Madam Speaker, tonight we are debating Bill C-18, which is the continuity agreement of the relationship between Canada and the United Kingdom. It is always a privilege to bring a voice from the people of Kings—Hants to Parliament, but this agreement in particular is important to Nova Scotia. As a member of Parliament from the east coast, the United Kingdom's proximity geographically makes this an important trading relationship for agriculture producers in my riding and also businesses writ large. The basis of my remarks tonight will be how this continuity agreement is so important to maintaining those open relationships and that business relationship, as well.
Canada is a trading nation. We have what the world wants, whether it is our natural resource products, our services or our ingenuity. We are an important player in serving countries' needs around the world. It has certainly been a focus of our government to establish trading relationships to be able to provide our products to the world. As has already been established, this bill is relatively straightforward. The government had already established a strong trading relationship with the European Union through CETA. This is a confirmation ensuring those provisions that had been established, and that included the United Kingdom, which has now gone through the Brexit program, would continue. Our government has also illustrated its desire to make sure that we can sit down with the United Kingdom and look at a comprehensive agreement to establish even greater ties between our two countries, if there is room for them, which I presume there is.
I want to talk a bit, as a Nova Scotia parliamentarian, about how I see our future trade agreement, whether it be further in scope or as this existing continuity agreement, and what it means to our businesses. I will say again that agriculture is the backbone of our economy in Kings—Hants. There are supply-managed farms such as poultry, eggs and dairy, about which we have heard a lot tonight with Bill C-216, but we are also world-famous for our apple products. There is a long history, in the Annapolis Valley particularly, about our particular apple species, and it has been a source of pride shipped around the world.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the Kentville research station, funded through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. It has over 100 years of history in our riding, and a lot of the research that goes on through the Kentville research station supports our farmers by making sure they have varieties the world really wants.
For the benefit of the members in the House here tonight, every apple sold in London during World War II, and certainly for a period after that time, was produced in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. I think that signifies the trading relationship our region has with the Commonwealth countries around the world.
I talked to our apple producers specifically about what this continuity agreement means. We have a huge reliance on the United States, as do many other places across the country, but they see this as an opportunity to re-establish some of those prior trading relationships with the United Kingdom, because of our proximity. I do not expect that overnight 100% of the apples sold in London will be from the Annapolis valley. We have diversified our markets globally, but there are opportunities to build on those existing relationships and our cultural ties.
I also want to speak a little about our wine sector. We have a quality wine sector that is gaining international recognition, and I am one of the biggest proponents of reducing our interprovincial trade barriers, such that our Nova Scotia producers are able to sell their product across the country to Canadians who want it. At the federal level, our government has removed any impediments to that. We have a lot of work to do with some specific provinces, and it is something I continue to call for, both within this House and outside. There is also an opportunity to make sure that our world-leading product can find its way to consumers around the world, and with the fact that our sector has seen significant growth we have an opportunity to have these products find their way to consumers in the United Kingdom, who I am sure would be happy to pick up a Tidal Bay, one of our destination originators in the Annapolis Valley.
I will be interested to see where some of my colleagues on the other side of the House go with this particular piece of legislation. Sometimes, of course, there is criticism, when we are forging trade deals, that there can be repercussions to the agriculture sector. This is an example in which our government stood firm. I cannot speak to the Minister of International Trade's dialogue, because I am not at the table.
I am quite confident that the United Kingdom would have been looking at gaining access to our supply-managed sectors. That was something our government was unwilling to do because of how important that sector is to rural communities across the country, including mine in Kings—Hants.
Part of the discussion here tonight will be comparing and contrasting. I heard some colleagues trying to suggest that our government had been unwavering or not necessarily supportive of this sector. Nothing could be further from the truth. When we look at the past United States administration under President Trump, it seemed that every second word was focused on the dairy industry. We knew that this was not going to solve the issues related to the American dairy industry and its oversupply. In fact, many U.S. producers actually talk about trying to implement a system similar to Canada's, in the sense that we have some ability to control supply. It is becoming even more important, in the world of low carbon emissions, to be mindful of climate change and producing product that is not going to be used. It was something that the President really wanted to push.
We maintained the integrity of the system. I have heard members from the Bloc talk in the House about Bill C-216. I believe they supported the implementation of CUSMA. I believe the Premier of Quebec was calling on all parliamentarians to support this provision. In fact, the former interim leader of the Conservative Party, Rona Ambrose, talked about how it was the best deal that Canada could strike.
I am proud of how the government responded to protecting that system. I contrast that with, for example, the previous government. We talk about CETA. We were really down the road by the time it was implemented, but the member for Abbotsford could probably speak to it. It was a different situation politically, in terms of the pressure and expectation of our government to give up access to make that trade deal happen. That is something I highlight to my dairy farmers when I have the chance. They seem to appreciate that nuance.
Any suggestion, whether in tonight's debate or otherwise in the House, that this party is not committed to supply management is false.
Finally, I want to talk about the cultural ties between the United Kingdom and Canada, but specifically Nova Scotia. We have a lot of shared history. For example, in Nova Scotia we have the largest Gaelic-speaking population outside of Scotland. There is a long history of immigration from the United Kingdom, and Scotland specifically, to Nova Scotia. My great-grandfather has ties to Wales and a Welsh background. My fiancée has ties to Scotland.
As I mentioned, this trade deal presents an opportunity not only to the economy and to business relationships, selling services and goods back and forth, but also to further integrate and ensure that we have opportunities, whether for tourism or research between institutions academically, to strengthen the ties that we have with a country that we are still a dominion of, to make sure that we can support our businesses and individuals, and make sure those cultural ties are strong and remain robust.
I would be happy to take any questions from my hon. colleagues.