Tracey seeks clarity on trade with China

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP): Mr. Speaker, once again, zero transparency from the government on whether it has decided to launch formal negotiations with China, just like the Prime Minister's trip to Vietnam where Canadians were left to wonder if the TPP negotiations were on the agenda or not. Environmental protections, labour standards, and human rights must be at the forefront of any trade and investment discussions and any trade deal must support Canadian jobs.

Will the Liberals commit to being clear with Canadians before they start official talks with China?

Hon. Patty Hajdu (Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Canadians appreciate that moving forward on a trade agreement is no small feat and the process takes time. We also know that it is important to get it right and to show progress in discussions. With China, as with all our trading partners, we are committed to pursuing trade that benefits everyone, puts people first, reflects Canadian values especially when it comes to the environment, labour, and gender. Both countries look forward to continuing exploratory discussions with a comprehensive trade agreement between Canada and China at a proper pace and in a responsible way.

Ms. Tracey Ramsey (Essex, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canadians are tired of the Liberal government's talking points. They need transparency. The Liberals have failed to take action to address steel dumping by Chinese companies, putting our sector at a dangerous disadvantage. Just this week, a paper ordered by Global Affairs reported that trade with China was responsible for the loss of 105,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs in Canada. This is a huge concern for Canadians. The report was clear on the job losses to China.

What is the government's response?

Hon. Patty Hajdu (Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, trade is vital is to a growing economy. It is important that we have markets to sell our products to. That actually strengthens employers, it actually strengthens the opportunity for people to have a healthy middle-class living and move strongly into the middle class.

We are confident in our approach, and these exploratory talks are beneficial to all Canadians.