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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was agriculture.

Last in Parliament October 2017, as Conservative MP for Battlefords—Lloydminster (Saskatchewan)

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

Statements in the House

Business of Supply October 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, that is the underlying factor. It is absolutely true. We have been led down the path, that there is somehow a new way of doing business with the Americans, that everything is sweetness and light. Yet, that is not how the Americans operate. Anyone buying into that, saying that the Americans are going to give us everything we need because there is this new bromance between the Prime Minister and the President, is naive and short-sighted, to say the least.

Business of Supply October 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the government should take any agreement that is offered. Certainly the Americans are tough negotiators, and we have seen that on a number of different fronts. At the end of the day, they have to have an agreement of some sort in order to have predictability and stability and get those 400,000 people back on the job, and the 650 communities across Canada that rely on the income from those very well-paying jobs. That is what we need.

It is imperative that we get an agreement, but not just any agreement. It is imperative that we do it in the best interests of Canada. We hear through the back channels in the U.S. that the first offer from the Canadian side was to tuck tail and run. It was to go to 26% rather than the 34% that we had, which we never really made use of, but it was there. It is concerning, and the concern has reverberated through the industry and through the provincial ministers. They are concerned that they are going to face a lot of backlash, a lot of push-back, from these communities that will be without all of these high-paying jobs.

Business of Supply October 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the underlying point today is that we want the Liberals to take this seriously. There are 650 communities across Canada and 400,000 workers, who are all concerned, and the anxiety level goes up the more that they see these deadlines pass. These deadlines were well known. We knew it was going to be October 12 for the end of that grace period. My good friend and colleague, the member for Abbotsford, was able to negotiate a two-year extension. As I said, we have had 10 years of relative calm in this.

He is right. There were WTO challenges. There have been NAFTA challenges. We have won the majority of those. It is a matter of again using that hammer on the Americans to make sure they know how serious we are on this issue. If we had not done a WTO challenge and just let the Americans keep pushing us around on the country-of-origin labelling, we would never have had a resolution.

I am asking the Liberals to take that under consideration and to start working with a lot of the groups in the U.S. who are on our side. We found that with the country-of-origin labelling. They took their own government to court because it was going to hurt their own enterprises. There are a tremendous number of allies out there, and the government is just not taking advantage of them.

Business of Supply October 17th, 2016

moved:

That, recognizing that the Prime Minister and the Minister of International Trade promised 400,000 Canadian forestry workers a framework agreement on softwood lumber exports with the Obama Administration by mid-June, 2016, recognizing the government’s failure to meet that deadline and their subsequent failure to negotiate a final agreement before the expiry of the last trade agreement on October 12, 2016, and given that many high-quality, well-paying jobs in the forestry sector are now at risk due to the government’s lack of action, the House call upon the government to stop delaying and take all necessary steps to prevent a trade war that will threaten the livelihood of Canadian workers and communities.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to stand today and move this motion forward. I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. Of course, this is very near and dear to her heart and her riding.

There are over 650 communities that rely on mills to maintain their viability, and around 400,000 people work in those mills and the ancillary jobs that are supported by them. It is very important that we get this right.

There have been four separate trade wars since 1982, and that was mentioned in the reading of the motion. The longest period of calm we have had throughout this was the last decade of the former Conservative government, which I was happy to be a minister of. My good friends, the ministers of trade during that time, were able to negotiate 10 years of truce, 10 years of relative stability and predictability in the softwood lumber sector. Because of that, we saw our softwood lumber sector grow. We also saw the American sector maintain a stronger portion of their own domestic supply because of the stability of that sector, even though there was more Canadian product going in.

It is a complex agreement, to say the least, and I do not want to undersell it. It is made worse now by the obfuscation of the Liberal government of the day, in that it did not recognize this as an issue as far back as the mandate letter to the minister, the throne speech, its budgets, and so on, or how important this industry is. It is a multi-billion dollar industry across Canada that feeds into the GDP of this great country. It is part of the diversity that we have.

As I said, 650 communities are on edge now because of this impending fifth trade war. The problem is that once these start, they run on five-year cycles. The Americans will use these five years for litigation and all sorts of actions that will stop the flow of our product going south. There are four or five major industry groups that are both American and Canadian in content. They are very much integrated. Those are not the ones we are concerned about. They are very important, but it is the small and medium-sized enterprises that are going to get squeezed out if we do not get this deal right.

