House of Commons Hansard #57 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tracy Gray Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for all his work on the international trade committee.

Numerous committees could take on those suggestions for study. This special committee would be very focused. Therefore, I respectfully do not support the amendment.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Pursuant to Standing Order 85 the amendment cannot be moved at this time.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Thornhill.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear my colleague refer to our former Harper government. As a member representing a beef-exporting province, and although it was a bit before his time, I am sure he fondly recollects our successful World Trade Organization challenge against the Obama administration over the issue of country of origin labelling.

I wonder if my colleague believes the proposed committee would be the ideal spot to consider the remarks made just yesterday by the new U.S. agriculture secretary, who is the same agriculture secretary who imposed the COOL ruling against Canada by America. He has said that he is open to again imposing country of origin labelling against countries like Canada.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I certainly appreciate why Canadian producers would be concerned about that. It does make sense to have their Parliament investigate those issues to try to come up with constructive solutions. It is an excellent point. It is another reason why it makes sense not to constrain the committee to provide interim reports with deadlines on particular issues now.

As the committee begins to investigate the entirety of the economic relationship between Canada and the United States, we will find that issues like this will become priority items. We are still within the first 100 days of the administration in the United States. Although it has acted on some things already, it will be acting on many more in the days to come.

It makes sense to keep the mandate for this committee as open as possible, so as the administration announces new initiatives like the one the member just announced, the committee will be free to take up those issues as they arise and issue interim reports as it sees fit—

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I have to allow others to ask questions.

The hon. member for the Yukon.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency)

Madam Speaker, the member made a good point, but there are other exciting opportunities with the new administration. I want to mention three of them, which I do not know if anyone else will have time to speak to today, although I am sure the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands will support them.

We have management agreements with the United States on porcupine caribou, polar bears and migratory birds. In relation to the porcupine caribou, it protects the lands of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the calving ground of the Canada-U.S. porcupine caribou herd, which is so essential for the Gwich'in people.

Hopefully, the member will think these are also important Canada-U.S., exciting potential and positive opportunities for the new Biden administration. On its first day, it signed an executive order to protect the ANWR.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, it was exactly in that spirit that we proposed our amendment, which is to say we should not just focus on the risks that come with a new administration, and there always are risks with any new administration, but to also talk about some of the positive opportunities that are there, particularly in respect of the environment. This change in administration offers some really great opportunities. Whether it is about energy or other issues, we need to think about things with respect to an administration that is more environmentally friendly and focused on climate change. It would be good for this committee to ensure that an important part of its work is not just to concentrate on the risks but also on the opportunities.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 4th, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Charbonneau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona for his presentation.

He seems very concerned about the interpreters' quality of life, which is commendable.

Does he not believe that it is important to Quebeckers and Canadians who have many questions about the pandemic to set up a committee to examine these questions?

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I think that the issues raised by the motion are very important. We just need to have a conversation so that we can determine the best way to examine these issues and look at the different options available to us. The decisions that we make in this regard will have administrative and even human consequences.

We are open to different solutions. I think it is important to raise these issues and to be aware of the consequences of our decisions in that regard. Under normal circumstances, this would not be such a big deal, but since working virtually poses additional challenges, it is important to address this issue.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, my colleague talked about opportunities. As a former energy worker, I know the building trades has indicated that the clean energy industry in the United States will quadruple over the next decade. With the Biden administration, there is a whole host of opportunities for Canadian clean energy exports. I am a bit perplexed why the Conservatives would shove that aside and not want to have the committee investigate that important new export industry for clean energy.

I would like to know my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona's thoughts on what the building trades have said will be an incredible boom to the Canadian economy if we take advantage of it.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, for those members who are interested, a number of reports and studies have emphasized the potential for job creation when we make serious investments in fighting climate change. Sometimes that is in renewable energy construction, which can be wind turbines or solar farms.

However, it is not just that, and nobody is saying is just that. It is also the massive potential we can unlock when we get serious about retrofitting existing buildings that contribute a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions. When we get serious about doing residential and commercial retrofits, we do not wait on some technology of the future. We are talking about using the existing jobs of real tradespeople who are already trained in making our buildings more efficient.

