That, in the opinion of the House, given the importance of trade to Canadian jobs and long-term growth, as well as the government’s commitment to strengthen ties within North America and the Asia-Pacific region: (a) growing protectionism threatens the global economy; (b) the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the best opportunity to strengthen the multilateral trading system and develop rules that protect Canada’s economic interests; (c) the government should send a strong signal to Canadian businesses and its closest allies that it supports international commerce; (d) Canada’s position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership should not depend on political developments in the United States; (e) the government should stop prolonging consultations on this important agreement; and (f) the government should declare Canada’s final position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in time for the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa on June 29, 2016.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the trans-Pacific partnership, the largest trade agreement in the world, one in which Canada can show leadership. I have always believed that Canada must be a leader, not a laggard, on trade.
Why trade? We have to ask ourselves that question. I think most Canadians understand that Canada is one of the great trading nations of the world. We operate today in a globalized trading environment, a globalized marketplace. Whether one believes in globalization or not, no one is going to be able to turn back the hands of time on globalization. It is a fact and Canada needs to adapt.
If we were going to promote trade, the first place we would want to do that of course is under the World Trade Organization, which is the pre-eminent forum in the world for rules-based trade. However, with the rise of emerging economies, there has been a significant shift in the economic balance within the global economy. Emerging economies are flexing their muscles and it has become much more difficult to actually make headway in establishing new rules for trade at the World Trade Organization.
As that organization has become somewhat comatose and unable or unwilling to move forward with new rules to adapt to a rapidly evolving global trade environment, Canada has to seek new ways of promoting its trade interests around the world. How do we do that? There are a number of different ways.
We can certainly negotiate bilateral trade agreements and investment agreements. We have done that with many countries around the world.
We can get involved in plurilateral negotiations. Canada is involved in those as well. There are three I am thinking of specifically. One is the environmental goods agreement, where like-minded willing partners are negotiating a global agreement on services, technology, and environmental goods.
We can also get involved in regional trade negotiations. If we are not going to make headway in the short term or medium term at the World Trade Organization, the best way to do this is to bring together like-minded trade partners and like-minded investment partners and negotiate an agreement that not only eliminates tariffs on goods, but also eliminates many of the non-tariff barriers behind the borders, the ones that frustrate our exporters so much. That is essentially what the trans-Pacific partnership would do.
What is the trans-Pacific partnership? It is 12 like-minded partners. It is not only Canada. It is the United States and Mexico, our NAFTA partners. Our free trade partners, Peru and Chile, are members of that partnership. Then there are countries that we do not have free trade agreements with which are now part of the TPP, countries like Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and I would be remiss if I did not mention the third largest economy in the world, Japan.
This agreement is truly the largest trade agreement of its kind in the world. It represents somewhere in the order of 800 million consumers and somewhere around $29 trillion of the global economy. Canada needs to be part of this. What we are suggesting to the government is that rather than hiding behind the skirts of further lengthy consultations, the government should now stand up and declare its support for the TPP. That is what this motion does.
Just to be very clear, I would like to repeat the motion for the information of not only members in the House but also the many viewers who are watching these proceedings. The motion states in part:
(a) growing protectionism threatens the global economy; (b) the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the best opportunity to strengthen the multilateral trading system and develop rules that protect Canada’s economic interests; (c) the [Liberal] government should send a strong signal to Canadian businesses and its closest allies that it supports international commerce; (d) Canada’s position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership should not depend on political developments in the United States; (e) the [Liberal] government should stop prolonging consultations on this important agreement; and (f) the [Liberal] government should declare Canada’s final position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in time for the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa on June 29, 2016.
The Liberal government has gone out of its way to try to proclaim its bona fides on trade. The Liberals' record is quite poor. Members may recall that over 13 years under the Chrétien and Martin governments, they got virtually nothing done on the trade file.
It was only in 2006 that our former Conservative government embarked upon the most ambitious trade agenda Canada had ever seen. We not only embarked upon that plan, but we actually executed on that plan. Over a short period of less than 10 years, our Conservative government was able to conclude negotiations on trade agreements with an astonishing 46 different countries. The previous Liberal government's record was three small trade agreements. We got left far behind within the global trading environment. Under our government, of course, we caught up very rapidly, but we are not finished.
Now the torch has been passed to the Liberal government. The Liberals have claimed that they are supporters of free trade and supporters of trade agreements, but let us see them stand up in this House and support this agreement.
One of the reasons it is important Canada be part of the TPP is that if we are not part of it, our North American trading preferences with our NAFTA partners, Mexico and the U.S., will very rapidly be undermined. Right now we have highly integrated supply chains across our borders, where we trade freely among ourselves. That is a platform also for us exporting goods to the rest of the world, because not only do we compete with the United States and Mexico, but we also do business together. When we look at the auto industry, in the typical car that comes off the assembly line, there are parts that have crossed the Canada-U.S. border and the Mexico border more than seven times. We can see how these parts, these manufacturing inputs, flow across borders seamlessly to create prosperity for our country and for our NAFTA partners.
If we are not part of the TPP, very quickly it will be the United States and Mexico that pick up many of our trade opportunities within the Asia-Pacific region. We will lose out. We will also see our investment preferences disappear very rapidly.
Think about it. If Canada is not part of the TPP, but the United States and Mexico are, and Mexico already has a trade agreement with the EU, and the United States will very quickly have one under TTIP, think of where investment would flow. Someone making a decision to, say, invest in the auto industry is going to invest in a jurisdiction that has the best access, free trade access, to markets around the world. The United States and Mexico would have access to the European Union. They have access within the North American marketplace under NAFTA. They have access now to the Asia-Pacific region. Canada would not have that kind of broad access.
Where is investment going to flow? Not to Canada. There is a huge risk of Canada being on the outside looking in, seeing its trade opportunities rapidly eroded around the world, seeing our investment advantages rapidly eroded. Let me give an example of where this happened and why Canada has to be so assertive in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to trade.
Members may recall that the United States, the European Union, and Canada were all negotiating a free trade agreement with South Korea. We were doing it at the same time. Then something happened in Canada. We had the BSE crisis, which hit our cattle and beef industry. South Korea and countries around the world closed their markets to us temporarily, until we could assure them that our beef was safe, that it was healthy to eat. Then those markets opened, except for two markets, Taiwan and South Korea. South Korea said, “No, we don't think that your beef is safe to eat“. It was wrong. Ours is the best beef in the world. However, South Korea, for its own purposes, probably protectionist purposes, chose not to open up the market, so we had to take it to the World Trade Organization and we had to do dispute settlement.
At the end of the day, of course, Canada won, but in the meantime, we lost a couple of years in negotiations on a broader trade agreement. Of course, the European Union and the U.S. got their deals in place. Those deals were in effect in 2012.
In the subsequent year, when Canada did not have a trade agreement with South Korea, but the EU and the U.S. did, Canada lost 1.5 billion dollars' worth of exports in South Korea. That is the cost we pay when we do not actively negotiate open markets around the world for Canadian exporters and for Canadian manufacturers.
That is the risk that the Liberal government takes by not declaring its support for the trans-Pacific partnership. We want to stay ahead of the curve. We want to be leaders not laggards on trade. That is our reputation over the last 10 years. Very quickly, we see that reputation waning under the new Liberal government.
We have had strong support from stakeholders across Canada. When we were in government, we worked very closely with the provinces and territories to make sure they understood what it was we were negotiating in the TPP, to make sure they understood the benefits to each one of their provinces and territories.
We also consulted broadly with stakeholder groups and industry organizations across the country. Overwhelmingly, they supported Canada being part of the TPP. Overwhelmingly, they supported the outcome of the TPP when it was finally announced, even the supply-managed sector, which many had said were going to go to the barricades on the TPP, that they were going to hate this agreement because we were providing some marginal extra access to the Canadian marketplace for products such as chicken, eggs, turkeys, hatching eggs, and dairy.
At the end of the day, when we announced it, and we had provided them with assurances that this was not going to decimate their industry, they saw the deal in front of them and said that the Conservative government actually negotiated a pretty darn good deal. The access was limited to very small amounts coming across the border, in addition to what access they already had. In fact, I have spoken to those organizations since, and they will very quietly admit that the agreement actually ended up being much better than they had expected, and that we had done a phenomenal job of negotiating an outcome that services their industry interests.
Members may recall that we were not only able to minimize the impacts on those industries, but we also provided two packages. One of those was a compensation package to compensate those industries for any loss in quota value suffered as a result of opening the market a little more for those products. The industries embraced that.
