Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Albas: What is ‘progressive trade’

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP questions government’s trade plans with China

By Dan Albas

The headlines coming out of Ottawa this week were unrelenting:

“Trudeau’s trade deal with China turns into an embarrassment” and

“Trudeau breaks the three rules of doing business in China, leaves Beijing empty-handed” .

At issue was a press conference in Beijing where it was widely expected that the prime minister would announce that Canada and China were entering into formal trade talks.

That did not occur and even at the present moment it is unclear what the current status is of talks between Canada and China that are trade related.

The rumored stumbling block is the Trudeau government’s insistence on demanding what they call “progressive trade”.

What is “Progressive Trade”?

Based on the government’s own definition, it is a trade deal that also has guarantees on topics such as labour, gender and environmental rights that are not normally part of a free trade agreement.

There are many criticisms of this progressive trade policy — as an example would Canadians accept societal values from another country demanded upon us in order to accept a trade deal?

I suspect many Canadians would not.

So it is no surprise that this progressive trade approach has been rejected in NAFTA, TPP and now Chinese trade related discussions thus far.

Why does the Liberal government insist on “progressive trade” language?

It has been suggested this language is more aimed for Canadians to hear back at home, for political reasons.

Obviously this is also confusing for our potential trading partners.

However, I believe there is another aspect to this.

For example, the Trudeau Liberals have insisted on a national carbon tax here in Canada. In the event Canada enters into a free trade agreement with a country that does not have a national carbon tax, our producers and manufacturers would be at a competitive disadvantage.

Likewise Canada has significant worker protections with social programs such as EI, CPP, parental leave, medical leave, the right to collective bargaining and more. Other countries, particularly China, do not typically offer similar protections for workers. As many of these programs are funded in part by employers once again a competitive disadvantage would be created in a free trade agreement.

Canada already has a trade deficit with China of roughly $45 billion annually and growing. Obviously there many other concerns related to Chinese human rights and environmental policies or lack thereof.

In addition, past cyber-attacks on Canadian Institutions such as the National Research Council that Communications Security Establishment Canada identified as coming from a “highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor” have yet to be reference by the Trudeau Liberals as they continue to negotiate with China behind closed doors.

My question this week: are you in support of a “progressive prade” deal with China?

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similameen-Nicola.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan rinks have mixed results as BC Seniors Curling finals begin

A total of 15 rinks are competing in Vernon for right to go to nationals in Manitoba

‘The NDP of the ’90s is back’: Kelowna-Lake Country MLA voices concerns over 2020 budget

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick said the new budget is “classic NDP tax-and-spend”

Canadian Air Force joins Okanagan rescue of missing Kelowna snowmobiler

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

City of Kelowna signs UNHCR statement of solidarity with refugees

The #WithRefugees campaign invites cities working to promote inclusion and support refugees

Aquilini Group addresses heating complaints at SOPA Square in Kelowna

Some store owners have been without heat at development for up to a month

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Town of Osoyoos voices support for proposed casino

Osoyoos council voted to submit a letter of support for a proposed casino on OIB land

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read