House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 28 petitions.

Immigration
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

York West
Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure on behalf of our government to table the 1995 plan for immigration levels.

One year ago this week our Liberal government took office and put in motion a new style of governing. That new approach included the creation of a department for citizenship and immigration. This new department better reflects the relationship that has always existed in Canada between newcomers to our country and nation building. The two are mutually reinforcing. Liberals believe in the positive constructive force that is immigration.

Ten months ago I launched a process of consultation with Canadians on the future direction of our immigration program. Our consultations were guided by two principles: first, to engage Canadians in an informed and constructive debate, to debate issues, to debate facts, to debate figures, to debate expectations, to debate aspirations of what we want for our country, and to try to put aside as best we can, as dispassionately as we could as a nation, the myths and some of the misconceptions that unfortunately from time to time have gripped this very emotional area of federal public policy.

The second was to reach out more broadly to Canadians, not only to talk to the traditional groups that have helped build this positive immigration policy but to involve all Canadians who wanted to make a contribution. The views of special interests are important but they must be balanced with the interests of all Canadians.

In so far as that is concerned, it was important to try to bring into the tent for the very first time, at our government's initiative, the non-traditional players of immigration; to bring in the boards of education, the municipalities, the labour movement and the labour organizations, to give force to citizens, the ability to go to the microphones at York University or at the other places at which we met, and to voice their feelings and their beliefs about Canada and the immigration policy. The process of what we were doing could also be said to be equally important as the substance of what we were debating. For the first time we were enlarging that tent so that we would be able to try to build a consensus among the Canadian lobby for what we want our immigration policies to do for our country in the future.

We wanted to actively encourage broad participation: Over 13,000 kits were distributed across Canada to school boards, elected officials, groups and individuals interested in immigration. One hundred and thirty thousand information tabloids were distributed. And Canadians responded.

From February to September thousands of Canadians told us what they thought in town hall meetings and study circles. We received hundreds of letters.

Six weeks ago we met in Ottawa at our national conference to listen and learn.

Today we are making the decisions that Canadians expect of their government and which participants asked us to make. Consultation will always be the hallmark of how this government decides policy. The ultimate purpose of government is to decide and to move forward.

Today we table before Parliament our immigration policy for 1995 and beyond, a policy rooted in our values and which reflects our ideals for our country.

While we only have a few minutes to distil this plan, the document entitled "A Broader Vision, Immigration and Citizenship Plan, 1995-2000" represents a fundamental change to Canada's immigration program. In the past I believe too much emphasis was placed on the numbers game rather than on trying to produce a long term comprehensive plan that would give full

expression and comfort and understandability to that eventual number.

From our consultations a new approach has emerged, one that calls for a broader vision and a clearer sense of Canada's objectives. First, instead of putting a single number before the House of Commons, this plan introduces the concept of a range, a realistic range that for 1995 anticipates between 190,000 and 215,000 immigrants and refugees will come to Canada.

It is a range, realistic and honest, in terms of more or less what we would anticipate based on our decisions as a government and as a country but also on what those inventories across the world will yield because some of them are low. There are fewer independents coming to the country whether because it was of the bad shape of our economy or the fact that those economies were doing well or the perception that the doors were closed. The number of families is down. The number of business immigrants is down for similar reasons. We also have to take stock of those inventories across the world.

What we heard across the country was the need for a better balance among the four categories of immigration. Sometimes we were too obsessed with the global one number figure that became the lightning rod for most of the debate. Instead we have four categories that we should pay close attention to and then decide how one plays off the other. What are the tradeoffs that we need to make between a family class category, an independent category, a business category and a refugee category?

It seems to me that as a Parliament and as a government we need to give greater clarity, greater focus and make some of the trade-off decisions of how those compartments play with each other rather than simply talking about the end number of the equation.

In looking to that balance the share of economic immigrants will rise from 43 per cent to roughly 55 per cent of overall immigration, while the family component will shift from 51 per cent to approximately 44 per cent over the period of the plan.

This will make the immigration and citizenship program more affordable and sustainable. We remain determined to target immigration levels of approximately 1 per cent of the population over the long term based on our ability to absorb and settle immigrants.