By the way, the compensation that we announced, which we believed was fair and which those industries embraced fully, is now in doubt under this new Liberal government, which has always stood up and said that it supports supply management. The , almost daily in the House, is asked about supply management and about compensation. He stands up and says that they strongly support supply management, but the government will not actually commit to the compensation package that was negotiated as part of the TPP outcome.
The same thing is true on mitigation measures. Our American friends are very good at exploiting loopholes in our trade laws. For example, they could not get large amounts of broilers, chicken, into Canada, so what they would do is create sauce packs. The World Trade Organization rules in our NAFTA agreement are not 100% clear on whether sauce packs are included or are prohibited. The Americans would send these sauce packs across the border, circumventing the spirit of our custom controls.
There are many other loopholes that our friends to the south were exploiting. We said to the industry that we were going to do everything we could to plug those loopholes. We came up with a package, a set of promises that we were going to undertake to address those challenges.
No sooner had the new Liberal government been elected, then it was questioning whether, in fact, it would be implementing those mitigation measures. Again, the industry, the supply-managed five are very upset. They will not get assurances on the compensation package, and the federal government has not been moving forward with addressing the mitigation measures that had been promised to them.
The has boasted that his government is a champion of trade. Over the last six months, sadly, we have seen virtually no progress, no clear pronouncement on whether the Liberals support the TPP. In fact, I have been looking for any new trade agreements that the Liberals have started negotiating, and there are not any that I can tell. I am looking for new international investment treaties that the Liberals might be negotiating; I am not aware of any. Where is this claim of being champions of trade?
What the Liberals have done is they have sent a chill into our Canadian investment market and into the international investment market. They have increased taxes on Canadians. They refuse to reduce the taxes on small businesses in Canada, breaking an election promise. What they have done is add more red tape. Even yesterday in the House I spoke about how the current Liberal government and a private member are trying to impose additional red tape on our small businesses. What is the result? Despite the low dollar, our exports have lagged terribly.
In fact, I have the most recent statistics from the 's own department. In January, exports were $35 billion. That is just exports to the U.S. In February, those went down $2 billion. In March, those exports went down $2.5 billion. It is a terrible record over the last six months for the current Liberal government.
We know that the has been hobnobbing with President Obama. We know that the has been travelling all over the United States, going on talk shows—embarrassing herself there—and talking supposedly about trade. If her performance is any indicator, Canadians would be well served if she actually stayed at home and focused on the work that has to be done here to promote our trade interests because she is not getting the job done internationally. There is a tremendous failure on the part of the current Liberal government to live up to its promises on trade.
Beyond that, when we look at some of the other challenges facing Canada around the world, we see that we cannot count on a low dollar to sustain our competitiveness. We have to ensure we continue to open up markets all around the world. Let me say this. For the Liberals to wait for the U.S. to ratify TPP is an abject abdication of their responsibility to be leaders not laggards in trade. What we are doing is calling upon the current Liberal government to move forward and to boldly pronounce at the three amigos summit on June 29 that Canada will be supporting the TPP. President Obama has done that. The Americans have already said they support the TPP.
Here we are as Canadians, and our government just will not tell Canadians where it stands. Can members imagine the leadership we could show by standing up and saying that we believe trade is good for Canada; that we believe open markets around the world are good for Canada; that we support this largest trade agreement of its kind in the world and we are part of it; and, that we are setting the rules for 21st-century trade within the Asia-Pacific region? Would that not be an amazing pronouncement to make?
Right now, it is not looking good on the Liberal side when it comes to trade, with declining trade performance and declining investment performance. This is one thing we can do to actually generate this thing that is perhaps the most significant driver of economic prosperity in Canada.
It is no longer appropriate for the current Liberal government to hide behind the skirts of consultations. There were comprehensive consultations that took place before the agreement was signed. There have been comprehensive consultations that have taken place post-TPP being concluded. It is time to step up and let the world know, let Canadians know, and let our partners and allies know where we stand on trade.
What would this achieve? It would assist the U.S. in its own ongoing work of ratifying the agreement. It would restore waning public confidence in the Liberal government's commitment to a robust trade agenda, and it would restore Canada's reputation as a trustworthy global leader on trade, not a laggard.
I am very pleased to be able to promote this agreement. It would be a transformational agreement for Canadians and for exporters. It would also be a transformational agreement for Canada's consumers, who would benefit from lower prices because of the elimination of tariffs.
I strongly encourage the Liberal government to step up, speak to this agreement, and say, “Yes, we support the TPP.”
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this very important topic.
Canada is a trading nation and our government understands the importance of trade for economic growth for a strong and prosperous middle class. In fact, our country depends on global trade. Trade opens markets for Canadian goods and services, helps Canadian businesses expand, fosters innovation, strengthens our economy and provides Canadians with opportunities in markets around the world.
When we assumed office, the damage that the Conservatives had inflicted on Canada's standing in the world was glaring. They had failed to promote Canada's interests abroad, especially with our most important trading partner, the United States.
COOL, country of original labelling, is a prime example of the damage the Conservatives did to our relationship with the U.S. For years our beef and pork farmers suffered from punitive, unfair U.S. country of origin labelling provisions, while the previous government stood by and did nothing. The resolved the issue in her first eight weeks in office.
The former prime minister even cancelled the three amigos summit, an important forum for advancing key files of Canadian interest. We cannot advance issues if we do not have the meetings, and we have corrected that. We will have a three amigos summit soon.
Keystone XL is yet another example of the Conservative failure to promote Canadian interests with our southern neighbours. On the thinning border with the United States, it was our government that finally made substantial progress during the state visit in Washington, D.C. on March 10.
It is the same story with Europe. Despite all the fancy parties and the champagne photo ops, the previous government failed to have CETA signed and implemented. When we assumed office, the deal was completely stalled. However, yet again the new 's progressive approach to free trade is what allowed us to build support for CETA on both sides of the Atlantic and to get the deal back on track and signed.
In short, in the 10 years in office, the previous Conservative government displayed a fundamental misunderstanding of geopolitics and of the importance of the Canada-U.S. relationship in particular.
Trade agreements are an important means by which the Government of Canada can open new markets and level the playing field for Canadian business, while providing predictable and transparent international rules for exporters and investors. However, we need to ensure that our trade agreements are in Canada's best interest.
With respect to the TPP, the government is committed to being fully transparent and open with Canadians, and to hearing what Canadians have to say on the merits of the TPP. We are conducting extensive consultations to provide Canadians the opportunity to have their views heard. The , myself, cabinet colleagues and government officials have met with Canadians across Canada. Unlike the previous government, we are meeting with people who disagree with the accord, and we will continue to do so before the government considers whether to ratify the agreement.
To date, we have learned that some Canadians feel the TPP represent significant opportunities. Others have serious concerns with aspects of the agreement, and many have simply not yet made up their minds. These different perspectives speak to the importance of ongoing consultations.
The government signed the TPP this past February to ensure that Canada would remain at the table to give the government the opportunity to continue consulting Canadians. Signing the TPP was only a first step that did not amount to ratification by our government.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade is also holding its own consultations on the TPP and has been travelling across the country as part of its outreach. The committee has already held hearing in eight cities across the country. Today it is in Windsor, Ontario, meeting with representatives of labour, automotive, agriculture and business sectors. In addition, that committee is accepting written submissions from anyone who wishes to share his or her views.
We promised to hold consultations, and we are keeping that promise. Since November, we have organized over 250 consultations with more than 400 different stakeholders. In addition, the government has received over 20,000 letters and emails as part of the consultation process. The and I have visited over a dozen cities across Canada to hear what Canadians think about the TPP. Consultations were held in Edmonton, Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Oakville, Windsor, Regina, Winnipeg, Quebec City, St. John's, Fredericton, Charlottetown, and Guelph.
During our visits, we held meetings, round tables, site visits, and town halls. Hundreds of Canadians shared their opinions with us during this process.
Canadians from all kinds of backgrounds participated in the consultations. We heard from provincial representatives, business women, innovation companies, farmers, think tanks, the forestry and lumber sector, the fish and seafood sector, environmental groups, small and medium-sized businesses, unions, auto workers, auto parts manufacturers, port authorities, academics, students, and business leaders.
Over the coming weeks, the will be organizing a public meeting in Toronto for May 25 and another in Montreal for June 6. We invite everyone to take part and share their points of view on the TPP. We will do everything we can to give Canadians an opportunity to study the agreement, ask questions, and tell us whether they think it will be good for the people of this country.
