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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-10 17:10 [p.1909]
Madam Speaker, when we are sitting around a negotiation table, it is not like there is the opportunity to say, “Here's my list and the lists for the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc of everything we want”, and then expect the United States and Mexico representatives to say, “Okay, no problem, you have it.” That is not the way negotiations work.
At the end of the day, we achieved a deal that is in the best interests of Canadians in all regions of our country. I would point out to members opposite that over the last couple of years we have had a significant amount of discussion and debate inside the chamber, and equally as important, outside the chamber, dealing with a wide spectrum of individuals, different types of stakeholders, different levels of government and different groupings, if I could put it that way, in order to ultimately pull it all together into what we now have today, which is an agreement we can all be very proud of.
The member for Yukon made reference to the Bank of Nova Scotia. The idea that we did not have to do anything is false. There was a presidential election, and it became very clear that Canada needed to be at the table to negotiate a renewed NAFTA. There were some members of the opposition who ridiculed the government of the day, saying that we should not have indicated to the U.S. that we were okay with sitting down at the negotiation table. We recognized how important it was to actually be there to ensure that Canadians' best interests were being served.
We can look at the final product, Bill C-4, and see the support it has generated. I just made reference to the opposition parties and the government, but different levels of government here in Canada, from the Premier of Quebec to the Premier of Alberta and many other premiers, are talking about how good this deal actually is for our country and for individual provinces.
We have heard unions, including trade unions, being very supportive of many of the gains made in this legislation. Both big and small business communities recognize the value of this particular agreement. Canadians as a whole recognize just how important trade is to our country and they are getting behind this.
For all intents and purposes, even though our Deputy Prime Minister has led the charge on behalf of Canada, it has really been an effort by so many individuals and they can take credit for what we have today.
I want to make reference to the negotiators. We have heard this in the past from other members. We are very fortunate to have some of the best negotiators in the world who are there to protect our interests. I suspect they continue to improve upon those skills because of the number of agreements that have been achieved.
Over the last five years, we have witnessed a government that has been very proactive in picking up where the former prime minister left off. We have been able to sign off on a number of critically important agreements.
From a different perspective, I listened to other members talk about what it means when we talk about trade. When I sit down with my constituents at the local McDonald's and they want to talk about trade, I will often provide tangible examples. In Manitoba we have a number of different industries. I often talk about our pork industry, as I have done in the House.
The pork industry in the province of Manitoba is doing exceptionally well. The vast majority of pork that is produced in Manitoba does not stay in Manitoba. A producer called HyLife is located in the beautiful community of Neepawa. Well over 90% of its products go to Asia. The jobs are into the hundreds. Those individuals are buying products, using services, living in that beautiful community and contributing to the economic and social well-being of Neepawa and the surrounding area. That would not be possible without trade.
Manitoba's pork industry processes millions of pigs every year that are sold around the world. We could talk about whether it is Maple Leaf in Winnipeg or Maple Leaf in Brandon. We could talk about the hundreds of farmers that are engaged in the process, from raising the pigs to ultimately having them delivered to factories or processing plants by truckers. It is a major industry in Manitoba. If it were not for international trade and to a certain degree some domestic trade, that industry would not be anywhere near what it is today. We all benefit, not only immediate communities but the entire country as well.
I often talk about New Flyer Industries, which produces some of the best hybrid buses in the world. The company is thinking into the future. It produces more buses than we could ever use in Manitoba. We need trade.
Our government has been able to achieve a significant number of agreements in the last four or five years.
We can talk about the internal trade agreement that was achieved with the provinces a few years back. Canadians will often say international trade is good but we need to work on interprovincial trade, and we have done that. Our government has been able to move forward on that particular file.
There has never been a government that has been as successful at signing off on international trade agreements as this Liberal government has been in the last five years. We can talk about the European Union. We can talk about the trans-Pacific agreement. We can talk about Ukraine, not to mention the World Trade Organization. A few years back a bill was introduced that dealt with well over 100 countries around the world.
This government and our Prime Minister understand. From day one, our priority has been to enrich Canada's middle class and those who are striving to be a part of it. One of the best ways to do that is to provide opportunities through trade. It is not just what is released in a budget or other legislation. A government has to do a multitude of things in order to achieve success at serving Canadians.
The types of agreements that our government has been able to sign off on have made a tangible difference in Canada.
We often hear about children and seniors having been lifted out of poverty over the last number of years. We have been very successful at doing that.
We do not hear much about the number of jobs that have been created by this government, and it is a wonderful story that needs to be told. I am talking about full-time jobs in most cases, well over one million jobs. It might be 1.1 million net new jobs. That is a significant number of jobs.
We talk about how we can try to grow the economy, provide more choice for consumers and add more value for businesses and entrepreneurs, and Canada has some of the best entrepreneurs in the world. One of the best ways we can achieve that is to look at ways we can secure markets into the future. Because of this government, we are now in a position in which we have agreements with all of the G7 countries. I invite members to name another country in the world that can say the same. We have recognized the value of trade as being one of those critical aspects of development required in order to advance the interests of Canadians in all regions of our country.
I am sensitive to the fact that, whenever we have a trade agreement, there are always going to be areas in which it would have been nice to have been able to achieve something a bit different, but as I pointed out at the beginning of my speech, it would be absolutely naive to believe that we could go in and win on all counts and get everything that we want.
President Donald Trump wanted Canada to dismantle, get rid of, supply management. He is the individual who made it very clear that his administration was not prepared to accept the old agreement. They wanted a new agreement, or they would get rid of the old agreement. A part of that also incorporated the thought that they wanted to see the ripping apart or taking down of supply management.
I am very proud of the supply management system. We have production controls, import controls and price controls. As a direct result of that, we are able to produce things such as the best milk in the world, dairy products and much more. Supply management has been very effective. It is a tool that was actually put in place many years ago by another Liberal government, and I can tell members that it is this government that is protecting the future of supply management.
That is absolute, because there is very little doubt in my mind. I think it was the leader of the People's Party, who had been a member of the Conservative Party not that long ago, who was espousing that we should get rid of supply management. I suspect he was not alone among the Conservative benches. I sat in opposition a number of years ago when there was always the thought that the hidden agenda of many Conservatives was to get rid of supply management.
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