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House of Commons Hansard #85 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was israel.

Topics

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to section 36(8), I have the honour to table in both official languages the government's responses to three petitions.

Co-OperativesRoutine Proceedings

October 10th, 1996 / 10 a.m.

Beauséjour New Brunswick

Liberal

Fernand Robichaud LiberalSecretary of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, in recognition of national co-op week from October 13 to 19 and on behalf of the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, minister responsible for co-operatives, I wish to pay tribute to all Canadian who have left us the legacy of a strong co-operative sector and to all those men and women who continue to build on that foundation.

The co-operative is a unique form of business where the best of people and capital meet to address community needs in a democratic fashion.

As community based and democratically controlled organizations whose savings benefit and remain in their local neighbourhoods, co-operatives have contributed to the development of a strong Canadian economy for more than a century.

Co-operatives and credit unions are well recognized for combining economic and social objectives supported by strong corporate citizen behaviour. They offer a proven development model that can assist in our efforts to revitalize rural Canada.

While co-operatives have been historically strong in the agri-food sector, I believe they can play an equally important role in the broader rural economy.

The government has made rural economic renewal a priority. We are committed to forging a renewed partnership with co-operatives to assist them in this effort.

The co-operative sector makes a tremendous contribution to Canada's fabric, from building a strong sense of solidarity within a community to becoming a leader for the processing and marketing of many commodities; from breaking ground in financial technology to maintaining a strong base of enthusiastic volunteers.

All together, co-operatives, caisses populaires and credit unions have a membership of approximately 12 million Canadians, provide jobs for 133,000 people, and represent assets of $143 billion. Over the course of the year, a number of co-operative success stories were collected to demonstrate what can be achieved when concerned and affected people control the identification of priorities, the design of the business plan and the implementation process of a project or program.

The Government of Canada has committed to modernizing its co-operative legislation. The national co-operative associations spent a number of years defining their legislative requirements. A countrywide consultation process on their proposals is currently underway. The Minister of Industry and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will be looking to the House to support the adoption of a new Co-operatives Act before the end of this parliamentary session. Our co-operatives deserve the best legislative environment to address the new global economy and their need for expanded sources of capital.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the millions of Canadians who have made the co-operative sector a vital and growing part of the Canadian economy.

Co-OperativesRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak about the national co-op week.

As you probably know, the co-op movement has existed in this country since the beginning of the 19th century. The first co-op was a mutual fire insurance company that had its roots in a rural area. However, at the dawn of the 20th century, co-ops no longer restricted their activities to this sector. Indeed, many co-ops were active in sectors such as egg grading, cream processing and grain marketing. The fact is that, in the agricultural supply and marketing

sectors, co-ops were the primary promoters of the Canadian co-op movement.

In Quebec, the biggest promoter was undoubtedly Alphonse Desjardins who, in 1900, founded the first credit union, in Lévis. As we know, the Mouvement Desjardins is now one of the largest financial institutions in Quebec, with assets totalling several billions of dollars. I would be remiss in not mentioning the base, the foundation of the co-op movement, as well as the spirit that guides it. Mutual help, democracy, fairness, solidarity, equality and autonomy are all values that reflect the co-operative movement and the people that are part of it.

In this national co-op week, I want to pay tribute to all those who believe in the co-op movement, who support it, and who play an active role in it. I simply want to thank them.

At the end of 1993, the number of co-ops in the country was estimated at close to 10,000. Therefore, it makes sense to say that the co-op movement plays an increasingly important role in terms of shaping our society and our lifestyle. Whether it is marketing and supply co-ops, production and service co-ops, or financial co-ops, the economy benefits through co-operation.

In 1993, the business transactions of marketing and supply co-ops totalled over $8.8 billion. These co-ops had assets worth about $3.1 billion, and close to $1.2 billion was financed personally by the members. At the same time, the social solidarity and co-operation generated close to 18,000 full-time jobs.

As a former member of the board of the Caisse populaire of Garthby, and the Caisse populaire of Disraëli, and as former chairman of the board of the Société mutuelle contre les incendies du comté de Wolfe, I am aware of the importance and the strength of the co-op movement.

I should also point out that it is in the riding of Frontenac, which I have the honour of representing, that we find the largest co-op of maple syrup producers in the world. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to its members, on behalf of my voters.

