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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is actually.

Conservative MP for Abbotsford (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 48% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to Canada’s provision for critical infrastructure to prevent floods: (a) what steps has the federal government taken to work with municipal and provincial authorities in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to develop disaster management plans; (b) how much federal infrastructure funding will be provided in the next fiscal year to address flood management in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley; and (c) what projects are slated to receive federal funding in the 2017-2018 fiscal year?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to meeting Canada’s 2020 Aichi conservation targets: (a) which geographic areas are currently being examined by the government for protection; and (b) for each geographic area listed in (a), (i) what is the size of the geographic area under examination, (ii) what classification is proposed for each protected area, (iii) what selection criteria have been used by the government to determine the priority areas, (iv) what are the projected costs for the protection of each area?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to Canada’s current commitment to combat climate change in foreign countries: (a) what projects are currently receiving funding from the government to combat or mitigate climate change in foreign countries; and (b) for each project listed in (a), (i) how much funding will it receive, (ii) which organizations are dispersing the funds, (iii) does the government plan to conduct audits on the money allocated?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to Canada’s efforts to prevent further pine beetle infestations: (a) what is the total amount of government funding allocated for pine beetle prevention research for each of the fiscal years from 2014 to present; (b) what is the total amount of government funding allocated for pine beetle mitigation and prevention; and (c) what strategy is in place to prevent the eastward spread of the pine beetle?

Food and Drugs Act June 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yes, we do need to have a border service that is able to process the billions of dollars of trade that travels across our borders from other countries around the world. However, it is important to note that the trade facilitation agreement that we are debating in this House today actually would apply mostly to countries that do not have an already high standard of customs processes of trade facilitation within their own jurisdictions.

When we look at this agreement, virtually everything that is outlined in this trade facilitation agreement as being required of the partner countries to implement, we have already implemented. In fact, we have implemented them many years ago.

We do not expect that this agreement would impose any substantive additional burdens upon our border officials who have to ensure not only that excise duties are paid but also that smugglers are not using the borders for illicit gain. We understand the work that the the border officials do is absolutely critical to keeping our borders safe and ensuring trade happens in a legal manner.

Food and Drugs Act June 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to answer that question.

The trans-Pacific partnership, of course, involves some highly developed countries, like Japan, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, that have very high standards not only when it comes to non-tariff barriers and disciplining non-tariff barriers but also have high standards when it comes to things such as intellectual property.

One of the biggest challenges Canadian companies have around the world is doing business in places like China and Vietnam where those standards are not robust. Canadian businesses lose value. The TPP actually raises those standards for everybody within that partnership.

The same thing is true for labour and environmental standards. There are separate chapters for each of those that would impose upon the parties much higher standards than many of them have been accustomed to actually applying within their own jurisdictions.

This is a huge opportunity for Canada to carve out preferred market access within the Asia-Pacific region. That is a region that is difficult to do business within because often it is a very opaque trading environment where we do not always know exactly what the rules are or how they are going to be applied.

The TPP actually sets out very strong disciplines on how behind the border issues, such as standards, regulations, and rules are applied in a manner that actually facilitate trade rather than hinder it.

Food and Drugs Act June 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to build on the comments of my colleague from Battlefords—Lloydminster. In his speech, he mentioned some of our remarkable trade negotiators. He mentioned Kirsten Hillman, who spearheaded our TPP negotiations, and Steve Verheul, who spearheaded our negotiations with the European Union.

There are others and I do not want to leave out. For example, Marvin Hildebrand negotiated our trade agreement with the Ukraine and our updated agreement with Israel. Ian Burney did that monumental trade agreement with South Korea and J.B. Leblanc was responsible for negotiating a number of trade deals within Central America and South America. All of these trade deals are driving prosperity and job creation within Canada.

Let us get back to Bill C-13. Those who are viewing across Canada may not understand what we are talking about when we talk about TFA, trade facilitation agreements, when we talk about the Bali package. We need to go back 30 years when there was a large number of like-minded countries around the world that realized there were no common sets of rules around the world to govern trade. As countries traded with each other, tariffs could be increased or reduced, protectionist measures could be enacted day upon day, and it made trade very unpredictable.

Back in 1986, negotiations started under what was called the Uruguay round and then in 1994-95, an agreement was finally reached, in which tariffs were eliminated or, in many cases, reduced. It also addressed some of the behind the borders challenges to trade. That was called the Uruguay round. That culminated into the creation of the World Trade Organization. Today, I believe there are 162 or 163 members in the World Trade Organization.

It was under this WTO that a second round of trade negotiations started back in 2001. Think about it. That was 15 years ago. Very little progress had been made over those years and I will get to the reasons for that in a moment.

Countries at least were able to get together and put together a small package under the Doha round, which we now call the Bali package. This was an outcome that included trade facilitation, which, in other words, improved customs processes and the ability to export and import products more efficiently.

There was a second piece to that, which involved food security for developing countries, things such as the public stockholding of food, and also addressed export competition. Certainly, there was financial support agreed to for the least developed countries, to help them actually take advantage of trade opportunities around the world.

During the Bali package negotiations, I was in Bali, Indonesia and at that time there were 157 countries. It was hard fought because there were so many different competing interests trying to come to a consensus. We finally came to a consensus on these three smaller packages, which we bound up in a ribbon called the Bali package.

We took it home and then, suddenly, we heard that India had a change of government. Prime Minister Modi was now in charge. He said he did not like the agreement and wanted to renegotiate it. That is an indicator of how difficult it is today to reach consensus within the World Trade Organization.

