Standing Committee on International Trade

Comité permanent du commerce international

EVIDENCE number 60,
Témoignages du comité numéro 60



Thursday, May 3, 2007 - Le jeudi 3 mai 2007

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    The Chair (Mr. Leon Benoit (Vegreville—Wainwright, CPC)): Good morning, everyone.

    Everyone take their seats, and we'll get the meeting started.

    Before we get to the witnesses today, I would like to note that we've been starting our meetings late quite regularly. I really want that to end. Today, of course, because of the committee that was here before, it's understandable. But from now on, I really want the meetings to start and end on time.

    I'll start today by ending this meeting at 1 o'clock, sharp. It's not fair that people have to leave to get to their next meeting and our meeting is extended.

    Next time, I encourage everyone to be here on time. I will start as long as we have three members, which is all we need to hear witnesses. Try to.... In fact, do stick to the timelines that have been laid out for the committee.

    I will now get to the business of the meeting today, which, of course, is a continuation of our study on Canada-U.S. trade. We're dealing with investment issues and other trade issues, including the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

    We have, as our witnesses today, from the Canadian Labour Congress, Teresa Healy, senior researcher; from the Canadian Trucking Alliance, David Bradley, chief executive officer, and Ron Lennox, vice-president, trade & security; from the Quebec Network on Continental Integration, Normand Pépin, director, research services, and Nancy Burrows, coordinator; and from Carleton University, Michael Hart, Simon Reisman professor of trade policy, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.

    We will start in the order the witnesses are listed on the agenda. We'll start with the Canadian Labour Congress, Teresa Healy.

    I will ask you.... In fact, I insist that you stick to the eight minutes that have been allocated. Also, I will cut off the presentations if they go any significant amount beyond that.

    Please go ahead, Ms. Healy.

    Ms. Teresa Healy (Senior Researcher, Canadian Labour Congress): Good morning.

    I would like to thank you for this invitation to appear today.

    The Canadian Labour Congress represents 3.2 million workers across Canada. We live and work in every single community in this country, and have expertise as workers on every single economic sector as well.

    In the labour movement, we are concerned for the well-being of our members and their families, of course, but our concern is broader than that. We organize ourselves by a principle of solidarity, and solidarity has brought us directly into the political realm to fight for public health care and other public services, for equality for women, for dignified work, and a welcoming society for immigrants, for good jobs, and a just economic policy here in Canada.

    We also work to see that our government represents us in creating a just international order.

    Last week we were horrified to hear of the death of two Chinese workers at a oilsands project in Alberta. Migrant workers facing the most precarious working and living conditions in the country also face dangerous work and are vulnerable to abuse in many forms.

    In solidarity with organized and unorganized workers across the country, the CLC appears before you today to ask you to consider very carefully the implications of the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership. We ask you to candidly assess this initiative by answering the question: security and prosperity for whom?

    As social activists, we in the labour movement usually have our eyes on the laws that are proposed, passed, reformed, or defeated in our respective legislatures. What the SPP reveals is that the government executives in North America are willing to cooperate to avoid legislative and public challenge. Democratic debate and decision-making is making way for privileged corporate access and new rules that undermine sovereignty and human rights.

    The SPP, like NAFTA before it, is partially about trade, but more fundamentally it is about changing the role of the state in relation to investment. It has allowed private investors to continue to push for privatization of public services and an expanded role of the market into the public economy. The creation of an integrated and increasingly privatized North American economic bloc is intended to strengthen the position of North American corporations in world order under the economic and security umbrella of the United States.

    Our relationship with the United States is certainly about trade. Many of our members depend upon jobs in the traded sector of the economy. We miss an important lesson, however, if we think about economic integration in North America only in terms of trade flows.

    The so-called big idea of negotiations leading to a broader trade and investment treaty has fallen out of favour. Rather, in the context of widespread opposition within civil society and among progressive political parties, proponents of ongoing liberalization have moved underground to promote what is known as deeper integration across North America.

    Some define deep integration as coordinated actions by governments, intended to eliminate regulations and open up service markets to foreign competition. Others simply call it NAFTA-plus. At its core, the idea is that the more governments harmonize regulations across borders, the deeper economic integration has been achieved.

    As the Minister of Industry Canada said recently, he is working, “to ensure that Canada and US regulations are harmonized”. Where this is not possible, Minister Bernier stated, the government will work with industry to recognize regulatory differences and ensure “an attempt be made to soften them”.

    The agenda of regulatory reform tells us that the NAFTA did not bring absolute free trade into being. There are still ways in which market regulations are subjected to restraint by society. From a neo-liberal point of view, this must be changed, political opposition notwithstanding.

    The SPP agenda tells us that the reforms should diminish environmental regulations; speed up food safety and drug approvals; loosen occupational health and safety requirements; and facilitate the rapid production, export, and consumption of energy resources.

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    Regulatory reform is also meant to impose corporate-defined benchmarks as “best government practices” to govern the provision of public services.

    The SPP is about increasing the power of corporations and ongoing deregulation. However, the current project of regulatory reform is also meant to impose a new layer of regulations on workers, citizens and residents of North America, framed with an anti-terrorism justification. In this sense then, deep integration is also about re-regulation and a much stronger role for the state.

    Since 9/11 Canadian investors with powerful economic interests in closer integration with the United States have refocused their efforts, but now have cloaked them in the language of national security. Regulatory reform appears at one level to be a mundane and routine area of public policy which simply deals with what makes sense. However, it is anything but that.

    The SPP is not a signed treaty and has never been brought before the legislatures of North America for discussion and review. It is driven by the executive levels of government in consultation with the business community, but excludes the legislatures and parliamentary oversight. It is a process that depends upon working groups within the public service of all three countries, but excludes public consultation. The CEOs, however, have unfettered access to this process.

    While I could go on at length to talk about the U.S. energy security agenda, I won't do that right now, nor will I talk about the hyper development of the tar sands, which is something that I could speak about, but this is something that you might want to refer to in my brief that I submitted in my brief to the committee.

    What I would like to comment on in the last minute that I have is that we're very concerned about the increased harmonization of Canadian and U.S. customs and immigration policies in respect of the security agenda. The SPP provides for an ongoing process of negotiation on the terms of expanded border surveillance infrastructure. Elements of a common trade and security perimeter are being introduced, with implications for sovereignty and, on the security front, advances are also extremely worrisome in terms of civil liberties.

    We need to understand this aspect of the SPP in relation to the impact on workers, especially workers of colour. What are the mechanisms within the SPP to evaluate the relationship between security cooperation and human rights? Who is monitoring the effects of the new security regime on workers of colour and racialized immigrants as well as migrant workers?

    Finally, I'd like to conclude by saying that the great tragedy of this new cooperative dynamic between Canada, the United States and Mexico is that it does nothing to address the most pressing issues of our day. Given the many ways in which governments in North America could cooperate to increase social equality, it's very clear that these areas are not being addressed by this agenda.

    Since the second world war the United States has drawn Canada ever closer to itself. Canadians however have stubbornly taken their leaders to task in the great debate over whether a government should promote an east-west or a north-south economic orientation. Indeed, Canadians and their social movements and their political parties, in many respects, have worked hard to reveal the interests of capitalists hidden behind the invisible hand of the free market. Over the past five years the institutional racism exerted by the iron fist of a security regime has been revealed as well.

    We call for full public hearings and a vote in Parliament on the SPP. We call for abolishment of the North American Competitiveness Council. We would like to see review and study of the implications of further security cooperation with the United States on workers, especially on immigrant workers. We call for the government to abandon any regulatory agenda that leads to the hyper development of the tar sands. We call for the government to abandon any regulatory reform agenda that leads to the downward harmonization of standards. Finally, we call for a process that is open, transparent and accountable, leading to a North American relationship built on democracy, human rights and sovereignty.

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    The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Healy.

    We will go now to our witness from the Canadian Trucking Alliance. I understand that Mr. Bradley couldn't be here today, so, Mr. Lennox, please go ahead, for eight minutes.

    Mr. Ron Lennox (Vice-President, Trade & Security, Canadian Trucking Alliance): Thank you very much.

    First of all, David offers his regrets. He's been ill for the last couple of weeks. He had planned to be here until as late as last night, but, unfortunately, he just couldn't make it. He's asked me to read the following statement on his behalf.

    Let me begin by thanking the committee for the opportunity to appear this morning. I'll address some specific issues regarding the Security and Prosperity Partnership and the North American Competitiveness Council in a few minutes. But let me begin by giving you a trucking industry perspective on trade and the Canada-United States border.

    No doubt, everyone today recalls the scene back in mid-September 2001, trucks were backed up for miles waiting to cross into the United States. Despite the frustration and confusion that reigned during those days, people, truck drivers especially, understood that we were dealing with an unprecedented situation. The U.S. had been attacked and its government reacted as its citizens would expect, by subordinating everything to national security. As difficult as it was, everyone knew that the border backlogs would eventually be cleared.

    Now, almost six years on, border delays can still happen at any time, but they're not a feature of the nightly news and the lineups, when they do occur, are generally shorter. But no one should have the illusion that all is well at the border. There is no room for complacency. To a great extent, the current situation reflects the fact that Canadian exports of manufactured goods to the United States are soft, both car and truck traffic are down. The reality is that the border continues to thicken and this is a threat to our economic wellbeing.

    In some respects, the situation immediately post 9-11 was easier to deal with than today. The Canada-U.S. Smart Border declaration of December 2001 was the result of a great sense of urgency and purpose by the two national governments.

    Improved security and trade facilitation was the goal repeated at every conference, at every meeting and in every speech and in every interview by politicians and government officials. It made sense then and it still does now, but are we on the road to achieving that balance? Regrettably, from where I sit, listening daily to the folks who work in the trucking industry and who move two-thirds of Canada-U.S. trade, I have to respond no.

    Despite the lofty intentions of the two governments, the border is increasingly bogged down in a seemingly endless stream of costly and often redundant security measures and fees, mostly emanating from the U.S. Some may tell me to be patient, that it's just over five years and we're still in the midst of a transition from the old way to the modern border where data moves electronically, trucks are processed efficiently and border officials are able to surgically target those who may do us harm.

    No doubt, there is some element of that going on. The border is becoming more automated and, done right, by eliminating paper and the need for physical inspection, this should help speed things up over time. There's still hope that risk assessment programs, like Free and Secure Trade, will one day reach their full potential. But the flip side and one I hear most often is not so optimistic. Over the past five years those involved in cross-border trade, but particularly the truckers, have had to restructure their operations to respond to at least a dozen major U.S. security initiatives.

