House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aluminum.

Topics

Veterans AffairsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darrell Samson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2018-19 annual report of the veterans ombudsman, entitled “Focus on Fairness”.

The title in French is “Mettre l'accent sur l'équité”.

National Defence ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-203, an act to amend the National Defence Act (maiming or injuring self or another).

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bill that I had sincerely hoped to see adopted in the last Parliament.

The bill aims to remove a significant barrier to members of the Canadian Forces receiving the mental health assistance they need. It would do so by repealing subsection (c) of section 98 of the National Defence Act. This is the archaic section of the National Defence Act that makes self-harm a disciplinary offence in the military code of conduct.

The problem of death by suicide of Canadian Forces members is not going away. We are still losing more than one serving member per month to death by suicide, 17 in 2019 alone. We have lost 212 regular members over the last 15 years and of course the number is much higher when we include reservists and veterans.

Again, I am arguing that removing this section would send a strong message that self-harm is a mental health issue and not something to be addressed by discipline.

This is a matter I first brought forward in the last Parliament as an amendment to Bill C-77, the military justice bill. When that amendment was ruled out of order, I offered this private member's bill as an alternative way of taking the actions necessary to send a positive message to Canadian Forces members struggling with mental health issues. Despite support for my bill by opposition parties in the last Parliament, the Liberals blocked it from moving forward.

Today, I am introducing the bill in a minority Parliament, once again hoping MPs will now listen to the voices of the hundreds of families that have lost loved ones to death by suicide, that MPs will join together in this Parliament to tackle the ongoing challenge of death by suicide in the Canadian Forces and that MPs begin by passing this legislation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I am presenting a petition that was signed in the last Parliament in support of Bill S-240. That bill has been presented again in this Parliament conveniently under a similar number, Bill S-204. It is a bill that seeks to address the terrible reality of forced organ harvesting and trafficking and to end the possibility of any involvement by Canadians in this terrible trafficking.

The petitioners no doubt hope that the new Bill S-204 will be passed quickly through this 43rd Parliament.

Sinixt NationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to present a petition signed by 159 members of my riding. I presented similar petitions numerous times in the past Parliament.

The petitioners point out that the Canadian government declared the Sinixt tribal group extinct in 1956. They point out that the group is definitely not extinct, that there are members very much alive and well, both in Canada and just across the border in Washington.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to reverse this wrongful declaration of extinction of the Sinixt tribal group and take immediate steps to recognize the Sinixt as an autonomous tribal group within their traditional and ancestral Canadian territory.

Climate ChangePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition here from members of my constituency who are very concerned about climate change and want to see real climate action with equality, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a just transition for workers. They are calling on the Government of Canada to support Motion No. 1 for a made-in-Canada green new deal.

Indigenous AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, a petition is often timely, as news reaches us that the RCMP have begun arresting Wet'suwet'en elders. The petitioners call for the respect for Canadian constitutional law and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They call on the government to halt all existing and planned construction of the Coastal GasLink project on Wet'suwet'en territory, ask the RCMP to dismantle the exclusion zone and stand down and move expeditiously to nation-to-nation talks between the Wet'suwet'en nation and federal and provincial governments.

The matter is urgent.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

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

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from February 5 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

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Resuming debate. The. hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue has three minutes remaining before we proceed to questions and comments.

The hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, for your reference, I will start by reminding you of my interventions from yesterday.

First, our unwillingness to support the free trade agreement is largely due to the threat of outsourcing that mining industries are facing. The government talks about possible compensation for the industry as if this is something that would benefit the industry. Even if the industry does receive that money, 60,000 jobs could be in jeopardy, because there is no guarantee that the money would reach Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean or the North Shore.

Second, this agreement does nothing to address the softwood lumber issue. Thirty thousand jobs are at stake, and we are struggling to save our villages. Many villages, especially in my riding, are depending on these issues and free trade deals, which do not protect the softwood lumber industry. This can be a difficult situation.

As for supply management, the whole issue of income stability is a major challenge for farmers. They need to be able to predict their income, but the loopholes that have been created in supply management are making things hard for them. We are increasingly seeing quotas being sold off.

When my speech was interrupted, I was saying that the United States is imposing limitations on our negotiations with other world markets. I think that, if we adopted an amendment to change that penalty, we will at least have saved our right to do trade with who we want and thus preserved our sovereignty.

