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View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the chair of the trade committee, the great chair, and all the members of the trade committee for their hard work.
CETA is the most progressive trade agreement ever negotiated by Canada or the European Union. It will create jobs, bolster our prosperity, and grow the middle class.
The Prime Minister will address the European Parliament this week on the importance of the Canada-EU relationship.
Thanks to our trade talks, which focused on the interests of the middle class, Canadian businesses of all sizes and from every part of the country will enjoy unprecedented access to the European Union, a vast market made up of more than 500 million people.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. That is exactly what we are doing.
Let us talk about today's meeting between the Prime Minister and the U.S. president, which focused on the solid relationships and partnerships built by our two countries. Relations between our two countries are based on a shared history, culture, and environment and common values.
What the Prime Minister is doing today is exactly what Canadians want, and that is having a constructive relationship with our southern neighbours. In my opinion, all Canadians are proud of their Prime Minister today.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank all the members of this House for granting unanimous consent for me to speak this morning. I am very grateful. I will be splitting my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia.
I have the privilege of speaking this morning on Bill C-31, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine. This is a momentous time in our history for us to be looking at this bill together in this House. I am indeed very pleased to speak today on the topic of the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement and the benefits it will provide to all Canadians.
When we talk about trade, those are benefits that are going to each and every one of the 338 jurisdictions and ridings we have in our country. The good people who sent every member sitting in this House here to represent them will benefit from our free trade agreement. This is a good example of what Canada can do in the world, when Canada stands for progressive trade, and when Canada becomes a beacon of hope and openness around the world.
This agreement is an important step in Canada's relationship with Ukraine, and one that is supported by Canadians from across the country. Following the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian migration to Canada last year, we are reminded of the Ukrainian Canadian community, which is more than 1.2 million strong in our nation.
Our people-to-people ties form a strong foundation for the partnership enjoyed by Canada and Ukraine today. Canada has remained steadfast in its support of Ukraine and believes the free trade agreement will only strengthen this relationship going forward. Trade is good for the world; trade is good for the people.
In 1991, Canada became the first western country to recognize Ukraine's independence. I am sure this is an act that a lot of members in the House take great pride in. Since then, and especially now in the face of recent crises, Canada has prioritized its role in the international community by encouraging Ukraine's and Canada's shared commitment to security, advancing democracy, and promoting sustainable economic growth.
One of the ways that Canada has done this is through technical and financial assistance, which since 1991 amounts to more than $1.2 billion. Reflecting the multi-faceted nature of our relationship, this includes support for macroeconomic stabilization, democratic and economic reforms, support for promoting the rule of law, security and stability, and, very importantly, humanitarian assistance.
In addition, Canada is seeking to support efforts to find a lasting and sustainable resolution to the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine through the provision of stabilization and security assistance. Since 2014, over $60 million has been committed to support initiatives in a wide range of areas, including ceasefire and human rights monitoring, police reform, and non-military equipment and training.
Further, Canada has provided $27 million in humanitarian assistance to help people affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, including emergency shelters and essential relief items, safe drinking water, food, sanitation, basic medical care, hygiene supplies, education, protection, and psychosocial support.
I am sure that every member in this House today recognizes how Canada is a power for good in the world. When I say these words, I am sure many of us take great pride in saying what role Canada can play in the world. As we can see through our multi-faceted work with Ukraine, Canada is deeply committed to supporting the economic reform and development efforts of the Government of Ukraine.
The Canada-Ukraine FTA will only reinforce these efforts. The agreement is complementary on the premise that economic development can strengthen the social foundations in countries and contribute to a domestic environment where human rights, good governance, and the rule of law are all respected.
I am sure that is something that all members in the House firmly believe to be the foundation of every nation. This agreement will create new business opportunities and assist with developing a predictable and prosperous future for Ukraine.
The beauty of the agreement, however, is that it is mutually beneficial. It has opportunities for both Ukraine and Canada. Tariff elimination will improve access to each other's markets and thus help to expand commerce between Canada and Ukraine.
