Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade.
We are a very busy committee. We deal with international trade. This year has been quite busy for us because we're dealing with CETA. We have many U.S. issues with softwood lumber and agricultural products. Right now we're dealing with TPP. TPP, as many of you know, is composed of 12 countries with 40% of the world's GDP. There are over 800 million people in this trade block. When you take a good look at it, it will affect all Canadians whether you're producing something or buying something. It's going to potentially have an impact somehow on your lives.
Our committee has been travelling across the country and also having meetings in Ottawa. This is our ninth province now. We're finishing up with Atlantic Canada. We also had video conferences with the territories.
My name is Mark Eyking. I'm the chair, and I'm from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I don't live far from this rock; I'm from another rock. Lots of Newfoundland people live in Cape Breton.
We don't have all of our committee members here. Some had to stay back in Ottawa to keep an eye on things for us. Our committee comprises MPs from right across the country from all parties. We have Tracey Ramsey and Dave Van Kesteren from southern Ontario. Mr. Ritz is from Saskatchewan. Ms. Ludwig is from New Brunswick, Madame Lapointe is from Quebec, and Mr. Dhaliwal is from British Columbia.
We've received over 125 briefs. We've had almost 300 witnesses. We're also doing something different that most committees have not done. We are receiving input from the public, from average citizens, and we've received over 20,000 emails so far. We are going to receive those emails, and continue on with our study until the end of October.
The other thing is we have an open mike at the end of each session, so if citizens want to say a few words, they can come right to the mike. That's been quite well-received, and we have a lot of uptake on that.
We are probably going to continue with this consultation process until the end of October. Then our analysts will put together a report with us, and we will table a final report with the House of Commons probably later on in the year or at the beginning of the following year.
As you know, more Canadians are looking at trade now than they did ever before. When you look at the U.S. presidential debate the other night, trade was right up front. It always makes us a little concerned, as Canadians, what the Americans are thinking, and where they're going because it has a big impact. Of course, they're a big player in this TPP, so we're watching that closely.
We're glad to be here in Newfoundland. We had a wonderful flight. We had the tailwinds coming with us from P.E.I. yesterday. A bunch of us went down George Street where I had cod tongues, and that was good. We weren't screeched in yet, so I don't know when that's going to happen. It's always great to be in Newfoundland and Labrador. I remind my colleagues that it's not Newfoundland, it's Newfoundland and Labrador.
We'll have three or four panels today. For the first panel, I'm thanking you people for coming today. We have Citizens against CETA, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, and St. John's Board of Trade.
Folks, we ask that you keep your opening remarks under five minutes. That way we can have enough time for a dialogue with every MP who is here.
We'll begin with the St. John's Board of Trade.
Mr. Whelan, go ahead, sir.