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Results: 1 - 15 of 18
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-02-03 15:22 [p.834]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand to talk about the new NAFTA and speak on behalf of the concerns of the good residents of West Nova, and by extension Nova Scotia generally.
It could be my Maritime sense of humour, but we keep calling it CUSMA, or the Canadian-U.S.-Mexico agreement. Quite honestly, “NAFTA” meant that the North American population was benefiting, but we know now from the things we have been seeing and hearing that Canada is not necessarily benefiting from many of these concessions.
Maybe we should change the name to the organization or country that is making the most out of this. Then it would be the USMCA, because it seems that the Americans ran the gamut here and won all the concessions they needed. Let us just call it the new NAFTA in the hope that North Americans are benefiting from this new Liberal trade agreement.
This debate has been going on for a long time and as an agreement such as this one is very complicated, our partners have their own outcomes, making negotiations challenging.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-02-03 15:24 [p.834]
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for that intervention. These are all learning experiences for us, especially for those of us who are new to Parliament.
As I said, it makes our outcome for negotiating challenging. We find ourselves in the last two weeks toward final ratification of this agreement. Mexico did all its work ahead of time and the U.S. spent a number of weeks ratifying its side of the agreement. Here we are on February 3 and we find ourselves trying to ratify the Liberals' agreement as brought forward. It is only through this process that the Liberal government has realized that it is a minority government and it needs the opposition to support and pass the bill.
I was asked several questions about the new NAFTA during the election, as many of us were. Most of them revolved around the dairy industry or supply-managed commodities and I will get to that in a few moments, but first I would like to underline some statistics about Nova Scotia's exports to the United States. The numbers I have are from 2015, 2017 and 2018.
In 2015, the United States was the destination for 69.39% of Nova Scotia's international goods exports. The U.S. by far is Nova Scotia's number one trading partner. Europe, at about 10%, and other countries, at about 20%, received the balance of Nova Scotia's exports in 2015.
Four U.S. regions received about 85% of Nova Scotia's U.S. trade in goods in 2015. About 37% was sent to New England, as one would expect, on the eastern side of the country. About 24% went to the southeast region, 15% to the Great Lakes region and about 8% to the mid-east region. The remaining 14.77% was distributed among other regions in the U.S.
In 2015, rubber or tires from Michelin and fish products added up to about 55% of the total exports for Nova Scotia. They were the main domestic exports to the United States. Another 17% of exports to the U.S. were paper, mineral fuels and plastics. The remaining 28% consisted of other miscellaneous goods.
In 2018, fish products accounted for 24%, or $883.5 million, of total exports from Nova Scotia to the U.S. Crustaceans, lobsters, crabs and others, represented about 69%, or $605 million, of this product group.
Nova Scotia's exports continue to diversify by destination, with declining exports to the U.S. They were down about 0.6% when comparing January and February 2018 with January and February 2017. Exports to other destinations rose and were up about 31%. This is also the case for many other provinces in Canada. Exports from New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where growth in exports to the U.S. outpaced growth to other destinations, grew more concentrated in the U.S.
Nova Scotia's exports to the U.S. were down by about $3.4 million as declining values for energy, forestry, electronics, motor vehicles and parts, aircraft and other transportation equipment and consumer goods more than offset the gains in farm, fishing, intermediate food, metal ores, metal, mineral products, chemicals, plastics, rubber and machinery equipment.
As an aside in this discussion, the coronavirus is creating tremendous challenges for our exporters. China is Nova Scotia's second-largest export destination. Comparing January and February 2018 with the same months in 2017, Nova Scotia's exports grew by about $36 million, mostly on gains in forest products and consumer goods.
To say that U.S. trade is important to us is truly an understatement and the trade deal that supports it is paramount.
I spend a lot of time talking about the fishing industry in the riding of West Nova which, as we can see, exports almost all its products outside the country, so I thought I would spend the remaining time talking about the agricultural industry. It may not export quite as much, but it was affected quite substantially by the changes in protections pertaining to supply-managed commodities. It seems that every time Canada negotiates a free trade agreement, those commodities take a hit.