Upon implementation, the Canada-Ukraine FTA will result in an immediate elimination of tariffs on 86% of Canadian exports to Ukraine. This is very significant. The remaining tariffs will be phased out over seven years on industrial products, fish and seafood, and essentially all agricultural goods exported by Canada.
Ukraine is an interesting market for Canadian exporters with opportunities in areas such as aerospace, agricultural equipment, information and communication technologies, agriculture, agrifood, fish and seafood, and mining equipment. At the same time Canada will eliminate tariffs on 99.9% of imports from Ukraine. This stands to benefit Ukrainian exporters for products such as sunflower oil, sugar and chocolate, baked goods, vodka, apparel, ceramics, and mineral products.
An hon. member: Vodka.
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne: Mr. Speaker, I see members already interested in free trade. It is only Friday morning, but I see a lot of support in the House for free trade.
Beyond tariff reductions, the FTA includes disciplines and commitments on non-tariff measures that will help ensure that market access gains are not constrained by unjustified trade barriers. This agreement also includes commitments on trade facilitation that are designed to reduce red tape at the border. These provisions will increase certainty and predictability for businesses, something that Canadian businesses across our country will want to see.
Furthermore, the Canada-Ukraine FTA reflects this government's commitment to a progressive approach to trade in trying to ensure that trade reflects Canadian values such as environmental protection and labour rights. This agreement therefore includes comprehensive provision in the areas of labour, environment, transparency, and anti-corruption.
As part of this free trade agreement, Canada and Ukraine have agreed on anti-corruption provisions to protect human rights. Under this agreement, Canada and Ukraine have committed to ensuring that companies can be held responsible for human rights violations.
The agreement also encourages both countries to look at implementing legal protection for whistleblowers. Time and again, Canada has shown that it considers protecting workers' rights a priority. It has negotiated labour protection provisions in the free trade agreements it is a party to, provisions that are essential to upholding human rights. The labour provisions in the free trade agreement with Ukraine will ensure that workers' basic rights are protected in both countries.
Canada and Ukraine also agreed to uphold the standards in the International Labour Organization's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. To do so, both parties must comply with labour laws governing standards pertaining to minimum wage, hours of work, and workplace health and safety. The labour provisions protect the right to collective bargaining and freedom of association. Child labour, forced labour, and discrimination at work are forbidden. The Canadian labour movement made a vital contribution to promoting equality for women, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities.
One of our government's priorities is to strengthen the middle class and ensure that all Canadians benefit from trade. Canada's long-term prosperity depends on broad access to foreign markets because trade is a driver of our country's growth and economic success. It enables Canadian businesses to grow, gives Canadian consumers access to a variety of products at competitive prices, and creates jobs for the middle class.
In closing, that is exactly what the free trade agreement with Ukraine is intended to do. I want to thank all members who are here this morning for adding their support by voting in favour of the Canada-Ukraine agreement. This support will help ensure that Canada remains a model of global progressive trade as well as a world leader that chooses to do business with a country like Ukraine, so that people on both sides of the Atlantic can benefit from a progressive trade agreement.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague has always been a great supporter, and someone for whom I have a lot of respect.
It is very important that we talk about that this morning. When we talk about progressive trade, what Canada stands for in these trade agreements is to try to move the bar higher in a number of countries with respect to that. There is a whole chapter in the agreement with respect to terms of transparency and anti-corruption. It would require legislation in the jurisdiction we are talking about and would make acts of bribery a criminal offence, as well as imposing sanctions that reflect the gravity of these acts and the negative impacts they have on the poorest people. We know that corruption disproportionately affects poor people, and those who are working hard to join the middle class. Lastly, any enterprises doing so will be liable for the crimes that they commit.
I am happy to receive that question, because it shows on the record how, when we talk about progressive trade, we can help people in a concrete fashion.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia, but I also want to thank him on behalf of the people of Ukraine and Canada for supporting this agreement. He has made the point as to how progressive trade and these agreements are good for the world. When we set an ambitious agenda for Canada with respect to progressive trade, whether we are talking about labour standards, or the environment, something that I know the member, and I think all members in this House, care a lot about, that is exactly the voice that people in the world want to hear.
