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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is things.

NDP MP for Windsor West (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, my question is in regard to human rights and labour, and whether they should be part of the agreement or a side agreement.

Here is the problem we have had with many of our side agreements, whether with Jordan or other countries with which we have had problems. I will use a term that has been used here, and that is widgets. Often, we have signed trade agreements, where 10-year-olds are making widgets in those countries and selling them back to our country. There is no enforcement to prevent these 10-year-olds from making widgets because we do not have labour as part of that deal.

Does my colleague believe labour and environment should be enforceable, meaning inclusive in trade agreements? Ironically, that is what Mr. Trump is asking of Mexico and Canada right now.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, what is happening now as trade negotiations go on is who we have sent. Brian Mulroney is part of it. Here we have a former prime minister who basically took cash. He did take cash. It is okay to take cash as a bribe—but apparently it is not okay to give the bribe—from an arms manufacturing dealer, and he is now sent off to do that emergency negotiation.

Where this is really germane is that labour and environmental standards are in part of an agreement. That is the problem with NAFTA and Trump right now; it is that they are seeing environment, and in particular labour, as a subsidy to Mexico. That is particularly the crux of our problem. I ask my colleague to expand on that.

In relation to CETA, if this is the type of negotiations we are going to send for our number one trading partner, what potentially do we have in store? The European deal we have is still not concluded, and we will have to have further negotiations because our partners in this have moved on, on a number of things, including investor state.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, British Columbia is known for its excellent wines and wineries. Under the EU deal, we fought to get it to keep certain areas that are branded. The EU has been able to do that. For example, we cannot call champagne “champagne” anymore, because it has been branded in the EU. We expected some reciprocity to call certain zones under the Canadian flag that way, but that was not permitted. It was not even supported by the government of the day.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 6th, 2017

Of course I am in favour of trade, Madam Speaker. We have supported all kinds of trade agreements, but there were others that we did not support.

What is interesting to note about all of those trade agreements that the member has mentioned is that Canada's employment rate and its export elements were poorly reflected in them. Those agreements have not led to the panacea for human rights and other environmental improvements that were sought with regard to trade and were profoundly mentioned. We were promised those things. We were promised that the government would lift the boat up, so to speak.

If jobs were created, they were likely created from the incredible historic deficits that the Harper administration carried. That deficit spending came in two ways, the first being corporate tax cuts, often to some of the most affluent businesses that did not need them at the time. That resulted in very little job creation. Some jobs were created in relation to infrastructure, as some tangible targets were reached. The government at that time does deserve some credit for those.

At the same time, the poorly administered massive deficit is historic in nature, and we are going to continue to pay for it, especially with the Liberals piling on expenses for things we cannot calculate because they were not done in the proper way.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to debate CETA. It is good that we are talking about other trade agreements.

I was going to start off with something different but I want to address a bit of the previous conversation that has been taking place with respect to trade agreements in Colombia, and trade agreements in general. It is correct that we do have side agreements with Colombia on environment and labour. The problem is that they are not enforceable. Those non-enforceable trade agreements have been the hallmark of Canadian trade agreements for a number of different countries. If we want to use Colombia as an example, what is interesting is that it was argued that the free trade agreement with Colombia would open up all kinds of jobs and investments in Ontario. It would also invest in other places across Canada. We are supposed to have those benefits. Therefore, I do not understand why they are not being referred to in this debate.

If we want to look at Canada's past trade agreements, the most recent being Korea, there has been no indication coming back to the House of Commons with respect to any benefits that have been accrued. That was done in 2015. It was supposed to be an earth-shattering, groundbreaking advancement for Canadians in particular for the separate industries of agriculture, and other investments in canola and other things. Where are those jobs? It was argued that they would be good, full-time, free-trade jobs that would be supported by all Canadians. We were going to break down the barriers, our lives would get better, and the improvements would be there. Where are they? Nobody knows. They are not here.

We had warned that there would be a loss of jobs in the auto sector related to it. We still have the same problem because of non-tariff barriers. For example, good luck to anyone who is trying to sell a vehicle in Korea, and if one tries to open up a dealership there to service it, one cannot do that because of all the problems, so one could buy a vehicle that cannot be serviced by a dealership. Who wants to do that? Therefore, what we have is a loss of jobs and unfair competition.

Where are all of these jobs in South Korea or in Colombia? It continues to go on.

If we look at Panama, which is known for harbouring money, and fugitive money, those things continue to exist. In fact, we have had the Panama Papers since we signed the agreement on April 1, 2013. I remember standing with others in this chamber to talk about our exposure to encouraging offshore tax avoidance, which sometimes occurs in our country, as well as across the world. We have a free trade agreement that was supposed to bring all kinds of jobs and accountability. That has not happened. We would not have even known about those things if not for the Toronto Star and the CBC doing investigative reports on the leaked Panama Papers from time to time, which led to the exposure of many of these problems that we knew were there because we had evidence. However, that was another trade agreement related to creating jobs.

We have the Honduras trade agreement. Where are the jobs and the examples from the government on Honduras? They were supposed to be here in 2014. The trade agreement was supposed to lift Honduras to other levels and create jobs for us here. We have not heard anything about that.

It is the same with Peru. That trade agreement happened, but where are all those jobs? Again, we have not heard.

We have signed these agreements and we have not heard about any measurables.