Let me summarize some of the comments we received. As I mentioned earlier, although some people said they support the TPP, other people expressed some concerns. For instance, civil society organizations and unions are concerned about the impact the agreement will have on jobs in Canada, the scope of application of the investor state dispute settlement mechanism and certain provisions regarding intellectual property. Some people are saying that Canada should call off the signing of the agreement altogether.
Still, other stakeholders are urging Canada to ratify the agreement as quickly as possible. More specifically, Canadian companies that are export oriented and some industry associations support the agreement. Those players see the TPP as an essential tool that will allow Canadian businesses to compete in Asia-Pacific countries, a region that is going through a period of strong economic growth, and to access priority markets or increase their presence in those markets.
The impact of TPP rules on intellectual property and innovation in Canada is another subject that people cannot seem to agree on. Some people believe that these rules will stifle innovation. Others have talked about potential benefits, including a more predictable rules-based system to protect the intellectual property of Canadians who are engaged in trade in the region.
We have heard that the TPP could cause significant job losses in the auto sector. However, we have also heard some say that the TPP provides the sector with an opportunity to penetrate new markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
When it comes to labour and services, the government has heard from representatives who are certain that the TPP would create opportunities for Canadian service providers seeking to expand their activities in the Asia-Pacific region. Other stakeholders are concerned that the TPP would make foreign workers more competitive.
The government has held consultations with the agriculture and agri-food sector with a focus on exports and Canada's supply management system. We also heard about the opportunities that the TPP would create for Canada's beef, pork, canola, and pulse industries. However, we have also heard concerns over the repercussions that the TPP might have on supply-managed sectors.
Each of these consultations has contributed to an important pan-Canadian dialogue on the spinoffs from the TPP, and will continue to do so. The purpose of the consultations is to understand the point of view of Canadians and Parliament, and to conduct an exhaustive assessment of the benefits of the TPP and its possible spinoffs.
So far, these consultations have been quite instructive. They will continue. No timeline has been set yet for the consultation process.
I want to point out that signing the TPP was just the official start of the government's review of the agreement. The government will weigh the results of the consultations before deciding whether to ratify the TPP or not.
This is a complex agreement and it takes time to conduct a thorough review. It is important and encouraging that Canadians are pressing us for more information about the repercussions that this agreement will have on Canadians in every region and every sector.
I will now talk about some next steps.
According to the terms of the TPP agreement itself, countries have two years to complete their domestic ratification process. Following that two-year period, a smaller group of at least six countries could bring the agreement into force, provided that they together account for at least 85% of the combined GDP of the TPP countries. This requires the U.S. and Japan to bring the agreement into force. As of today, no TPP country has ratified the agreement.
When the met with all TPP ministers on the margins of the TPP signature event in New Zealand in February, she relayed the importance that the Canadian government places on transparency and public consultations for the TPP. When the minister meets again with her counterparts next week on the margins of the APEC trade ministers meeting in Peru, she will convey the same message.
As part of our objective to consult with Canadians, the Global Affairs Canada website for the TPP is currently under review, and updates will be available over the coming weeks. However, the website remains active, and I would encourage all Canadians to submit any public inquiries through the consultation portal on the website. They will also find the full TPP text, which is available in both English and French. I would also encourage Canadians to follow our continued consultations over the coming months.
As a trading nation, Canada's economic growth is directly linked to international trade. The government strongly supports free trade as a way to open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, and create good-paying middle-class jobs.
The government has committed to bringing forward the TPP to a debate and discussion here in this House, so that we can hear from parliamentarians. The fact is, we have committed to open consultations with all groups, whether they are opposed to the TPP or for the TPP, and that marks a significant departure from the previous government. It is a promise we made during the election campaign, and it is one that we are seeing through.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the excellent and highly respected member for .
I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in the House to speak to this opposition motion concerning the trans-Pacific partnership. I have to admit that I find the debate very amusing. In fact, both the government and the official opposition are arguing and quibbling about which one of them is the staunchest supporter of free trade. I believe this is going to make for an interesting day, but we are losing sight of the crux of the matter. What we are presently debating is a trade agreement, which is simply a contract between various nations that establishes terms and conditions, in this case, for trade. We can support trade agreements and recognize that Canada is a nation whose economy depends on trade and, at the same time, disagree with the terms of the contract.
When Conservatives and Liberals negotiate trade agreements, it seems that the details are not very important. This debate is about whether we should or should not sign the contract without even looking at the details.
I find this particularly interesting because the current government and the previous government made accusations implying that we approve or reject agreements without even having read them, which is completely untrue. We learned about the details of the trans-Pacific partnership during the election campaign, since the agreement was announced during the campaign. I remind members that this agreement was negotiated behind closed doors and that we knew nothing about it before the campaign. We therefore had enough problems with the agreement that we were able to take a stance on it.
I find it quite interesting to hear the accuse us of having made up our minds without even having read the agreement. I remember very well that during the previous Parliament, in which I served, the Conservative prime minister showed up with a signed agreement with the European Union and announced it to the House. In his first question in the House, the member for , who was the Liberal leader at the time, congratulated the prime minister on signing the agreement, saying that the Liberal Party would support it and asking when the Liberals would have access to the agreement.
We will therefore take no lessons from either side about the NDP's positions on extremely important contracts. I believe that such agreements should be assessed on the basis of their content and their consequences.
There are problems with this agreement. I listened carefully to the speech given by my colleague, the parliamentary secretary. I thank him for mentioning the supposed strengths and weaknesses of this bill. However, there are other factors that he did not mention. One of them is of particular concern to me.
People generally expect a trade agreement, or a contract between nations to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers, to have to do with trade. However, the agreement in question contains clauses that will affect specific aspects of people's daily lives, and so far, those clauses have not been talked about here in the House as part of the debate on the trans-Pacific partnership.
Privacy is one such issue. Right now, Canadian data, such as banking information and confidential information, are stored on Canadian servers, which are obviously not accessible to the United States at the moment and do not fall within the scope of the USA PATRIOT Act. However, the provision that requires these types of data to be stored on Canadian servers may be removed. It is therefore quite likely that these data could be stored on servers on American soil, where they would be accessible to American security intelligence agencies. That means that the CIA and other agencies would have access to these data under the USA PATRIOT Act. Are Canadians aware of that? I do not think so because Canadians assume that trade agreements have to do with tariff and non-tariff barriers.
My colleague from asked an excellent question. We have a non-reciprocal agreement with regard to the auto industry.
Tariffs will be phased out over a period of 20 years for the U.S. auto sector and 12 years for Malaysia, but that phase will be just five years long for Canada. Not only does this agreement lack reciprocity, but the Canadian and U.S. sectors are closely integrated. Having two different tariff elimination timelines, one over a 20-year period and the other over a five-year period, will cause huge problems for the industry and jeopardize its integrated nature. This will cause problems that do not get a lot of air time in the House.
Moreover, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Conservatives and the Liberals have an agreement about takeovers, which are subject to a strategic review if they hit a certain threshold. The agreement will raise that threshold to allow more foreign takeovers without prior review by the government and what used to be called the Department of Industry. That is a problem because some takeovers affect strategic sectors here. More and more of these kinds of acquisitions will not have to undergo a review to assess their impact on Canada.
I have my eye on both parties, but I will be paying particular attention to the current government. Federal assistance to Bombardier comes with strings attached by this government. I do not take issue with the need for such conditions to ensure that Canada's investment includes oversight of Bombardier's operations. We agree on that. This is similar to the model that was proposed and applied by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. However, it bothers me when the government tries to use this assistance to change the share ownership structure at Bombardier in order to get rid of multiple voting shares.
We could argue about the effectiveness of this system, which has served Quebec well so far. This system is used mainly in Quebec. However, getting rid of multiple voting shares paves the way for foreign takeovers. I cannot figure out why the government would want to impose a condition to make foreign takeovers easier when we see what is happening right now with Rona and Couche-Tard. Multiple voting shares in those companies may be eliminated if nothing changes, making it easier for a takeover to occur.
As I was saying, we need to know the ins and outs of this agreement. An impact study is needed in order to analyze the details. Independent studies have estimated that Canada will lose about 60,000 jobs if the agreement is ratified, and 20,000 of those jobs will be in the auto sector. This is an important issue that needs to be raised. If the government has already done a study regarding the impact of such an agreement on the Canadian economy, it should be made public so that Canadians can see it. So far, they have been left in the dark.
