- MPndpMar 12, 2015 9:55 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to my hon. friend's speech and there were a few points I think ought to be clarified.
If I understood him correctly, he indicated that the Liberal Party would support the bill because it thought it actually had some merits to it. One of the things he mentioned was he thought it codified a minimum age for marriage. I actually do not think that is correct. I am fairly certain we already have laws in every province in the country and federally as well that set a minimum age for marriage and require parental consent if there is an attempt to marry under those ages.
My real question is this. We have seen the Conservative government, particularly lately, play the worst kind of wedge politics where the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet and government are specifically segregating Canadians by their religion, their religious attire or their particular cultural preferences, whether it is the member who was referring to people as “brown people and whities”, whether it is the Prime Minister talking about cultures that do not support women, or religious clothing. However, the member has spent a long time, I think very accurately and well, identifying the wedge problem and the offensive part of using the word “cultural” in front of “barbaric practices”, yet the Liberal Party is going to support the bill anyway.
Therefore, I would ask him to clarify that for us and for Canadians watching. Why is the Liberal Party going to support a bill that he acknowledges right in the title plays right into the Conservative practice of segregating Canadians and trying to wedge culture against culture, when he so clearly acknowledges that these barbaric practices that the bill deals with have nothing to do with culture? However, the Liberal Party will play along and allow this very offensive practice of wedge politics to continue by the Conservatives. Could he explain why he is doing that?
- MPndpMar 12, 2015 7:25 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up the theme the hon. member for Winnipeg North was developing, and that is the issue of process and democracy in this place. I believe that the government has invoked closure on debate through time allocation more than 90 times in this Parliament. Over four years, that works out to 22 times per year. That, for Canadians who may be watching this, says that the government, 22 times a year, approximately, tells this House that we, as parliamentarians, cannot stand up in this place and represent our constituents and contribute to the debate and discussion in this place.
The consequence of that is that amendments, necessary improvements to legislation, which are contributions from all parties in this House, particularly the opposition, are not made. That is why there have been a record number of government bills that have been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in this country, including Bill C-31, which I, in committee, warned the government would be unconstitutional. Sure enough, that was found to be the case.
In terms of making good legislation, I understand that the government has a majority, and ultimately it needs to get business done, and we, as a responsible opposition, co-operate with that. However, does the member not agree that good suggestions on this side of the House that can improve the legislation are things a responsible democratic government would want to welcome in this place, not for the good of the opposition but for the good of Canada and the good of Canadians?
- MPndpMar 12, 2015 7:15 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
With regard to lands owned by the government or crown corporations: (a) what is the total number of distinct properties that exist within the municipality of Vancouver, broken down by (i) name, (ii) address, (iii) current use; and (b) what is the total number of distinct properties that exist within the boundaries of the federal electoral district of Vancouver Kingsway, broken down by (i) name, (ii) address, (iii) current use?
- MPndpMar 12, 2015 7:10 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first one has been signed by people who live in the Vancouver Kingsway area and all over Vancouver. It is a petition led by Ted and Cora Alcuitas. They have a lot of signatures from St. Mary's Parish in Vancouver, in my riding.
They are concerned and want the House of Commons to adopt international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize their vital role in their struggle against hunger and poverty and ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers, that they protect the rights of small family farmers in the global south to preserve, use and freely exchange seeds.
- MPndpMar 10, 2015 8:15 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, over the last 35 years in Canada, income inequality has grown. That means that the wealthiest Canadians in this country have gotten wealthier and the poorest Canadians have gotten poorer. The middle class has also shrunk in terms of its share of the wealth. More than 94% of that income inequality growth over the last 35 years occurred under a Liberal government.
That was fuelled by policies like abandoning the federal minimum wage along with downloading billions of dollars of federal spending from the federal government to the provinces and also cutting services to Canadians.
I wonder if my hon. colleague in the Liberal Party will comment on whether the current Liberal Party would pursue the same policies that would make middle-class and working-class Canadians poorer, as happened so often under previous Liberal governments in this country.
- MPndpMar 10, 2015 7:50 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I do not know what world members opposite live in. The hon. member made a reference to student debt being low today. I can tell him that never before in the history of Canada have more students graduated with higher student debt than in 2015 in Canada. We can visit any campus across this country and talk to young people, and they will tell us the same thing.
My question is about jobs. The Conservatives constantly stand in this House and talk about the jobs that are being created, but they do not talk a lot about the quality of the jobs. Benjamin Tal, the deputy chief economist of CIBC, said:
The number of low-paying full-time jobs has risen faster than the number of mid-paying jobs, which in turn has risen faster than the number of high-paying jobs. Over the year ending January 2015, the job creation gap between low and high-paying jobs has widened with the number of low-paying full-time paid positions rising twice as fast as the number of high-paying jobs.
The Economist has also said that the government's pledge to proceed with tax reductions in the face of being unable to balance the budget is imprudent and that “[t]he delay in presenting the budget adds to the impression of fiscal disarray”.
What can the member tell Canadians about the fact that the quality of jobs in this country being created are resulting in more low-paying jobs and not the mid- and high-paying jobs he professes them to be?
- MPndpMar 09, 2015 11:45 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, when the latest case of BSE was discovered, the Minister of Agriculture said he did not think it would interfere with trade, but here we are, a month later, and the list of countries that have banned Canadian beef is growing.
Last week, China closed its borders. Including South Korea and Taiwan, that makes six important markets that have now banned beef exports.
With every week that passes, these restrictions cost our farmers and our economy. Why have the Conservatives failed to protect our beef exports, and what are they doing to restore them?
- MPndpFeb 26, 2015 11:10 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital has an emergency department that is staffed by excellent medical professionals. However, it is severely overcrowded and under strain. The emergency department was built to handle 14,000 visits per year. It is now seeing over 28,000. Up to three patients are being housed in rooms built for one and physicians are treating patients in the hallways. There is no proper isolation capability, which is a serious concern for the control of infectious disease. Patient privacy, proper medical histories, and staff safety are being sacrificed.
The hospital requested $24 million from the provincial government to build a new emergency department. Unfortunately, this funding was refused by the B.C. Liberals.
MSJ provides the only emergency department conveniently accessible to east Vancouver residents. Because the department is only open until 8 p.m., residents are put at unnecessary risk as they are forced to travel to Burnaby or the west side of Vancouver to receive emergency care.
I request that the federal government work with its provincial counterpart to ensure that this important facility can better protect the health of Canadians.
- MPndpFeb 26, 2015 10:40 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on an excellent speech and for the fine work he does on behalf of a balanced and intelligent energy and environment policy in our country.
My question is one that I asked my Conservative colleague a few moments ago, and that is about the relationship between pipelines and climate change.
Conservatives, to their shame, pulled Canada out of the Kyoto accord. Liberal Party Eddie Goldenberg, the former assistant to the Liberal prime minister said that the Liberals never had any intention of every implementing Kyoto. In fact, greenhouse gas emissions rose under Liberal administration.
If we are to increase pipelines in the country, if we are to move resources, what are Canada's obligations or the proper policy course for us in order to play a responsible role on the world stage in dealing with climate change?
- MPndpFeb 26, 2015 10:20 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, Bill C-46 takes a long overdue first step toward a true polluter pays regime for pipelines in Canada, which has always been an element of the NDP's plan to grow the economy while also protecting the environment. I think this is a positive first step.
Presently in Canada some of the pipeline proposals are to export raw bitumen, which is not only a substance that will float to the bottom of the ocean and that cannot really be contained but is a substance that represents the export of jobs. That bitumen could remain in Canada and be processed here, creating all sorts of good, high-paying jobs for Canadians. I am wondering if the member has an opinion as to whether Canada should be seeking to try to process bitumen in Canada.
My second question is on climate change. Does she have any concerns that increasing our exports of fossil fuels will contribute to global carbon emissions, leading to climate change, and does she have some ideas on how we should be dealing with that?
- MPndpFeb 26, 2015 7:05 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, finally, I have a petition signed by, again, thousands of people across the country who want to make sure the government ensures that Canadians receive home mail delivery from Canada Post.
- MPndpFeb 24, 2015 11:25 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, when news broke of a BSE case in Alberta, the Minister of Agriculture said that it would not harm exports, but within days, South Korea banned Canadian beef, and then Indonesia. Now Peru, Belarus, and Taiwan have also announced blanket restrictions. Far from there being no harm, we now have five jurisdictions banning Canadian beef.
These trade restrictions will cost our producers and our economy, and there is concern that they could grow.
Why have the Conservatives failed to effectively protect our beef exports and what are they doing to reverse the damage?
- MPndpFeb 19, 2015 11:00 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand on behalf of New Democrats to commemorate the lunar new year. This year, lunar new year falls on February 19, today, and all across our country Canadians will be welcoming the Year of the Goat.
People born in goat years are calm, friendly, and possess a strong sense of kind heartedness and justice. They exhibit creativity and perseverance. Although they look gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside. They have excellent defensive instincts and are resilient. I think they would make excellent politicians.
Canadians of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese origin, especially, will be celebrating across our nation. Families will gather in their homes, friends will meet at banquets, performers will entertain at spring festivals, and thousands will march in parades to mark this wonderful occasion.
