Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
It's a pleasure to be joining the committee today, and thank you to the minister for being here.
I was honoured to join our leader, Andrew Scheer, in Washington last month as part of the NAFTA team that went down there. Again, we had a very positive response. It was a Team Canada approach. We know how important NAFTA is to our economy, and certainly, as the shadow minister for agriculture, I know how important it is to our agriculture file.
In saying that, I wanted to talk briefly about the CPTPP. I know that's not in your file, Minister, but I know you worked very hard on that initially when thankfully we left it for you to carry on. I appreciate that you were able to get the CPTPP signed. Certainly I know we're in good hands with Mr. Verheul and Ms. Hillman with NAFTA.
However, although I don't want to say a “grave concern”, there is a lot of concern within our stakeholder group, especially in agriculture, that we will not sign the agreement in Chile in March, that we won't get the legislation done to be among those first six countries that are going to be there, and that we'll miss out on some real opportunities if New Zealand and Australia are able to access that market with Japan, for example, before we are.
For us, we want to see the CPTPP signed and be a signatory as quickly as possible.
What is your view in terms of being at the cabinet table? Will we be signing that agreement on March 8 in Chile? When can we expect implementing legislation to be tabled in the House to get that implemented as soon as possible?
We can do that simultaneously. There's precedence there. We did it with CETA. We did it with the Canada-Korea agreement. Can you give us some confirmation that we'll be signing that on March 8, and when will the implementation bill be put before the House?