As I understand it, from the hearings we had at the trade committee, which I am happy to sit on, and from leaks that have happened through the American side, we are not getting anything out of the Canadian side. The provinces are kept in the dark as to where the federal government is at. Industry in Canada writ large is in the dark as to where the Government of Canada is at. The problem is that no one really knows what is being said or what is being done.

We are all led to believe that there is a brand new way of doing things with the Americans. Everybody was all aglow about the family reunion that the Prime Minister held in Washington. We were all on edge when the American president came and spoke to us here in the House. However, at no junction was softwood lumber ever made an issue of, even though it was coming to a conclusion last week.

We are now in that position where we are not negotiating from a level of strength. We are negotiating while trying to play catch-up with the Americans who hold all the cards at this point. Having said that, there are things that the minister and the Prime Minister could and should be doing. One of them, of course, is getting hold of the Liberals' buddy in Washington, the president, who is still the president in what is called a lame duck session. If he wants to make this a legacy, he certainly could but it is going to take a heavy push from this side of the border to make that happen. It is certainly a lot more important for us than it is for the Americans at this point.

The other thing is that the Liberals dropped the ball over this past year and did not really pick it up until probably July when people started putting pressure on them and asking what was happening. We asked questions back in late winter and early spring about where we were with this. The Liberals had the time to be on the ground. For the first 100 days, there were all these wonderful promises made as to what was going to happen. None of that has come to fruition, on any level, on any issue.

At the end of the day, the least the minister could be doing right now is securing the agreement that there will be no litigation from the American lumber side while we are negotiating. That is the very least she could be doing. I am hoping she is on the phone later today. Now that we have given her that idea, she should at least be securing that so that we do not, again, deal with this from a state of less strength than the Americans.

As I have said, this has been a problem for decades and will continue to be simply because of differences in the way we do things. What the Americans are calling us out on, and it is always this one issue, in layman's terms, is stumpage. This is what the province of record charges for the timber that is withdrawn, and it varies from province to province.

The Province of Quebec has made some significant changes in the way it does that in coming to grips with what the Americans are going to want to demand. There are also 30 mills right along the border in Quebec that use material from Maine, which comes up into those mills, is manufactured into softwood lumber framing materials, and goes back into the U.S. Therefore, Quebec has always had an exemption. There are two of those in Ontario, as well.

We have also had an exemption for Atlantic Canada because most of that is privately held lands and it does not really fit within the description of the trade war fight, but again, the government has not shown an ability to get that exemption for Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador.

There are a lot of irons in the fire, none of them warm at this point, other than the end we are trying to hang onto, which the Americans are handing us. At the end of the day, there is a lot of work to be done. I just do not see that happening. I know the work that we went through on country of origin labelling to get our beef and pork equal access into the U.S. It took a WTO challenge. We have been there before on softwood lumber as well and I will give the government of the day credit for that work, but when negotiating at the WTO, or NAFTA, or in the American courts, or however we decide to move forward, our industry is taking a hit. In those 650 mill towns, 400,000 workers are not going to have a happy Christmas and an early 2017.

It is up to the government to get to Washington. I know a lot of work was done with Ambassador Froman over the TPP. He is a tough negotiator, but the Americans need our product. They cannot supply their own domestic market, so they need Canadian product to do that. We have heard through some of our American connections and consumer groups working with us on country of origin labelling that the first foray of the Liberal government was to move from the 34% access we have now, which we have never used; we hit a peak of 28% to 30%. The first foray was to start at 26%, so they are taking 33% right off the table to begin with. That is a terrible negotiating ploy and if this is what it takes to say we are cozying up to the American president, then that is too high a cost. We have to realize that we need to negotiate a lot tougher than that, not just bend over and let the Americans run rampant on us on softwood lumber.

It is going to take some pretty severe work to get this turned around. The biggest thing that the minister is going to have to do right away is to make sure to take the litigation right off the table. That gives the Americans a hammer, not just a lever but a hammer. If there is no litigation in the works, then we can sit down and negotiate properly and get this done, much the same as other issues have been resolved.

Despite $30 billion of supposed stimulus spending the government has done in the first year, none of it has really driven any jobs. We have not seen any jobs increase across Canada at all, let alone that we are starting to see jobs lost in the oil patch, in the industry sector, and because we are not consummating the pending trade deals such as the TPP. We need to get serious about how we handle all of that work.

