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  • His favourite word is opportunities.

Conservative MP for Kelowna—Lake Country (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 57.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to thank my hon. colleague from the British Columbia Southern Interior. I know that he is not going to be running next year, so I wish him all the best in his retirement. We have had many opportunities to spend hours in the air together and chat as we have crossed back and forth to our ridings.

Philosophically, the aspect the New Democrats need to understand is investor protection. Our government believes that it is important that Canadians investing in another country are protected through a neutral third party, just as another country's investors who are investing in Canada would expect to be protected by the rule of law. What we would have is an independent third party that would protect the investments and look at them from an objective, neutral perspective. That is the challenge. Anyone doing business would expect to be treated fairly. I do not think it is unreasonable to have the expectation, whether it is Canadian investors investing in another country or people from another country investing in Canada, that they will be treated with respect and objectively and with fairness.

That is what we would have with the investor state provision. It has been around. It has been a cornerstone of trade agreements since NAFTA. It is an important cornerstone of modern trade agreements that we recognize around the world.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this important free trade agreement and to share my time with the hard-working member for Don Valley West.

I will start off by reconfirming that there is no government in Canada's history that has been more committed to the creation of jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. The Minister of International Trade has been spending many days away from home trying to secure new markets and to deepen Canada's trading relationships in dynamic and high-growth markets around the world. I think it is key to these efforts.

The Canada-Korea free trade agreement, Canada's first FTA with an Asia-Pacific nation, is an ambitious, state-of-the-art agreement covering virtually all sectors and aspects of free trade.

Today I will speak specifically to the foundation of the agreement, which is the extensive and profound people-to-people ties that bind Canada and South Korea. I think that is a very important aspect that has not really been talked about.

It is an increasingly interconnected world. People-to-people ties are crucial to ensuring long-term success in the competitive global economy. It is all about relationships, and this free trade agreement is a classic example. It is a landmark achievement that would result in mutual benefits and prosperity for both of our countries and that would lay the foundation to unlock the full potential of our political, economic, and secure relations.

Canada can leverage its rich history and flourishing people-to-people ties with South Korea to build on this free trade agreement and pave the pathway to jobs and prosperity for generations to come.

Canada and South Korea have had formal diplomatic relations for over 50 years, yet the connections between our two peoples extend back more than a century. Prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1963, Canada came to South Korea's aid in the Korean War, contributing the third-largest contingent of troops to UN forces. More than 26,000 Canadian soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder with their Korean brothers and sisters against the spread of tyranny. Unfortunately, more than 500 individuals ultimately gave their lives. George Barr, from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 in my riding, and others across Canada, have been incredible ambassadors for the Canada-Korea relationship. The memories of helping folks in Korea and Canada continue to strengthen that bond.

Korean President Park was here last month for her official state visit, and she laid a wreath in memory at the National War Memorial. It was one of the highlights of her visit and was a testament to the importance of the shared history of our two nations.

When I had the honour of travelling with the Prime Minister and the delegation in March for the initial signing of the agreement in Seoul, the Prime Minister and the delegation laid a wreath at the Seoul National Cemetery, as well.

I would like to take a moment to think about Corporal Cirillo. His funeral procession is taking place in Hamilton right now. I am thinking about soldiers, the men and women who sacrifice their lives, and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families as well.

After the Korean War, almost 7,000 additional Canadian soldiers served as peacekeepers in South Korea between 1953 and 1957. Canada also participated in supervising South Korea's first elections in 1948 as part of the United Nations temporary commission on Korea. Aside from the United States, Canada is the only other state that has permanent military representation, with the United Nations Command, otherwise known as the UNC, in Korea.

Canada continues to participate in the UNC Military Armistice Commission that supervises the armistice. Last year, a delegation of Canadian veterans, led by the current Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the member for Lévis—Bellechasse, travelled to South Korea to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on July 27, 2013.

Building on our proud and shared history, our bilateral relationship is further championed and advanced by our strong, growing, people-to-people ties. Canada is home to some 200,000 people who identify themselves as being of Korean origin. It is the fourth-largest Korean diaspora in the world. Over 23,000 Canadians are currently residing in South Korea, including around 3,200 language teachers.

Last year, our government designated the year 2013 the Year of Korea in Canada. It marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Korea and celebrated the contributions of the Korean diaspora to Canadian society.

The Year of Korea in Canada featured a number of cultural and artistic events. I am sure many members had the opportunity to take them in. There were great festivities across the country that gave Canadians the opportunity to learn more about Korean culture, tradition, and diversity.

The Canada-Korea Interparliamentary Friendship Group is co-chaired by Senator Yonah Martin, Canada's first and only Korean senator, an incredible, hard-working individual. She shares that responsibility with our acting Speaker, the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, who has held three successful Canada-Korea dialogue series on the Hill, the last of which was held in June this year. It was attended by more than 100 participants.

