Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Act (Bill C-24)

Colin Mayes: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments from my colleague.

One of the issues I have is that history has proven that as countries become more prosperous, average family income goes up, life expectancy goes up, as does the amount of freedom in a country. If my colleague went online to a YouTube video called “200 Countries, 200 Years”, she would find those facts recorded there.

Why would the member be against a free trade agreement with Panama that is going to increase not only those people’s place in life as far their family income is concerned, but also their life expectancy and freedoms in their country? Would the member not support the agreement just on those grounds?

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, I tried to be very specific in my response to this proposed treaty, specifically the investor-state provisions.

It is true that when a country is not prevented from selling its goods by tariff barriers, there is a trend toward improved incomes. I will not deny that for one minute, but the member should to ask the people of San Luis Potosi whether they feel that the NAFTA agreement advantaged them.

There are consequences to these trade deals that we should now be able to examine forensically. We should now be able to ask where our good intentions went wrong and how can we improve on the model. Trade agreements in other regions have not included investor-state provisions, and I mentioned the European Union as one example, and the trade bloc in Latin America is another. Investor-state provisions are not a necessary ingredient to improving one’s trade relationships. In fact, they are a poison pill.