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Liberal MP for Sydney—Victoria (Nova Scotia)
Won his last election, in 2015, with 73% of the vote.
Statements in the House
International Trade February 14th, 2017
Take it easy, guys. We know what happened yesterday.
We are voting on two agreements today, the Ukrainian agreement and the European agreement. The fishing industry in our province of Nova Scotia is very excited about these agreements.
Could the Minister of International Trade tell this House how these agreements would benefit middle-class Canadians and what the next steps are toward implementing the CETA agreement?
International Trade February 14th, 2017
Mr. Speaker, when it comes to trade, our government gets it done. Our friends south of the border, want do more trade with us—
Madam Speaker, the member should think of his relatives in Cape Breton who fish and how beneficial this will be beneficial to them. Every once in a while, he should go back to Cape Breton and get a taste of reality, and find out what real business is all about.
Madam Speaker, I am not surprised at the NDP. I am not trying to credit the Conservatives for everything. They did do a good job on this agreement, and we finished it up. The NDP is against trade, and I am not surprised.
Your family is from Cape Breton. Your family are fishers—
Madam Speaker, let me talk about the berries first. I think my friend is on to something. We could take those berries from Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia and make a blend with them and call it “Canada's finest”. How does that sound? That would be a good idea. People could mix it with their vodka and gin, and everyone would be happy.
My colleague mentioned a couple of things. He mentioned how Canada could be a point of access to other markets. I am glad he brought this up. I have a window manufacturing company from Germany in my riding. It makes windows mostly for Atlantic Canada, and it does a fine job. The owner is looking at this agreement as giving him an opportunity to go into the U.S. market, depending on the tax rate. It is a fine point.
With respect to the carbon tax and this agreement, Europe already has a carbon tax. Europe is very similar to us with respect to our social structure, our beliefs, and how we treat the environment. This agreement fits well with us and the Europeans because we are like-minded. As with us, they have a tax on carbon and they are environmentally friendly. We are going to meet with Danish MPs on Wednesday, and I think they are going to be fond of our carbon tax.
Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to speak in support of Bill C-30 and the comprehensive economic trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, or CETA.
I would first like to congratulate our new Minister of International Trade, the member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain, on his new responsibilities, and recognize the hard work of our former minister, the member for University—Rosedale, for the devoted time she put in on the trade file. She will still be involved with the trade file as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I would also like to congratulate the rest of our team. I am sure we will continue to work with the foreign affairs minister and the trade minister to get more trade agreements that are beneficial to all Canadians. As the Prime Minister stated, we are a trading nation. Our GDP relies on trading. We will continue to work hard to make good deals for Canadians.
I would also like to recognize our international trade committee, which I sit on as chair and am very proud of. We do a great job, and we work together. We do not always agree, but we work together. We have put a couple of agreements together which were passed in the House, such as the Ukrainian agreement, which was a big agreement. Of course, we also looked at the CETA, which is here on the floor. We work well together and get things done. We are always thinking about Canadians. We are going to be working on future agreements in the upcoming months, especially dealing with the United States and many of our Asian partners.
CETA is a modern, progressive trade agreement that, when implemented, will generate billions of dollars in bilateral trade and investment. It will provide greater choice and lower prices for consumers. It will create middle-class jobs in many sectors of our society.
CETA is a product of hard work, frank discussions and negotiations, and a calm commitment by our Prime Minister, Minister of International Trade, Minister of Foreign Affairs, our trade committee, and, of course, countless of Canadian public servants who made this agreement come together. When it comes to negotiating trade agreements such as CETA, we have some of the best negotiators in the world. Whether it is WTO or this agreement, whether it is big or small, we have some of the best negotiators. They stand as an example for the rest of the world when we do our negotiations. We are very proud of them and how they work. No matter what party is in government, they work for Canadians.
Canadian exports to the EU are diverse and include a significant share of value-added products in addition to traditional exports. These are resource-based products and commodities, whether they are precious stones and metals; machinery and equipment; minerals, fuels, and oils; mineral ores; aerospace products; and, of course, fishing and fish products. These are some of Canada's top merchandise exports to the EU.
From my perspective in Atlantic Canada, the export sectors that will particularly benefit from CETA are the minerals and mineral products export sector, and the other one which is dear to my heart is agriculture and agrifood. Of course, I think the biggest one in our area is the fishing and fish products sector. We have over 500 small craft harbours in Atlantic Canada, and although we love eating fish, we cannot eat it all. However, the rest of the world wants it, and we want to sell it to them.
When it comes to exporting our products, Atlantic Canada tops the rest of North America. Atlantic Canada is very well positioned in this agreement for the shipment of products from continent to continent. Atlantic Canada is closer than Montreal, Boston, New York, or any other port in North America and South America to Europe. We are very excited, not only about the products that we have to offer Europeans, but also about being able to trade through our ports in Atlantic Canada.
I am from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, which will benefit significantly from CETA and the preferential access to the EU market. The EU is Nova Scotia's second-largest export destination and second-largest trading partner, with a large portion of the share coming from my island in Cape Breton. Once in force, CETA will remove the boundaries on Nova Scotia's exports and create new market opportunities in the EU.