Canadians of all backgrounds will join in the festivities as we share this expression of cross-cultural magic. On behalf of all New Democrats: Xin nian kuai le. Yang nian kuai le. Gong hey fat choy. Chuc mung nam moi.
- MPndpFeb 19, 2015 8:25 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I am getting thousands of petitions from people across this country in support of my Motion No. 558, to urge the Canadian government to negotiate with the Chinese government 10-year multiple entry visas for Canadians to visit China. This is good for tourism, good for businesses, and good for family unification. It would also level the playing field with the United States, which in November negotiated 10-year multiple entry visas for American citizens visiting China. The petitioners urge the government to level the playing field and obtain this benefit for Canadian citizens as soon as possible.
- MPndpFeb 19, 2015 8:20 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first petition was spearheaded by parishioners at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Vancouver and has over 500 signatures. The parishioners wish to bring to the attention of the House their concern about multinational seed companies that are gradually replacing the diversity of farmers' seeds with industrial varieties and obtaining an increasing number of patents on different seeds and threatening the ability of small family farmers to produce the food required to feed their families and communities. The petitioners ask that the government adopt international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed to ensure that farmers have access to the seeds they need.
- MPndpFeb 18, 2015 11:50 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, thanks to negotiations between the U.S. and Chinese governments, Americans are now able to get 10-year multiple-entry visas to China, and even though Canada gives Chinese nationals 10-year visas, Canadians can only get a one-year visa for travel to China. This is unfair to Canadians who want to visit China or conduct business there, harms businesses, limits families, drives up costs, and makes our business sector less competitive.
Will the government support my Motion No. 558 and immediately work with the Chinese government to obtain 10-year multiple-entry visas for Canadians?
- MPndpFeb 17, 2015 11:50 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, Canada's forestry industry provides good middle-class jobs in communities across the country, but the Conservatives have failed it. Dozens of sawmills have closed, throwing thousands out of work. Now the Conservatives are embroiled in another trade dispute, this time with China, over pulp that will further damage this important sector.
Government should resolve issues with major trade partners before they erupt into disputes that hurt businesses and throw workers out of their jobs. Why did the minister fail to sort this issue out before it became a full-blown trade dispute?
- MPndpFeb 17, 2015 7:05 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, the second petition is to the House of Commons. It has been discovered in the last several months that Canada is being used as a conduit to ship endangered whale meat across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver.
Canada is signatory to an international convention banning the trade in whale meat, and this is a loophole that is being exploited, which Canadians would like to see closed, because Canadians do not want to see endangered species being traded.
- MPndpFeb 05, 2015 10:35 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I have to correct some gross distortions of reality coming from the Conservative side.
When the Conservatives talk about the official opposition voting against some of these measures, all Canadians know that it is because the Conservative government has perfected the deception of omnibus budgets, where they put into a budget bill things like obliterating environmental protection and protection for navigable rivers, and changes to the immigration act. They put changes in the budget that have nothing to do with the budget and then force the opposition to vote against it. There are some things contained in the budget that we would like to support if they were properly segregated and put into the budget like they are supposed to be.
Canadians need to know that the government is trying to pull the wool over their eyes about the NDP not supporting these things. The Conservatives have made a mockery of the budget process through omnibus budget bills.
The director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is supporting the proposal of the New Democrats to reduce the small business tax from 11% to 10%, and differentiates between global across the board corporate tax cuts to large corporations that do not need the money. Everybody knows that the global corporate tax cuts do not get put into the economy. That is why we have over $600 billion of idle capital in our country, which is not being invested to create jobs, because the government—
- MPndpFeb 05, 2015 9:15 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I think all Canadians realized over the last 10 years that the manufacturing sector in Canada has had a difficult time. We have seen a number of Canadian champions, longstanding Canadian companies, close and shed the jobs that come with them, often family-sustaining jobs.
What the New Democrats are calling for today is for the Canadian government to take immediate action to build a balanced economy, support the middle class, and encourage manufacturing and small business creation, specifically by extending the accelerated capital cost allowance by two years; reducing the small business income tax rate from 11% to 10% immediately and then to 9% when finances permit; and finally, by introducing an innovation tax credit to support investment in machinery, equipment, and property for further innovation and to increase productivity. I wonder if my hon. colleague across the way could tell us which of those three proposals her government has a problem with. Is it reducing the tax rate for small business, extending the accelerated capital cost allowance, or introducing an innovation tax credit?
- MPndpFeb 05, 2015 8:45 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, in 2000, Canada's corporate income tax rate was 30% and the small business income tax rate was 13%. This advantaged small businesses vis-à-vis large corporations and promoted competition in the marketplace.
Large corporations have economies of scale. They have vast resources permitting them to deal with regulatory burdens and they can more efficiently manage their affairs. That 17% income-tax advantage helped the SME industry in our country.
Since that time, the government has cut the large-scale corporate tax rate down to 15% and kept the small business tax rate at 11%. That gap of 17% has now been narrowed to 4%, which makes it much more difficult for small businesses to operate in this country and compete against the large-scale companies.
Examples are Walmart and Costco competing against a small neighbourhood market, or Starbucks versus JJ Bean, or Chapters or Indigo versus, in my city of Vancouver, Duthie Books or Pulpfiction.
In Vancouver Kingsway, small business is really the engine of our economy. Does my colleague have any comment on the importance of giving small businesses an opportunity to keep their taxes low so they can create jobs and continue to be the engine of the Canadian economy?
- MPndpFeb 05, 2015 8:00 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago the leader of the Liberal Party was in London speaking to a group of workers. He was quoted as telling those workers that manufacturing was a 20th century endeavour in the Canadian economy and urged them to look for different things.
I looked up the definition of “manufacturing”, which states that it is “to make, to produce, to build, to construct, to fabricate, to process, engineer and invent”. To me those words sound like the very core of a modern, industrial economy and something that the Canadian economy really needs.
I wonder if my hon. colleague would comment on the Liberal's abdication of the belief that manufacturing is a core part of Canada's economy moving forward. Would he agree with the official opposition New Democrats that manufacturing is indeed a major and important part of the Canadian economy moving forward?
- MPndpFeb 03, 2015 7:35 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present signed by Canadians from across the country calling upon the Canadian government to negotiate with the Government of China 10-year multiple entry visas for business and tourist purposes and 5-year multiple entry visas for students and Canadian citizens. The United States has negotiated this privilege for American citizens last year. Canada currently gives Chinese nationals coming to Canada 10-year multiple entry visas. Therefore, the petitioners are calling upon our government to negotiate a level playing field, a benefit that would help tourism and our business people, help reunite families, lower costs, and make our visa system more efficient.
- MPndpFeb 02, 2015 3:10 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, last September in a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Minister of Industry stated that “In 2006, we had free trade agreements with five countries around the world. Our government has taken it from five to forty-three countries. And of course this includes the historic Canada–European Union free trade agreement”.
Again, we do not have an agreement with the European Union yet. It is not in force. The text is not even completed, because we have parties that are still saying that the agreement has to be changed. At a fragile time like this, what do the Conservatives do? They renege, they betray a promise made to Newfoundland and Labrador that is causing the province to say it will not take part in CETA.
Respected trade writer John Ivison said in a January 9 column about the fisheries fund that “...it could start the gradual unravelling of the fragile CETA deal”.
I will conclude by saying that the NDP official opposition believes that broadening and deepening our trade with the European Union is important. We believe that a good agreement, well negotiated, would be positive for our country. But an agreement like that requires people of good faith. It requires honour and a government that will respect the commitments it made, and not trick and betray provinces into giving up things only to pull the rug from under them later on.
The NDP official opposition stands squarely behind the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We stand foursquare with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and will continue to fight to make sure that its agreement is honoured.
My final point is that this shows the folly of the Liberals, who gave the government a carte blanche, a blank sheet, to support CETA before they knew what was in it. This shows how important it is that the NDP is the only party in the House that is making sure we get a good deal for Canadians.
- MPndpFeb 02, 2015 2:50 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I stand today in support of this very important motion made by the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl. He has demonstrated in the House, year after year, since he was elected, that he is a passionate champion and rigorous defender of the interests of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with the member for St. John's East. The two of them represent a duo of members of Parliament who routinely and consistently stand in the House and stand up for fairness, justice, and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. They should be applauded by the people of that province for their efforts on their behalf.
I want to talk briefly about what the motion today is about, but, more importantly, what it is not about. The motion is about the commitment made by the federal government to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to secure provincial government support for the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union. In short, it is about the official opposition, the New Democrats in the House, requesting that the governing Conservatives honour the clear commitment they made that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador would get a $400 million transition fund, made up of $281 million from the federal government and $120 million contributed by the provincial government, in exchange for Newfoundland and Labrador giving up a very important policy tool, the minimum processing requirements for their fish products in Newfoundland.
What the debate is not about is the merits of CETA. It is not about the economics of trade. It is about one thing. It is about when a province of our federation can expect its federal counterpart to honour a clear commitment that is made to it. That is what this debate is about, and now I will go into that in more detail.
First I want to talk about the importance of fisheries and seafood to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. I do not think we have to belabour this point. I think every Canadian is well aware of the importance of that sector to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and in fact all people who live in the Maritimes, as well as the rest of Canadians who benefit from the hard work of those people in that sector.