A few years ago, in 2005, when I was a provincial minister of agriculture, I attended the WTO negotiations in Hong Kong. At that time there was a protracted discussion on Canada's continued support of supply-managed commodities, pressure from the European Union and the U.S. The Liberal government of the day was ready to allow access to other countries at that time.
It was not until the provincial ministers, Liberal, Conservative and NDP, came together, supported by the national commodity associations, that the negotiating team finally took it off the table. Since that time, and before that time, I have been a supporter of our commodities. Now that I represent the largest agricultural area in Nova Scotia, that support has become even stronger.
Nova Scotia's agricultural community is small compared to those in other provinces, but the backbone is dairy and poultry. Without those, the other commodities would have trouble existing. That is why any loss of market affects Nova Scotia more than others. A 3.6% loss of the dairy market truly affects the small farms in Nova Scotia, which is why the adjustment payments are important to allow better cash flow due to these market changes.
I am a big believer in grassroots government. We must listen to those in our community. I therefore want to underline what we have heard from others.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, or CAFTA, stated:
CAFTA welcomes the announcement that negotiations have concluded on updating the CUSMA.
We look forward to receiving confirmation that the changes don’t negatively impact our members.
Since the initial negotiations concluded well over a year ago, the prolonged discussions required to secure support in the U.S. Congress have undermined business certainty.
CAFTA is waiting for answers on what the final decision is going to be.
Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada said that in a parliamentary system, “all bills, including those aimed at ratifying international agreements, are subject to a legislative process designed to improve them, and it’s important not only for the dairy sector, but also for aluminum workers, that this agreement be put through that process.”
I hope that everybody has the opportunity to talk to the dairy farmers who will be coming to Parliament Hill over the next number of days.
The North American free trade agreement is extremely important to producers in my riding, but not any old deal will do. We need one that benefits our industries and which does not take one area of the country for granted, as we are looking at with the aluminum issue. The government must prove to us, and better yet, prove to Canadians, that it is getting it right. That is in the court of the government today.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-02-03 15:33 [p.836]
Madam Speaker, we have heard the continued support for supply-managed commodities on a number of occasions when different members have spoken of the new NAFTA. We talk a lot about dairy because that is the one area that seems to be hit the most, but we also heard about chickens and other poultry coming across our border. We will continue to be supporters of free trade, but at the same time, we understand the challenges we have in our supply-managed commodities.
As I said, in Nova Scotia, without dairy, without the monies that come in because of that protection, if we want to call it that, they are the ones who have the money for tractors and new equipment, which falls into support for the rest of that industry.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-02-03 15:35 [p.836]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I had to cut my speech a bit short, but one thing we have been wondering is what the government got in exchange for forfeiting our sovereignty over our exports of milk protein concentrate, skim milk powder and infant formula.
Even within our caucus, we have the same questions as the member just asked, namely what the government offered up in exchange and how it is going to fix this situation.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-02-03 15:37 [p.836]
Madam Speaker, it has seemed that all through the process we have not been a part of it, until this point when we as an opposition are actually part of this discussion. We were dragged into this discussion. Mexico seemed to be able to do more than we did in negotiation. We actually seemed to be put aside during part of this discussion, which created a tremendous challenge for us. This would have been better if we had been at the table the whole time.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-01-31 12:03 [p.769]
Madam Speaker, today marks the day that Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, closes indefinitely. This is truly a sombre day as it affects the livelihoods of mill workers in Pictou County, and thousands of forest workers and truckers from all regions of Nova Scotia.
My question is pretty simple. What is the Liberal government doing to help these families in Nova Scotia who no longer have jobs?
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-01-30 14:00 [p.704]
Madam Speaker, the tallest wooden church in North America is in Church Point, Digby County. Standing at 185 feet high, Église Sainte-Marie boasts 41 stained glass windows and the architectural detail is stunning. I highly recommend this landmark to anyone visiting the Clare region.
