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Conservative MP for Battlefords—Lloydminster (Saskatchewan)
Won his last election, in 2015, with 61% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Food and Drugs Act June 15th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, certainly my colleague and I disagree most of the time on the trade committee, but we do agree that Canadians need to be better off and that we cannot tax them into submission. They have to be able to have a number of different things at their disposal.
I never said I had a stock portfolio. I was a farmer. Before that I was a general contractor to pay for that nasty habit. I said that just as people would say that they should have a diversified stock portfolio, they should also have a diversified trade portfolio.
When it comes to small businesses doing trading, I consider myself, as a farmer, a small business, and I was not scared about selling my canola, my lentils, into other countries around the world, because there were corridors to do that. We educate ourselves, we find the knowledge, and we work with others to make that happen, and there are always people who will facilitate that.
First we have to have the ability to do it. Then we have to have the knowledge and the wherewithal to actually make that happen. Once one starts doing it, it is almost a drug. One can get hooked on the ability to move products through and watch them being enjoyed by other countries.
I had the great opportunity in my former role as the agriculture minister to be on pretty much every continent and in every country enjoying Canadian products. Without a word of a lie, there is no better product for consistency and quality of product, when it comes to foodstuffs, than the Canadian one in the world.
It is unbelievable. When we go into other countries and they serve what they consider to be a steak or lettuce or whatever, it does not measure up to ours at all.
Food and Drugs Act June 15th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I think there are a number of chapters in the TPP that are unique to the TPP. I talked about cultural downloads, digital downloads, and a lot of different things like that. The rules and regulations, when it comes to moving products around the world, address what we really have here, which are global supply chains. It is not just raw materials going to Japan. It is goods that go back and forth to finish them up.
Canada is very good at certain things. We are not as good at other things. We export between 50% and 90% of what we produce on the agricultural side: what we raise, grow, and produce. At the same time, we import 50% of what we eat domestically. We have to have good, solid trade corridors for that to happen.
We have to diversify our trade portfolio the same as anyone would diversify a stock portfolio. If we rely strictly on the U.S. market, as we have done for years, when they have a problem, we face the same problem.
CETA, on one hand, is a very aged market, a very mature market. The Pacific Rim, on the other side, of course, takes into account a growing, emerging middle class we will have access to, so between the two, we will have access to some 80% of the global GDP. It is very important that we have both.
It is also very important that we have strength with the TPP countries in our hip pocket if and when we move forward on an agreement with China. The size and scope of the Chinese economy will swallow us whole overnight.
I have often said, from an agricultural standpoint, that if everyone in the middle class in China had a bacon cheeseburger and a beer once a month, we could not supply it. That is the size and scope of that market.
We have to move into that realm with caution. I am a firm believer in doing more with China. It is a tremendous opportunity, but I think we will do it and fare a lot better when we have the strength of the TPP in our hip pocket. It is the same as having the CETA agreement in our hip pocket. In the final days of negotiating the TPP, it was very helpful.
Food and Drugs Act June 15th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, let me also congratulate my friend across the way. I see another friend from the trade committee. We are getting some great work done. As he is rightly pointing out, there are a tremendous number of opinions out there as to what constitutes good trade, what constitutes progressive trade, and what constitutes us giving away the country that I do not agree with.
Having said that, we are a trading nation. We always have been. It was traders who came to this great country and settled it many years ago. The first nations that were here when they arrived were traders, and they continue to be. We had several of them before committee yesterday. There is a huge contradiction, whether they are for it or against it, what the day is, and so on.
On Bill C-13, lucky 13, the trade facilitation act, a number of things come into play. The former minister was up just a moment ago talking about how difficult it was. I happened to be at that particular WTO meeting in Bali. It was one of the last ones I attended. It was always interesting to see the countries siding with certain other countries. He said that there is a tremendous amount of disagreement between the developed, the developing, and the underdeveloped countries and how we get from one level to the other, with everyone scrambling.
The unfortunate part with the WTO is that it seems to want to bring everyone down to a median as opposed to lifting everyone up. That is what caught my attention at my first WTO meetings, almost a decade ago in Geneva. What we were discussing then was already irrelevant, but we were trying to get that passed so we could move on. Rather than shift it aside and move on to something more relevant, they were stuck in a situation where everyone had a veto and they really could not move forward. To actually bring this through in the Bali package, as it was called, and India was very much against it, took another year of negotiation back in Geneva.
It takes two-thirds of the membership of the WTO to make this happen, so roughly 108 countries have to agree. Once we get this done here in the next little while, we will be number 82, so there is still a tremendous amount of work to do before it actually comes into play.