In 2013, the seafood sector in Newfoundland generated $1.1 billion, and provided employment for over 18,000 people, mainly in the rural parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, where alternate sources of employment are not so easy to get. Therefore, the fisheries sector is critically important to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The average annual export value of fish and seafood products from Newfoundland to the European Union is approximately $120 million per year. CETA does contain a comprehensive schedule of tariff reductions for seafood exports that we all think will benefit the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and in fact all of Atlantic Canada. There are tariffs as high as 25% on seafood products. Ninety-six per cent of the European Union fish and seafood tariff lines are expected to be eliminated by CETA once, and if, it is in place at some point.
Let us review some of the basic facts of this dispute. Newfoundland's fish processing sector generates hundreds of millions of dollars in value to the Newfoundland and Labrador economy. The minimum processing requirements policy tool has been used by Newfoundland to secure value-added jobs in rural areas across that province, regions that have suffered from low employment since the cod fishery's collapse.
Newfoundland and Labrador has tightly guarded the right to manage MPRs to generate employment in the past. In short, the policy tool of minimum processing requirements has been very important to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and, more importantly, the people of that province.
In January 2012, Ocean Choice International, a major seafood corporation, requested a permanent exemption for MPRs to permit the export of flash-frozen whole fish for further processing overseas. The Newfoundland government refused that request, highlighting the need for “ensuring the long-term security of resources for the benefit of future generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians”. Members can see that two or three years ago, the Newfoundland and Labradorian government was emphasizing the importance of minimum processing requirements.
In January 2013, the Newfoundland government stated that it was pushing for maximum local benefits in the CETA deal. Minister Hutchings of that province added, “We will only support a deal that is in the best interest of Newfoundland and Labrador”.
What happened is that the heavy-handed tactics of a secretive and insecure government started to show its hand. CBC reported that the federal Conservatives were in the province to negotiate with Newfoundland over the removal of MPRs. In other words, the European Union was requesting the Canadian government to give up MPRs, and that, in turn, caused the Canadian Conservative government to turn to its counterpart in Newfoundland and request that the government give up its historic important tool of minimum processing requirements.
In a speech to the St. John's Board of Trade, Premier Dunderdale said at that time that “...the Muskrat Falls loan guarantee nearly fell apart when Ottawa suddenly demanded [that] the province give up the requirement that fish landed in Newfoundland and Labrador be processed within the province.”
It was the first time that we saw the pressure on the Province of Newfoundland by the federal Conservatives, going so far as to threaten the pulling of federal loan guarantees for a very important electrical generating project in Newfoundland.
On October 23, 2013, Bill Hawkins, the chief of staff to the Minister of International Trade, wrote an email to the Newfoundland government, which said that transitional programs “of up to a combined total of $400 million that would address fish and seafood industry development and renewal, as well as workers whose jobs are displaced in future” will be provided by the federal government.
What happened here is clear. Newfoundland negotiated the agreement with the federal government. In exchange for giving up the important policy tool of minimum processing requirements in that province, the federal government agreed to provide transition funds to help the province, in the sum of $280 million. Combined with $120 million from Newfoundland, the fund would be $400 million, which would be integral and necessary for the people displaced by the ending of minimum processing requirements in Newfoundland to transition to other employment. There was zero mention at that time that those transition funds were in any way linked to Newfoundland and Labrador having to demonstrate that there were job losses or negative consequences as a result of the implementation of minimum processing requirements.
I am the official opposition critic for international trade, and I can tell members that when the Conservative government does link the payment of federal transition funds to provinces for displacement due to CETA, it says so.
The Conservatives said directly to the provinces that if there are negative consequences suffered by the provinces over changes to the intellectual property provisions of CETA, in other words, costs to the provinces for increased prescription costs as a result of CETA, and if the provinces can demonstrate losses, the federal government will compensate.
The federal government has said to the dairy industry of this country that if the dairy industry suffers losses and those can be demonstrated, it will provide funding.
The Conservatives said no such thing to Newfoundland and Labrador when it came to the provision of transitional funds.
Here is the other thing. On October 2014, the Minister of State for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency was quoted as using the term “fishery transition initiative”. At that time, in late October 2014, ACOA officials, for the first time started to say that the province would have to demonstrate damages to the federal government as a result of the elimination of MPRs before funding would flow.
On December 11, 2014, the new premier of Newfoundland, Premier Davis, met with the Prime Minister to discuss this issue. He clearly said to the Prime Minister that the federal transition funds were unconditional. They had nothing to do with Newfoundland demonstrating losses. It was money that was intended to flow to the province of Newfoundland purely as a result of giving up the minimum processing requirements and there was no condition attached to that.
Here is what Premier Davis said, coming out of that meeting:
[It] really solidifies for me that you can't trust the federal government.... You can't trust [the Prime Minister's] government.... We bargained in good faith.... We believe[d] we had an agreement in place, that we had a deal set.
That is not the official opposition saying that the federal government reneged, that the Conservatives reneged. That is the Premier of Newfoundland saying that.
Let us explore the argument the Conservatives are making in the House that, “Oh, no, the federal Conservatives always intended the Newfoundland government has to demonstrate losses”.
I met with ministers of the Newfoundland provincial government. This is what they said to me—and I put this out for Canadians to judge—“If the $400 million was intended as a fund only to be paid in the event of demonstrated losses to compensate Newfoundland for the losses they could demonstrate, why are we contributing $120 million? Does the federal government expect us to compensate ourselves?” They do not need to have a deal to compensate their own displaced fisheries workers. Not only that, but there was never a word mentioned in any memo, in any news article, anywhere, by the current Conservative government that ever tied the payment of transition funds to the demonstration of losses.
The Conservative government has also said, “Oh, well, this isn't fair to the other provinces, Atlantic provinces, which also may suffer losses as a result of CETA.
Here is the fact that all Canadians can weigh, that punctures to the heart of that matter. The other Atlantic provinces do not have minimum processing requirements. Only Newfoundland and Labrador does. Only Newfoundland and Labrador was asked to give up minimum processing requirements. Only it was negotiating with the government what it would get as a result of giving up that important policy tool.
Does it really seem reasonable to anyone that this is unfair to Newfoundland because the other Atlantic provinces did not get it? Of course it is not unfair, because they did not give up minimum processing requirements.
Now, to add insult to injury, the Minister of Justice states that the fisheries fund was never intended to be a “slush fund”. What an insult to the Premier and the Government of Newfoundland. What an insult to the cabinet ministers of Newfoundland. What an insult to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to call this money a slush fund when it is compensation for those people, compensation that the current government admits is owing, compensation that it knows is necessary, because Newfoundland and Labrador gave up something important to it and will suffer losses as a result
What has happened since then? On January 20, 2015, Newfoundland announced that it is withdrawing from Canadian trade negotiations and withdrawing its support for CETA.
The Conservative government's credibility is on the hook here.
I want to talk about integrity and respecting agreements.
When one signs a trade agreement, like any contract, like any agreement, the value of that agreement is not just in the words on the paper. The value of that agreement is in the good faith and the intent of the signatories to that agreement to implement the terms of that agreement in good faith.
Trade agreements are only as strong as the good faith of the parties implementing them. I will give an example. Non-tariff barriers are notorious in our world. Stories are legion of parties signing trade agreements, only to have the benefits of those agreements undermined by parties that go away and implement every single conceivable kind of non-tariff barrier to defeat the purpose of that trade agreement.
In this case, for the federal Conservative government to break its word with the province early on, in the agreement's genesis, demonstrates a lack of good faith. It demonstrates bad faith. That is inconsistent with the federal government's proper role in implementing trade policy, which requires the utmost of good faith.
When we speak of integrity, commitment, and honour, I want to relate a story of a person I know in Vancouver: Mr. Jeff Gourley. Jeff Gourley is the head coach of the senior boys' basketball team at Vancouver's Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School. For over a decade, Jeff has volunteered his time to create and coach this small eastside school basketball program. Prior to his arrival, Tupper had not even made the playoffs for the better part of 20 years. Through his leadership, he has inspired the Tupper Tigers to bring home city championships and rank in the top five in the province while excelling in school and, more important, growing as people of responsibility.
Several of his charges have gone on to win university scholarships and played at the highest levels in Canada and to achieve success in every area of endeavour. Jeff has done this by teaching the boys under his charge to see the game as a metaphor for their lives. In his words, “All I am doing is giving them the opportunity to dream, to think and most importantly for them to understand that each and everyone of them has the ability to try and succeed at what ever they want to do”. .
Inspiring young athletes from a lower eastside neighbourhood who have not had a track record of success can be one of the most difficult tasks for any coach to accomplish, but Jeff has done this by teaching them teamwork, respect, honour, and to trust in themselves and each other and to keep their commitments.
That is a lesson for us all, but it is a lesson for the federal government more than anything. Because Mr. Gourley and the players at Tupper School in Vancouver know one thing: they know that when they give their word, they keep it. They know that when they make a commitment, they honour it. They know that when they tell someone they are going to do something, they do it. That is what makes those young fine men. The government should listen to what those young men are learning in that school.
I want to talk about the consequence of this. I hear the government stand every day in the House and mislead Canadians by saying that this Conservative government has secured trade deals with the two largest markets on earth, a reference to the United States and the European Union. It has indeed secured an agreement with the United States, but it is wrong to say it has secured agreement with the European Union. There is no agreement in force with the European Union. CETA is not in force and, frankly, it is jeopardized by the behaviour of the government.