This is the important part that connects to CETA, and I will get into it more specifically after this. We have side agreements on the environment and labour. The real connection relating to what we see happening with the disturbance of a number of patent and trade agreements right now is the United States clamouring over NAFTA. Most of it is related to environmental and labour subsidies coming from what it says is Mexico, despite the fact that thousands of people per day cross over and work at Walmarts, factories, and so forth in the United States. We will not talk about that, but that is the reality, and the hypocrisy, of it. However, that comes from side agreements.

What is the difference between a side agreement and having something inside the agreement? Inside the agreement, it is manageable and measurable, and part of the agreement. It becomes synonymous with the agreement such that one cannot use human beings in a deplorable fashion, one cannot use children, and one cannot exploit labour. None of these things could be done. It is similar to the environment. One cannot use the environment to subsidize the impact of the cost of production in competition without a challenge, and that can be in the agreement.

In CETA, we will have a better example with the European countries that are involved in it, and it is something very serious to consider, given that with NAFTA the biggest thing pulling at us right now is the fact that we did not include labour or the environment. It festered for a couple of decades to the result that we see right now. Trump and other Americans are complaining about it, but some of these things would have been controllable in a labour agreement. They could have been there and would have been measurable. It could have been addressed. However, we are not doing that under CETA.

With CETA, the interesting thing to consider right now, as it is on the table, is that we have Brexit. Let us talk about Brexit with regard to how important it is to CETA.

Obviously, the United Kingdom is a very close ally and trading partner. It is part of the foundation of our modern society here. However, it has decided to exit from European trade. When we sat down to look at this agreement and started working on it, this was not the case. It has taken so long to get here that it has gone from being a partner in the agreement, to actually holding a referendum, and now to exiting from the arrangement.

Some members may think that, oh, it is just the U.K. Do not worry about it. It is just one nation over there. However, that is 42% of our trade with Europe. Therefore, 42% of the deal is off the table and has been cast to the wind.

If one were to negotiate the sale of one's house, or purchase a house, and all of a sudden 42% of the house was no longer saleable, it would probably change the way one would go about business. If one were to buy a car but it was 42% different than what one actually wanted to buy in the first place, one would probably look for a different car. This 42% is a significant amount. It actually creates an opportunity that the government does not even realize with regard to trading.

The Liberals always say that NDP members are against trade and all that kind of stuff, which is absolutely ridiculous. Humans have been trading from the beginning and continue to trade now under different types of agreements. However, we disagree about the fact that we do not have labour and environment in those agreements. When we create a partnership, the partner should not use child labour or subsidize the environment, like dumping oil, chemicals, and so forth in the water. In fact, we have enough of our own domestic problems with that stuff, and perhaps some competition would do us some good.

The reality is that under CETA right now, 42% of the agreement has been blown up, it is out the window, and we are going to have to create a separate binational agreement with the U.K. I see that as an opportunity. I see that as a possibility, and those elements are being sought out right now. Instead, we are going to grind ourselves away into an agreement that will still take years to be ratified. Not only will it take years to be ratified, it is different than when we started.

In fact, one of the major objections we have is the investor-state provision in CETA, which is huge. It is related to the controllability of the public sector versus that of the private sector. We see chapter 11 under NAFTA where we gave it up, having so many lawsuits.

To conclude, even by us approving CETA, our partners in this will approve something different, because they actually stood up to for their communities and their people, and they got a better deal than what we are willing to even talk about at the table.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, one of the things that was mentioned in my colleague's speech was the Liberals being bad for tourism, in general, and the cost on tourists. I would like to ask the member about her comments with regard to adding new taxes for tourists and the subsequent policies that were done under the Harper administration, in particular, the HST. The HST was introduced during a time of deficit.

I had an independent study from the Library of Parliament to examine the borrowing costs during the deficit of the $4 billion that we had to provide for Ontario and $2 billion for British Columbia, at that time, and the interest over a period of time to pay that off as we continued to stay in deficit actually ranged from an $8-billion to a $10-billion deficit.

I would like to ask the member about the deficit increase that was created by the HST, an ideological tax which the Conservatives, under Harper, brought in at that time, and the mere fact that it has cost consumers more money.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 6th, 2017

Madam Speaker, my colleague and I are neighbours, as he is from very close to Windsor where I am from.

He mentioned the auto industry. One of the concerns about CETA is the issue around the fact that European automakers have massive subsidization, as well as state ownership of their auto industry. I would ask the member a simple question related to that. How do we compete against companies, specifically in the auto sector, that actually have state subsidy and ownership, but that are also violating Canadian laws, for example, most recently Volkswagen, with regard to emissions? What should be the quid pro quo for Canadian manufacturing, given the fact that we compete against other national governments and state subsidies, and also violations of Canadian emissions laws?

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act February 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, how important does the member believe it is to ensure that not only those affected by this directly but their family and friends around them can benefit from greater intervention right now and from supports in the future?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship January 31st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, our border communities rely on shared medical services for urgent medical care in the United States. These life and death health emergencies include care for pregnant women, new mothers, and newborn infants at risk. Under the American travel ban, Canadians are at risk of dying in an ambulance waiting at the border.

Can the Prime Minister assure us today that there will be no delay or no denial of these critical health emergencies, or will we wait for somebody to die?