What it seeks to do is level the playing field to create more predictability and stability in trade corridors around the world. These are global trade corridors now. Certainly, Canada is part of all that global movement. However, it will also help the developing countries.
The parliamentary secretary talked about the women entrepreneurs around the world. I could not agree with him more. That is one of the strengths I see in the TPP, which hopefully we will get to at some point in this august House as well. There are labour and environmental standards, and it seeks to reinforce them throughout the world.
Countries that are involved in the TPP, like Vietnam, are looking forward to it. I had a good opportunity to be in Vietnam about a year or a year and a half ago. It is looking forward to using our level of labour standards, our workers' compensation, and a number of other things to reinforce its ability to grow. It has an economy of some 80 million people in a small area. It does a lot of secondary processing that goes into other economies around the world through any trade corridors that work. There are a tremendous number of women involved in what happens in Vietnam. It is looking forward to that. With the environmental standards, too, it does not have to commit the errors that a lot of us, as growing economies, did. It does not have to go through coal-fired generation. It can go right to something green. There are all those opportunities out there as well.
I agree with the parliamentary secretary on this. If I say that three times, someone slap me, because that will be enough.
At the end of the day, this is all about making sure that we have global standards that are enforceable. As obsolete as the WTO is at times on certain fronts, it really is the only rules-based organization that everyone belongs to. We used that operation when we were taking the United States to task on country-of-origin labelling. The parliamentary secretary will have an idea of how much work went into that over the two or three years it took to wind through the appellate body at the WTO. It started to come together fairly quickly when the United States realized that it had run out of options, and it finally put forward a piece of legislation and took that off its agenda.
However, they are the only rules we have on a multilateral stage. We have rules involved in NAFTA. We have rules involved in the TPP. There are rules involved with the CETA and ISDS adjudication, which is groundbreaking. We look forward to those rules being put in place and having the ability to argue our side, make our case, and move forward.
It takes things like this TFA, almost housekeeping, because it is sort of reactionary to what has happened before. It needs to be addressed, but it is not forward looking, as we see in some of the movement we have with the CETA and the TPP. It is today's economy.
When I was first elected to this place almost 20 years ago, cell phones were not in vogue. Few people had them, so at one point I took my garage door opener with me a couple of times just to make it look like I was part of the in-crowd. Now everything is done at the speed of commerce. We have to address those situations throughout the world and go back into some trade agreements and address how we download cultural products and so on.
There is a lot of concern about getting it right as we move to that in CETA and the TPP. I think we have. A lot of consultation went on with respect to both of those agreements as we moved forward page by page. The former minister of trade and I worked hard. The TPP agreement is 6,000 pages long. There is a lot of stuff in it. We went through it page by page as it developed over the years Canada was involved in negotiating it.
I want to take a moment to congratulate all the great people at DFAIT, as it was called at that time. Now it is called Global Affairs. I want to congratulate all the negotiators, the Steve Verheul, the Kirsten Hillman, who did the heavy lifting day after day, taking, some would say, a schizophrenic position that Canada always carried into those agreements and making it work. They did tremendous work, as did all of the people who worked with them. We owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude for getting us to this level today and for making Canada a broker in the world.
On my first trip to Geneva, we were still working on the Uruguay round of GATT. Everyone has since forgotten about those things and moved on, but they are still important, because they set the foundation.
I remember being with Steve Verheul on a number of different fronts. At that point, the director-general of the WTO was Pascal Lamy. He had the idea that if he kept everyone dangling until midnight then put them to work, he would get something done. That did not work. He just ended up with mad people around the table. We did not get anything done. He would break us into country groups of five and cherry-pick who he wanted. I remember going out with Steve for a beer afterward or supper late at night or whatever, and his cell phone never stopped ringing with calls from the five people who were in the room who were asking him what they should do. He was the broker involved behind the scenes for a lot of the countries. They relied on Steve Verheul and people like him.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work these people have done to get us to this point. Now they are watching to see how long it will take us to do the light lifting and put into play what they worked so hard to do.
This is a good first step, but there are so many other things that need to be addressed as we move along. It seems almost hypocritical to me that we are going to implement border-smoothing operations under the TFA while at the same time we cannot seem to clean up our own interprovincial trade. We have a motion coming forward, and the government has already said it will not support. The government is going to support this at the international level but we are not going to clean up our own house at the same time. That is a bit hypocritical and is something we will really have to bear down on.