While the structure of the church remains sound, the 115-year-old giant needs maintenance and repairs that come with a price tag of $3 million.
The Société Édifice Sainte-Marie de la Pointe will be raising funds to save it until September 2021. If enough money is not raised by then, the only option will be to tear it down. That is a sad reality for the region's residents since this church is an important part of their heritage. As a proud Acadian, I am concerned about this important Acadian historic site and I understand the importance of doing everything possible to preserve it.
I want to reassure the residents of Clare and tell them that I am committed to monitoring this issue.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-01-28 15:33 [p.592]
Mr. Speaker, it is with great interest that I rise in the House today to speak to this important motion put together and introduced by my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable, a motion calling for the Auditor General of Canada to immediately proceed with an audit regarding the government's invest in Canada plan announced back in 2016.
We all know that government investments in infrastructure are a very important part of the success of the economic development in our country, provinces and urban and rural communities. Without these investments, it is impossible to ensure strong, long-term economic development in our communities because this is directly linked to their infrastructure needs.
If a rural riding like mine has trouble developing and modernizing, residents will leave its cities, which will have a direct impact on the local economy and broaden the tax base considerably, thereby leaving the remaining population in a more vulnerable position.
I would like to remind our constituents that in 2015, the future Prime Minister announced that he was in favour of imposing modest deficit on Canadians, very temporary deficits, with the aim of significantly increasing his infrastructure spending from coast to coast to coast, which would boost our Canadian internal economy.
We have known for the last few years that this is totally false and that our financial situation is precarious and fragile. The former Conservative government made significant investments in this area and it is therefore difficult to understand the current situation. The Liberal government had announced in 2016 and 2017 its intention to spend $186.7 billion over 12 years on infrastructure projects. I will say that number again, because every time I do it kind of throws me off because it is such a large number: $186.7 billion over 12 years.
Since this announcement, infrastructure spending has been subject to delays. Moreover, it has not actually been as high as the number that was first announced. Today I cannot explain to my constituents, the mayors, the businesses or the entrepreneurs why we are dealing with such a disproportionate deficit from the Liberal government and why the funds planned for many of our infrastructure projects are still on ice, delayed, unanswered or simply refused. I also cannot explain to them how a government that continues to boast that the Canadian economy is doing well is unable to finance its needed and urgent infrastructure projects to create jobs, contribute to economic development and ensure the survival of rural communities, particularly as job creation would significantly reduce the number of citizens in rural regions departing for larger urban centres.
In 2020, the situation is clear. The only record that the Liberals have in terms of infrastructure is their failure. Already in 2017 we learned from the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the Liberals had barely spent half of the planned infrastructure investments. The following year, in 2018, facing this complete irresponsible and unacceptable situation, the Parliamentary Budget Officer asked for the Liberal infrastructure plan in order to have a better understanding of the situation and quickly realized that the plan did not even exist.
That is not all. A year later, in 2019, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, in order to help us better understand this disaster, asked for something very simple, something basic that any responsible and respectful government of hard-working taxpayers deserve to have in Canada: a list of all specific project commitments under the invest in Canada plan. However, the Liberal government has not been able to provide that data.
Again, this is totally unacceptable and irresponsible. Taxpayers in my riding, across Atlantic Canada and across the country demand the right to have a clear answer about how their money is being spent. Conservatives believe that the Auditor General of Canada must immediately investigate the matter and conduct an in-depth audit of the government's invest in Canada plan.
Given the out-of-control deficits, with more on the horizon, minimal investment in communities, job losses, dearth of job creation, lack of accountability and lack of transparency, there is clearly nothing positive coming our way under the Liberals.
Back at home in my beautiful riding of West Nova, there is an urgent need for infrastructure funding for our local projects. Our local economy depends on it, as I said earlier. If we want to preserve our achievements, continue to develop our markets, share our expertise and attract new investors, it is essential that our infrastructure projects get their funding.