The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has already stated publicly that it is not going to honour the commitments in CETA. The number one ask of the European Union at the bargaining table in CETA negotiations with Canadians was to have access to provincial procurement, to sub federal procurement. What kind of message does it send to the European Union when Canada gets into a public conflict with one of its own provinces, which has now withdrawn from its commitments under the agreement?
Second, Germany and France just two weeks ago went to the European Commission and stated that they wanted changes made to the text of CETA dealing with the investor-state relations. It is well-known across Europe that CETA is a mixed agreement, meaning that it will require ratification by every single member of the European Union, including Greece, which is now put into jeopardy. The point is that we do not have an agreement yet with the European Union.
- MPndpFeb 02, 2015 11:35 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are breaking their clear commitment, creating confusion for our EU partners and jeopardizing CETA. That is no way to conduct trade policy in Canada.
If the Minister of International Trade does not think Newfoundland and Labrador should get a transition fund, he should not have agreed to it, but he did agree, and an email from his chief of staff and the facts prove it.
How can we believe any promise the Conservatives have made to any province if they are willing to deny the promise they made to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?
- MPndpJan 29, 2015 7:05 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to present petitions signed by thousands of Canadians in support of my initiative to secure 10-year multiple entry visas for Canadian citizens travelling to China.
Last year, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced an agreement with China that entitles American citizens to receive 10-year multiple entry visas for tourism and business purposes and five-year multiple entry visas for students studying in China. Accordingly, today I introduced a motion calling on the Canadian government to secure the same rights for Canadian citizens.
Our idea would help our business community, assist family members to visit each other, and improve cultural exchanges. It would reduce costs, increase flexibility, and secure maximum opportunities for Canadian citizens who are living in an increasingly global world.
- MPndpNov 27, 2014 11:55 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, this week, 65,000 Canadians petitioned Port Metro Vancouver, calling on this government to halt shipments of endangered whale products through Canadian territory.
We have learned that Canada is being used as a conduit to ship prohibited meat from the most endangered whales on Earth, from Iceland to Japan, despite Canada's international commitment not to trade in those species.
Will the minister stop this facilitation of trade in the most endangered species on earth?
- MPndpNov 26, 2014 11:15 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been watching with deep concern the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. They remind us that racism and intolerance still exist and that we must be vigilant in our quest for a society of equality and justice.
Unfortunately, Canada is not immune to these negative forces. In Richmond, British Columbia, an organization called Immigration Watch Canada recently put up a sign at a major intersection that said “Fight Gridlock: Cut Immigration”. Worse, this group's spokesperson stated that there were “too many immigrants living in Richmond who are making it unbearable for the existing European residents”. With thinly veiled prejudice, he is calling for Canada to slash immigration levels by 90% and threatening further provocative actions.
Canada is a nation of immigrants from all over the world, and our country was and is built on the contributions of us all. We are also a society who prizes acceptance, equality and respect for every resident, regardless of origin.
I ask all members of the House to join me in condemning this racist group and its unacceptable behaviour.
- MPndpNov 07, 2014 8:30 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, spending $120,000 on a last-minute reception is simply unjustifiable. This royal treatment for Europeans cost Canadians $34,000 on food and hotels, $13,000 on drinks, $8,000 on music, $19,000 on backdrops, and a total of half a million dollars for a party and a pointless photo op.
Does the minister not agree that this money would be much better spent helping Canadians and Canadian businesses actually benefit from trade opportunities?
- MPndpNov 05, 2014 12:55 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-China Legislative Association respecting its participation at the Co-Chairs' Annual Visit held in Shanghai, Beijing, Urumqi, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China, May 11 to May 15, 2013.
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 3:20 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I was not present in the House for the entirety of my hon. colleague's speech, but I was advised by some who were that she and some others on the Conservative side of the House were making some sort of accusation that somehow the NDP was holding up the bill in committee, or seeking to kill it entirely. That is 100% false.
During the clause-by-clause study of the bill, the New Democrats did our job as opposition and of course studied the clauses. We proposed six amendments that were debated very briefly and voted down by the government. We actually passed the bill at committee after second reading in one meeting. That is because the New Democrats have, from the beginning, listened to the testimony of the business community that it would like to see this agreement in place by January 1, if at all possible. The official opposition has been co-operative in doing so.
Would my hon. colleague correct any remarks she may have made that would erroneously suggest to Canadians that the New Democrats were somehow working to kill or slow down the bill?
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 1:40 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of questions that I think Canadians would want me to put to the hon. member.
She is the international trade critic for the Liberal Party, but she does not sit on the international trade committee and does not attend international trade committee meetings. When this agreement was put before committee to be studied and we heard from witnesses, she was not present to listen to any of the testimony that was put before the committee. The Liberal Party advanced and proposed no amendments to this agreement.
Could the member explain to Canadians why, as Liberal trade critic, she does not think it is important enough to come to the international trade committee and actually study the legislation, listen to the witnesses who come before our committee and give us the benefit of their perspective, and to help formulate policy in the House?
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 1:20 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague, who does excellent work on the international trade committee and provides many thoughtful interventions there and in the House.
These negotiations commenced in 2004, so it has taken about a decade to conclude this agreement. On the one hand, it is regrettable that Canada was unable to close a trade agreement quicker because, as we heard, Canadian businesses lost what those businesspeople told us is about 30% of their market share in South Korea because the Americans and the Europeans got first market access two or three years before we did. On the other hand, I am a big believer that Canada should be getting good agreements not quick agreements.
I do believe that this agreement that has been placed before the House is a thoughtfully negotiated one. I believe overall it is quite strong and all parties are going to work together to ensure this agreement is in place to support Canadian businesses before the January 1 important deadline.
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 1:15 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I would point out that while the New Democrats have announced a child care plan, it was based on the fact that the leader of the Liberal Party refused to commit to a Liberal government in 2015 bringing in a child care plan. The difference between the child care plans is that a New Democrat government will actually bring it in, whereas the Liberals will only talk about it.
In terms of the TPP, which is a whole different issue, it raises a lot of profoundly important considerations, many of which do not really apply to the South Korea agreement. It is a very important thing. This summer Canada hosted TPP negotiations in Ottawa. The TPP negotiations have been conducted with a completely unacceptable and unnecessary amount of secrecy.
Of course, the United States is the major anchor in the TPP negotiations, which is a regional pact with 12 different countries in it. There are many different concerns about that, including whether the United States will be pushing a very aggressive intellectual property regime that would damage Canadians' access to a free and open Internet. There are concerns about Australia and New Zealand and the United States wanting Canada to open up our supply-managed sectors, which the New Democrats are very strongly against. We believe that we should be keeping a strong supply-managed sector, as I believe the Conservatives agree with as well. For my hon. colleague from the Liberal Party, I am not quite sure what the Liberals feel about the supply-managed sector because some of their MPs and former MPs spend their time attacking the supply-managed sector. I am not quite clear on what their position is on that.
However, the TPP is a very important set of negotiations that I would like to see opened up so that Canadians and parliamentarians can see what is being negotiated and we can keep close tabs on the progress of that important pact.
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 1:10 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, that is a very thoughtful question that I think deserves a thoughtful answer.
The New Democrats believe that each trade agreement has to be evaluated on its own merits. We have to identify the partner involved and we have to look at the agreement itself. There are some profound and significant differences between the investor state provision in the South Korea agreement and the one my hon. colleague talked about with respect to the Canada-China FIPA.
For one thing, the Canada-China FIPA investor state provision would bind Canada for 31 years. The Korean agreement is six months.
Second, the Canada-China FIPA permits either sued party, whether China or Canada, to have the tribunal hearings held in camera, in secret, thereby avoiding one of the hallmarks of the rule of law, which is open public court proceedings. The South Korean agreement explicitly requires that investor state proceedings are to be made in public, using the word “shall”.
Finally, China is, of course, a very different country than South Korea. China is a command economy and a major capital exporter, whereas South Korea is an open market economy that has been on a trade liberalization regime for quite some time. The concerns about state enterprises or South Korea using the power of its state interests to further its interests in Canada's sensitive sectors are not quite the same.
However, the member is quite right that a New Democratic government, and it is our party policy, would not negotiate agreements with investor state provisions. We do not think they are necessary. That is why the New Democrats believe that the South Korea agreement must be monitored very closely. If it turns out that the investor state provisions are being abused in the South Korea agreement, New Democrats would not hesitate to invoke the cancellation provisions of South Korea, which would end the agreement on six-months notice, and it would not have any further binding effect after that time.
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 12:50 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to stand in the House to speak on behalf of the official opposition New Democratic Party on Bill C-41, which is an act to implement the Canada-South Korea trade agreement. Once again, on behalf of the New Democrats, it is also a privilege to stand and support this agreement. There is no question that the overwhelming evidence is that this agreement is not just of net comprehensive benefit to Canada, but, in my opinion, it is of significant benefit to the Canadian economy, and that includes Canadian workers.