It should also be said that the whole question of the principle of family is not only contained in the family class category but throughout the program so that when we invite an independent immigrant to Canada that individual brings with him his immediate family. It is the same thing when we invite and accept a business immigration applicant as it is when we accept a refugee, he or she has an ability of bringing in the family.

The family class is also beyond that narrow category and the principle of family is applied equally and compassionately across the spectrum which is based on a Liberal philosophy for immigration.

Moreover, changes to the selection of skilled workers and immigrants will increase the economic benefits of immigration and lower the cost eventually of settlement. It is important as our documents raise that our point system be changed and adapted to the kind of skills that our country at this time requires.

Pre-eminent among those skills is the whole question of language. That is priority number one, here in our country and how we deal with language abroad in terms of our visa officers.

Other skills and aspects are education, age, experience, moving away from just the job classification to basic job skills that will allow those individuals to make an easier transition into the new economy, as well as the feature where people will now be having two, three and sometimes four careers in their lifetime. That shift is not born out of any movement. It is taking stock of the economy today. The forces moving the world are very different from the forces following the second world war. The tools we use in immigration, namely the point system, must be adapted to the pace of that change both globally and here at home.

The new approach to family class will respond to the desires of many who cannot now sponsor those they would like to bring to Canada. It will also ensure that all sponsors are held responsible for fulfilling their obligations.

Beginning with the 1995 plan, the refugee and immigration components will be managed separately. This will underscore the distinction between the protection and resettlement goals of the humanitarian and refugee program, of which Canadians should be very proud, and the economic and social objectives that frame the skilled workers, business and family class categories.

The plan renews our commitment to develop a new Citizenship Act designed to create a common bond between Canadians by birth and by choice. An increased emphasis on responsibilities, apart from rights, will underline the value of citizenship for all Canadians. Finally, the plan confirms our commitment to co-operate with the provinces in our shared responsibility for immigration.

The other major document we are tabling today talks about the strategic framework, looking down the 10-year road. I outline the direction the government intends to take immigration and

citizenship policy into the 21st century. It sets out a framework based on five basic and key elements.

First, the enrichment of our social fabric through selection of immigrants and their successful integration into Canadian society as full participating citizens.

Second, the supporting of Canadian economic growth through actively promoting our country as the best place in the world in which to live and work, something that the UN has recognized two years out of the last three.

Third, the recognition of the importance that Canadians place on the family and maintaining that program in a manner that is sustainable and responsible.

Fourth, the realization of Canada's humanitarian mission through a coherent strategy that separates the refugee and immigration streams and meets the twin challenges of protection and prevention. It reflects fully the commitments which the government made in September at the International Conference of Population and Development in Cairo.

Fifth, the provision of fair access and ensuring that the rule of law is respected at all times by all people in our country.

Throughout the elaborate and extensive consultations Canadians pointed to a loss of confidence in the immigration program's ability to control who enters Canada and to enforce the Immigration Act against those who have been ordered removed. Through legislative initiatives such as Bill C-44, which is before the House, we are seeking to restore Canadians' confidence and thus contribute to the government's broader goal of creating safe streets, safe homes, safe communities.

The consultations also reveal that Canadians are concerned about the sustainability of Canada's social benefit system. The government is addressing that broader challenge by opening a dialogue on improving social security in Canada. For our part we will contribute to the solution by focusing more on those immigrants less likely to require public assistance.

Changes to the sponsorship obligations and their more rigorous enforcement will enhance the fairness of access to social benefits. We have already begun discussions with the provinces and agreements on information sharing have already been signed with six municipalities in Ontario.

In closing, a successful immigration policy has always been part of our history and our development as a nation. Liberals believe that immigration has worked well for Canada. Liberals believe that the forces of migration have helped build a nation when many other people view these forces as a negative.

Liberals also believe that we need to manage those positive forces in the face of monumental change across the globe. The strategy and plan that I have tabled on behalf of my caucus and government sets the right direction as we prepare Canada for the 21st century.

The plan is fair, sustainable and affordable to the newcomer and to Canadians. I invite all members, indeed all Canadians, to join with us as we move forward boldly, confidently and aggressively into the 21st century.

Immigration
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, although we received only this morning the document tabled today by the minister, we still have a few preliminary comments to make.

