annual loss of around $150 million. It is not just one loss in one year. For Quebec's dairy farmers, it is a market lost for life.

I represent a riding where more than half the dairy farms in Montérégie-Ouest are in my riding, Salaberry—Sûroit. Among the 237 farms in the Beauharnois-Salaberry, Haut-Saint-Laurent and Vaudreuil-Soulanges RCMs, half are dairy farms in the Montérégie-Ouest area. I must point out that our farmers are entrepreneurs, business people who are passionate about agriculture and who generate revenue and economic activity in our communities.

In my research I found part of a speech on protecting supply management that I delivered in 2006. Even then I was quite clear about the fact that we need to stop thinking that agricultural producers are not business people. They contribute to revitalizing our rural communities. They support local garages, convenience stores, grocery stores, mechanics, and the list goes on. Many businesses in our rural communities rely on farming activity. In my opinion, it is important to emphasize that these are businesses that generate major economic activity.

I will admit that I have a soft spot for dairy producers. All members in the House know that Quebec and Canada produce higher-quality milk. In Quebec, dairy producers have stringent standards with respect to the environment and animal well-being. Traceability standards are also quite strict. Quebec's traceability system is very effective, which means that we produce very high-quality milk. Unfortunately, this milk will end up competing in markets against milk produced under different and, we can only assume, lesser standards.

The trade agreements that were negotiated and ratified after 2011, when the Bloc Québécois ended up with fewer members in the House of Commons, were clearly more harmful for Quebec. One example is the free trade agreement with Europe. I was shocked to see that Quebec cheeses had been sacrificed. Quebec has some excellent cheeses. We have 300 different cheeses.

My colleague's riding of Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix is a remarkable place where you will find the best Quebec cheeses.

Quebec's cheese producers were sacrificed because Quebec produces 70% of Canada's fine cheeses. Many cheese producers told us that this agreement affects them because our market will be flooded with European cheese.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership created the first breach in supply management by opening up 3.25% of our dairy market.

Supply management is so important to us and we speak so much about it because for us it is the basis for Quebec's agricultural model, which we are really proud of.

Like all Bloc members, I have great aspirations for Quebec. We hope that one day it will take its place at the table of nations and be master of its own destiny. A strong Quebec with farm businesses that have a strong presence, are profitable and have solid ties to their community is important to us. We must maintain this highly developed agricultural model that is so uniquely ours and reflects our character as Quebeckers.

We know that dairy farmers were compensated for this year, but they are worried because they do not know what will happen in the years to come. As someone said earlier, when dairy markets are lost, it is not only for a year; it is forever. It is therefore important for farmers to understand what will happen next year.

The government appears hesitant to implement a program that farmers would have to qualify for, much like what the Conservatives did with the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

Our message is clear, and we will repeat it to the government when it presents the budget. We absolutely insist that dairy farmers must be compensated directly, as they were this year, for the duration of the compensation agreement. We do not want a program that farmers have to qualify for, a complicated program with more red tape. That is the last thing farmers need. They need to be financially compensated in the simplest way possible, as they were this year.

It would be unfortunate not to address the whole issue and challenge of milk proteins. I am not sure whether those watching our debate at home understand that the issue of milk proteins is threatening our dairy sector.

In Canada and the United States, milk consumption has gone down while consumption of butter, cream and ice cream has gone up. Processors are like everyone else. They want to make these products for less. That is why they are interested in buying milk ingredients for less from the United States.

Under the old agreement, our market was flooded with milk proteins from American diafiltered milk. In response to pressure from the Bloc Québécois and other parliamentarians, the government finally created a new milk class, class 7, that provides some protection to our processors so they will source dairy protein from our own dairy producers and stop buying it from American producers.

Naturally, the U.S. government was not pleased. In negotiations, it demanded that Canada get rid of class 7 so American protein could once more flood our market and threaten our dairy producers yet again.

I see two big problems with this agreement. In two very clear instances, the government failed supply management. First, it opened up a significant chink, and second, it took away class 7, which enabled our producers to work with processors to find an outlet for their inexpensive milk.

Dairy producers know they can count on the Bloc Québécois to vigorously advocate for them, because we believe that a country without agriculture is not a real country.

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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, when the ways and means motion was introduced the Bloc members voted against the opportunity to introduce NAFTA, the USMCA or whatever we are calling it now. Therefore, I can only assume they are opposed to the legislation. The member talked about how important it is for Quebec to have an economy that is strong and the opportunities it needs to continue to be prosperous. What we know historically is that good trading relationships and partnerships can create exactly that. I am curious to know whether the Bloc Québécois and this member are going to fall in line with what the Premier of Quebec is saying and get behind this piece of legislation and the need for this strong free trade agreement with the United States.

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Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

This gives me the opportunity to remind him that the hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly and leader of the Bloc Québécois has repeatedly said in the House that we were prepared to listen and collaborate and that we had proposals that would help mitigate the adverse effects of the current treaty on Quebec's economy.

We are in a democratic partnership where it is good to have a full debate to allow every parliamentarian to put forward their changes or proposals to improve the agreement wherever possible.

That is why the Bloc Québécois decided to vote against the current state of affairs. However, we are open to working together in committee and participate in further debate. I think is healthy to be able to express our views and allow every sector affected by the agreement to testify in committee.

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Bloc

Monique Pauzé Bloc Repentigny, QC

Madam Speaker, our Liberal colleague enjoyed bringing up what the Quebec premier said. I would like to remind him of what the Prime Minister of Canada said not too long ago in October 2018. He, himself, acknowledged that previous trade agreements had had a number of negative effects on dairy producers. Our supply management system is still being sacrificed.

Does my colleague agree that Quebec wants a strong economy, but that the federal Liberal government often gets in its way?

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Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

The Bloc Québécois has proposed a private member's bill that will prevent the government from chipping away at the supply management system. We will debate this bill, and we hope that all of our colleagues in the House will support us on this, since this bill would prevent any further breaches. This is tangible action, and we hope to have the support of all our colleagues in the House.

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3:50 p.m.

NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I followed my hon. colleague's remarks with some interest. She briefly mentioned the debate she hopes will occur at committee over this bill. Given the point we are at in the process, what bearing does she feel that debate would have on the outcome of the final vote? Also, does her party support an improved process that would engage this House earlier in the process, so that members can have a more effective voice in shaping our negotiating strategy with respect to international trade agreements?

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Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, as the member for Beloeil—Chambly stated many times during question period, the Bloc Québécois has put forward some proposals.

Although they cannot be discussed in the House at this time, these proposals were submitted to the government, and they have the potential to lessen the impact of the agreement on Quebec's economy. I believe it would be very healthy and democratic to let the many witnesses speak in committee, regardless of whether they are for or against the free trade agreement. We currently do not have the opportunity to hear from all sides. We do not have the opportunity to hear from those who support the agreement and those who do not. The Bloc Québécois is in favour of hearing from witnesses affected by the agreement who are not currently receiving press coverage. We sincerely hope to have a—

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3:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Niagara Centre.

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Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to talk about the new NAFTA deal, which Canadians throughout this great nation have worked so hard on.

For over a year we have negotiated hard, for a good, modernized free trade agreement with our partners: the United States and Mexico. I would like to thank all Canadians, from every part of this country, from all walks of life, and from all political points of view for helping and supporting our government over the course of these negotiations.

We have heard from over 47,000 Canadians to ensure their views were considered at the negotiating table, and we have spoken to over 1,300 stakeholders, including businesses, unions, indigenous groups, women entrepreneurs, academics, youth and political leaders from all parties.

A special thanks to our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the NAFTA council, premiers and municipal partners for joining in this effort to protect, support and create Canadian jobs, and sustain and enhance our business communities throughout this great nation.

Our focus in bringing the new NAFTA to Parliament is to preserve and foster opportunity for our workers, our businesses and Canadians, and for our communities from coast to coast to coast to thrive, ensuring that their business interests, once again and well into the future, are sustained, as well as enhanced.

Businesses and industries across our country rely on free trade agreements, like the new NAFTA, to grow their customer base, ensuring that their products and services are available at competitive pricing in Canada and the United States, as well as Mexico, and to strengthen their diversification options to contribute to strengthening their overall global performance.

By reaching more consumers and building more profits, Canadian businesses are then able to create jobs, build stronger communities and grow our economy. The new NAFTA is certainly excellent for Canada's growing economy, as it will support well-paying, middle-class jobs.

With this new agreement, we are being proactive and constructive for our national steel industry, especially for local industries in Niagara, such as Welland's ASW Steel. We are supporting innovation, as well as diversification in steel and in steel-related industry, sustaining the industry and the skilled trades that support it.

In Niagara Centre, small and medium-sized businesses will in fact benefit from this new chapter, including Iafrate Machine Works in the city of Thorold, a family-owned, custom machine business in that community.

Reliable trade agreements will not only increase trade and investment opportunities specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises, but will also allow such businesses to continue growing and have the potential to expand abroad.

Despite remarkable improvements in the area of skilled trades since 2015, our government is aware that it needs to do much more. Our government is committed to continuing its work in order to provide necessary tools and support for Canadians to be at their very best, and to ensure they get the skills they need to improve and contribute to this great nation, find and keep stable jobs, as well as sustain our economy. This is being made available to them as individuals to once again contribute.

Several regions across our great country are finding it extremely hard to find qualified workers to fill many positions. Niagara Centre is no exception. We are experiencing a skilled trades shortage throughout our region as well.

We need welders, pipefitters, boilermakers, seafarers, tile setters, plumbers, technicians, cooks, chefs and other hands-on hardworking skilled tradespeople.

For example, we introduced the Canada training benefit in 2019. It is a personalized and portable training benefit to help Canadians plan and get the training they need for a successful career.

Our government was able to boost federal support to provinces and territories by $2.7 billion over six years. This investment aims to help unemployed and underemployed Canadians access the training and employment supports they need to find and keep good paying jobs.

Our government has also invested $225 million over four years to identify and fill gaps in the economy in order to help Canadians be best prepared. Additional investments and collaboration with our different partners will allow us to work collectively in our fight against skilled trade shortages.

The new NAFTA will bring more job opportunities for Canadians, enabling them to pursue stable and successful careers in construction, transportation, manufacturing and service-related industries.

I bring this to the attention of members of the House because many programs introduced by our government align with the new NAFTA, sustaining and growing this great nation's economy. This will certainly have a positive impact on the standard of living of all Canadians and our economic growth. As many members in the House know, I am extremely passionate about transportation and infrastructure, and that is also key to my riding in Niagara.

The Welland Canal, the Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 406 and the Niagara-Hamilton trade corridor all position Niagara-Hamilton as a perfect example of how strategic, interconnected locations with different modes of transport can come together and benefit from trade agreements.

As a binational region connecting the U.S. to our great nation, Niagara-Hamilton is a vital economic gateway for trade between Canada and our American trade partners.

As advantageous as it is for Niagara-Hamilton, our strategic location benefits our nation, ensuring fluidity in goods movement. With the new NAFTA, we are able to safeguard more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade and tariff-free trade access to our largest trading partner, the United States.

I am honoured to have been a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities throughout the last Parliament, which led to the establishment of a national transportation strategy, trade corridor strategy and ports modernization review that once again align with the new NAFTA, sustaining and growing Canada's economy.

Much progress has already been made to improve rail, air, road and marine transportation, integrating distribution and logistics, particularly in strategic areas of the country, such as the Niagara-Hamilton area, and in turn, working on the productivity and quality of life in Canadian communities.

With the new NAFTA come great new opportunities for all Canadians and for the people living in my riding of Niagara Centre. With this in mind, and moving forward in the 43rd Parliament, I look forward to working with all members in this House to further economic, environmental and social strategies that will contribute to all 338 ridings and all Canadians.

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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened very closely to my hon. colleague's remarks. He should know that we in the official opposition agree that Canadian businesses, industry and the provinces need predictability and certainty with our support of this new NAFTA. However, I hope the member understands why we want some answers regarding the deficiencies in this new accord, particularly with regard to the Liberals' boasting about the new benefit of the 70% rule in our very important aluminum sector.

The Liberals say this benefit is new and was not in the original NAFTA. Well, of course it was not in the original NAFTA, because China was not mega-producing millions of tonnes of aluminum then. With the slowdown in the Chinese economy, China is now dumping it into various countries around the world, including, as we have seen, through the back door of this agreement, into Mexico and our economy. This threatens the producers of our very clean hydroelectrically produced aluminum here in Canada, such as those on the west coast in Kitimat and in the Côte-Nord and Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean areas.

I hope the hon. member understands why we are asking for the impact assessments that we know have been carried out, and undoubtedly should have been carried out by the government, with regard to the negative impact of this new agreement on the vital aluminum sector.

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Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I did not hear a question, but I will speculate on the question the member was asking with respect to the aluminum industry.

The aluminum sector is not discounted under this new agreement. As was mentioned by the minister on many occasions, discussions are going to continue. There is a time factor in comparison to steel, with the seven versus 10. They get that and we get that, and those discussions will continue. However, I want to make it very clear that the agreement does not discount; it is simply a matter of time. Of course, what the aluminum sector would like to see in that matter of time will in fact be recognized in short order.

