Don Davies – Addresses Leaked CETA Documents
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[Don Davies – Addresses Leaked CETA Documents]
The honorable member for Vancouver Kingsway, BC
[Don Davies] Source: LYBIO.net
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again to address the ongoing negotiations with the European Union regarding the comprehensive economic and trade agreement known as CETA. This intervention is extremely timely in light of a leaked communique out of Europe this week that illustrates the lack of transparency and overly ideological approach that the Conservative government has taken to the CETA negotiations.
First of all, the memorandum illustrates that the European negotiators are being much more consultative and transparent than the Canadian Conservative government. They are providing their parliamentary trade committee with regular updates, allowing for input from European parliamentarians from all political stripes. This is not the case in Canada. The Conservative government will not answer questions in the House directly. It very rarely updates the trade committee on the CETA negotiations and it does not consult broadly with Canadians.
Why will the government not allow scrutiny of the process? Perhaps the leaked documents shed light on that question as well. These leaked communiques from the European Commission expose the Conservatives’ incompetence in negotiating and validate the concerns of Canadians with regard to CETA.
For instance, the government has been talking the talk when it comes to defending the supply management system in Canada. However the European’s internal communique confirms that Canada has already agreed to grant new market access to supply managed goods in the form of tariff rate quotas. This is not defending supply management in Canada. It is unacceptable to the thousands of farmers in Canada who rely on that system to ensure stability. This type of concession sends shock waves through the supply managed sectors, which see this as a very slippery slope that could be further eroded in future deals such as the TPP.
With regard to intellectual property, the leaked communique illustrates that the government is very much considering caving to the pressures of the European pharmaceutical companies. These are concessions that will increase the cost of prescriptions in Canada. Canadians, including provincial governments, employers and other drug providers, have been expressing concerns about this for years now but the Conservatives dismissed these concerns as myth. We now see that the IP changes are on the table and they are decisions that will be “taken at the highest political level”. I ask the minister and the Prime Minister what their decision is. Has it been decided that Canadians will have to pay more for their medications or not?
With regard to public procurement, the EU acknowledges that this is “the most ambitious and comprehensive offer Canada and its provinces have made to any partner, including the U.S.” Our offer to the EU even outreaches commitments that currently exist between provinces in Canada, but Europe still wants more. On public urban transport, Europe is asking us to provide full access and in particular to eliminate all local content requirements for EU operators. It is demanding that provincial and regional development clauses be either eliminated or redrafted.
There is much to discuss with regard to CETA, more than I have time for here, but I must address the issue of imbalance. We have just seen the example of the FIPA with China where Canada signed a deal that was terribly imbalanced, with Canada at the losing end.
Again, in the documents leaked from the EU, Canada may be about to sign another imbalanced agreement. The commission acknowledges that we are only asking that the EU enshrine existing liberalization, while the Europeans are asking us to substantially open our markets. On services and investment, the Europeans claim Canada has opened its markets fully while it has maintained complete policy space for the future. Once again we see the government pushing forward in a reckless manner, selling out Canadian interests and decrying any opposition to its agenda as anti-trade.
On this side of the House we are pro-trade and we await the final draft of the CETA to weigh it in its entirety and see if it is of net benefit to Canada. However, every time we see a leaked draft or document, we see a government that is not putting Canada’s interests first.
Will the government heed the advice of Canadians and address the imbalance before it presents us with a final agreement, and will it get consultation from Canadians and let us see the final draft before it is signed off in Europe?
[Mr. Speaker] Source: LYBIO.net
The honorable Parliamentary Secretary to the International Trade
[Gerald Keddy] Source: LYBIO.net
Mr. Speaker, I do not know where to begin. I have heard some rants and some misinformation in the House before, but I do not think I have heard anything that is ever going to beat that. For the absolute unmitigated gall of the honourable member to say that was a pro-trade speech is absolutely mind-boggling.