This morning, I had the privilege of meeting with a number of ambassadors. People are asking Canada to seize the moment, to show the world that we can think about open trade and move the bar by working together. There is no greater pleasure for me than to stand here today, knowing that this has bipartisan support. We are sending a strong message, not only to Ukraine, but to the world, that Canada will always stand behind free trade, will always stand for open societies, and will always stand for the environment. We will be true to our values. Our Canadian values will be exported to our trade agreement, and those in the world who are like-minded will benefit. It is all about people. This agreement will improve the lives of people. I am sure that the constituents in my colleague's riding and in mine, as well as the good people of Ukraine, will benefit from what we are doing today. This is an historic moment.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I am afraid my colleague has a short memory. The first thing that this government did was reduce taxes for nine million Canadians. It then came along with the Canada child benefit, which is helping nine out of 10 families, and then introduced an infrastructure program for $128 billion, something which is historic in this country. The sad thing that the people at home recognize is that the Conservatives voted against helping the middle class in this country every step of the way.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean.
What I can promise him today is that, while we are in office, we will work for Canadian families and the middle class. That is what we did in budget 2016 and in the fall economic update. He can rest assured of that.
Every day, every step of the way, the members on this side of the House are working to improve the lives of Canadian workers.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for allowing me to repeat this. The first thing we did, and the promise that we made, was to reduce taxes for Canadians. What Canadians across this nation remember is that the Conservatives voted against that. They have voted against helping middle-class families. They have voted against helping Canadian workers. However, we will continue to do just that, working for middle-class Canadians.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, Canadians know who to trust when it comes to taxes, because the first thing we did was reduce taxes for middle-class Canadians, and Canadians know that across the nation.
The Prime Minister was very clear in answering the question from the member, and she knows that well. What we are doing is reviewing all the tax measures in this country. This is the right thing to do. That is what the responsible government is doing.
One thing Canadians will always remember is that the first thing this government did was to reduce taxes for the middle class.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
moved that Bill C-30, An Act to implement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union and its Member States and to provide for certain other measures, be read the third time and passed.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today. There has never been a more important time in our history to talk about trade. Therefore, I am going to talk about Bill C-30. I would invite all my colleagues on both sides to really take this opportunity to rise to the challenge that we are facing.
Twenty years from now we will remember the moment that we seized as parliamentarians to really move forward on trade. The world is waiting for us to ratify this agreement. This is going to be great for Canada. This is going to be great for Europe. This is the gold standard of international agreements.
Obviously, I am delighted to rise in the House today to speak to a very important bill, Bill C-30, an act to implement the comprehensive economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, or CETA.
As Minister of International Trade, CETA is one of my top priorities. Many ministers have worked on this free trade agreement in recent years and, thanks to their efforts, the Prime Minister was able to sign this agreement in Brussels at the end of October 2016.
CETA negotiations began in 2008. It took many years of hard work to reach an agreement that addresses issues that have never been covered in Canada's other trade agreements, including NAFTA.
It is now up to us, as parliamentarians, to complete the legislative process and bring CETA into force so that all Canadians can finally benefit from it. This agreement is the result of a historic initiative to promote the prosperity of our country, and I would venture to say that Canadians in each of the 338 ridings represented in the House of Commons will benefit from it.
By signing this agreement we are gaining market access and improved trade conditions that go beyond the NAFTA provisions. What is more, we achieved this in a progressive and responsible way. This agreement will provide Canada with the growth and jobs its needs, while fully upholding Canadian and European standards in areas such as food safety, environmental protection, and workers' rights.
CETA will open opportunities for Canadian businesses in the EU's estimated $3.3-trillion government procurement market. Once CETA enters into force, Canadian firms will be able to supply goods and select services to all levels of EU government, including the EU's 28 member states and thousands of regional and local government entities. Imagine the opportunities for all the SMEs here at home.
Under CETA, consumers will benefit from lower prices and a wider range of choices. This agreement will also be beneficial for workers, since it will create more high-quality jobs associated with exports. It will also be beneficial for our businesses, no matter their size, as they will see lower costs resulting from the elimination of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.