Co-OperativesRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is truly a pleasure for me to rise today on behalf of the Reform Party to pay tribute and to recognize people involved in the co-operative movements.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and compliment the pioneers of the co-op movement. I know that many of us in the Reform caucus, at least 15 involved in a farming operation right now in western Canada and others who are just one generation away from the farm, actually know some of the pioneers who started and developed the co-op movement. This movement has truly been an important part of western Canadian history as it has been for the history of Quebec, Ontario and right across the country.

Co-operatives are a vital economic component of many communities and there are many examples of co-operatives that are leaders in their field. Co-operatives have achieved success in large part because their members and executives are active in the business that the co-operative is involved in. For this reason the boards of directors, so often usually made up of people involved in that particular business, know the business well and make good decisions because of that.

Agriculture co-operatives are as old as the west. I believe because of the farmers directing the co-operative movement and their co-operatives, they will always make the best decisions for the industry. I wish the minister of agriculture would take note of that.

In the presentation the parliamentary secretary did comment on the very positive role of co-operatives, and that role has been particularly positive in agriculture. I wish the minister of agriculture would take his words to heart and apply that belief in the value of a co-operative to the way he deals with the Canadian Wheat Board.

If the Canadian Wheat Board were run much more like a co-operative it would truly represent what farmers want much better. In other words, it would be run by directors who are elected by farmers themselves and the organization would become accountable to farmers. That is really what farmers want with regard to the Canadian Wheat Board more than anything else. Make it more like a co-operative.

Co-ops and credit unions must be congratulated for helping communities develop and improve. They must also be recognized as a player in our economy that has proved competition and has given people another choice, something that makes democracy work very well.

It is with gratitude that on behalf of the Reform Party I acknowledge the accomplishments of co-ops and credit unions. I know all Canadians will encourage them to continue their innovative example of leadership in their own particular business.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the associate

membership of some committees. If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the 37th report later this day.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police ActRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-336, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act.

Mr. Speaker, the annual report of the RCMP public complaints commission in 1989-90 for that financial year recommended a number of changes to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to improve procedural fairness.

I am happy to reintroduce a bill that I introduced in the last Parliament on this subject which incorporates the changes recommended by that commission. It was commended to Parliament at that time and I am happy to have the opportunity to have hon. members vote through these changes now.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the 37th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented earlier this day be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to.)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to table a petition signed by some of my constituents of Hamilton-Wentworth, who are requesting that, in the event of a Quebec referendum in favour of separation, Parliament partition the province of Quebec to allow Quebecers living in regions where a majority of voters would have expressed the wish to remain within Canada to do so.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am pleased to present two petitions. The first is on taxation of the family. It comes from Geraldton, Ontario.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that managing the family home and caring for preschool children is an honourable profession which has not been recognized for its value to our society. The petitioners therefore pray and call upon Parliament to pursue initiatives to eliminate tax discrimination against families who choose to provide care in the home for preschool children, the chronically ill, the aged or the disabled.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

The second petition, Mr. Speaker, concerns labelling of alcoholic beverages and comes from Burlington, Ontario.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that consumption of alcoholic beverages may cause health problems or impair one's ability and specifically, that fetal alcohol syndrome and other alcohol related birth defects are 100 per cent preventable by avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

The petitioners therefore pray and call upon Parliament to enact legislation to require health warning labels to be placed on the containers of all alcoholic beverages to caution expectant mothers and others of the risks associated with alcohol consumption.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if with the unanimous consent of the House we might revert to presenting reports from committees. I understand there is another committee report that would be available if the House gave its consent to revert to presenting committee reports.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Does the House give its unanimous consent to revert to presenting reports from committees?

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development regarding Bill C-35, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code (minimum wage).

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Fundy Royal New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is it agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement, Government Orders will be extended by 12 minutes.

The House resumed from October 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-61, an act to implement the Canada-Israel free trade agreement, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, this seems to be a busy week for bills dealing with trade issues, unlike the normal situation where about one bill in trade comes forward per year. We happen to have had two this very week.

We are now debating Bill C-61 which implements Canada's free trade agreement with Israel. I have to admit to being a little surprised at seeing this bill because there certainly was not much fanfare heralding its arrival. The Minister for International Trade signed the free trade agreement with Israel in the dead of summer, on July 31, when most people are about as far removed from what is happening federally as they can get.

Other than a brief announcement, I do not recall any signs that the free trade agreement was in the works. I do not recall any news releases, any articles in the press or any calls for consultations with industry groups that might have wanted some input in the process.