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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, as some of my colleagues and I were discussing, this is not even necessarily a new NAFTA but rather HALFTA, or NAFTA 0.5.

I think we all acknowledge, including the Conservatives, that free trade is important. We are proud to be the party free trade. I am curious about what my hon. colleague across the way has to say about the op-ed piece that CNBC just published by Jared Kushner, who is, as I am sure the member opposite knows, a senior adviser to President Trump. On the agreement's expiring after 16 years, known as the sunset clause, he said it was “imperative that the United States retain leverage in [all] of [its] trading relationships”. The U.S. government started out by saying that it was a non-starter. Well, there it is.

Does the member have any comments as to how a non-starter is suddenly a central key in the new HALFTA deal?

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4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, it is quite rich for the member to talk about HALFTA, since, quite frankly, back when NAFTA was drawn up and authored by the Conservative government, the Conservatives gave away the farm. When we are looking at what has happened to some of the industries throughout the country, especially industries that have moved away to other countries, I think the member best do his homework before standing up and slinging mud.

This agreement, in fact, protects Canadian workers. This agreement sustains industries and the niche markets we have been able to grow in the past many decades. It is not giving away the farm but doing the opposite: It is getting the farm back.

My expectation is that in short order, this agreement, which is good for Canada, the Canadian economy and Canadian families, will in fact take us to the next level of where we should be when it comes to our economy and create a healthier market and better performance overall on the global market.

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4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today for the first time in this new session. I would like to thank the constituents of Lethbridge for once again giving me the privilege of being in this place and representing them.

I am here to speak to the new NAFTA deal, the USMCA. The Conservative Party is the party of free trade, something that has always been a part of our value system and things that we believe are essential for moving this country forward.

NAFTA is, in fact, a legacy of the Conservative movement. Since its ratification in 1994, it has served as a vehicle of long-term economic growth, has facilitated freedom, has spurred innovation and has generated prosperity for this country and those who call it home. Together, Canada, the United States and Mexico account for nearly one-third of the world's GDP, which is significant since these countries together comprise only 7% of the world's population.

The United States is Canada's largest and most important trading partner, which makes the new NAFTA deal particularly important for the health of our economy and the well-being of Canadians. That said, it should be noted that the new NAFTA is not what it could have been or should have been. The fact is, we have a deal, but we have to ask the question, did we get a good deal?

A good deal would be one where Canada left the table with a little more than what it first had in the original agreement. An acceptable deal would be if Canada left the negotiating table with about the same. A bad deal would be if Canada left the table with less than what it had in the original NAFTA. It is unfortunate to have to report to the House that ultimately the USMCA must be judged on how Canada benefits, and Canada does not. We left the table with less than what we had in the original deal.

Throughout the entirety of the negotiation and ratification process of the USMCA, we offered to work with the opposite side of the House. We offered to assist and collaborate, but we were left in the dark.

When Conservatives were in government and negotiated trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership for example, we made the effort to ensure that opposition members were included and kept informed in that process, that they had a part in it. We involved stakeholders—

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4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

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4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Order. Members will all have the opportunity to speak. Please, the hon. member for Lethbridge has the floor.

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4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, we involved stakeholders and worked with many interested partners to make sure that as many valuable voices were added to the discussion as possible.

These deals require effort. They require collaboration and serious discussion. These are things that Conservatives are very committed to, and we wish it had been the same in this scenario.

President Trump said that the deal was negotiated entirely on his terms, and sadly I have to agree with him. The United States had extensive conversations with Mexico and they worked out a deal. Then they invited Canada to the table. Basically they said, “Sign or don't sign; it is your choice.” Canada signed, but we were not included in the negotiations due to poor negotiating tactics on the part of the government.

I would argue that the Liberal government, which had an obligation to negotiate in the best interest of Canadians, dropped the ball in this case. The Liberals made concession after concession and eventually capitulated to the United States and Mexico. What we have is a deal that will leave us with more barriers, more red tape and more obstacles for Canadian businesses to overcome. It will end up costing taxpayers more, because in order to make up for the failures of the government's negotiation, we will need to assist sectors that were left out of the deal.

We understand that most industry associations and chambers in Canada want this deal to be ratified. We understand that the premiers have put forward a letter asking that it be ratified. While we understand the importance of a free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, we also know that in this place it is our responsibility as legislators to put it through due process.

The fact is that Canada backed down on far too many things.

The government backed down on the automotive sector, giving Donald Trump exactly what he wanted: limits on how many cars Canada can export to the United States.

The government also backed down on dairy, again giving Trump exactly what he wanted: more market share for American exporters and less business for Canadians. In fact, arguably one of the biggest losers of the USMCA is dairy, as 3.6% of the Canadian market is now open to imports. The deal also specifies thresholds for exports anywhere in the world for certain dairy products. If the industry grows or if there is a surplus of these products, Canada must add duties to the exports, making them more expensive and less competitive.

The government also backed down on pharmaceuticals, giving Trump, again, exactly what he wanted. That means higher prices and bigger profits for American drug companies, and less for Canadians.

Another sector that was not successfully advocated for is aluminum. The rules of origin used for steel were not agreed to when it came to aluminum, which has left the industry wondering why not.

When it comes to temporary entry for business people, the list of professionals in chapter 16 failed to be updated to bring it into the 21st century. Why would we not take advantage of the opportunity to do that? That seems obvious.

For all these concessions, Canada was unable to win anything significant in return. Buy American provisions still remain in place, thus shutting Canadian companies out from bidding on American government contracts. Unfair and illegal tariffs still remain on softwood lumber. Forestry workers are going through a tough time, and it is because the government, quite frankly, failed to negotiate this deal well.

If those capitulations are not bad enough, Canada also signed a clause that prevents us from entering into trade negotiations with non-market economies, such as China, Vietnam and Brazil, without first gaining big brother's approval. The United States and ultimately Donald Trump have veto power in terms of how we move forward in our trade agreements.

Furthermore, with regard to the sunset clause, it is 16 years out. When we first entered into this deal as a country, the Prime Minister made it really clear that a sunset clause was not even going to be an option, yet he signed off on one. After 16 years this deal will be done away with if a new negotiation is not done. This creates great uncertainty in our economy.

Of course the government has pushed back, saying that is not the case, but as Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and adviser, said in his published article, “It is imperative that the United States retain leverage in any of our trading relationships”. Thus, the sunset clause was put in. This is about the United States and its betterment, not about Canadians and our well-being.

Considering the magnitude of this trade deal, it is important that people do not get left behind. The United States does remain our largest trading partner, with $2 billion of trade passing across our border each and every day. This represents about 75% of all Canadian exports, and NAFTA has created more than five million jobs, which is amazing. These things are worth celebrating.

Free trade must continue. We just wish the deal Canada got would have been a little better.

Despite the fact that those in the House are being asked to vote for this legislation, it should be noted there is still a fair bit of uncertainty. The government has still not released the economic impact statement, and many industries are unclear as to how NAFTA will impact them. These are important considerations that should be brought before the House and to committee. There are considerations that industry stakeholders should be allowed to take under advisement. Yes, we have a deal, but could it have been better? Ultimately, yes, it could have been much better.

With that said, I believe this bill should move forward to committee, where it can be studied further and industry stakeholders can be invited to have a voice at the table. My hope would be that the government would release the economic impact statement so it can be thoroughly studied and the government can be held accountable, so that Canada can ultimately move forward in a way that is beneficial to all Canadians.

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Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I know what it is like being in opposition. One has to find problems with everything the government does and the member made a valiant effort.

First, she said nothing was gained under CUSMA. However, we salvaged the dispute settlement mechanism at a time when the United States has very little patience for dispute settlement. In fact, it is trying to get out of dispute settlement. It has not appointed members to the WTO dispute resolution panel. That is called panel blocking. We got rid of panel blocking in CUSMA, which means the U.S. cannot use that mechanism to shut down dispute settlement panels.

Second, we got rid of chapter 11, which means multinational corporations have less of an ability to impose their economic interests on Canadian sovereignty.

Therefore, I think we have gained quite a bit.

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Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, there is no question.

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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I agree. I think there have been some huge wins on this. Getting rid of investor-state is a huge win. Having foreign corporations dictate to us and challenge, in private tribunals, our laws and policies that protect the health and welfare of Canadians and our environment is an affront to democracy. I am glad to see it gone. I want to see it gone in every one of our trade and investment agreements.

I am hearing, in this debate between the Liberals and Conservatives, that when they are in opposition they do not feel like they are being heard, negotiated with or part of the dialogue on these trade agreements.

Does the member not think it is time we started to look at another process for trade agreements? If we look at the European model, it has an open dialogue and debate. It talks about what the social economic impacts of an agreement would be before negotiations start. As the negotiation goes through, there is debate. We should have that ongoing debate in Parliament. Having an open, transparent process would be helpful to all concerned.

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4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, I would have to draw attention to the fact that this agreement attacks Canadian sovereignty in the sense that, if we want to enter into other trade agreements with non-market economies, we have to get the U.S. to sign off. That is not okay.

As a sovereign nation, as a country, we should be able to move forward and enter into trade agreements with China and Brazil without needing the United States to sign off on that. We are a country governed by our own system. We should be able to make our own decisions with regard to our imports and exports. Therefore, I have to disagree with the member when he said that this document somehow enforces our sovereignty.

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4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, one of the members opposite talked about sovereignty. I know the member for Lethbridge commented on what we lose in terms of sovereignty when we have the U.S. making decisions about who we can and cannot have free trade agreements with.

My question is about sovereignty. This sunset clause was a driving factor behind the negotiating position of the U.S. and has put it in the driver's seat again. Therefore, we have forfeited our leading position.

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An hon. member

It was a non-starter.

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Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

I wonder if the member for Lethbridge, in spite of the interruptions, can give us some comment on that.

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4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, I draw attention to the fact that, when we started these negotiations, the Prime Minister and his crew over there said that a sunset clause was a non-starter, and that it would not even be allowed. At the end of the day, the government did sign off on a sunset clause. What that does is create incredible uncertainty for those within our own country who would invest capital in order to further their business.

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4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, this is the second time in three days that I have heard opposition members refer to hon. members in the House using language that I would view as unparliamentary.

I wonder if the member, whom I know and who is an honourable woman, could choose better language when referring to all members, all of her colleagues in the House of Commons.

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4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Madam Speaker, I think the member is referring to the fact that I said “the Prime Minister and his crew.” I certainly did not mean any disrespect by that and I apologize.

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4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Thank you.

We are resuming debate and the hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.

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4:20 p.m.

Oakville North—Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Pam Damoff LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services

Madam Speaker, I want to start today by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

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Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

While we are on the subject, the member for Spadina—Fort York used some language that would also fall under the same category addressed by his colleague. I am just wondering if you, Madam Speaker, would like to give him the same opportunity to address the type of language that he used as well, since we are on the subject.

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4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Adam Vaughan Liberal Spadina—Fort York, ON

Madam Speaker, I admit that I stooped to their level, and I apologize.

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4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The apology has to be genuine, and the member knows this.

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4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Adam Vaughan Liberal Spadina—Fort York, ON

Madam Speaker, after they called us the “crew over there”, I referred to members on the side opposite as “the gang over there.” I apologize for using that word and I withdraw it.

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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I thank the member.

Resuming debate, the hon. parliamentary secretary.

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4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I again want to start by acknowledging that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-4. In the fall of 2018, leaders from Canada, the United States and Mexico announced a new trilateral trade agreement to replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. This was a pivotal moment for our country, for North America and for fair trade around the world. This agreement would ensure free and fair trade in North America, a trading zone that accounts for more than a quarter of the world's economy, with just 7% of its population.

During the negotiations, we saw unprecedented support from across the country. We came together to ensure that we got the best possible deal for Canada and Canadians. We had co-operation from all political parties.

In May 2017, I visited Washington, D.C., with the public safety committee. Conservative, NDP and Liberal MPs came together to meet with U.S. elected officials. Talk inevitably turned to trade and we successfully shared stories about why NAFTA was so important to the trading relationship between our countries.

Brian Mulroney and Rona Ambrose have both worked with our government and have spoken out in favour of the agreement. The new NAFTA has the support of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Assembly of First Nations, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, to name just a few. Business, industry, individuals and local governments are in favour of this deal because of the certainty, security and prosperity that will come from a modern free trade agreement.

Perry Bellegarde, AFN national chief, said:

The new NAFTA...is the most progressive and inclusive trade agreement to date. It’s good for #FirstNations and Canada. Involving #Indigenous peoples & respecting our rights leads to better outcomes and greater economic certainty.

As the Deputy Prime Minister said following the signing of the new NAFTA:

...it preserves free trade across the North American continent and market access in a $25-trillion open market of 470 million people. A market that has tripled in size since the creation of NAFTA in 1993.

And it does this while providing insurance against the spectre of auto tariffs that were threatening our economy and thousands of good, well-paying jobs—on both sides of the border.

...[It] maintains tariff-free access to the majority of Canadian exports to U.S. markets.

...Since the Auto Pact, Canada has been an integral and essential part of a North American auto industry, with its highly integrated supply chains. We fought for that, and we have preserved it and created opportunities for growth.