The opposition has put together a softwood lumber task force. We made the announcement this morning to look at how we move forward working with those contacts that we developed as we came to grips with country of origin labelling and had it finalized, and working with consumer groups, the construction association, the homebuilders association, the retailers, all of those people in the U.S. who want Canadian lumber. They want Canadian content because in the long term, it keeps their own industry honest. We also need to diversify our portfolio when it comes to softwood. That means taking up the advantages that we have in Japan, Korea, and China where they are starting to buy a lot of our product and make sure that we have that to use as a bit of a push-back on the Americans.

For a number of different industries we have too many eggs in that basket. We rely on the Americans for far more than we should and that is the whole nature of having diversity within our trade portfolio so that we make sure we have access to those other markets to keep the Americans honest.

We are asking the Liberal government to get serious about this file, become transparent, become accountable to the provincial ministers, to the small and medium-sized businesses. When we held the hearings that my colleagues and I have had with our provincial counterparts, they are not getting a lot of information, if any at all, to know what is being done and what they should be prepared for.

There is a tremendous amount of work to be done. I know the minister has travelled extensively. The parliamentary secretary has discussed this with a number of industries across the country as well, but the message is not getting through. The industries say they are being led down a dark alley they really do not want to go down, and that somehow we are dealing from a position of less than strength. We are asking for the government to take heed of the motion we are putting forward, help us pass this, and get serious about the softwood lumber file.

International Trade September 30th, 2016

Madam Speaker, Canada has been a trading nation since before Confederation. Cod fish and beaver pelts were traded as a form of currency and paved the way to the development of this country.

Today, we still trade in commodities, but also world-class ideas and services. Free, fair, and open trade corridors are the pathways to economic sustainability. In our cross-Canada hearings over the past months, it is clear that the vast majority of Canadians are open to and ready to take these bold next steps with CETA and TPP.

However, there will always be the naysayers who will see the sky as falling. We should never discount their concerns, but rather make sure they are apprised of the real facts, not the myths and misinformation that some are peddling. It is well documented that trade drives innovation and efficiency. The Canadian economic future is bright. With our resources and Canadian resourcefulness, we are a nation with huge potential. We must embrace these opportunities.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to correspondence between the government and the Liberal Party of Canada, what are the file numbers of all ministerial briefings or departmental correspondence between the government and the Liberal Party of Canada since November 5, 2015 broken down by (i) minister or department, (ii) relevant file number, (iii) correspondence or file type, (iv) date, (v) purpose, (vi) origin, (vii) intended destination, (viii) other officials copied or involved?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to stakeholder consultations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: (a) how many meetings were held between the government and Canadian stakeholders on this topic between January 1, 2012, and October 19, 2015; (b) of the meetings in (a), what was the breakdown of those meetings by type and name of organization; (c) how many meetings were held between the government and Canadian stakeholders on this topic between October 19, 2015, and June 30, 2016; (d) of the meetings in (c), what was the breakdown of those meetings by type and name of organization; (e) how many written or electronic submissions did the government receive on this topic from Canadian stakeholders between January 1, 2012, and October 19, 2015; (f) of the submissions in (e), what was the breakdown of these submissions by type and name of organization; (g) how many written or electronic submissions on this topic did the government receive from Canadian stakeholders between October 19, 2015, and June 30, 2016; (h) of the submissions in (g)what was the breakdown of these submissions by type and name of organization?

Questions on the Order Paper September 19th, 2016

With regard to the Minister of International Trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement: (a) when did the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development start drafting an Explanatory Memorandum for tabling with the treaty; (b) what deadline was given to the Department in order to draft an Explanatory Memorandum; (c) will the Minister table a copy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Explanatory Memorandum, and, if so, when; (d) is the Minister considering a request for an exemption from the Policy on Tabling of Treaties in Parliament; and (e) has the Minister instructed the Department to start drafting implementing legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and, if so, (i) what deadline was given to the Department for completion of drafting, (ii) what other departments has the Department consulted with in regard to the legislation, (iii) when does the Minister anticipate introducing the implementing legislation?

Questions on the Order Paper September 19th, 2016

With regard to the Minister of International Trade and the Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement: (a) when did the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development start drafting an Explanatory Memorandum for tabling with the treaty; (b) what deadline was given to the department in order to draft an Explanatory Memorandum; (c) will the Minister table a copy of the Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and Explanatory Memorandum, and, if so, when; (d) is the Minister considering a request for an exemption from the Policy on Tabling of Treaties in Parliament; and (e) has the Minister instructed her Department to start drafting implementing legislation for the Canada-European Union: Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and, if so, (i) what deadline was given to the Department for completion of drafting, (ii) what other departments has the Department consulted with in regard to the legislation, (iii) when does the Minister anticipate introducing the implementing legislation?

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.