Let me be clear that we are not opposed to this bill. We believe that each step made in the direction of trade liberalization is a good one. I am only surprised at the low key, behind closed doors way in which the deal was struck. There should have been more opportunity for input from industry groups.

We are in favour of trade liberalization. I understand the Liberals are now in favour of free trade as well. I compare them to a born again crusade; all of a sudden they have discovered the virtues of free trade and have embraced it with vigour. I do welcome that.

I recall in 1988 they were very much against free trade and campaigned against free trade in the 1993 election, but here we have the Liberals doing their famous flip-flop. They are becoming free traders with all the will and might they can muster. I do think we are going in the right direction and I am glad the Liberals finally saw the light.

One out of three jobs in Canada is created as a result of our exports. Thirty-seven per cent of our GDP is derived from trade. Growth in the economy has virtually only occurred in the area of exports in the last three years. The domestic side of our economy has been very flat and we do have to credit the growth in our exports as being one way we have been able to grow out of the recession we were in in the early 1990s. I think we are on the right track and I would like to see that continue.

As a matter of fact, I would like to see the next round of the World Trade Organization talks concentrate on further trade liberalization because Canada is in a good position to take advantage of that. We can compete with the best in the world but we have to have the trade rules that back us up and give us the clout in case we have trade harassment.

We have heard a lot about the proposal for the free trade agreement with Chile. There has been a lot of discussion about that agreement being closely patterned after the NAFTA agreement and the potential for that country to eventually enter NAFTA. I welcome that. There has also been talk about the eventual enlargement of NAFTA to join the Mercosur countries of the southern hemisphere to form a free trade area of the Americas. However, with Israel of course we did not hear a word until it happened.

Officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade were kind enough to give us a briefing last Tuesday regarding the free trade deal. They explained that this trade agreement is fairly simple. There is really no point in building an elaborate structure for dealing with a relatively small amount of trade.

Our trade with Israel is really a drop in the bucket when compared to our trade flows with other countries; nonetheless it is important. Exports to Israel totalled $216 million last year, while imports from Israel amounted to $240 million.

Although we are enjoying a big trade surplus now, essentially it is only with one country, the United States, which is of course our largest trading partner. It disturbs me that we continue to run trade deficits with almost all of our other trading partners. The amount we are talking about is almost the same amount as our trade with Cuba.

It is my understanding that the benefits in this agreement will also be extended to the Palestinians. Under normal circumstances trade flows freely between the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. Even with the present closure between Israel and the occupied territories, one would hope this trade agreement would be extended to the people living in the occupied territories as soon as possible.

I find this agreement interesting because it eliminates all tariffs on almost all industrial goods immediately upon implementation on January 1, 1997. Our free trade agreement with the United

States called for a fairly lengthy phase out period, 10 years on some goods. Fortunately we were going to be there by 1998. But with this agreement we are going to zero tariffs overnight, which is absolutely great.

There are only a couple of exceptions and I am not exactly sure why. Ladies swimsuits at the request of a Canadian swimsuit manufacturer and certain cotton fabrics at the request of Israeli manufacturers will have tariffs for another two and a half years. This will allow the affected companies to adjust to the competition over that period of time.

It is interesting to note that non-tariff barriers for the most part will not be allowed. This is following the lead that has been established at the World Trade Organization.

The agriculture sector, because of sensitivities from both sides, has been somewhat excluded from tariff elimination, although Canada has gained an increase in market access for certain commodities. These include grains, grain products, oilseeds, pulse crops, beef and various processed fish products. I have not had a chance to analyse what this might mean for farmers like myself who grow canola, but I think that any opportunity for access into these countries is a good one for us.

It disturbs me a little that Canada continues to protect our supply management industries with tariffs that are as high as 350 per cent. These tariffs are known around the world as Canada's dirty tariffs. We simply must get into the 21st century and realize that it is not in our best interest to continue to support these. A reasonable phase out time to allow for that to happen is acceptable. We have to start that process. I would like to see it done at the next round of the World Trade Organization talks.

Further trade liberalization is good for Canada. We have been one of the main proponents of trade liberalization. Yet right here at home we continue to restrict access to part of our economy. On the other side of the coin, the United States is using similar tactics to restrict access to Canadian supply management producers that compete head-on with the United States.

I understand that the impetus for concluding a trade agreement with Israel at this time is that our largest competitors in that country, the United States and Europe, have had free trade agreements in place for some time. This will put us on a level playing field.

