Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act (Bill C-41)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful to you for allowing me an opportunity to ask a question of the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway. It allows me to clarify that that the investor-state provisions in the treaty are not referenced in the bill before us. I apologize for confusion on that score.

Does the member for Vancouver Kingsway find it odd that here we are debating a bill, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea, and never had an opportunity to examine the act to implement the Canada-China investment treaty, the FIPA that was referred to just moments ago, which was passed by order in council, with no opportunity for hearings before the trade committee, no opportunities for examination, and no vote in this place, but passed merely by the royal prerogative exercised by the Prime Minister and Privy Council? I personally find it deeply offensive that such is the case, as the member point out, with this much more dangerous agreement. I do not think the agreement with Korea, other than for the investor-state provisions, is a dangerous agreement. The agreement with the People’s Republic of China is a dangerous agreement and we had no opportunity to debate it.

Don Davies: Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague that it is regrettable and, in fact, wrong that the House did not have an opportunity to debate the Canada-China FIPA. Certainly the New Democrats brought forth a motion and devoted one of our opposition days to that very subject. We also moved motions before the trade committee to have that committee study it. Unfortunately, that was not accepted by the government. So the New Democrats have used every tool we have in the House to try to get a debate on that important deal.

We believe that all trade agreements, including FIPAs that govern investment, ought to be debated in the House. In the case of trade agreements, they usually require enabling legislation. That is why we are debating this, as these agreements must come before the House because they require legislative amendments. FIPAs often do not require legislative amendments, which is why cabinet has the ability to pass them. But as a matter of policy and good governance, both FIPAs and trade agreements should come before the House for thorough scrutiny and debate before Canada commits to them.