Mr. Speaker, now we understand why we are two sword lengths apart in the chamber. I feel more secure with the Sergeant-at-Arms near me.
You are able to articulate in such a colourful spirit this afternoon, going into a long evening.
It is important in a practical sense to recognize Latin American month and the economic development and the cultural experience in my riding. Not only do we trade 40% with the United States, but the vast majority of that also continues on to Mexico and to other Latin American countries.
We celebrate with the Fiesta Latino festival. The fourth annual festival will be June 30. This is important. Some may think that these months, even though they are symbolic, are very important. Our critic, the member for Vancouver East, has done wonderful work on this. She knows quite well that part of our founding and the importance of our communities and our country is not only having the connection of coming here, but it is also the continued connection with culture, heritage, and the experience of where they came from, including family members.
I want to note one of the most difficult and serious things that the government needs to look at is visitor visas, whether for Latin American countries or other countries around the world. Whether they be for weddings or funerals, visitor visitations in this country have ground to a halt. It is very serious. As we continue to recognize important connections like we are recognizing today and continue to grow those things, we cannot get away from the practical reality that is the continued connection of the cultural experience.
We have so many different independent days that are connected. We have trading partners in Latin America as well as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Chile. These are all countries we have strong economic and social relationships with, and they have business relationships that come back to our communities.
As I look at this through a local lens, I am proud that we have many Latin Americans who not only come to the Windsor-Essex area, but also Chatham and Leamington to be part of our economy. They are temporary foreign workers who have expertise in the agriculture sector and are part of our families in many respects. In the House, there have been debate to try to improve their rights. We have had many families and workers' issues brought about because of the value they add to our country and communities. The Windsor-Essex region and Chatham-Kent-Leamington region have that type of economic connection to it.
We see the influence of those communities in the downtown districts or business districts where there are restaurants, grocery stores, and different staples that are basically built around that economic development. When we are looking at trade and commerce, those have become economic powerhouses. One should not underestimate the greenhouse industry and the agricultural industry that contribute to the welfare of our country and our taxation base. That is critical.
Festivals like we have in Windsor increase our awareness and connect us to social justice issues. They also connect to a number of environmental issues that we are trying to push and develop. This includes celebrities in art, music or other realms, but also workers. That is important to recognize.
We had a delegation from Mexico here about two months ago. One of the key things they talked about was the working conditions in their auto industry and in other industries involved in the trade agreements we have. Family members and workers were challenged not only in the private sector industries, but also in the public sector, which includes universities, other educational institutions, and so forth.
Historically, we can look at Nicaragua and other places from which we have had people come to Canada looking for freedom and its expression, sometimes escaping difficult and extreme situations. They have been front and centre in founding and keeping a strong sense of social justice, acting as a moral compass for our own communities and our country.
In many respects, they have become agents of social change for our communities and for the globe. In fact, many people with different heritage backgrounds are coming to our country. Some are fighting for issues of social justice and welfare. After escaping regimes that have significant cruel and inhumane practices, they have now begun to form a better world for many more people.
Latin American heritage month is not just about the experience of the music, the food, and the colourful things that take place. It is about continuing to enshrine the responsibility we have in raising the next generation in a global village that works for social justice and humanity. What better way to do it than to continue to recognize not just the past, but, most importantly, the future? That is what this does.
The fourth annual festival in Windsor, happening on June 30, will be one of the many events across Canada proudly celebrating Latin heritage in our communities, and celebrating our continued economic, social, and cultural development in our neighbourhoods, our provinces, our country, and other places, like Latin homelands, in the world.