House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Canada-Jordan Free Trade Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will refer to the answer that I gave earlier. From what I understand, it was a matter of technological support—in Jordan, or perhaps other Middle Eastern countries—by Quebec and Canadian experts. They would help these countries find water. It was not a matter of exporting water from Canada or Quebec. That was never what I was referring to earlier. I said that we had people who had been working on this for a long time. There is research being done at universities. The expertise is there, and we could help other countries find water and conserve it over a longer period. But I never talked about exporting water.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate on Bill C-8. Let me first of all indicate that all countries are governed by their national interest, and certainly in Canada's interest, trade is absolutely paramount given the fact that 80% of our economy really needs access to foreign markets. Therefore, we are certainly concerned on this side of the House that for the first time in over 30 years we are now facing trade deficits, which obviously is something that needs to be addressed very quickly. Obviously this agreement is only one in a series of what we hope will be agreements, particularly on a multilateral basis, to push access not just for Canadian products, but obviously that helps business, cultural aspects and political aspects in terms of dealing with other countries.

There is no question that this agreement gives us an opportunity to begin further inroads. Since 1997, we had the free trade agreement with Israel, but we really need to look at not just Jordan but the greater Arab free trade agreement that Jordan is a member of. Over 18 countries are members of that. It would give us hopefully, down the road, access from the United Arab Emirates all the way to Algeria. It would give us the opportunity to really expand in areas on environmental protection. It would deal with areas of communication, areas dealing with forest products, et cetera.

The difficulty, of course, is that this is just one aspect. I had the privilege in July 1997, when I was parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment, to meet with the minister and with King Abdullah II of Jordan to talk about environmental protection issues in particular. The king was very clear that he wanted to see more opportunities with Canada, and obviously the development of this agreement would give us opportunities to discuss and promote both environmental protection, labour protection and other issues with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

We on this side of the House support sending the bill to committee. I assume it will address a number of the issues that some other colleagues have raised in the House today. In terms of access to trade, trade is really our lifeblood and we need to not only be only aggressive looking at what our neighbours are doing, for example, the United States which has an agreement with Jordan, but it is also very aggressive in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. We do not have one agreement in Asia-Pacific. We have exploratory discussions right now with India, but the reality is that while the Americans have been moving forward with even a discussion on an Asia-Pacific agreement, we still sit back and have not been aggressive. We are in the ninth round with Singapore. We are still dealing with the Korean situation, particularly the issue of automotive access. But in terms of where the real action is, it is dealing with multilateral agreements, and this is where the United States and the EU, which also has an agreement with Jordan in this case, are taking a very proactive role.

Although this is one step and we certainly welcome that, there are the larger issues that we need to deal with, particularly looking at the whole issue of an agreement with the Arab free trade zone. That would certainly be of benefit to us.

There is no question that Canadian exports, although they were only worth $77 million in 2008, still are important in terms of forest products and in terms of some of the agri-food areas and obviously machinery. But again, that is simply one aspect. We import only about $15 million, as of 2008, but it is building those bridges. That is why, for this country in particular, given that we have over 85% of our trade with the United States and given the economic downturn being faced around the world, the impact it has on the Canadian economy is significant. If we put all our eggs in one basket, there is difficulty, obviously, when doors close. So we need to have these other areas.

Canadian business has demonstrated very clearly that it can compete with the best in the world given the opportunities out there. This is obviously something that we on this side of the House will continue to push.

The elimination of all of the Jordanian non-agricultural tariffs, which currently average around 10%, is small, but again an example of the need to promote Canadian agricultural products, which we know are the best in the world.

The need to promote and reduce tariff barriers in general means that this country will become much more competitive internationally. It will give us, again, a bridge in the Middle East. Jordan and Israel have a peace agreement since 1994, so there is obviously trade going on. We can continue to promote many of these aspects, which I think are important.

Colleagues have mentioned environmental technology. One of the things about climate change, of course, is that Jordan is dealing with significant climate change issues, as are other countries, particularly in terms of desertification. Again, Canadian technology and expertise can be very helpful in terms of dealing with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is an opportunity to promote and expand our environmental goods in that part of the world. I think it is important. Hopefully, it will be a bridge later on for other countries in the Middle East.