Senator Martin, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, and the member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock also travelled to Seoul, Korea, in September to meet with senior government officials, Korean national assembly members, and business officials to discuss the wide-ranging benefits of the trade agreement to continue to move this agreement forward.

Some Canadians were a bit disappointed with the NDP at committee recently when members tried to remove what I believe is one of the cornerstones of a modern trade agreement, the investor protection provisions. The Liberals talked about this trade agreement in 2003, but it was our Prime Minister and the Minister of International Trade who were actually able to get this over the goal line.

The opposition had taken us virtually out of the game of international trade. It was not a priority for them, and I understand their reasons. However, our government wants to create jobs and open doors and opportunities to put Canadian workers and businesses first. The opposition put us at severe risk of falling behind in the era of global markets, but that has changed in a positive manner. Fortunately for Canadians, our Conservative government is committed to protecting and strengthening the long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians.

Last month, during President Park's visit to Canada, our government announced its intent to develop a science, technology, and innovation agreement with South Korea, providing Canada with the opportunity to further strengthen the people-to-people ties and to build a lasting strategic framework with one of the world's most innovative economies and top funders of research and development.

The agreement would provide Canadian stakeholders with opportunities to create new partnerships and enhance business-to-business linkages through a mechanism that would directly support bilateral, industry-led research and development funding projects in strategic areas.

As well, I am proud to say that our education ties are extensive and growing. I am sure members from all parties have constituents who have gone to South Korea. It is Canada's third-largest source of international students. We have had constituents going there to teach, and we have had more than 19,000 young and talented students choose Canada as the destination of choice to pursue their education. Based on the average estimated expenditure by international students in Canada per year, that would translate to Korean students contributing over $500 million to the Canadian economy. Many high-calibre international students choose to stay in Canada post-graduation, leading to the enrichment of human capital in Canada. Those who go back to Korea are some of Canada's best ambassadors.

There are over 100 active agreements among institutions in Canada and South Korea facilitating the exchange of students, faculty, staff, and curricula and providing joint research and degree programs. That is very important. The Government of Canada has a number of memoranda of understanding with South Korea, including in the areas of industrial science, engineering and technology, research, co-operation, clean technologies, energy, and Arctic research and development.

On tourism, over 140,000 Korean tourists visited Canada in 2013. It is the eighth-largest source of tourists to Canada, which is very important to my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country. They spent almost $250 million in the Canadian economy. South Korea is one of the Canadian Tourism Commission's top-ten priority leisure markets. In 2013, the annual growth in the number of Korean tourists to Canada stood at 3.3%. An estimated four million Korean travellers are actively considering a Canadian holiday in the next two years.

On September 22, the Prime Minister and Korean President Park witnessed the signing of an open-skies air transport agreement between Canada and Korea, another significant milestone moving forward.

Ultimately our goal is to create jobs and growth for the benefit of Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. That is why we will continue to deliver pro-export leadership.

International Development October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Club, I have heard first-hand from my constituents that they are concerned with the living conditions of those in the developing world. I am so pleased to learn of our government's announcement of a continued partnership with Rotary and how Rotary International recognized the Prime Minister with the organization's polio eradication champion award for his efforts to support a polio-free world.

Could the hard-working minister who attended our rotary club meeting last year please update the House on our recent commitment of $1.1 million over one year to support vulnerable people in Honduras and Guatemala in partnership with the Canadian Rotary?

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way for his comments on this very important issue. Like the member and all Canadians, we are very concerned about the Ebola outbreak in Africa. We have the assurance of the public health officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada that they are working very closely with our provincial and territorial ministers and the World Health Organization. We have been at the leading front. I know the Minister of Health, the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other officials have been working closely as well with their colleagues to ensure that we do everything we can to help contain the outbreak of this disease as quickly as possible.

My question for my colleague across the way is this. Does he think it is the best use of our public health officials' time to be forced to come to listen to these public meetings and spend time on Parliament Hill when they should be focusing on working on a resolution, helping Canadians, disseminating the information through national press conferences and working with our provincial and territorial partners? Does he think that is the best use of their time?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for the question and for his hard work for his constituents in his riding of Kitchener—Conestoga, another innovation centre in our country.

This agreement is very important for agriculture in British Columbia specifically. My riding has vineyards, orchards, and a variety of different crops. There would be a reduction of up to 45% in tariffs for blueberries and cherries, for example. I know that the vice-president of the BC Cherry Growers' Association was very excited about this development. The Minister of International Trade is also the member for Abbotsford, which is the blueberry capital of Canada. He is also very excited.