Every dollar invested in that is a dollar invested in creating jobs right here at home. How does that work with respect to the United States? That is a great question for study, because there will be competing demands for the materials to affect all those retrofits if the United States is going that way as well. Canada should be—

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I have to give one more member the opportunity to ask a question.

The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly would have supported the amendments my colleague put forward.

It occurs to me that it is passing strange that the arrival of new President Joe Biden seems to have cast a pall over our Parliament. Almost every comment is negative. I totally agree with my friend from Yukon. Thank heavens Biden signed an executive order to protect the shared porcupine caribou herd and its shared habitat.

Why are we not celebrating that there is a President in the White House who actually is concerned about the climate crisis? That we could only have similar resolve from our own government, because the climate crisis threatens our economy and our very survival.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, to sum it up, it is by a lack of imagination. A lot of people in the country cannot fathom the enormous economic potential of making the investments we need to make in fighting climate change. For those of us who do appreciate that economic potential, it is mind-boggling that we have not gone further down that road a lot faster, because we can create a lot of jobs doing—

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Prince Albert.

For some 75 years, since the end of the Second World War, Canada and the United States have shared a strong relationship. As President John F. Kennedy famously said, “Geography has made us neighbours. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies.”

Seventy-five years after the pivot away from the end of one empire toward a new empire, it is clear America has changed. The rise of conspiracy theories like QAnon and white supremacism, the rise in extremism and polarization, and the events of January 6 last month are all evidence of that.

The U.S. administration has also changed. The previous administration, under Donald Trump, was unlike any other in modern American history. He renegotiated our free trade agreement, which, according to the C.D. Howe Institute, resulted in a 0.4% drop in our economic output relative to NAFTA.

The new Biden administration has made it clear that it is going to continue with many of the policies of the previous administration, policies such as “buy American” and increasing protectionism. In short, the Washington consensus that began with the end of the Cold War has evolved into the “America first” consensus. This trend of “America first” did not start with the previous Trump administration; it began well before that.

For example, under President Obama, the United States began a policy of withdrawing from global leadership, albeit in a more subtle style. Under President Obama, the United States decided its role in Libya would be “leading from behind” while encouraging allies to intervene. In 2013, President Obama pulled back from his threat to strike Syria after it used chemical weapons, an action he said would cross a red line.

Both President Obama and President Trump called on Canada to spend much more, double what we currently spend, on our military. In fact, I remember sitting in this very House of Commons in June of 2016 when President Obama called on us to double Canada's defence spending, something both sides of the aisle rose vigorously to applaud. Therefore we, as Canadians, need to be realistic and clear-eyed about these changes to our largest trading partner and ally.

While many Canadians breathed a sigh of relief at the inauguration of President Biden and Vice-President Harris, we should not fool ourselves and believe that all will return to the way it once was, even with a new U.S. president, who is a decent man with good intentions. The facts are right in front of us. On the very first day of the new Biden administration, it made a decision that damaged our economic recovery and threatens the very unity of this country by cancelling Keystone XL, a project that would have created some 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada. It moved quickly to disadvantage Canadian companies and workers when President Biden signed an executive order mandating a “buy American” policy.

The co-chair of the President's inauguration, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, is threatening to shut down Line 5, which has safely transported oil and gas products to Sarnia, Ontario, since 1953. This pipeline transports some 300,000 barrels a day of energy products, providing jet fuel for Pearson airport, gasoline for millions of people who live in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor and propane for many people living in Ontario. If this pipeline shuts down, it would not only threaten the environment by increasing transport by truck, train and boat over our Great Lakes; it would also threaten to cut off much-needed propane for home heating in Ontario and increase the chance of gasoline and jet fuel shortages in southern Ontario.

There is no doubt that outside of the bilateral issues of trade and investment, the new administration and Canada will find much in common. We Conservatives are hopeful that Canada and the United States can work together on a joint alliance to counter China's threats and to seek the release of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor. We are also hopeful that both of our countries can work together to engage, strengthen and reform multilateral organizations like the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization. We are hopeful that Canada and the United States can work together during this pandemic to secure PPE, medical devices, medical supplies and vaccines.

