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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-01-31 14:24 [p.790]
Madam Speaker, our country came together and negotiated hard. With representation at the political level, the civil service level and from many different stakeholders, we achieved a modernization of the free trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico.
By doing that, we have secured the future for literally hundreds of thousands of jobs here in Canada. We have provided a more secure market for the future economy and economic growth of our country. We need to realize that over $2 billion of trade takes place between the United States and Canada every day.
This is an important agreement. What I am saying should not surprise anyone in the chamber because we can see the support it is getting in all regions of our country, in all the different sectors.
Unions, businesses, non-profits and governments of different levels have recognized the significance of the modernization that we have achieved. We have an incredible group of individuals who sat through the negotiations. We have a Prime Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister who were committed to get the job done.
We have built a large base of support among individuals and groups to ensure that Canadians' interests were first and foremost at the table and protected.
A good example of that is supply management. There has been an immense amount of pressure. Whether in this trade agreement or previous trade agreements signed by this government, from dealing with the European Union to the trans-Pacific partnership, protecting Canada's agricultural community, in particular our dairy farmers and other producers, through supply management is something we have been very clear on.
In certain situations there will be some compensation, but let there be no doubt that whether it is supply management or industries that are so vitally important to the many different regions of our country, they have been protected.
The other day when we had the vote on the ways and means budget, I was pleasantly surprised. When the vote was counted, we had Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats and Green Party MPs standing in favour of this agreement. I recognize that as a very significant achievement. One would have to go a long way back to have that group of political entities voting in favour of a trade pact, if it has ever happened before.
It is a significant achievement. To my friends in the Bloc, I would encourage them. They have raised many concerns, in particular for the aluminum industry. They will see, at second reading, that it is an industry that is protected a lot more than in the original trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. For the very first time, there are guarantees in place.
If we look at some of those advocates for passage of the legislation, we will see that it includes the premier of the province of Quebec, and not only that particular premier but virtually all premiers. I know other premiers, such as Jason Kenney, who have also been quoted in regard to this agreement and the need to see it passed.
As a government there is a reason why we have been so successful at getting well over a million new jobs created in the last four-plus years. We understand how important it is to get public policy right and how it can have the type of desired impact that Canadians want to see.
We see that in the form of tax breaks. We see it in the form of progressive social policies such as the Canada child benefit, the seniors policies and the infrastructure policies.
I would argue that our commitment to expand world trade has been second to none, especially on a per capita basis. Canada is excelling. These are the types of initiatives that are making a difference in the everyday lives of Canadians, no matter where they live in Canada. These are the types of things that help in increasing disposable income, driving our economy and providing more hope for future generations.
When I look at this particular trade agreement, I often think of John Crosbie, who made the comment that he had not really read the deal when we had the original trade agreement with the United States. I have faith and confidence in our negotiations. I have been following the news, much like the other members in opposition and I have had the opportunity to have a great deal of dialogue with stakeholders and others. I am absolutely confident that this is a good deal, and I look forward to continuing my speech on Monday.
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