Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Act (C)

Ms. Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country.


I have a copy of sections of the proposed Canada-Panama agreement, including article 9.11 regarding expropriation, which describes it as being, in effect, equivalent to nationalization or expropriation except for public purposes. The language would not worry people if we did not have the experience of similar language used in chapter 11 of NAFTA to undermine decisions taken by the democratically-elected House in relation to bills that protect human health and the environment. I specifically recall the issue of the Ethyl Corporation challenging the Government of Canada.

Will the hon. member commit that we will have adequate time in the House at second reading to look through the implications of this kind of legislation, or are we to have debate closure once again?

Mr. Ron Cannan: Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to be in the riding of the hon. member on Friday to open up Canada’s largest indoor climbing wall. It is an incredible facility. Gary Lunn, who was the minister of the day, partnered with the province in this significant asset for Canada.

One of the specific questions that the member asked was on rules-based trading. It is significant and something that has been called for by businesses coast to coast to coast. They have come to our committee asking for some certainty and predictability.

We also have the side agreements on labour and the environment, which will be debated at committee. We will then come back at report stage when we will have an opportunity to debate those issues as well.

I want to reiterate for all sides of the House the significance of moving this project forward. The Minister of International Trade was in Europe last night and will be working for the next 10 days or so with the World Trade Organization.

There is an excellent article in The Canadian Press that came out last night. It talked about how Canada was working with Brazil, China, India, as well as Panama and Jordan. We are diversifying markets, as was committed to in the throne speech by the Prime Minister, so we can create jobs, hope and opportunity for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.