House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, what I have seen from the opposition in committee and in the House regarding any legislation is delays, fear-mongering, no support and no constructive debate. Basically it is all delay tactics.

At the same time, it is important for this government to focus on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Therefore, we have to finish business and move forward and implement all of these agreements.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, both opposition parties in the House have said that they are supportive of this agreement. There are not that many hours left for debate and a number of people have some things to say that they want to get on the record relative to this agreement.

It is bad politics and tactics by the government. The member is always talking about the government, although he is a member of the governing party not the government. The government is cabinet.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Give us a lesson.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Yes, I will, Mr. Speaker.

The tactics shown by the member, on behalf of the government no doubt, getting his direction from on high, are wrong, especially when he knows full well that we will support the bill. People want to get some things on the record.

The member is accusing us of fear-mongering and says that there is no constructive debate. He talks about how the government is interested in jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. The member was at committee when Canadian auto workers stated that there was a problem with our trade agreements in terms of results, that wealth was not being created in Canada and that we were becoming more hewers of wood and drawers of water—

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

I hate to interrupt the hon. member. Other hon. members may wish to pose questions.

The hon. member for Calgary Northeast.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is so ironic when a member of the Liberal Party stands and says that the Liberals are all willing to support this agreement. They have been using all kinds of tactics in committee and in the House to delay this legislation. If those members are honest, let them support this.

The fact is that an agreement with Jordan will open up significant opportunities for Canadian companies in this market as well as in Middle East countries and north Africa.

Under this agreement, Jordan will eliminate all non-agriculture tariffs and the vast majority of agriculture tariffs.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to my sources of information—including people who were members of the previous Parliament—the argument was made many times that increasing trade with Jordan would pave the way for a better dialogue concerning human rights and workers' rights.

I would like to know what pragmatic goal we have to verify that, and to get further information on the subject.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not know which previous members my colleague from the opposition party is referring to. Maybe that is the reason those previous members are not presently members.

To respond to his question, I would reiterate what the Minister of International Trade has been saying again and again, which is that Canada will not sign any agreement which is not to the net benefit of Canada and Canadians.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague is a member of the international trade committee, so I suspect he has a fair bit of expertise in this area and has probably spent a lot of time studying this agreement. Could the member share with the House some of the ways that this agreement would benefit Canada.

I know our government has done a lot of work in terms of opening up new markets for trade for businesses and farmers and created all kinds of economic opportunity as part of our broader economic agenda to see our country through a very difficult time. We really are the envy of the world at the current time. I am sure the hon. member would be willing to share with the House some of the benefits that the agreement would bring for our country.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Conservative

Devinder Shory Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, to answer his question, he is absolutely right that Canada is the envy of the world when it comes to free trade agreements. Upon implementation of this free trade agreement, over 99% of recent Canadian exports to Jordan will benefit from immediate duty-free access to the Jordanian market, with a small number of tariffs to be phased out over three to five years. That is a fact of this agreement.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure I stand in my place to talk about free trade. I have had the opportunity to talk about it on a number of occasions, most recently last week. Today I would like to emphasize a couple of important industries in the perspective of free trade and the benefits of free trade agreements. Our Liberal Party critic talked at great length about some of our concerns in regard to the specifics of this free trade agreement between Canada and Jordan. To avoid sounding overly repetitive, I will try to take a different angle on it, and maybe refer to some of the things I had talked about when I was referring to the Panama-Canada Free Trade Agreement and free trade in general.

Let me first start off by commenting on the whole idea of the amendment, which I thought was somewhat bizarre for the government to put forward. There is a natural instinct it seems, more and more every day, for the government to do something to limit rights of members inside this chamber.

One of the favourite things of the Conservatives is time allocation. On a few occasions they have brought in a motion to prevent amendments from being introduced. It is somewhat discouraging, given that the Conservatives have witnessed this afternoon something that is fairly noteworthy, when the New Democratic Party critic brought forward the NDP's official position with regard to this bill. History would likely show that previous votes on this agreement may have reflected negatively coming from the NDP members, but the critic has made the determination that they will be supporting the bill.

When I posed the question earlier, I was a bit surprised. Most people would be surprised because it was only last week when we were debating the Panama agreement and as members may recall, there was an exchange between myself and a member of the New Democratic Party from the front bench. We were asking about the whole free trade concept and what it would take for the NDP to support an agreement. The conclusion at that point was that an NDP trade agreement would have to be signed in order for the NDP to support it.

Something has happened between last week and this week. The NDP has come on side with the rest of the progressive world in recognizing that there is merit to trade. We welcome that as it tries to nudge a little bit closer to the centre, quite possibly. I do not really know why per se, but it is encouraging that the NDP has recognized the value of trade.