She also said:

...[It] is good for hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers. Not only does it preserve essential cross-border supply chains, but it significantly improves wages and rights for Mexican workers. This will concretely level the playing field for auto workers in cities like Windsor and Oshawa [and Oakville]. It helps guarantee their future.

The minister continued:

...[It] preserves the Canadian cultural exception, that was demanded by Canada, especially in the digital world. That protects our cultural industries and more than 650,000 jobs across Canada. It preserves our unique, bilingual identity, as Canadians.

...[The] agreement fully upholds the impartial dispute resolution of Chapter 19 of the original NAFTA. When there’s a disagreement over trade, it goes to an independent, bi-national panel. And that panel gets to decide.

This legislation is the final step in safeguarding more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade as well as tariff-free access to our largest trading partner. It will also support hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs, now and in the future.

In December 2019, Canada joined the U.S. and Mexico in signing an agreement that reflected additional changes. That has given us an agreement that strengthens the state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism, labour protection, environmental protection, intellectual property and the automotive rules of origin. It will also help make the most advanced medicines affordable for Canadians.

These changes were met with widespread praise. I was particularly happy to see Jerry Dias, president of Unifor Canada, say, “The new [deal], while far from perfect, provides a road map to implement necessary changes in trade policy to benefit workers.”

Throughout the negotiations for the new NAFTA, we fought for a total lift of the U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, and we succeeded. Canada is now the only major producer of aluminum in the world that is not subject to U.S. tariffs. It is the result of our firm and measured response, including $2 billion in support for Canadian workers and companies and hundreds of interactions with U.S. officials.

I was pleased to welcome the Prime Minister to Oakville North—Burlington in 2018, shortly after the negotiation had finished on this new agreement. We visited MetriCan, which has facilities in Canada, the United States and Mexico and is a significant, innovative player in the global automotive industry and a leading supplier of tooling and stamped metal components.

The Prime Minister told MetriCan employees:

Canadians told us they wanted us to stand firm to protect good middle-class jobs like those here at MetriCan. The automobile and auto parts manufacturing industry remains a key driver of Canada’s economy. Thank you for showing me the important work you do here at MetriCan to ensure it remains so.

I am proud to have a company like MetriCan in my riding, and I know the impact the visit had on the owners and employees of the company.

Ford of Canada's head office is located in Oakville, and from the time of my election, ensuring their access to the U.S. and Mexico has been a top priority. I have been pleased to work with both management and Unifor Local 707 to ensure their concerns were heard and shared with the government.

I remember a meeting held with the presidents of the big three automakers and the president of Unifor Canada, where we all agreed that a team Canada approach to trade with regard to the auto industry was critical for success. I am proud to work with the fine men and women from Ford of Canada, and I know they want to see this agreement passed by this House.

These are just two examples of businesses in my community that are counting on us to ratify this agreement. The new NAFTA is an important achievement for the middle class and Canadians working hard to join it. This new agreement will be good for Canadian workers, businesses, and families. It will strengthen the middle class and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half a billion people who call North America home.

This agreement is good for Canada's economy. It will modernize and stabilize the economy for the 21st century, guaranteeing a higher standard of living for Canadians for the long term. The agreement will also protect jobs and preserve cultural industries in Canada.

It is now time to ratify the agreement so that we can move ahead with confidence that the Canadian economy is secure, even as we expand our trade to markets around the world. Canada has always had strong economic ties with the United States and Mexico. By strengthening the rules and procedures governing trade and investment, the agreement will provide a solid foundation for building Canada's prosperity and demonstrate the benefits of open trade for the rest of the world.

I am proud of our government for standing firm and getting not just any deal, but the best deal for Canada. I would in particular like to single out our Deputy Prime Minister for her leadership, professionalism and determination to ensure that the interests and values of Canadians were always defended. She did yeoman's work to see this agreement negotiated and to see it ratified here in the House. I thank her on behalf of all residents of Oakville North—Burlington and all Canadians.

As hon. members know, the Deputy Prime Minister has asked that we work together as colleagues to put Canada and Canadians first and get this important work done without undue delay. We have seen industry, business, union leadership, diplomats, indigenous leadership and government officials all buy into a team Canada approach. The United States and Mexico have already ratified this agreement. Now it is our turn.

Let us show the world that we all play for the same team.

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4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, the member often referred to this “new NAFTA”; I would much rather refer to it as “half a NAFTA” or “halfta”.

I am just wondering if she is at all concerned about the fact that this NAFTA deal was unable to secure a softwood lumber deal along with it?

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4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, we will disagree on the name. There seem to be an awful lot of acronyms bouncing around with regard to this trade agreement.

I hope that we can all agree that it is important to ratify this agreement. Certainly the softwood lumber industry is extremely important to the Canadian economy, and our government continues to work towards ensuring that the softwood lumber dispute is settled. We will go from there.

I do hope that we can count on the hon. member's support, and that of his party, when we vote on this deal.

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4:30 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I have just a couple of questions.

I know that one of the items the hon. member discussed, in terms of an achievement, was working with indigenous peoples. The Liberal government promised an entire chapter to promote indigenous rights in 2017. This was not delivered in CUSMA.

The other area I have a question about is in regard to gender and women. I am wondering if the member could describe how the rights of women are highlighted in this deal, considering that the Liberals again promised an entire chapter to promote gender equality in trade in 2017. Again, this was not delivered in CUSMA.

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4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her advocacy on two issues that are extremely important.

On the first, as the member likely knows, the government held extensive consultations with nearly 50 different indigenous groups on this agreement, including self-governing nations, tribal organizations, national organizations, development corporations, business and lending organizations, legal advisers and policy experts, so they were certainly included in the negotiation.

In terms of gender, there are enforceable provisions in the new agreement that protect women's rights, minority rights, indigenous rights and the environment, all of which we have never had before in a trade agreement. I am very proud of what we were able to negotiate.

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4:35 p.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, we have heard a lot of criticism on the opposite side from the Conservatives about the fact that Trump is not going to be allowing non-market trade agreements. I do not want to be dictated to by the United States. What does “non-market” mean? We are talking about communist countries and dictatorships. We are talking about countries that are not democracies, that do not have the same rule of law that we have.

Should we be engaging in trade with countries that do not have those same values and giving them most-favoured-nation status, or should we be looking at strengthening trade with democratic countries with advanced judicial systems so we do not need to worry about Canadian investors getting ripped off? Should we be looking at countries that respect the same kind of rule of law that we have? Should we be facilitating and working on trade agreements with those kinds of countries instead of non-market countries?

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4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, as a government we have taken leadership on a number of trade agreements. We are the only country that has trade agreements that allow us access to billions of people and markets around the world, and we are always taking into account the human rights conditions in those countries. We have always been a strong advocate for human rights around the world, and we will always stand up for that. We certainly are not dictated to by any other country when we are negotiating trade agreements. Canada is standing up for what is best for Canadians, Canadian workers and Canadian business. We will always do what is best for our country.

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4:35 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, as always, it is a great pleasure to rise in this House and to be speaking on behalf of the amazing constituents of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. I am pleased to be able to stand today and offer a few of my thoughts on the proceedings before us with regard to the implementation act of CUSMA, the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, through Bill C-4.

I want to start by acknowledging our relationship with the United States. The sheer amount of trade and travel that happens between our two countries and the long shared history that we have make it the most important relationship that Canada has. I want to also acknowledge how difficult this negotiation was for many of our hard-working trade negotiators, especially when policy from the United States seemed to be changing on the fly, according to tweets we would read from President Trump.

The NDP's position with regard to trade has always been that we want to have fair trade agreements that have enforceable protections for workers, the environment, and the rights of indigenous people and women. We feel that far too often, and there are many examples that we could list, trade negotiations seem to turn into corporate rights documents and give a lot of attention to regulatory harmonization. I understand that in some cases regulatory harmonization can be a good thing, because we do not want our businesses overburdened by too much red tape. However, we have to remember it is often large multinational corporations that are seeking the free flow of goods between borders, and often those regulations are in place because they are are particular and unique to the country that hosts them. When we have regulations dealing with environmental protections or workers' rights, those are extremely important, and we do not want to be chasing the lowest common denominator. We do not want to simply make it easy for the free flow of goods and trade without respecting those very important things.

I understand too that the renegotiation of NAFTA was sparked by President Trump. Again, this illustrates why it is so important for Canada to maintain relationships with the other branches of the United States government. We must maintain our contacts in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, but more importantly the various governors and state legislatures, because the United States has a very broad power-sharing network and it is certainly not equal to just one person.

I find the debate surrounding this agreement interesting. Not only has the current Parliament been seized with the agreement, but it was also a big feature in the 42nd Parliament. I can remember when question period often had the theme of CUSMA. I want to acknowledge the hard work of my former colleague Tracey Ramsey, the former MP for Essex, who led the way as our international trade critic and was often probing the government's negotiating tactics and the objectives that it was trying to achieve.

At that time, our main argument was that we should hold off on ratifying the agreement, because it was quite clear to anyone who was a keen observer that the United States Democrats in the House of Representatives were keen on changing some aspects of the deal, yet the Liberal government in the 42nd Parliament thought that would be a mistake. They wanted to agree to it as it was, not taking into account the fact that changes were coming.

In fact, the Deputy Prime Minister, when she had her previous role as the lead minister for this file, said, “Mr. Speaker, what the NDP needs to understand is that reopening this agreement would be like opening Pandora's box”, and that it would be naive for the NDP to believe that Canadians would benefit from reopening this agreement, yet that is precisely what happened. I do not know of any other instance in which Canada had to rely on the actions of a foreign government to deliver a better deal. I think that is actually quite unprecedented.

If only we could have had a process whereby the Parliament of Canada had played a bigger role. I know a lot of legislators on the opposition side of the benches were constantly referring to this and to the fact that there were possibilities of getting a better deal, but no: The government at the time wanted to proceed forward. Thankfully, we did get a renegotiated deal, and the U.S. Democrats were about to put in some important provisions. I think that when we look at the balance sheet, some improvements were definitely made.

I look to my home province of British Columbia. I make my home on Vancouver Island. Of course, the big industry that has had no mention in this agreement is our softwood lumber industry. That dispute is still ongoing with the United States, and I understand that Canada has had to take its concerns to the World Trade Organization.

We have many workers in British Columbia who still have this cloud of uncertainty hanging over their industry. Many mills have closed over the previous decades. Many communities in British Columbia have had to transition out of a mill-based work force into something closer to tourism or a service-based industry. However, it has forever changed the face of many small towns in British Columbia.

For the towns that are lucky enough to still have a thriving mill, we still are plagued with a lot of uncertainty. This is certainly one part of the Canada-U.S. relationship that has to be studied and worked on.

As the NDP's critic for agriculture, I would also be remiss if I did not mention the concessions that were made in this agreement to our supply-managed dairy sector. We are giving up a few percentages of our market, as we did under the CPTPP and CETA. The Liberals constantly say in the House that they are the party that defends supply management and that they are the ones who brought it in. However, now we have started to see even more cuts. The problem is that when we were negotiating this deal and opening up parts of our market to the United States, especially in supply management, in a sense what the government is asking our dairy farmers to do is to pay the price for another jurisdiction's overproduction problems.

I will illustrate that by pointing this out. The State of Wisconsin produces more milk than the entire country of Canada combined. As it does not have supply management, it has wild fluctuations in price. Many farmers are experiencing bankruptcy down there. There are serious concerns to mental health and they do not have the protections there. In a sense, we are trying to open up our market from U.S. demands. We are trying to pay the price for their overproduction.

It goes further. Under clause 3.A.3 of the agreement, we have now agreed to establish threshold limits on exports. We have put those threshold limits on things like infant formula, milk protein concentrates and skim milk powder. This means that Canada has agreed to absolute limits of exports in those categories. Furthermore, if we exceed those thresholds, we then have to place a punitive tariff, which would essentially price us out of the market.

I would like to know if we have an economic impact statement on how this will affect the future growth of the industry. Has the government done an analysis of how close our industry already is to those threshold limits? Furthermore, in the coming into force provisions of the agreement, are we giving our producers enough time to compensate and deal with those changes?

Through the debate on Bill C-4, I would really like members of the House to think about how we can have a better process in place for future trade negotiations.

We all know that the negotiation of international treaties, such as trade treaties, is a royal prerogative of the Crown. It is a latent power of the Crown, held over from centuries ago. It is certainly within the executive's right to negotiate deals. However, the problem is that when we get the final product in the House of Commons, all we are allowed to do is to vote yes or no. The deal has already been signed. Our role is limited only to implementing legislation.

I know there have been consultations with many groups, but if we could find a process whereby members of Parliament actually have that opportunity to have a more fulsome discussion, where we can state what are objectives are and have a more fulsome role, as they do in the European Parliament and in the United States Congress, then we could take this opportunity to ensure that in future negotiations, perhaps with the United Kingdom, we would go in as the people's representatives with a much better idea of exactly what we are trying to achieve.

I look forward to any questions that my colleagues may have.

