Canada-Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act (B)

François Choquette: Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague on her fine speech and her excellent comments.


I would like to mention once again that the NDP will be supporting this bill, so that it can be studied in committee. It must be reviewed in committee to ensure that it adheres to some very important principles.

Consider, for example, the famous chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA. I need not remind you that this chapter has been extremely harmful here in Canada, particularly as regards the environment.

In Canada, chapter 11 has given rise to lawsuits. Certain multinationals have sued the Canadian government to demand, for example, the right to use certain chemical products, contrary to our desire to protect the environment.

I would also like to know whether my hon. colleague thinks it important to ensure in committee, for example, that the environment will be protected and that we will not be facing a problem such as that caused by NAFTA’s chapter 11.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the hon. member for Drummond, for his comments.

This is a question that is difficult to answer, because what we have here is a bilateral agreement which, like the other agreements, ignores the environment and workers’ rights. I think that, to improve the situation, this agreement should take an innovative approach, an approach where the governments of Canada and Jordan agree to set targets to make the situation more beneficial for workers and for the environment.

In other words, if we could put some targets in a trade agreement that said that not only would this be one where we would not want to see standards lowered, but this would be one where we would like to see standards advanced, and our agreement would be a model for the world.

It is hard to look at what we have now because it is one of those cookie-cutter agreements, like all the rest. We should take it apart and think about what would make it a model that other countries might want to emulate. For instance, with issue of human trafficking, we could have a system where the Kingdom of Jordan would recognize that its reputation as a progressive and forward looking power could be advanced by banning the use of workers who did not have minimum standards for the work they did in that country.