The Canada-Korea trade agreement is also a critical opportunity for the Canadian economy, which we simply cannot afford to miss. As has been pointed out in the House before at second reading, we do not negotiate in a vacuum. The Canada-South Korea negotiations for a trade agreement took place in the context of other trade agreements being negotiated, notably the United States and the European Union, both of which concluded trade agreements with South Korea before Canada did, in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
That means that businesses in the United States and the European Union both had access to reduced tariffs that Canadian businesses have not had. Since those agreements have been in place over the last two and three years respectively, Canadian businesses, sector after sector, have told our committee that they are losing market share in South Korea as a result.
It is our opinion that even if we wanted to oppose the agreement, the context is such that we could not, because Canadian businesses simply cannot compete in a world where their competitors are getting tariff reductions that they are not. I might also point out that Australia, which is a very direct competitor to Canadian producers in a number of areas, has also just concluded an agreement with South Korea.
I will be talking about this at the end, but I also want to point out that New Democrats have a coherent and well-thought-out lens through which we evaluate trade agreements. This is unlike the Conservative government, which seems to support trade agreements with anybody at any time, regardless of what is in them, or the Liberal Party, which opportunistically will support an agreement and then not talk about it.
We asked ourselves a number of important questions. New Democrats asked first of all what characterizes our proposed trade partner: Who is our proposed trade partner? Can it be said that they are a modern democracy with respect to the rule of law, democracy, and human rights? Or, if there are challenges in that regard, can it be said that they are on a positive trajectory?
Second, is the economy of strategic or significant value to Canada? The Conservative government has been a broken record in terms of bragging about the agreements it has signed over the last six years. However, most, if not all, of those agreements have been, with the greatest of respect, economies that have very little trade with Canada and do not have significant or strategic value to our economy. These are countries like Honduras, Panama, and Jordan. As important as these countries are, and as important as it is to have good relations with these countries, I do not think anyone is going to delude themselves into thinking that trade agreements with those countries are going to have a significant impact on the Canadian economy.
South Korea is different in that regard. South Korea is a member of the G20. It is the fifteenth-largest economy in the G20. It is a multi-party democracy with robust rule of law. It has the highest post-secondary participation rate of any country in the OECD. Canada and South Korea are complementary economies. That is an important point. In most respects our sectors are not in direct competition with each other, and our economies are mutually beneficial.
South Korea is also a world leader in green technology, in renewable energy and energy conservation.
I will repeat what I asked in my question to the hon. parliamentary secretary. South Korea has dedicated 2% of its GDP per year to the green technology sector. South Korea is a trillion-dollar economy annually. That translates into $20 billion a year that South Korea is investing in what is clearly an economic direction for the future.
One of the many reasons that New Democrats believe this agreement has the capacity to be very positive for our economy is because New Democrats believe that, wherever we can, the Canadian economy should be steered in a direction where we are replacing outmoded forms of energy, polluting forms of energy, with sustainable ones.
Canadians often see a lot of rancour, discussion, debate, and argument back and forth in this House. They often do not see when Parliament works in a positive way. This is one example where it has, with all parties on the trade committee participating in the deliberations of this important agreement.
Canadians may know that after second reading in this House, and after a vote, then legislation goes to a committee. In this case, this agreement went to the international trade committee where we debated the legislation. We importantly called and heard from witnesses about their points of view on this legislation. We also had an opportunity to propose amendments.
The New Democrats were the only party that proposed amendments at second reading. Neither the Liberals nor any other party proposed any amendments. I will be talking about that in a moment. I think those amendments would have strengthened this agreement.
MPs heard testimony during the committee that was very favourable to the agreement. In fairness, we heard some testimony that was not favourable. We also heard testimony prescribing next steps for the Canadian government and exporters, as we seek to realize the full potential created by this deal both for Canadian enterprises and workers.
On behalf of the New Democratic Party, I would like to thank the witnesses for their efforts in raising awareness about different components of the deal and its impact on their sectors. It added some very important information for us as parliamentarians, and I want to highlight some of that evidence.
The testimony that we heard essentially amounted to a strong exhortation that the federal government have this agreement in place before January 1. As I stated, the context in which we evaluated this deal is one where we have competitive agreements and competitors around the world who are beating us to the market because of the tariff reductions they are enjoying and that Canadian producers are not. We also heard from sectors that believe this agreement may present challenges for them.
In an effort to strengthen the deal for Canada, and consistent with some of those suggestions from witnesses, New Democrats moved a number of common sense amendments to address those concerns. We are somewhat disappointed that the Conservative government was unwilling to work with the opposition to strengthen the deal. They rejected all six of our amendments. Nevertheless, the NDP will continue to offer concrete proposals to ensure that the full potential of this deal is reached and that Canadian businesses and workers benefit.
Committee members were privileged to hear the testimony of the chief negotiator for Canada in these talks, Mr. Ian Burney, who very clearly and succinctly unpacked the many components of the trade deal and articulated their significance for the Canadian economy. Here are some highlights of his testimony.
The outcomes are particularly advantageous for Canada when you consider that Korean tariffs are on average three times higher than ours, 13.3% versus 4.3%. [...] For example, in the sensitive fish and seafood sector, where Korean tariffs run as high as nearly 50%, we've obtained faster tariff elimination.... In agriculture, Korea's most heavily protected sector, with tariffs approaching 900%, we've achieved better outcomes than our competitors.... There will also be major benefits across industrial and manufacturing sectors in Canada, including aerospace, rail, information technology goods, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals to name a few, where Korean tariffs can run up to 13%.
Mr. Burney, primarily in answer to questions raised by the New Democrats, addressed concerns about the impact of the deal on Canada's auto sector. Here is some of his perspective on the matter. He pointed out the following:
...most Canadian production, in fact, almost 90% last year, is exported and so will be unaffected by the increased competition in the Canadian market. Moreover, Korean-branded cars sold in Canada are, as you know, increasingly coming in from plants in the U.S. duty-free under NAFTA. That volume is already close to 50%, so the protection afforded by the tariff is declining in any event.
I would point out that we also have information that Hyundai is opening two auto plants in Mexico in the next two years, an assembly plant and a parts plant, which would be capable of producing several hundred thousand units a year. Therefore, that 50% vehicle entry into Canada from Korean manufacturers is no doubt going to go up.
Mr. Burney continued:
With respect to the Korean market, [where] it remains challenging, there is no doubt it is opening up. Imported auto sales in Korea have been growing at about 30% annually over the last four years. The import penetration rate has increased from about 3% when our negotiations started to over 12% today, meaning that nowadays one in eight cars sold in Korea is an imported vehicle.
New Democrats believe that trajectory has to be watched carefully so we can ensure that Canadian auto products do indeed have access to the Korean market, which up to now has been identified as one of the more closed markets in the world.
The NDP is also proud to join the United Food and Commercial Workers, Canada's largest private sector union, in supporting the Korea trade agreement and its positive potential for tens of thousands of unionized workers in Canada.
Here are some of the words of UFCW legislative director Bob Linton:
UFCW Canada believes that the Canada-Korea free trade agreement overall will be a good deal for Canadian workers.... Korea is heavily dependent on food imports with a demand exceeding $28 billion annually. Korea is Canada's fifth largest agricultural food export market. It has a population of 50 million relatively high-income citizens....
Furthermore, increasing trade with Korea and other similar countries is a crucial step [in] diversifying our export industries, reducing risks and dependence on the...U.S. economy.
He also said:
This agreement means that not only members at our locals in Quebec, such as Local 1991, and Ontario, Local 175, will benefit from this free trade agreement but locals in Alberta, such as Local 1118 and 401, and Saskatchewan, Local 1400, will also have the potential to benefit. This deal will not only help to protect the jobs of our members in these provinces but has the potential to increase employment with good union paying jobs that benefit the communities.
Committee members also heard testimony from business and community leaders in Canada's vibrant Korean-Canadian community. Two witnesses I was privileged to put on the list were from British Columbia, Mr. Mike Suk and Mr. David Lee, who described to committee the potential benefits that this deal could bring to the Korean-Canadian community.
Here is a highlight of the testimony by Mike Suk, president of the Korean Cultural Heritage Society:
In less than 60 years South Korea has made its mark on the world stage. Cutting-edge industries have developed in Korea. Korea has also emerged as an influential tastemaker in Asia. I believe companies in Canada, through joint ventures with South Korea, [businesses] will gain favourable access to other high-growth emerging markets in Asia.
I would point out that this is Canada's very first trade agreement with an Asian country. This is another salient factor that went into the New Democrats' decision to support the agreement. Not only does this represent the so-called Asian pivot, where it is important for Canada's economy to establish strong and deep and broad economic relations with Asian economies, but Korea also represents an important gateway opportunity. We will penetrate the Korean market that provides opportunities for us to access the broader Asian market as well.
I want to talk very briefly about the amendments that the New Democrats proposed, which we felt would strengthen the agreement.
Our first amendment would amend the bill to add a clear preservation of the right of Canadian governments to legislate and regulate in the public interest. By way of brief explanation, the New Democrats do not believe that investor state provisions ought to be put into free trade agreements.
In this case, if an investor state agreement is put into an agreement, then we would like a crystal clear and explicit statement in that agreement that nothing in that trade agreement, but nothing, would trump the sovereignty of the states involved to legislate or regulate in the public interest. That is not clearly set out in the bill, and we thought it ought to be.
The second amendment would amend the bill to explicitly prohibit the weakening of environmental standards in order to attract foreign investment.