This is a progressive trade agreement that prioritizes the middle class, opens new markets to Canadian producers, and means greater prosperity for Canadians from one end of our great country to the other.
I would like to talk about the importance of trade. Canada's participation in international trade is vital to the entire nation's prosperity. Canada has always been a trading nation. Exports are key to our economy. They contribute to growth, productivity, and, of course, employment. Taken together, they represent about 30% of Canada's GDP. One in six Canadian jobs depends directly or indirectly on our export activities.
The small and medium-sized businesses in all of our ridings play a leading role in our economy. Employing some 10 million Canadians, they account for nearly 90% of private-sector employment in Canada.
Small businesses alone make up 90% of Canadian exporters and, in 2011, were responsible for $68 billion, or 25%, of the total value of exports. Creating new commercial opportunities for SMEs is therefore essential to growing our economy, because job growth and opportunities for the middle class depend on those businesses.
In 2015, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada released a report profiling SMEs and their characteristics as Canadian exporters. The report found that 10% of Canadian SMEs exported goods and services in 2011, with export sales accounting for about 4% of total company revenues.
The report also points to superior financial performance by exporters compared with non-exporters. Specifically, exporters generated higher sales, pre-tax profit margins, and returns on assets, on average, compared with non-exporters.
In addition, the report indicated that exporters are more research and development intensive than non-exporters, spending 8% of annual revenues on R and D, on average, compared with 6% for non-exporters.
Lastly, exporters are also more growth oriented than non-exporters. Indeed, the sales of 10% of exporters grew by 20% or more per year between 2009 and 2011 compared to only 8% of non-exporters.
I know that my colleagues in the House already appreciate the fact that trade and, in particular, the role of small businesses within all our ridings, is important to Canada's economic growth.
SMEs clearly play a major role in fostering the future prosperity of the country, and Canada firmly believes in the importance of helping our SMEs to be successful because this will create jobs and strengthen the middle class across the country. Concrete tools such as CETA are important as they motivate businesses and encourage them to seize opportunities in major foreign markets such as the European Union.
I will now turn to the government's role and the impact of the positive trade policy on Canada's businesses. The findings of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's report support our government's continuing commitment to stimulating growth of SMEs and advancing an export agenda by entering into new trade agreements. These agreements help our SMEs because they ensure access to export markets abroad and they create conditions conducive to the competitive participation in these markets.
This is especially true in the context of current global value chains because international production requires goods to cross many borders. It is especially important to facilitate the flow of goods across borders to ensure the success of our businesses today and tomorrow.
The European Union is a key market for global value chains. It has more Fortune 500 companies than any other place in the world, including the United States. Broader access to these value chains provides a large number of Canadian SMEs a major opportunity to realize their goals and aspirations on an international scale.
I know that every member of the House would like to help the SMEs in their ridings conquer those markets, and CETA is another tool in the toolbox for our SMEs. Canada's SME exporters continue to focus predominantly on the U.S., with 89% of exporters selling to the United States and 74% of the value of exports generated by U.S. sales.
With CETA, we will see SMEs diversify their exports and pursue opportunities in the European Union, the world's second-largest market for goods. The EU's annual imports alone are worth more than Canada's entire GDP.
In this period of slower economic growth and of growing protectionist and even anti-trade tendencies in many areas of the world, it is particularly important to implement agreements such as CETA.
I will give an overview of CETA for all of my colleagues in the House. CETA represents many firsts for free trade in Canada and the European Union. CETA sets new standards in trade in goods and services, non-tariff barriers, investments, and government procurement, as well as in other areas such as labour and environment.
It offers preferential access to the large, dynamic European market.
It creates tremendous opportunities and gives Canadian businesses a real competitive edge.
It gives Canadian businesses a first-mover advantage compared to their competitors from other markets, such as the United States, which do not have trade agreements with the European Union.
CETA is a comprehensive trade agreement. Once it comes into force, it will cover almost every sector and aspect related to trade between Canada and the European Union. Of the EU's some 9,000 tariff lines, approximately 98% will be duty free for Canadian goods as soon as the agreement comes into force, as compared to the current 25%. An additional 1% will be cut over a seven-year phase-out period.
