Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
Canada's economic growth as a trading nation is directly linked to international trade. The government strongly supports free trade as a way to open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, and create good-paying middle-class jobs.
The scope of the trans-Pacific partnership is significant. To re-state the oft-quoted figures, the TPP encompasses 800 million people in 12 countries with a combined GDP of $28 trillion U.S., covering nearly 40% of the world's economy. It is also an agreement that was negotiated by the previous government.
Our pledge to Canadians is to ensure they are fully consulted on the outcomes of the TPP. Our job is to carefully review the text and continue to consult with Canadians. The government wants to ensure that Canadians can have a good look at the TPP and that they can ask questions and express their views on whether the agreement is in the best interests of Canadians.
With this in mind, the Minister of International Trade is undertaking an extensive consultation process to offer Canadians the opportunity to provide their views on the agreement and Canada's participation in it before the government makes a decision on whether to ratify it.
Let me be clear: signing the TPP is only a first step and does not equal ratification, nor does it bring it into force for Canada. Signing preserves Canada's status as an originating partner in the agreement, with all the rights and powers that go with it. It also allows our government to pursue our consultations and allow parliamentarians an opportunity to discuss the impact on their regions and on the future of this country.
The Minister of International Trade is also working closely with colleagues whose portfolios are also implicated by the TPP to engage Canadian stakeholders and hear what they have to say. This is a whole-of-government effort. The Minister of Agriculture has been busy engaging with agriculture stakeholders on the TPP. The Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development is doing the same with stakeholders from his portfolio. As well, other relevant ministers are also undertaking the same kind of work. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade is also engaging Canadians.
Since November, the government has held over 250 interactions with over 400 different stakeholders to discuss the trans-Pacific partnership. The government is committed to a full and open parliamentary debate. In addition, the House Standing Committee on International Trade is currently studying the TPP and holding consultations with Canadians across the country. The committee was in Calgary today. The House committee is accepting submissions from all interested parties, and those who have views to share are encouraged to participate.
We recognize the immense value and contributions of farmers, processors, retailers, and producers who bring their products to market. As mentioned, the government supports free trade, but this government is also committed to being fully transparent and hearing the views of Canadians on the merits of the TPP. The government pledged to take a responsible approach to examining the details of the trans-Pacific partnership.
As part of this ongoing consultation, the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of International Trade have met with dairy stakeholders, including farmers and their representatives. The TPP was discussed, and we heard their views about the agreement.
Global Affairs Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officials have also met stakeholders across the dairy value chain, including unions, processors, and retailers. We are following through on that. Should Canada decide to ratify the agreement, we will work with the affected sectors.
The government's engagement with Canadians will continue in the weeks and months to come and will include businesses, labour, farmers, civil society, academics, and youth. The government's TPP engagement has already touched many areas of Canada, with recent stops in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Edmonton, Halifax, Oakville, Windsor, Winnipeg, and Regina.
Some Canadians support the TPP, while others have concerns. The Government of Canada remains in listening mode on the TPP and welcomes views on the agreement. Members of Parliament will also have the opportunity to make their views known in this House.