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4:45 p.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

Madam Speaker, it is encouraging to hear that the New Democratic caucus has taken a look at the important issue of trade, particularly the $2 billion a day of trade between Canada and the United States, not to mention the importance of trade in North America.

As the member reflects on the old trade agreement between Canada and the U.S.A., would he agree that there are significant changes in this new agreement? He has made reference to some of them. I have talked a great deal about the issue of supply management. We hear a lot about the guarantees on aluminum, the 70%. There are things in the agreement that ultimately are better for the environment and other social progressive measures.

We recognize that everyone believes we could have a better deal, but from our perspective, this is a good deal for Canadians. Could he tell us why he feels it is an important agreement to pass?

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4:50 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, the choice before us in the House of Commons is whether, through the implementation of Bill C-4, we want to go back to the old NAFTA, which is not a possible route anymore given that the United States and Mexico have ratified the new agreement, or go to something that is slightly better.

I would refer my colleague back to my remarks during my speech. The Liberals were well prepared in the last Parliament to barge ahead with an agreement that was not quite acceptable. There were still some glaring holes. My main point of contention, my main criticism, is that Canada had to rely on the actions of U.S. Democrats to get a better deal. If we had proceeded with what the Liberals wanted, we would not have these improvements before us today. We had to rely on the actions of a foreign government, and that is unfortunate.

I hope the Liberals will take a lesson from this and take stock from our suggestion that there is now an opportunity before us to have a better process in place.

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4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, my colleague mentioned that this deal seemed to be slightly better than the previous NAFTA. I continue to call it “half NAFTA” or “halfta”.

We went backwards on one thing. CNBC reported recently that there was now a sunset clause in this deal. Does the member think a sunset clause is a better part of “halfta” than NAFTA?

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4:50 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, we have to realize just who we were negotiating with. The United States President often changed his position and the Americans were driving a hard bargain. In particular, I would like to know how we agreed to place threshold limits on our dairy exports.

It is important that we send the legislation to the international trade committee where we can hear from witnesses and really start to dissect the process that put us where we are at today. This could be a thing for us to worry about in 16 years time, which I am led to believe is the correct number. However, that is certainly why the international trade committee has to do its important work, even from the agricultural industry's perspective. A lot of stakeholders have already been knocking on my door, expressing an interest in giving their viewpoint. There is a wide spectrum of opinion depending on which particular industry one is a member of.

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4:50 p.m.

Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darrell Samson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, my colleague has a way of drilling down to the key issues and I appreciate the way he does that.

I am sure he remembers last year when we were talking about the trade deal in the House, CUSMA or NAFTA 2.0, whatever one wanted to call it at the time. The President of the United States said that he would not sign a deal without a sunset clause in it. He was referring to five years. We did not accept that. However, the Conservatives were asking us to sign the deal at that time.

The President also said that he would not sign a deal with supply management included in it. It is still there, and that is important.

Dispute resolution is in the new agreement and even better.

Does the member want to share—

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4:50 p.m.

Brossard—Saint-Lambert Québec

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes LiberalThe Assistant Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, a very quick answer.

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4:50 p.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I do not know if I have time to answer three separate questions, but what I will say is let us use this to recognize there is an opportunity here to allow Parliament to have a greater role in future negotiations. If we went into these negotiations understanding exactly what our red lines and objectives were, people could have more confidence in the process. In the end, we would have greater buy-in than having a bill presented to us with simply a yes or no answer.

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4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Health; the hon. member for Edmonton Riverbend, Health; the hon. member for Victoria, The Environment.

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4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I wish to acknowledge that today's debate is taking place on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

When our government was elected in the fall of 2015, the world was a very different place. There was a certain degree of stability. There was a consensus that the principle of multilateralism was the ideal recipe for keeping the peace between nations and supporting free international trade to ensure greater prosperity for as many countries and people as possible.

Needless to say, the world has changed a lot since then. It has moved in the opposite direction. In the new international political context, as a country, we have suddenly been forced to cope with the need to return to the negotiating table to overhaul one of our most important agreements with the two countries that share the North American continent with us. That agreement is NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. We succeeded. We successfully negotiated something that was far from a foregone conclusion. We negotiated as equals with the most powerful economy on the planet, our neighbour and friend, and a tough negotiator, the United States.

I want to congratulate the Deputy Prime Minister, the then minister of foreign affairs, for her perspicacity, her determination, her poise under pressure, her tactful words at critical moments, her dignity and her diplomatic skills throughout the process.

I also want to congratulate the Prime Minister, who stepped in at the right times with firm and focused remarks to make it known that Canada would not capitulate to the United States.

We negotiated hard and successfully in the Canadian way. We were confident and firm but always respectful. We were true to our nature and to our reputation around the world. We were friendly but determined to stand up for Canadians and Canada's economic interests.

Canadians have a right to feel proud of our success in the NAFTA 2.0 negotiations, which were crucial economically, intense and not always linear. I think that is obvious.

In the time I have left, I would like to touch on a few key aspects of the new trade deal that I believe are important to my constituents, because they have written to me on numerous occasions about these issues.

The first is on dispute resolution, which, to my mind, is why we negotiated the original free trade agreement with the United States in the first place. I do not think it was to reduce tariffs so much, as there was already a free flow of goods, but we wanted to make sure, as a middle power with huge trade with the world's largest economy, that we could have a mechanism to objectively and rationally resolve disputes when protectionist pressures might rise south of the border. It was important. The whole idea of the free trade agreement, as far as I am concerned, was to have a dispute resolution mechanism so that we could be trading on a level playing field with a country that is 10 times bigger than we are.

We know that the United States, at the moment, is not fond of dispute settlement. In fact, for two years, the Trump administration has blocked the appointment of new members to the WTO's seven-member dispute resolution panel, claiming that dispute resolution compromises and undermines American sovereignty and latitude in trade. Therefore, the WTO dispute settlement mechanism was effectively paralyzed at a time when Canada was looking forward to having it deal with the United States and resolve the softwood lumber dispute with the United States.

We have heard a lot about softwood lumber in this debate. We have a case in front of the WTO, but because the dispute settlement mechanism has been paralyzed, obviously the WTO is not able to make a decision in that case.

Under NAFTA, there was similarly the potential for what is called “panel blocking”, where a country can block the creation of a dispute resolution panel by refusing to appoint members. That power existed under NAFTA for the United States, for example. Today, we have succeeded against all odds, given the prevailing mindset in the U.S., in having dispute resolution maintained in the new trade deal. Worth noting is that the new agreement is asymmetrical. That means that there is the possibility of dispute resolution between Canada and the U.S., but not between the U.S. and Mexico. Therefore, we clearly have a privileged position in this regard. We have also achieved an end to panel blocking, which is so important in the case of dispute settlement panels. We stood up and we won on that point.

A second issue is investor-state dispute resolution. For many years, there was concern that investor-state dispute resolution compromised Canadian economic and environmental sovereignty by subjugating our domestic policies to the economic interests of multinational corporations. NAFTA's infamous chapter 11 has been removed from the USMCA, or CUSMA, as some people call it, and investor disputes between Canada and the U.S. will no longer be subject to the investor-state dispute resolution process that existed under chapter 11.

It is important to mention that there are still obligations under the new agreement, with respect to expropriation, whether direct or indirect, where charges of indirect expropriation often flow when domestic environmental laws and regulations are seen to negatively impact foreign private interests in Canada. However, the Library of Parliament has stated:

Annex 14-B [of the USMCA] indicates that such actions' adverse effects on the economic value of an investment would not be sufficient to establish that an indirect expropriation has occurred. As well, Annex 14-B notes that whether any such actions constitute indirect expropriation would depend on factors that include the actions' economic impact, object, context, intent, and interference with 'distinct, reasonable investment-backed expectations” that such actions would not occur.

In many environmental cases, we would be able to argue that any rational investor who is well informed would understand that we would want to have policies to protect our environment in a particular area. For example, there was often speculation that chapter 11 would make it easier, hypothetically, for foreign private interests to one day pressure Canada to export its fresh water in bulk to a thirsty southern neighbour, namely, that in the face of domestic policies intended to block such exports, massive financial compensation might need to be paid to foreign private interests seeking to access bulk water as a tradable good. The USMCA makes that an even more remote possibility.

Many constituents wrote to me about dairy. I would like to reiterate that the supply management system has been maintained. There will, indeed, be new higher quotas for dairy imports from the U.S. with Canadian tariffs still being applied on dairy products that exceed these new quotas, tariffs ranging from 200% to 300%. According to reports, the new quotas are expected to give American dairy farmers access to up to 3.5% of Canada's market, from 1%. Therefore, we can see that the defence of the system is still very much in place. Yes, there has been a slight increase, but supply management has been maintained.

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5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Madam Speaker, the member across the aisle gave a well-thought-out and well-researched speech.

Over the past five years under the Liberal government, we have seen foreign direct investment, particularly from the United States into Canada. People are acutely aware of this in Alberta with the loss of investment in the critical oil sands sector. Does the member see any connection between the loss of investor-state dispute settlement systems and the possibility that Canada's foreign direct investment will continue declining in future years?

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5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I do not see a connection whatsoever. I was reading up on foreign direct investment flows into Canada. The situation in Alberta with the lower oil price has had an impact on foreign direct investment into Canada and we want to make sure that the Alberta economy can rebound. There is no doubt about that. People are suffering.

Two reasons were given for the drop in foreign direct investment: the slump in the oil industry and the trade uncertainty around the new deal. By coming to a new deal, we have taken some of that uncertainty away and according to a Bloomberg report, foreign direct investment is coming back. What is even more hopeful about the situation is that it is not only coming back in the oil sector, it is coming back in other sectors as well.

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5:05 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to acknowledge my colleague and thank him for his speech. He praised his government's negotiating skills and claimed that government officials stood up to the Americans.

In my earlier remarks, I said that aluminum dumping is happening in Mexico, which is processing the metal and redirecting it to other places in North America. In a way, that jeopardizes Quebec's aluminum production. This new agreement institutionalizes the idea of Mexico taking the aluminum being dumped in its market and using it to manufacture parts for the production of North American vehicles.

My question is simple. If federal officials stood up to the Americans, why did they capitulate to Mexico?

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5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, as the Deputy Prime Minister explained to the House repeatedly during several oral question periods, the aluminum sector is in a better position now and is better served by the new agreement than it was by the old one.

Under the new agreement, vehicles will have to contain a certain percentage of North American steel and aluminum, which was not the case before. I believe the requirement is now 70%, whereas it used to be zero. I think 70% is better than zero.

Moreover, we must not forget that transportation costs are a factor in this market. If aluminum is produced near its markets, customers will naturally choose a product that costs less because it does not have to be transported as far.

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5:05 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague, a veteran MP, on his analysis of this agreement.

My question is very simple. We have been hearing a lot of outrage and concern about aluminum even though we know international trade rules have anti-dumping provisions that apply in Canada.

Would the member tell us a bit more about that aspect of the new NAFTA?

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5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, we are talking about dumping as though it were acceptable practice and commonplace. However, in international trade, the rules of the game prohibit dumping and that does not change in the least under the new agreement. There is no need to spend too much time dwelling on this practice.

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5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to address the matter at hand, the Canada-U.S.-Mexico agreement. I hope the Speaker will indulge me for a few moments as this is my first speech in this new Parliament and I want to thank a few people who are crucial for me being here today.

First and foremost, I would not be here without my wife Raechel. She has always been my rock. She has always supported me in all my political endeavours, so I thank her.

I thank my family. I will admit some of them did not vote Conservative in the last election. However, they stood beside me and supported me the entire way. In particular, I would like to thank my mother Rebecca and my grandparents Cindy Lou and Graham.

I would also like to thank my hard-working campaign team, Imelda Maclaren, Tom Cox, Barb Costache, Jesse Furber, Julia Roy, Luke lnberg and Kris Alex, under the leadership of Cherise Geisbrecht, along with all those who poured countless hours into door knocking, constructing signs and fundraising. I am also indebted to my board president Susan Evans and my financial agent Dennis Francis.

I would like to thank some others, Murray Kulak, Ben and Josh Sawatzky, Jody Dahrouge, Ed Basaraba, Tim and Julie Milligan, Fran and Ander Wolthuis, and Mark and Melissa Haarsma. Without their support, I would not be here today.

Finally, I want to thank my constituents in Sturgeon River—Parkland, who gave me a resounding 77.5% of the vote. Over 53,000 people have sent me here to Ottawa. That is 10,000 more than the previous record set in my riding.

With that strong mandate, I come to speak before this House on an issue that is of great importance to the people of my riding: our relationship with our largest trading partners, the United States and Mexico.

Sturgeon River—Parkland is composed of the counties of Sturgeon, Parkland and Lac Ste. Anne, as well as the major centres of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Morinville, all of which lie to the north and west of Edmonton. This constituency has many charming small towns like Onaway, Legal, Gibbons, Bon Accord and Redwater. We are proud to be a part of Treaty 6 territory and we include the communities of Alexander and Enoch, which are members of the Cree Nation. The people of all these communities have been watching the trade negotiations with interest and great concern.