    Trucking companies in the thousands have adopted supply chain security programs and have invested in expensive information systems enhancements or outsourcing arrangements to meet strict prior notice requirements. CTA has estimated that the cost to the trucking industry alone just to cross the border into the U.S., which inevitably end up being passed on to our customers, is about half a billion dollars per year.

    Yet even if a company has done everything possible to secure its business, should one individual, say a truck driver, be apprehended for smuggling drugs into the United States, the company he works for will see its C-TPAT and FAST designations automatically cancelled pending a review, which can stretch to several months, putting that company's transborder business in jeopardy.

    Initially, companies were encouraged to promote and market C-TPAT and the FAST program as a way to generate business. But it has also been suggested to us that carriers should be wary about promoting their C-TPAT status too broadly less they become targets for smugglers.

    There's also an important personal dimension, border security was supposed to be all about keeping the bad guys, the terrorists, out. The rest of us, the other 99.99% were supposed to be able to continue to travel and trade with a minimum of aggravation. It hasn't turned out that way. Our drivers face the prospect of multiple background security checks, sometimes for different programs within the same department. Trucks drivers have been berated and fined for packing roast beef sandwiches and oranges in their lunch bags. The slightest administrative error and they can be held up for hours. In the worst case, they can lose their FAST card and have little chance of getting it back.

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     It would be easy to blame the border inspectors, the folks on the front lines. No doubt they do take the brunt of the criticism, and, yes, on any given day, some people will say and do some dumb things, or take themselves a little bit too seriously.

    But let there be no confusion, no one gets promoted for getting more trucks across the border. The real responsibility lies with those sequestered far from the border in our nation's capitals. It is there where I believe perspective needs to be regained.

    Lawmakers and public officials seem to be able to roll out new programs and requirements at will. This spring, for example, single-crossing U.S. customs fees for trucks were increased. New U.S. agricultural quarantine inspection fees will be imposed June 1 on all trucks crossing the border, regardless of what they're hauling, even though the agency responsible freely acknowledges that between 80% and 95% of the trucks entering the United States don't even move commodities of interest.

    Yet another redundant duplicative and expensive transportation worker identity card is being introduced this year, initially at U.S. seaports, but eventually at all transport facilities. Truck drivers who have already been security screened under the Free and Secure Trade program will need one of these cards regardless, at a cost of $100 or more.

    I'm sure everyone here is aware of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. It has been cast as a tourism issue, but make no mistake, if problems are incurred in getting the right credentials into the hands of truck drivers or if there are significant backups in non-commercial traffic, it will spill over into the commercial lanes, it will very quickly become a trade issue as well.

    Since 9/11 three major initiatives have been rolled out in an attempt to cope with this dilemma of how to make the border more secure without choking legitimate traffic and trade. First there was the Smart Border Declaration, then the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and most recently the North American Competitiveness Council.

    While CTA has been engaged in all three exercises and saw in each the opportunity to push through some much-needed reforms, I'm beginning to question whether we have lost focus and whether the focus and urgency that characterized the Smart Border Declaration, which is being driven in this country by a small focus team in the Privy Council Office, has been similarly defused.

    Make no mistake, the Canadian Trucking Alliance expressed support for SPP when it was first announced, but I have to be blunt in stating that I am underwhelmed by its impact to date. At its initial incarnation we were told that the SPP was to deal with low-hanging fruit, those issues that individually might not appear to add up to much but in combination would have a positive impact on the border.

    Initially, there was some progress. I point to the 25% solution to increase throughput at Ontario-Michigan border crossings as a useful exercise. Other initiatives in progress also hold promise, most notably the commitment to harmonize automated systems that are used to transmit and receive information from U.S. and Canada Customs.

    However, I can't help but note that one of the most important SPP initiatives as far as the trucking industry is concerned, something that had its genesis in the Smart Border Declaration, was shot down last week when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was officially backing away from a commitment to pilot reverse inspection at two Ontario-New York border crossings, the principal one being at Buffalo-Fort Erie.

    This was a positive initiative with support not only from traders on both sides of the border but from the local communities themselves. No one ever said that reverse inspections would work everywhere, but they did hold promise at the Peace Bridge. If agreements to conduct pilots of potential solutions can be unilaterally shelved, what confidence can we have in other agreements and declarations?

    One other example, a seemingly innocuous initiative under the prosperity banner, would have seen a streamlining of the process by which Canadian carriers file proof of insurance in the United States. But what has happened? The issue has been thrown into the formal rule-making process. Earlier this year CTA and others filed comments in response to an advance rule-making notice. Sometime in the future there'll be a formal rule-making proposal, and maybe, eventually, there'll be a final rule that will make things better for Canadian carriers. I don't believe this is what the formulators of SPP had in mind.

    It's probably too early to reach any conclusions about the North American Competitiveness Council. It has served to once again raise the profile of border issues to a certain degree, and makes some recommendations on issues of concern to trucking, such as the agricultural fee issue I referred to earlier. But whether it can or will ultimately be a mechanism for effectively dealing with the kinds of issues truckers deal with on a daily basis or to regain the kind of momentum initially generated by the Smart Border Declaration remains to be seen.

    I would also like to add that in our opinion, our own government needs to be better organized and less diffuse in its approach to border issues. This is our economic reality as an export-driven economy and the other partner in the world's largest bilateral trading relationship.

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    Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear here this morning, and I'd be pleased to answer questions.

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Lennox, for your presentation.

    We'll go now to the Quebec Network on Continental Integration. We have two witnesses today, Monsieur Pépin and Ms. Burrows. Either one or both of you can make a presentation up to eight minutes. Go ahead.


    M. Normand Pépin (directeur, Service de la recherche, Central des syndicats démocratiques, Réseau québécois sur l'intégration continentale): Je vais commencer la présentation et Nancy va prendre la suite.

    Le RQIC c'est une coalition multisectorielle, qui regroupe une vingtaine d'organisations sociales du Québec, dont des organisations syndicales, communautaires, populaires, étudiantes, environnementales, des groupes de femmes, des organismes de défense de droits humains et de développement international. Au total, on représente 1 million de membres au Québec.

    Aujourd'hui, vous avez devant vous le représentant de la CSD au RQIC, c'est-à-dire, moi-même et Nancy qui est représente de la FFQ, la Fédération des femmes du Québec au RQIC.

    D'abord, merci de l'initiative de prolonger vos auditions au-delà de ce qui était prévu au départ, où il y avait seulement les gens des ministères concernés et des associations patronales, à l'exception du centre de recherche CCPA, qui devait être entendu. C'est une belle initiative de votre part, mais cela ne sera pas suffisant, je vous le dis tout de suite.

    Ces audiences sont très importantes, mais elles ne permettent pas de rejoindre l'ensemble des parlementaires, vous êtes une quinzaine ici aujourd'hui, encore moins l'ensemble de la population, et pourtant se sont tous des gens qui doivent être tenus au courant de ce qui se négocie en leur nom, par un groupe restreint de membres du pouvoir exécutif au sein du gouvernement canadien, c'est-à-dire le premier ministre, les ministres de l'Industrie, des Affaires étrangères et de la Sécurité publique et par un groupe restreint de dirigeants du secteur privé.

    Nous considérons que le PSP est un enjeu important qui doit être soumis à un débat social élargit aux votes de la Chambre des communes. Le gouvernement ne peut se réfugier derrière le fait qu'il ne s'agit pas d'un traité dûment signé entre les trois pays pour agir de la façon dont il le fait présentement, c'est-à-dire en catimini en ne révélant des choses que lorsqu'il est forcé par des requêtes d'accès à l'information, en prétendant qu'il ne s'agit que de discussions pour régler des problèmes techniques freinant le commerce entre les trois pays. On voudrait bien nous faire croire qu'il ne s'agit que d'harmoniser les formats des boîtes de conserves pour qu'elles puissent être vendues sans problème dans l'un ou l'autre des trois pays, mais quand il est question d'exporter de l'eau en vrac ou de quintupler la production de pétrole dans les sables bitumineux de l'Alberta, se sont des choix de société qui sont remis en question. Et, quand bien même que ce ne serait que le format des boîtes de conserves qu'on veut harmoniser, est-ce un processus innocent quand on sait que le pays qui servira de mesure étalon aura un bonne longueur d'avance dans la production de boîtes de conserves à meilleur marché que les autres, en plus de tous ceux qui utilisent la bonne mesure de boîte de conserves?

    Dès le dépôt du premier rapport aux chefs, sur l'état d'avancement du PSP, par les ministres responsables, trois mois après le lancement du partenariat seulement, nos appréhensions ont été confirmées par le fait que des équipes de travail étaient à l'oeuvre longtemps avant le lancement officiel, qui n'est sommes toutes venu que lever un peu le voile sur le partenariat lui-même. En effet, on découvrait à ce moment là que 19 groupes de travail avaient été créés, 9 pour le volet sécurité et 10 pour le volet prospérité, et que ceux-ci sont chargés de faire avancer une centaine d'initiatives qui se déclinent en 317 objectifs livrables. Et déjà, en juin 2005, dans ce premier rapport on apprenait que les échéanciers de quelques-uns de ces livrables étaient déjà complétés.

    Au dépôt du deuxième rapport aux dirigeants, en août 2006, c'était déjà 65 de ces livrables qui étaient complétés. Le PSP avance donc à la vitesse grand V et presque personne n'est au courant, sauf les gens d'affaires. Le PSP implante une nouvelle mécanique par laquelle le secteur privé à la mainmise sur la prise de décision. Les dirigeants des plus grandes entreprises de chaque pays sont une partie prenante des négociations, et elles y ont un accès direct. Ils définissent les objectifs et les moyens à mettre en oeuvre, tandis que les pouvoirs exécutifs de chaque pays, les trois chefs d'État, et les 9 ministres responsables du PSP, ont la responsabilité de les instrumentaliser soit par des politiques économiques précises, soit par des modifications à certaines réglementations. La voie législative doit être évitée comme la peste, parce qu'elle est considérée par le monde des affaires comme ne menant nulle part, selon leurs propres déclarations, sans doute à cause des débats que le changement à une loi existante ou à une nouvelle loi susciteraient.

    Donc, plus besoin de lobbys dans l'antichambre du pouvoir, quant on a accès direct à celui-ci. Cet accès a été formalisé en juin 2006, avec la mise sur pied du Conseil nord-américain de la compétitivité, composé de représentant de 30 corporations parmi les plus grandes d'Amérique du Nord pour conseiller les chefs d'État sur les questions relatives à la compétitivité nord-américaine.

