MP Peter Julian Tables Fair Trade Bill

OTTAWA – Today, Peter Julian, NDP (New-Westminster Burnaby) tabled his Private Member’s Bill C-358, The Fair, Democratic and Sustainable Trade Act. The bill aims at a stable, rules-based global economy that supports Canadian jobs and businesses, promotes sustainable development, respects environmental laws and strengthens international cooperation.

 “After decades of free trade agreements being negotiated in secret, it is time to empower Parliament to properly assess and review binding trade deals before being asked to sign off on them,” said NDP International Trade Critic, Tracey Ramsey, MP (Essex). “Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have refused to implement the highest standards of protection for human rights, the environment and labour in their trade and investment agreements. Further, they have refused to apply an independent, comprehensive and transparent assessment to evaluate whether such agreements are in the best interests of Canadians. These are exactly the issues that Bill C-358 addresses.”

 The Fair and Sustainable Trade Act opens up a democratic review process, empowers the House of Commons, and ensures transparency with the full and informed involvement of civil society, Indigenous Peoples and labour stakeholders. Bill C-358 would equip Parliament with the information it needs to assess the economic, environmental, and social impacts of proposed trade or investment agreements. It would also require the trade and investment-making power of the executive branch to be constrained by the approval of provincial legislation, where affected. Bill C-358 also sets a Parliamentary assessment process for trade and investments treaties after they become binding on Canada.

 “Trade and investment agreements today go well beyond what most people think of as ‘trade’. They often become tools in the hands of multinationals and privileged investors to overpower the will of democratically elected governments. We are the 11th largest exporter worldwide. Yet, one-half of Canadians earn just 17.1% of the country’s total income. Trade deals should be designed and carried out for the benefit of all, not just the elite. It is time we ended the monopoly of the executive branch of the federal government to create a transparent, accountable and inclusive process,” said Julian

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