Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade AgreementPublished on 19 September 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Percy Downe
Hon. Percy E. Downe:
My question is for Senator Harder as well. I understand from media reports that we have good news on the CETA deal, the Canada-Europe trade agreement, and I’m wondering if you can confirm the reports that it will be implemented this week.
This is certainly good news. I would just draw your attention, of course, to the little irritant that became more than a little irritant. That was that the Senate Foreign Affairs and International Trade committee finished their analysis and review of this agreement on May 10 and it was passed the next day in the Senate, on May 11, with the understanding that it would likely be implemented by July 1. There was considerable pressure in the committee to wrap up our extensive hearings.
But there were two threads in particular that were left hanging: the shipbuilding concerns, which are something we would like to pursue, and pharmaceuticals. At the end of June, I had an opportunity to speak to the European trade negotiator and he advised me that the very concerns raised at our committees regarding the regulations, the secrecy, the lack of transparency and the lack of consultation with those not involved in the secret discussions were the very concerns they had. At that point, they had put in 19 inquiries in the Government of Canada about the details.
These were the very issues raised at our committee and unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity, because of the perceived time restraints, to pursue them. That caused the delay. I think had the committee continued, a lot of these questions would have been answered to the Europeans’ satisfaction and we could have concluded earlier.