As we look forward to having more discussions in the months and years ahead, we need to talk about freer trade. It is not just the formal agreements we need to be concerned about. There are other areas in which we encourage trade. I want to pick up on a couple of those. I made reference last week to what I had thought was a great attempt back in the nineties by the then Prime Minister Chrétien to gather a number of stakeholders, provincial jurisdictions, politicians of all political stripes and stakeholders within the business community. There was a wonderful label put on it, Team Canada. They went out to countries around the world. I believe the first one was in Asia. There were just amazing results when they brought different stakeholders from Canada to another country.

By having that strong presence, there is a series of doors that open as a direct result of the interest by the national government in saying that it wants to be able to broaden opportunities for both countries and afford the ability of those stakeholders to communicate directly. Ultimately, I believe that tens of millions of dollars flowed from that. At the end of the day, many economic ties were established by that agreement.

I have made reference to what I have always believed was one of the greatest agreements, if not the greatest, which was the Auto Pact. It was an agreement between Canada and the United States where Canada would be guaranteed a certain percentage of the manufacturing of automobiles and parts in return for purchasing vehicles or having a freer trade with the automobile industry. As a direct result of that agreement over the years, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created.

Whether in the manufacturing industry, tourism or information technology, there are many opportunities out there. When governments take the initiative to go abroad, in whatever form, and in this case it is a formalized free trade agreement, then all Canadians can benefit. It creates employment opportunities here as well as for the other countries. We see that as a good thing.

One of the examples I used when I made reference to Panama was an important industry in the province of Manitoba, the potato industry. I am glad that not only are we supporting the principles of the bill for Jordan, but also the principles of the bill for Panama. If we look at the Panama agreement, in the province of Manitoba the potato industry is huge. Panama consumes a great deal of our potatoes and not just the raw product, but processed potatoes as well. We have three large processing plants which create 1,000 plus direct jobs, not to mention indirect jobs. When we looked at the agreement, we saw that there was value to it and we supported it.

On the Jordan agreement that we are now debating, again there is benefit, not only for Manitoba, but for all provinces. Perhaps some provinces may benefit a little more because of the industries that Jordan might want to focus on in Canada. This is one of the nice things about being such a diverse country. However, at the end of the day, we have been fairly consistent in recognizing the value of freer trade agreements.

Having said that, we have some concerns. We have been consistent on those concerns. We need to be aware of the environmental impact and how other countries treat and respect environments. We also need to be aware of labour conditions. That is why committee members, whether it is the critic of the Liberal Party or other stakeholders, are quite willing to share stories or concerns regarding labour standards and environmental laws. Where we can, we have to try to protect both those areas of interest. By doing that, I believe that we are making the world a better place to live and allowing a more equal and level playing field.

On an equal, level playing field, Canadians can compete with any country in the world. Having said that, we are far from being able to achieve that playing field but I think it is worth pursuing.

We have other concerns that we have talked about at length. I want to be able to share some of my thoughts on those concerns. There is the whole idea of the manufacturing industry and the global competitive market. If the government does not do its job, we could lose a lot of valuable jobs. For the most part, I think we would find that Canadians are supportive of freer trade, and the benefits of freer trade, but there is also a great deal of concern about those quality jobs. A lot of those quality jobs that we really have to watch out for are within the manufacturing industry.

It saddens me to hear of these massive layoffs or companies that are going down and shifting to another region of the world. Some of it cannot be prevented from happening, but there are some things that government can do that would have an impact.

I would like to cite two recent examples dealing with the whole concept of trade. The first one is in regard to a debate that we had last summer when the government made the determination to get rid of the Canadian Wheat Board. By getting rid of the Canadian Wheat Board, I would argue that ultimately we are going to see fewer Prairie farmers dealing with grain as a commodity. We are going to see larger farms handling the same sort of capacity of grain, but there will be a smaller number of farmers. That will have a serious impact on the number of people employed in that industry. We will see smaller towns or communities that will also be impacted by the government's decision.

I have been around in politics for a number of years. My understanding was that in the whole debate on the free trade agreement there was a lot of pressure on Canada to end the Wheat Board, as far back as the mid-1980s. Governments, over the years, have resisted getting rid of the Wheat Board, because governments, both Progressive Conservative and Liberal, have recognized the value of the Canadian Wheat Board. It is only the Reform/Conservative government that has made the determination that this will somehow improve Canada's trade relations.

I would suggest that these types of things will have a very negative impact. When we talk about trade agreements, this is something the U.S. wanted so desperately that the government just kind of conceded it, handed it over to the United States and other international companies. I am not too sure exactly how much wheat Jordan would be getting from our Prairies, I suspect some. The minister says it is quite a bit, and I will take him at his word on that. The point is it does have what I believe is a negative impact, and it is a government policy. The government chose to go in that direction.