    Fait à souligner, les 10 membres canadiens du CNAC, qui ont été nommés par le premier ministre Harper, en juin 2006, font tous partie du Conseil canadien des chefs d'entreprise, une organisation qui regroupe les PDG des 150 plus grandes entreprises canadiennes. Sans grande surprise, c'est aussi le CCCE qui assure le secrétariat de la section canadienne du CNAC.

    Pour bien illustrer la place des gens d'affaires dans le processus d'intégration en Amérique du Nord, citons les propos du secrétaire américain au Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez, lors de la rencontre de lancement du CNAC, le 15 juin 2006, à Washington:

Le but de cette rencontre était d'institutionnaliser le PSP et le CNAC de façon à ce que le travail se poursuive même avec les changements de gouvernement.

    Donc, les gouvernements peuvent changer, se sont les PDG, membres du CNAC qui vont veiller à ce qu'il y ait continuité dans les travaux entrepris dans le cadre du PSP.

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    Plus tard, Ron Coves, PDG de la multinationale de l'armement Lucky Martin et président de la section états-unienne du CNAC déclarait au magains Maclean's: « les ministres nous ont dit: “dites-nous ce que nous devons faire et nous ferons en sorte que cela se produise” ». Dans le document qui ne peut pas vous être distribué parce qu'il est uniquement en français, vous avez la liste des membres du CNAC. Depuis quand les dirigeants d'entreprises sont-ils les seuls à avoir des choses à dire sur les questions de compétitivité et de prospérité sur les questions de sécurité?

    Nancy va poursuivre.

    Mme Nancy Burrows (coordonnatrice, Réseau québécois sur l'intégration continentale): Un des aspects particulièrement inquiétant du PSP est le fait de lier la sécurité et la prospérité économique. Le PSP se situe dans un contexte mondiale de militarisation accrue et où le pays le plus puissant du continent, les États-Unis d'Amérique, s'est embarqué dans une chasse au terrorisme où la sécurité nationale prime sur les droits des citoyens et citoyennes et est devenu un prétexte pour augmenter le contrôle de l'État sur les personnes. Dans ce contexte, l'harmonisation des politiques canadiennes sur celles de nos voisins du sud est particulièrement effrayante pour le respect des droits des personnes. À la suite des événement du 11 septembre, nous n'avons qu'à penser à l'adoption de la loi anti-terroriste du C-36 ou au partage des listes de surveillance des terroristes avec ses ratés importants comme nous l'avons vu avec le code MAR ARAR.

    De plus, on parle maintenant de mise au point de mesures de sécurité de l'immigration compatible entre les trois pays et de mises en place d'une équipe intégrée de la police à nos frontières. Le Canada, tout comme le Mexique, se trouve donc dans une situation où l'on doit s'adapter à des menaces sécuritaires d'un autre pays en abandonnant une partie de notre souveraineté, mais sans avoir les moyens, ni le pouvoir de vérifier le contenu de ces menaces. Nous ne voulons pas être à la remorque des États-Unis et nous voulons garder notre capacité de définir nos règles et politiques en fonction de nos propres choix de société.

    Je sais que vous avez déjà entendu des témoignages sur les inquiétudes face à l'eau, aux ressources naturelles et à la sécurité énergique, mais j'aimerais quand même prendre quelques instants pour souligner l'exemple des sables bitumineux. Nous savons que les États-Unis ont une soif insatiable de pétrole et ils sont de plus en plus à la recherche de sources de pétrole dans des pays plus stables que le fournisseur traditionnel. Avec l'abondance de sables bitumineux dans le nord de l'Alberta, le Canada est l'endroit tout désigné pour aller s'approvisionner. Le ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune et le Département de l'Énergie des États-Unis ont parrainé une réunion à Houston, Texas, les 24 et 25 janvier 2006. Les participants de cette réunion étaient les patrons de l'industrie pétrolière états-unienne et des grands projets d'exportation des sables bitumineux ainsi que des représentants des gouvernements des États-Unis, du Canada et de l'Alberta.

    Cette rencontre a eu lieu littéralement le lendemain de l'élection du gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper, le 23 janvier 2006. Aucune des personnes présentes à la rencontre n'étaient élues. De qui les fonctionnaires tenaient-ils leur mandat puisque le gouvernement du Parti libéral de Paul Martin venait de perdre les élections et celui de Stephen Harper n'était pas encore assermenté? Les discussions étaient loin d'être d'ordre purement technique, comme on le prétend souvent du côté des gouvernements, quand nous avons appris par le rapport de la rencontre de Houston qu'il est question d'accélérer le pas et de multiplier par quatre ou cinq la production des sables bitumineux sur une période relativement courte. Il y a des enjeux environnementaux importants dans le débat entourant l'extraction du pétrole des sables bitumineux. Cette pratique cause trois fois plus de gaz à effet de serre que l'extraction conventionnelle du pétrole, produit des tonnes de déchets toxiques et dévaste des milliers de kilomètres carré de territoire.

    De plus, le rapport recommande aussi au gouvernement canadien et albertain de simplifier le processus d'approbation environnemental pour les projets énergétiques car le temps presse pour les États-Unis. Il faut noter que le rapport a quand même été coproduit par le ministère des Ressources naturelles.

    Cette question, comme l'ensemble du processus du PSP, doit être soumise au débat public. La réunion de janvier 2006 n'est qu'un exemple dans la longue liste illustrant le pouvoir des entreprises dans les négociations sur des sujets d'intérêt public pour l'ensemble de la population. En conclusion nous sommes, pour le moins, sceptiques à l'égard des bien-faits potentiels pour notre population d'un processus dont l'objectif de fond semble être de créer un climat idéal pour les affaires plutôt que de s'assurer...

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    The Chair: Ms. Burrows, if you could wrap-up very quickly please. You're quite a bit over time now.


    Mme Nancy Burrows: En conclusion, nous exigeons un moratoire sur l'ensemble du processus du PSP jusqu'à ce qu'il y ait divulgation complète des travaux menés à ce jour, dans le cadre du PSP, que soit réalisé une étude de son impact, qu'ait lieu un réel débat public sur le sujet et nous exigeons aussi le démantèlement du CNAC qui est illégitime. Il s'agit de notre avenir et c'est l'ensemble des citoyens et citoyennes du pays qui sont concernés et qui doivent avoir leur mot à dire sur le type de lien qui veulent entretenir avec les autres peuples avec lesquels nous partageons ce continent.


    The Chair: Thank you.

    We have now from Carleton University, Professor Michael Hart, and he's from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.

    Go ahead, please, Professor Hart.

    Mr. Michael Hart (Simon Reisman Professor of Trade Policy, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee and share some of my ideas on the security and prosperity initiative.

    Let me begin by saying I don't represent anybody. As you know, university professors are a rather contrarian group and the idea of me representing any one of them would be taken, I think, with some deep offence. So I'm here purely on my own responsibility, expressing my own views, and I think I'm here because I have some background in this, both as a government official and as an academic analyst.

    So let me comment briefly on the SPP so we can get on with the questions.

    I think some of the witnesses here are perhaps a little overexcited about the SPP. I think there's not much to it. What it really is, is a kind of packaged version of what's going on as part of routine between Canada and the United States. The Canada School of Public Service did an interesting study a few years ago looking at the extent of networks between Canadian and American officials, and they stopped counting when they reached 240. What do these 240 networks do? They solve problems together. They recognize the fact that Canadians and Americans have similar kinds of problems, live very closely together, have deeply integrated economies, and so they set up working groups, they set up networks, and so on, in order to solve those problems. These go on, on a regular basis.

    What the SPP did, and a number of initiatives before that, is take many of these ongoing initiatives and package them together to provide a little bit more political jazz to them, and what's useful to officials in order to provide them with some political leadership. To an official working on a problem, the kind of speed and intensity with which you addressed those issues is dependent on the amount of political leadership that you see, the amount of political commitment that you see to a problem. So what the SPP did was try to raise the profile of some of the work that was going on and give it a little bit more political pizzazz.

    That's nice. When you look at it, as I've done, the SPP represents the sixth reiteration of that package. There have been a series of such packages going back to 1996 which put together a series of problems dealing with cross-border trade, cross-border investments, and so on, which require the attention of officials. So there's really nothing all that new about it, and that's my main complaint about it--as good as it is, it just isn't good enough. It really doesn't address the real problems that Canada and the United States need to address in the world in which we now live.

    The biggest problem that I see with it is that it is an initiative that is limited to what can be done by the three governments within their existing legislative mandates. There's a commitment that they will not do things that will require them to go to Parliament or to Congress in order to make changes. What that means is we will have little changes and incremental approaches to problem solving, whereas I think in the world of 9/11 and in the world of deep integration, there are things that need to be done that require the governments to go to Parliament and to go to Congress to seek deep changes.

    What we need to do is take the issues that are in this initiative, add some to them, and make them part of an initiative that will lead to a treaty, similar to what was done in the 1980s in negotiating the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement where similarly there were a lot of smaller problems being attended to and they were finally rolled up into a serious initiative which led to a bilateral treaty. I think that needs to be done on the SPP front. Why? Because I think there are three fundamental problems that need to be addressed by the two governments. I emphasize the two governments because I think the issues between Canada and the United States are of a different order than the issues between the United States and Mexico, and there are virtually no issues between Mexico and Canada. So the SPP, in effect, is two parallel initiatives that are joined for the convenience of U.S. officials.

    I emphasize that we need to concentrate on Canada-U.S. issues, and there are three. The first is the border. Ron Lennox has already I think given you some pretty good illustrations of the extent to which the border is a problem. If you take into account the depth of integration between our two economies, if you take into account the nature of international trade and investment today, the fact that we have the whole just-in-time production system where we now rely increasingly on what are known as “global value chains” where goods and services move back and forth, and different parts of a large network of companies and suppliers integrate that into final products, it is critically important that the border be as open and unintrusive as possible.

Á  (1145)  

    What we have seen since 9/11 is a border that has become more intrusive as many more things have been loaded onto the border that could be done elsewhere, or perhaps not done at all.

    I think we've reached the stage, for example, where we should stop considering the border as a revenue gathering device. Given the extent of free trade that we have I remain deeply offended every time I cross the border and I have somebody with a hat and blue shirt asking me if I bought anything in the United States. Who cares? Given the depth of integration and the amount of harassment of people on that small point, which raises at most several million and costs more to administer than it does to do anything useful, I think we should stop thinking of the border as a revenue device.