This agreement is vital to create growth in Canada and, as we know, growth means jobs for the middle class.
The elimination of tariffs under CETA creates immense opportunities for many of Canada's exports to the EU, where tariffs remain high. Let me give members a few examples: fish and seafood, which secures an EU tariff of up to 25%; wood, with an EU tariff of up to 8%; information and communications technology products, with EU tariffs of up to 14%; and machinery equipment, with EU tariffs of up to 8%.
Canadian services providers will also benefit from the best-quality market access the EU, the world's largest importer of services, has ever provided in a trade agreement, as well as the most ambitious commitments on temporary entry the EU has ever been granted.
Beyond increased market access, CETA includes many other significant achievements.
A protocol of conformity assessment will allow Canadian manufacturers in certain sectors to have their products tested and certified in Canada for sale in the EU. This is a significant innovation that will save companies time and money and will be particularly useful to small and medium-sized businesses.
This is also the first bilateral trade agreement in which Canada has included a stand-alone chapter on regulatory co-operation, which is forward looking and promotes early engagement as measures are being developed.
As well, CETA includes a detailed framework for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, a key aspect of labour mobility.
Canada is one of the largest exporters of services in the world. It exported $16 billion in services to the EU in 2015 alone. CETA gives Canadian service suppliers the best market access the EU has ever granted to any of its free trade agreement partners. CETA will ensure that Canadian service suppliers compete on an equal footing with domestic providers, in certain sectors, and receive better treatment than most competitors from non-EU countries.
Provisions set out in the chapter on cross-border trade in services will provide for better market access assurances in many sectors of interest to Canada's economy, including professional services, environmental services, technical testing and analysis services, and research and development services. This is great news for all Canadian entrepreneurs.
CETA's labour mobility provisions will also enhance the ability of Canadians and EU business persons to move across borders. CETA provisions will make it easier for short-term business visitors, intra-company transferees, investors, contract service suppliers, and independent professionals to conduct business in the EU.
Investment also forms a substantial portion of the Canada-EU economic relationship. In 2015, the known stock of direct investment by Canadian companies in the EU totalled $210 billion, representing 21% of known Canadian direct investment abroad. In the same year, the known stock of direct investment from European companies in Canada totalled $242 billion, representing over 31% of known total foreign investment in Canada.
These numbers are significant. Canada needs more investment. More investment means more jobs for Canadian workers and more growth for our economy and a stronger middle class, something that each and every member in this House would be able to support. CETA provides greater incentive for EU companies to choose Canada as the attractive destination in this world for their investments.
CETA includes provisions to facilitate the establishment of investment, to protect investors against such practices as discriminatory treatment, uncompensated expropriation, arbitrary or abusive conduct, and to ensure that capital may be freely transferred. CETA's obligations are backed by a mechanism for the resolution of investment disputes, which includes both a first instance tribunal and an appellate tribunal.
Let me tell the House about the progressive nature of CETA, and that should make every member of this House very proud. Investment and dispute resolution are some of the themes that have been discussed at length here in Canada and across the EU. Canadian and EU citizens have voiced views and concerns on these important issues, and others, such as environmental protection, workers' rights, consumer health and safety, and a government's right to regulate.
One of the most important things that our government did right after taking office was to listen to the critics of CETA, critics who were gaining steam both in Canada and in Europe, and to understand some of the legitimate concerns people had. We worked with Canadians, including industry and civil society alike and, I would say, members and critics on the other side as well. Together with the EU, we responded to ensure that the economic gains from implementing this agreement would not come at the expense of these vital elements.
This includes making changes during the legal review of the agreement, as well as publishing a joint interpretative instrument with the EU at the time of the signature of CETA. It provided a clear and non-ambiguous statement of what Canada and the EU and its member states agreed with respect to a number of CETA provisions, including those in areas of public concern. CETA cements the paramount right of democratic governments to regulate in the interests of citizens on the environment, on labour standards, and in defence of the public sector. This is even more important in today's world, where we are faced with increasingly challenging times for trade and the global economy.