There is no question that, at this point, Canada is going to be able to take a leadership role, but we need to be able to evaluate some of the issues that have been raised. In terms of textiles, et cetera, there does not seem to be any concern raised in that area. Obviously, some members have asked about the nature of the labour agreement. It is similar to the one that the United States signed with Jordan. Again, we can certainly look into that at committee. If we look at where Jordan has come from, particularly since 2002, coming out of the IMF agreement it had in terms of its progress on banking, monetary reform, and in many sectors, Jordan certainly is a very good partner for Canada in this region.

When we are examining those kinds of issues, we again want to be able to say to Jordan and to the rest of the world that Canada is open for business. It is obviously going to be a two-way opportunity both for the Jordanians and for Canadians, but also we will be clear that this is simply one aspect and that Canada continues to diversify. As the lifeblood in dealing with that trade deficit for the first time in over 30 years, we have to diversify. We also have to get our businesses to line up to compete in that area.

Going back to the Asia-Pacific for a moment, the fact is that the Japanese concluded a free trade agreement with the Philippines, as well as with Mexico, a NAFTA partner. It is important because the Japanese were able to deal with agricultural issues, which traditionally they have always been very protectionist on. Yet they were able to get agreements with two countries that have large agricultural aspects.

The fact is that we are still toiling away with Korea and Singapore. We need to look at what others are doing. Of course, the Americans have clearly demonstrated that they see the future there. An ASEAN agreement, with the 10 countries in ASEAN, will mean that a market of over 590 million people will open up with Australia, with the United States. We have to be there.

Therefore, though we support the idea of a bilateral agreement in this case, the much larger picture is the trading blocs that are emerging, the ASEAN, the EU, and dealing with the Asia-Pacific. All those are really critical.

If one looks at an example such as Vietnam, Vietnam is a market that now has a very strong foreign investment provision. It is welcoming Canadian companies that are there, such as Manulife. Again, we are missing the boat when we are not developing these kinds of strong free trade agreements. Because Vietnam is part of the ASEAN group, we need to have that.

I know time is ticking down until after question period, but I want to point out that again these kinds of agreements will benefit Canadian manufacturers and Canadian labour. It will benefit many opportunities where we can in fact expand. I hope to add a little to that after question period.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member will have about ten and a half minutes in the time allotted for his remarks when debate is resumed.

Red Deer Chamber of Commerce
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce. Being 113 years young and 930 members strong, the Red Deer Chamber excels at keeping Red Deer businesses competitive and profitable.

Committee volunteers tackle emerging business issues and make recommendations to government. The agriculture and environment committee has addressed market problems in the entire pork supply chain, effectively advocating for all producers across Canada.

Staff are currently putting together what will be another hugely successful Agri-Trade in November, the largest agricultural trade show on the Prairies.

The chamber is teamed up with the city and county in RDRED, the Red Deer Regional Economic Development partnership, which continues to attract investment to the region.

Congratulations to the newly elected board of directors. I look forward to the counsel of their skilled directors, the remarkable staff and their fearless leader, Tim Creedon. The Red Deer Chamber of Commerce continues to be a pillar of sustainable economic development in the region.

Pioneer Park Stormwater Management Project
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to recognize the leadership that the Town of Richmond Hill has displayed in the areas of water management and sustainable infrastructure renewal.

For several years our town had witnessed the decay of the Pioneer Park flood control site, which had lost its ability to safeguard the communities it was built to protect in 1985 and which no longer reflected modern standards of stormwater control.

However, thanks to upgrades carried out under a recent rehabilitation project, the new Pioneer Park stormwater management system is not only capable of protecting the nearby hospital, roadways and communities, but will also help the town control water quality and soil erosion and will help stabilize and rehabilitate the East Don River waterway.

For the town's exemplary work on this project, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Insurance Bureau of Canada have made Richmond Hill an inaugural recipient of a national Watershed Award. This award recognizes municipal governments that have demonstrated leadership in their efforts to adapt to climate change by reducing their vulnerability to flooding and water damage.

I would like to congratulate the Town of Richmond Hill on its leadership.