There is a growing value-added plastics industry in the Alberta industrial heartland in my riding. There is a groundbreaking new oil refinery in Redwater. There are thousands of farmers across our riding who are growing potatoes, canola and lentils. As well, there are cattle, dairy and chicken farmers. We are home to Canada's top value-added pet food producers, and a lumber industry that has suffered under high tariffs from the United States. We also have the largest privately held steel fabricator in not just Canada but North America.

All of these important industries provide thousands of jobs for Canadians in my riding and across Canada, but we have seen very little from the Liberal government to address their challenges. I am going to delve a little deeper into those challenges.

The government is repeatedly claiming that all is well and that there is nothing to see here when we look at this trade agreement. However, Canadians are watching as our trade position in this world, and particularly with the United States, grows more and more precarious. I will mention a few examples of the concerns of those in my community that I am hoping the government will address.

On January 24, just a couple of weeks ago, the United States announced further trade action against our fabricated steel industry. A year ago the Americans initiated trade action against our fabricated steel industry. On September 4 of last year, the Department of Commerce found there was little to no evidence to show that our fabricated steel industry was impacting that industry in the United States.

Despite that positive ruling, our fabricated steel industry continues to face an unrelenting attack from American competitors. Just a few short days ago, the Department of Commerce made its decision to impose a 6.7% tariff on Canadian fabricated steel imports. A final appeal is yet to be heard, but I have seen little from the government to show it is considering the challenges of our fabricated steel industry.

We are debating the ratification of a trade agreement. As we speak, our competitors are attempting to kneecap our industry. Does this sound like a successful free trade agreement? Thousands of jobs across Canada are at stake. Hundreds of jobs in my riding are at risk, yet the Liberals are doing nothing to stand up for our steel fabricators, an essential value-added industry.

The government is so desperate to ram this agreement through that it is ignoring the erosion of our domestic industry. To add insult to injury, we are further opening up the procurement market in Canada to foreign competitors in the U.S., the very same competitors that are seeking to put tariffs on their Canadian competitors.

I ask the government how the new trade agreement will prevent the United States from discriminating against our steel industry at will. How are we going to make sure we have a fair and level playing field for our steel fabricators, among others?

Aside from our steel industry, we have an industry that has suffered even more severe damage over the past few years. Our softwood lumber industry remains at the mercy of our American competitors. We need certainty, rules and a vision for the prosperous future our hard-working men and women in the lumber industry deserve.

In the United States over eight million homes were constructed last year. These are homes that needed Canadian wood products. At the same time, Canada saw the closure of nine mills and reduced production in dozens of others. As of October 2019, over two billion board feet in production had been curtailed in Canada. Meanwhile, the price of lumber in the United States has skyrocketed by 33%.

It does not take an economist to see that the laws of supply and demand are not being followed. The price of a product is going up significantly, but here in Canada we are cutting production and facing mill closures. The reason is that the Liberal government has failed to take this opportunity to act and achieve a deal for our softwood lumber producers that would ensure sustainability and prosperity for years to come.

Ultimately, we need to delve deeper into the details of this trade agreement. However, the government has refused to share its internal economic analysis with us. What does it have to hide? There are clearly areas in which Canada is continuing to get a raw deal, and this must be addressed immediately. Canadians want to see transparency and accountability from the government.

What will the impact on our supply-managed agri-food sector be? How will Canada continue to diversify its trade when the United States can withhold its signature on our agreements? How can we ensure that Canadian companies, and the Canadian shareholders who trust their retirement savings to these companies, will be treated fairly by foreign governments? All of these are important areas where Canada has relinquished control and is vulnerable.

In the end, we need to ask ourselves if this deal will protect and grow a sustainable industrial base in Canada, the kind of base that we can depend upon to provide the middle-class jobs and prosperity previous generations have enjoyed as their birthright. We continue to see the hollowing out of our industry to low-cost jurisdictions. We see an American economic tiger cutting taxes, and we see regulations aimed at enticing Canadian job creators to America.

Canada only seems to be moving in the opposite direction. The only companies we can get to invest in Canada are ones the government has to write a big taxpayer cheque to.

Without a clear economic analysis provided by the government, the one thing I can conclude is that this trade deal does little to move our country forward. Rather, it maintains a status quo, a status quo that we see quickly eroding under our very feet.

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5:15 p.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

Madam Speaker, we have heard a number of Conservatives say that they want a clear understanding and they want an economic impact study completed. In part, they need to realize that this was not just two people sitting in a room who came up with an agreement. It has taken a couple of years to hit the point where we are today.

Thousands of discussions have taken place. Provinces and different stakeholders, whether it is labour or business, have recognized that the agreement we are debating today will further advance the interests of Canada well into the future. That is something we need to recognize. It is not something that should be new to any caucus. Even the current Conservative caucus was provided the opportunity to have more details.

Would the member not agree that this has been a topic for discussion for well over two years?

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5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Madam Speaker, if I could summarize the hon. parliamentary's question, it is, “Just trust us. It's a great deal, but you do not have to see any of the details, because we cannot trust you with those details.”

I do not need to be lectured by the parliamentary secretary, because I had the honour of working for the member for Abbotsford when he served as Canada's minister of international trade. Under his Conservative leadership, we achieved the Canada-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and the Canada-European trade agreement, and those are trade agreements that we can be very proud of for our country.

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5:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like my colleague to elaborate on something which he touched on.

We have just heard that the United States has signed a free trade agreement with China, which will have a potentially devastating impact on Canadian agriculture. There may be as much as $40 billion in agricultural trade between those two countries, which will certainly have an impact on ours.

The United States beat us to the punch. When we sign the new NAFTA, we will not be able to enter into free trade agreements with countries like China and Vietnam without first having the approval of the United States.

I do not know of any other free trade agreement that Canada has ever signed that has signed off our sovereignty in trade in future deals with another country. I would like my colleague to talk about the impact this would have on his riding.

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5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Madam Speaker, before I answer my colleague's question, I would like to say that my heart and the hearts of all the people of Sturgeon River—Parkland are with the Chinese people as they currently go through the terrible pandemic in Wuhan and across the world. Our hearts and prayers are with them.

In my riding we are very strong. We are invested in beef and canola production. We are in the steel industry. With the United States signing a new trade agreement with China, we are significantly disadvantaged in Canada. We have not seen the resolution of the canola crisis with China yet. We have not seen any forward progress on it. Unless we see that kind of forward progress, our farmers are going to continue to be disadvantaged and lose market share.

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5:20 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, my colleague mentioned softwood lumber, which is a subject that is very close to the concerns of my riding and others in British Columbia. I wonder if he could expand on his comments.

I was heartened to see the chapter 19 provisions of the old NAFTA still in this new agreement so that we can go to NAFTA panels to battle these illegal tariffs that the United States has put on. I wonder if the member could expand on that and how it would play into the disputes that are still before a couple of those panels.

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5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Dane Lloyd Conservative Sturgeon River—Parkland, AB

Madam Speaker, the member has the privilege of coming from one of the most beautiful ridings in Canada and southern B.C.

On softwood lumber, I cannot speak to the panels that are being disputed at this point. However, we have to look at some of the challenges that we can address in Canada to make our softwood lumber industry more competitive. One thing we have seen is that in the province of British Columbia the stumpage fees are much higher than they are in the province of Alberta, for example. We have seen a disproportionate number of closures in British Columbia over Alberta. That is something we can address as a country.

In terms of getting market access to the United States, without that, I was talking to American homebuilders who told me it is raising the cost of a house by $6,000. Surely we can make a strong argument for Canadian wood products to be entering the United States on a fair and level playing field.

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5:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to start by acknowledging that we are here today, as every day, on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Nation.

We are currently debating the new NAFTA. The Green Party considers this to be a real improvement over the first version of NAFTA, now that chapter 11 has been removed. That chapter was detrimental to Canadian laws and regulations and beneficial to U.S. corporations. That chapter also hurt our health and environmental protection regulations.

What is more, the section on energy in the former NAFTA will be rescinded when the new NAFTA comes into effect. This is good for us because Canada is the only NAFTA country that is still required to comply with the old export levels, which in fact undermines our own energy security.

The changes that have been made are something of a surprise given the history of trade agreements. I have long been an opponent of trade agreements that put corporate profits above sustainability, above community health, prosperity and well-being. The case of this agreement, CUSMA, is the first time, certainly in recent decades, that any trade agreement represents an improvement over what has preceded it in giving up more clout in protecting the environment and reduced the corporate powers that have been expanding ever since the neo-liberal era began.

In fact, it was in the first NAFTA that the notion of investor-state dispute resolutions gained traction, particularly in the developed world. My colleague, the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, has already spoken to this and provided some details about investor-state agreements.

I will add a little more personal detail. Before ever being involved in politics, I was always involved in the environmental movement, whether as a lawyer, or in government or with environmental groups. As executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada, we ran straight into the very first application of chapter 11. When NAFTA was being debated within Canada, the pernicious anti-democratic impacts of chapter 11 were unknown.

We debated many things about NAFTA in the country, but no one talked about investor-state provisions. It was something of a sleeper in the first version of NAFTA. We woke up to that sleeper when I was involved in a citizens campaign to try to get rid of a toxic gasoline additive in the country called MMT manganese-based toxins.

I worked with neurotoxicologists from Montreal, particularly Dr. Donna Mergler from UQAM. I worked with the car manufacturers because this MMT as a gasoline additive gummed up the onboard diagnostics in the car, potentially violating the warranties. It was the first time to have a coalition of environmental groups, carmakers and scientists all saying this toxic gasoline additive had to be removed.

Under the minister of the environment at the time, Sheila Copps, we managed to get rid of this toxic gasoline additive, only to have Ethyl Corporation of Richmond, Virginia, bring a suit against Canada. We were shocked by this first chapter 11 challenge. In a secret tribunal, it made the case that this was going to cost it money.

It is important for members of Parliament to understand how important it is that we get rid of these provisions in every other trade agreement. The agreements need not say that the actions Canada took, under former environment minister Sheila Copps, were in any way in objection to trade. They were not hidden, veiled protective measures; they were what they said they were. Getting something that was bad for human health, compromised the onboard diagnostics to ensure that pollution was controlled by the engine itself. All of these things were caused by MMT. There was no doubt about that. However, the government at the time under, former Prime Minister Chrétien, decided to settle with Ethyl Corp., fearing the worst out of the secret tribunal.

We had to pay, as a country, taken out of the A-base budget of Environment Canada, millions of dollars to Ethyl Corporation of Richmond, Virginia. We had to repeal the law we passed to keep this stuff out of our environment. On top of everything else, we wrote a formal letter of apology that Ethyl Corporation could use around the world to peddle this toxic stuff in other countries.

There are many more cases like that. There is S.D. Myers of Ohio which challenged the decision to stop the export of PCB contaminated waste.

Probably the worst of all is the most recent case of Bilcon. A U.S. corporation brought charges against Canada for the proper use of our environmental assessment law, properly applied, the version that occurred before the 2012 demolition of environmental assessment in this country, which is still not repaired, and was able to claim that the environmental assessment panel had not been fair to this company. It would have threatened the survival of one of the world's most endangered whales, the right whales of Atlantic Canada.

I could go on, but I need to move to other sections of this agreement. It is very important that we understand the difference between two chapters. I have noticed some speakers through this debate have mistaken chapter 19, the dispute resolution portions that we are pleased to see remain, and chapter 11, a resolution of disputes between two parties who should never have the right to challenge each other, that a private corporation that is in the United States under chapter 11 of our current NAFTA has superior powers and rights to a Canadian domestic corporation. That is still the case in the countries we deal with in the TPP. We put investor state in there.

Horrifically, it is the case with the Canada-China investment treaty which the Harper cabinet passed in secret and never came to this place. It still binds this country to allow state-owned enterprises of the People's Republic of China to secretly sue the government if we do anything that gets in the way of their profits. That is a legacy from the Conservatives which they do not seem to know about.

We have seen such damage from investor-state provisions. We need to track them down and remove them wherever they are. CUSMA is a huge improvement and sets the pace for getting rid of them elsewhere.

I am pleased to see the end of the energy security chapter. It was really strange. Mexico had no corresponding provision in its requirements to the United States. Only Canada made a commitment that we would not restrict any of our energy exports beyond the proportion that we had been selling to the United States over a period of time.

If we were selling 60% of our natural gas to the United States, we would have to continue to do that under the current provisions, which will be gone with CUSMA. Even if we were running out of natural gas, we would still have to export 60% to the United States. They were very strange provisions and we are glad they are gone.

I want to turn to three areas that have not received much attention in this debate. One is the improvements in the environment chapter and although not as strong as what was promised by the Liberals, we certainly have stronger language, and for the first time, a component of NAFTA dealing with gender rights and indigenous issues.

In the environment chapter, I am really pleased we were able to withstand efforts by Donald Trump to eliminate something that many members in this place may not have known of at all, which is the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

That commission is led by the environment ministers of the United States, Mexico and Canada. They work together to protect our environment in every country. A truly democratic provision would give each citizen of the United States, Canada, or Mexico the ability to file a complaint against a decision that would be harmful to the environment.

Any citizen or NGO of Canada, the U.S. or Mexico can bring a complaint to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to say our government is reducing environmental protections because it wants to promote trade. It is now protected and is better funded.