In fairness to the agreement, it does have a significant amount of language on the environment. However, in our view, when it comes to the environment, we cannot be clear enough. No trade should be facilitated, ever, by a diminution or reduction in environmental standards, and Canada should say so directly in each and every trade agreement that it signs.
The third amendment amends the bill to repeal the investor state dispute settlement chapter from the agreement. As my hon. colleague, the parliamentary secretary stated, Korea and Canada both have robust, mature judicial systems. There is absolutely no rational basis for including an investor state provision in an agreement when investors have full protection and recourse to the judiciaries of both countries to protect their investments and business interests.
Our fourth amendment would amend the bill to require annual Canadian trade missions to Korea to monitor the elimination of discriminatory non-tariff barriers and the implementation of the agreement and report back to Parliament annually. Every single auto company has told us that South Korea has historically utilized a series of non-tariff measures. We could fail to experience any benefits of a trade agreement if a country does two things: if it implements non-tariff barriers and if it manipulates its currency. It could wipe out any potential benefits that a trade agreement would give us by tariff elimination.
The New Democrats, quite thoughtfully and reasonably, suggested that we go every year, at least upon implementation of this agreement, perhaps the first five years, and take representatives of all industries and labour with us and monitor the non-tariff barriers of South Korea to ensure that companies in our country do get the benefit of this agreement. Unfortunately, the Conservatives chose to vote against that thoughtful amendment.
Our fifth amendment would amend the bill to require the inclusion of a snap-back provision for Canadian auto and steel tariffs in the event of a surge in vehicle imports or steel imports from the Republic of Korea. We have heard different testimony on this. I remain of the opinion that we should get what the U.S. got in its agreement with South Korea, which was a snap-back provision. What that means is that if it was found over a period time South Korea market access was not being realized, or it was found there was a dumping of South Korean imports into, in that case, the United States, the tariffs would snap back to protect the domestic industry. We thought the Canadian steel and auto sector ought to have the same protection that their colleagues in the U.S. have.
The sixth amendment is the one that is specifically on steel. Unfortunately, the Conservatives voted down each one of those amendments. I am disappointed that they did.
At the same time, I want to mention that South Korea has been identified in the past as one of those jurisdictions that has been accused of intervening in its currency to artificially suppress its currency level as a means of boosting its exports. I make no such accusations in this regard, but that has been identified.
New Democrats, before committee, announced to Canada that we would be proposing the following motion at committee to address this major trade barrier, which is currency manipulation. It reads:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee undertake a study of the use of currency intervention by states throughout the world to create advantages in international trade, policy options available to address unfair currency interventions, and report its findings back to the House. The focus of this study should include: a) Investigating the challenges and opportunities in using trade and investment agreements to address currency intervention; b) examining the status of progress at multilateral bodies in developing fair international rules on currency intervention; and c) balancing respect for sovereign nations in the management of their monetary policy with the development of fair international rules to level the playing field for exporters in all countries.
People as diverse as the U.S. manufacturers association, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Ford Canada and any number of people involved in import and export understand the importance of currency in expanded trade opportunities. Regrettably, our motion will not be studied, at least now, before our committee. That is disappointing as well because we think that having a stable and fair currency trading system is key to establishing a smart trade policy for Canada.
Canada is a trading nation. We have always been a trading nation. We continue to be a trading nation. New Democrats will continue to suggest intelligent, thoughtful and prudent measures that will not only boost exports for Canadian champions around the world but also make sure that we can create those value-added, good-paying jobs here at home that are the hallmark of every modern industrial economy.
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 12:40 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my hon. colleague on his speech. We work together on the international trade committee, where we have been studying this important deal.
As Canadians know, the New Democrats are supporting the Canada-South Korea trade agreement because we believe, on balance, it is of net benefit to Canada. I am happy to work together with my colleague to expedite the bill through the House.
He is right about the need to put this agreement in place quickly. We heard testimony in committee from a number of witnesses that it is important for the Canadian business sector to have the agreement in place, if at all possible, by January 1. That is when the next tranche of tariff reductions come down in the Korea-U.S. deal, and we need to keep our businesses competitive.
I want to focus on one aspect of the deal and get my hon. colleague's comment on it. South Korea is a world leader in green technology, renewable energy, and conservation technology, and unlike the Conservative government, it is dedicating a substantial amount of money, 2% of its GDP, to that sector. With a trillion-dollar economy, that is $20 billion a year that South Korea is investing to develop green technology. That is one thing New Democrats believe is a positive about the deal: Canada can join with South Korea and improve our trade in that very important green technology sector, which we believe will be an important sector for Canada's economy in the future.
I wonder if my hon. colleague has any comments on the opportunities that this deal may present for Canada in terms of green technology, renewable energy, and energy conservation.
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 11:40 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, when it comes to attacking vulnerable refugees, it appears the Conservatives have no sense of shame. First they appealed the Federal Court ruling that found that their health care cuts are cruel and unusual; then, facing a public backlash against a private member's bill to strip refugees of social assistance, they slipped it into an omnibus budget bill.
Canadians will not be fooled by this abuse of parliamentary process, and they expect better. Will the minister do the right thing and withdraw this measure from the budget bill?
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 11:05 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is set to visit China in November. This is an important moment for Canada.
It is a time for us to lay the foundations for a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship between our two countries and peoples in the 21st century.
Canada owes much to China and Chinese Canadians for the many outstanding contributions they have made to our nation. From the Chinese immigrants who, at great sacrifice, built our national railway to the dynamic Chinese Canadian community that today contributes to our economic, political, cultural and scientific progress, our history and our future are immeasurably enriched.
China is poised to become the world's largest economy and, as Canada's second most important trade partner, our relationship will only grow in importance. However, progress is not measured in economic terms alone. Our ability to grow as nations depends also on our commitment to build societies that are peaceful, democratic and respect human rights.
Today, I proudly stand with the Chinese Canadian community that is dedicated to realizing these ideals for both nations.
- MPndpOct 23, 2014 7:55 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, the third petition calls on the Government of Canada to do whatever it can to ensure home mail delivery for all Canadians who want it, particularly the disabled and the elderly, who require direct home mail delivery.
- MPndpOct 06, 2014 12:05 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by 2,000 residents of Montreal, principally in the riding of LaSalle—Émard, asking the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to reconsider the decision to deport the Fuh-Cham family of Montreal.
Mr. Fuh-Cham, his wife and three young children have been active community members in LaSalle, specifically the Saint Jean Brebeuf Church, for seven years. They are facing imminent deportation to Cameroon, where they face grave risk of persecution because of their Christian faith. In particular, the family fears the women and girls would be subjected to forced genital mutilation.
The undersigned in this petition are asking that the minister reconsider the deportation of the Fuh-Cham family scheduled for October 9, 2014, and allow them to remain in Canada where they can freely practise their religious beliefs and continue to contribute to Canadian society.
- MPndpOct 01, 2014 11:40 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, that does not say anything about whether Germany will ratify the deal.
What Canadians want is an explanation of why taxpayers' dollars were blown to treat European bureaucrats like royalty. We know that the last-minute decision to fly the EU delegation back to Europe cost over $300,000, but what about the security costs incurred by the RCMP when they were told to deliver them to a cocktail party in Toronto? How much in total did this poorly planned photo op cost Canadian taxpayers?
- MPndpSep 30, 2014 7:20 am | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. member went on and on about the New Democrats not standing in this place and not voting for an agreement, and he challenged us to prove him wrong. I have the Journals from Monday, March 5, 2012, and I would like to table this document showing the New Democrats stood in the House and voted in favour of the Canada-Jordan agreement at second reading. Where he is confusing it is that, at third reading, we let that agreement go by a voice vote, which happens all the time in the House. As a matter of fact, we understand that the Liberals have sent a request to New Democrats to allow the South Korea agreement to pass by a voice vote.
The hypocrisy and the inaccuracy of the Liberal Party is again breathtaking. I would ask for unanimous consent to table this document in the House, so that the member will once and for all be quiet and no longer state that the New Democrats have not stood in the House and voted for the Jordan agreement, because we did.
Moreover, maybe he can answer a question. Besides the Liberals not supporting the free trade agreement in the 1980s—he prattles on and on about how the Liberals have always supported free trade, but Canadians remember they did not—the Liberal trade critic has said this about CETA:
We have been supportive of the deal from the start....
It's important to say this is a great step, but also we really need to start seeing some details. At some point though we need to see what it is we're actually supporting
Now is that not a classic description of the Liberal Party to support something without ever reading it, or—
- MPndpSep 24, 2014 1:50 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, when speaking about the Canada-EU trade agreement, the Liberal trade critic said:
We have been supportive of the deal from the start. It’s important to say this is a great step, but also we really need to start seeing some details. At some point though we need to see what it is we’re actually supporting.
It begs this question. Why is it that the Liberals are willing to support trade deals before they even read them or see the details?
My question is about democracy. My hon. colleague mentioned favourably that Korea is a democracy, yet the Liberals supported a free trade agreement with Honduras, where the democratically elected government was overthrown by a coup, where journalists are regularly killed, where the LGBT community is persecuted, and where human rights are brazenly violated. They also supported the China FIPA, which has all sorts of problems in many other respects as well.
I am just wondering if my hon. colleague could name a single country with which the Liberals would not support signing a trade agreement.
