Thank you, Mr. Chair.
And thank you, folks, for your presentations.
No, Ed, I'm not going to take the bait. The fact is that under this government, we do have—
Voices: Oh, oh!
Hon. Wayne Easter: —a fairly substantial trade deficit, and for some reason, people do not want to look at the real reasons behind that merchandise trade deficit. Those are the things we should be looking at. We support trade, but we need to find ways to ensure that we're gaining value in Canada.
Mr. Geist, you're not the first one who's come before this committee on this whole “lack of transparency” business. I submit that you are absolutely correct. This is not just a negotiation on trade in commodities and on tariffs. It's a much broader agreement that can have implications for—you named copyright, intellectual property—a whole range of other areas. In fact, previous governments did provide texts to groups that held that information confidential. So those groups could actually see the text and comment on it, and were not just given a briefing on it, which might either have been accurate or just somebody's opinion. Previous governments did have a much more.... It wasn't open to the public, no, but it was open to a cross-section of representatives of the public, who could actually deal with it. That's not happening any more, and I think that's a problem.
How would you suggest going about ensuring that transparency, in terms of a good cross-section of the public, and still maintaining confidentiality, which we have to do?