I want to underscore that although it is not everything we wanted, I am pleased that indigenous handcrafted products can now be duty-free. I am pleased that various indigenous provisions of this agreement highlight the importance of indigenous people throughout Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. I am also pleased there is at least some language that the goals of all of our trade agreements and multilateral co-operation have to focus on the rights of women and girls.

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5:35 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands made a well-informed speech. I am glad she mentioned the egregious case of MMT and Ethyl Corporation. It is a case that shall live in infamy in our country's trade history. I am glad to see chapter 11 gone. The NDP has been fighting those kinds of provisions for years and years in all the trade agreements we have signed.

What are the member's thoughts on this trade agreement and others, and future trade agreements, regarding the possible export of water from Canada? In this agreement it is only covered with a side agreement, a letter between Robert Lighthizer and the Deputy Prime Minister. I just want to get the member's thoughts on water and trade agreements that we might sign.

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5:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, in response to my hon. colleague, who is such an environmental champion himself, I think we are okay. The way the old NAFTA worked is continuing in the new NAFTA, which is to say that water in its natural state is not considered a good in trade and if it is not considered a good in trade, NAFTA does not apply.

We took the step in the 40th Parliament under a private member's bill to have a law on the books that says the export of water from transboundary basins is not legal. There is still the threat. We can go back to that grand canal scheme of putting a pipe into Hudson Bay and running it to the United States.

However, as long as no jurisdiction in Canada allows the export of water in its natural state, NAFTA would not apply.

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5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her speech.

We were quick to speak out to protect jobs in the aluminum sector. I thank the member for asking me a question about this.

I find the government's interpretation of the agreement quite impressive. Everything the Liberals have to say makes me think that they have not read the agreement. That is not what we are talking about right now, but I find it impressive. I am very impressed to see that their interpretation is unfounded, based on the clauses in the document tabled in the House, but that is a whole other story.

I would like the opinion of the leader of the Green Party. Quebec has the cleanest aluminum in the world. We have not heard many people speak in favour of improving the environment around the world or within our country, in Quebec. We want to understand why the government never pointed out that the cleanest aluminum in the world will be tossed aside by the agreement. As has already been announced, this aluminum will soon be carbon neutral. What these companies are doing in Quebec is amazing. Under this agreement, Quebec aluminum will be replaced by another aluminum that is produced with coal and that creates eight times more pollution. It will create a billion times more pollution than carbon neutral aluminum. That divided by zero equals infinity, if I am not mistaken.

Why do we not hear the member talking about this?

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5:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my Bloc Québécois colleague.

He is right. We are hoping for an improvement so that the parties to this agreement acknowledge that Quebec's aluminum really is the greenest in the world. Why not use it in projects like the LNG Canada project in Kitimat? The current government has agreed to grant huge subsidies to this project, which uses Chinese aluminum exclusively, even though Quebec's aluminum is better for our environment and for our economy.

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5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, since this is the first time I have had more than 30 seconds to address my colleagues in the House, I want to take this opportunity to thank my wife Kate, who supported me on the campaign trail and has been at my side ever since I started my career. I also want to say hello to my seven-month-old son, Léo-Xavier.

I mention him in the House because some members have done the same with their children. Family is important, and it makes all the difference when we are on the campaign trail or working in the House. I know that every member takes care of their family.

Naturally, I also have to mention my father Yves, my mother Nicole, and my brother Mathieu, who have helped me every step of the way. I also want to thank my parliamentary assistants, namely Martin, who has now gone on to bigger and better things, Louise, Line, Judith, Carole and Andrew. I want to thank them for their support.

The important thing to keep in mind about Bill C-4, an act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, is that we now have access to a market. MPs who are against the agreement can raise any argument they like, but we need to think about what is more important: a market made up of 35 million people or a market made up of 330 million people, not including Mexico? That is the important thing about this agreement.

Of course I want to talk about the importance of steel producers, a major presence in my riding that, in one municipality, accounts for 25% of the tax revenue. I can hardly imagine what would happen if the Government of Canada did not sign the free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. I can hardly imagine what would happen to that municipality if 25% of its tax revenue disappeared overnight. That is something else each member should consider when the time comes to vote. Do members of the House want to do something that is good for the steel sector or not?

The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister worked very hard on the new NAFTA, and it is a good agreement for all Canadians all over this country.

Obviously, we have to acknowledge its flaws. I cannot represent the riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell without addressing those. In my riding we have dairy farmers, chicken and turkey producers, and egg producers. Supply management continues to be a very important issue to them.

The only thing I can tell them is that the work of an MP is to be present in the riding. That is what is important. When the government makes decisions, it would be easy to simply tell the producers without ever meeting them that everything will be fine.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs took the time to meet producers across the country and listen to their concerns.

It is true that we lost some market share. During negotiations around the agreement between Europe and Canada, it was not the Liberal government that was prepared to allow loopholes in supply management. It was the members who are currently seated across the way who, in 2013, were prepared to give up 1.5% of Canada's market share.

It was not the Liberal government that said it was willing to give up 3.25% of the market under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It was the Conservative government that announced it had signed an agreement on October 5, 2015, at 11:59:59 p.m. The Conservatives threw out a number that did not make any sense to the dairy industry, which nevertheless accepted it without even consulting its farmers.

I think it is important to mention that we have a duty to consult Canadians, even if our party is the one in power. It is important to talk to producers, as I did. I met with some 300 dairy farmers who were against CETA, against the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and against the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. It is important to listen to them and to make their voices heard in the House of Commons. That is exactly what I am doing this evening.

Yes, we signed an agreement with Europe. Yes, we signed a trans-Pacific partnership agreement. Yes, we signed a new agreement with the United States and Mexico. However, yes, we are always going to listen to our dairy farmers, our chicken farmers, our turkey farmers and all of our supply-managed farmers. I can only reiterate how important it is to meet with all of the representatives of our agricultural sector across the country.

The agreement between Canada and the United States is important because it helps ensure market stability. My riding is home to a large steel producer, Ivaco. This company helps support our families by employing more than 400 people.

I cannot speak enough about the great work that the United Steelworkers are doing in representing their workers back home, but also the HEICO Corporation and Ivaco, which are doing a fantastic job representing our workers back home and making sure that they have stable, long-term employment.

If there is one thing I can say about Ivaco, it is that it changed leadership at some point and the unions have changed leadership at some point, but they have always cared and they have always put their differences aside to ensure that the families back home, whether they are in L'Original, Hawkesbury or Vankleek Hill, have a steady income and a company that they can believe in. I can assure families that Ivaco and the union have worked hard to ensure that investment remains at Ivaco. It is a great deal for L'Original, Hawkesbury or Alfred.

I have under two minutes left to address my colleagues. I know they are a little surprised by my speech.

Market stability is definitely something we must keep top of mind. The Bloc Québécois should listen to this. If we do not guarantee economic stability for our voters, our employers and all our families, what other option do we have?

In closing, I want to emphasize that the economic issues in my riding, my province and Canada are extremely important to me.

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5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Madam Speaker, CNBC just published an update by Jared Kushner, talking about the sunset provision of this new NAFTA.

He is saying that the sunset provision in NAFTA which allows for the agreement to expire after 16 years is important because “it is imperative that the United States retain leverage in any of our trading relationships”.

The Liberal government wants us to rush in approving this new NAFTA. It says it will alleviate uncertainty in our economy. However, the president's son-in-law is bragging that it will do nothing of the sort. A sunset clause was originally a non-starter for the government. Why, now, would it agree to such a clause? What did Canada get in return for such a huge concession?

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5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's questions but I do not agree with him that we suddenly agreed with the United States on the sunset clause. It was 24 years ago. Does he agree with a clause from 24 years ago and does it still apply 24 years later?

The question that we must ask is whether a free trade agreement should evolve over so many years. I think as technology finds its way and evolves, it is just a smart thing to revise agreements every so many years, whether it is five years, 10, 15 or 20. It just makes sense. If the hon. member wants to get stuck in the past, we would still be promoting horse whip manufacturing around here.

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5:50 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands say that Quebec's aluminum is the greenest aluminum produced. I wonder whether my colleague opposite also recognizes that Quebec's aluminum is the greenest on the planet.

Does he realize that Chinese aluminum is the dirtiest that can be bought, especially because it is produced in coal-fired plants?

Does he realize that Mexican imports of Chinese aluminum increased by 240% last spring while, at the same time, sales of Mexican steel to the United States increased by 260%?

Does my colleague acknowledge these facts and understand that this is a bad agreement because it does not prevent imports of Mexican aluminum, but actually encourages the importation of Mexican aluminum for parts manufacturing in Canada?

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5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his excellent question.

Canada and Quebec produce excellent aluminum. I am fortunate to represent a riding that runs along the Quebec border. I always say that the sun rises east of Ontario.

If we ban aluminum from China or elsewhere, is my colleague prepared to say that we should ban other exports to China?

What the Bloc Québécois members are forgetting to say in their patriotic speeches is that if we ban other exports and imports to and from China, we will have to tell other manufacturers that we decided to favour a given sector and they will have to pay the price.

We protected 70% of aluminum production in Quebec and Canada.

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5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, what an honour it is to stand in this House. I think this might be one of the first times I have the chance to actually speak at length since the election. It is always good to stand in this House.

Today we are talking about the USMCA or CUSMA—

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5:50 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Order. I just want to remind hon. members that one of their colleagues has the floor at the moment. If they want to continue their conversation, I urge them to do so outside the chamber.

The hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George.

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5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, just before we were so rudely interrupted, I have never done that myself.

We are here to talk about the USMCA, or CUSMA, NAFTA or “halfta”, as it has been called.

It should come as no surprise to my colleagues that I am deeply passionate about my province of British Columbia and my riding of Cariboo—Prince George. The issue at hand that has not been addressed in CUSMA and has not been addressed by either the current government or the previous Liberal government is that of securing a new softwood lumber agreement.

Over 140,000 jobs in my province, whether directly or indirectly, are forestry related. One hundred and forty communities across the province of British Columbia are forestry dependent. Over the course of the last year, we have had 25 mill closures. That is 10,000 jobs lost just over the last year because we do not have a softwood lumber agreement and because accessing our fibre is getting harder, with a carbon tax on top of that. These are making it much harder for our forestry producers to compete.

More and more forestry producers have been divesting themselves of Canadian operations since the Liberals became government, whether it was in their first term in the previous Parliament or during this term. More forestry companies have divested themselves of Canadian operations and are investing south of the border. Members heard that right. More Canadian companies are fleeing our market and investing in U.S. markets. Why is that? It is because it has become easier to do business there and they have a favourable work environment or a favourable investment environment.

We talk about the familial ties between the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. is our closest trading partner. Why is that important? I always bring it down to families and how our trade agreements and our policies have their impact. The things that we do here in Ottawa or in our provincial capitals right across our country, the policies that are developed and the agreements that are developed, impact our families.

My family and so many families in our ridings are tied to forestry. My riding is a forestry riding. A lot of our jobs are cornerstone industries, such as agriculture, forestry, oil and gas, and mining, but whether it was the Speech from the Throne in 2015 or the Speech from the Throne in 2019, forestry was left off the books. There was not one mention of forestry.

I will bring the House back to the early days of our previous Parliament. The Prime Minister and his then Minister of International Trade said they were going to get the job done, that they would secure a new softwood lumber agreement. It was early 2016 when a big state dinner took place in Washington. Everybody was invited. Even the Prime Minister's mom was invited. One person was left behind, and that was the then minister of natural resources. Sadly, he did not get an invitation. I guess he did not rank high enough to be there.

One of the very first statements that our Prime Minister made in 2015 on the world stage was that under his government, Canada would become known more for its resourcefulness than for our natural resources, and boy, that is true.

We have taken a lot of hits with the Liberal government because it sidles up to third party groups like Tides Canada, WWF, and Greenpeace. The government allows these groups to permeate the highest levels of office, and that indeed then permeates our policy. They look down upon our forestry practices. They look down upon our natural resource producers, such as oil and gas.

I want to talk about forestry again. Sixty-two per cent of our provincial land base is forest. In the province of British Columbia, we harvest less than 1% of our forests. For every tree that is harvested, three are planted, yet the government continues to look down upon forestry producers.

The province of British Columbia is the largest producer of softwood in the country, and our number one trading partner is the U.S. Therefore, securing a softwood lumber agreement, one would think, would be very important and top of mind. However, here we sit five years later with no softwood lumber agreement.

I will take members back to early 2016 when a state dinner was taking place and the then minister of international trade said the Canadian government had a new-found friendship between the Prime Minister and President Obama. As a matter of fact, I believe it was called a bromance. He said that, within the next 100 days, they were going to secure a solution to the softwood lumber irritant. I believe he said 100 days back in 2016.

Here we sit, time and time again, asking the question. We are told the Liberals' hearts go out to the hard-working forestry families. This is very similar to what they said to the oil and gas workers in Alberta: “Just hang in there.” Sadly, we cannot hang in there much longer.