The other major issue that we have had here affected not only the Prairies, but Winnipeg, Mississauga and Montreal. It was the whole Air Canada and Aveos fiasco. I have walked the line with Air Canada workers on several occasions in regard to what has taken place there. As the world gets smaller, we have to look at those valuable jobs, those valuable industries. In Manitoba, the aerospace industry is a very important industry, as it is no doubt in Quebec and Ontario.

In those three provinces it employs thousands of Canadians. Air Canada had an obligation to sustain those jobs in those three provinces, but the government has let Air Canada off the hook; as a result, those jobs are gone.

The government does not recognize that it has a role to play in certain industries. I would suggest the aerospace industry is one of those industries. If it is not prepared to play a role and allows the free market to dictate where those jobs will be, my concern is that not only will those jobs be leaving Winnipeg, Montreal and Mississauga but also that potentially we will lose a very important industry. The reason is that other countries will be paying a fraction of the wages employees would earn in those three provinces working at overhaul bases or the like.

If the Government of Canada wants to move toward freer trade, in principle it is a good measure, but we have to remember that millions of Canadians are depending on the government to also protect those industries that feel threatened, because they are long-term industries with great potential for ongoing development to provide good-paying jobs going forward.

My last point is a question I asked my colleague in regard to the U.S. With Jordan, our trade is just under $100 million annually. As was pointed out earlier, Canada exports around $340 billion worth of goods internationally. The single greatest recipient of those exported products is the U.S. I believe the government has been neglecting that file. As a direct result, a lot more jobs could end up going south. We have already seen jobs going to the United States that could have stayed here in Canada. The government has been turning a blind eye to that particular trading partner or that issue. I do not quite understand why.

Another issue is with respect to Korea which, as my colleague pointed out, consumes a great deal of pork. Once again I will bring in the province of Manitoba, which is a billion-dollar trading partner with Korea. A number of months ago, the United States signed a deal with Korea. Manitoba has a wonderful pork industry, but it will have some serious hits because the government does not seem to give any priority to the tariff issues with respect to Korea.

As the government has now been sitting on this particular file since 2009, it is great to see that we are at a stage at which I suspect the bill will be passed through. I think it is important to emphasize to the government that it needs to focus more attention on countries we are dependent on in terms of being able to maintain and hopefully grow our industries, in particular manufacturing and other industries that have so much more potential here in Canada. As this bill passes through, I would hope that the government has some sort of strategic plan with respect to dealing with other nations around the world to ensure that Canada will continue to grow and prosper into the future, and that it starts thinking outside the box, as former prime minister Jean Chrétien did when he brought parliamentarians from across Canada into a Team Canada approach to selling Canada to the world.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 4th, 2012 / 5:55 p.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's speech really describes the Liberal position on a lot of things. We did not really understand whether they are supporting it or not supporting it. The member used the word “focus”. I would like to see him focus on an answer to my question.

The NDP earlier accused the Liberal Party of flip-flopping. We remember the 1988 election, when they ran against NAFTA, and now they seem to be talking in favour of free trade, but in his speech the member talked about protecting certain industries, especially manufacturing.

There was a great editorial in the Ottawa Citizen today, talking about manufacturing output actually being up. Yes, jobs have gone down, and that is because we are becoming more productive and more competitive around the world. The member talked about the aerospace sector. Members are aware that Canada, a small country, is fifth or sixth in the world in aerospace because we have been integrating into the supply chain.

He talked about the auto industry, an industry that is is very important to me, coming from Oshawa. He talked about something called the Auto Pact. He seems to promoting that philosophy of trade; it was one car that we bought here to one car that exported—one car in, one car out—but with free trade, we are actually exporting almost a million cars more every year, which means the jobs are here in Canada.

My question for the member is—

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Why did we have the trade deficit for the first time in 30 years?

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

I hear the member for Malpeque, who quoted statistics from the CAW economist that did not support any free trade.

Are the Liberals going to be supporting this free trade agreement with Jordan, or are they going to be promoting more managed trade and protecting different industries? When they are talking about free trade, what are they really talking about? Could the member focus on an answer, please?

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure to what degree the member has listened, whether to me or to the Liberal Party's critic. We have been fairly consistent for a great deal of time, and I will put it as simply as I can for the member: we are voting in favour of the bill. That said, we do have concerns and we have expressed those concerns.

However, it is important to recognize that there has been a net deficit in trade for the first time, under the reformed Conservative government. To the degree in which it is there—