We must take action against slavery in supply chains

Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2021-03-09 20:35 [p.4807]

Mr. Speaker, I hope that my colleague will not find this question difficult to answer because I really wanted to ask it of the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. It is about the issue of slavery in supply chains. I am really encouraged to see how much discussion we are having. It is tangential to the Canada-U.K. trade agreement, but given that the U.K. has tackled this issue of slavery in supply chain, I am wondering if I could take it up with her as well. We have Bill S-216 sitting in the Senate. We need to move ahead with these measures to help Canadians know that the goods we are consuming here are not produced with slave labour.

We do have a problem, though, that the general agreement on tariffs and trade and the World Trade Organization generally has identified these kinds of concerns as what it calls “PPM”, process and production methods that are outside the scope of government action. I am wondering if the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country would agree that we should grab the momentum toward taking action against slavery in supply chains while we have the chance and try to move Bill S-216 ahead as quickly as possible?

Tracy Gray (Kelowna—Lake Country)
2021-03-09 20:36 [p.4807]

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the hon. member. It is actually very timely because I am not sure if the member might be aware that at the international trade committee yesterday, the Conservatives put forth a motion dealing with forced labour in supply chains. We put forth a motion to look at government measures and their effectiveness. There are a couple of measures in place right now. We wanted to look at how effective they are with forced labour and human rights in Xinjiang and region and call the Minister of Small Business and a number of officials and look to see where there are gaps. That motion did not go through. The Liberals voted against it, as did the Bloc. Unfortunately, that study will not be happening despite the fact it would have been a very good and very timely study.