There are 10,000 dairy farms in Canada, including 5,600 in Quebec. That is a major industry that employs 83,000 people, either directly or indirectly, and generates over $1 billion in taxes for the Government of Quebec. The industry is not asking for any direct subsidies. It is a matter of pride, and unfortunately, the decisions on compensation will take advantage of that. Dairy producers do not want the government's charity. They want to be independent and successful. Their prosperity is essential to the vitality of the agricultural life of the small family farms scattered around Quebec's towns and villages.

In closing, in my opinion, Quebec is the big loser in this agreement. The compensation was provided at Quebec's expense. The Government of Canada says that it wants us to work together and that it is reaching out to us. That implies being open to Quebec's demands. It is therefore irresponsible to sign this agreement without adding protections for supply management and aluminum and without putting an end to the softwood lumber dispute.

Could Canada listen to the solutions proposed by Quebec? For now, it it is obvious that the federal government has once again abandoned Quebec's economy.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my Bloc Québécois colleague. I think we are on the same wavelength and that, for the most part, we have similar concerns about the new NAFTA.

However, Green Party members have decided to vote in favour of ratifying the agreement because of the improvements that have been made, such as eliminating chapter 11, which gave big U.S. corporations the right to bring arbitration cases against Canada. Our country has been on the losing end of most arbitration cases related to Canadian health and environmental protection laws.

I have a question for the Bloc member. Does he agree that, without chapter 11, the new NAFTA is much better?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent question.

For me, being here in the House is certainly not about opposing trade or free trade. Quite the opposite. I wish I too could vote in favour of the motion.

The motion is unacceptable to me because of factors vital to industrial sectors in Quebec and its regions, such as aluminum and softwood lumber. Still, there are some positives, such as preserving Quebec's culture. I recognize those efforts.

When I weigh the pros and the cons, however, and I see that $6 billion worth of investment in one industry is at stake, there is no way I can stand up in the House and agree to hand the government a blank cheque.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague from the Bloc Québécois a question about our economic competitiveness, which I think very much relates to what we are discussing this morning. It is very important that we are able to develop our natural resources in Canada. Projects like Teck Frontier allow us to create jobs in the country and support the development of our energy sector so Quebec does not have to be reliant on foreign oil but can instead benefit from lower-cost, high-quality Canadian oil. I would think the Bloc Québécois members would be supportive of the principle of allowing provincial autonomy and supporting provinces in pursuing their own aspirations, even if they may be different from each other. In that spirit of provincial autonomy and co-operation, is my colleague willing to express his support for the Teck Frontier project?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.

The principle of provincial autonomy is at the very core of the Canadian Confederation, and clearly it is important to us, the Bloc Québécois. I respect the decisions that Alberta might make with respect to its economic development. However, Quebec has decided not to rely on the oil industry.

I made the personal decision to buy an all-electric car. Why? In my opinion, we must develop a green and circular economy. We have to transition away from an oil economy because of the inherent costs. There is always a cost to doing things.

Of course I am very sensitive to the issue of jobs in the energy sector. Moreover, we are creating a new economy by investing in research and development in electric vehicles, self-driving vehicles and the capacity of our batteries. That is much more promising for the economy of tomorrow. That is the choice I have made as a Quebecker, and my decisions will foster sustainable development.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his thoughtful and reasoned speech.

As my colleague pointed out, we see that the three key sectors of Quebec's economy—wood, aluminum, and supply management—were each sacrificed in trade agreements, one after another.

As we know, the Canadian economy is thought to run on two sectors, namely the auto sector in Ontario and the oil and gas sector in Alberta.

In light of such outrageous projects as Teck Frontier, I would like to ask my colleague his thoughts on this unacceptable situation where the Canadian economy is considered only on the basis of two major industries, the auto sector and oil and gas.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the auto industry is a fine example of what has hurt Quebec. Many free trade agreements have been signed at Quebec's expense.

In regard to the difference between steel and aluminum in the current agreement, I will again refer to the quote by Jean Simard, president of the Aluminium Association of Canada. The day before yesterday, at the Standing Committee on Finance, my colleague from Joliette asked him whether he preferred an agreement like the one in place for the steel sector. His answer was unequivocal. I will rephrase it so as not to directly quote anyone. He said that the association was on the verge of getting what it had asked for through representations by his team and the Deputy Prime Minister. At the end of the negotiations, Mexico said yes to steel and no to aluminum for strategic reasons. That is what is at issue.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

February 6th, 2020 / 10:15 a.m.

