Tracey Calls on the Liberals to Make Real Progress on Workers' Safety and Income Fairness

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, while we remain hopeful that our NAFTA partners will see the importance of treating workers fairly, the NDP and workers are concerned.

The side agreements on labour standards are weak and unenforceable and despite the minister's talking points, Canadian officials told media yesterday that there was little chance of progress.

We cannot continue to allow quality Canadian jobs to be exported to Mexico and right to work states, where workers are paid as little $1 an hour.

Will the minister stand up for Canadian jobs, commit to making real progress on workers' safety, rights, and income fairness?

Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, our government is absolutely committed to advancing the cause of workers' rights through NAFTA and through the NAFTA negotiations.

In fact, we are very proud in these negotiations to have put forward the most progressive, the strongest labour chapter that Canada has ever put forward in a negotiation.

We are very aware that it is unfair to expect our workers to be part of a race to the bottom and compete against workers with lower standards. That is what we are saying at the table.