The dispute settlement process in the agreement is fairly straightforward and it is binding. One of my colleagues who will speak later is quite interested in the whole dispute settlement process and will be examining that in some detail. He is concerned that dispute settlement procedures for international agreements are much better than the procedure we have for disputes between the provinces and Canada. It is very interesting that the Liberal government, once it realized the benefits of free trade, aggressively worked toward signing international agreements on trade.

Where the government has fallen down is that it has not been able to put the same processes in place for trade between our provinces. That continues to cost Canadians somewhere in the area of $8 billion a year. The fact that we are not able to trade freely within our own country is a real contradiction. We have better trade agreements with our international partners than we have at home. My colleague from Vegreville will be speaking on this subject later today.

Another colleague who is a well respected economist in his own right will talk about bilateral agreements versus multilateral agreements. I know there is a bit of controversy among trade economists whether countries should enter into bilateral agreements. The argument has to do with efficiency and production. The concern is that the most efficient producer, given a situation in which all tariffs are equal, loses business when his competitor in another country moves to a zero tariff with a buyer. Trade is then diverted from the most efficient producer who, unfortunately, still has to add a tariff to his price. When he sells the product to a foreign country he becomes a less efficient producer.

The industrialized world is moving toward free trade with the World Trade Organization. The next round of trade talks will be held in 1998-99. The process is fairly slow, but we are getting there.

The last Uruguay round of the GATT declared there would be an average 36 per cent drop in tariffs over a six-year period. We are now halfway through that period. That is nothing compared to the 100 per cent drop in tariffs which has been achieved through the signing of the Canada-Israel free trade agreement.

Even though these bilateral deals may divert trade from efficient companies to less efficient ones, they also create new trade which did not exist previously.

I believe that bilateral deals are useful in trying out different rules and in testing different approaches. I suggest that the next bilateral agreement which Canada signs should try to up the ante beyond what we have been able to achieve at the World Trade Organization. We should try to get a proper definition for subsidies, countervail and some other things which were not achieved at the last round of World Trade Organization talks.

We in the Reform Party welcome the bill. We believe that trade liberalization is good for Canada. We are a trading country. We have a relatively small population. Only about 10 per cent of the GDP in the United States is derived from exports. In Canada, 37 per cent of our GDP is derived from exports. We need trade very badly. We need further trade liberalization in order for us to compete.

Canada should be a bit more proactive in the bilateral agreements and at the next round of the World Trade Organization talks. We could have used the opportunity with Israel to get an agreement on subsidies. That is what we should be looking at in our next move. Overall I support the bill. I am pleased that in just two

months manufactured goods will travel between our countries on a daily basis duty free.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

We will now move to the next stage of debate where member's interventions will be limited to 20 minutes and subject to 10 minutes of questions or comments.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that my colleague opposite is in complete agreement with the initiative put forward by the Minister for International Trade. It shows great foresight.

I do not mean any disrespect by this, but the hon. member, who sits on the international trade committee, has for the last three years applauded all moves which liberalized trade and that increased Canadian business opportunities abroad. Generally speaking, he has been very supportive of the kinds of initiatives that the bill presents. He is unlike many of his Reform colleagues in that regard. We have actually seen eye to eye.

I want to stress some aspects of the bilateral relationships between Canada and Israel and remind members here in the House of the speech the minister made last night.

For some time now, Canada and Israel have had an excellent relationship based on shared values and strong bilateral and social ties. Given the current critical situation, we are supporting the efforts made by Israel and its neighbours to achieve a legitimate, global and durable peace in the Middle East.

While Canada was negotiating NAFTA with the United States and Mexico, Israel was increasing its commercial ties by signing free trade agreements with the United States and, more recently, with the European Union, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

While that may have been a great idea for the Israelis, for the Europeans, for the Americans, it put us and our businesses at a slight disadvantage.

Trade between Canada and Israel was, however, stagnating. In November 1994, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and the late Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, decided to do something about it. The leaders announced the beginning of negotiations that would hopefully lead to a free trade agreement between their two countries.

Last January, Canada and Israel reached a tentative agreement that both governments kept trying to improve upon.

While it would be my intention to applaud not only the foresight of the Prime Minister in this case and the diligent work of the Minister for International Trade, I would be greatly remiss if I did not acknowledge the focus of the individuals involved in the genesis of this idea, the generation of energy that led to its fruition, if I did not also underline the democratic process that led to this deal.

