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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is fund.

Conservative MP for Fundy Royal (New Brunswick)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 58.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Regional Economic Development February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the hon. member travel to Cape Breton and get around a little more, because our government is committed to supporting economic development in Cape Breton and throughout Atlantic Canada. In fact, just in the last year alone we have provided $2.2 million toward the implementation of the Richmond County tourism strategy, $1 million to assist with the operation of the Celtic Colours International Festival, $1.3 million for the expansion of the Sydney boardwalk, $200,000 for the Inverness County Trails Federation in an effort to make the Inverness portion of the Trans-Canada trail, and $105,000 to support Synergy Louisbourg.

I could go on and on, if the member has a supplemental question.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my hon. friend's speech, even that final quote.

Worker displacement, research and development, innovation, a fisheries transition initiative: these are all things that the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador was asking for, and these are all things that we are perfectly willing to work with the province together for on this fund. We have committed to this fund and we have budgeted for this fund. Even in the letter the hon. member just cited and all throughout our correspondence with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, all of which was released by the previous premier, it says “up to $400 million”—“up to”.

We have referenced some of the various initiatives that could be funded under the fund, but there is not a person in this place who would say that a compensation fund should be accessed without some measure of impact. We have committed to being flexible in how that looks and how we measure the impact. For example, we have not tied a specific loss of a job to funding for that specific loss, but we have said that there has to be a measurement of impact. We have said that publicly and with the premier.

I was pleased that the Prime Minister met with Premier Davis, but he was very clear that for a compensation fund, there has to be a measure of loss. The hon. member is a lawyer, and he would know this. We as a government, through the CETA, have negotiated compensation funds with both the pharmaceutical and dairy sectors, but there has to be a measure of loss.

Does the hon. member honestly believe that there could be an expectation of a $400 million compensation fund with no way to measure that compensation? That is what we are talking about here today. CETA is tremendous for Newfoundland and Labrador, and this fund is there in case there is any impact whatsoever on the province as a result of giving up minimum processing requirements.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. friend's speech with much interest. I have a question relating to the past question.

When we look at the documentation the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has released, every single piece of correspondence from the federal government, when referencing this fund, says up to $400 million, cost-shared on a 70-30 basis. That is important. We have been consistent on that throughout.

I have in my hand letters from the St. John's Board of Trade, the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council, and the Seafood Processors of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I could go on, all of them asking that we not throw out the baby with the bathwater. This agreement means too much to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and CETA will benefit the industry and the people immensely.

I wonder if the hon. member could remind us of some of the benefits of this agreement for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Intergovernmental Affairs February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, our government remains committed to working out the details of the minimum processing requirements fund with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador. We remain open to this transition initiative, but this fund was never intended to be a blank cheque that could be used to disadvantage the other Atlantic provinces.

The hon. member needs to consult with industry and consult with the province and realize that this agreement is of immense benefit to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Intergovernmental Affairs February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I was in this place two hours ago when the hon. member stood on his feet and said that his party does not know where it stands yet on the Canada-European Union trade agreement, an agreement that will benefit his province immensely. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador recognizes that CETA is of huge benefit to the province as well as to the fisheries.

Our government remains committed to a fund with Newfoundland and Labrador for transition, but we will not have a fund that will be a blank cheque that could be used to disadvantage other provinces.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would say absolutely that we are encouraging the province to come to the table with us.

This is an historic opportunity. We have talked today already about some of the benefits to the seafood and fish sector, manufacturers, and exporters in Newfoundland and Labrador and about the benefits that can accrue to that province.

We also know the hurdles when it comes to access to the European Union. I mentioned some of the tariffs of over 10%, including some as high as over 20%, on the very exports we want to make to that very important market of over 500 million people.

It is in everyone's interest that we come together to finalize this fund that will be to the benefit of Newfoundland and Labrador, a fund that will protect the seafood industry from any potential negative impacts for having given up minimum processing requirements, and indeed, to move forward on an agreement that will benefit all of us as Canadians.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, indeed, our government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is working steadfastly with our provincial partners, with businesses, and with other stakeholders on improving market access and on improving the type of innovation that is needed for the next step for these companies. As a matter of fact, it is dealing very directly with businesses in Atlantic Canada on how they can benefit from some of the major initiatives by our government, such as CETA and our shipbuilding program. There are tremendous benefits for Atlantic Canada that we, through ACOA, are making sure our local businesses can leverage.

I have a stack of letters and press releases from employers, the St. John's Board of Trade, seafood processors, Canadian manufacturers, and exporters, all of them calling on the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to come to the table to work out the details of this fund with us, because they know the tremendous benefit of the Canada-European Union trade agreement to their province.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that everyone in this place is on the same page when it comes to the benefits, because the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl said that Newfoundlanders do not have a position. They do not know where they stand on this agreement. We know where we stand on an agreement that is historic and that is recognized by Canadians, industry, workers, and employers as bringing tremendous benefits to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador as well as to all Canadians. We know where we stand on that. We have also agreed that in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador giving up minimum processing requirements, we will be there to work with it to compensate for any impacts.