Honoré-Mercier Québec

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, four years ago the future of free trade in North America was in doubt. At the time, President Trump said that NAFTA was “the worst deal in history“ and campaigned to tear it up. This presented an existential threat to the well-being of Canadians, as so many of our communities and workers depend on free and open market access to the world's biggest economy.

Thanks to the hard work of the Deputy Prime Minister, her negotiating team and Canadians of all stripes and backgrounds, we stood firm against the largest economic threat Canada has faced in recently history. We even did pretty well. Extremely well, I would say, since we reached a better agreement with our partners and friends, the United States and Mexico.

Without a doubt, this is a better deal than the current NAFTA. This is a good deal for Canadians, no matter where they live.

Today I want to focus on the benefits this agreement offers to Quebeckers. The benefits are many, because we stood up for Quebec. Allow me to share some examples. The new NAFTA retains the cultural exemption that allows so many artists and creators to succeed. It even covers the digital world. The new agreement retains the dispute resolution mechanism that was used to defend Quebec's softwood lumber industry. It protects our supply management system, including dairy farmers. It also gives manufacturing exporters and aluminum workers better access to the American market.

Allow me to begin with the cultural exemption. As the former minister of Canadian heritage, as a proud Quebecker and as a lover of arts and music, my province's unique culture is near and dear to my heart.

Quebec itself is near and dear to my heart. Yes indeed, we have a unique culture. Our culture, our way of life, our way of looking at things are what create our identity. We must protect this culture, this identity. It must be protected in traditional media and, especially today, in the 21st century, it must be protected online. The Americans wanted to get rid of this cultural exemption. They wanted to prevent us from being able to financially support and protect our culture, our linguistic duality. Not only did we preserve that right, but we even managed to get it extended to digital media. The Prime Minister drew a line in the sand, sending the Americans a clear message that Canada would not sign without this exemption. No exemption, no agreement.

This will help over 70,000 Quebeckers employed in the cultural industry to continue to thrive.

We stood our ground for Quebec.

Second, I am sure members in the House will recall that the American administration sought to eliminate the dispute resolution mechanism known as chapter 19. We refused to concede to this, and I will explain why.

This mechanism is a critical equalizer in a trading relationship in which we are, frankly, the smaller partner.

It was under chapter 19 that Quebec was able to defend its softwood lumber industry against anti-dumping measures and abusive countervailing duties imposed by the Americans.

The Prime Minister said it was non-negotiable. We gave Canadians our word, and we did not budge.

Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.

Third, I turn to the agriculture industry, and the supply management system in particular.

Supply management supports thousands of farmers, food producers and their families. Together, they export $5.7 billion worth of agricultural products from Quebec to the United States every year. The U.S. President and his administration wanted to do away with supply management. We said no. Period.

While CUSMA provides incremental access to the U.S., our negotiators overwhelmingly maintained the supply management system of controls on production, price and imports.

The Prime Minister has been clear: We will fully and fairly compensate farmers and processors for any loss of market share, as we did under the trade agreements we signed with the European Union and Asia-Pacific countries.

This summer we announced $1.75 billion in compensation over eight years for nearly 11,000 dairy farmers in Canada. Everyone who applied by December 31, 2019, has received their payments by now. The rest will receive theirs by March 31.

We protected supply management. This will allow Quebec dairy products to remain part of our kids' daily breakfast routine, in Quebec and right across the country.

Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.

Finally, and more perhaps more importantly, CUSMA preserves and actually increases duty-free access for Canadian goods. For Quebec, this means that key exports to the U.S. will continue to receive duty-free treatment compared to the most favoured nation rate charged on imports that are not from the United States' free trade partners. It also means continued market access for nearly $60 billion in Quebec exports to the U.S., and stability for workers in aerospace, heavy truck, agriculture and aluminum industries.

My Quebec colleagues like to say that the new agreement is bad for our aluminum workers, but that is completely untrue, because the new agreement requires 70% of the aluminum in vehicles to be North American in origin. That is 70% compared to zero. My Bloc colleagues would have us believe that is a step backward, but I see it as a clear win.

We have also increased the regional value content threshold for cars from 62.5% to 75%, which is a major step forward, as car manufacturers will be required to use more of our products, including our aluminum.

Manufacturers are using more and more aluminum in cars because it is lighter, which means that cars consume less fuel. These measures are helping our industry, and our workers benefit from increasing demand. The industry itself supports the agreement. Jean Simard, president and CEO of the Aluminium Association of Canada, said that the new NAFTA is the right way to go.