    The border is used in order to ensure regulatory compliance. On the Canadian side of the border the Immigration and Custom officials are responsible for ensuring compliance with over 100 statutory instruments on behalf of their department and other departments. On the U.S. side, they're responsible for ensuring compliance with 400 statutory instruments. Many of those things companies comply with regardless of whether they're being checked at the border. What we should be looking at is what can we move away from the border and what can we rid of altogether so that the border can become what it should be, a place where we look after security matters. Even there I think we would have a more secure border if we had proper police and intelligence cooperation rather than a teenager on a summer job asking whether or not you're going wish one country or the other harm. I think we need a much different approach for the border.

    The second issue that we need to look at is related to the fact that we have a border that is used largely to ensure regulatory compliance and that is to look at the whole issue of regulatory convergence between Canada and the United States. We have two very similar economies with people who demand very similar things and as a result we have very similar regulatory regimes in place, but they are sufficiently different to ensure jobs for all kinds of people on both sides of the border ensuring these tiny differences. I think the time has come for us to move much more expeditiously than is being done under the SBP to reduce those small differences to no differences and therefore reduce the number of things that need to be done at the border. In the question period I'd be happy to elaborate on some of this in more detail.

    Finally, in order to do that I think we need to develop a sufficient institutional capacity between Canada and the Untied States to govern the extent of integration between our two economies. I find it shocking every time I look at it that Canada and Europe have a more extensive institutional framework in place to look after that relationship than Canada and the United States does between them. I think the time has come for us to put into the dustbin of history our fear of institutional capacity between our two countries and do what's necessary to ensure that we have the political oversight that this very deep and important relationship requires.

    Doing those three things cannot be done on the basis of the kind of initiative that the SBP represents. It must be done at a higher political level and it requires the kind of bureaucratic and political leadership that is currently lacking. To that end, I would like to see the government establish a department of North American affairs to provide leadership over this and drive the agenda.

    Thank you very much.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much for that presentation, Professor Hart.

    We'll go directly to the questions starting with the Official Opposition.

    Mr. Bains, for seven minutes.

    Hon. Navdeep Bains (MississaugaBrampton South, Lib.): Thank you very much, chair.

    I want to thank the witnesses for coming before the committee.

    It's nice to see the range of views on this particular discussion that we're having on SBP. As you know, we're trying to study trade and investment between Canada and the United States. Mr. Pépin mentioned the SBP is a treaty. My understanding is that it's not a treaty or an accord. I think it was very well described by you, Ms. Healy, as NAFTA-plus. It's kind of an additional framework that works on top of NAFTA to help with integration matters.

    I think there is a recognition that people have expressed concerns around accountability and transparency, hence why we're having these meetings. I think it's a step in the right direction.

    These are televised meetings so not only are they exclusively for the members here, but also for the public who have access to television and can view these meetings as well. I think there's an effort being made here to make this as open and public as possible in terms of parliamentarian oversight.

    I just want to confirm who is being consulted. I know that the Canadian Trucking Alliance has been consulted and has been part of the discussions. Is that correct?

    Mr. Ron Lennox: Yes, sure. I can explain to you a little bit about our involvement.

    Again, when the SPP was being rolled out, there were discussions between us and various different departments of government, it wasn't just one. We weren't just dealing with customs, we were dealing with transportation, we were dealing with immigration, because they were looking at various different initiatives and they wanted our perspective on it because they knew it affected us. This, to me, is normal, this is the way we work every day. When a government department wants to do something that will affect the trucking industry it typically will consult us, and the SPP was no different.

    Our involvement in the North American Competitiveness Council was less so. We're certainly not represented as one of those 30 on the council. We did have several conversations with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, which was coordinating Canada's input on that, and had given it several suggestions for what we thought would be appropriate.

    Hon. Navdeep Bains: Ms. Healy, was the Canadian Labour Congress ever involved in any discussion? Was your input ever sought after? Were you ever asked for your input in any capacity?

    Ms. Teresa Healy: We've never been invited to participate in any of the working groups. Any discussions we have had, we have made inquiries and made our own efforts to have discussions, but we've never been invited.

    Hon. Navdeep Bains: Okay. So, you've made an effort on your end. You've submitted information. You tried to get involved in the process, but there hasn't been that kind of forthcoming on behalf of the process from the SPP and the government.

    Ms. Teresa Healy: That's right. There's no mechanism for us.

    Hon. Navdeep Bains: Just again, a similar question for Mr. Pépin, the same thing with the Quebec network on continental integration. Were you ever involved or have you ever been asked for your input in any capacity?


    M. Normand Pépin: Jamais ont a été même contacter sur la question, tout ce qu'on connaît c'est grâce aux recherches qu'on a faites. Souvent, comme je vous l'ai dit dans la présentation, c'est des documents qui ont été obtenus par des demandes d'accès à l'information aux États-Unis, qu'on parvient à obtenir de l'information sur le processus, sinon on n'est pas consulté.


    Hon. Navdeep Bains: Mr. Hart, I know you don't represent professors, so I can assume that you haven't been consulted directly on this matter.

    Mr. Michael Hart: I have never been formally consulted. Have I been asked questions? Yes, often. Do I have difficulty gaining access to people working on the issues I'm interested in? No. Is there information available that I need on this initiative? Yes. There is an extensive website available, which is full of useful information, and contacts and so on. So, anything I want to know about the SPP I can gain access to.

    Hon. Navdeep Bains: I'm glad, because the second line of questioning I had was there have been concerns raised that there's a hidden agenda or there seems to be a lack of transparency, and especially with respect to the North American Competitiveness Council, that they've put forth some results, they've made some recommendations.

    In your opinion, and I guess, Ms. Healy, you mentioned this in your research paper, what specific concerns do you generally have that you think they're trying to hide or they're trying to avoid public discourse over? What specific concerns do you have about their recommendations or their approach?

Á  (1155)  

    Ms. Teresa Healy: Well, our concerns are that when you get into any of the substantive areas of concern, for example, energy, there is a series of objectives that is led by the biggest corporations in this country, and indeed, in North America, that is not representing a wider concern of the concerns of society.

    So, for example, in this hyper-development of the tar sands and the regulatory reform that is related to it, what we see are the interests of large corporations trying to extract resources as quickly as possible without any regard for the environmental impact, which has been mentioned today as quite significant, nor for the safety and dignity of workers involved or for the communities that are experiencing this kind of rapid industrialization.

    Hon. Navdeep Bains: One of the issues that was brought forth by Mr. Hart as well is the recognition that--and I think you raised it--when you cross the border, why do you even ask what I have purchased? Now our economies are so well integrated with NAFTA.

    You have indicated in your research paper as well, since 1996-2005 we've generated an accumulated surplus of close to $150 billion. It's helped generate many jobs here, especially in Ontario, which is reliant on manufacturing.

    With the appreciation of the dollar, there is concern that we're losing jobs. Isn't it in our best interest as a country to have strong working relationships with the United States to improve integration and trade? If there are concerns you've raised, as you alluded to, with the tar sands or with bulk water diversification, those are genuine concerns, but aside from that there are many synergies and areas we need to work on to help improve trade. In your opinion, do you feel that the SPP process in general is flawed or are there specific components that are flawed?

    Ms. Teresa Healy: In our understanding of this process, and our analysis has lead us to the conclusion that the process as a whole needs to be discussed, debated, and thought through very carefully.

    What we see is discussions about a reinvestment in infrastructure. In principle, we are in favour of infrastructure development in Canada. However, we want to see that this is governed by the principles of the public economy, that it's related to a generalized economic development project that makes sense for regions in this country. We don't want to just build new infrastructure that is meant to receive containers of manufactured goods that are brought into the country. What we want to see is a discussion about what kind of infrastructure, and what kind of economy are we building this infrastructure for.

    We have a manufacturing crisis in Canada. We know that in the United States, and in Mexico, too, there are very serious job and manufacturing issues that need to be dealt with. We need to have the kind of discussion which is going to acknowledge the seriousness of the jobs and manufacturing crisis. We need strategies that are going to develop the resources of communities and of industries.

    The Chair: Thank you, Ms. Healy.

    Thank you, Mr. Bains.

    Now the Bloc Quebecois, Mr. Cardin, for seven minutes.


    M. Serge Cardin (Sherbrooke, BQ): Merci, monsieur le président. Mesdames, messieurs, bonjour, bienvenue et merci surtout, de vous impliquer dans ce sujet aussi important.

    D'entrée de jeu, monsieur le président, je vous annonce que je vais partager mon temps avec mon collègue, car on ne sait pas trop comme cela ira après, peut-être qu'on aura pas l'occasion...

    Il est évident que le PSP, selon ce que l'on peut constater, met en péril la souveraineté du Canada. Cela va peut-être vous surprendre que je m'inquiète de la souveraineté du Canada, mais je m'en inquiète beaucoup, parce que sans la souveraineté du Canada, au Québec on aura de la difficulté à faire la nôtre. Donc, c'est la raison pour laquelle je trouve cela important de faire en sorte que les choses soient bien établies.

    Lorsqu'il y a eu au PSP une rencontre, en mars 2005, il y avait plusieurs éléments: établir des approches, élaborer des stratégies, favoriser la croissance économique, la compétitivité et la qualité de vie. Spécifiquement, dans cette partie là, on disait aussi que chaque pays a convenu également de mettre sur pied, à l'échelon ministériel, des groupes de travail sur le Partenariat pour la sécurité et la prospérité qui aurait le mandat suivant, et entre autres je dis: consulter les intervenants; le milieu des affaires, cela est évident, c'est le pourquoi de l'existence même du partenariat, ce sont des gens d'affaires, mais les gouvernements d'État aussi et même les municipalités qu'on disait et les organismes non gouvernementaux. Tout à l'heure les questions ont bien démontré que personne d'entre vous, la plupart, s'il n'était pas relié directement aux affaires, n'a été consulté.

    On sait que tout élément économique impose aussi que cela vienne du choix de société des individus. Donc, c'est dans ce contexte là de la consultation... Il y en a qui dise de tout balayer du revers de la main, mais qu'auriez-vous à nous suggérer pour qu'on puisse vraiment mettre en place un processus de consultation? Comment voyez-vous votre implication à l'intérieur de cela?


    M. Normand Pépin: C'est une très bonne question. Ce qui nous a frappé tout d'abord, c'est l'absence de volonté de mener cette large consultation dont vous parlez. On pense que cela doit commencer par se retrouver devant le Parlement. Monsieur disait tout à l'heure que c'est des séances télévisées, mais on n'est quand même pas à Canadian Idol. Ceux qui regardent cela sont en nombre limité, disons seulement cela. Si cela se retrouve au Parlement, il y a plus de chances que cela fasse les nouvelles, que les gens en entendent parler. Il y a cela, d'une part. Il faut absolument que cela se retrouve devant le Parlement, et à ce moment-là, chacun fera ses pressions sur les députés pour essayer de les informer de leur mieux de ce qui est connu du PSP. Outre cela, je ne sais pas ce que l'on pourrait proposer.