In light of the many debates that have taken place in recent years on the trans-Pacific partnership and the treaty with the European Union, I have to admit that it seems as though the dice are loaded. The government can talk all it wants about consultation, but that means nothing if it is done only for appearances' sake and if the decision has already been made. This is also known as paying lip service.
We have consulted, but we have decided.
It is all smoke and mirrors when it comes to the much-touted consultation. In fact, much of the consultation mentioned by the government took place as part of the proceedings of the Standing Committee on International Trade. The government is taking credit for it, but it would have happened anyway.
What is more, I seriously doubt that all 20,000 emails and letters people sent will be translated into the other official language, for one thing, or seriously considered by the government, for another thing. To hear the and the Conservatives talk about the agreement, it is clear that a decision has already been made and that this exercise is basically a charade so that the government looks good and appears more open for having done this consultation.
The bottom line is that the decision has been made. That is extremely unfortunate because it means that we will not get to hold a very important debate about the provisions and the consequences of the agreement. If a study has been conducted on the economic impact that this agreement will have on Canada and our economy, I appeal to the government to immediately make it public.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on such an important debate in the House. I thank my colleague for his intervention and his work on finance. It is very important for many reasons, but the depth of the file is very important to Canadians especially given what we are seeing here today.
I am currently diagnosed with red-green colour blindness, but I now can see quite clearly that I have red-blue colour blindness with regard to this chamber because what we are seeing is a continuation of policies. I give the former minister of trade credit for being very clear about his position on this, even though we disagree, and hence the motion coming forward today.
The Liberal position is clearly middle ground, trying to reach but making no sense considering what is happening right now. I would like to thank the member for in particular. She has been travelling this country with the trade committee. It is interesting to hear a parliamentary secretary or a minister talk about using a committee as a vehicle or a reason to take action and later on talk about how committees are their own masters in deciding what they want to do independently. Again, it is the suck and blow type of approach the Liberals have on this type of issue. They use it for benefit at one point, and later on when it becomes a problem for them, they distance themselves from it.
As people listen to this debate the Liberal position is peculiar because they are saying they are having consultations across the country in different formats, whether it be meetings or the input coming in, but then they are here admittedly with an agreement that does not require or can never really have any real meaningful consultations right now because the agreement cannot be amended. In the first hour of debate we heard that.
Of particular concern to me and many Canadians because it is a significant employer, a value-added employer with innovation, which we are struggling to move forward in terms of developing the economy and having value-added jobs and services available, is that the auto industry is particularly at risk with this deal. In fact, this is so much so that when the deal was proposed, the auto industry was offered up as a sacrificial lamb for other types of industries, as in many other deals, despite the fact that in the trade agreement the vast majority of tariff issues do not exist with most of these countries.
The former minister of international trade talked very importantly about non-tariff barriers, which are critical to any trade agreement. We have seen that in the South Korea trade agreement with the United States, and now with the Canada and South Korea trade agreement, in regard to the auto industry. What is meant by non-tariff barriers is that, for example, in the auto industry tariffs go down to export into that country, but they make it more difficult to export into that country through regulations, other fees, and the difficulties supporting that import post-sale. It is a more difficult to set up dealerships. Importing parts and importing service standards are more difficult, all that becomes heightened. We end up with a consumer over there looking at a product that comes from Canada that competes on price and value, but if it cannot be fixed or serviced, that is a huge problem. That consumer will decide not to purchase that vehicle. Hence, the disaster that has been going on.
There were meetings in Windsor yesterday between the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Unifor. I thank the leadership of those organizations for hosting a round table, which included the Province of Ontario, as well as Mr. Tanguay, the auto czar for Ontario, that called again for a national strategy for the automotive sector. That is a common thing for manufacturing, to have that structure in place to support a national vision.
Ironically, the Liberals call for it, despite never implementing it when they controlled, or at least held government in many provinces. Their dysfunctional relationship with their provincial cousins is also more clear and evident with the TPP. They have dysfunctionality with the provincial cousins to the point of hostility, with Kathleen Wynne, the premier, expressing concerns about some of the auto sector and the agricultural issues around supply management.
We see it with Brad Duguid, another Ontario minister, who says:
We have concerns about the provisions in the agreement with regard to auto.... In particular, the provisions where tariffs will be reduced in Canada to zero in five years, and in the U.S. it’s 25 years.
That’s an unlevel playing field and we think the federal government failed to negotiate effectively on that measure.
What we are left with is that, despite the auto integration that we have with the United States, the continual struggle to keep that is so important for manufacturing. If one is not familiar with the auto sector, a vehicle could literally cross back and forth many times as it is being built to reach the final product, because we have that high level of integration. With that high level of integration, we have a lot of expertise and jobs to protect, because it is clearly important for retooling and future jobs.
How is it we have the importation of vehicles under NAFTA? We were talking about the three amigos summit previously. That is what the government was talking about and how important that is. We have Mexico, the United States, and Canada with pretty well an integrated automotive sector, but the United States gets 25 years in the same agreement of exemption on the auto industry and we get five.
Trade agreements are just that. We all support trade. We all do it from early ages to later on as adults. I remember that when I was trading a Gretzky rookie card, I knew not to get a Dave Semenko card. I have nothing against Dave Semenko; I am a goalie, so I like those kinds of players around me, especially when the crease gets hot. However, the reality is that there is a certain value on one versus the other. But that is what we got.
Imagine then that we have the international powerhouse of Malaysia versus Canada. Malaysia gets 12 years, more than twice that of Canada. It is insulting, coming from a city that helped found the auto industry with the Ford Motor Company and others, to have a country like Malaysia outmanoeuvre the then-Conservative government.
That is why a national auto strategy is important, because trade agreements affect all the investments that we make, whether it be labour investments, incentives, or tax reductions, all those policies and investments by all of us across Canada make a difference. What do we do with this? We undermine all those investments: training opportunities; people going to school, college, university; high-end development of a future; patent development; innovation that actually branches out beyond the auto industry. Look at Auto 21 in Windsor, where many of the auto manufacturing issues led to spinoffs to other patents in the development of technology. All of those things are put at risk for the great unknown.
The Liberals know there is a problem, because they talk about $1 billion to the auto industry for amelioration, but they have not said how or when and they have not put it in their budget.
The end consequence is this. We put at risk so much that we have publicly invested in as capital, training, in the future of innovation, and the manufacturing industry, without even a study, a peek, or a glimpse of the consequences, and we have been out-negotiated. There is no way around it.
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for .
It is an honour to come to this House to speak to something that is quite significant for my riding of . I am going to focus on my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, which is in southwestern Ontario. It is a little bigger than the province of Prince Edward Island. Prince Edward Island is a beautiful province, as is the riding of . It is made up of small towns, small businesses, and energetic people. The largest urban area has 14,000 people. I know that in some of the ridings around here, members can jump on a bicycle and go around their riding in 15 minutes. They likely have as many constituents in a couple of high-rises that I may have in my whole riding.
Let me tell members the significance of the trans-Pacific partnership. I happened to be on the international trade committee at the time of the trade discussions on CETA and the TPP, and also the agriculture committee. International trade, agriculture, and have so much in common. The business of my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex is agriculture and includes many of the supporting industries that make agriculture so significant and also very successful. They have had successful years because we as a Conservative government always took the lead in determining what we could do for those industries and manufacturers in our province and in our country. What is the purpose of these trade agreements?
I want to thank the member for , the previous minister of international trade, so much. A comment came from across the aisle a little while ago about the new travelling around. I think she might want to stop some of the travel to the vanity shows in Hollywood and actually call the previous minister, the member for , to find out how to work with countries around the world and successfully walk through win-win situations for those countries involved, including Canada, to sign some 46 trade agreements.
I will go back to the start. What is the purpose of these agreements?
Actually, to boil it down—and that is what I like to do; in my business of agriculture, we like to get to the point—it is about jobs. We create trade. That is what the trans-Pacific partnership and CETA are about. To my colleague across the way who took the credit for COOL, I am glad that somebody bought the pen for them so that they can sign the work that was done that got COOL resolved. That is actually what they are doing now. Whether it is with CETA or the TPP, we need to just give them the pen, because all the work has been done, to get the job in place, so that people in , in fact in all of Ontario and across this country can move forward, be competitive, and be a part of the largest trade pact in the world.