- MPndpSep 24, 2014 1:30 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I do agree with that. When the government took office in 2006, Canada had a current account surplus of about $18 billion, and today it has a current account deficit of some $64 billion. So there has been about an $80 billion swing to the negative since the government came to power. I think that is because the government has taken an ideological approach to trade. Conservatives will sign any trade agreement with anybody, regardless of the terms, without taking a strategic, thoughtful approach to trade policy. New Democrats believe that we should take a thoughtful strategic approach, with balanced trade agreements that will benefit the Canadian economy. New Democrats would support those agreements if they do, and will oppose them if they do not.
- MPndpSep 24, 2014 1:25 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I cannot really speak about where the government gets its sources of information, but I will say that the Canada-China FIPA stands in stark contrast to the deal before the House. Many Canadians have serious concerns about this FIPA, not the least of which is that it provides for secretive tribunals to hold hearings behind closed doors on lawsuits filed by investors that will put taxpayers' liabilities in the billions of dollars, and which violate the Canadian concept of the rule of law. It is also undemocratic, and worse, the Canada-China deal will be in force for a minimum of 31 years. It is a bad deal and not a good example for Canada. I note that the Liberals support the Canada-China FIPA along with the Conservatives. Only the New Democrats have stood in the House with the Green Party and opposed the deal.
The agreement with Korea, in contrast, has guarantees of transparency in its investor-state provisions. The hearings must be open and the agreement is cancellable on six months' notice. All investments under that agreement would not fall under the ISDS provisions after the six-month period. So the New Democrats, when we are government in 2015, will be watching this agreement very carefully to make sure that the procedure is not abused, so that we can protect Canadian taxpayers.
- MPndpSep 24, 2014 1:20 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague that history is made. It is the first time that a member of the Conservative government has called the New Democratic official opposition “intelligent and informed”. I would encourage a repetition of that astute observation.
The New Democrats' trade policy is one where we want to look at each trade deal on its own merits. We want to approach it from a rational, thoughtful and balanced point of view, and I have already pointed out the different criteria that we have. That has been typical of the New Democrats' trade policy for the last two years, and certainly this Parliament. Of course, my friend knows that this is not the first agreement that the New Democrats have supported. We supported the Canada-Jordan trade agreement, and we voted in favour of it.
In terms of the automotive sector, I wish it were that simple. We have a Canadian and American integrated auto sector, and I do believe that this agreement provides challenges and the auto sector has raised legitimate concerns. I would encourage the government to work with the auto sector, both industry and labour, to help improve the Canadian auto sector so that we can create good Canadian jobs and increase auto production in this country. Korea provides that opportunity to do so, but only if the government provides the policies that will assist the industry.
- MPndpSep 24, 2014 1:00 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, as the official opposition critic for international trade, I am pleased to stand to speak on behalf of the New Democratic Party on Bill C-41, an act to implement the free trade agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea.
By way of background, Canada and South Korea first discussed the possibility of a trade agreement in 2004, and negotiations for a trade agreement officially launched in July 2005. In a testament both to the challenges that such agreements pose and to less than satisfactory diligence on the part of various governments, it took some nine years to bring this agreement to completion.
Notably, several trade agreements have been concluded by Korea and other partners over the past 10 years. A trade agreement between Korea and the EU entered into force in 2011, and a Korea-U.S. agreement became operative in 2012. As well, Korea and Australia recently concluded negotiations.
As I will expand upon later, these nations' agreements have played a critical role in shaping Canada's bargaining position. As major competitors with Canada, their advantage in securing preferential first entry to the Korean market has done substantial damage to Canadian exporters in a myriad of sectors.
The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed on March 11, 2014, and submitted to Parliament on June 12, 2014. Once in effect, the agreement will eliminate 98.2% of South Korea's tariff lines and 97.8% of Canada's tariffs. While many tariffs between our two countries are already quite low, there are a significant number of tariffs and other barriers to market that exist that will either be removed immediately upon this agreement's implementation or phased out over various periods of time.
The NDP uses three important criteria to assess trade agreements. First, is the proposed partner one that respects democracy, human rights, adequate environmental and labour standards, and Canadian values, and if there are challenges in these regards, is the partner on a positive trajectory toward these goals? Second, is the proposed partner's economy of significant and strategic value to Canada? Third, are the terms of the proposed agreement satisfactory?
New Democrats also evaluate trade agreements on a comprehensive basis to determine if they are of net benefit to Canada. In our estimation, we believe that the Korea trade agreement meets these tests.
I will deal with each in turn.
First, since emerging from authoritarian to civilian rule in 1987, South Korea has transitioned into a multi-party democracy with an active trade union movement, a diverse civil society, and freedom of expression. South Korea's so-called tiger economy has succeeded in rapidly industrializing the country and raising the welfare and incomes of the Korean people.
Today South Korea is a developed country, ranking 15th on the Human Development Index, the highest in East Asia. South Korea has developed social programs, sound rule of law, low levels of corruption, and high access to quality education, including having the highest level of post-secondary education participation in the OECD.
In recent years, South Korea has emerged as a global leader in environmental economics, investing billions in an ambitious green growth strategy aimed at improving energy efficiency while boosting renewables and green technology.
There is no doubt that South Korea is a democratic country that possesses admirable environmental and labour standards and shares important Canadian values, including respect for human rights.
Second, is the proposed partner's economy of significant and strategic value to Canada? South Korea is a G20 country with the 15th-largest GDP. It is the G20's eighth-largest importer. South Korea is Canada's seventh most important trading partner and our third largest in Asia, after the two larger economies of China and Japan.
In 2013, total bilateral trade between our two nations totalled nearly $11 billion. Canadian exports to South Korea totalled $3.4 billion, while Korean exports to Canada totalled $7.3 billion. In relative terms, Canada exports the same amount to South Korea as it exports to France and Germany. We import approximately the same amount as we do from the U.K.
South Korea is also a major part of the Asian global supply chain and is a gateway market for other Asian economies. As this is Canada's first trade agreement with an Asian country, it provides an important opportunity to gain advantages in the Pacific region and diversify Canada's export markets. Economic models predict that this deal is expected to increase Canadian exports to South Korea by 32% and expand our economy by $1.7 billion.
In addition, the Canadian and South Korean economies are largely complementary, meaning that most Canadian industries do not compete directly with Korean industries. As Korea has emerged as a world leader in renewable energy and green technology and needs energy and energy technology from Canada in return, we can increase our trade in these important sectors and, more importantly, build Canada's green technology sector.
Domestically, a trade agreement with Korea offers significant economic benefits to a broad cross-section of economic sectors in Canada that represent all regions of the country. In fact, this agreement is favoured by almost every industrial sector in Canada.
Sectors that support the Korea free trade agreement include manufacturing, heavy industry, aerospace and transportation, forestry and wood products, agriculture, beef and pork industries, agri-foods and food processing, energy and chemicals, fish and seafoods, financial services, and high technology.
In sum, South Korea is a large market that offers significant opportunities for Canadian business to gain a foothold in important Asian markets.
It is vital to note that Canadian exporters have lost some 30% of their market share in South Korea since 2012, when the EU and the U.S. implemented agreements and secured preferential access for their companies. These losses are estimated to total several hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and are mounting each year that U.S. and European competitors enjoy tariff advantages and increased market access to Korea.
The losses have been particularly heavy in the agri-food, seafood, and aerospace industries. These sectors sustain thousands of quality, family-supporting jobs with high rates of unionization. As an example, when Korea signed the FTAs with the United States and the European Union, Canadian aerospace exports to Korea dropped by 80%, from $180 million to roughly $35 million.
Yuen Pau Woo, former president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and, in my estimation, Canada's leading expert on Asia-Pacific issues, said that Canada is:
....an outlier compared to most of our industrialized country competitors, certainly in the G-7 and the OECD, and that puts us at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis countries that do have trade agreements with Asian partners. The best example of this competitive disadvantage is in the case of Korea, where we have been negotiating—as you all know—coming to nine years now. In the meantime, we have been overtaken by the United States and more recently, by Australia. Both of those countries now have margins of preference, particularly in the cultural sector, that put our exporters at a disadvantage.
Canadian exporters need a level playing field to compete in Asia and to protect the jobs they provide here in Canada. In the view of New Democrats, this agreement is essential to do so.
This agreement offers the opportunity for Canadian producers and exporters to increase trade with a modern democratic country with a high-income complementary economy. It will allow Canadian producers in a wide variety of sectors to more effectively access an Asian gateway economy that plays a pivotal role in global supply chains and offers entry opportunities not only to Korea but to other Asian economies.
It will level the playing field for Canadian exporters, who can compete with the best in the world when given the opportunity to do so on equal terms. It will permit Canada to deepen our Asian presence and diversify our trade patterns beyond the North American and European markets. There is no doubt that Korea is both a significant and a strategic economic partner for Canada.
Third, are the terms of the proposed deal satisfactory?
This is not the precise agreement that New Democrats would have negotiated. This deal includes investor state dispute settlement, a provision that allows corporations to launch legal challenges to government measures that they believe violate the terms of the agreement. They are permitted to file their suits not in domestic courts but in international trade tribunals that lack certain fundamental attributes of judicial independence and the rule of law.
This is something the New Democrats would not include in any trade agreement we negotiate. We believe such provisions carry excessive risk and are unnecessary when dealing with nations with independent and well-functioning judiciaries, which both Canada and South Korea possess.
