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View Ben Lobb Profile
View Ben Lobb Profile
2020-03-10 13:33 [p.1874]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to talk about this important trade deal.
I will be sharing my time with the member for Red Deer—Lacombe. He is a good friend and I would not want him to miss out on an opportunity to give the Alberta interpretation of this deal.
I do not want to be critical of the previous member or some of his interpretations of the deal. When I look at a trade deal, whether it is an economic trade deal or a sports deal or whatever, there are only two trades I can think of that are similar to this trade deal. One was when the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, and the other was a trade in 1992 to my team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, when the Calgary Flames were kind enough to give us Doug Gilmour. That is where we start, if we want to see what kind of a trade deal we have here.
David MacNaughton, the Prime Minister's appointed ambassador to represent us in Washington, said at the outset of the deal in November 2016, “I think any agreement can be improved.” He got that wrong, and he got it wrong big time. Another point he made that day was that Canada would have at least one clear demand, free trade in lumber. If that was the hill to die on, the Liberals were blown right out because they did not get anywhere on that.
In my riding of Huron—Bruce, which I have had the honour to represent for many years, depending on the location, it is an hour to an hour and a half to the Blue Water Bridge, right across from Port Huron, on the Sarnia-Port Huron border. We are right along Lake Huron. We have tremendous agriculture productivity, cash crops, edible beans and livestock of all sorts. We also have a tremendously strong manufacturing sector. We have the world's largest exhaust manifold manufacturer as well. We also have Bruce Power, which is the largest nuclear power plant in the world.
Trade to the United States is very important to us. Fair trade with NAFTA and the USMCA deal is obviously very important to us.
Other things that were not dealt with in this deal, which I think is very unacceptable, are the buy America provisions. We would have expected those to be dealt with. As well, there was no firm commitment from the government, and I will speak specifically to the very loose border in regard to CBSA. Many commodity sectors in Ontario have long-standing complaints against the leaky border, whether it is the dairy sector or the poultry sector with spent hens. There are many other topics that were not dealt with.
We should think about where we were five years ago. We had the then minister of international trade, we had Gerry Ritz, and we had the then prime minister agreeing to a monumental trade deal, the deal of the century, with TPP, which included the United States and Mexico. I can remember when that deal was first agreed to. It was right in the middle of the 2015 election. In spite of that, we had agricultural sectors saying that it had set up their sector for a generation. I know there were exact quotes at that time.
TPP is a perfect example of a trade deal, the one we concluded with the United States, where there is give and take. Agriculture groups could look at it and say that they had given up a little but, to the benefit of the entire sector, there were huge gains and, by the way, there was certainty with some of the biggest markets around the world for a trade deal.
If we look at what happened, some things could not be helped. There was the U.S. election and the United States pulled out of the TPP. I do not think anybody could have predicted that when the deal was first agreed to, but that is what happened. We entered into a deal, and the Prime Minister told Canadians he would get us a better deal, but he did not do that.
Let us look at some of the other deals. One of the best deals we did was between Canada and South Korea. That had so many huge benefits for Canadians, including for Canadian agricultural producers in my riding with edible beans. It was phenomenal, including for beef and pork. The tariffs were coming down. It gave us a tremendous opportunity. The TPP with Japan is going to make a big difference.
I have heard a number of members from the Liberal side talk about chapter 19 and chapter 20, but I go back a number of years when we had a dispute with the United States about country-of-origin labelling. This had a huge impact on our livestock sector in Canada. We did not go through chapter 19 or chapter 20. We went through the WTO. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association made note of that in its committee briefing that we do not even use that. It has not been used for 15 or 20 years.
I will agree that softwood lumber did have a one-time payoff perhaps, but in agriculture, it has been zero. The one thing the Liberals keep saying is a big deal in the agriculture community is peanuts. Peanuts is a great segue into something else I would like to talk about.
The U.S. PR paper talks about what the Americans gained versus what we gained. The U.S. gained access to dairy. The U.S. gained access to poultry. The U.S. gained access to turkey, eggs, and on and on. What did we get in return? Somehow we got a little dairy and I will see that when it happens. Apparently our big gain from the U.S.A. on agriculture is on peanuts and peanut products. I can think of all the peanut farms in my riding. What a thing. I know at the U.S. agriculture committee they were laughing about what a great deal they secured for American farmers. At home we cannot say that.
If we look at the beef sector today in Ontario, it is in crisis. The Liberal government pulled the processing licence for Ryding-Regency in Etobicoke and that has caused ripple effects in the beef sector in Ontario for years now. The Liberals did not have to pull it. They could have extended it past 90 days.
Then we look at what has been done through CFIA on transport rules. The Liberals thought they had a deal and time to do it, but CFIA went in and said here is the deal. Another deal recently done is on processing mainly eastern Ontario and some Quebec cattle in auction facilities like Brussels in my riding, Cookstown and others where they used to have great arrangements for processing cattle with their horns and other components. It was humane, safe and all of a sudden CFIA comes in and says they have to be held for so many days. There is no capacity for that. Now it is on farm.
The government has not been fair to Canadian farmers and farm producers. The agriculture minister was in Teeswater in the summer to make a big $70-million announcement for Gay Lea in my riding that was specifically trying to address schedules 6 and 7 products in the dairy sector. This huge investment to try to add value and create value for dairy farmers and the processing sector, and this deal knocks the legs right out of it, with 50,000 tonnes reducing to 35,000 tonnes. The price is not set by Canadian processors. The price is set by the U.S. If we want more access, guess who we have to go through? Uncle Sam. How could we do a deal like that?
I look back at 2019-20 and ask what the big change is. I used to work in the manufacturing sector. In the auto sector, saying that 40% of the Mexican production by whatever year it is, they will earn $16 an hour when assemblers are earning $7.40 an hour and auto parts employees in Mexico are making $3.40 an hour. What a joke. It should be 100% have to make that. We have hard-working auto parts workers in my riding who go to work every day through the snow, and produce a product that would trade around the world on fair price, fair labour, fair benefits. This deal does not do it.
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