Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to talk about a very important trade agreement for Huron—Bruce, the riding I represent.
Huron—Bruce is a large rural riding in southwestern Ontario, and to the west of it is Lake Huron, which creates a unique opportunity for agriculture with regards to climate and precipitation. We are also blessed to have some of the most fertile soil in North America. Therefore, when we look at the opportunities for markets for our crops, which have tremendously high yields, this is a great opportunity for us and one that will continue to grow for many years.
Obviously, everyone in the House by now understands the size of the European market, with 500 million people and $17 trillion to $18 trillion in economic activity. CETA will have about a $1.5 billion impact on the agriculture industry here. It will reduce or eliminate 94% of the tariff lines for agriculture, which is an important point to note. We saw this with the Canada-Korea trade deal and other trade deals as well.
When these tariff lines are looked at in a broad spectrum, we may not think they are so bad with 10% here and maybe 14% there. However, some tariffs are quite punitive, with some at 114%. Our farmers cannot then be competitive when other countries have direct access. Therefore, eliminating 94% of the tariff lines for agriculture will be tremendously important. It will really give producers in my riding and across the country an opportunity to really grow this market and to be able to serve the 500 million consumers in the EU.
I consider Huron—Bruce the breadbasket of Canadian agriculture. Just to give members an idea of the size of it, the farm gate receipts of just that part of Bruce County I represent are more than those of all the Atlantic provinces combined. My two colleagues who preceded me talked about the huge opportunity for them in Atlantic Canada and how important it is for that economy, which puts into perspective just how significant it is for the riding I represent of Huron—Bruce.
Before I go into some of the details, I would like to talk about the quality of farm producers that we have in Huron—Bruce. As I said, we border Lake Huron, and we all appreciate the fresh water and the great opportunities it presents. However, the farmers in Huron—Bruce are innovative, aggressive, and they represent the environment. They take the environment into consideration in all they do, and they have great respect for it. Rivers, creeks, and streams flow into Lake Huron. Some of the farmers in Huron County were innovators over 30 years ago with no-till drilling, which has since been proven in terms of soil quality. There are many different workshops and collaborations between the conservation authorities and farm groups to make Huron—Bruce unique in terms of the yields farmers get and their respect for the environment and Lake Huron.
There are also some tremendously successful companies in Huron—Bruce, which will obviously be dealing with the European Union, and already do. I will mention a few of them.
Gay Lea in Teeswater just made a huge announcement a couple of weeks ago of a $60 million expansion at a time when a lot of jobs are leaving Ontario. It is a co-operative, which I think means a lot. It has hard-working men and women who come to work every day and do a great job.
Also in Teeswaster, we have the Dairy Goat Co-operative. This is a very innovative and relatively new organization, which has really grown.
We have some of the most productive greenhouses in Ontario, and likely in Canada, in Exeter, Ontario.
The Hensall District Co-Operative Inc., whose headquarters is out of Hensall, has grown across the province. It is one of the leading co-ops in North America and continues to innovate and work with farm producers, as well as machinery builders and manufacturers, to really allow the farmers to do what they like and need to do to maximize profits, such as P-N-H Innovations, Thomsons Ltd., Dupont Pioneer, Hayter's Turkey Products Inc., and many pork, beef, and cash crop farmers.
I would be remiss if I did not mention all of the companies in Huron—Bruce that build barns and provide cement foundations and footings. Everything from excavation to building can be done in my riding of Huron—Bruce, which is quite impressive.
I will also mention the farm machinery dealers. Often our farm machinery dealers are not mentioned, but I think they should be. Huron Tractor is a great example, as is Delta Power Equipment, McGavin Farm Equipment Ltd., Hyde Brothers Farm Equipment, and Robert's Farm Equipment, which are located up and down the shoreline. The farm machinery dealers are important because they provide great service and sales to our farm producers, so that when there is a breakdown at 2 a.m. when a farmer is harvesting his or her crop, they are there to make the repairs so the farmer can continue.
With respect to the beef sector, obviously there is beef grown in both Huron County and Bruce County. However, Bruce County is certainly one of the capitals of beef production in Canada. I know that the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound is a former beef producer. There is 64,950 tonnes of Canadian beef there that will have full access to the EU market. It is a huge opportunity. Beef producers will have to make some changes to to really meet the demands of the European market, but over time it will be a great opportunity for farmers to take another look at that specialty market.
With respect to the pork sector, some of the most modern pork facilities in the world are located in Huron—Bruce, as well as some of the most innovative farmers we could meet. I have had a great opportunity through the years to meet with many of them to see how they have grown and innovated in their farm operations. The European pork market is, and was, really the last frontier for Canadian pork farmers. It represents a market of 80,000 tonnes without tariffs. The European Union pork market is a big market, and Canadian pork farmers are going to have a great opportunity. Two-thirds of the pork grown in Canada is exported around the world. This will be a great opportunity. Again, reducing and eliminating these tariffs is what will allow these farmers to finally break through and service these markets, which will have a meaningful impact. We know that across the spectrum, but specifically with respect to pork and beef, the genetics, the quality of our feed, the health and safety, and the treatment of animals is second to none in the world. We have a great Canadian agriculture story to tell, and our farm producers will be able to do that.
Another component I will mention, strictly from an Ontario basis, is access for barley, corn, oats, and soybeans. In Huron—Bruce, corn and soybeans are two of the three large staple crops. Most people would not believe how big the yields are in Huron—Bruce, but it is the climate and soil that contribute to that. Through the years, as this deal rolls out and producers and resellers are able to really get into Europe and meet the needs of all of those markets, it will be a huge opportunity.
I should also mention that in Goderich we have the deepest port on the eastern shores of Lake Huron. It allows a lot of grain and salt to be shipped, although salt is not something that we are talking about here. That port will be hugely important, as will be the rail lines that run in many different directions.
I look forward to any questions, as well as the continuing debate on CETA.