Time and again, the government members have stood in the House and answered questions on softwood. As a matter of fact, in June of last year, in the dying days of the session, I stood and asked about all the mill curtailments and closures and the job losses in the province of British Columbia. A member, who was a British Columbia MP, who I do not believe made it back to the House and maybe this is the reason why, stood in the House and proudly said, “Job numbers are great. Employment is up and we are doing great.” What a tone-deaf response.

The fact of the matter is that, in my province, every day people open up newspapers and see the job losses, the work curtailments and mill closures. Just before Christmas, in 24 hours, 2,000 jobs were lost. That was just in 24 hours. If that was an auto plant in Ontario, or maybe a manufacturing plant in Quebec that had ties to the Prime Minister, I bet somebody would stand and say, “Enough”, and it would get some form of bailout. However, because it is in British Columbia, which is a long way away on the other side of this country, it seems it is too far and it is forgotten time and time again.

Liberals continue to say that they stand with our forestry families. Time and again, they put their hands on their hearts, maybe wipe away a tear with a tissue, and say they stand with our forestry families.

Are they standing with them in the unemployment lines? Are they standing with them when the banks foreclose on their homes, or are they standing with them when they are facing bankruptcy? That is the reality today. That is what we are facing, and that is shameful.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

Liberal

Greg Fergus LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board and to the Minister of Digital Government

Madam Speaker, I do not have the experience of my colleague from British Columbia, but I have had the honour and the privilege of working in federal politics for decades.

I remember that, in 2005 or 2006, the World Trade Organization examined a softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the U.S.

After a series of rulings were handed down over a five-year period, we were about to obtain a ruling in our favour. When the Harper government came to power, it terminated this process in order to make peace with the United States, and signed an agreement that would be in force for only 10 years. As a result, we are now back to square one.

Does my honourable colleague not believe that it would have been in our interest to see the dispute with the U.S. through to the end and to ensure the free trade of softwood lumber forever?

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6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, our previous Conservative government put to an end the longest and most costly trade dispute between Canada and the U.S.

Not only did we do that and bring some consistency and some assurances to our forestry industry, we also negotiated a one-year grace period. We got the agreement and the discussions to a certain point in 2015 where, regardless of which group became government in 2015, it should have been able to push this over the goal line.

However, all we have seen is dither and delay, and this has not been a priority from day one. The Liberals have admitted it is so, in not as many words, over the course of the last five years. Now all we are seeing is more excuses and finger-pointing.

The reality is that they have been in government for five years. For five years they have asked our forestry companies and our forestry families to wait and said that they had their backs. They do not, and we have seen that time and time again.

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6:05 p.m.

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I am noticing a general lack of focus on the fact that this trade agreement has not done a substantial job of addressing issues of gender equality. This is something that I have seen on both sides of the House today.

I am wondering what the hon. member thinks about CUSMA's failure to address gender equality in any sort of way, other than in the superficial language used in this agreement.

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6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, I'm sorry, but I did not hear the question in that.

I will echo our colleague's comments. She is new to the House, but I will echo her comments. Once again, we see another Liberal failure, lots of Liberal promises, but another Liberal failure in addressing any issues that matter most. In our riding of Cariboo—Prince George, and across all of British Columbia, we were hoping for more. Sadly we have gotten much more of the same as what we had seen in the last four years. That is too bad.

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6:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Madam Speaker, when my colleague talks about softwood lumber, agriculture or manufacturing, the difference between the previous Conservative government and the current government is that we kept all of our stakeholders at the table throughout the negotiations. What we are hearing from stakeholders over and over again is they have been left in the dark.

I am wondering if he could talk about the response he has had from the forestry workers and companies in his riding, and if they have been kept up to date on this issue.

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6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Madam Speaker, our forestry producers have been somewhat at the table, but not at the table to the extent that they would like to be.

As we have heard time and again, the Liberals like to negotiate in secret and then come out and make some grand announcement as to how it has gone, but our producers, whether they are agri-food or forestry, would like to be more at the table and in charge of, or working in concert with, what the trade negotiations are.

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6:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Madam Speaker, as it is my first time rising in the House in debate, I would be remiss if I did not thank the wonderful constituents of the riding of Saint John—Rothesay for re-electing me and sending me back to this beautiful House and this beautiful city to represent them. It was a hard-fought campaign.

I want to thank and congratulate other candidates like Rodney Weston, Armand Cormier and Ann McAlllister for offering spirited debate and great dialogue throughout the campaign. Again, it is an honour to be back here.

I was looking at some records the other day, and I have been in Ottawa almost 600 nights over the last four and a half years. Everybody recognizes the large commitment we all make and the time that we take away from our families. I want to recognize my beautiful wife Denise and my sons Khristian and Konnor for supporting me, putting up with me and standing with me over the last four and a half years.

I want to thank my wonderful campaign team: my co-campaign managers Kevin Collins and Nora Robinson; and last but not least, Jeannette Arsenault and my wonderful office staff for doing great things for the riding, representing my constituents.

It is an honour to rise tonight to speak to Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States and the United Mexican States.

I would like to begin by thanking the hon. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for her outstanding work in negotiating the new North American Free Trade Agreement, known as the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement, or CUSMA, with the United States and Mexico. It is thanks to her hard work, leadership, vision and perseverance that we now have a modernized and improved free trade agreement with our North American partners.

As the member of Parliament for Saint John—Rothesay, I represent a riding with an economy dependent on international trade and, as a result, thousands of workers in my riding depend on their elected representatives to ensure Canada's trading agreements protect their jobs, rights and environment. This is why I am proud to stand here today to speak in support of legislation that intends to implement a modernized NAFTA, which contains unprecedented measures to protect the well-paying jobs of workers in my riding, whose jobs depend on trade with the United States and Mexico, ensure labour standards are upheld and protect the environment.

Before my previous life in hockey, I was involved for 15 years in international trade and business with an aquaculture company. I travelled the world and extensively throughout the United States. If anybody knows the value of a trade agreement, of lowering barriers, lowering and eliminating tariffs and creating an environment of free and open trade, I certainly do. It produces thousands of jobs in my riding and hundreds of thousands of jobs right across the country.

Saint John is a key node in Canada's global trade network. The port of Saint John is Canada's third-busiest seaport and eastern Canada's largest port by volume. It serves Canada's largest oil refinery, the Irving Oil refinery, and handles a diverse cargo base. It handles an average of 28 million metric tons of cargo annually, including dry and liquid bulks, break bulk and containers originating from and destined to ports all over the world.

My riding is also home to a second world headquarters, Cooke Aquaculture Inc., an international aquaculture firm that employs thousands of people, has sales in the billions of the dollars and was started by the Cooke family. Glenn, Mike and their father Gifford live literally 35 minutes from my office. It is a success story that is an example of leadership.

Our port is also in the midst of a historic expansion. It is currently undertaking a $205-million modernization of its west-side cargo terminal. This transformational trade infrastructure project was made possible by the $68.3-million investment by our federal government. In addition, CP Rail announced in November that it will begin serving the port of Saint John as it has purchased close to 800 kilometres of track which runs from Saint John deep into the state of Maine. This means that the port of Saint John will soon be connected to both of Canada's class I railways.

The new NAFTA, which our government is seeking to implement with the bill before us, would ensure that the port of Saint John is able to fully leverage its expansion and the incredible opportunity by preserving our tariff-free access to the American market and ensuring that the other North American ports it competes with comply with the same rigorous environmental standards as it does when it comes to preventing marine pollution through its enforceable environmental chapter.

I am thrilled to tell members that New Brunswick is on the cusp of becoming an international leader in manufacturing and export of small modular nuclear reactors. In 2018, ARC Nuclear Canada and Moltex Energy established offices in Saint John when the provincial government announced its nuclear innovation cluster funding for which they were both chosen as participants. With this announcement, the province of New Brunswick instantly became a climate change policy leader for Canada with the development of SMRs. Since that time, ARC and Moltex have proceeded with purpose to develop their technologies with the goal of eventually establishing a manufacturing export hub for their technologies in our province by leveraging the port of Saint John.

SMRs can employ thousands of people across New Brunswick. Also, if members want to talk about reducing a carbon footprint, SMRs could be used across the country in every province. The new NAFTA would ensure that our province is able to fully leverage this incredible opportunity to grow our economy and tackle climate change by ensuring that we continue with tariff-free access to the American and Mexican markets. As well, it would ensure that our SMR technology companies do not have to compete against companies in other North American jurisdictions that do not have to comply with rigorous environmental standards for air and marine pollution through its enforceable environmental chapter.

This agreement also includes an unprecedented enforcement provision when it comes to labour standards to address, in a timely manner, labour violations relative to collective bargaining and freedom of association. The agreement also includes innovation mechanisms for rapid response between Canada and Mexico and between the United States and Mexico.

To close, as I mentioned previously, I was in international trade for 15 years and I know what it means to have an agreement that reduces tariffs and barriers and promotes free trade. It is crucial to the success of business. It is crucial to the growth of business. It is crucial to the development of business.

I am proud to stand behind this bill. I am proud to support it. I know first-hand that Canadians appreciate what we have done. I can certainly speak for the world leaders, constituents, unions and businesses in my riding who stand with me in support of this new bill.

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6:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Madam Speaker, the member talked quite a bit in his speech about the port of Saint John. He mentioned the refinery as well, which is one of the largest refineries in Canada.

However, there was a tremendous lost opportunity for the port in his city. We talk about trade and exports, and I know that the member had been an advocate for the export of oil and gas products through the port. There was a tremendous number of jobs at stake with the prospect of a pipeline going through his port. I wonder if the member could comment on that and on the importance of being able to export Canadian energy through the port of Saint John.

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6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Madam Speaker, my friend opposite is obviously referring to energy east and the history behind energy east. I do not think it is any secret that I stood in this House and in my constituency and supported energy east. That being said, the only way that project was ever going to happen was to have consultation and buy-in across the country.

The Leader of the Opposition at that time, on his own website, said that he was listening to Quebeckers and that he was going to stand in support of Quebec's jurisdiction and rights. I asked him how he squared what he said there with what he said in other parts of the country. Of course I did not get an answer.

I fully respect the fact that our port needs to export, and I stand behind that.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, the question that was asked by the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge was germane to the discussion because we are talking about many things within this piece of legislation including Canada's prosperity, and energy east would have led to Canada's prosperity.

Would the hon. member across the way not admit that it was his government that moved the goalposts with respect to the environmental assessment process that caused energy east to be cancelled?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Madam Speaker, I lived it. My constituents of Saint John—Rothesay absolutely agree with what I was saying because they sent me back here to represent them. That project was going nowhere under the previous government of members opposite. Everyone knew it, they knew it; the project was stalled. The Conservatives had gutted the environmental process. There was no credibility left with anything.

We tried our best to reboot. It was not in the cards. My riding has moved on. My riding is looking forward, industry in my riding is looking forward, and we are ready to turn the page.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, in my riding, one of the biggest challenges in this trade agreement, and actually cumulatively through the multiple trade agreements that have happened, is really impacting my dairy farmers. I have several dairy farms in my riding and the farmers are very concerned about when it will be and what the compensation is actually going to look like and of course, most important, that we see stronger protection of supply management, which provides us with safe milk and dairy products. I wonder if the member could speak a bit about how he sees this being lost and what that does to rural and remote communities.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Madam Speaker, my riding of Saint John—Rothesay is 30 minutes from the town of Sussex, which has a diverse, growing, innovative and vibrant dairy industry. That industry was consulted. That industry was in the loop. We have worked with that industry to make sure that it will be protected with any changes in the agreement. That industry is satisfied with where we are. In fact, I am meeting with members from that industry this week in my office here in Ottawa, and we will continue to consult. We will continue to work with that industry and grow that industry vital to New Brunswick.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Baldinelli Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Madam Speaker, it is indeed an honour for me to take part in my first debate here on the floor of the House of Commons. Before I proceed, I want to take a moment to thank a number of individuals, as well as my constituents, for putting their faith in me. I want to thank the people of Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake for the trust they have placed in me.

My loving wife Carol and son Daniel, as well as my entire family, have been my strongest supporters and I would not be standing here at this moment without their love and support. I thank them all dearly from the bottom of my heart. My only regret is not having my dad or father-in-law here to see it, but I know they are watching from above, with my son David, his cousin Leo, my cousins Michael and Maria, and my late aunts and uncles. They have all helped shape who I am today.

I thank those who have volunteered their time in my nomination and during my campaign for placing in me their confidence and unwavering support. I thank the hon. Rob Nicholson, my political mentor, for his sound advice, guidance and wisdom. As many members of the House will know, Rob proudly and loyally served his constituents and our country for an incredible 24 years.

There is no greater reward in this profession than being able to help those who need it most. I thank Rob for everything he has done and will continue to do in his well-earned retirement.

When I announced my intentions to run for public office, I stated that I was doing so because I believed in building a better future for our country and for those who are fortunate enough to call Niagara their home. Now that we are here in this place as elected parliamentarians, I am looking forward to working with members of all parties to advance our country's best interests.

It is a great privilege to speak in the House today to Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States. It is worth noting the Conservative Party of Canada is the party of free trade. I am proud of that. It is a Conservative legacy. The original North American Free Trade Agreement originated from our party's hard work on the free trade file many years ago.