Fortunately, negotiations among India, the U.S., and some other partners were finally able to resolve that impasse and today, we are here in the chamber implementing one part of the Bali package, which is the trade facilitation agreement.

I want to be very clear that we in the Conservative Party strongly support this legislation. We strongly support trade facilitation because it would allow us not only to improve our own trade opportunities around the world but also give a hand up to other countries, in most cases the poorest countries in the world, to start to think about trade as a way of improving their own prosperity and raising up more people into the middle class.

The trade facilitation agreement is actually the first multilateral trade agreement to be concluded since the WTO was established over 20 years ago. It would likely eliminate up to 14% of the trade barriers and the costs related to those trade barriers around the world.

The biggest beneficiaries of this trade facilitation agreement are actually the poorest countries in the world. Of course, they cannot do that without receiving support from the developed countries, countries like Canada. We have agreed to support them. We are streamlining the flow of trade across borders.

The agreement sets forth a series of measures for expeditiously moving goods across borders based on best practices from around the world. Most of those best practices come from the developed nations, like Canada. It will also simplify customs procedures, reduce red tape, expedite the release and clearance of goods, reduce costs associated with border processing, and make international trade more predictable. As I mentioned, it will also establish a program to financially assist the poorest of the WTO members to actually take advantage of trade.

The reality is that the WTO has struggled to make meaningful progress and eliminate additional tariff and non-tariff barriers. The Doha round was started 15 years ago, and we have the Bali package, which is actually relatively small compared to the aspirations of the Doha round.

Many people have asked me what has made the WTO somewhat sclerotic, in other words comatose, in achieving the kinds of trade goals and trade ambitions that we as Canadians have for the world.

It is all about the emerging economies. Countries like India, which I already mentioned, Brazil, China, Russia, and South Africa, the BRICS countries that are flexing their muscles, realizing they have some economic clout within the global marketplace, and are exercising that clout, often preventing consensus from occurring at the WTO.

That is why it is so difficult to get this Doha round completed, to make meaningful progress in eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers around the world.

What has Canada done? In the absence of a robust trade agenda at the WTO, we are doing bilateral agreements, trade agreements with countries like South Korea and Ukraine. We have negotiated trade agreements with countries like Jordan. Of course, the largest agreement of its kind is our free trade agreement with the 28 countries of the European Union.

This is an economy of some 500 million consumers with whom Canada will now have preferred access. The same thing is true for the trans-Pacific partnership. I am quite disappointed that the Liberal government does not seem to understand the importance of being a leader, showing leadership in moving forward with ratifying this very important agreement.

This agreement, the TPP, actually involves 12 countries that want to raise the ambition for trade, have high level rules for trade within the Asia-Pacific region. We are talking about partners like Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, but also other partners that are less developed, like Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Peru, and Chile, all countries that want to work together to eliminate trade barriers, to drive prosperity in our own countries.

Our previous Conservative government really worked hard to embark upon the most ambitious trade agenda Canada had ever seen. Over a 10-year period, we were able to negotiate free trade agreements with 46 different countries, bringing to 51 the total number of countries with which Canada has trade agreements.

I am issuing a challenge to the Liberal government that has yet to show a sustained interest in trade. In the previous 13 years, under the Chrétien and Martin governments, very little was accomplished, just three small trade agreements. It left Canada far behind in the global marketplace, in the global trading world.

We need to be ahead of the curve, otherwise we lose out. Our Canadian businesses lose out because they do not have preferred market access that other countries have.

This is my message to the Liberal government. Take trade seriously, as perhaps the most significant driver of prosperity our country has available. It is a key tool. Then get us to the next level, improving standards of living within Canada, providing consumers with the kind of value that they look for when they are buying goods, providing our businesses the kind of preferred access they need to expand their opportunities around the world.

Again, we strongly support this trade facilitation agreement and encourage everyone in this House to vote in favour of it.

Food and Drugs Act June 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my good friend on his speech and his support for the TFA, but as he knows, this was a hard-fought agreement, one which had emerging economies up against some of the developed economies. It took a lot of hard work to finally arrive at a consensus post-Bali.

I wonder if the member could comment on the state of the World Trade Organization. There are many who believe that the organization is moribund and I would appreciate hearing his comments about the WTO.

Business of Supply June 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my very respected colleague here in this House.

I am glad he raised the issue of non-tariff barriers because a lot of Canadians understand that trade agreements can be about eliminating tariffs or duties. In fact, they go far beyond that. Most of the value today in trade agreements is actually getting rid of those standards, regulations, and rules behind the borders that are not being applied to protect health and safety, but are being applied to prevent free trade. The member is absolutely right.

Government needs to get out of the way of business people who are trying to trade with each other. That is how we drive economic growth. That is how we drive economic prosperity for our country.

Business of Supply June 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I appreciate the member's question.

I have two answers to that.

One, as former minister of international trade over four and a half years I was busy engaging in the most ambitious and active trade agenda our country had ever seen. Members should remember that we did trade agreements with 46 different countries around the world, something that the previous Liberal government had never gotten done.

The second answer is that the Comeau case was not decided until after we left government. Until the Comeau case was decided by a lower court, it was generally accepted that the constitutional law in Canada allowed provinces to interfere to a certain degree in international trade and to put up barriers for different reasons. Those included regulatory reasons, safety and health reasons, and also reasons that actually were simply protectionist in nature. The Comeau case was decided post-election. A court actually established that there is truly a constitutional right to free trade.

We welcome the Liberal government's intervention in that case, because it is critically important for Canada and would open up a whole new opportunity for economic growth within our country.