West Nova has been waiting for years for certain pieces of infrastructure. Some, I admit, require partnership with other levels of government, which takes longer to negotiate. Some are completely the responsibility of the federal government. Roads and bridges, especially along the 100-series highways, part of the Trans-Canada system, need partnership, and so far have seen nothing.
There are a couple of interchanges that have been announced, due to their current “unsafe” listing, that need to be installed. Far too many accidents and deaths are occurring. Yet, before the election, a new interchange a couple of hundred kilometres away from my riding, up the highway in the South Shore riding, was announced. This underlines the government's planning process, to announce projects that are politically expedient and not announce them in other areas.
I am not saying that the Bridgewater intersection is not important, but one of the intersections in West Nova was identified as the third most dangerous interchange in Nova Scotia. You would think it would have been “safety first” when we announced these projects, but I guess not.
Speaking of safety and the effects of sea level rise, there are several instances where roads that never flooded are now flooding at every high tide. The Province of Nova Scotia applied for climate change mitigation funding, a part of this project, but it seems that these smaller projects are falling off the table. I need to see work done. My constituents need to see work done on the Rocco Point Road and many others, so that children can get to school, people can get to work and seniors can get to their doctor's appointments. God forbid there might be an emergency when there is one of these high tides.
I move now to Internet and cellphone service. This is a requirement of this century, but many parts of our riding still have poor or no service. It requires support from all levels of government to help build out these large infrastructures. The Nova Scotia government has money available. The municipalities are ready to support projects that make sense, but it seems that several of these projects have been turned down, making organizations and municipalities go back to the drawing board.
I am all for cheaper rates as a goal that has been put forward by the Liberal government; it is one that I support. Let us not forget that many Canadians do not have access to good Internet service or cellular service. I worry that the government pushing back in this respect is pushing back on the very companies that they want to partner with to provide these kinds of infrastructures.
Finally, West Nova probably has the highest seafood landings in all Canada, and the fishers rely on government-owned infrastructure to bring their catches in safely. These ports, in many cases, are anything but safe. Some of them are actually falling into the water. Due to chronic underfunding of these structures over the years, I estimate they will require almost $500 million of investment. Some fall under DFO and small craft harbours, like Port Maitland, East Pubnico and Pubnico, but others, like Digby, due to the failed divestiture program of the Chrétien Liberals, fall under this larger invisible program. Digby has become the safe harbour on the eastern side on the Bay of Fundy.
We are responsible to provide safe harbour for those boats and fishers who will find themselves in unsafe situations due to weather. We can see Digby's usage swell to close to 135 vessels, which effectively almost doubles the capacity of that port. They need help. The fishery is important, and it is time we actually pay attention to them.
Today, in Ottawa, I am working hard to ensure that West Nova's infrastructure projects get their fair share of funding so they can be completed.
When I was a provincial MLA, I always did everything in my power to defend Nova Scotia's interests. Until Conservatives form the next government, I want to ensure that the current Liberal government finally provides the answers to all Canadian taxpayers that they are entitled to receive.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-01-28 15:44 [p.594]
Mr. Speaker, I live in a province that is represented by a Liberal premier who has trouble signing off on projects with the current Liberal government. I do not understand why that continues to happen. We have a 100-series highway system that has a number of unsafe interchanges. Some have been listed, by their own work, as the most dangerous in the province and yet in a Liberal-held riding, an interchange that was not on the list was approved before an election. I am sorry, but it looks like cronyism at its best.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-01-28 15:46 [p.594]
Mr. Speaker, my riding has been seeing the effects of climate change for many years. When I talk about unsafe harbours, I am talking about wharves that are coming to the edge of the high-water marks. I am talking about roads that are under water at high tides. The Town of Annapolis has declared what is called a climate war because by 2050 it is going to find itself under water. It needs humongous pieces of infrastructure to maintain the cradle of Canada in Annapolis Royal.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2020-01-28 15:47 [p.594]
Mr. Speaker, that is what we are trying to find out, whether there is enough money in the $186.7 billion that is being invested in infrastructure. How much is there to mitigate these kinds of things? The Tantramar Marshes are a good example. Grand-Pré and in and around that area is a very important historic part of Canada that we need to make sure is preserved. It has a number of dike systems around it. There was some investment in that, but we are still not seeing what we need across this country.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2019-12-13 11:36 [p.398]
Mr. Speaker, one of the biggest issues for proud Atlantic Canadians is realizing that we are constantly being forgotten. It happened yet again when the Liberals across the way appointed someone from Montreal as the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, apparently forgetting that Montreal is not part of my region. Not once since coming to power have they given someone from my region that portfolio.