    À l'heure actuelle, quand le ministre Bernier a déposé le deuxième rapport aux dirigeants, il a dit: « Maintenant qu'on a consulté le CCCE — parce que c'est uniquement cela qu'ils avaient consulté — on va consulter d'autres organisations. » On parle de septembre 2006 et cela ne s'est jamais fait. Nous, on l'a invité quand on a fait une soirée d'information. On a invité le ministre Bernier à venir en discuter avec nous le 23 mars, jour anniversaire du PSP. On l'a invité quand même quatre mois à l'avance. Ils nous a répondu que son calendrier ne lui permettait pas de venir en discuter avec nous. De toute évidence, la volonté n'y est pas de la part des gouvernements.

    Mon collègue va poursuivre.

    M. Guy André (Berthier—Maskinongé, BQ): J'abonderais en ce sens. Je lisais votre rapport avec intérêt, rapidement, parce que je l'ai reçu ce matin. Vous parlez beaucoup d'une intégration profonde militarisée et une phase de néo-libéralisme.

    Madame Burrows, vous parliez également de toute la question des valeurs de notre société dont on ne tenait pas compte à l'intérieur de ce processus, qui étaient antidémocratiques en plus — je pense que vous l'avez dit clairement — parce que c'est un comité qui se rencontre un peu en catimini, on n'entend pas parler de leurs travaux. Ils ont des orientations et des objectifs très bien fixés qui vont toucher également ce qu'on appelle nos politiques environnementales, nos politiques sociales et nos politiques de santé.

    Vous avez une inquiétude à cet effet par rapport à toute la question de l'harmonisation de ces politiques entre les États-Unis et le Québec, le Canada et le Mexique. En quoi pensez-vous, très clairement, que le fait d'harmoniser nos politiques avec les États-Unis et le Mexique vient affecter nos valeurs propres comme Québécois et comme Canadiens? En quoi cela affecte-t-il nos propres cheminements?


    Mme Nancy Burrows: C'est sûr qu'il y a la question de la souveraineté dont on parlait tout à l'heure. Une peur que l'on a est que l'harmonisation veuille dire une harmonisation à la baisse, qu'elle veuille dire une harmonisation des normes, des standards. On sait qu'au Québec et au Canada, on a des politiques sociales, que ce soit au niveau de la santé, des médicaments, de l'environnement, etc., et que c'est peut-être différent des États-Unis. On ne se fait pas d'illusions, on est quand même moins puissant en Amérique du Nord que nos voisins du Sud. C'est cette peur de se calquer sur des politiques étatsuniennes. La question de la sécurité en est un exemple en termes de vision, d'embarquer dans la lutte antiterroriste qui est vraiment une préoccupation des États-Unis, et que nous, donc, on est obligé de faire toutes sortes de changements dans nos lois et nos politiques pour répondre aux besoins d'un tiers pays, qui n'est donc pas basé sur notre vision sociale, qui est quand même une vision qui est plus...

    M. Guy André: Les entrepreneurs qui ont souvent des intérêts, autant aux États-Unis qu'au Mexique, qui viennent un peu établir des normes dans notre société.


    The Chair: Merci, Monsieur Cardin.

    Just an extremely short answer please.


    Mme Nancy Burrows: J'allais seulement dire que je pense que toute la question de la consultation avec la société civile est importante aussi. Tout à l'heure, on mentionnait l'importance que ce soit débattu à la Chambre des communes, qu'il y ait un débat public, et que les organismes de la société civile soient vraiment consultés. Ce que l'on trouve vraiment aberrant, c'est que les gens d'affaires soient des interlocuteurs directs et aient une influence directe, sans que les parlementaires et les gens de la société civile, qui représentent la population et ses besoins, puissent s'exprimer.


    The Chair: Merci, Monsieur Cardin.

    Mr. Allison, from the government side, for seven minutes.

    Mr. Dean Allison (Niagara West—Glanbrook, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    I'm always amazed how the war in Iraq has brought into talking about a security and prosperity agreement here in Canada, and how we can move the goods and services across the borders a little bit more easily.

    I've got enough to ask questions for about 20 minutes, but I only have seven minutes, so we're going to try and make this go as quickly as possible.

    Mr. Hart, how long were you with DFAIT? What's you're history with Foreign Affairs and Trade?

    Mr. Michael Hart: I was a government civil servant for 22 years, most of that in DFAIT, and most of it concentrated on trade negotiations.

    Mr. Dean Allison: Great. Would it be fair to say that you were involved with NAFTA then? What was your involvement with NAFTA?

    Mr. Michael Hart: I did all the preparatory work for the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and was part of that team. I advised the NAFTA team, but I had other responsibilities at that time.

    Mr. Dean Allison: Okay.

    It has been alluded to here by certain groups that bulk waters included in NAFTA. Is that true?

    Mr. Michael Hart: No.

    Mr. Dean Allison: Thank you.

    The concern I have—we talk about prosperity all the time—is that most businesses in Canada are small businesses. I want to talk again, Mr. Hart and Mr. Lennox, about goods and services going across the border. We hear constantly from the NDP that we've got a prosperity gap, that things are happening. But I don't know where we're going to do trade if we're not able to get our goods and services across the borders.

    Mr. Hart, can you talk a bit more to us about the process of trying to streamline the borders? You talked about a couple of things regarding regulations that would make some sense as we move forward.

    Mr. Michael Hart: Statistics Canada did a study a few years ago where they counted the number of Canadian firms that are engaged in exporting, and they counted something like 42,000 of them, about 35,000 of which do trade with the United States. So we have 35,000 companies in Canada, not just large corporations, but quite a large range of corporations that are engaged in this kind of trade. And the kind of trade they're now engaged in is what economists are now calling "integrative trades". They are participating in the making of things.

    An economist, Stephen Blank at Pace University in New York, says that Canada and the United States no longer trade with each other. What we do is we build things together. Given the fact that we build things together, the fact that there's a border in between the two parties who are building things together is a potential disincentive to investment in Canada. If you are an investor looking for a new opportunity or to expand an existing opportunity, one of the things you're going to look at is the kind of problems you are going to have at the border. If you think you're going to have problems, you say "Well, I'll tell you what. I'm going to locate in the big market and export what I need to the small market, rather than locate in the small market and face the hassle of 90% of my goods that need to go into the network in the United States having to cross that border."

    So I think that it is a very legitimate and very important objective for Canada to see what's being done at the border and ask what we can do to reduce the disincentives that the border creates. I give the Canadian Border Services Agency and the Government of Canada full marks for having done as much as they can on a unilateral basis. We have done a tremendous amount in streamlining what we do, in putting in place programs which use electronics, which use pre-clearance, and so on, which moves things away from the border.

    I think that we cannot do much more unless we do it together. The main objective that we should be pursuing is asking what we can do together with the Americans. Now in order to do it with the Americans.... The Americans are not preoccupied by the border as a revenue issue or an economic issue. They're preoccupied with the border now as a security matter. That's why the two are so much tied together. You cannot build a more open border, which I think is what we need, unless you enhance the confidence that the Americans have in Canada as a security partner. That's why I think it is important that this is tied together, but that's why it's also important that we work with the Americans in enhancing their confidence in us as a security partner so that we can reduce the amount of things that the Americans feel they must do at the border.


    Mr. Dean Allison: Mr. Lennox, one of the questions I have is that we keep talking referring to big business. I've got a guy in my riding whose name is Ken Westerhoff and who owns Cedarway Floral. He has fresh-cut flowers that he tries to get across the border. He is not big business, and I assure you that his truck gets stopped at the border for any reason, any excuse. Those are perishable items that cannot be use tomorrow. It's not some kind of freight . We can talk about just-in-time inventory or anything else. Talk to about the importance of pre-clearance programs and why and how we need to make this thing work better.

    Mr. Ron Lennox: You're absolutely right. The trucking industry is different than a lot of other Canadian industries in that it is primarily made up of small businesses. There are over 10,000 carriers in this country. There's a handful of large ones, and a lot of very small ones, but it's fundamentally important that those guys are able to cross the border without delay. Again, we operate, as Professor Hart indicated, in a just-in-time environment. A truck at a standstill makes no revenue for the carrier and the driver probably isn't making anything if he's held up at the border, and of course you run into issues such as you indicated on perishable products.

    As was mentioned in Mr. Bradley's prepared remarks, we hold out some considerable hope that through harmonized pre-clearance processes the situation at the border will get better. I use this term all the time, but it's kind of nuts and bolts things, but the U.S. has developed what they call an automated truck manifest. We provide information in advance, certain data elements, cargo, crew, conveyance information in advance electronically. It's mandatory at certain locations at the U.S. land border and it will be at all locations at the U.S. land border by the end of this year.

    Canada is just embarking on a similar process. It's referred to as ACI, automated commercial information, I believe is what that stands for. There's a commitment in SPP to harmonize those two processes, so trucking companies are not building different systems depending on which way the data is going. It's extremely important for us.

    We are involved in a consultative process that has been established by the Canada Border Services Agency and in fact includes representatives from U.S. Customs. Business groups of all kinds are part of that consultative process. It's one of our top priorities right now.

    The Chair: Mr. Allison, you have time for one more short question, if you'd like.

    Mr. Dean Allison: Mr. Hart, again back to you, in terms of dual regulatory system. There are regulations on the Canadian side and the American side. It doesn't mean that they need to be harmonized, necessarily, because there are different regulatory processes.

    Do you want to just comment quickly on that.

    Mr. Michael Hart: There are quite a number of ways in which you can achieve regulatory convergence, which is a word that I like better than harmonization. You can have mutual recognition agreements. You can agree on a certain set of standards and leave it up to the individual country or industry and so on as to how you implement that.

    What we need to do is get rid of those differences that are really quite small and develop cooperative approaches to achieving the same regulatory outcomes and in most cases both countries want the same regulatory outcomes, so why not cooperate.


    The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr. Allison.

    Now to the New Democratic Party, Mr. Julian, for seven minutes.

    Mr. Peter Julian (BurnabyNew Westminster, NDP): Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thanks to each of you for coming here today.