However, arguably the most important elements of the bilateral relationship are trade and investment, and on those it is clear that America has changed and that its actions are threatening Canadian jobs and livelihoods here at home, affecting millions of Canadians. As I mentioned earlier, the previous administration's actions on trade have cut Canadian economic growth by one-half of one per cent. The current administration's actions will no doubt contribute to a decline in Canadian economic growth and prosperity.

Our trade relationship with the United States has always been an asymmetrical one. We have always produced more beef, wheat, corn, cars, steel, aluminum and so many other products than we can consume, and so we have always needed to export these products to the United States.

The United States is our largest export market, and by a country mile. Our second-largest export market, China, is less than one-twentieth the size of the U.S. marketplace for Canadians. In fact, one out of five things we produce in this country is for export to the United States. That is one out of five jobs and one out of five dollars in economic output. However, the relationship is not symmetrical. We are not the largest U.S. export market. In fact, we buy the equivalent of less than 2% of America's economic output every year. In other words, they buy about 20% of our economic output, and we buy less than 2% of their economic output. In that context, the onus is on us to get their attention and to defend our interests, to defend our jobs and to defend Canadian workers. As former prime minister Brian Mulroney said, “an open door to the Oval Office opens many other doors for Canada.” We need to understand that America has changed and that we need to change how we approach Canada-U.S. relations in response.

Budgets do not balance themselves, vaccines will not deliver themselves and our economy will not rebuild itself. The time to plan to secure our future is now.

That is why I support today's motion. It will make it possible to create a special committee founded on one of the most important pillars of our recovery, namely the economic relationship between Canada and the United States. At a time when our two countries have to focus on getting people back to work and returning to our normal way of life post-COVID-19, this committee will get answers for Canadians and fight to secure our future.

Canadians need to get back to work. We need a plan to create jobs in every sector in every region of this country. We cannot afford another failure to plan. We must begin to plan to reopen and rebuild our economy and to get Canadians back to work. This motion, if adopted, would create a committee that would help to provide ideas to the government on how that can be done.

We must work together to secure our economic future. We must start now to secure our future after COVID-19, and that is why I encourage all members of the House to support this motion.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Madam Speaker, I think we all agree and know that this is our most important international relationship and our biggest trading partner, but with the new administration, there will be both challenges and some opportunities.

One of the big commitments of the new Biden administration is to have much stronger action on climate change, and I think this also presupposes some opportunities and challenges for us, as now both Canada and the U.S. are seeking to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. However, the U.S. administration has also proposed having harder border adjustment fees on imports.

As my question for the member opposite, how important does he think it is right now for Canada to take continued and stronger action on climate change, and what types of opportunities could that provide for our country in the U.S. market?

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Madam Speaker, there are huge opportunities for us to participate in the recovery from the pandemic. In particular, in both the private and the public sectors there will be huge opportunities for initiatives with respect to climate change.

The challenge is that we may very well be shut out of a lot of these opportunities because of the President's executive order concerning “buy American” policies. My hope is that this committee would provide ideas for the government on how to make our case for an exemption to these “buy American” policies. The previous government spent a year carving out an exemption to the “buy American” policies that had been implemented under the previous Obama administration. That agreement was executed in February of 2010 and allowed us to participate in exports to the United States, so—

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I have to give other members the opportunity to ask questions.

The hon. member for Jonquière.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, one of my shortcomings is a long memory, but at least I do not hold a grudge.

I just want to remind my colleague about Barack Obama's Buy American Act. In 2013, one of our aluminum rolling companies, Novelis, was relocated to Oswego, New York. I was part of the revitalization committee, and we tried to get answers from the Conservative government of the day, which told us that we just had to accept the reality of competition. I got the sense that the Conservatives were never all that concerned about the fate of the aluminum industry. That was driven home when CUSMA was signed, because the Conservatives wasted no time voting with the government even though the deal utterly failed to protect aluminum.