Other countries are watching. We talk about rules and about how Canada is a global trader, but we have all of these anomalies right here within our own country we need to address.
The Senate has done some work on this. We will be doing some work on it, I am sure, at trade committee. I look forward to those future discussions.
Food and Drugs Act June 15th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, it is my first opportunity to congratulate you on your elevation to the chair. You are doing a great job, thank you.
To my colleagues in the House, I want to begin by saying I will be splitting my time on the bill with the former minister of trade.
Committees of the House June 15th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to thank the government for moving forward in this way. I also want to point out that this is the beginning of a process, not the end. I know it is an interim measure, but interswitching has been useful, and it is gaining in use, with producer cars and so on. A lot of short line rail now make use of that interswitching. This reflects the new reality.
Years ago, there were some 1,700 or 1,800 points where people could actually deliver their grain, but they could not. The Wheat Board made their permit books only good to one elevator. Now they can deliver it anywhere they want, but there are less than 300 catchment points. The interswitching, extended to 160 kilometres, starts to reflect that new reality, and I know my friend understands that. In some cases they are going to have to go further than that, writing a permit to go 200 or 220 kilometres.
The other thing that is so important to continue on with is the data, the information. However, it has to be a two-way street. There is a lot of information from the shippers going to the railways so they will know what cars to deliver, but the shippers are not getting the information back from the railways, or when they get it, it is out of date, or they have withheld cars, and so on. It is the only way they could have a road map, a plan, for what is happening.
It is easier to do right now because of all the bulk commodities. Grain is about the only one that is moving with any kind of volume. Oil is down. Coal is down. Potash is down. It is not a question of track capacity or cars. It is a question of engines and crews. Right now, CN is fulfilling its obligations about 80% of the time and CP is at a dismal 60% to 62%, even with all the other commodities down. A lot more work needs to be done.
This is the beginning of a process. No one is addressing the adequate and suitable language that needs to be attached into the next tranche that is going to be worked on. Then there are reciprocity and penalties. When the railways bring a car and the elevators do not load it quickly enough, they charge them for a demurrage day. However, when the railways do not bring the car and it is late a day, there should be the ability to have that reciprocal penalty. I know my colleague understands a lot of this.
Again, this is the beginning of the process. It gives us some breathing space but, certainly, a lot of this work needs to be done to really keep the lens on the railways to ensure they measure up.
Softwood Lumber June 15th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister famously promised Canadians to have the structure of a new softwood lumber agreement completed within 100 days of his family reunion in Washington.
While we were in government, we negotiated an extension to the softwood lumber agreement during a U.S. election year. The member for Abbotsford did the job with President Obama under the same circumstances we see in the U.S. today.
What is the Prime Minister's excuse for failing Canada's forestry workers and putting thousands of good paying jobs at risk?
Agriculture and Agri-Food June 13th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, agriculture is the third largest contributor to our GDP and it is under siege. The Liberals have neglected to act on diafiltered milk, spent fowl, PED in Manitoba, and canola dockage in China. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food says he will not intervene and the Minister of International Trade will only consult.
One in five jobs in Canada rely on trade. Now $375 million of lentil exports to Turkey are at risk due to low-level GMO presence requirements.
Why are Liberals neglecting to protect our agricultural producers in world trade?
International Trade June 6th, 2016
That they got neutral, Mr. Speaker. Those jobs are for half as long.
The leaders' declaration from the G7 in Japan is a clear commitment to regional trade agreements like the TPP. Yet the Prime Minister seems more inclined to push for an early deal with China. While that is a very important market for us, the Prime Minister has also said, “It is important that people know that when they sign a deal with Canada...a change in government isn't going to lead to that contract being ripped up”. Since he supported the leaders' declaration, why will the Prime Minister not prioritize the TPP before holding trade talks with China?
International Trade June 1st, 2016
Mr. Speaker, at last week's G7 meeting in Japan, the Prime Minister showed real indifference to Prime Minister Abe's push to seek early ratification of the TPP. The Prime Minister, however, seems much more inclined to push for an early deal with China. While that is a very important market for us, the Prime Minister has also said, “It’s important that people know that when they sign a deal with Canada, a change of government isn’t going to lead to the contract being ripped up”.
Why will the Prime Minister not prioritize ratifying the TPP before holding trade talks with China?
Ministerial Expenses May 5th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the minister's marketing is working so well that the trade numbers of the U.S. are down by 6.3% in March alone.
Will the House leader stand in his place and apologize for not being the House leader but for being the House “mis-leader”?