There are also legitimate and well-founded concerns about the possible impact of this agreement on the Canadian auto sector. Knowledgeable industry actors, such as Ford Motor Company and Unifor, which represents most auto workers in Canada, have both expressed the view that this agreement will reduce domestic auto production and sales, and that South Korea adopts policies that serve to impair access to its domestic market.
In our estimation, however, when viewed on a comprehensive basis, this agreement is of net benefit to Canada. It benefits the vast majority of Canadian export sectors, and we believe that its weaknesses can be dealt with by effective Canadian government policies.
An examination of a few key sectors bears this out. This agreement is not only good for Canadian agriculture and the agrifood industry, it is essential. The agrifood sector represents 8% of the Canadian economy and is said to sustain one in eight jobs, or over two million jobs.
As stated, Canada has suffered significant losses in market share for Canadian agricultural exports to Korea following implementation of the Korea-U.S. deal in 2012. For example, Canadian beef exports to South Korea shrank from $96 million in 2011 to $8 million in 2013. Canadian pork exporters went from first to fourth in the Korean market. Australia, a major competitor of Canada in many agricultural products, is poised to bring their own agreement with Korea into force. As well, January 1, 2015, will see the next reduction in tariffs for U.S. and EU products, further exacerbating the harm to Canadian sectors.
The Korea FTA will progressively eliminate 86.8% of agricultural tariff lines and allow Canadian exporters to compete on a level playing field and recapture these markets. There are also impressive opportunities for Canadian grains, pulses and oils.
In aerospace, the agreement will gradually eliminate 100% of industrial tariffs. As such, there is general support for the Korea FTA among manufacturing sectors in Canada, notably Bombardier and other Aerospace Industries Association members.
According to Jim Quick, the president of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, South Korea is an important market due to its proximity to other major economies, including Japan, China and Malaysia. He said in the next 20 years, airlines in the Asia-Pacific region would account for 37% of global aircraft demand, or 12,000 planes worth $1.9 trillion. At the same time, half of the world’s air traffic would be driven by travel to, from, and within the Pacific region.
Similar opportunities lie in light rail and transit infrastructure. Global Canadian champions like Bombardier see important opportunities in South Korea to position themselves to tap this growth.
Canadian seafood producers on both coasts stand to benefit from the Korea agreement. Pacific seafood and fish product exporters are being out-competed in Korea by their Alaskan competitors due to the fully implemented Korea-U.S. agreement.
Current seafood and fish product tariffs in Korea for Canadian exporters are up to 47%, and most of these tariffs lines will be eliminated. Lobster farmers see growth opportunities in the Korean market on the Atlantic coast.
Canada's forestry and wood products industry, including newsprint, wood pulp, wood panels and other value-added products, contribute over $20 billion to Canada's GDP and employs over 230,000 Canadians, many of them in high-skilled and unionized jobs. Canadian exporters to Korea are disadvantaged by tariff lines on Canadian wood products, which reach 10%. The Korea agreement will provide growth opportunities for value-added wood products. This will help develop good jobs in the vital Canadian value-added economy.
With respect to energy and green technology, New Democrats see sustainable technologies and renewable energy as key industries of the future. They are estimated to be a $3 trillion sector and we believe that Canada must position itself for this economic opportunity and environmental imperative. As stated, Korea is an emergent global leader in this area and encouraging sustainable trade and technology transfer is one of the most compelling parts of this agreement.
There are positive and negative aspects of this agreement in terms of the Canadian auto sector, and opinions on it are mixed. General Motors, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda all have automotive production facilities in Canada and support this agreement. Ford and Unifor are also significant stakeholders in Canada, but they do not. The Korea FTA will gradually eliminate Canada's 6.1% tariff on auto product imports from Korea over a three-year period. In turn, South Korea's 8% auto tariff will be eliminated immediately upon the Korea agreement's implementation.
Other positives include rules of origin provisions that recognize Canadian-U.S. integrated products without volume limits and an accelerated dispute mechanism that allows for monitoring of non-tariff barriers. This will permit disputes related to motor vehicle trade to be resolved in a timeline that is as fast or faster than the Korea-U.S. deal, and it could be used to obtain remedies to unfair trade barriers to Canadian auto exports into Korea. In addition, transitional safeguards exist in case of a surge in imports.
At the same time, there are legitimate concerns about the deal's impact on the Canadian auto sector. These concerns have validity, as more Korean imports will affect domestic auto sales to some degree, and South Korea has been cited for implementing non-tariff barriers that restrict access to its market.
It is also a fair criticism that this agreement does not go as far as the Korea-U.S. deal does in protecting domestic auto producers. Under that deal, U.S. tariffs are phased out over a longer period, five years, and there is a snap-back provision that permits the U.S. to impose duties if certain import and export numbers are exceeded. The Conservatives were unable to obtain these protections in this agreement.
What is without doubt is that the current 6% Canadian tariff on Korean-made automobiles is insufficient to meaningfully keep products out. Among other things, lower Korean labour costs and vertical integration savings substantial exceed the tariff. More compelling, Korean automakers service the Canadian market from U.S. plants, with more opening in Mexico within two years, and their products enter Canada tariff-free due to NAFTA in any event. Accordingly, between 40% and 50% of Korean auto products already enter the Canadian market tariff-free from the U.S., so the status quo is clearly insufficient to assist Canadian production.
It is clear that the Canadian auto industry faces a very competitive global environment. It is equally apparent that this requires more support form the federal government. In 2013, Canada failed to attract any of the $17.6 billion in auto investments that were made around the world, not a penny. Competing countries like China, Brazil and our North American trading partners are upping their games, subsidizing up to 60% of the capital investments required to establish auto plants.
New Democrats believe that more needs to be done to support auto manufacturing in Canada, to promote growth in the sector and to encourage the competitiveness of North American brands around the world.
Therefore, a New Democrat government would pursue strategies to strengthen the Canadian auto sector. These would include policies that would encourage Korean automakers to locate production facilities in Canada; assist Canadian automakers to better access Korean and other Asian markets; closely monitor non-tariff barriers and act quickly and effectively to resolve disputes; place substantial resources into trade offices and lead frequent trade missions to Korea; and work with industry and labour to create an effective auto innovation fund.
Both CETA and the China FIPA have provoked widespread public concern in Canada and New Democrat share those concerns.
Importantly, the Korea agreement differs substantially from those two agreements. Unlike the China FIPA, the terms of the Korea agreement are reciprocal. Unlike CETA, the Korea agreement does not apply to provincial, territorial or municipal procurement or Crown corporations, where most Canadian procurement is located. Unlike CETA, the Korea agreement does not apply or negatively affect supply-managed agricultural products. Unlike CETA, the Korea agreement does not contain any negative intellectual property provisions, for example, pharmaceutical patents or copyright.
Notably, intellectual property expert, Professor Michael Geist has pronounced positively on the IP terms of the Korea agreement, calling it an example of a good agreement in this important area. While the Korea FTA does have an ISDS provision, it contains transparency guarantees and is fully cancellable on six months' notice. This is contrasted with the China FIPA, which binds Canada to ISDS for 31 years, and CETA, which appears to do so for 20 years.
Unlike the Conservatives and Liberals, a New Democrat government would involve a full spectrum of Canadian stakeholders, including industry and labour leaders in monitoring and implementing this deal. Unlike those two parties, the New Democrats would work diligently to eliminate non-tariff barriers and scrutinize the use of the investor state provisions very closely. Unlike those two parties, a New Democrat government would not hesitate to renegotiate or terminate this deal if meaningful market access is not achieved or the ISDS provisions are abused.
Overarching all, New Democrats want to deepen Canada's trade linkages with the Asia-Pacific region, something we recognize as essential to maintaining Canadian prosperity in the 21st century. We support breaking down harmful trade barriers, but believe government should provide the support Canadian industry needs to remain competitive in a more open world economy. We agree with such diverse voices as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Labour Congress that the government needs to do more than sign trade agreements. It must promote Canadian exports, develop sound Canadian industrial strategies, invest resources in trade commission services, and participate meaningfully in regional and international bodies of all types.
The Korea trade agreement presents a vital opportunity to diversify Canada's economy and promote good quality job creation in Canada. We cannot let this opportunity pass.
While certain terms of the agreement are not what an NDP government would have negotiated, on balance we believe that the benefits of the Canada-Korea trade agreement are significant for Canadians. We will be supporting the legislation accordingly.
- MPndpSep 24, 2014 12:50 pm | British Columbia, Taschereau
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate the minister on the conclusion of this important agreement.
It is, however, common ground that one of the weaknesses of this agreement is its impact on the Canadian auto sector, which is a key Canadian industry that adds billions of dollars to Canada's GDP. Industry players, such as Ford and Unifor, which represent most auto workers in Canada, are concerned that removing the 6.1% tariff on Korean products would damage domestic auto production and sales.
The U.S. negotiated a superior chapter on auto with Korea in its deal. There is a longer phasing period for tariff reduction and there is also a snap-back provision that protects U.S. auto production in case of a Korean auto product surge in that country which harms the U.S. auto sector. Canada did not get this measure.
Why did Canada not get as good a deal on the auto sector and the auto chapter as the U.S. did in its deal with Korea?
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