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Track Gerry

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is tpp.

Conservative MP for Battlefords—Lloydminster (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 61% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Consular Affairs May 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, privacy has been out the window for the last 13 months.

The family and the Changs deserve a lot better from the government. They have been making application after application. Talking about this is a trade issue not a consular issue. They constantly get this consular issue dribble that really gets no results.

This is now a matter of timing. One week from today, John Chang faces a closed court in Shanghai that will decide his fate. He has had three visits in the past 13 months from consular officials. That is just not good enough. Canadians deserve and expect a lot better than this from their government when they get in trouble—

Consular Affairs May 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, for more than a year now Canadian citizens John Chang and his wife Allison Lu have been held in jail by China's general administration of customs. Their company, Lulu Island Winery in B.C., has successfully exported to China for some six years, so they know the system well. The arrest of Mr. Chang and Ms. Lu for a fabricated customs violation is an assault on their basic rights, a breach of China's international trade obligations, and China's own customs laws. This is clearly a trade issue, not a consular issue.

Why will the Prime Minister not intervene in this new era of the Canada-China relationship?

Business of Supply May 17th, 2017

Mr. Chair, it is a good thing that it is moving forward, but Japan is actually asking Canada to help it co-chair to help it lead this through. I know Australia and New Zealand are very much in favour of moving forward on this. The problem is Vietnam and Malaysia are being tugged back into the Chinese-Russia corridor and they very much want to start to come west and be drawn into our trade agreements.

Of course, then there is the whole ASEAN group of countries as well that we could build on, which might incorporate Indonesia and India, that are very reticent to move forward.

The other good news is South Korea. It is talking about joining TPP as well. That gets us totally up to speed with the Americans. Right now, we are two years behind in catching up on some of the tariff reductions. It is just a natural.

I am glad the minister is going to Vietnam. I am certainly going to seek assurances when we get back a week from Monday, after the break week. That will be one of the first questions asked: “Are we a done deal? Are we ready to go?” It is basically done; it just needs his signature on it to move forward. Let us get it through the House very expeditiously.

I want to change topics. There was a ruling by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal on drywall dumping into the country. It was actually the Minister of Public Safety, with customs officials, and so on, that sort of jumped the gun and slapped a heavy tariff on it, which caught a lot of reconstruction off guard, especially in Fort McMurray. Contracts had been let with hundreds of thousands of dollars on some projects. A hospital in Saskatoon was facing a $700,000 or $800,000 increase with this drywall tariff.

The CITT came out with a very good ruling on it with a set of standards it wanted met. The government has not measured up to any of those. I am wondering why it is so reticent to put those in play and actually get some of the contractors back to work rebuilding Fort McMurray and rebuilding a lot of that construction that needs to be done, but the drywall tariff is just killing them.

Business of Supply May 17th, 2017

Mr. Chair, that was a great response to a different question.

What I asked was whether the Liberals have already assured China that they will give China market economy status. That has been the prerequisite with China, with Australia, with anybody else who talks free trade with them. If we have already given that up, we have also given up the ability, then, to talk to China in a more stern way on steel dumping and things like that. It changes the whole dynamic.

Let us move on. He talked about the Asia-Pacific region. I totally agree with him. That is the growing market economy. Europe is a mature market. It is almost a family reunification situation working with Europe. However, Japan is the crown jewel.

The minister made mention of every free trade possible around the world, but he would not utter the term “trans-Pacific partnership” or “TPP”. He tap danced better than Fred Astaire. If had a hat and an umbrella, he could put on a show here.

TPP is so important. It is a done deal. Japan has ratified it. They were the ones that were going to be really tough to get it ratified. They have done it. New Zealand has. Now, there is no reason at all that Canada is not leading that charge, along with Mexico, getting into the TPP, and putting more pressure on the U.S., as we get into these tough discussions on NAFTA.

Business of Supply May 17th, 2017

I will move on to some of the trade files now. I will stay with China for just a moment. We had some very in-depth discussions with China, as well. We tripled our agricultural exports to China. There is a growing relationship with China.

I am a firm believer in trade with China on our terms and our timeline. I am wondering, now that the Liberals are moving forward a little more expeditiously than we did, whether they have already given assurance to China that they will give China market economy status.

Business of Supply May 17th, 2017

Mr. Chair, I withdraw the offer. I will drink the wine and tell him how good it was. I will not bother sending it.

Business of Supply May 17th, 2017

I will send him a bottle of wine.

Business of Supply May 17th, 2017

Mr. Chair, maybe that is the test. If he can pull this one out of the hat, more power to him, and I will be the first one to say “great”.

Mr. Chang is a personal friend. He has worked with us on a number of food shows throughout the Pacific Rim area. He is a fantastic guy who has done a great job. He has a winery in Richmond, another one in Kelowna, and he has just invested in one in the lower part of my friend's riding in southern Ontario. Their daughter is running everything now. She has not seen her parents for over a year, so there are some major concerns. We have less than a week to get this fixed.

We do ATIPs and we get a lot of redacted pages with things blacked out. One would think it was state secrets, and it is really not. One thing that was left in was a press release from when the Minister of International Trade was in Shanghai where all of this went down about two and a half months after Mr. Chang was arrested. I am wondering if she was briefed at that time. It is not uncommon, as I know from having been in those situations, for the consul general in Shanghai to provide a briefing. The consul general is now Weldon Epp, but at that time it was Rick Savone who would have briefed her. Was she privy to those discussions? Did she actually see what the allegations were from the Chinese government?

Business of Supply May 17th, 2017

Mr. Chair, I will let the minister know that the member for Abbotsford is in hospital today having an operation. He is all heart and he kind of wore it out in these negotiations, but he will be back up and around in no time at all. We know that.

Again, this case, as I say, is not a consular situation. It is based on some concerns on under-reporting the value of these 2,000 cases of wine, and somebody has absconded with them. The family has been working for over a year to try to get someone at Global Affairs to take this seriously. I have been trying for the last number of days and weeks, and I keep getting the same runaround. We get chased around and chased around. We cannot get through to this one, and this one will not return calls, so I can understand their frustration.

He has a court date a week from Friday, and we will never hear from or see him again if we do not intervene now. This is going to take a phone call to the new ambassador to China to say, “Get on your horse, go to Shanghai, and find out what is going on.” There are allegations but never any real charges laid, but it completely contravenes a lot of the WTO agreements we have with China and, of course, the FIPA that we have signed. We can point to issues in there as well.

Will the minister take this seriously and make that call? It is 9:30 in the morning in Beijing. Take a moment, step out, call Ambassador McCallum, and get this under way.

Business of Supply May 17th, 2017

Mr. Chair, it is indeed a pleasure to be on this side. I had the opportunity to be over there a couple of times when we were in government. I was thinking too, Mr. Chair, that if you moved up to this end of the table, we might not forget you as often as we do when you are sitting away down there. I will try to remember you.

Most of my discussion will be based around questions, but I might get off on a tirade every once in a while, so bear with me.

Before I move on to the trade files, I just want to drill down a bit further on a case that my friend from Thornhill brought up, the case of John Chang and Allison Lu. This is not a consular case, and I guess I say that with impunity because consular officials have gone to visit Mr. Chang only on a quarterly basis, every three months. It is basically a trade case.

The allegation is that he under-reported the value of the wine that he was bringing into China. He has been doing this for six years, so he knows the program. He is a Canadian of Chinese descent, so I guess they are reprogramming him more than anything else.

When the minister stands and talks about an integral part of all their discussions being due process, human rights, security, and rule of law, does that not apply then to Canadians who find themselves in these types of situations?