In all of the 28 EU member states, they have approved the conclusion of CETA and have signed the agreement or are in the midst of finalizing it. Trade means growth. Trade means prosperity. Trade means stability. Trade makes good friends. More growth in trade creates jobs, which is what we want in Canada.
Nova Scotians will benefit from improving exporting conditions, which will provide us with a comprehensive advantage over exporters in other countries who do not have free trade agreements with the EU. As mentioned in this House already today, the United States tried to pull off a deal with the EU but was not successful. We did, and we were successful. We are very proud of it. We see that Canada is an opportunity for an entranceway into the whole North American market through Canada and the EU.
Nova Scotians will benefit from improved exporting conditions, and, as I stated, it will provide us with a competitive advantage over exporters from other countries who do not have free trade agreements with the EU. Between 2013 and 2015, in Nova Scotia alone, merchandise exports to the EU were worth over $465 million, with fishing and fish products holding the largest share of that, 45% of our exports.
How does all of this translate? Following fish and fish products exports, of course, we have agriculture and agrifood, at 60%. We can grow anything in Nova Scotia. People in Europe love our blueberries. We have great blueberries and apples, and so many different products. We are looking at having more beef in Nova Scotia too. They like grass-fed beef in Europe, and we think we are well positioned in Atlantic Canada to do that. Also on metal and mineral products, the tariffs will go down from 10%. On other exports, such as chemicals and plastics, forest products, and information and communication technologies, tariffs will drop to 12%.
Most of the tariffs that we have to pay going into the European Union are 10% to 15%, which is significant. For instance, just on fish alone, which is over $465 million, if we take the ballpark figure of $400 million, 10% of that is $40 million. That would be the benefit to Nova Scotia just on fish products alone. These tariffs are on the largest exports, such as I mentioned, fish and fish products. Some of them are up to 25%. It is a phenomenally high tariff going into that trade zone, and we are going to be glad it is gone. Through CETA, these fishing and fish product tariffs will drop by almost 96% immediately, and the remaining tariffs will be phased out over three-year, five-year, and seven-year periods.
According to Industry Canada, Nova Scotia exports $5.4 billion worth of goods and services outside of Canada, with the United Kingdom being $121 million; France, $81 million; and the Netherlands, $84 million. Of Nova Scotia's $5.4 billion in exports, $1.2 billion comes directly from lobster and crab. In my riding of Sydney—Victoria, the Neil's Harbour co-op fish processing facility has staff from all over Cape Breton, and many of the staff come from Newfoundland to work in the plant. In 2015, the Victoria Co-op Fisheries purchased about $20 million of product from local fishermen. This spans over 100 miles of coastline; seven small harbours, most of which have between 20 and 25 vessels; and sales worth $26 million.
As with most of the rural and northern communities like Neil's Harbour, in my riding of Sydney—Victoria, the fishing industry is what my constituents rely on for their well-being. Fishing is passed down from generation to generation. Men and women go out to sea for months at a time to put food on their tables and provide fresh fish for the world. CETA will boost the fishing trade in my riding and better the quality of life for hard-working fishers and their families.
In agriculture itself, as I know was mentioned here, beef, pork, and canola are agriculture products that will go to Europe tariff free. It is going to be phenomenal. I sat on the agriculture and agrifood committee.
When all other countries are closing the doors to trade and immigration, Canada is opening its doors. The benefits that will result from CETA are on the fishing and fish products in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, the Atlantic provinces, and all over Canada. CETA is a modern, progressive trade agreement that could generate billions of dollars in bilateral trade and investment, provide greater choice, lower prices to consumers, and grow the middle class.
I would also like to thank the members of the previous Conservative government, because they worked hard on this agreement. We had to take it across the plate and finish it, but they did a lot of work. I am proud that they are on the committee with us and continue to do good work.
I am open for questions.
Committees of the House February 1st, 2017
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on International Trade in relation to Bill C-31, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine (without amendment).
Cape Breton January 31st, 2017
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize some very good news for Cape Breton.
Last week, I was proud to announce, on behalf of our government, the federal contribution to the creation of a $20-million second berth in Sydney Harbour for the cruise ship industry. This is following the $67 million that we announced last fall for the Cape Breton Highlands National Park and the Cabot Trail.
I would also like to recognize the member for Cape Breton—Canso for his announcement last week on the $1.5-million upgrade to another popular tourist attraction, the Glace Bay Miners Museum. These investments show that our Prime Minister and our government is making tourism and job creation a priority.
Speaking of announcements, Mr. Speaker, you may recall that 10 years ago today we made the announcement of $400 million for the Sydney tar ponds, to clean up the toxic site, which I can inform the House is now a beautiful park enjoyed by all residents.
Stay tuned, because the government will be announcing more investments in the wonderful island of Cape Breton.
Committees of the House January 30th, 2017
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on International Trade in relation to Bill C-30, an act to implement the comprehensive economic and trade agreement between Canada and the European Union and its member states and to provide for certain other measures. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
Madam Speaker, I am well aware of the Quebec dairy industry, and yes, most of the money will go to Quebec because of size and whatever.
Think about the wine industry, and how it developed with NAFTA. The money that was put in by the Canadian government helped it evolve, and look at it now. It has doubled in size. I see the same thing happening with our dairy industry. We are going to help it increase its production and provide better products, so I think we have a good thing going.