Canada-Panama Economic Growth and Prosperity Act

Ms. Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, a particular concern of the Green Party in relation to the proposed trade agreement with Panama is the investor-state provisions, which essentially parallel the investor-state provisions for NAFTA. I would have hoped that, as we go forward with trade agreements, we would learn from our mistakes. Chapter 11 was clearly a mistake and it disadvantaged Canadian democratic institutions. It caused us to repeal legislation that protected us from toxic gasoline additives, and put us in jeopardy in such matters as the Abitibi-Bowater contract with Newfoundland and Labrador.


Does the member have any comments on the mistakes made under chapter 11 of NAFTA and why we might want to fix them before going into this agreement with Panama?

Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, this is an important question because chapter 11 has made corporate power over public policy power a very significant issue.

It can involve everything: milk, chemicals on property, water quality and a whole series of issues that we should not have to give up.

One of the interesting things about NAFTA is that Canada is the only country in the world that gave up its natural resources control. We gave that up with NAFTA. It is incredible. Not even Mexico gave that up. Mexico kept that protection element on public policy.

We are the only country in the world that has given up that crucial element. That is why we have to go on bended knee to the United States all the time. We have given up our number one tactical advantage to be able to trade with the rest of the world.