The NDP actually does not support any trade, but I want to talk about the significance of what the Liberals are creating by delaying moving forward on this. It is all about investments.
In Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, and across this country, we have investors of all sizes. We have investors who come in and make parts for the auto industry. In my riding, they make parts for the aerospace industry. They do not sell directly to the aerospace, car, or truck manufacturers; rather, they make the parts for a company that further produces an end product. Every day they get up, go to work, do their job. They work with this. If we continue to build trade, these companies in our ridings will continue to grow.
In my riding, there was a small tool and die manufacturer, a family-run business, which made parts for the auto industry. It was a third-generation family, and the youngest had taken the lead responsibility for the business. When the recession came, they announced the expansion of their business. I said to the grandfather, the founder, “This is quite amazing to think that this is off the main roads of Ontario and Middlesex centre. How does this work? We are in a recession and you are actually expanding.” He said, “It's because of that young guy over there”, and he pointed to his grandson. “He researched what we could do with respect to ventures for small businesses to grow and open markets so that we could be competitive with our production and get into markets that were not hindered as much by certain tariffs.”
We went through this whole debate with respect to the trans-Pacific partnership. I sat on the committees. I will focus on agriculture because it is my passion and because all of the businesses in my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex benefit from it. The auto industry is also doing amazingly well, but they do amazingly well when agriculture does well because agriculture tends to buy a number of vehicles, as do the agriculture equipment dealers. I want to touch on how important it is for these businesses to have access to opportunities to move forward.
At committee we heard from Ontario stakeholders, commodity organizations, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, and the beef, pork and canola farmers from across Canada, anything in agriculture, from direct producers to those who were in processing. I will admit that some of the processors were faced with the challenge of being able to meet some of the demands. I think we need to fix some of those terms with respect to labour. We all agree on that.
My time for debate is wrapping up, so I will close by saying that this is an opportunity for the Liberal government, the Government of Canada, to step forward and be a leader. It is not the time to take away from investments. It is not the time to take away credit from those investors who are waiting. They say that Ontario is an opportunity, and that Canada is an incredible opportunity. We have seen that in past trade agreements.
My plea to members is this. I see some members of the agriculture committee sitting across the way. I appreciate that they have taken the time to be a part of this, because we know the significance of this agreement to our greatest and largest industry in Canada right now. Therefore, I would just ask that they use their influence not only with the but also with the trade minister to put the pen to paper and get it done so that investment and growth in this great country can proceed with another great trade agreement.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for has been in the House for 14 years and we cannot figure out how to modulate his volume when he gives speeches. He is very loud, but very passionate.
Canada is a trading nation and from our earliest days we have focused on trade. Whether it was the indigenous peoples trading furs and fish with some of the earliest explorers to the forming of the company of adventurers of England trading, which we now know as the Hudson's Bay Company, Canada has always been a trading nation.
Today I want to talk a bit about my riding, the Asia-Pacific region, and how this agreement will be core to Canada's growth.
As I mentioned, Canada is a trading nation, and the rapid economic growth of the Asia-Pacific countries is and has been reshaping our global trade flows for quite some time. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to represent two-thirds of the world's middle class by 2030 and one half of the global GDP by 2050.
The trans-Pacific partnership agreement would ensure that Canada would be the only G7 nation with free trade access to all of the U.S., as well as the Americas and the Europe and Asia-Pacific continents, granting access to over 60% of the world's economy, a market of over 800 million consumers, with a GDP of over $29 trillion. Add that to our market of already 500 million consumers.
The TPP agreement would do so much more than that. It would protect and create jobs, economic opportunities, and financial security for workers and businesses in all regions of Canada. I find it humorous that our colleagues in the NDP continue to talk about fighting for jobs. Those very jobs that they are fighting for are predicated on having business and trade. We all have cellphones. The New Democrats are against trade, but the cellphones they have are here because of trade. The computers they have are here because of trade.
In my very first speech in the House, I spoke about my riding of Cariboo—Prince George, which is adjacent to the riding of my hon. colleague from . In our combined ridings, there is the port of Prince Rupert, the closest and fastest marine port to Asia, which allows the competitive advantage that our goods can travel one to two days faster to Asia than any other west coast port. It means that Canada has a competitive advantage in trade.
Our ridings also have the fastest and greenest road and rail networks into the U.S. Midwest markets, running straight through my region. There is also the airport that I am so proud to say I was part of building and marketing in my region for so long. It has one of the largest runways in Canada. By air, it is equidistant to Europe and Asia. We can compete on the global trade market. We can compete on the global transportation market. Those are just a few of Canada's competitive trade advantages in and near my riding.
I come from the beautiful province of British Columbia, which has one of Canada's largest ports, the Port Metro Vancouver. It is North America's most diversified port. It trades up to $75 billion in goods with more than 160 trading partners. It is substantial.
B.C.'s economy is leading our nation. Why? Because we are taking advantage of the competitive advantages that we have and because of the Conservative government previously opening the doors for trade and allowing investment in our ports, airports, and transportation routes. The Liberal government is narrow-minded and not thinking it through. It is putting us further and further behind. We have said this before. We need to lead, not lag because we will fall further behind. We are falling further behind already in the past six months.
I raise all of these points because our nation is dependent on resource development. Our economy is predicated on trading the commodities we produce, and the government has failed to place any importance on this.
As a mid-sized economy, Canada is better when we have multilateral rules to protect our economic interests so we diversify the markets that we are dependent upon, so we are not putting all of our eggs in one basket.
More important, trade represents an opportunity for us to grow our economy without spending billions of dollars we do not have, although I think the government has already done that. The Liberals continue to spend billions of dollars with no plan to get us out of deficit, to find a way for us to grow our economy. We have two significant agreements on the table today, the softwood lumber agreement and the TPP, which the government continues to vacillate on and take its time. As it does that, we continue to lag further and further behind.
As I have mentioned before, Canada is a nation built on exports. We are a trading nation, and I think we can all agree on that. We need free trade. We need to access markets around the world. Given the opportunity, Canadian producers can thrive. It was our Conservative government that recognized this opportunity.
The former government met with farmers, manufacturers, the auto industry, just to name a few. All that to say the work that was put in prior to the Liberals taking office set them up very well. They are taking credit for COOL, but it was the work of the Conservative government and our former trade minister that set them up well so they could take advantage of that. It was the Conservative government that looked out for Canada's interests. We set Canada up for the future.
I would like to use a hockey term, which I have mentioned before. I am a diehard hockey fan and sadly there are no Canadian teams in the playoffs. We see a government that for six months has taken every opportunity to “rag the puck” on one of the most important trade agreements in modern history.
The and the have both publicly stated that the Liberal party is pro-free trade. They fly that banner. With all the travel they have done across the border, the state dinners, etc., they have yet to come back with one signed agreement.
The last time the Liberals were in power they neglected this crucial file. Since 2006, the previous Conservative government signed free trade agreements with 46 countries compared to 5 from the previous Liberal government; that is 46 to 5, which almost sounds like a Canada versus Belarus hockey game.
Under our Conservative government, Canada became a global leader on trade liberalization and in the fight against protectionism. Ratifying the trans-Pacific partnership at this time would give the Liberals the opportunity to prove that they really are serious about the file, that they really are serious about trade in our country, that they really are serious about growing Canada, about protecting high-quality, well-paying jobs, about looking out for Canadians who work in the industries that are the backbone of our country. One in five jobs is tied to trade. Canada needs to lead, not lag.
I know my time is short but let me get one thing very clear. Throughout the TPP negotiations, the Conservative government kept Canadians informed. We consulted extensively to assure the agreement would meet the needs of Canadians. We received valuable input and we adjusted. We took the information they gave us into consideration and we adjusted our stance.
I want to bring up a few names that were in support: The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade; the Mining Association of BC; the Council of Forest Industries; the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; the Canadian Cattlemen's Association; the Agri-Food Trade Alliance. The Agri-Food Trade Alliance said this was an historic moment for Canadians and Canadian families that were dependent on the agri-food industry. However, the government would not understand that.
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in this House today.
Canada is a trading nation. International trade and investment are very important to Canada and Canadians. International trade and investment are essential to our standard of living and to improving the standard of living of people all over the world.
Trade helps us open markets to Canadian goods and services, promote the growth of exporters, create jobs, and give Canadian consumers more choice and lower prices.
Trade accounts for more than 60% of Canada's GDP. One out of five jobs in Canada is tied to Canadian exports. Exporting companies pay 14% higher wages than companies that do not export.