In agriculture and agri-foods, there is a 10% tariff to be removed on frozen rays, skate, whitefish, sole, flounder, salmon, frozen crab, and seafood. We are looking at other agricultural products throughout Alberta, such as wheat. The pork and beef industries are going to be big winners. Of course, the Canada-U.S. agreement took a lot of that market away, so we are going to get our market share back to our customers through this bilateral agreement with South Korea.

Agriculture is a big component, as is seafood from both the Pacific and the Atlantic.

Another winner will be the forest sector. I have Tolko mills in my riding, so it is a win-win all around the country.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, aerospace is something that is near and dear to my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country. Kelowna Flightcraft is the largest private employer in my riding. Aerospace and aviation, with their innovation and technology, are sectors that are very important to Canadian communities across the country.

Canadian companies are leading the way. Jim Quick, the president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, said:

Our industry depends on exports and access to international markets to remain competitive and continue creating jobs and revenues here at home. This agreement is imperative to restoring a level playing field for Canadian firms in the South Korean market, which is especially important given the considerable growth the aerospace industry will see in the Asia-Pacific region in coming years. We congratulate the Government of Canada on this achievement, and thank its representatives for their ongoing commitment to boosting Canadian competitiveness in international markets.

As we can see, the aerospace industry is very supportive of this agreement. It would benefit all of us across Canada.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege and honour to rise in the House. This morning I rise to speak on this historic free trade agreement between Canada and Korea.

I am delighted to be sharing my time with my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue and for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and member for South Shore—St. Margaret's, with whom I have had the opportunity to be on the trade committee for the last eight and a half years. He used to be the parliamentary secretary to the trade committee as well, and so we have a good working relationship. He also has a thorough understanding of the importance of this agreement for not only his constituents but all Canadians.

I want to touch on some of the aspects of this free trade agreement and how it would strengthen our trade and investment ties across the Pacific.

This agreement would increase the prosperity of both countries and result in job creation and enhanced opportunities for Canadian and Korean businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as investors, workers, and consumers.

I do not think members will find any government or any prime minister in Canadian history who better understands the importance of trade to our economy. Trade represents one in five jobs and accounts for approximately 60% of our country's annual income. We also understand that Canada's prosperity requires expansion beyond our borders into new markets for economic opportunities that serve to grow Canada's exports and investments.

As I said, no government in Canada's history has been more committed to the creation of new jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. Deepening Canada's trading relationships in dynamic and high-growth markets around the world is key to these efforts.

I would also like to thank the opposition parties for their understanding and support of why it is important to ratify this agreement quickly and have it implemented by January 1, 2015.

I worked together with my honourable colleague across the aisle, the member for Vancouver Kingsway and the NDP official trade critic, who stated last week in this House that:

This agreement offers the opportunity for Canadian producers and exporters to increase trade with a modern democratic country with a high-income complementary economy.

He went on to say that:

It will level the playing field for Canadian exporters, who can compete with the best in the world....

Finally, he said:

There is no doubt that Korea is both a significant and a strategic economic partner for Canada.

I could not agree more, and in that regard I would like to highlight the key elements of our trade strategy for Asia and South Korea.

The economic potential of Asia is immense, with a constantly evolving political transformation and a monumental demographic shift. Asia is important to Canada because it offers new opportunities to expand Canada's economic prosperity.

The importance of this agreement is that it would be the gateway to the Asia-Pacific, which has a population of 50 million-plus. This agreement would open the doors. That is why our government has taken such a rigorous and strategic approach to trade with Asia.

My hon. colleague, the Minister of International Trade, has travelled numerous times to various parts of Asia, including the conclusion of this agreement with South Korea and the pursuit of agreements with India and Japan. He will be leading a delegation to India next month. These agreements would lead to increased trade and investment, enhancing Canadian prosperity for generations to come.

Investment is a key driving force for economic growth and competitiveness in Canada. Canadian companies that invest overseas can expand their client base significantly and bring capital back into Canada, which can create jobs. Foreign companies that invest in Canada create jobs as well, boost our economy, and contribute to economic growth that benefits all Canadians.

While Canada and South Korea enjoy a strong investment relationship, ample scope remains for further growth in both directions.

South Korea's direct investments into Canada have risen from $397 million in 2005 up to $4.9 billion by the end of 2013. South Korea is the twelfth-largest investor country in Canada and the fourth from Asia.

South Korea is one of the world's great science and technology powerhouses. I am very interested in innovation and technology, and I had a chance to visit Taiwan a couple of times, as well as Korea, earlier this year.

South Korea has one of the highest expenditures on research and development, R & D, as a share of GDP among OECD countries, spending 4% of GDP. While most private sector R & D takes place domestically, South Korean companies have begun investing in research centres overseas, including Samsung in my home province of British Columbia. Others are becoming more active in utilizing overseas R & D staff and resources.