    What the testimony has very clearly indicated is that this issue, this agenda, goes far beyond smart borders but I was interested in your commentary, Mr. Lennox, that even on the smart borders initiative, which is a tiny portion of the overall SBP agenda, the government has manifestly failed on moving forward even that component. That's an interesting point that I hope we can come back to.

    I'd like to touch on the issue of prosperity and I'd like to ask you, Dr. Healy, as well as Mr. Pépin and Ms. Burrows, there's something that government spokespeople continually talk about that somehow the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement has succeeded enormously, NAFTA has succeeded enormously and that somehow more of the same medicine is going to increase Canada's prosperity, but Statistics Canada belies that myth.

    Statistics Canada points out very clearly that since 1989, since the signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement for most Canadian families they're actually earning less in real terms than they were back in 1989. There's no clear manifestation of failure on economic and trade policy than the fact that poorest Canadians have actually lost a month's income in real terms, that working class Canadians and middle class Canadians have each lost, on average, about two weeks of salary in real terms. Even upper middle class Canadian have had absolutely no progress on the economic front, and those who have profited from the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and from NAFTA are the wealthiest of Canadians. They're making money hand over fist. Most Canadians families are actually earning less. What a failure on the bottom line of trade and economic policy.

    So my question to all three of you is how do we address this issue of prosperity and really what is this agenda all about. If the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA have failed on the prosperity front, delivering prosperity to most Canadians, then what is this agenda really about in your opinion?


    Alors, j'apprécierais que vous puissiez répondre également, Mme Healy.


    Ms. Teresa Healy: Thank you for that question.

    I think that what we see here is that not only have families lost ground, but there has been a widening disparity of income and wealth. There are people who are benefiting. There are corporations that are benefiting. Profits have been very high in these years. But that doesn't mean that the interests of the profit-making corporations are directly translated into the experience of families across the country.

    When we look at different segments of our society, and at those who have been put in the most vulnerable positions, then we can see even more clearly where this is headed.

    I think we need to have a wide-ranging discussion about the structure of our economy, and the kind of economy that we need for the future, and the kind of economy that seems to be unfolding in front of us.

    What's happening with manufacturing? What's happening with jobs in this country? There is a serious crisis going on. We're losing ground and we're returning to becoming exporters once again of unprocessed raw materials. That is a strategy that is very short-sighted. Sure, it'll put a lot of money in the pockets of a small number of corporations, but what does that do for economic development across the country more generally?

    And I want to keep coming back to the implications and the a working-class organization, we see the effects on transportation workers, we see the racial profiling that is also a part of the story that Mr. Lennox has shared with us, about the problems with the border.

    There are issues here for workers in general and also problems that immigrant workers are facing. Look at the ITAR story that we heard about a few weeks ago.

    Maybe I'll let others....

    Mr. Peter Julian: Madame Burrows.


    Mme Nancy Burrows: Quand on parle de prospérité ou d'inégalités sociales qui se sont accrues dans les dernières années, avec la libéralisation, l'ALENA et maintenant avec l'ALENA plus, je pense qu'il est important de souligner, entre autres, les répercussions sur les femmes qui se retrouvent, le plus souvent au bas de l'échelle, dans des postes précaires ou atypiques, donc de plus en plus précarisés. Vous avez fait le portrait par rapport à la façon dont une grande partie de la population s'est appauvrie. Il est important de souligner que la majorité de cette population sont des femmes.

    Je pense qu'il est important de souligner aussi la discrimination par rapport à l'appartenance ethno-culturelle. Quand on regarde l'échelle en termes de salaire, au bas de l'échelle, on retrouve les femmes de minorité visible. Ensuite, ce sont les femmes immigrantes et les autres femmes. Ensuite, ce sont les hommes de minorité visible, les autres hommes immigrants et le reste des hommes. Donc, je pense qu'il est important de tenir compte de la stratification sociale et l'hiérarchisation actuelle dans notre société. Avec le PSP, il y a plus d'emphase sur des politiques de libéralisation et de déréglementation dans la perspective d'harmoniser davantage avec les États-Unis. Je pense que cette situation continuera à s'exacerber davantage.



    Mr. Peter Julian: Merci beaucoup.

    I'd like to come back to the issue of regulatory framework, which means basically protections for Canadian families. There is a strong push, and we've heard in testimony from government spokespeople who always say that all the information is out there, which is false, as we know.

    And they also say that there is no problem with harmonization. But we know that in the United States the regulatory process is flawed. We saw that with bovine growth hormone. We've seen that with a number of scandals in the pharmaceutical industry, and on issues around food safety.

    What would Canadian families be giving up in terms of knowing that those fundamental protections on their food and pharmaceutical products are in place? What do we give up if, as with the softwood lumber agreement, we simply concede everything to basically making sure those decisions are made in Washington rather than being made here in Canada by Canadians?

    Ms. Teresa Healy: I think there are people who look at the regulatory question and say that what we need is regulatory diversity, and that we don't need downward harmonization of regulations. We need the kind of regulatory perspective which deals with the needs of families, which deals with the needs of communities.

    This kind of regulatory harmonization and a movement towards the bottom is something against which we have to fight back, but we can't if we're not given the information about what kind of regulations, or about what the process for engagement is on this question.

    If we only have employers and corporations who say, “Well, we know all about these sectors, so we'll give the government advice”, there are other people involved in civil society and in the economy more generally who also have an experience of regulations.

    For example, port workers were very active on these discussions around security and regulatory reform in the ports. Had they not been there to respond to the issues, the regulatory reforms for port workers would have been even more onerous.

    I think what we need to see is a broad-ranging kind of discussion about regulatory reform. It has to be democratized.

    The Chair: Excuse me, your time is more than up, Mr. Julian. Thank you.

    We now go to the five-minute round.

    Mr. Maloney, from the official opposition, go ahead, please.

    Mr. John Maloney (Welland, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    Mr. Hart, you indicated that certainly the border is one of the fundamental problems we have to change, but certainly vis-à-vis the United States it is a security issue, and I agree with you, but how do we change that mindset?

    We heard from Mr. Lennox. He's the fellow who represents the people who are on the ground, trying to cross that border. You indicated there were roughly 100 regulatory problems on the Canadian side, 400 on the U.S. side.

    I'm not sure that the U.S. really wants to dance. They say they do, but from time to time, all these barriers go up; mention was made or oranges and roast beef sandwiches, a trucker's lunch. Every time you turn around, there seems to be more security investigations which overlap.

    How do we change the mindset in the United States? How do we impress upon them that Canada is the largest trading partner for many, many U.S. states?

    Mr. Michael Hart: Well, you don't do it on the basis of an incremental approach that largely puts civil servants together to talk about problems they're experiencing. That does some good, but it really isn't going to change the fundamentals.

    In order to change the fundamentals you have to capture imagination in Washington. In order to capture imagination in Washington you have to have a big initiative.

    The nature of the U.S. decision making process, where power is widely dispersed and there are a lot of people who have a role in it, is that you must think big. If you have a big initiative, then you can get Americans excited about it and move the agenda forward.

    We did that with the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, the Mexicans did it with the NAFTA. There have been similar kinds of initiatives. You can go back to earlier, NATO and the NORAD zone were major initiatives which captured imagination in the United States and overcame the multitude of smaller interest in the United States, which are always ready to point out, “If you do this, I will be affected”. So if you think big, you can overcome that.

    Do I think if we do that we can then overcome the many problems we have on the security front? No, but I think that's where we have to start. We have to build a higher level of concern in Washington at the highest levels that the continued health and prosperity of the North American economy means that we must deal with the border differently. That means a willingness on our part to, for example, strengthen the perimeter around North America in order to deal with security issues that are uppermost in American minds: it should also be of concern to us. Similarly, we need to be prepared to sit down with the Americans and be good partners.

    I think over the last 10 or so years we have not been as good a partner as we might have been, raising suspicion in Washington as to whether or not we would continue to be the kind of partner they're looking for. In the end, these are political choices. You make the political choices and you reap the results.

    We have made a political choice that we wanted a more deeply integrated North American economy. We have benefited greatly from that, despite what some of the witnesses are saying. We must now decide whether we want to make that work, or do we want to put various kinds of obstacles in its way, including allowing the Americans to build up the security framework they're pursuing?


    Mr. John Maloney: Ms. Healy, we're concerned about jobs for the people you advocate for. You've heard Mr. Hart respond to my questions.

    We need to open up our borders, but your concern about more issues about visa information sharing, situations like this that may assist in appeasing the fears of the U.S. and our security, how do we reconcile that?

    Ms. Teresa Healy: To this point, I don't think that we've been successful in appeasing the fears of the United States' security concerns. I think that these are ongoing issues, as we've heard, in the trucking industry and in the border. The whole security question is one that is being integrated with the economic question.

    I think what we have to do is come up with a fundamentally different way and we have to interject a new way of thinking about these relationships which does not build ever-increasingly upon a climate of fear and distrust.

    I think there are issues around human rights that need to be discussed in relation to this question of security, and I'd like to know what mechanism there is for our having this discussion about human rights and the SPP. I think that the more open and transparent and inclusive this discussion, the more likely it is that we're going to find solutions to it.

    We have reports there are these meetings we keep hearing about, maybe even after the fact or the moment before they happen, this North American 2025 meeting, or a series of meetings that are going on, the famous/infamous Banff meeting. We hear from one of the press, the person who was in charge of keeping the press and public away from the meeting, saying, “No, no, these meetings are not secret, they're private”. We want to know: why can't we have the information about what MPs presented at these meetings or what MPs said at these meetings?

    The Chair: Ms. Healy, I have to interrupt you at this point. Mr. Maloney's time has long passed--I should be careful of the way I word that.

    We'll go to the Bloc Québécois. Monsieur André, for five minutes.


    M. Guy André: Je vais partager mon temps avec M. Cardin.

    J'avais une question à poser, dans un premier temps, à M. Hart. Vous êtes un professeur en politique commerciale. Le Canada fait actuellement des efforts immenses pour tenter de satisfaire, comme vous l'avez dit, les Américains en apportant une plus grande sécurité au niveau des frontières suite aux actes terroristes qui ont eu lieu en 2001. Par rapport à ce que vous avez dit également, je pense qu'on se plie à ces exigences, il y a des négociations actuellement avec les États-Unis pour trouver des façons d'améliorer la sécurité de nos frontières et tout. Je me préoccupe également de la question à savoir jusqu'où on ira dans cette perspective d'améliorer cette sécurité advenant qu'il y ait une situation où un acte terroriste se produisait avec quelqu'un qui traverse nos frontières, toutes les conséquences de cette chose qu'il y aurait au niveau économique. C'est encore possible, même si on améliore la sécurité de nos frontières avec les plus grandes protections imaginables, il peut encore y avoir des gens qui pourraient traverser et faire un acte terroriste aux États-Unis en rentrant au Canada. Tout est encore possible. J'imagine qu'il y aura encore une conséquence économique importante au niveau de l'exportation. Y avez-vous réfléchi?