When will the government show some respect for the Atlantic provinces and give them the representation they deserve?
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2019-12-13 11:37 [p.399]
Mr. Speaker, this government's failed economic policies have led to the recent news of 71,000 jobs lost nationwide. This will hit home in my riding, where the jobs for 200 people at Web.com centre in Yarmouth will be lost as a result of the company's departure. Being so close to Christmas, this, of course, is devastating.
What will the government do to reassure those workers?
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2019-12-11 17:42 [p.298]
Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me time to comment on the latest Speech from the Throne. I will be sharing my time with my new colleague, the member for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge.
I would be remiss if I did not take the first few moments to thank the citizens of our riding of West Nova for putting their faith in me to represent them in this 43rd legislature. I also want to thank my election team and the volunteers for working so hard all summer and into the fall. They are all rock stars to me.
The election in West Nova was pretty civil, regardless of the intensity of the national campaigns. I would like to recognize my opponents for putting their names forward to represent our riding: Liberal Jason Deveau, Green Party Judy Green, NDP Matthew Dubois and Veterans Coalition Party Gloria Cook. They believed passionately in their positions and ideas, and I hope to echo some of them in my work here as a very proud MP for West Nova.
I need to thank my family, especially my wife Anne and my boys André and Alec, for allowing me to let my name stand for a sixth time. They were my bedrock during the past 16 years as a provincial politician, and I hope to make them proud during this federal adventure.
Nova Scotia rules allow an MLA to actually speak for an hour to respond to their throne speech, so it is a lot of work here to smush this into 10 minutes.
My riding of West Nova is quite rural. It is 300 kilometres long by 50 kilometres wide and it is located in southwestern Nova Scotia, bordering the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy.
My beautiful riding has a rich heritage, since our communities and historic sites date back to the early days of our country. For example, Port-Royal, located near Annapolis Royal, is the first permanent French settlement in the New World and was founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1605. West Nova is home to a few large Acadian communities, such as Clare and Argyle, where the language of our ancestors is still spoken, 264 years after the expulsion of 1755.
On a related note, I was very disappointed that the protection of linguistic minorities was barely touched upon in last Thursday's throne speech. I look forward to hearing the government make some real commitments to protect the French language, since the ongoing battle against anglophone assimilation is very real in all francophone minority communities back home and across the country.
I am proud to support the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse and all associations that are doing excellent work, since our language and culture face significant challenges. Every year, our language and our culture are more at risk.
As opposition critic for official languages, I will work hard to ensure that the voices of minority francophone communities in my region and across the country are heard.
Another point of the throne speech that needs more detail and was the number one issue at the doorsteps in West Nova is health care. People in Nova Scotia are having a tough time accessing primary care, specifically a family doctor. Currently in Nova Scotia there are 50,000 people who do not have a family doctor. This is unacceptable and causes tremendous difficulty and uncertainty, especially in our rural areas. Imagine being a senior, a diabetic or having cancer without access to a family doctor. As incredible as it sounds, it happens all the time in our area, forcing these patients to present themselves at emergency rooms, causing useless long wait times, if they show up there at all.