As my colleagues on both sides of the opposition have indicated, this trade deal is one to be lauded, not so much for of its grandeur because it may have some limitations in relation to the kinds of business we do with the United States and other countries, but it is an important and crucial first step. Quite often many of us feel dwarfed by the magnitude of government and by what appears to be the inaccessibility of the decision making process.

If members will allow me a personal reflection, this trade deal was really born out of a desire of entrepreneurs in Canada who saw opportunities emerging in the Middle East, and Israel in particular. They noticed that, notwithstanding all the difficulties that the area was having, because of the enormous influx of immigrants into Israel and because of the initiatives of the Israeli government to reach out and make peace and at the same time establish economic ties with its partners, there was a mini-economic boom.

The Europeans were the first to notice this. Their companies, with the support of their governments, were able to develop a niche market that had started initially with the growth of tourism. It may come as a surprise to most members, but the tourism industry and related industries are at their most potent right in the Middle East, most particularly in and around Israel.

That boom in the tourism industry allowed for enormous demand, much more than the area could supply for such things as furniture, for example, or textiles and clothing but also in the petrochemical and chemical industries.

Our entrepreneurs in the Toronto-Montreal area found that, notwithstanding the competitiveness of their product and the quality of their materials they could not compete with the Europeans or the Americans because of the free trade agreements they had struck with Israel. They asked the then leader of our party, now the current Prime Minister of Canada, if he could address this at a public meeting. The soon to be Prime Minister was asked if he would address this vacuum in Canadian international trade policy. Notwithstanding the dangers that address might put the party in, he promised he would do it. This he did immediately on assuming the

mantle of Prime Minister. We have seen the results. After two years of negotiations we finally have a deal.

As well, many of my constituents who were involved in the initial genesis, the push toward getting government foreign policy and international trade policy to respond to the interests of entrepreneurs in Canada, took every opportunity to remind me as their local member and other members from Toronto and Montreal that this treaty needed to be signed. Not only would it benefit Canadians economically, it would give us indirect access to the European Union. I know my colleague from the Reform Party would appreciate that.

It took a while for people to respond because obviously the details of such a deal had to be worked out. It is a credit to the people who were involved in this. I met them last July when the Minister for International Trade signed with his counterpart, Natan Sharansky in Toronto. Obviously there was some assiduous work to ensure that the deal would take place so that the new bilateral relations between Canada and Israel would work to the advantage of both parties.

Statistics were related by the Minister for International Trade yesterday and repeated by my colleagues from the Bloc and the Reform Party this morning. Trade has already picked up in some areas by as much as 37 per cent and in others by 49 per cent over last year. Such is the impact of the discussions of such a deal. We can anticipate that much more will happen as soon as the agreement has been inked. I am hoping that the House will approve this today following the debate.

In a crucial area like the Middle East, the presence of Canada whose reputation for altruism as seen through its peacekeeping efforts everywhere throughout the world would be a welcome addition. It has no interest except as one that would introduce expertise in the areas of the region that need it most. I pointed to petrochemical industries. The minister pointed to the electronic and agri-products industries.

When we speak of Israel we are speaking of relations with a country which is not much larger than Prince Edward Island and half of it is desert. Most people can develop policy by shouting from one city to another, in the same way that we shout at each other in the House. The place is intimate, the proximity of one market to another is such that most of us would not appreciate the impact for economic secrets.

However, the presence of Canada, not only as a peacekeeper but as a nation of entrepreneurs, that is willing and ready to provide not only its products but also its expertise will provide Canada, the Middle East and particularly Israel an opportunity to see how things can and should work.

Both opposition parties have indicated that they recognize the import of Canada's initiative of strongly promoting that such a deal also be made available to the Palestinians in the area. I think it is marvellous that the Israelis saw an opportunity for a lasting peace with a Canadian presence on an economic and political basis.

The bill is one that reflects not only what entrepreneurs wanted because it was generated in part by entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity and seized the chance to apprise their government of it and then follow it through together with the bureaucracies of both countries to ensure that legislation would come forward which would cement the ties both were willing to establish.

We have already seen some of the product of that. We have seen some of the flower of that activity. I look forward to a greater, more blossoming economic activity and political participation on both sides.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you and colleagues for their attention. I thank them in particular for their support.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that we support free trade and we support bilateral trade agreements that are negotiated by our representatives.

I find it interesting to listen to the hon. member from the government side using such flowing and glowing eloquent language when describing this trade deal, but I wonder about the hypocrisy from the other side.