Quebec's economic community supports it too. Last week, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec called for it to be ratified as soon as possible to end years of economic uncertainty.

In December, Quebec's business sector signalled its support for the agreement. The Conseil du patronat du Québec, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec and the Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec told us that they want all parliamentarians in Ottawa and all stakeholders to ensure that the agreement is ratified as soon as possible. This agreement is vital for economic growth and for all Quebec regions. Therefore, there is a consensus in Quebec, except for my Bloc Québécois friends and colleagues, who are not really listening. They keep repeating that the agreement will let Mexico import aluminum from China and pass it off as North American aluminum. The opposite is true, as the agreement will prevent that.

At the industry's request, we have put a system in place to track and monitor transshipments of lower-quality aluminum from countries such as China or Russia through Mexico. This will ensure that Quebec's high-quality aluminum is not replaced by cheaper, lower-quality goods.

Once again, we stood our ground for Quebec.

The benefits of the new deal do not stop here. There are also progressive, modern elements in this agreement that align with the values of Quebeckers.

Some hon. members of the opposition mocked the government when we wished to include chapters on labour and the environment. Both of these chapters are in the new agreement, and they are not window dressing. Actually, they are both subject to dispute resolution. This means Quebec union workers will be on a more level playing field with Mexican workers, and it means that the environment we share will not be forsaken in the name of economic growth.

The Canada-United States-Mexico agreement is a good agreement for Quebeckers and for all Canadians. We have made real gains that will help our families. As Premier Legault said, I believe that the Bloc Québécois must defend the interests of Quebeckers, because it is in the interest of Quebeckers for this agreement to be ratified and adopted.

As always, I am reaching out to my colleagues from all parties and urging them not to delay the process, but to work together and adopt this important bill.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, is referred to committee, could the government commit to supporting a proposal at committee to have other committees, in addition to the trade committee, study the provisions of Bill C-4 and the impacts within their respective mandates in the same manner that budget bills have been considered at committee in recent years?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is supportive of adopting the process that has been used in the past for budget implementation legislation. Under this process, the chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade would write to the other committees and invite them to do a subject matter review of the relevant provisions of the legislation, as long as the motion contains a fixed date and time for the start and end of clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

Dumping has been condemned by all industrialized countries and by the WTO. Everyone knows that the Chinese dump products, meaning that they sell their products at prices below the production costs. China is banned from exporting aluminum to Canada and the United States because of this practice. The solution is simple. China exports aluminum to Mexico, and the Mexicans turn it into auto parts, which they send to the United States to be used in auto manufacturing. That is how this agreement sanctions Chinese dumping in North America.

My question is very simple, and I hope to get a simple answer. The agreement that the government is so proud of has a 70% rule for aluminum car parts. Could that percentage include car parts manufactured in Mexico from Chinese aluminum? Is it possible that Chinese aluminum alone could be used to manufacture 70% of a car's parts?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the agreement would increase the use of aluminum in cars manufactured in North America to 70%. My colleague knows that this percentage used to be zero.

We can certainly look into different mechanisms that will allow us to ensure that the aluminum comes from North America, and largely from Quebec, where we produce excellent aluminum that is also very clean. We care just as much as the Bloc Québécois about standing up for our aluminum sector, our industries and our regions.

We can also look at working on border controls in Mexico, where we could, for example, develop enhanced traceability mechanisms that would allow us to track aluminum.

However, this can only be possible if the agreement is signed. I urge my colleagues and friends in the Bloc to support this agreement.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have some concerns with the agreement when it comes to our sovereignty. Clause 32 states that if we begin negotiations on a trade deal with a non-market economy such as China, we need to have the permission of the U.S. If we do not get that permission, we cannot trade and we get kicked out of CUSMA.

Does Mexico also have to get permission? Do the Americans have to get permission from us? If they do not, why not? Why is that clause in there only for Canada?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we talk about sovereignty. Canada is a sovereign country that stood up for its workers, industries and regions. This is why we got so many good things out of this agreement. This is what allowed us to protect our cultural industries. This is what allowed us to protect the workers in the aluminum sector. This is what will allow us to be able to export more to the States and to protect our long-term relationship with and access to the United States of America.

Once again, this is a very good deal. It is a good agreement. I look forward to adopting this trade agreement with the support of my colleagues from all parties in the House.