Canada's Conservatives support free trade with our North American trading partners. However, what we do not support is rushing blindly into an agreement to implement a deal, the details of which have not yet been shared.

Over a month ago, our party requested that the Liberals provide us with details of the economic impact studies of this signed agreement. To date, we are still waiting, as are many of the Canadian industries that rely on this deal.

It is our duty as parliamentarians to analyze all legislation that is brought before the House, including this bill. Canadians expect their representatives in this chamber to do this, as they should. Our party is committed to conducting this due diligence on their behalf. Therefore, we once again ask for the background documents and the economic impact studies so we can make an informed decision on this incredibly important free trade agreement.

In the federal riding of Niagara Falls, my constituents want to see us work together to create more opportunities for trade, job creation and investment. Delivering a workable free trade deal that could lead to this opportunity, and provide certainty for our manufacturers in the Golden Horseshoe and beyond, is my goal and, I hope, the goal of all members here.

The highest-valued provincial exporter to the United States is Ontario. However, we must not cheer too quickly, because the value of these exports in 2018 declined over 2017.

The uncertainty caused by the renegotiation of NAFTA and the lack of any detailed information or economic impact studies provided by the current government is worrisome. According to Statistics Canada, there were fewer Ontarians employed in manufacturing in December 2019 compared with December 2018, despite employment growing overall in the province by 3.3%.

Manufacturing had been the historical economic backbone of my riding of Niagara Falls. However, partially because of the economic uncertainty over the past number of years, manufacturing jobs have packed up and left.

We need to create certainty in our business environment. We can do it by working together to study this trade agreement, identify its benefits and its deficiencies and put in place plans to overcome the deficiencies that will negatively impact Canadian industries.

In my riding, there are residents at work in the auto sector in nearby St. Catharines. We used to have three automotive manufacturing plants by General Motors, employing thousands of employees in that city. Today, only one engine plant remains.

We do not want to see this industry get any smaller in our part of the country. These are important jobs that support hard-working families. Any negative impacts on the auto sector from the new NAFTA would cause hardship for these workers, their families and the overall local economy. Without our being supplied economic impact studies, it is very difficult to know what economic impacts there could be and how these may impact our local economies and Canadian industries.

Just going by what we know, the Liberals negotiated changes to the rules of origin for our auto manufacturing industry. Now 70% of the steel used in new vehicles must be melted and poured in North America. That is good protection for our domestic steel industry, and I do not think anyone would argue it is not a positive change.

Unfortunately, the Liberals seem to have dropped the ball during the trade negotiations by accepting concessions on aluminum production. There are no North American content rules governing the melting and pouring of aluminum used in the manufacturing of autos and parts. Does that mean Chinese aluminum could make its way into Mexican-made engines or car components? The engine plant in St. Catharines will have to compete against that.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

6:30 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I am sorry, but I have to interrupt the member. Unfortunately the time allotted for debate has expired, but he will have three minutes to finish up his speech the next time this matter is before the House.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure being here tonight, and I look forward to hearing the rest of the speech from the member for Niagara Falls at a later point.

We are here tonight talking about the very important and pressing issue of coronavirus, and in particular about how we ensure effective international coordination. During question period, Conservatives have been talking about coronavirus, highlighting the need for a stronger government response and asking the important questions about how our response compares to the responses of various allies.

I am following up on a particular issue that we raised a number of times last week, which was about how we ensure effective international coordination. Our view on this side of the House is that when we are responding to a global health crisis like this, we need to have all hands on deck. We need to have all countries, peoples and governments working together and talking together, but we have a problem in that context, because Taiwan's membership in the World Health Organization is opposed by the People's Republic of China, and the desire of the mainland Chinese government to prevent the participation of Taiwan in those conversations makes international coordination very difficult.

Despite tensions between governments, there is a great deal of people-to-people back-and-forth that happens between Taiwan and the mainland, and there is a need for coordination because of the risk of transmission of this virus.

In general, there is a great deal of expertise in Taiwan. There is a lot of opportunity for the international community to benefit from knowledge that is developed there and to ensure effective coordination and co-operation. It really should be a no-brainer for Canada, a free democracy, to speak out and highlight the importance of this coordination and to side with Taiwan in its desire to be included in these conversations.

On Monday of last week, I raised the question. I asked a question of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and he did not even mention Taiwan in the response. My question asked if he would support Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization and these conversations around these issues. There was no mention of Taiwan in the response.

On Tuesday, the following day, the Leader of the Opposition asked the Prime Minister two questions specifically about whether Canada would take a strong, clear and principled position, but also a position on behalf of Canadians' concern for their own health and safety to support the participation of Taiwan in these vital conversations and support the membership of Taiwan in the World Health Organization. Twice the Prime Minister was asked. He did not respond to the question and he did not mention Taiwan in the response. He simply accused Conservatives of playing politics when in fact we are highlighting a fundamental health and safety issue.

Finally, my friend from St. Albert—Edmonton was able to succeed where we had not. On Wednesday he finally received an answer from the Prime Minister to a very explicit question when the Prime Minister said that the government will support Taiwan's participation.

We are glad that after three days of successive questions when the first two days did not get a response, we finally were able to get the government to take this position. However, the reluctance of the government to support the participation of Taiwan does not give us a lot of confidence that the Liberals are actually raising these issues.

Therefore, I want to ask the parliamentary secretary this: Has the Government of Canada, not just here in the House but in conversations with our partners on the world stage, actually been raising and highlighting the importance of this coordinated response?

Let us not play politics. Canadians' health and safety and the health and safety of people around the world are at stake, and Taiwan needs to be at the table in those conversations. Is Canada vocally participating in pushing for the full participation of Taiwan in those conversations?

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Don Valley West Ontario

Liberal

Rob Oliphant LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Madam Speaker, I will first congratulate the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for his elevation to the front bench. It is wonderful to see him there. That position, however, may more appropriately belong to the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, who, as acknowledged, was successful.

I will begin by emphasizing that there is no reluctance on the government's part whatsoever to recognize Taiwan as an important friend and partner with whom we share extensive and highly complementary interests in areas ranging from science and technology to youth exchanges and public health. In accordance with Canada's one China policy, we maintain unofficial but valuable economic, cultural and people-to-people ties with Taiwan. Our extensive ties with Taiwan have continued to flourish in recent years based on a shared commitment to the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

As Canada's 13th largest merchandise trading partner and our fifth largest trading partner in Asia, Taiwan plays a critical role in ICT supply chains and the global economy more broadly. Taiwan's expertise in the manufacturing of key technologies such as semiconductors, for instance, serves as a direct complement to Canadian strengths in technological research and development.

In 2018 alone, merchandise trade between Canada and Taiwan increased 10.2% and reached $7.9 billion. Both governments have implemented policies to diversify trade and investment to include new partners. We have real opportunities to deepen our commercial relationship. With changes to global supply chains in Asia and North America, there are plenty of opportunities to collaborate on new technologies and trends in the growing digital economy. Both opportunities and potential challenges can provide greater openings for Canada and Taiwan to work together.

In 2019, we sought to further deepen our trade and investment co-operation with Taiwan by hosting the annual Canada-Taiwan economic consultations here in Ottawa. All of these efforts leverage our ongoing initiatives, such as the Canadian technology accelerator program in Taipei, to help Canadian companies deepen their access to Taiwan's market and secure more partnership opportunities.

On the multilateral front, Canada continues to engage Taiwan in international organizations where Taiwan is a full participant, such as APEC and the WTO. In addition to these forums, Canada has consistently supported Taiwan's meaningful and important participation in international organizations where there is a practical imperative and where Taiwan's absence would be detrimental to global interests and Canada's interests. We have identified the World Health Assembly, which governs the WHO, as one area where global interests would be served by Taiwan's meaningful participation as a non-state observer.

I want to reassure the member that there is no reluctance whatsoever to help engage with Taiwan at important multilateral opportunities.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's good wishes on my elevation and it continues as we speak.

He spoke about there being no such reluctance. I have to say the reluctance to acknowledge the important role of Taiwan and support its participation is on the record. It is on the record in terms of the government's failure to answer the direct questions that were asked. Therefore, I will ask him again. Is he committed and is the government committed to not just speaking about these issues here in the House but to clearly raising these on the world stage with our various counterparts?

He spoke about collaboration with Taiwan. Coming from Alberta, I see many opportunities for collaboration, particularly in the area of energy. Hopefully, if we can finally get some pipelines built, we will be able to help Taiwan address energy security challenges while helping us expand our supply.

Again, the reluctance was there on Monday and Tuesday of last week, but because we have a strong, effective opposition, soon to be in government, we are actually able to make some progress here.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Madam Speaker, we may accept the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan on this side, but it would be a tough campaign, I am sure, before that would be agreed to on our side.

I will repeat that there is no reluctance whatsoever. We have identified the World Health Assembly as one area where global interests, health interests and human interests would be well served by Taiwan's meaningful participation as a non-state observer, end of story. Right now, we are combatting a critical health situation. Diseases do not recognize borders. With this most recent outbreak, we encourage all international organizations, especially the WHO, to undertake action and ensure greater inclusion in its response to this pressing matter of global importance, and Taiwan should be part of that.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise tonight.

We had yet another confirmed case of the coronavirus over the weekend. This brings the total in Canada to four confirmed cases. While the overall risk to Canadians remains low, we are still depending on the government to assure Canadians that the spread is properly contained.

We received an informative update from the government this morning about its plan to evacuate Canadians from Hubei province in China. However, some details are still unclear, including how many Canadians will be evacuated and whether permanent residents travelling without children will be allowed to return to Canada.

The details from the government have been slow to come and have even cast doubts on the government's planning. A representative from the government appeared on CTV's Power Play on Thursday. When asked what Canadians could expect from the government given the news that the World Health Organization had to declare a global health emergency, she responded, “They don't know yet. We're working on it”.

Canadians are looking to the government for answers. While we appreciate the updates from government officials, there are still many questions. Last week we reconvened the health committee early to get answers directly from the appropriate officials. We will continue meetings this week as we continue to seek answers on this virus.

At home, many Canadians are wondering how to protect themselves and others. My constituency office has received many calls from people wondering what they should be doing to ensure they do not become sick with the coronavirus. What is the plan, knowing that more cases are likely to be confirmed, and how can Canadians be assured that the spread is being properly contained? This is in large part what they are asking.

We just found out today at a health committee meeting earlier this evening that the government still does not even know where the plane from the first case is. This is concerning not only to me but to the many Canadians wondering how the government is handling the situation, who it is talking to and what the plan is going forward. It took about three weeks to get the quarantine plan from the government.

Could the member on the other side please assure Canadians what the plan is?

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Dartmouth—Cole Harbour Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darren Fisher LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

I want to thank my friend for the opportunity to speak about the Government of Canada's plan to respond to the novel coronavirus in Canada. As members know, there have been numerous confirmed cases in China and travel-related cases have been reported in other jurisdictions, including in Canada, as was said by my friend.

Last week, the director-general of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus to be a public health emergency of international concern. Canada is actively monitoring the outbreak, and has implemented public health measures very much in line with the World Health Organization's guidance and advice. There are currently four confirmed cases in Canada that are linked to travel in Wuhan, China, and none of the individuals remains in hospital.

Despite these confirmed cases, the risk to Canadians remains low. Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is our top priority. We will continue to provide Canadians with regular updates. Canada's response to the outbreak to date has been a whole-of-government approach, including working very closely with provincial and territorial jurisdictions. Our health system has been mobilized to support a response to the cases of illness in Canada, and national guidance has been shared.

There has been tremendous progress over the past 16 years to strengthen Canada's public health system and how we prepare for infectious disease outbreaks. We have learned, not only from SARS but also from the H1N1 pandemic and more recently the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we will learn as well from this outbreak.

Since SARS, we have created the Public Health Agency of Canada to provide clear federal leadership during a response such as this. We have established the position of chief public health officer as an authoritative voice to all Canadians during public health events. We have enhanced federal-provincial-territorial collaboration through a formal network of public health experts, the public health network council. We have strengthened coordination within the federal government, including through the creation of the government operations centre.

Significant effort has been expended in the past decade to refine planning, and establish clear protocols and processes, and our preparedness has enabled us to respond quickly and efficiently. Our health system is working exactly as it should. We have been able to detect cases in Canada, treat them appropriately and quickly share information across jurisdictions to limit the spread of this virus.

Some of the key measures Canada has implemented include enhanced screening at 10 airports that accept international flights. This is our first line of defence. As individuals return to Canada from China, information on screens tells individuals to self-identify to a border services agent if they are experiencing novel coronavirus symptoms.

In addition, a health screening question has been added to the electronic kiosks at these airports, asking travellers if they have been to Hubei province. Travellers are also provided information about what they should do if they subsequently experience any symptoms, with procedures established to refer travellers to local public health as required.

We have also updated our travel health notice to level three, to avoid all non-essential travel to China. We have implemented a risk communication approach. Our chief public health officer is providing exceptional leadership, and has been holding regular media availability and taking interviews to counter misinformation and discrimination.

HealthAdjournment Proceedings

6:45 p.m.

Conservative