Ottawa- The House of Commons is getting down to work with the establishment of various standing committees. One of the first to be called back to work is the important International Trade Committee which met on Wednesday. This committee is reviewing the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade agreement (CUSMA) moving through Parliament. The committee will call witnesses to testify as to the impacts this trade deal will have on Canadians. There will be presentations from lobby groups, academics, NGOs, businesses and private citizens. Eventually, the committee will table a report on CUSMA and Parliament will then vote to accept or reject this trade deal.
The people who make up the committee will determine who will present their ideas, and committee members have the right to ask questions of witnesses to highlight those ideas. It has long been recognized that Parliament needs a wide range of voices to better understand the needs of Canadians and ensure better legislation.?
While the Liberals have a diversity of committee members including 2 women MPs (Rachel Bendayan & Judy Sgro) and three visible minority MPs (Chandra Ayra, Suhk Dhaliwal & Randeep Sarai) the Conservatives, NDP and Bloc only nominated white males.
The Bloc it should be noted did nominate an MP from Quebec (Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay). The Liberal nominated as the chair of the committee the Hon Judy Sgro
Under interim leader Rona Ambrose in the last Parliament, the Conservatives made conscience efforts to offer as diverse caucus as possible. It seems that diversity stops when no one is looking. When will the NDP, Conservatives and Bloc put more women in positions of authority? This is the second committee where the three opposition parties have not nominated any women. The other is the Finance Committee.
It should be noted the Liberal government conducted a gender-based analysis of the new trade deal.