Our position is quite clear and consistent with other sectors, like pharmaceuticals and dairy, two other sectors where compensation is being offered. There must be evidence based on the impact before compensation can flow, and I think all people recognize that this is appropriate.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we cannot have it both ways. The hon. member, in his speech, extolled some of the virtues of the Canada-European Union trade agreement and the benefits his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador will have by having unfettered access to 500 million customers. Quite frankly, I cannot think of a province that would benefit any more than his home province.

To be very clear, Premier Dunderdale at the time said that there was a need for a compensation fund, and that is something we have agreed to. We have agreed to a fund, with the federal share being up to $280 million, on a 70-30 cost-shared basis. No one in the House truly believes that there can be a compensation fund where there is no evidence provided of any impact or losses.

We are being very flexible with the province. We are saying that we can work together in a number of ways on this initiative. However, the hon. member knows, and all members know, that to have compensation, there must be a measurable impact, and those are the details we are committed to working out with the province.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I guess I hit a nerve with that last question, but I think that it is time to take a stand. It is time to take a stand in favour of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is time to take a stand in favour of industry, exporters, and the people who rely on the fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Canada-European Union trade agreement will have untold benefits for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and indeed all Canadians. Anything that is done to undermine this agreement will be to the detriment of those people who stand to benefit.

I am very pleased to rise today to speak to our Conservative government's historic trade agreement with the European Union and the benefits that the agreement will bring for hard-working Canadians, particularly the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

First of all, the Canada-EU trade agreement will greatly benefit Newfoundland and Labrador's fish and seafood sector. Secondly, CETA has tremendous support from Newfoundland and Labrador's business leaders, and the NDP knows this. Finally, our government remains committed to investing up to $280 million in a cost-shared fund shared 70:30 for up to $400 million to compensate Newfoundland and Labrador for any loss incurred due to the removal of minimum processing requirements.

CETA is a historic accomplishment. It will benefit hard-working Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and indeed all Canadians across all trade-related sectors of our economy. In particular, in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador, the fish and seafood sector will benefit.

Newfoundland and Labrador was founded on the fishery. For over 500 years, the province worked to perfect the art of doing business with European fish traders. I am certain that my Newfoundland and Labrador colleagues across the floor are very well versed on the economic importance of the province's historic and current relationship with the European Union. I am also certain that they are very aware that Newfoundland and Labrador's fishery continues to face challenges distinct from minimum processing requirements and the conversation that we are focused on here today. These include declines in shellfish stocks and other challenges related to competing in the global marketplace.

I am sure that my Newfoundland and Labrador colleagues will agree that the focus must now be on the future of those relationships and on addressing those challenges. The focus must be on building those historic connections and that industrial intelligence to take full advantage of all that the Canada-European Union trade agreement has to offer Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians stand to benefit significantly from this preferred access to the European Union. The EU is already the province's second-largest export destination and second-largest trading partner. In 2013, Newfoundland and Labrador's fish and seafood industry was valued at $1.1 billion. In 2013, its fish exports to the EU were valued at $116.5 million. Given that the EU is the world's largest fish and seafood market, with over 500 million customers and $18 trillion in economic activity, CETA represents a lucrative opportunity for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

That said, fish and seafood products destined for the EU, such as shrimp, snow crab, cod, and scallops face stubbornly high tariffs at an average of 11%, with some as high as 25%. On the first day that CETA comes into force, almost 96% of those tariffs will be eliminated, and seven years later, 100% of these tariffs will be eliminated. In fact, CETA will eliminate tariffs on almost all of Newfoundland and Labrador's key exports to the EU, and it will permanently lock in the duty-free access currently received by goods in the mineral and petroleum sectors.

Exporters will also benefit from other CETA provisions that will improve conditions for exports. There are provisions, for example, that will ease regulatory barriers and ensure more transparent rules for market access. The elimination of tariffs and the creation of new value-added and branded products, combined with new marketing development opportunities, could result in an estimated additional $100 million in revenue annually to the fish and seafood industry, according to the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The benefits of CETA are crystal clear even to the NDP, apparently: increased sales, more jobs, higher wages, and greater long-term prosperity. Why would any provincial government want to delay or threaten that access for their local companies? Why, indeed, would any federal party want to delay that access to their constituents?

Let us make no mistake: those companies, those people, those workers stand to benefit greatly from the CETA deal. This is why many have come forward to state their support for this historic agreement.

Some stakeholders have referred to CETA as a game changer. Others have spoken of CETA's potential to facilitate market diversification and allow our seafood products to compete on a level playing field in the world's single largest integrated market. The business leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador understand the transformative power of the Canada-European Union trade agreement, and they understand that this government is committed to ensuring that Canadians from coast to coast to coast benefit from the deal. Indeed, all Canadians will benefit from this deal.

