Madam Speaker, it is very relevant trade policy. We will have much time to condemn the links that the government has brought forward.
In my last few minutes I will come back to the Canada-Peru trade agreement bill. It has also been clearly identified as an inferior agreement, even by those who may give lip service to supporting this deal. We will save Colombia for another time.
What we have is essentially an inferior agreement. It is an agreement that is inferior on labour rights and environmental rights. It does not provide any of the protections that up until today the government purported to provide. We have to look at what the government said was its major reason for putting forward this agreement. It believes in a trade strategy. It obviously has not looked at the evidence.
In most cases, the bilaterals we have signed so far have led to a reduction of exports from Canada. We did increase the imports from those countries with which we signed the bilaterals, but we have to do our homework. If the government has not been able to look at the results of the bilaterals it has signed thus far, it is not doing its homework as it sits down to negotiate what in this case is an inferior agreement.
Exports go down. What is wrong with that picture? It is very simple. Putting aside all of the other issues we have talked about, such as the sellout of our own industries and the complete lack of concern for human rights, the government does not get trade strategy right. We heard testimony just a few weeks ago that the Canadian government provides $3.4 million in Canadian product promotion support for the entire U.S. market. The Australian government provides half a billion dollars.
We provide $3.4 million for our major trading partner. That is ridiculously small. It means that, because there is no overall trade strategy, we will continue to see what we have seen since the government has come to power, even with this inferior agreement, a completely aimless lack of focus on trade and now, as we saw a few months ago, the largest trade deficit in 30 years. That is incompetence. That is simple irresponsibility. That is a lack of understanding of how to put a winning trade strategy in place.
The government seems willing to do the ribbon cutting, even with the government of Colombia, yet it is not willing to do the hard work of actually increasing Canadian exports. What has been the net result? We have seen this over the last 20 years. StatsCan is very clear and tells us what the results have been. Most Canadian families are earning less now than they were 20 years ago. Certainly, it has helped corporate lawyers and CEOs. Their incomes have skyrocketed and now the wealthiest 20% in Canada take more than half of all real income.
However, for everybody else, the middle class, working class and poor Canadians, their real incomes have declined over 20 years. It is in large part due to the Conservatives following the same failed trade strategy that the Liberals put into place. One would think that somebody like DFAIT would actually say, “Hold on. This is not really working too well, is it? We are seeing real income sink. We are seeing exports fall after we signed bilaterals. There has to be a problem here”.
However, there does not seem to be any change from the ribbon-cutting approach to trade that we have seen with both the former Liberal government and the current Conservative government.
What we have in the Canada-Peru agreement is essentially investor-state provisions. They are the same failed provisions in chapter 11 that are leading to actions as we saw with Ethyl Corporation and as we are now seeing with Quebec and the outlawing of 2,4-D. Corporate CEOs can use those chapter 11 provisions and rights to ensure that they can push and control certain aspects of democratic override—