As the minister said, consultations lasted 10 months and cost $1 million. Unfortunately, the paper before us does not outline a real policy on immigration and citizenship. We do not detect a dominant theme either in the minister's speech or in the document tabled today. We still do not know where the minister is going with regard to immigration and citizenship. We thought that today the minister would announce decisions or reveal what he intends to do in the years to come.

All he said is that, in 1995, the number of immigrants will be between 190,000 and 215,000 and the number of refugees, between 24,000 and 32,000. Incidentally, this violates and contradicts the red book, whose goal was 1 per cent of the population per year.

The goals set by the minister himself for the year 1994 will not be achieved. No more than 230,000 people will immigrate to Canada in 1994, instead of the 250,000 announced by the minister at the beginning of the year. We, however, agree with the minister about reducing the number of immigrants. We were told that the number of applications to immigrate to Canada is down, and we are also aware that the economic recovery is still creating difficulties, that the unemployment rate remains very high in Canada and even more so in Quebec.

We would like the minister to focus on immigrant integration in 1995. Thousands of immigrants who come here cannot find jobs and do not receive government assistance either.

As for refugees, we want to ensure that the minister will continue to honour Canada's international humanitarian commitments to this class of people seeking Canada's protection.

There are still too many refugees in the world-more than 20 million-and Canada must do its share in this regard; we in the Bloc Quebecois are very sensitive to this problem. The documentation submitted by the minister does not give us a very clear indication of whether he intends to respect Quebec's jurisdiction for immigration, if he intends to comply fully with the McDougall-Gagnon-Tremblay agreement signed in 1991,

which recognizes Quebec's exclusive right over the integration, reception and selection of immigrants.

As you all know, Quebec is a distinct society. It has its own official language and as the only French-speaking state in North America, it must protect and encourage francophone immigration. Neither does the minister's document show us how he intends to promote immigration to Canada. We know that there is a growing feeling of hostility to immigrants and especially refugees, but we believe that the Canadian government and the provinces will have to inform the public about the benefits and positive aspects of this immigration.

Immigration has made a tremendous contribution to Canada's economic prosperity. Immigration is necessary to deal with the demographic problems in Canada and Quebec. Immigration is necessary to renew our rapidly aging population. This must be explained. We must tell Canadians that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, that despite all the propaganda to the contrary, immigrants make less use of social services in Canada, that the crime rate of immigrants is less than the crime rate of Canadians born here.

In his document, the minister does not say either how he will resolve the problem of appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board. He continues to make appointments. Complaints are still coming from lawyers, immigration and refugee groups, clients and the public at large. Some appointments not based on competence are still being made. Some appointments are still purely political and we would have liked the minister to propose mechanisms for making non-partisan appointments.

Is it possible to create a committee of lawyers from the bar or immigration organizations so that there is a pre-selection before the commissioner is appointed? The minister does not deal with another problem, the backlog at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Too many cases are outstanding, too many applications take months and even years. The minister unfortunately endorsed the Conservative Party's decision to set up a processing super centre in Vegreville, Alberta, and this has caused a great many problems.

People can no longer find their way around. Today you can no longer reach an official to explain the situation. You have to keep calling numbers which are always busy. It is not easy to obtain the documents to be completed and to submit an application.

Civil servants are not pleased with the system. Jobs were eliminated in Quebec and in all the other provinces. Services provided in French by the centre in Vegreville are not adequate.

The minister also says that he will table a bill on citizenship. We are waiting for that legislation. I ask the minister to reconsider the concept of dual citizenship. The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration has recommended to the minister that dual citizenship be eliminated. Such a measure would be an unacceptable step back, considering that countries now recognize more and more the concept of dual or triple citizenship, and that the mobility of people has increased considerably throughout the world. We cannot eliminate such a precious right for all Canadians and particularly for those immigrants who want to keep a tie with their country of origin. This concept is good for Canada and also for immigrants, who can be good communicators with their country of origin and promote Canadian trade there. It is good that people can have this dual citizenship if they want it.

