MP Ramsey and MP Brosseau Call on the Liberals to Protect Jobs in Trade Negotiations

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the first round of NAFTA renegotiations has started, yet the U.S. has not brought expected demands on rules of origin, leaving 550,000 Canadians worried in the auto sector and having great uncertainty. Even trade experts are concerned that no serious offer is tabled, making the year-end deadline for the deal impossible to meet. Auto workers are stunned that this sector was not even identified as a priority. How can the minister be trusted to protect workers without significant changes to labour provisions, a lack of an auto policy, and potential changes to rules of origin in play?

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to assure Canadian workers in the auto sector and in all sectors of our economy that we are strongly and in a very prepared and confident way defending their interests at the NAFTA negotiating table. That is why we have put forward the strongest, most progressive labour provisions ever put forward by Canadian trade negotiators. When it comes to autos, I held a consultation on Friday afternoon with representatives of the auto sector. This is very much top of mind for us.

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP): Mr. Speaker,  that is not quite the answer that we were asking for.

This week, U.S. and Mexico plan to tag-team against our supply-management system during the NAFTA talks. Unfortunately for our producers, they are not in good hands with the current government. When the cameras are rolling, the Liberals say they will protect supply management, but when they are off the Liberals are giving more and more access to other countries like they have in CETA and now TPP11. Can the Liberals promise to our producers that they will not grant further access?

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the member opposite of something that our chief negotiator said in a scrum yesterday, which is that at the negotiating table we have not yet received U.S. proposals on the dairy sector, so it is important people to understand that. When it comes to our dairy farmers, we will defend their interests vigorously at the NAFTA negotiating table. We are committed to working together with farmers, industry groups, and American counterparts to promote Canada's agricultural interest. We are committed to working together with farmers, industry groups, and American counterparts to promote Canada's agricultural interest. We will fiercely defend the national interest and promote our values.