    Lorsque vous dites que le Canada n'a pas toujours été un bon partenaire avec les États-Unis, cela m'interpelle un peu, dans la perspective où je me dis que nous sommes plus dans une mouvance d'appuyer les Américains au niveau de leur approche militaire, on investit davantage au niveau du militaire ces dernières années avec la venue de ce nouveau gouvernement. La politique environnementale, pour exporter nos sables bitumineux, on tente de s'accorder avec les Américains. En tout cas, certains dirigeants veulent s'accorder avec les Américains pour ne pas nécessairement respecter le Protocole de Kyoto, mais continuer à exploiter nos sables bitumineux.

    Dans la crise du bois d'oeuvre, nous avons été relativement un bon partenaire en donnant un milliard de dollars de l'argent de nos industries pour venir soutenir l'Entente sur le bois d'oeuvre. J'aimerais vous entendre sur ces différents sujets.



    Mr. Michael Hart: It's a little difficult to figure out where you want me to start.

    How far do we need to go? Canada and the United States have a very long history of working together to resolve problems, going back to the 1935 trade agreement, where we first agreed that we would treat each other as best partners rather than worst partners, which was the case before that, through NORAD, NATO, and a whole host of agreements. We have more than 350 bilateral treaties in place between Canada and the United States right now, indicating the extent of cooperation between us.

    But given the nature of our interdependence, both on the economic and the security fronts, the job is never done. There is always a new frontier to cross, a new opportunity to seize, and a new way of looking at things. In order to do that, we have to be conscious of the fact that the United States is our most important partner, whether we want them to be or not. And I think that's a very Canadian way of putting it.

    The Americans live next door. They are a global power. We are not a global power, but we do have a high level of economic and security interdependence with the United States. For instance, on the security front, the idea of ensuring our security on anything other than a bilateral basis is just not possible. Canada doesn't have the resources required to ensure our security. We must do it on a bilateral basis.

    Since the 1939 agreement between the Roosevelt and King administrations, we have done it on a bilateral, cooperative basis. And we've both benefited from that. So the idea that we can go our own way is a ludicrous idea in the Canadian context. It's with that kind of perspective that we say to the Americans, “We want to be your partner. We want to be a reliable partner. You can count on us. And on that basis, let's solve a few problems that we have on the security front”. That's the only way we're going to be able to do that.


    M. Guy André: Oui, mais vous avez dit que nous étions un mauvais partenaire, que nous avons été un mauvais partenaire dans les dernières années. C'est dans cette perspective là que j'aimerais avoir des exemples: que nous avons été un mauvais partenaire. Je ne suis pas nécessairement d'accord avec...


    Mr. Michael Hart: I don't want to get too political--

    The Chair: A very short response, please. Monsieur André is out of time. A very short response please.


    Mr. Michael Hart: Over the last 10 years, the relationship at the top, between our two governments, has not been as productive and a reliable as it could have been. There have been many times when, I think, the government moved in a direction that I thought was unhelpful to building a secure, reliable partnership.

    The Chair: Thank you.

    Merci, Monsieur André.

    Now to the government side, to Mr. Cannan, for five minutes. Go ahead please.

    Mr. Ron Cannan (KelownaLake Country, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thanks to the witnesses. I want to thank you all for your presentations.

    Specifically, Ms. Healy, you started off and you asked, in your preamble, who the SPP is for? I look around the table—and we've been debating this issue for several meetings and had several discussions over the last few months on where our international trade strategy should be—and I believe everyone around the table, especially when it comes to equality and we all have access to opportunity to increase our quality of life and find ways that we can ensure opportunities for all Canadians, and I think that's a goal that we all can agree on, not matter what political stripe you're from.

    I look at North American opportunities. As I said, we've had several witnesses who've said this is where we should be focusing our energies. Our biggest trading partner is over $2 billion of trade a day going across the border and 37,000 trucks. Approximately 80% of our population live within 160 kilometres of the border. An average Canadian family relies on small businesses. And my riding in the interior of British Columbia, and all of us around the table, we need to ensure that we have this streamlining of a seamless border crossing, as seamless as possible.

    I would like to ask Mr. Lennox in a moment, but I just want to clarify one other statement that was made about where our Canadian families sit, in the past with NAFTA, and where we're heading in the future. Mr. Julian had stated about Canadian families and how poor off they were, but the fact is Canadian families, on the whole, experienced two periods in which income feel, one in the early 1980s and one in the early 1990s, and in both cases the Canadian economy was in a recession. So you can go through the statistics and manipulate them however you want. If you use the benchmark of 1997 or 2004, I can massage and show you all kinds of numbers. Prof. Hart can probably do it extremely better than all of us around the table. But the fact is that when it comes to NAFTA, we're a lot better off as Canadians and North Americans and all three of our trading partners because of the trade that's been generated and the business opportunities. So I just near to clarify that and get it on the record.

    Specifically, Mr. Lennox, my uncle has a trucking company and I used to work for him, in Alberta, bringing products through Mexico and California through western Canada. I know the importance of having the delays at the border. Many a times a trucker is calling that's a day at the border and it costs tens of thousands of dollars for your members. Can you maybe clarify or expand a little bit if you've had any opportunity to participate in the eManifest program and the pre-clearance and what it will do for helping clients and your moving of the goods and services across the border.

    Mr. Ron Lennox: Certainly.

    In terms of the process itself, this eManifest process in the U.S. has been underway for quite some time now. A government industry advisory group, called the Trade Support Network, was struck in the United States. Representatives from all modes of transportation, as well as brokers and shippers and so forth, were part of that process. I was personally part of that process and remain involved.

    The idea there was to ensure that the system to convey manifest data that the United States uses to make risk decisions on the carrier and on the driver, for example, and on the cargo are there in advance and that the risk screening is done before the truck gets to the border. Now in Canada, as I said, we're just embarking on that process. The first meeting, it was a government-industry consultative process. The first meeting of, I believe it's called, the ACI group met in Ottawa in January of this year. They are talking about doing a very similar process. And, in fact, the first meeting of the steering committee for that group is taking place this afternoon.

    Mr. Ron Cannan: Thank you very much.

    I still have another minute. I have another comment there for Professor Hart.

    There are some concerns about the open, transparent process. The previous government had established the process and our government is trying to make it as open as possible, and one of the ways is by this meeting. You referred to the NACC. This is the report here. It's a public document and it's available on the web. If you'd like a copy, I'd be more than willing to provide it for you. There is a web page as well for the government, so it's a whole process. It's open.

    Maybe, Mr. Hart, you could elaborate a little more on your understanding of how the public can be involved in the process, from your experience.


    Mr. Michael Hart: As an official, I was part of the group of people who were charged with designing ways and means in which the government could be more open. I learned something from that process. There are two ways in which you consult. One is that you consult in order to improve your technical base, the knowledge that you need in order to move forward. These are consultations on how, and civil servants are very well equipped to do that.

    There is another kind of consultation which is based on whether you should do it, the why. Civil servants can't do that. Only politicians can do that as that's a political question and that must be addressed by either the minister or by parliamentarians.

    Sometimes civil society grows confused about the two kinds of consultations. The how and the why consultations are not the same, and the same people cannot pursue both of them.

    The Chair: Thank you very much, professor, and thank you, Mr. Cannan.

    As the final questioner in the five-minute round, Mr. Julian, for five minutes.

    Mr. Peter Julian: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    I appreciate your saying, Mr. Hart, that essentially the government has the responsibility to be consulting with the public. That is something certainly that has come out of these brief hearings. Hopefully government members will understand that they need to open up this process so we can have debates over each and every one of these initiatives.

    I'd like to come back to you, Dr. Healy, as well as you, Monsieur Pépin and Madam Burrows on two elements that are fundamental to this.

    One is the issue what we believe, as a country, is the direction we should be going and how this initiative has essentially been kept away from the public domain so we can have these public discussions. What should the government be doing to ensure that we have those full public consultations so that Canadians can be assured that if we head down this road, it is a road with which Canadians agree.

    We know that part of the strategy, because we've heard from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, is to keep it away from the public debate because they say there is no appetite for a big debate now and they are seizing on the fact that the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement debate that we had in 1988, aside from the electoral system going against this, essentially, most Canadians voted against that agreement, and given the fact that most Canadian families have been poorer since, despite the government's protestations to the contrary, shows that Canadians were right to be concerned. NAFTA had a similar debate, and most Canadians voted against NAFTA because the Jean Chrétien government had promised to not put it into effect.

    How do we get that democracy back so that Canadians are actually being consulted on these issues?

    Ms. Teresa Healy: First of all, the government should not hide behind a process of regulatory reform. Basically, this should be a process in which full, open, democratic debate and discussion should occur, and should happen in Parliament. Parliamentarians should take back their place in this process. I do not think that it should be left to secret meetings, private consultations with the most powerful interests in the country. The representatives of every single community across this country should have the opportunity, and they do bear the responsibility for bringing this discussion even more into the open.

    It is wonderful that we are here today at this committee. This process should be expanded and increased so that there is a full democratic debate in this country about what seems to be so innocuous as regulatory reform, which, in fact, as we have found out through our studies and through hearing from our members and our affiliates, is certainly not an innocuous process.

    Mr. Peter Julian: Monsieur Pépin, Madam Burrows.


    M. Normand Pépin: Je répéterais à peu près la même chose en français, mais je vais m'abstenir de juste répéter.

    Avant la tenue du débat, cela prend de l'information pour tout le monde ici. Nous avons fait des recherches assez approfondies pour trouver de l'information qui était disponible. Il faut la rendre plus facilement disponible. Monsieur pointait le rapport du CNAC en disant qu'il est disponible sur un site Internet. Je suis d'accord, mais il a été rendu disponible le 23 février, alors que la rencontre était annoncée une semaine avant, par un communiqué du gouvernement. Et, il n'était même pas question que les membres du gouvernement rencontrent le CNAC, d'après le communiqué. Donc, il y a tout cela qui est à lever. Il n'y a pas juste les grandes négociations, il y a des groupes de travail aussi qui sont à l'oeuvre. Il y en a 9 pour la sécurité et 10 pour la prospérité. De quoi sont-ils en train de discuter? Il faut tout savoir cela avant d'engager le débat plus largement. Oui, s'il faut absolument que cela passe par la Chambre des communes. Je pense qu'il n'y a aucune autre option que celle-là.