We are also concerned by the fact that, in some documents given to us today, the minister talks about occupational training and about promoting co-operation between his department and the Department of Human Resources Development, regarding immigrants. We, Bloc Quebecois members, have clearly said that occupational training falls under exclusive provincial jurisdiction. The federal government should not interfere in that sector. The provinces are closer to the client group. They are more aware of the needs in manpower training. The minister now says that his department will set up a vocational training centre for immigrants, in co-operation with the Department of Human Resources Development. This is unacceptable and the Bloc Quebecois strongly opposes this proposal by the minister.

I also want to say that the Bloc Quebecois is a pro-immigration party. More often than not, we do not share the somewhat exaggerated views of our friends from the Reform Party regarding immigration and citizenship issues. Quebec is, and remains, a country, a nation and a province open to immigration. There is a consensus in our province in favour of accepting immigrants. Incidentally, we anticipate that, for 1995, Quebec will maintain the objective of 40,000 new immigrants; for 1996, it will be 42,000, while for 1997, the number should reach 43,000. Bloc Quebecois members, as well as Quebec society as a whole, are open to immigration, which we consider to be a source of social, cultural and economic wealth.

I am proud to be an immigrant myself. I am proud to be a Quebecer and to be of Chilean origin.

Immigration
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am dumbfounded and Canadians should be outraged over what has just been revealed here by the minister.

Almost a year ago this minister initiated a $1 million consultation during which thousands of well meaning patriotic Canadians put time, talent and energy to work proposing changes to immigration. During the last several months this minister has engaged in a series of well planned media leaks, floating trial balloons, raising expectations, talking a tough line

and trying to out reform the Reform Party in policy, or at least that is the impression he has left.

In the last week the minister admitted to a cost to the taxpayer of at least $700 million in family sponsorship breakdowns. He promised he would do something about it. This morning we found out that nothing has changed, nothing has been done. The consultations were a fraud. There has been a lot of talk, talk, talk, study, study, study, and it looks like the studying will continue.

For anyone who wants a lesson in old style politics, we are learning it right now. It is a lesson in trying to manipulate the media, a lesson in trying to manipulate the public, a lesson in trying to please everyone by not offending anyone. It is a lesson in government inaction.

One need look no further than this government and its minister of immigration to get a good picture of what has happened. Let me outline with no fancy language or rhetoric what the minister is going to do this year.

The percentage of economic immigrants with their families was 43 per cent. In 1995 that number will still be 43 per cent. The percentage in the family reunification class of those already in Canada was 51 per cent. This year it will still be 51 per cent. Other immigrants were 6 per cent last year. This year, surprise, surprise, it is 6 per cent. The total number of immigrants accepted this year is 230,000. The total number expected next year is up to 215,000, a change of only 6 per cent.

That is not a cut. It is nothing more than an expectation of lower application levels. The levels are so high that our sources in immigration tell us there are not enough applications to fill the slots. This minister wants to take credit for lower numbers and those lower numbers have nothing whatsoever to do with government action.

A bond for sponsors will be studied but no immediate action taken. During the year or so this government plans to study this issue, Canadians will have to fork out at least $700 million more in sponsorship breakdowns. Where is the enforcement of what is happening here already to save those taxpayers dollars?

Changes to refugee policy, there are virtually none, except an ongoing amnesty that rewards those who can tie up the system for three years. There are no changes to control and enforcement, except for the defective Bill C-44 which is already pending in the House.

This minister said changes would be made that would make immigration work to the benefit of society. He said that more of an emphasis would be placed on independent immigrants. However this plan for the next year says that family reunification is still the highest priority of the government and that the ultimate goal of immigration levels equal to 1 per cent of the population still stands. We are talking about numbers in the vicinity of 300,000.

Immigration
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry, but we cannot follow the debate because we cannot hear the simultaneous translation.

Immigration
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Order. We were having technical problems, which have now been solved.

Immigration
Routine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Listen to the minister's math on page 8. In 1995 accompanying family and sponsored families together are expected to make up about 80 per cent of total immigration from the broader vision immigration and citizenship outline. On page 9, economic immigrants, skilled workers and business immigrants will make up 43 per cent of the immigrant component for 1995. This percentage remains unchanged from 1994. If you add up family and independent immigration you get a whopping total of 123 per cent. That is Liberal math. Nothing changes. The numbers are fudged. No action is being taken. Today's announcement is pure smoke and mirrors.

