Statement made on 29 June 2012 by Senator Fernand Robichaud
Hon. Fernand Robichaud:
Honourable senators, I have something to say because I am a member of the committee that carried out the review — and I use that term loosely — of this bill.
I would like to point out that one of the witnesses who testified called this agreement "small," as the Honourable Senator Nolin did. I would instead use the term "insignificant" because it does not represent very much in the way of trade.
One of the witnesses told us that the reason we should sign this agreement and pass this bill was simply to show the world that we are open to doing business.
The government is saying that we are going to work with these people and open a dialogue, but I think that the dialogue will probably be limited, since this trade agreement itself will be limited in terms of trade with this country.
It is true that it is not a bad thing to sign the agreement, but we may have missed an opportunity, as the Honourable Senator Percy E. Downe pointed out, to have a look at an issue that is important to us: foreign workers who work in industry. If we had had the chance to have a few more committee meetings, we could have heard from more witnesses. Senators must understand that it is not easy for people who want to speak before a Senate committee to find the time to prepare a brief, because these people work and have responsibilities.
I dislike this aspect of our hearings. We should have taken a little more time to more carefully study this bill.
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