Health care is a basic human right and we should all ensure the dignity of our loved ones. The government has the responsibility to listen attentively to the provincial premiers, and it should, especially with their request for an augmentation in their health transfers.
West Nova's economy is based on natural resources, such as agriculture in the Annapolis Valley, fishing in the southwest, and forestry in all of its regions.
Agriculture in the valley is very diverse and innovative, but its core depends on supply-managed commodities like dairy and poultry. They need to see the concessions of the new NAFTA, the USMCA, so they can have a better feeling of how their industry will be going forward. Then they can have faith in their industry again and continue to invest and grow. From that base, the industry in our valley can continue to grow other commodities, like wine, apples, beef and many horticultural products.
Immigration is very important to our regions. Over the past 20 years, we have seen a mass exodus of talent and expertise that were once well established in our regions. Right now, small business owners are having a lot of trouble finding and keeping people who are interested in taking on and running their thriving businesses. Now more than ever, we need to focus on ideas that will contribute viable solutions and help with transfers so that we can make sure these vital businesses and services stay open and available to local residents.
Another important point to emphasize is that West Nova has the largest air force base in eastern Canada, CFB Greenwood, home of 14 Wing. We must continue to support our troops, making sure they have the adequate equipment needed to do their jobs. We also need to make sure that our veterans have the services they require during their service and after they have served our country with dedication and honour, which I was happy to see included in the throne speech. However, I am sure it is short some of the things we really need.
I need to talk about our fisheries. By far, the largest employer and economic driver in West Nova is our fishing industry. Hundreds of millions of dollars of fish products are landed on our shores. Scallops, groundfish, herring and tuna are landed at many of our ports, but lobster is king. Between the last Monday in November and the end of May, the worst time of year to go fishing, when the big boats are all tied up at the wharf, the little boats go out there for a billion dollars' worth of lobster, or somewhere close to it, to be caught and sold around the world.
It may seem like the fishing industry is going strong and is happy with the government. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fishermen are up in arms over about numerous issues involving this government.
For one thing, they are furious about the tax changes rolled out by the Liberal government, which lopped millions of dollars off our hard-working fishermen's family trusts. Thousands of fishing boats had been registered as small businesses to facilitate tax planning. That option was suddenly eliminated by the Liberal government, which also called our fishermen tax cheats. That was an outrage and an insult to them.
I am proud to be my party's critic for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and I want to make sure the government stops going after the honest workers in our industries.
Fishermen feel that with the economic activity they create and the taxes they pay they should have safe and modern ports to work from, but they are wrong. They have woefully inadequate facilities that cannot accommodate the larger vessels they are using, or they are actually falling into the ocean. The Liberals boasted during the election of the investment they have committed but I can assure the House that it pales in comparison to what is really needed.
I look forward to working with the fisheries minister and the transport minister to assess the real need to make our ports safe and to be able to seize the opportunity that our oceans truly are.
I could talk about a lot of other things but I am running out of time. I could talk about climate change and gun control. I could talk about MPAs. I could talk about Internet and cellphone service and the loss of our local call centre. Unfortunately, however, I do not have an hour to actually do it.
In closing, I am certain that all my colleagues in the House will agree with me that we have much work to do to ensure that Canada remains strong and united. The throne speech was not reassuring in that regard.
Our country is unique in the world; it is a good place to live and a remarkably welcoming country. We have a duty to ensure that all Canadians have access to adequate health care, can look forward to a prosperous future and can obtain services in both official languages.
I have been a committed citizen and politician for many years, and I will spare no effort to ensure that the government fulfills its responsibilities towards taxpayers and respects them.
Madam Speaker, I wish everybody a merry Christmas.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2019-12-11 17:53 [p.299]
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question.
I was Nova Scotia's health minister for three years. Federal money was often not enough, so we had to make big decisions, such as which services to offer in which parts of the province.
The regions need money to find the expertise our health system needs. Finding prescription drugs and long-term care services is not enough. What the government needs to do is help provincial governments find a way to provide better service.
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