With this agreement's investment-related provisions and Canada's world-leading, cost-effective R & D environment, Canada would become an even more attractive destination for South Korean R & D investment.

Other examples of South Korean companies' continued interest in Canada are not hard to find. KOGAS, South Korea's national gas company, has already invested heavily in a Canadian LNG project.

My colleague across the way will be interested in knowing that Green Cross, a South Korean biopharmaceutical company, will be opening a new company, a manufacturing facility in Montreal, as it breaks into the North American market. For these companies and many more, Canada is the destination of choice.

Something that is near and dear to the constituents in my riding of Kelowna—Lake Country and to wine lovers across Canada is also something that is very appealing to the palate of the people of South Korea, and that is our great Canadian icewine.

As I alluded to, I had the opportunity and the honour of travelling with the Prime Minister and the Minister of International Trade on March 11 to Seoul, Korea, for the signing of the free trade agreement with President Park. It was an historic moment and an incredible experience. At Blue House, President Park's house, we were able to enjoy a toast of Canadian icewine, which was the icing on the cake.

A champion of the Canadian wine institute is the president, hard-working Dan Paszkowski, who indicated:

The Canadian wine industry is pleased to support the Government of Canada in its work to finalize negotiations for the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. South Korea is an important market for Canadian wine producers, as evidenced by the significant growth in the value of Canadian icewine exports, which increased nearly 25 percent between 2012 and 2013. With a successful FTA, the Canadian wine industry anticipates even stronger export growth in the coming years.

I recently spoke with Dan, who said that about 95% of the market right now is the export of icewine to South Korea, but there is a huge potential for other products once the South Korean community starts to taste our product. Something of interest is that the highest price point for red wine is South Korea. These are great things to raise our glasses and cheer about in the future with this agreement.

In other investments abroad, Canadian direct investment in South Korea has fluctuated over the years. We have seen an upward trend in recent years. Specifically, at the end of 2013, Canadian investment stock in South Korea was at $534 million, up from $390 million in 2012.

Canadian companies continue to show increased interest in investing in South Korea. Major Canadian companies such as Magna International, Bombardier—whose facility in South Korea and we had an opportunity to tour with the Prime Minister—and Pharmascience have already invested in South Korea, and more investments and partnerships are on the horizon. Just this past May, the clothing brand Joe Fresh announced it would open its first store outside of North America in Seoul, with plans to open nine more retail outlets in the South Korean capital by the end of the year.

This agreement will level the playing field for Canadian companies in the South Korean market, which we all agree is important. Canadian businesses can compete with the world when they are on a level playing field.

The agreement sets out transparent and predictable rules, something also very important for businesses. They want stability, predictability, and transparency.

The agreement will ensure that Canadian businesses in South Korea will be treated no less favourably than South Korean businesses. It will protect Canadian businesses from discriminatory treatment and provides access to an independent international investor state dispute settlement mechanism. The same rules will apply to South Koreans investing in Canada, further increasing the attractiveness of Canada as an investment destination. I do not think anybody would disagree with each country being treated the same way, respectfully and with the same rules. These rules have been a standard feature of Canada's comprehensive free trade agreements since NAFTA and have been shown time and time again to be in our national interest.

For Canadian companies that invest abroad, there is no substitute for being on site where their clients are. Canadian companies that invest in South Korea will now find it easier to have their professionals on site in South Korea. The agreement will provide new preferential access for professionals from both Canada and South Korea and will facilitate greater transparency and predictability for the movement of businesspersons between the two countries.

Our Conservative government is committed to protecting and strengthening the long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians. Thanks to these actions under our government's free trade leadership, Canadian workers, businesses, and exporters now have preferred access and a real competitive edge in more markets around the world than at any other time in our history.

The global market is shifting. More companies are looking to Asia for growth. The South Korean market provides a landmark opportunity for growth in neighbouring markets in Asia, Japan, and China. This agreement will provide fair access to the whole South Korean market and ensure continued growth for Canada.

Trade has long been a powerful engine for Canada's economy, and it is even more so in what remain challenging times for the global economy. By continuing to actively pursue broader market access and new investment opportunities, we are providing Canadian businesses and exporters with access on preferred terms to the largest, most dynamic, and fastest-growing regions around the world.

I would ask for a quick ratification of this agreement by all parties.

Petitions September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in the House. This morning I would like to table a petition on behalf of numerous constituents. They are requesting that the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex selection pregnancy termination.

Petitions September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls on the House to condemn discrimination against females through sex-selected pregnancy termination.

Petitions September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to table two petitions on behalf of constituents.

One petition is calling on Parliament to refrain from making any changes to the Seeds Act or the Plant Breeders' Rights Act through Bill C-18.