Caseus Selection Awards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, two companies in my riding distinguished themselves in the 12th annual competition for the Sélection Caseus awards, which recognize Quebec’s best fancy cheeses. The Fromagerie du Presbytère in Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Warwick was awarded the gold Caseus for the second time in as many years, this time for its Louis d'Or, an organic raw milk cheese. The Cendré de Lune and Cantonnier made by the Fromagerie 1860 DuVillage in Warwick also won awards in their categories.

Cheese makers from across Quebec outdid themselves. The silver Caseus was awarded to the Laiterie Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul for its Hercule de Charlevoix cheese. The bronze went to the Fromagerie Au gré des champs in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu for Le Monnoir. The judging panel also gave special honours to the Fromagerie Blackburn in Jonquière, in the category of new business established for five years or less, for its Mont-Jacob cheese.

Quebec's cheeses are second to none in the world. The people who produce them do so with no shortage of passion and expertise.

On behalf of my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, I extend to them our sincere congratulations and encourage everyone to try their excellent products.

Hornepayne's Town Centre Complex
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Carol Hughes Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal government sold CN, it refused to protect its investment in and responsibility to Hornepayne's town centre complex. As the centre prepares to close its doors for good on September 30, the ominous predictions of New Democrats have proven accurate.

Tenants of the complex, such as the high school, post office and public library, have been struggling to relocate, and the people of Hornepayne will soon be without a gym, swimming pool and their only hotel.

The Conservative government has been less than helpful in the fight to preserve the town centre. It would only offer money for marketing at the eleventh hour. It offered nothing from the stimulus spending that built rinks, gazebos and toilets in wealthy communities, but passed over Hornepayne in its hour of need.

The loss of the Hornepayne centre can be attributed in large part to the Government of Ontario. The half million dollars the provincial government gave the town to sever the apartments and close the centre could have been used to hold on to one of the investors. The province has certainly turned its back on this community.

Residents of Hornepayne will never give up on their community and will work to recover what they have lost. They will never forget how the federal and provincial governments shrugged their shoulders and walked away when they needed them the most.

Governor General Designate
Statements By Members

September 27th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank Canada's Governor General designate for his decade of leadership in Waterloo region.

Canada's next Governor General, my friend David Johnston of Heidelberg, would tell us that Waterloo region is blessed with a barn-raising community spirit and a talent to reinvent its economy to adapt with changing times. Local citizens would tell us that David Johnston himself deserves much of the credit for our area's recent success.

He brought world-leading hubs in nanotechnology and quantum computing to the university, a school of architecture to Cambridge, and a digital media campus to Stratford. The schools of pharmacy and medicine that opened under his watch are revitalizing downtown Kitchener. Johnston worked with our community to further his university, his province, his country and the entire world.

On behalf of all citizens of Waterloo region, the students, faculty, staff and alumni at the University of Waterloo, I say to Canadians that one of the leaders who made Waterloo region so great will now be focusing his attention on all of Canada. We are proud to share him with the country.

Canadian Student Leadership Conference
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 2010 Canadian Student Leadership Conference was held from September 21 to 25. More than 850 young people from across Canada took part in this conference in my riding of Pierrefonds—Dollard. This event was orchestrated by volunteers from the Lester B. Pearson school board and the Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School who did exceptional work.

The Canadian Student Leadership Conference encourages young people to develop their leadership skills through academic, extracurricular and cultural activities as well as sports.

We can all be proud of these young people and grateful for their involvement, which will help them to become responsible citizens who are able to positively influence their surroundings.

Our entire country benefits from the work done by the Canadian Student Leadership Conference and I believe that those responsible for the conference and all the young people who attend fully deserve the tributes I want to offer them today in this House.

Jean-Édouard Landry
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, for 400 years, trees have been vital to the economic success and social fabric of this country, and they continue to be.

However, they are more than that. They help us to correct the environmental damage that each of us causes on this planet. In a lifetime, each of us produces enough carbon dioxide to feed 15 trees. The best way to even things out is to plant at least 15 trees. Our young Canadian scouts do it. We should all do it.

So, each year to celebrate National Tree Day, I plant a tree in honour of a champion in our community.

On Friday, October 1, at 3 p.m., I will be planting a maple tree in the seniors' park in Orléans, in memory of the late Jean-Édouard Landry, a humble servant of his community whose sense of duty continues to inspire the people of Orléans.