Free trade agreements do not just connect Canada to the rest of the world. They also guide our economic growth. Just look at the North American Free Trade Agreement, which gave rise to 3.4% growth in Canada, or the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement, which is expected to increase Canada's GDP by 0.77%.
At a time of stagnant economic growth around the world, this boost from trade is especially valuable.
Trade is important across all regions of our country. In the Atlantic provinces, trade represents almost 74% of the region's GDP. In Ontario, total trade as a share of GDP is 71%. In B.C., almost 40% of exports are destined for the high-growth Asia-Pacific markets.
Canadians are traders, and our government energetically supports trade. Our party was elected on a pro-trade platform, and we will continue to support and work for high-quality trade agreements and opportunities. When the U.S. adopted discriminatory labelling practices that disrupted supply chains for our beef and pork producers, it was the enforcement of international trade rules at the WTO that gave our government, working closely with Mexico, the opportunity to fight back against U.S. protectionism. And, we won. That was a victory for multilateralism. It was a victory for Canada. It was a victory for beef and pork producers. I was proud to engage in that fight and to win it just eight weeks after we formed government.
Protectionist actions by our trading partners harm the Canadian economy. Maintaining an open, predictable, and fair international trading system is essential. Canadians understand this. However, it is also undeniable, as today's motion itself argues, that we are living in a time when protectionist sentiment is rising around the world. Since taking office, I have spoken to hundreds of Canadians about trade, including 84 interactions with 209 stakeholders on the TPP specifically.
Canadians want to be involved in the conversation. Important questions about how we negotiate trade agreements have been raised many times. Canadians are particularly concerned about the lack of transparency and consultation.
People feel that the previous government did not consult Canadians enough. That is why our government is so committed to building strong political consensus about progressive international trade.
That democratic, consultative approach is the only way to maintain public support for trade in this protectionist era, and it is the right thing to do.
Considering CETA, our work on this landmark agreement should leave no doubt about our commitment to free, fair, and progressive trade, and of our ability to get deals done. Early in our mandate, we recognized the importance of our relationship to Europe. We also recognized the clear need for progressive improvements if this deal were to be implemented. We responded to Canadians, to EU citizens, and to our businesses. We responded to concerns about fairness and transparency. As a result, this progressive trade agreement now enjoys wide support on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the investment chapter, we strengthened the right to regulate. This is something I am very proud and pleased to do. The sovereign right of democratically elected governments to regulate, in particular on issues like the environment, is something Canadians believe in, and so do Europeans. The secondary issue where we made important modifications was to the dispute resolution process. We made the system more ethical, more fair, and more transparent. I am proud of that too.
Last month, I travelled to Brussels and to Berlin to promote CETA, and I was very encouraged by what I heard. I was delighted to meet with the German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the country's Social Democrats. He previously had concerns about CETA, but said at a press conference, alongside me, that “it is clearly a good agreement”. He called the new CETA a sign of good governance, consumer protection, environmental protection, and employee rights.
In June 2015, Matthias Fekl, France's minister of state for foreign trade, said that if France's proposals on the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism “are not taken into account, there will be no majority in France to ratify this treaty”. Thanks to our government's work, Mr. Fekl said that the comprehensive economic and trade agreement, CETA, is actually “a good agreement”.
Our work on CETA should leave no doubt as to our commitment to trade. It is concrete proof that our progressive approach can get deals done where the Conservatives failed to get the puck in the net, notwithstanding the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars they spent celebrating an unfinished, troubled deal.
Now turning to the TPP, many of us were at the unveiling yesterday of the portrait of the Right Hon. Paul Martin, a man I am proud to call my friend. The comments he made yesterday bear directly on this issue. Let me quote them.
Parliament is important. [...] And I believe if Canadians are to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead in this ever-changing world, they will have to be presented with the choices before them. [...] And that means that Parliament must reclaim centre stage as the place where those choices are made.
Mr. Martin went on to say he applauded us, this Parliament for wanting to restore Canada's Parliament “to its proper function as the locus of the nation's great debate”. He continued on to say that he believes that parliamentary committees are one of the most valuable instruments that can be there, both for the government and for the opposition. I could not agree more, and I quote him for the parliamentary record for one particular reason.
I am very pleased that members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade are touring the country as we speak to consult Canadians in their own communities about the trans-Pacific partnership.
Today, committee members are in Windsor listening to Canadians. This week, they were in Montreal and Quebec City. Tomorrow, they will be in my city, Toronto. Last month, they talked to residents of Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg.
The committee is also urging Canadians to submit their views in writing, and I hope people will do so.
I applaud the leadership of this committee and its members from all parties. In the words of our 21st Prime Minister, this committee is embracing “the inherent strength of a Parliament that sends its committees out to meet the people.”
Our government has held consultations with over 400 stakeholders from across the country on the TPP. Over the next few weeks, I will personally be hosting two more town halls, one in Toronto and one in Montreal.
Canadians' views about this deal are particularly important because of the secretive and closed approach of the previous government. The Conservatives did not consult the essential groups, including, shockingly, trade unions. Even the car parts sector, which in 2015 shipped over $25-billion worth of goods, was shut out.
Do not trust me on this. Listen to Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, who recently said to the press:
No one in a position of authority invested in industry consultation before being dealt a terrible hand by major trading partners that did not have Canadian interests at heart when they negotiated the terms in our absence.
That was wrong. Our made a clear commitment in the campaign to ensure Canadians' voices would be heard. In fact, one of the first consultations I held on the TPP as minister was on November 30 with the auto parts manufacturers.
While we cannot make up for Canadians having been left in the dark by the Conservatives, we can provide opportunities for their views to be heard and considered now. We have the time to hold these essential discussions. Under the terms of the TPP agreement, all 12 signatories have until February 2018 to debate and discuss the agreement at home. That is what our partners are doing.
It is important for this House to understand that none of the 11 other TPP countries have yet ratified the agreement. Japan and Australia, in fact, will hold elections before moving ahead with their domestic processes. The U.S. is likely to do so as well.
The Conservatives know this, and the Conservatives should explain why they are today urging that Canadians alone do not deserve to have their voices heard.
Let me finish where I started. We are a trading nation. Trade is essential to our prosperity, to our standard of living, to growth, and to good-paying middle-class jobs. An open, transparent, fully democratic debate to inform an inclusive approach to trade is the only way to ensure that we are a successful trading nation in the 21st century and that we can beat back the waves of protectionism that are consuming so many other countries.
That is why it is essential to give Canadians an opportunity to debate and discuss the TPP, and that is exactly what we are doing.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from .
It is a pleasure to speak on the motion. Before I start, I want to thank my colleague, the member for , who worked diligently on this file. We were in Bali together, along with the former prime minister, to talk about and negotiate the TPP. He put incalculable hours into it and, finally, we reached an agreement.
If I listened carefully enough to the Liberals and the , they all agree with the TPP. They just do not want to move ahead because, as they said during the campaign, they want to be a little different from the Conservatives. They do not want to give us credit for it. To be very frank, they will agree to this because it is a great deal for this country.
The minister already elaborated in her speech how great the trade agenda is for the government. She quoted the former prime minister, who was very well known as Mr. Dithers. The fact of the matter remains that the TPP is a great deal. It is a good deal for this country.
I have travelled across the world with my colleague from and the former prime minister. One of the most important things for this country is trade. The Conservative government had a great record, contrary to what the Liberal government says, of signing trade agreements around the world. It signed more trade agreements than when the Liberals were in power before the Conservatives took over.
Nevertheless, it is recognition of the fact—and I am sure my colleagues on the other side will recognize it as well—that we all have to work toward ensuring our prosperity. We are a resource-rich country and have excellent industries. We are a powerhouse on the world stage, and we want to remain a powerhouse on the world stage.
There will be some issues, but in the end, the TPP agreement will put Canada in a place where it will have access to markets that make up 60% of the world's population. That is a huge benefit to businesses and exporters.
The Liberal member for raised a question about the protectionism that is taking place around the world. There is a referendum taking place in Britain, and yesterday the former governor of the Bank of Canada, Mr. Carney, for whom I have a great deal of respect, announced that Britain would go into recession should it leave the European Union. Why would that be? It is because it would suddenly lose market access. We have to look at the factor of having market access. We are a medium-sized country with a very small population. We are rich in resources and we have to sell them.