This government thinks the Canadian people can be swayed into believing that non-action is action, that no real change in numbers means a cut, that tough talk equals tough action in the minds of the voters. Well I have news for government members. The people will not buy it.

Today's announcement says that enforcement will be beefed up and that removals will be clarified when in fact the minister has created a permanent amnesty for failed refugee claimants. That is pretty convenient. Those people who have tied up and backlogged the system with taxpayer funded appeals, with legal manipulation for three years get an automatic amnesty.

This government punishes those applicants for immigration who make a real contribution to this country, those who play by the rules, who fill out the right forms, who wait in queues that last for years in some cases. At the same time the government rewards those applicants who come in illegally, who work the system with legal aid lawyers and who can evade removal for three years. That is disgraceful.

Let us look at the numbers again. The 1994 plan calls for 30,700 skilled workers. The 1995 plan calls for 24,000 to 26,000 skilled workers. The 1994 plan calls for 6,000 business class immigrants. The 1995 plan calls for 4,000 to 5,000 business class immigrants. The total economic class was 97,700 in 1994. This year it is 71,000 to 80,000.

In other words we are looking at substantial cuts to those immigrants who can make an immediate and substantial contribution to the economy. There is no change to the level of those immigrants whose contribution is unknown and there is an amnesty for those immigrants who jump queue and abuse the system.

Again the independent and economic classes are dropping substantially and do you know why? Because the same woolly headed policies that are guiding the immigration department are also guiding the finance department, the human resources department, and on and on.

This Liberal government has created an economic climate of high taxes, huge debt and low return on investments. It is discouraging those immigrants who could contribute the most to the economy of the country. In fact in Calgary there are something like 400 business class immigrants who have not invested their money because they do not see any advantage in doing so. Canada is no longer an attractive place for investors and business people. It is however the most attractive destination in the world for queue jumpers and failed refugee claimants.

The immigration plan speaks of a broader vision, a 10-year framework. It is a broader vision of the same old thing, a new framework for the same old policies. It has cost the immigrant program its legitimacy. It has discouraged independent immigrants. It has made the Canadian people fundamentally question the role of immigration to Canada. That is a shame.

Immigration can and should work for the country. Immigration should be about nation building. That term has been used by the government time and time again but it really rings hollow when said from that side. It should be about enriching Canada. It should be about benefiting immigrants and Canadians alike.

The plan is about deceit, number fudging and politicking. The government has let down immigrants and Canadians alike.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 45th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. It concerns the membership of committees.

Mr. Speaker, I think you will find that there is unanimous consent to dispense with the reading of the 45th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Also, with the consent of the House, I would like to move that the 45th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, tabled in the House today, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to.)

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Shall all questions stand?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I wish to inform the House that pursuant to Standing Order 33(2)(b) because of the ministerial statement Government Orders will be extended by 40 minutes.

The House resumed from October 27 consideration of the motion that Bill C-57, an act to implement the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly a pleasure to be able to speak for a few minutes this morning on Bill C-57 and to talk about world trade and the importance of world trade to Canada and to Canadians, in particular the men and women who work in the country's agriculture and agri-food sector.

The legislation we are discussing today will establish the new World Trade Organization or the WTO. It will incorporate the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a sweeping 120-nation accord which was agreed to in principle in December last year and was approved by member countries last March or April in Morocco. The agreement and the WTO which will administer it offer great benefits for Canadians in the creation of jobs, wealth and the opening and securing of new and vital markets for the country's export commodities.

Canada is a nation that is dependent on trade, and we all know it. Nowhere is that more evident than in the agriculture and agri-food sector. In 1993 Canadian agri-food exports of $13.3 billion contributed a surplus of almost $3 billion to Canada's balance of trade, almost one-third of Canada's total merchandise trade balance. As former Liberal agriculture minister, Eugene Whelan, once noted, agriculture pays the bills.

At the same time Canada's share of the world agri-food market has declined since the early 1960s. In contrast the European union's share, particularly that of France and the Netherlands, has increased significantly. From Canada's per-

spective exports to Europe fell from $1.35 billion in 1981 to about three-quarters of a billion in 1993. At the same time our imports from the European union rose from about $400 million to almost $1 billion. This tells us that while the sector is doing well it must continue to do better.

