Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Borys Wrzesnewskyj Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Borys Wrzesnewskyj Profile
2018-03-22 13:04 [p.17849]
Mr. Speaker, the answer with respect to the invitation is already very clear. In fact, the invitation should never have been sent, and once discovered, it was immediately rescinded.
Another point that needs to be noted is that this government has great confidence in the security and diplomatic advisers to the government who always act in an impartial manner and always in the best interests of Canadians.
The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was given a strong mandate with respect to national security. Bill C-59 is a focal point of that mandate. It was drafted following unprecedented national public consultation. Through an online questionnaire, town halls, social media engagement and more, the consultations heard tens of thousands of views, which Public Safety Canada and Department of Justice collected, documented, and analyzed.
As members know, the standing committee held numerous meetings of its own on the national security topic, and I thank members here for their input on this priority issue.
Citizens, community leaders, experts from a broad spectrum of the security field, academics, and parliamentarians alike can see their views reflected in Bill C-59. One of its core themes is central to today's debate, enhancing accountability.
The proposed creation of an intelligence commissioner along with a national security and intelligence review agency would complement the work of the newly established National Security Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. I am pleased to say that the latter committee is now in place. The intent of its creation has always been to protect Canadians, and to safeguard our values and freedoms.
Let me turn to the recent trip to India, and the important things that were accomplished during that visit.
India, as has been noted, is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, making it a market of enormous potential. It is already the world's seventh largest economy, and projections are showing that it would be the third largest by 2030, barely more than a decade from now.
For these reasons and others, India is a priority market for Canada. It is Canada's seventh largest export market and 14th largest for imports. In 2017, two-way trade of goods between Canada and India totalled nearly $8.4 billion, almost double the amount we traded a decade ago. More than 1,000 Canadian companies and educational institutions are currently doing business in India, and 400 actually have a physical presence in the Indian market.
Our service exports have grown significantly over the last five years. Canada's institutional investments, especially those made by our largest pension funds, have also been growing rapidly, and are now estimated to exceed $15 billion.
There is so much more we could do. Exports to India totalling $4.2 billion represent less than 1% of Canada's total exports worldwide. In today's ever-changing connected global economy, Canada can only prosper by expanding markets for its companies.
True success in building strong and lasting commercial relationships demands sustained effort and long-term commitment from all stakeholders, whether government, business, or civil society, using a framework of formal structures and informal networks, or a new generation of economic agreements and extensive people-to-people links. This is all the more true when it comes to developing a mutually beneficial commercial relationship with an emerging economic power such as India.
During the recent visit to India, the Prime Minister led a range of efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations and promote Canadian interests.
The strengthening of the government-to-government commercial framework was demonstrated through the conclusion of several MOUs and co-operation agreements, with significant progress being made on many others. These covered areas as wide-ranging as civil nuclear science and technology, education, audiovisual co-production, information technology, intellectual property, and even sports.
The Prime Minister also met with top Indian business and political leaders, including not only the leader of the federal government, Prime Minister Modi, but also the chief ministers of the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Punjab. These states are populous, enjoy a large degree of autonomy, are immensely influential economically, and buy large quantities of Canadian products and services.
The Prime Minister interacted with hundreds of Indian and Canadian business leaders through his participation in business-focused round tables and forums. At every opportunity he encouraged them to continue to explore all avenues for increasing trade and investment between our countries.
During his meeting with Prime Minister Modi, the Prime Minister secured a commitment from India to work closely with Canada on finalizing an arrangement before the end of this year, to enable the continued exports of Canadian pulses to that country. As the world's largest exporter of pulses, Canada plays a critical role in providing India with a long-term supply of this very important dietary staple.
Additionally, the Prime Minister announced commitments from businesses, worth more than $1 billion, which will help to expand both of our economies. These included a commitment from Indian companies to invest close to $250 million in Canada, leading to the creation of more than 5,800 good, well-paying middle-class jobs for Canadians. These investments are made by global innovation leaders who have confidence in Canada and understand the long-term advantages of doing business here.
There was a commitment from Canadian companies to invest close to $750 million in India. As is often the case with Canadian investments in India, a significant portion of this amount will go toward large projects aimed at earning long-term, stable income for Canadian investors and pensioners. In addition to the increase in direct company investment, the overall level of investment from Canada's institutional investors and largest public pension funds has surged in recent years, further demonstrating the wealth of opportunities that exist in India.
There was a commitment to provide opportunities in business for women. Reflecting one of the imperatives found in budget 2018, Canada and India will work together on initiatives that help women in both countries build thriving businesses by providing new access to funding, talent, mentorship, and potential customers.
There was an agreement to increase the level of creative collaboration between Canada and India. The cultural sector has huge potential. It will create good jobs in the creative sector, among other ways, and potentially help grow Canada's film industry.
There was an agreement to increase people-to-people ties even faster through education. India is Canada's second largest source of international students, with an estimated 124,000 holding a valid study permit for six months or more at the end of 2017.
Canadian universities and colleges are very active in India, and increased collaboration in education stimulates increased people-to-people ties, encourages joint research and development projects and spurs entrepreneurship and innovation in the decades to come.
There was a renewed emphasis on fostering innovation ties between Canada and India. There is an immense demand and enormous potential for innovative solutions whether in agriculture, food processing, skills development, financial technology, transportation, health sectors, clean tech, and aerospace. Canada has a long tradition of finding these innovative solutions, and is ideally suited to filling this demand from India.
In conclusion, Canada is, has been, and always will be a nation that depends on international trade and investment to prosper. Trade and investment are critical to Canada's prosperity, fuelling economic growth, supporting good jobs at home, raising living standards, and helping Canadians provide for their families with affordable goods and services.
As Canada challenges itself to retain and advance its place among the world's most progressive, innovative trading nations, the strength that comes from collaboration cannot be overstated. This government has invested billions of dollars in helping Canadian workers and innovative businesses become world leaders in their fields.
We have also recently agreed to sign a trade agreement with Pacific rim countries through the comprehensive progressive agreement on the trans-Pacific partnership. This, in addition to the implementation of our agreement with the European Union, will generate thousands if not tens of thousands of new jobs for middle-class Canadians.
Canada now has preferential market access through 12 trade agreements to 45 countries, with over 1.2 billion consumers and a combined GDP of $41.5 trillion. This represents over one-half of the world's output of goods and services, and demonstrates the critical importance of pursuing, with renewed vigour and negotiations, trade and investment agreements, especially with countries such as India.
As reinforced by the success of our expanding economic and commercial relationship with India, Canada is quickly becoming the bridge between Asia and the rest of the world, one that will offer business unprecedented access to new market opportunities. Now is the time to increase our global investment and partnerships, and make the most of this opportunity.
Trade keeps our economy open, dynamic, and competitive, and helps ensure that Canada continues to be the best place in the world to do business. We must emphasize to the world that Canada remains open for business, and is committed to expanding international trade and investment. India is and will remain a very significant part of that commitment.
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