Look at what is happening in my province of Alberta. Due to low oil prices, Alberta has been massively impacted. It is not only Alberta, but the whole country has been massively impacted by the low oil prices, the resource that we export. One of the biggest problems in Alberta right now, which everybody is talking about, is how to export our resources. We all agree that it should go through environmentally friendly reviews with first nations and everything else, which is a good thing.
However, ultimately, my colleagues on the other side, in the NDP and even the premier of Alberta, Premier Notley, agree that resources must reach tidewater so that we can sell them. If we do not sell them in the world market, then we will be facing massive problems, which we are already seeing right now in Calgary, in Alberta, where thousands of people are losing jobs. This impact is going across the country.
During the recession of 2008, we had massive infrastructure spending. Our government rose to the occasion. We helped the auto industry stay on its feet. The auto industry is an excellent example of why the export market is necessary. Most of our cars are marketed in the U.S.A.
Let us look at the huge market with respect to the TPP: Chile, Argentina, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia. The TPP will put us into this massive market. Our businesses look forward to the TPP.
When I was the parliamentary secretary, business delegations would travel with us to other countries. Even the previous Liberal government took a lot of business delegations around the world in order to build a vibrant export market for Canada. Canada needs an export market to ensure we have good jobs and an economy that will be able to meet all the other important social needs such as health care, education, and other things.
We encourage the Liberals to get the message out. There is nothing wrong with us taking the ball and running with it. The minister has said that we will wait for the others but we do not need to wait for them. This agreement would be good for us. We are ready to go forward and sign it. We want to go forward. We do not want to wait for others to tell us. The Conservative government had an excellent track record of doing things.
The minister spoke about the trade committee. She talked about Paul Martin. I have been in this Parliament for 18 years so I know our committees are important. Canadians can appear at committees and give their views. Committee travel is not something new that the Liberal government has just come up with. When we were in government, committees travelled. That is their job. The Liberal government needs to understand that committees belong to Parliament. They do not belong to the government. Our committees respond to Parliament. Therefore, committee travel is a normal part of the consultation process. I am glad the committees are there.
We need to listen. We all know we need trade agreements for our country to prosper. We are a resource-rich country, and the agreements we have signed have always been in favour of Canada. NAFTA is an example.
Madam Speaker, as the member of Parliament for , I rise in the House today to speak about the trans-Pacific partnership, a partnership that will allow our quality Canadian goods access to new markets in Asia-Pacific continents.
The proposed trade deal is a commitment that I hope the Liberal government will stop dithering about and make before June 29, as it is a strong indicator of the increased trade relations, which means good things for my community of Oshawa. Oshawa is where manufacturing in the automotive sector is extremely important, and we will be able to export our domestically made vehicles to these newly established markets.
The Canadian-European trade agreement opens Canada's market to over 500 million new customers. The 28 different countries that will be included in the Canadian-European free trade agreement have a combined GDP over $20 trillion, allowing Canada to access sound economic prosperity through the export of our domestic goods.
The previous Conservative government had laid down the groundwork of beginning the negotiation process and strived to ensure that Canadians would prosper as a result of the trade relations that had been freshly established in these markets. Our manufactured goods, including the vehicles that have been prepped for global sale by Ford Canada and Honda Canada, are seeing new investment because of access to the European market. Hopefully, with the TPP, vehicles manufactured in my community of Oshawa by General Motors will now have the increased ability to access markets, not only in Europe but also the Asia-Pacific.
As Oshawa is facing a contract renewal year in 2016, the establishment of new markets is pivotal for the decision process. It is also pivotal to companies making long-term decisions and long-term investments, especially those aimed at our export markets. After all, 85% of Canadian cars made are exported, meaning an expanded market will be beneficial to Canadian automotive manufacturers. This sort of commitment and flexibility is exactly what is needed for the automotive sector.
As I said, Oshawa is facing a contract year. This type of commitment will help decision makers understand the importance of investment and the potential that Canadian communities like Oshawa have to bolster exports and, simultaneously, the Canadian economy.
If the TPP goes through, Canada will be the only country in the world with access to North America, Asia, and the European Union, which is 1.3 billion new customers.
What is crucial for the Liberal government to understand is that we can grow the economy without spending billions of dollars that we do not have. Access to over 800 million new customers through the TPP is exactly the kind of trade partnership that will allow Canada to grow our economy and participate in the new reality of trade in the 21st century. Supporting the TPP will send a clear signal to Canadian businesses, allowing exporters the opportunity to prepare and take advantage of preferential market access with lower tariffs and further integration of global supply chains, setting the rules for trade within North America and the Asian-Pacific region for generations to come.
Under our Conservative government, Canada became a global leader in eliminating the barriers affecting trade and the fight against protectionism. Ratifying the TPP at this time gives the Liberals a chance to prove they are actually serious about trade. Canada needs to continue to be a leader of trade relations and eliminating barriers and red tape.
Job creation and manufacturing has unfortunately become a stalled priority for the Liberal government. As a Conservative government, we understood that jobs were a vital part of our economy, in any climate. Even during the global recession, under our Conservative government, we saw the creation of 1.1 million net new jobs. That is because we know the recipe for job creation. The method includes freer trade, lower taxes, minimal red tape, and responsible spending of taxpayer money. Why do the Liberals not respect these principles?
Job-creating businesses will not invest in the Canadian economy if they do not know the cost and the environment of doing business. The Liberal government has failed to deliver a strong plan to support the manufacturing sector. From the start, the Liberal government has ignored the sector in its Speech from the Throne and continues to offer nothing concrete to support manufacturers. This is not surprising, considering the actually said that Canada needed to transition away from manufacturing.
Frankly, the and the Liberal government are out of touch with the lifeblood of many Canadian communities. My community of Oshawa has been an automotive manufacturing hub for many years. Manufacturing is a significant driver in our local economy and provides thousands of good-paying middle-class jobs across our country.
I was proud to sponsor a petition put forward by a local union shop steward that calls on the government to immediately release its plan to support manufacturing in communities like Oshawa.
The Liberal government has chosen to extend the automotive innovation fund and promised to be flexible with how it operates, but many of my constituents from the auto sector in Oshawa want to know why the government has not included any details about flexibility. A strong position on the TPP will give certainty to international investors, who will see Canada as the preferred location for new investments for access to more markets around the world.
If we establish this new trade deal, there will be no need to transition away from manufacturing, as the wants to do. In fact, we should see even greater manufacturing, good jobs, and more investment, as Canada's role in the world expands through TPP.
Instead, unfortunately, the Liberals have only offered more confusion. This year, as I said, is a contract year for auto manufacturing at Oshawa's General Motors plant in my riding. A decision needs to be made sooner rather than later for the TPP, so we can be established for future investment of industry in Oshawa.
Manufacturing provides thousands of good-paying middle-class jobs in Oshawa, and it is a shame that the Liberal government has not done more to promote the industry and build a competitive atmosphere where businesses would want to invest. Instead, they only offer confusion. The cost of doing business will increase with some of the Liberals' policies on new taxes, such as carbon taxes. The Ontario Liberals put in their pension plan. They want to put in a CPP payroll tax and extreme hydro rates. It is killing the industry and making us less competitive. The TPP will help offset some of these poor policies by the Liberals.
The automotive industry and union members need more certainty, not more confusion. Automotive investments are made five to 10 years into the future. They need certainty. They need commitment for their investments in order to create good-quality jobs. That is why a decision on the TPP is required sooner, not later.
During this new trade deal, there will be no need to transition away from manufacturing. In fact, this will be great for our Canadian economy. Canada will be the hub for manufacturing in North America, Asia, and Europe. We are the only country that will have access to these markets, and it is a great opportunity. We should not be afraid of it.
During the economic crisis, we, as the Conservative government, were flexible, looking forward, and I was very proud to be part of a government that saved the automotive sector in Canada. As a result of that flexibility, we managed to do what needed to be done to save jobs and save operations in Canada. Trade deals like CETA and TPP are central to growing an economy and promoting investment and job growth in Canada for communities such as Oshawa.
I would like to finish by talking about some of the numbers we have seen. On trade, I have heard the Liberals today talk about our exports versus our imports. If I could quote some numbers from Stats Canada, between 2010 and 2014, our exports increased from $103 billion to $528 billion. That is a 32% increase in just four years. Our imports grew from $413 billion to $524 billion. This shows that our approach to growing the economy has worked by opening freer markets.
What it means, quite simply, is that our exports grew 32%. In the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, we were able to create 1.2 million net new jobs, and Canadians had more money in their pocket. They were able to buy more things and we were able to import more things.