Let me tell the House about CETA in the world, the context we are living in today, in conclusion. We are seeing many nations now turning more inward and pursuing more protectionist measures following decades of ever-increasing openness. Many people are feeling that globalization has left them behind. People are faced with income inequality. They are suffering from economic hardships. They are worried about their jobs and future prospects. These are real and legitimate concerns.
That is why, at my first WTO meeting, I said to all the ministers, “Let us have a WTO for the people. Let us always make the people first in whatever decision we are taking.” It is all about people.
However, closing borders is not a solution. Doing so will decimate economic growth and make us all poorer as a result, especially for a trading nation like Canada, for which participation in global commerce is key to our prosperity. This path is clearly a perilous direction.
In conclusion, that is why it is important that Canada stands up to this protectionist trend and continues moving toward an open society for free and open trade. We must do so in a way that puts the middle class at the centre of our ambitions and at the heart of any deal. Not only is this the right thing to do, it is in our national economic interest to do it. I urge every member to speak in favour of CETA, vote in favour of CETA and for decades to come, people will remember what we did, a historic agreement.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the first thing I will do is acknowledge that this has been an effort that has been made on both sides of the aisle. I am fortunate to be occupying this seat in the ministry at this time, and I do recognize that it has been a joint effort in getting us to where we are.
I met with the dairy industry yesterday. I meet with people every day, and I can reassure the member that we will protect supply management. I have said that publicly and also to our farmers.
With respect to Newfoundland and Labrador, I am aware of the situation. We will respect our commitment, because it is in the best interest of all Canadians. I want to make sure that all Canadians, wherever they live in Canada, see the benefit of CETA for themselves and their families.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, first, I would like to extend kind words to the NDP critic. We already spoke on a number of issues, and I am blessed to have colleagues like her on the other side who are looking at progressive trade agreements in the same way that we are.
I cannot exactly address the member's question, but I promise to get back to her on that.
I can say that, in my first mission as the minister of international trade, everyone I met at the WTO said that this agreement is the gold standard in the world. It is the model for the world. Just about every minister who was at this WTO conference in Davos, Switzerland came to me and said that we have crafted with Europe the gold standard, whether we are talking about the environment or workers' rights. I explained to them that we want to be a leader in progressive trade.
I am sure that the NDP critic will work with me to make sure that everywhere we go in the world, whether together or individually, we will promote Canada as the champion of progressive trade in every instance that we can around the world.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the member and I have the pleasure of sitting on finance committee together. He has always been a constructive member in whatever we did.
Let me just remind members of the benefits of CETA. I mentioned a number of them obviously in my speech. We are going to be touring across Canada to explain the benefits of CETA because in every riding of this nation people are going to benefit from this agreement.
There are some things that we need to remember for Canadian businesses. CETA would reduce red tape and reduce barriers to trade. It would provide access to public contracts at all levels of government in the European Union. It would improve access to trade in services and would improve labour mobility. These are just a few examples.
I would like the critic and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in explaining CETA to Canadians as well as its benefits to them and their families.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I want my hon. colleague to convey to the members of the unions that he just referred to that my door is always open to meet them. Since my appointment, I have sent a message saying that I will be happy to sit down with them. The member may know that my riding is close to the St. Lawrence River. I meet these people regularly. I would be happy to meet individuals from across the nation if they want to come and see me to discuss the issue. My door is always open.
We want to make this work for all Canadians. I am sure members appreciate that this is the gold standard of trade agreements.
I am certainly willing to meet with those individuals and I hope my colleague will convey that message. I will listen to them and we will work together to improve the situation for all Canadians through CETA.
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, there has never been a better moment to be the minister of international trade, because at every forum I have attended people have looked at Canada because of its progressive trade agenda.
I want to stress that we achieved this because we worked with people in the NDP and the Conservative Party. We worked with everyone in the House and also with our European colleagues to make sure that this agreement would be the gold standard.
Honestly, everywhere I have been in the world people refer to Canada and the EU as beacons of free and open trade. People are looking at our agreement and saying it should be the basis of all future trade agreements. I could not be prouder.
The member is totally right.
We will continue to push forward. I invite all members to do the historical thing and that is to vote for CETA.
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