I would like to ask my colleague if he is aware of that 2013 decision, when aluminum processors in Saguenay were told they would just have to live with the reality of competition. I would also like to know if he would do the same thing today.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

As I said in my speech, our relationship with the United States is an asymmetrical one. It is a very difficult situation for Canada. We have a lot more aluminum here in Canada, and we should be working with the Americans to make sure we can export our Quebec aluminum. That is why we need to set up this committee: we need to look at issues around aluminum and other Canadian exports to the United States.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, my question is very straightforward. I am just looking to hear what kind of advocacy the member would look for from the government and from the special committee with respect to the energy needs of our country, and specifically with respect to Line 5 and its importance in protecting the environment in the area where it operates.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Madam Speaker, the issue of Line 5 is an urgent one. The government needs to do a better job of securing our energy needs in Canada. I remember that a year ago, we were seven days away from running out of home-heating propane for hundreds of thousands of residents in southern Ontario. We are at risk of something similar happening again as we head toward the May 12 shutdown of the Line 5—

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Prince Albert.

Opposition Motion—Proposed Special Committee on Canada-United States Economic RelationshipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Madam Speaker, this is such great debate following the CUSMA deal that was just finished. There are a lot of things we could learn from our negotiations and handling of that process.

I think back when we first heard that the Trump administration wanted to renegotiate NAFTA, and the fear that was in the eyes of Liberals, Canadian businesses and everybody else. I remember the first few times we went to the U.S. to talk to people in Congress and in Senate about the relationship with Canada, and how we talked about how important Canadian businesses were in each of their districts. We talked about things that were important to the U.S. and how Canada has an impact on those things.

I also remember, after having those meetings, sitting down with the member for Malpeque, former member Hon. Mark Eyking, and members of the trade committee and saying it is a relationship we take for granted, a relationship that just happens. Roughly $2 billion and 300,000 people cross that border every day during normal times. It just happens and it is so simple.

When we see a threat, we start to ask if we have done the right things to nurture that relationship and if we have always been involved and working closely with our American friends in a way that we should be, making sure that each country understands the importance to the other.

That is what I saw when we went to Washington during the CUSMA negotiations. The Prime Minister would make a gaffe, a comment that would blow up in the media. We would go down to talk to members of the Republican and Democratic parties to set the record straight, reminding them over and over again what we do together and how we are better together than apart.

That was one of the frustrations of the CUSMA agreement. It was an agreement that did not look at where we could gain strengths from all three different countries. It was an agreement that looked to protect what we had or what we could get from each other. That goes against the spirit of North America and the original NAFTA agreement.

That is why I think the committee could be really good. There would be opportunities to identify things that could work well for Canada and Canadian workers, and that could take advantage of the strengths that the U.S. has. It could also work well for the U.S. We need to look for those synergies. There are things we could do together in a variety of ways, not only in trade but also in foreign and military affairs, that would make us stronger together. Canada has a lot to contribute to that relationship. I will use a few examples.

Let us talk about regulations. We have always talked about having the same regulations. I find it interesting that when we travel to the U.S., we will find something that is safe to eat in the U.S. but when we come back to Canada we find that we cannot eat it here.

I will use the agriculture sector as an example. We look at things that at one time we either could not get or was hard to get in Canada, yet we could across over to Montana and get it. There were farmers who would actually hop in a van together and go down to buy it and come back. That difference does not make sense. Why would that regulation not be harmonized so that it would be consistent, whether in Montana or Saskatchewan, basically anywhere where beef is moving across the border all the time. Why would we have different rules and regulations?

We could really use the committee to identify some of those things that are becoming barriers that make us non-competitive in the world market. We could use the committee to look at solutions for things that make us uncompetitive and to remove those barriers while maintaining the safety of American and Canadian citizens. It could set the stage or standard around the world. We could be such a dominant player in so many areas.

It is really important to look at new technologies and clean technologies, which some of the other members have talked about today. When we think about clean technologies, as these new regulations are being developed, why would we not do this in conjunction with the U.S., using their strengths and our strengths together, so that we would force the rest of the world to actually follow those regulations? It would give us a competitive advantage. It would be the right way to do things. We know that if we do it here at home, in conjunction with the U.S., it would be done properly and safely. The end-user and consumer would be front and foremost. We have those skill sets. We just have to have the desire to work together to accomplish that.

We have seen buy American surface and the cancellation of Keystone. These are disturbing things that just re-emphasize the fact that we need to be down there constantly talking to our American colleagues and explaining to them how it is important to us and impacts us.