He gave his all for those less fortunate than himself. He was a staunch champion of seniors. He and his spouse Jeannine are my friends.

I wish to pay tribute to him on behalf of the community.

Police and Peace Officers
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, police and peace officers from Quebec and Canada gathered on Parliament Hill yesterday to pay tribute to their colleagues who have died in the line of duty.

In memory of these men and women, we should remember that of the 16 police officers who have died while on the job in the past 12 years, 14 were killed with long guns. In their memory and to prevent other tragedies, it is time we gave full effect to the firearms registry by ending the amnesty, which has lasted too long, and implementing the firearms marking regulations, which were supposed to take effect in April 2006.

On behalf of all my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I wish to pay tribute to these men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities, and I would like to say to their surviving families that we will never forget them.

Canada's Economic Action Plan
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the government told Quebeckers and Canadians about the progress made through Canada's economic action plan.

The plan is producing results: 98% of the funds have been committed, 22,000 projects have begun or have been completed across Canada, taxes have been reduced, and the list goes on. Thousands of new jobs have been created, which is good news for Canadian families and communities. In fact, in little more than a year, Canada has created 430,000 new jobs.

However, the global economic recovery is fragile, which is why the government is focusing on the economy. That is why we are supporting Canada's economic recovery by delivering $22 billion in stimulus funding in 2010-11 and continuing to lower taxes for families and businesses that are creating jobs.

Unlike the coalition, which would impose taxes and spending, we know that lowering taxes creates jobs and economic growth.

That is why we are opposed to the coalition's plan to get rid of 400,000 jobs and significantly increase taxes. We remain focused on Canada's economic action plan.

Newfoundland and Labrador
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, seeing images on TV of the destruction that hurricane Igor inflicted on Newfoundland and Labrador is one thing but seeing it first-hand, as I did this weekend, hits home the seriousness of the situation.

As rivers and ponds overflowed and the rush of water could not be handled by the culverts, homes flooded, cars were submerged, roads disappeared, bridges collapsed and some people lost everything. We must learn from this tragedy.

As people try to rebuild their lives and local governments replace infrastructure that failed the onslaught of the hurricane, it is crucial that all levels of government agree to put in place infrastructure that improves on what previously existed and failed.

The issue is that, under the present cost-shared agreement with the province, should a municipality want to put back a larger culvert, for example, the agreement will only cover to have that culvert replaced to its pre-disaster condition. The municipality will be responsible for the cost of the upgrade.

This needs to change. Rural communities, in particular, cannot afford this cost and cannot afford to replace failed infrastructure with more of the same.

Newfoundland and Labrador
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador has been devastated by hurricane Igor: a death, roads and bridges washed away, loss of power, communities cut in half and shortages of food and gas in affected areas.

We salute the community spirit of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians where neighbours help neighbours to rebuild following a storm described by Environment Canada as the worst to hit in modern times.

Last Friday, the Prime Minister, Premier Williams and Senator Manning toured the hard-hit communities of Trouty and Britannia. The Prime Minister noted that he had never seen such damage and immediately offered the province the assistance of the Canadian military. By Friday evening, Canadian Forces dispatched three ships and several Sea King helicopters to affected areas, bringing equipment and supplies to help the hard-hit communities.

Today, the Minister of National Defence and the chief of the defence staff join Canadian Forces members working in Newfoundland and Labrador to see first-hand the hard job of rebuilding these communities.

The Government of Canada and all Canadians are standing in solidarity with our family and friends in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Peter Leibovitch
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, on September 18, the Canadian community lost a courageous fighter for social justice. Peter Leibovitch was a principled and determined man. He brought a message of hope that both collective and individual effort could change the world for the better, and his whole life was dedicated toward that end.

Whether through his efforts with the labour movement, the NDP or a long list of social justice and community groups, Peter was unrelenting in the pursuit of fairness for all. He was a mentor to countless activists across Canada and an inspiration to all those with whom he came into contact.

He never feared taking on an issue or backing away from challenges because they were unpopular. He was always ready to skilfully argue a point with anyone.

Peter loved his six children and took great pride in them and their achievements.

We express our sincerest condolences to Jacob, Joseph, Steven, Danielle, Michael and Samuel, as well as to his parents, siblings and grandchildren on their loss. We will miss him greatly.