Politics This Morning: New trade pact with European Union goes into effect; Trudeau to address UN General Assembly

International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne is visiting Montreal Monday to mark the first day of the provisional application of CETA.The Hill Times file photo

PUBLISHED :Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 11:50 PM

Good Thursday morning,

Canada’s long-discussed trade agreement with the European Union is finally going into effect.

International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne is joining representatives from Canadian and European business interests in Montreal to commemorate the first day of the provisional application of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, known popularly as CETA.

The far-reaching agreement touches upon nearly all economic sectors, completely eliminating or reducing tariffs on most commerce conducted between the two sides. Upon the provisional application, the EU will remove 98 per cent of its tariff lines. When the deal is fully implemented, the number will jump to 99 per cent.

  

The deal also touches upon regulatory and market access issues, as well as intellectual property rights.

Today’s application commemoration is set for 10 a.m. at the Port of Montreal.

Speaking of international cooperation, it’s finally Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s big day at the United Nations.

Mr. Trudeau, who has been in New York since Tuesday, will address the UN General Assembly at 2 p.m. EST today, offering an opportunity for him to talk up Canada’s commitment to multilateralism, diversity, championing human rights, greater inclusivity, women’s empowerment, and the rules-based international order, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

  

Canada is the fifth largest donor to the UN system.

After wrapping up in New York, Mr. Trudeau is heading to the Greater Toronto Area, where he will attend a Liberal Party fundraising event at the Mississauga Convention Centre at 7:15 p.m.

Back in Ottawa, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi is convening the annual meeting of federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for infrastructure to discuss priorities for the portfolio. Mr. Sohi is likely quite familiar with his lower order colleagues, considering Ottawa has already inked a series of pacts on infrastructure with all 13 Canadian provinces and territories since the Liberals assumed office in the fall of 2015.

The meeting starts at 8:45 a.m. at the Diefenbaker Building, which once served as Ottawa’s City Hall.

  

Also in Ottawa, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien is holding a news conference at 1 p.m. EST at the National Press Theatre to discuss his annual report, expected to be tabled today in Parliament.  The report includes the commissioner’s study of the issue of consent, complete with recommendations for legislative reform and other solutions to help Canadians better control how their personal information is collected and used.

As for the Hill, members of the House Indigenous and Northern Affairs Committee will be briefed on the work being done by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The committee will hear from the four commissioners leading the inquiry during its 11 a.m. meeting in Centre Block Room 253-D.

Meanwhile, the House Finance Committee is meeting at 3:30 p.m. in Centre Block Room 237-C for more pre-budget consultations.

Collectively, 18 different committees are scheduled to meet on Thursday, including four Senate committees.

And finally, happy birthday to Independent Quebec Senator Marie-Françoise Mégie.

Have a great day!