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Evidence of meeting #38 for International Trade in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was japanese.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Sam Boutziouvis  Vice-President, Policy, International and Fiscal Issues, Canadian Council of Chief Executives
Paul Slomp  Representative, Youth Vice-President, National Farmers Union, Food Secure Canada
Diana Bronson  Executive Director, Food Secure Canada
Richard White  General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association
Julian Dierkes  Centre for Japanese Research, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

12:40 p.m.

General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Richard White

I don't have the answer to that, I'm sorry. It's probably embedded in history, I don't know.

May 17th, 2012 / 12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Okay. Thank you very much.

Moving on to Mr. Dierkes, I have the pleasure of representing the constituency of Kelowna—Lake Country, the interior of British Columbia, and not only Okanagan College but also UBC-Okanagan. I know you're a professor at UBC, so I applaud you for your initiative in taking the students on a sense of reality mission, rather than only being in the classroom with applied education.

I had the pleasure of leading a delegation in 2000 to our sister city in Kasugai. Maybe you can elaborate a little bit more. While I come from British Columbia, I know that it's not only B.C. but also Ontario, Quebec, and different parts of the country that really benefit from the forest industry. Was that a discussion you had with your students, on both the benefits, not only from the forest industry to date...? I know that you mentioned about the philanthropy of the agriculture community. The forest industry was also one of the first ones on the scene to help with the earthquake victims.

Maybe you can expand a little bit more on the forest sector and the benefits this bilateral agreement would have for that sector.

12:40 p.m.

Centre for Japanese Research, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

Prof. Julian Dierkes

Again, I would focus on the symbolic benefits. I know you heard testimony the other day from the Canadian forest sector on how they would benefit economically, but you're absolutely right to point to the initiatives that the forestry sector took in donating materials to rebuild or build a new school in Tohoku in the tsunami-affected area. That was one of those moments that were perceived very much by the Japanese public to be a Canadian contribution to recovery in those affected areas.

This is one of the many pieces of this mosaic, a perception of Canada taking a very active and a really much appreciated role in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

I'll pass it over to my partner, Bev Shipley.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Thank you very much to my colleague.

I want to follow up, if I might, with you, Mr. White. Actually, I believe you gave a very good summation of the low-level presence. My concern, and help me out here, is that I know that Canada wants to be a leader. Sometimes in being a leader you can become caught because you have a level that is not accepted internationally. Is there a concern that if there were a low-level presence established for a Canada-Japan agreement, that level might be different from a Canada-Europe agreement and our farmers overall might actually get disadvantaged because they would not be international?

Is there a sense of being able to establish more of an international level with main trading countries?

12:45 p.m.

General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Richard White

I think the objective would be to get it off zero.

I think we could live with some subtle discrepancies country to country, whether it's 0.1% here and 0.3% there. That's much easier to manage than everybody staying at zero, which is consistent but is commercially impossible to achieve.

It would be nice to have it consistent, with everybody at 0.1% or whatever the case may be, but the objective here would be to simply get everyone off zero.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

We ship a lot of canola seed to Japan, seed that is mostly used for crushing. Is it all non-GMO?

12:45 p.m.

General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Richard White

No, it is all GMO. We don't segregate out non-GMO. There's such a small piece of Canadian production, it's all mixed together. It's a GMO crop in total, and that's what Japan takes.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

That's an acceptable practice and we've not had any rejections because of that, is that right?

12:45 p.m.

General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Richard White

Yes. That's true, but there's always some risk.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

That's why—

12:45 p.m.

General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Richard White

But there have been no rejections.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

That's why it's important within this agreement to establish some level of consistency for the protection of agriculture? Is that right?

12:45 p.m.

General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Richard White

That's right, yes.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Okay.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Merrifield

Thank you very much.

Madam Papillon, you're up, but we have to suspend for future business at 5 o'clock, so we will split the time between you and Mr. Holder. You each have two and a half minutes.

Go ahead.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Thank you.

I have a few questions for Mr. Dierkes.

Canada's provinces and territories have played a key role in recent trade negotiations, including those under way with the European Union.

What role should the provinces and territories play in those negotiations? Does Japan have a similar phenomenon, where the prefectures or municipalities play a bigger role at the negotiating table and influence the final agreement?

12:45 p.m.

Centre for Japanese Research, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

Prof. Julian Dierkes

If that was a question to me, it would be unusual to Japan to see the involvement of provinces, but I don't expect they would necessarily object. In the EU context obviously, to EU negotiators, with nation states behind them, provinces probably made a lot of sense to them, whereas in Japan these decisions about trade negotiations and the initiative are highly centralized at the nation state level. So this would come as a surprise to them, I suspect, although they're surely watching the EU-Canada negotiations. But I also don't think it's necessarily a stumbling stone they would object to. It would be something to work out.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. White, I have a question about producers in Canada and Quebec. Do you see any disadvantages in terms of transportation? Could producers be at a disadvantage if they had to ship their products across the country?

12:50 p.m.

General Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Richard White

I think economics will prevail. The U.S. is also a major customer of ours internationally, so if we sent more to Japan through the west it would make more economic sense to draw from the western provinces where there's heavy production. That would open the door for EU exports from Canada out of Quebec and Ontario into the U.S. domestic market, and the U.S. domestic market is massive, so I think there's lots of demand for all producers of canola in Canada.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Merrifield

Thank you very much.

Mr. Holder, you can finish it off with two and a half minutes.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Thank you, Chair. Thank you, guests.

Mr. Dierkes, you've been talking about the strong relationship that Canada has with Japan. It's a mature relationship, a sophisticated economic situation that we share given the level of business present.

I haven't heard a lot about the defensive interests that Japan has. I guess this is a quick twofold question please, because I have another if I can fit it in.

What's your view of Japan's defensive interests as they relate to Canada? That's a key point to me. And ultimately, truly, why does Japan need to do this?

12:50 p.m.

Centre for Japanese Research, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

Prof. Julian Dierkes

International trade agreements are part of their larger strategy to ensure that they remain economically involved in the world.

Canada is a large economy. It's a G-7, G-8 economy. Therefore, that was one of the aspects I highlighted as being of symbolic importance. If they are pursuing trade and see themselves as a producing and trading nation and, as many of you have said, it appears that multilateral agreements are currently not on the horizon, then bilateral agreements are the way to go. So Canada is an obvious target and area of interest to them.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

You mentioned a trilateral agreement, because I gather from what you said that Japan may have a significant issue with Australia, if I understood you correctly. You mentioned China-Korea-Japan as being a potential affiliation.

Do you see Canada playing a role in that?

12:50 p.m.

Centre for Japanese Research, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

Prof. Julian Dierkes

Not really, no. There are no concrete negotiations about that at the moment. This potential trilateral tie-up has been mentioned before. It would obviously be the beginning of a regional integration as well, which has been sought in Asia for some decades but has not really gotten off the ground. But the level of integration between these three economies has become such that there's much more of a push for that, but it would really be focused on that northeast Asian area. So I think Canada, just as much as Australia or the U.S., would be a bit on the side of those considerations.