We were very successful in the CUSMA agreement talking about the importance of that relationship and putting it in the perspective of what it meant to members in different districts and to the Canadian economy. Sometimes I wonder if we need to do the same thing in Canada, if we need to start going across the provinces to talk about how important it is to buy a truck from Ontario, to get propane out of Alberta, to get lobster out of Nova Scotia and to get softwood lumber out of B.C., and what that would mean to all of us to have access to all of those great things we make here in Canada.

We could show some pride in our country and brag about that. Sometimes I think we are so focused on doing everything outside Canada that we forget and take for granted all of the wonderful things that we have within our country. There is some work that needs to be done there. Outside of this committee, that would be something else that our governments should get together and move forward on.

Getting back to the idea of a committee, with buy American, we did secure a situation where we had preferential access to that market. We did that, but we had some problems at the state and municipal levels. However, since 2009, we have had 36 states, I believe, that have signed onto the WTO, which would basically remove that problem. When I look at the history of our Prime Minister and his relationship with the new President, I think that would be easier to do now than it would have been under former Prime Minister Harper and President Obama. While I think they worked very well together, they were not necessarily the best of friends. However, they looked at this from both country's perspectives and saw the advantage for both countries, and they managed to get it done. It was tougher at the state and municipal levels, and I think more works needs to be done there, but that work has to happen. It has to happen among all of our trade commissioners and a variety of people we have right across the U.S. who are promoting Canadian goods, and I trust that it is happening today.

Unfortunately, I cannot travel to the U.S. and, unfortunately, the member for Malpeque cannot travel to the U.S. Unfortunately, the Canada-U.S. friendship group cannot do the things it had been doing in the background, such as on CUSMA, as effectively as it could back then. Members can see why this committee should be constructed.

I see so many ways this committee could focus on things that a trade committee or a natural resources committee just could not. We could actually give this the time it requires. We could give this relationship the effort it deserves, considering the importance of it to everybody in North America. I would not be surprised that if we went down this path, Americans would say, “What a great idea. This is our big trading partner. This is North America. Why do we not do the same thing and have that special committee?” We could start to see growth in understanding from talking back and forth, and the benefits for North America, for Canada and the U.S., that would definitely result from it.

There are many more things I could talk about in regards to this, but when I look at this committee, I just see opportunity, and I hope that is how all parties address it. Yes, there are problems and obstacles. It is no different from a family relationship between brothers and sisters, and there are times that are tough. The relationship with the U.S. is sometimes compared to a family relationship and sometimes to a relationship between an elephant and a mouse. Both of these are true. However, we have to work on this relationship and nurture it, and this committee could do that. This committee could have the ability and wisdom to look at things with a different perspective and take the time to talk to experts right across Canada and the U.S. on the best way to proceed.

A case in point is buy America. Why would we not bring in some Canadians, for example, our former ambassador, Mr. MacNaughton, who was there on tour during CUSMA, and listen to their wisdom to formulate a good policy moving forward? Why not bring in former members like Rona Ambrose, Stephen Harper or Ralph Goodale? The sky is the limit as far as the type of people we could bring into a committee like this to seek really good advice. When we have good advice, we make good decisions that are, in my view, to the benefit of all Canadians.

We talked a little about vaccinations, and this is something we should have been talking about five or six years ago when we first had SARS, such that, in North America, if we were to see an outbreak, a pandemic, how would we operate? How would we function? Do we have PPE in America? We could see how much PPE there was in Canada and the U.S. to see if we were covered. These are the types of things that should be talked about strategically.

When we talk about border infrastructure, whether it is the Gordie Howe International Bridge or things like that, these are the strategic investments that we should be making and talking with our American cousins or brothers and sisters about, however we want to call them, about what should be and what it should look like.

When we look at our competitiveness in Asia, we should be talking about that. When we look at China's influence in South America, Latin America or Africa, we should be talking about that and what it means to us. When we talk about rare earth elements, mining and natural resources, these are things we should be discussing amongst ourselves. For example, would we allow them to be purchased by Chinese companies? Are we going to allow these resources to have foreign ownership? Are we going to allow these resources to leave our continent? Do we have the requirements in this regard moving forward?

Again, these are the things we could discuss together in a committee and have good policy that would represent Canadians in the best way.

Members can see that I am very excited about this committee, because I see lots of positives and lots of things that could benefit all of Canada, the U.S. and North America altogether. It would actually—