This is the best access the EU has ever granted a trading partner, and Newfoundland and Labrador companies are eager to take full and fair advantage of this new access. The leaders of Newfoundland and Labrador's business community, both within and outside the fish and seafood sector, have spoken publicly of their support for CETA. I will recap some of their words for members as well as for all those who are listening in on this debate.

The Association of Seafood Producers from Newfoundland and Labrador has stated on the record that:

For too many of our products, we are kept from being competitive because of the high tariffs the EU placed on our seafood products. It’s a remarkable achievement, the elimination of all EU tariffs on fish and seafood in a single leap. The EU is our backyard. ... We’re closer to many parts of Europe, geographically and historically, than many markets in the U.S.

It is a historic deal.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council agrees, saying:

The agreement reached between Canada and the European Union demonstrates great growth in the province. Businesses that are having difficulty surviving in the current marketplace will see increased opportunities as the province begins to compete on a global scale.

The vice-president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Newfoundland and Labrador, adds his voice:

A trade agreement with the EU would give manufacturers and exporters...the ability to diversify their sales...increase their presence in Europe at a time when they are looking for new market opportunities....

The St. John's Board of Trade, an organization that is the voice of business and an advocate for sustained economic prosperity in Newfoundland and Labrador, stated in a news release that:

CETA is one of the most significant trade deals ever negotiated for Canadian business, including businesses right here in St. John’s.

The chairman and CEO of a private sector fish enterprise sums it up perfectly. Bill Barry of Barry Group said:

I think it’s a tremendous initiative. I think the free trade deal with the EU is something almost everybody in the fishing industry had hoped for years.

As members can see, CETA is very important to the future and prosperity of this country and of Newfoundland and Labrador's fish and seafood industry. It is critical for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to come back to the negotiating table to work this out for the benefit of hard-working men and women who stand to benefit greatly from this trade agreement.

The Government of Canada has committed to invest up to $280 million in a cost-shared initiative in Newfoundland and Labrador to compensate for negative impacts caused by the removal of minimum processing requirements on fish and seafood destined for the EU market. As we have stated time and time again, we remain committed to working out the details of the minimum processing requirements fund with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, but I will step back a bit to clarify MPRs for the benefit of my colleagues on both sides of the House.

Newfoundland and Labrador legislation states that minimum processing requirements, or MPRs, apply to all fish intended for sale outside of the province. Fish exported from the province must be processed to a minimum requirement as outlined by the provincial government.

During CETA negotiations, the European Union requested unrestricted access to Canadian fishery sources, requiring Newfoundland and Labrador to give up their minimum processing requirements. At that time, Newfoundland and Labrador raised significant concerns that the removal of MPRs would impact their fisheries sector. In line with dairy and in line with pharmaceuticals, we were prepared to offer a compensation package of up to $280 million for losses in a 70-30 federal-provincial cost-shared fund totalling up to $400 million.

Our government remains fully committed to investing up to $280 million to compensate Newfoundland and Labrador for losses caused by the removal of MPRs, and we are committed to working with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to work out a transition initiative that would address priorities such as compensation for displaced workers, research and development, and innovation.

However, this fund was always intended to compensate Newfoundland and Labrador for losses as a result of the removal of MPRs. It was never intended to be a blank cheque. In fact, a review of the documents disclosed publicly by the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador clearly demonstrate the position of the Government of Canada as it relates to this fund. I repeat: this initiative is intended to help Newfoundland and Labrador transition from the removal of MPRs. Our investment of up to $280 million is intended to compensate that province for the negative impact of that removal and to ensure that the benefits of CETA accrue to all Canadians.

Let me revisit the state of Newfoundland and Labrador's fish and seafood sector for a moment. The fish processing sector, which has particular importance to rural economies, has been dramatically reduced in size and character since the early nineties. Rationalization has been extensive, from a high of nearly 214 processing plans in 1989 to 86 in 2013. The number of seafood sector employees now stands at approximately 18,000. That industry continues to face challenges, with declining shellfish stocks and changing consumer expectations, and these challenges are real.

CETA represents a tremendous potential to mitigate those challenges. Industries facing such intense pressure to transform and modernize have never in history had the opportunity and benefit afforded by CETA to help them do exactly that.

Our government understands that the Newfoundland and Labrador fish and seafood sector will be impacted by the removal of MPRs, and that is why we have committed to this fund. We also understand that the Newfoundland and Labrador fish and seafood sector is on the brink of realizing something the industry has wanted for many years. Because of CETA, the Newfoundland and Labrador fish and seafood sector will have unprecedented tariff-free access to lucrative new markets and countless opportunities to grow, to modernize, and to compete. CETA, for the Newfoundland and Labrador fish and seafood sector, means opportunity. We know it, my esteem colleagues across the floor know it, and the leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador's business community know it.

As I have said in the past and here again today, our government remains steadfast in our commitment to getting back to the table and working out the details of the MPR fund with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador. We are ready when it is ready.