Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade AgreementPublished on 14 June 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Percy Downe
Hon. Percy E. Downe:
Can Senator Harder tell us when CETA will be implemented?
Could you advise us why there are now media reports on the stories I indicated were coming from Europe last week, that it is because of the lack of transparency of Canadian officials on what the rules and regulations will be, and it’s the old line “the devil is in the detail.”
This was noted by the Senate Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee when they submitted their report to the Senate. Transparency and openness are themes throughout the report. We heard these concerns from Canadian businesspeople, various interest groups, that they were having trouble because the Canadian officials were not forthcoming enough in their preparations. Now apparently Europeans have the same problem. Who is working on behalf of the Canadian government to have the public service be more transparent and open?
I remind Senator Harder and other colleagues that this is the second time within the last six months that the Senate has been advised of deadlines that turned out not to be real. We had the WTO with then International Trade Minister Freeland before the committee telling us there wasn’t a week to get an answer to something we wanted because Canada would be left behind. It turned out that didn’t happen until three months later.
On the subject of CETA, we heard from many people that July 1 was the date. We had to get it done as they needed four weeks to implement it. Canadian business was prepared for that. And now we find out that was not a realistic date. It’s something for colleagues to keep in mind the next time we hear the government tell us we have to do something by a certain deadline that is their deadline, not the deadline.