In closing, I want to encourage the Liberal government to stop dithering. Businesses and communities such as mine need certainty. In Oshawa this year, there is going to be a decision made. During this contract year, please stop dithering. Give a solid signal to the business sector, to companies that want to invest in Canada, that want to be part of Canada being a world hub for export and automotive export around Asia, North America, and Europe. Allow that to take place by making a decision on the TPP.
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for .
I am pleased to speak today to the considerable benefits of international trade for Canada's agriculture and agri-food industry. This sector accounts for more than $60 billion of Canada's exports, generates more than $100 billion, or almost 7% of Canada's GDP, and creates jobs for more than two million Canadians.
Approximately half of Canada's agricultural production is exported. More than one-third of our wheat harvest is destined for foreign markets. Two-thirds of our pork, 85% of our canola and 90% of our pulse crops are exported.
I am proud to represent a region that has a wealth of agricultural activity. Glengarry—Prescott—Russell has many grain, beef, pork, lamb, and even rabbit producers, as well as many dairy farmers, whom I am proud to represent. These local producers all benefit from international trade opportunities.
Take soybeans, for example. Soybean production is booming in eastern Ontario and the rest of Canada. Soybeans were planted on 5.4 million acres in 2015, which is an increase of 77% over 2008. Soy is the fourth-largest crop in Canada. This agricultural sector alone generated $2.4 billion in 2015. This extraordinary growth would not be possible without access to foreign markets.
Canada has a solid record as a reliable supplier of high-quality seed to international markets. We have export capacity on the east and west coasts. We have modern, efficient infrastructure, as well as world-class management. Half of all jobs in crop and seed production depend on exports, and one in four jobs depends on food processing.
Trade benefits more than just producers and processors. In 2015, Canadian farm equipment manufacturers exported $1.8 billion in products to 154 different countries.
These business opportunities translate into economic growth here in Canada, growth that is essential to rural communities. We must continue to provide business opportunities to Canada's farming sector. That is why our government recognizes the importance of international trade.
I would like to remind hon. members that the government is in favour of international trade. The Government of Canada supports free trade as a means of opening markets for Canadian agriculture and agrifood producers, growing Canadian farms, creating well-paying jobs for Canadians, and providing choice and lower prices to Canadian consumers. In short, Canada is a trading nation. Trade agreements help Canada's agrifood sector to further develop its exports for the good of our country and our economy.
The trans-Pacific partnership provides business opportunities for Canadian agriculture. It goes without saying that the government will take a responsible approach by carefully examining all of the details of that agreement.
We are committed to holding a full and open debate in Parliament. That is what we are doing here today. That is what the Standing Committee on International Trade is doing right now, and that is what we are going to do later by debating this issue here in the House, as we promised. We are also committed to ensuring that Canadians are informed and consulted about this important agreement, something that the former government did not do. The hon. and the hon. have already met with a wide range of representatives from all areas of the agrifood industry, including supply management agencies. Supply management is an important issue for me and the people in my riding. The ministers want to hear these representatives' opinions on key issues.
Canadians have the right to know what impact this agreement will have on our country's various industries. We are going to continue to talk with them about the TPP and other issues. The government also recognizes the important role that the supply management sector plays in keeping Canada's economy strong. This sector accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs and $32 billion in economic gains.
If the TPP comes into effect, the Government of Canada is well aware that the supply-managed sectors will need mitigation measures.
I am one of the biggest proponents of the supply management system. This system has a proven track record, and it has a place in Canada's economy. We must consider the agricultural sector as a whole, and not as an industry divided between supply management and the free market. We have an approach based on growing the agricultural sector as a whole, and this is the best solution for all Canadians.
I set up a local agricultural committee in my riding, to bring together the various agricultural sectors in my region. This committee has been widely applauded. The various agricultural sectors have much in common, and we all win when we work together.
In closing, I would like to say that we are at a time of tremendous opportunity for Canada's agri-food sector. Agricultural exports are at an all-time record high. Producer incomes and balance sheets are expected to remain at historic levels. The agri-food sector is one of Canada's most dynamic export sectors. It is estimated that up to 50,000 new agriculture-related jobs will be created across Canada in the next five years, both on and off farms, on top of existing vacancies. Some estimate those vacancies to be in excess of 25,000 jobs. With our small population and huge production capacity, Canada is the world's leading agricultural trader on a per capita basis.
Meanwhile, global demand for food is projected to increase by 60% by 2050. Our farmers have the responsibility and the ability to feed the planet. For farmers and food processors, this is tremendous news. The future is bright for Canadian farmers and food processors, with growing demand for the excellent products we grow here in Canada.
The government will work hard to open new markets for farmers and food processors. We are doing the right thing: consulting them and all Canadians on the TPP.
Madam Speaker, Canada is a trading nation and has always depended heavily on international trade and investment for its economic well-being.
We live in a vast country with a relatively small population, and we enjoy a high standard of living. We produce more goods and services than Canadians consume. As a result, we sell our products and services abroad, which helps maintain a strong economy.
Canadian consumers also reap the benefits of international trade, which gives them a greater variety of goods at better prices. We are striving to maintain access to international markets, since a free and open environment for international trade and investment helps businesses prosper and gives middle-class Canadians access to better jobs.
This point can be found in the 's mandate letter and in her commitment to increase Canada's trade and to attract job-creating investment to Canada, in particular by implementing free trade agreements and expanding the existing ones.
These trade agreements provide access to international markets for Canadian goods and services and help combat protectionism. These agreements improve operating conditions for our companies by committing signatory countries to transparent, rule-based systems. These help establish a more predictable environment for trade and investment. This is important to a middle power like Canada.
The hon. is working hard to secure access to these international markets and to generate opportunities for our Canadian companies outside our borders. I remind my hon. colleagues of one of her first successes back in November 2015, when she managed to get the Americans to eliminate their requirement for country of origin labelling, also known as COOL.
The previous government tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the Americans to eliminate this mandatory labelling requirement. With our new government's new approach, we were able to eliminate this non-tariff barrier to trade and enable Canadian companies to expand their markets into the United States.
This kind of success stems not only from our new results-oriented business approach, but also from our new political approach regarding the United States. The U.S. is our largest trading partner. The previous government failed to establish a strong political relationship, which was of no benefit when it had to address such issues as mandatory country-of-origin labelling.
The is also working very hard toward the successful conclusion of another file, namely the free trade agreement with Europe. The minister has had several meetings with her European counterpart, Cecilia Malmström, in order to establish a working relationship with her and build strong trust so we can advance this trade issue that is important to Canada and Canadian businesses.
The minister also travelled to Berlin and Brussels in April to promote this important free trade agreement and to speak with politicians and economic stakeholders, in order to ensure that this agreement will be ratified this year and will go into effect in 2017.
Expediting the entry into force of this agreement is a key priority for our government, but it is not the only priority. Canada also recently updated its free trade agreements with Chile and Israel and entered into a free trade agreement with Ukraine. The timely implementation of these agreements is also a priority for the and our government.
Furthermore, our government is exploring ways of developing our trade relations with China and India.
Regarding the trans-Pacific partnership, the government is engaging in a full and open consultation process, including in Parliament.
I also want to inform the House and all my constituents in Hull—Aylmer that I am organizing a public forum to discuss the TPP. It will be held on May 31 at 7:00 p.m. at the Université du Québec en Outaouais. I hope that many of my colleagues will also participate by joining my constituents in having a good discussion of the trans-Pacific partnership.
Apart from free trade agreements, the government uses other tools and instruments to improve access to international markets for Canadian businesses. Canada's foreign investment promotion and protection agreements, or FIPAs, are bilateral international investment agreements that provide a rules-based legal framework. Canada has 30 FIPAs in place that provide a stable, predictable, and transparent trade environment for Canadian investors operating abroad.
Air transport agreements also support trade by governing the opportunities for scheduled commercial flights between Canada and over 100 other countries around the world. These agreements, which are often the first agreements reached with many partners, facilitate the flow of passengers and goods and foster competition. They therefore facilitate trade and investment, as well as people-to-people ties.
In closing, our government is committed to ensuring that Canada is well positioned to take advantage of economic opportunities through international trade.
The mandate letter to the includes a commitment to increase Canada’s trade and attract job-creating investment to Canada, for instance, by implementing and expanding Canada's free trade agreements with other countries.
Our government considers this a top priority and is working hard to deliver on it.