    Mme Nancy Burrows: J'ajouterais que lorsque le professeur Hart dit qu'on confond les deux niveaux de consultation, je dis qu'on n'est pas en train de confondre. Le gouvernement nous dit: « ne vous inquiétez pas, ce ne sont que de petites consultations techniques, des choses comme ça ». Justement, on veut que les politiciens et politiciennes débattent de la raison pour laquelle on devrait le faire et si on veut. On va dans le même sens pour dire qu'on devrait débattre à la Chambre des communes du pourquoi et si on devrait le faire bien avant les discussions plus techniques sur le comment. Le processus était complètement à l'inverse. Arrêtons le processus, recommençons à nous poser les vraies questions pour savoir à quel endroit on devrait le faire, à la Chambre des communes et non pas à la chambre de commerce.


    The Chair: Mr. Julian, your time is up.

    We will now go to the next round of questioning, Monsieur Cardin.


    M. Serge Cardin: Monsieur le président, on devrait profiter de la situation compte tenu qu'il y a eu deux tours complets de questions, d'aller au point à l'ordre du jour qui est la motion présentée par le Bloc québécois. On aurait à peu près 12 minutes maximum pour le faire.


    The Chair: You want to deal with that today, then? So what I'll do is dismiss the witnesses and then we'll suspend for two minutes and go in camera, and carry on.

    Thank you all very much for coming today. It was another very informative meeting.

    Yes, point of order, Mr. Cannan.

    Mr. Ron Cannan: Why are we going in camera?

    The Chair: Mr. Cannan, we've always gone in camera to deal with committee business. It's been routine. We've always done it. It's the normal procedure of the committee. The committee could make a decision on that, certainly.

    First, I'll give you a chance to bring it up...Mr. Cannan, if you want to bring it up right now, I guess before we go in camera.

    Mr. Ron Cannan: I would move that we don't go in camera.

    The Chair: Mr. Cannan has moved that we don't move the meeting to an in camera meeting. Is there any discussion on that?

    Mr. Julian.

    Mr. Peter Julian: This is going to surprise Mr. Cannan, but I second his motion. This is a public meeting; this is a public motion; it should be discussed in public.

    The Chair: Any other discussion on the motion?

    (Motion agreed to)


    The Chair: So we won't go in camera. We will carry on the business in public.

    I am just going to suspend for one minute, just so the witnesses can clear and then we'll come back and deal with the motion.




    M. Serge Cardin: Monsieur le président, tout à été fait dans l'ordre. Vous avez reçu à l'intérieur d'un délai de 48 heures cet avis de motion. Si vous désirez que je vous la relise, je peux le faire, compte tenu des discussions qui ont eu lieu dans le PSP concernant l'eau et aussi les déclarations faites par les gens du Parti conservateur à l'effet qu'on aurait la protection totale, ce que je ne considère pas.

Attendu que les ressources en eau du Canada doivent être protégées;

Attendu que l'ALENA couvre tous les services et tous les biens, à l'exception de ceux qui en sont nommément exclus et que l'eau n'en est pas exclue;

Attendu que cette situation qui relève de la responsabilité fédérale pose un risque pour les lois des provinces qui interdisent l'exportation de l'eau en vrac;

Attendu qu'un simple accord par échange de lettres entre les gouvernements du Canada, des États-Unis et du Mexique précisant que l'eau n'est pas couverte par l'ALENA devrait être respecté par les tribunaux internationaux comme s'il faisait partie intégrante de l'ALENA;

Il est proposé que, conformément à l'article 108.2 du Règlement, le Comité permanent du commerce international recommande au gouvernement d'entamer rapidement des pourparlers avec ses homologues mexicains et américains afin d'exclure l'eau, les biens régis par l'ALENA et que rapport de l'adoption de cette motion et du préambule soit fait à la Chambre à la première occasion.

    On aurait dû lire « le Règlement de la Chambre des communes ».


    The Chair: Thank you very much, Monsieur Cardin.

    Have you any comments you'd like to make on your motion?


    M. Serge Cardin: Non, monsieur le président, je pense que c'est très clair. À ce moment-là, je pense qu'on peut poursuivre rapidement.


    The Chair: Any discussion?

    Mr. Julian and then Mr. Cannan.


    M. Peter Julian: Merci, monsieur le président.

    C'est une excellente motion qui est apportée par le Bloc québécois. Je vais donc appuyer la motion de M. Cardin . Il y a toutefois quelques précisions que je voulais proposer comme amendement et que, je l'espère, sera reçu favorablement:

    D'abord, au troisième paragraphe: « Attendu que cette situation », je voudrais qu'on biffe « qui relève de responsabilité fédérale ». Je vais remettre une copie au greffier une fois que j'aurai terminé.

    Toujours au troisième paragraphe, il faudrait lire: « Attendu que cette situation pose un risque pour les lois provinciales et fédérales qui concernent la protection de l'eau, y compris l'interdiction de l'exportation de l'eau en vrac ».

    Au quatrième paragraphe, il faudrait ajouter à la troisième ligne: « l'ALENA devrait être respecté par les tribunaux ». Ajouter le mot « par ».

    Au dernier paragraphe, on devrait lire: « conformément à l'article 68(2) du Règlement de la Chambre », alors on ajoute: « de la Chambre ».

    À la quatrième ligne, on change: « afin d'exclure l'autre de la portée de l'alinéa ».

    Ce sont les cinq précisions et je vais donner une copie au greffier.


    The Chair: Okay, Mr. Julian, we will have the clerk read the motion with the amendments in and, there are a lot of amendments there, then we'll have discussion on the amendments.

    I think it's going to be very difficult for members to understand what's happened here if we don't lay it all out.



    Le greffier du comité (M. Normand Radford): Attendu que les ressources en eau du Canada doivent être protégées;

Attendu que l'ALENA couvre tous les services et tous les biens, à l'exception de ceux qui en sont nommément exclus, et que l'eau n'en n'est pas exclue;

Attendu que cette situation pose un risque pour les lois...


    This is where the changes are.


...les lois provinciales et fédérales qui concernent la protection de l'eau, y compris l'interdiction de l'exportation de l'eau en vrac;

Attendu qu'un simple accord par échange de lettres entre les gouvernements du Canada, des États-Unis et du Mexique précisant que l'eau n'est pas couverte par l'ALENA devrait être respecté par les tribunaux internationaux, comme s'ils faisaient partie intégrante de l'ALENA;

Il est proposé que, conformément à l'article 108(2) du Règlement de la Chambre, le Comité permanent du commerce international recommande au gouvernement d'entamer rapidement des pourparlers avec ses homologues mexicains et américains, afin d'exclure l'eau de la portée de l'ALENA et que le rapport de l'adoption de cette motion et le préambule soient faits à la Chambre à la première occasion.


    The Chair: Have all members heard the members that have been proposed?

    Monsieur Cardin and then we'll go to Mr. Cannan.

    I do have a speaking list.


    M. Serge Cardin: Monsieur le président, je ne peux qu'être en accord avec ces modifications. On peut donc poursuivre.


    The Chair: We're going to go to discussion on the amendment.

    Go ahead Mr. Cannan and then Mr. Lemieux.

    Mr. Ron Cannan: I just wanted to clarify. You're removing the words “federal responsibility” out of the equation. It says: “whereas the situation puts the provincial laws....”


    Le greffier: « provinciales et fédérales »


    Provincial and federal.

    Mr. Ron Cannan: Under the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act the provinces cannot export bulk water. My question to the clerk then, if it's in fact inaccurate, is a motion in order if it's factually incorrect?

    The Chair: Mr. Cannan, in response to your question, it's certainly my responsibility as chair, and with advice from the clerk, to ensure that the process is followed. The accuracy of motions certainly isn't something that we can eliminate. It's up to the committee to decide what they want to pass at the committee and put before the House.

    Mr. Ron Cannan: In good conscience, knowing that it's illegal, it's not proper to support something that's contravening a treaty act that's already in place, I won't be supporting—

    The Chair: You will have to convince the committee members, of course, that's the case.

    Mr. Lemieux.

    Mr. Pierre Lemieux (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, CPC): A point I'd like to bring up is that's quite an amendment, very hard to follow. I'd like to have it in front of me, actually. Not just me, I think all members should have it in front of them so we can understand what the amendment is, what the impact is on the motion, and then we can have a proper debate on it. Otherwise, we're going to be questioning, “What was that part again? I couldn't quite follow the fourth part of that amendment.” So I'd like to have it in front of me.

    A voice: We do that in bills.


    Et en français. Oui, en anglais et en français. On parle les deux langues, ici.


    The Chair: Mr. Lemieux, you feel that it's not perfectly clear to you. You would like to see all of the amendments that have been made here in front of you. We'll arrange that, just hold on a minute here.

    I remind the committee that we have about a minute left.

    It sounds like all the members, certainly on the government side, want copies of the changes made to the amendment. That's certainly reasonable. We'll try to accommodate that.

    Monsieur Cardin.

·  (1300)  


    M. Serge Cardin: Monsieur le président, comme je l'ai mentionné en introduction, cette motion a été déposée il y a 48 heures déjà et plus. Copie en a été donnée à l'ensemble des députés, elle devrait donc être connue de l'ensemble des députés. Les modifications apportées par M. Julian ne sont quand même pas des modifications terriblement importantes, dans le sens qu'elles ne changent pas l'essence même de la motion. Elles sont plutôt pour ajuster un peu la présentation comme telle, certains éléments sont des éclaircissements. Je ne crois pas que cela change fondamentalement la motion. Les députés du gouvernement sont au courant de cette motion.


    The Chair: Monsieur Cardin, I want to make it clear that I'm not ruling the motion out of order.

    There were, I think, three or four changes made to your motion. It would have been very helpful to have had those changes prepared ahead of time if you knew this was going to happen—I guess I should be directing that at Mr. Julian—so we could have copies for all the members. The members have indicated that they're not comfortable in not having those changes.

    We're out of time for today. We're going to have to come back to this at the next meeting. Certainly if we could have the amendments, Mr. Julian, brought to the committee, that would be extremely helpful.

    Monsieur André, we are out of time.


    M. Guy André: Monsieur le président, j'aimerais proposer une motion pour poursuivre la réunion dix minutes de plus.


    The Chair: Monsieur Cardin, at the first of the meeting, I indicated that we are going to end on time, and we will. We'll start on time next time, and we'll end on time at the next meeting, too.

    Meeting adjourned.