First of all, let’s lets lets deal with a couple of issues. The hon. member wants to talk about a leaked memorandum. A leaked memorandum is exactly what it is. That is something that is deliberately leaked by an another party to try to force something else to happen in negotiations. That is what leaked memorandums do, and the honorable member played into that very nicely. He picked it up and did a great job for the European Union.
That the European committee is better briefed than our committee is absolute nonsense. We have met a couple of times with the European trade committee. The first thing we learned is that we were much better briefed than they were in these negotiations. [The words] “updated and consulted broadly” are absolute nonsense.
Here is the deal. Canada – Canada is a trading nation. We are looking at CETA, the comprehensive economic trade agreement to increase trade with the European Union by about 12% rather, $12 billion and about 80,000 jobs, the equivalent of about $1,000 dollars per household in Canada. Mr, Speaker, this is a good agreement for Canada. Canada’s future is tied to trade.
The honorable member actually asked for this late show. It is kind of like a light show, I guess. You know, it is coming up to Christmas, and all of us have the Christmas spirit and a certain belief in make-believe, and the honorable member brings that out well. However, we have to talk about facts when we stand in the House.
The fact is very simple. We have negotiated this in the best interests of Canadians. We continue Mr. Speaker, to brief the provinces on a regular basis. We brief the municipalities. The first time ever that they have had briefings from a federal minister for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Mr. Speaker, the reality, the reality is that this series of negotiations are to benefit Canada. We will bring this to a conclusion at some point, whether it is this year or hopefully early in 2013, and at the end of the day, Canadians will be better off because of it.
As far as public procurement, the offer on public procurement is ambitious. The provinces have signed on to it. They are the people who have to sign on, and municipalities have to sign on for public procurement. The honorable member knows that.
You know, the idea that somehow we are going to cost Canada or Canadians more money on pharmaceuticals, this is still being negotiated. The honorable member needs to calm down, wait until the negotiations are over, and then he can stand in the House and speak with some surety. Until then, we will continue briefing the provinces and the municipalities, but negotiate the way that negotiate in every agreement is negotiated. When the final agreement is ready, we will bring it forward. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
For Vancouver Kingsway, BC
Mr. Speaker, the government keeps talking about mythical numbers and telling us how great this agreement is that they do not have the courage to show us. Let us address transparency. In the section of the leaked memorandum between the EU Commission and the trade committee that addresses public utilities, the commission refers to concessions that Canada has made “reluctantly”. The concessions have to do with the fact that the EU is maintaining various reservations for public utilities, whereas Canada is putting those on the table.
The document says that Canada has asked the EU member states to make a change to the language “which would help in the presentation to our provinces”. Mr. Speaker, it sounds an awful lot like Canada is asking the EU to help it create spin to more easily sell a raw deal to our provinces. The government has shown a lack of respect to the provinces before, but this is outrageous. The government has long insisted that it wants this deal done before the end of the year, and with that fast approaching it is evident we are far from a fair deal, a balanced deal, for Canada.
Will the government commit to listening to Canadians and keep working at this until we have a deal that is good for our economy and all Canadians, and that is balanced between the two economies?
[Mr. Speaker] Source: LYBIO.net
The honorable Parliamentary Secretary
Mr. Speaker, I think I have had a bit of an epiphany. I listened closely to the hon. member’s language, and really what we are talking about is the fact that the anti-trade party, or the no-trade party, is not at the table. If the New Democrats were at the table, we would not have this discussion because there would not be any negotiations.
The reality is that this goes way back to the days when the NDP vehemently opposed NAFTA. We are talking about 1988 vintage language that is coming from the honorable member. Today, the last time I checked, the last time I checked, it is 2012. That is a long way from 1988 and the original free trade agreement with the United States. Surely, the NDP members have learned in the interim that trade is good for Canada, it’s good for businesses and it is what drives this country.
[Mr. Speaker] Source: LYBIO.net
Don Davies – Addresses Leaked CETA Documents. We have just seen the example of the FIPA with China where Canada signed a deal that was terribly imbalanced, with Canada at the losing end. Once again we see the government pushing forward in a reckless manner, selling out Canadian interests and decrying any opposition to its agenda as anti-trade. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.