Last year the industry and federal and provincial governments agreed on the goal of increasing Canada's agri-food exports by 50 per cent from $13 billion per year in 1993 to about $20 billion per year in 2000.

In July of this year the agriculture ministers reaffirmed that goal and added a further target of achieving a 3.5 per cent share of world agri-food trade. That is an objective in line with our historic share, but it will push the requirements to meet that to exports which will reach a value and total of about $23 billion.

In addition to steps that are being undertaken in Canada, the new WTO will have a large role to play in increasing our exports, increasing jobs and increasing prosperity. The World Trade Organization represents a significant step forward for the agriculture and agri-food sector. The agreement sets down for the first time ever clear rules for international trade of agricultural products.

The agreement represents a substantial reduction in trade distorting export subsidies, better trade rules for agriculture, and improved and more secure access to markets around the world for Canadian producers and processors. It will greatly assist Canadian producers and processors in their continuing efforts to develop new markets around the world. The new markets will be in addition to the Mexican and U.S. markets that we have obtained through NAFTA. New rules will apply equally to all countries and the specific exemptions of countries will be eliminated. This will allow Canadians to compete in a more predictable and fairer international trading environment.

What does it mean in real terms? The respected OECD or Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development predicts that for all sectors, the total, the agreement will inject almost $8 billion into the Canadian economy by the year 2002. That is $8 billion into the pockets of working men and women across the country over the next eight years.

The government was elected to create jobs and wealth. That is why I am bullish on the WTO. I know some members, particularly those from Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada, have some genuine concerns about just what sort of impact the agreement will have on the country's vital and prosperous supply managed sector, the dairy, egg and poultry sector.

Let me take this opportunity to assure the House that supply management will be able to continue to operate as an effective Canadian approach to producing and marketing dairy and poultry products. The agreement supports the continuation of the supply managed industry through two fronts. The first front is the import tariffs first announced in December 1993. They will maintain a high level of protection for the sector. It is true these levels will be reduced by a total of 15 per cent over the course of the next six years, but it will still afford producers and processors with the protection they require. The six-year phase in period will give them ample opportunity to make the necessary adjustments in order to compete and win in the new international marketplace.

Imports which will be coming in under the minimum access commitments will not unduly disrupt the Canadian market. For butter the access commitment will rise from about 1,900 tonnes to around 3,200 tonnes from the year 1995 to the year 2000, a five-year period. In the poultry area import access of chicken will continue to be governed by the CUSTA or the FTA. Access for turkey will rise slightly to about 5,600 tonnes by the year 2000 while egg access will also rise very slowly. It is unlikely there would be imports of dairy, poultry or egg products outside these access commitments since the tariff levels will make them uneconomical.

The government regards very seriously its commitment to the future and to the well-being of the supply managed sector. That is why on December 16, 1993 the federal and provincial agriculture ministers formed a small task force, headed by myself, to look into the specific implications for Canada's supply managed industries.

After consulting with all stakeholders the task force proposed that an industry ad hoc review committee in each case be established for each commodity group sector. These ad hoc committees have been meeting throughout the year, will be meeting over the fall, and will continue to meet to determine whether a consensus can be reached on orderly marketing frameworks for the future. The task force was scheduled to report to the federal-provincial ministers meeting in December. I can report the results are very promising, although they have been incredibly challenging and are not all completed yet. Successful conclusions will be reached in order to maintain the sustainability of our orderly marketing system to the benefit of the industry and to all Canadians.

The World Trade Organization also holds benefits for other sectors within the Canadian agricultural industry. Volumes of European union and United States wheat shipped with export subsidies will be reduced over the next six years by 40 per cent from the levels they are at present. The reductions in export subsidies for wheat, barley, vegetable oils and other grains are expected to significantly improve market prospects for Canadian grains and oilseeds in world markets.

The agreement offers good export potential for other commodities as well. Replacing import restrictions and levies with tariffs in the European union, Japan and Korea will result in additional export opportunities for beef, pork, malt and a range of processed food products. The inclusion of an agreement on intellectual property rights will offer protection for Canadian whisky and wine names. This is expected to improve the marketing of these products throughout the world.