When the Liberals were in opposition and when they had a leader by the name of John Turner, they ran a whole election campaign which caused me a lot of grief. I had to hold my nose while I voted for the Conservatives because I favoured free trade.

I did not want to vote them in for another session. I did not want them to be here for another four years because they were incompetent. They were running the government very poorly. They were overspending. They promised tax cuts and did they give us tax cuts? They gave us tax increases. They promised integrity in government and what did they give us? They gave us nine cabinet ministers who quit in the first four years.

In opposition they debated how free trade is not good and in the best interests of Canada, and how North American free trade is no good for Canada. We just have to go back into Hansard .

John Turner ran a campaign against Brian Mulroney on free trade. That was the issue and the people over there, many who were in that campaign, were against it. Now we have every one of them, including the Prime Minister, saying free trade is great, quote the trade statistics.

Thank goodness we have free trade because that is what is saving their butt in terms of jobs and job creation. The only reason our economy is growing is our trade agreements. That is what is making it grow. Domestic growth is nil. It is next to nothing. There are no jobs in Canada. There are 1.4 million people out of work.

Thank God the jobs that are being created, those 600,000 jobs they brag about, over half of them are probably due to the trade.

What I do not understand is the hypocrisy of politicians who say one thing in opposition and then when they get on the government side they flip-flop. I am not sure if this member has flip-flopped. I am not accusing this member of flip-flopping. I am sure based on his speech, I am positive based on his speech, that he believed in free trade when he was in opposition. He believed in free trade when John Turner was running against it. He believed in free trade all the way. I am sure he did because you cannot use language like that today, having argued against it yesterday.

The hon. member is anxious to get up and I will let him get up, but I want to make a serious comment. I want to repeat it so that everybody understands my point.

My point is why say that you are against something in opposition, then go over to the government and be in favour of it and in such a way that they always believed in it? It does not make sense to me. Thank goodness for the wonderful rebirth of the Liberal Party in terms of understanding the economy of the country and I compliment it for flip-flopping.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not accustomed to his phrase flip-flop. It is not part of the thesaurus that I read.

I thank my colleague for pointing out why Canadians decided very decisively in the last election that they could no longer brook the kinds of people that were administering, in fact misadministering, the country.

I am pleased that he realized that this government, this administration, my party, has taken all the appropriate steps to ensure that bad decisions were redimensioned, that adjustment programs were provided, that the direction required for trade deals be appropriately moved so that the benefits to Canada could accrue in an accumulative fashion.

I am glad that he has noted that it has worked. He has pointed already to the impact of increased trade on the domestic economy. For that I thank him. He has pointed to the impact of this administration's approach to world trade, liberalized trade and its impact on the nation's finances. He has pointed to the importance of this kind of growth to the fiscal policies and to the impact on the interest rates which have accrued to Canadians, which is a very immediate and very profound financial impact. For all of these things I thank the member opposite.

I want to thank him as well for recognizing that the country is run by an administration that realizes the importance of a changing world, the dimensions of that kind of change, the impacts of implementations of measures to deal with those changes and to bring them to a point where Canadians are very much an integral part of a globalized economy, of a globalized political economy, one in which they can look forward to a future with prosperity and growth.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the comments of the parliamentary secretary for health and his recognition that indeed the Liberal Party has finally decided that free trade is an attribute and one that has been very successful in transforming the Canadian economy into one of growth.

As my colleague from Calgary centre has just stated, the domestic economy has not recovered. There still is not the confidence there with consumers but on the trade side, on the export side we have been very aggressive. We have done a good job and there has been tremendous growth.

I know the Liberal Party has done a major conversion here and now they think that free trade is good. Canada generally has been a leader in trying to put together the trade deals that are necessary. As I said earlier, we can compete with anybody on a level playing field but we cannot compete with subsidies from other countries and high tariffs.

At the last round of the GATT talks which the Liberals took over at the very end, they favoured supply management, article XI, which would preserve border closures and stop any product from coming into the country in terms of supply managed farm products. Canada became isolated at those trade talks. We were the only country that finally took that view and continued to take that view although it was not one that was conducive to free trade and it still is not.

We have moved to tariffs now, 350 per cent tariff on butter. Surely for a country that espouses free trade, trade liberalization, and has since after the second world war, are we not in a real contradiction here that we want free trade in other countries, we want access to their markets, but we will not provide it for the supply managed farm industry here at home?

I would like the parliamentary secretary to comment on that question.