Processed food and vegetables such as French fried potatoes, canned corn, frozen blueberries and raspberries, and other products such as honey, maple syrup and apples, will benefit from reduced tariff and non-tariff barriers notably in the European union and Japan. Special crops such as dried peas, beans, lentils, tobacco, mustard, canary seed and alfalfa will also benefit from improved access. For example, the European union will eliminate tariffs on lentils and white pea beans over the phase in period. Japan will reduce its tariffs on lentils by 36 per cent.

A framework of rules will reduce the misuse of technical measures as unjustified barriers to trade. Measures to protect human, animal and plant life or health, which measures were usually referred to as sanitary and phytosanitary measures, will be subject to clear disciplines. We will continue to have the right to establish the level of health protection that we consider appropriate in Canada. However, the measures any other country uses to achieve that level of protection must be based on a sound scientific approach.

As I mentioned earlier, the WTO will for the first time establish clear rules for international trade of agricultural products and eliminate heavy handed and unfair trade rules and restrictions. A good example is the U.S. and its use of the section 22, a trade measure it has used that has been featured prominently in recent Canada-United States bilateral relations.

When the World Trade Organization is implemented in 1995 the United States will have to give up its GATT waiver which allows it to take section 22 trade actions. Obviously there will continue to be disagreements in our large and mutually beneficial trade. We will deal with those on an individual basis as they arise. Thanks to the WTO a particularly onerous piece of trade protection such as section 22 will be a thing of the past.

As countries around the globe change to meet their WTO commitments, Canada too will have to make some adjustments in order to comply with the new world of international trade.

While the export subsidy provisions of the agreement will have an impact on the Western Grain Transportation Act, the Government of Canada has already been consulting with the sector to reform the WGTA. This consultation is designed to ensure that the WGTA better meets the needs of producers, industry and Canada's export customers and to bring it in line, along with other government programs and policies, with the new fiscal realities being faced by the government.

This consultation will ensure that affected stakeholders will have a vital role to play in crafting a made in Canada reform of the WGTA. Over the course of the next few months the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will conclude these consultations with a view to being in a position to make an announcement early in 1995. The government is confident that these reforms can be implemented long before the World Trade Organization reduction provisions would take effect.

The world is changing and it is imperative that Canada change with it, lest we will be left behind. The WTO will usher in a new, vibrant and exciting period in international trade, a period where clear trade rules will replace unfair and discriminatory trade barriers, where Canadian products will be able to compete in markets around the world on their own merit and not be hobbled by the extra weight of trade restrictions, where Canadian producers, processors and exporters do not head for the end zone only to find that the goal posts have been moved.

As I said at the beginning, Canada is a trading nation. Much of its wealth depends on trade. Fully one in four jobs in this country are trade related. The agriculture sector, indeed all sectors, need the stability and the market certainty that the World Trade Organization has to offer.

Canadians are ready, willing and able to do the job. They simply require access to the proper tools with which to do that job. The WTO will provide them with the necessary tools to compete and to win the export markets, to further hone our competitive edge and to create jobs and prosperity for all Canadians. I think they deserve that chance.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the parliamentary secretary for his speech on the World Trade Organization this morning. He shares a view that a lot of us share, that it is vitally important to Canada to implement the World Trade Organization.

I was interested in his comments regarding agriculture and the fact that agriculture probably is one of the biggest winners in the GATT negotiations. For the first time we have trade rules established that are going to govern agriculture. I would like to ask if the parliamentary secretary shares my view that one important sector in agriculture still needs quite a bit of work, and that is the whole area of supply management. For the first time border restrictions have been converted to reducing tariffs. Very high levels of tariffs are set. It is my understanding that we have a second round of negotiations in agriculture down the

road, either in five or six years, under the World Trade Organization, once it is set up.

I wonder if he shares the view that it is imperative that we continue to move this process along toward reducing tariffs with the ultimate goal in Canada and the United States of having free trade in the supply managed sector as well. Would it not be important to ask the supply managed industries to move toward a certain period of time? Everybody realizes that they need some time to adjust. I certainly do because these people have financial obligations which they had made under the rules of the day.

However the new World Trade Organization is going to shed a lot of light on the fact that Canada has some weaknesses at home, as does the United States, in the area of supply managed tariffs that are extremely high. I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could share his views on how that can be achieved.