Some Hon. Members:
Subtopic: CANADA-UNITED STATES FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT MEASURE TO ENACT
That was Michael Starr.
What was the position of the New Democrats? "Tommy Douglas condemns the arrangement as a gift to the carmakers". "The NDP candidate in Ontario, Oliver Hodges of Winona, said to his nominating convention, "it is a pricing cartel organized between the
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
Government and the auto makers. It is a secret agreement involving Government money and policy".
Tommy Douglas condemned the Auto Pact as a gift to the carmakers. How things have changed in 23 years. Now we are not allowed to touch the Auto Pact. One of the reasons for the Liberal and NDP opposition to the Free Trade Agreement now negotiated is that they say it affects the Auto Pact.
Mr. Douglas also said that the Auto Pact was a massive giveaway. An article in the Globe and Mail On June 29, 1965, states that:
George Burt, Canadian director of the auto workers, said the union would do its utmost to influence public opinion against the trade scheme.
Are they not lucky that they were just as successful in arousing and influencing public opinion against the Auto Pact as they were in arousing it against this Free Trade Agreement? In both cases they were completely ineffectual.
Mr. Burt went on to say:
. . . and it is with regret and full determination that the UAW announced it will do its utmost to influence Canadian public opinion against the Canada-U.S. automobile free trade plan.
These are the predecessors of Bob White, who now froths at the mouth when someone mentions a free trade agreement for the rest of Canada with respect to the United States. It is okay now for the automobile industry in Oshawa. It is all right for the automobile industry in Windsor. It is all right for the fat cats of the United Auto Workers here in Ontario, but it is no good for us poor Newfies, it is no good for Atlantic Canada, no good for British Columbia and no good for northern Ontario. It is no good for Quebec. It is only good for the fat cats who are representing Oshawa and Windsor and areas like that where the unemployment rate is practically zero. You can hardly find an unemployed person in the areas I have mentioned.
The free trade auto pact is all right now, 23 years later, for the people who live in those areas represented by the Leader of the New Democratic Party and his trade critic and others opposite. But it is not all right for the rest of us Canadians. To that the Canadian people have given a definitive answer. They have said, "if it is good for auto workers, it is good for us and we want to try a bit of the action". That is what this Government is doing. We are seeing to it that the rest of them get a bit of the action.
December 22, 1988
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
I want to be in the Christmas spirit so I will not continue with many of the other quotations.
Read Diefenbaker's quote.
Do you have anything to say about unregulated foreign investment?
Twenty-three years ago at least there was a modicum of intelligence in the Liberal Party of Canada. Today that modicum has been driven out. What we see as a result is across the hall today. We are looking at them today.
What should be the spirit with which the legislation we are now considering is approached? I have given the opinions of the Leader of the Liberal Party, who is no longer listened to by his own caucus. I have given the opinions of the Leader of the New Democratic Party, who certainly is no longer listened to by his caucus. The poor man does not know which shoulder to look over next, or who is coming behind him the quickest.
I want to refer to Premier Peterson of Ontario who was in a statesman-like mode. Perhaps he is getting ready to guide the ship of state federally rather than provincially.
Last summer, according to a Canadian Press report, he said that if the people of this country accept the deal, then obviously he has to stand with the results of that. That is a very reasonable statement. According to an article in the Ottawa Citizen on July 27, Premier Peterson said: "Once there is a clear mandate one way or the other, then we will govern ourselves accordingly. I will accept the will of the people". Is it not wonderful how everyone is prepared to accept the will of the people when they think the will of the people will turn out to be their will? However, when the will of the people turns out to be a will-o'-the-wisp, they change very quickly.
The same article goes on to quote Premier Peterson as saying: "I will accept whatever the judgment of the people is. I still would not think it is a great deal but I would accept the verdict". He also said: "I would look at everything we are doing. We will have to look at the situation as it presents itself'. He said that his qualification for supporting the deal, that the Tories must win a majority, is only there because a Tory minority Government probably could not implement it anyway. His qualification has been met. We have a majority.
He also said, as quoted in the Globe and Mail, that if an election is called and the people of Canada endorse the trade agreement he would co-operate in the deal and
consider dropping challenges to it on matters of provincial jurisdiction.
He said: "If the people of this country speak on an important issue, I have to accept the results of that, and I would as a democrat". He said: "I would not think it is a great deal but I would accept the verdict".
Could anything be clearer? I will be asking Premier Peterson to stick to what he said in several matters over the next several weeks, including the situation with respect to beer, liquor and wine. I have always found Premier Peterson to be reasonable and a good person to deal with. I will be calling on him to observe the spirit of those remarks on or about January 1, 1989, if this legislation goes into effect as I think it will.
I call on Members of his Party to observe the same spirit of the remarks of Premier Peterson and the remarks of their Leader on November 23.
I do not want to take too long today. However, I believe I have unlimited time. My record is eight and one-half hours in the Newfoundland House of Assembly. If driven to it, if irritated, if aggravated by interventions and people interrupting me, I am capable to going to Christmas Day.
We want the record.
There are some interventions from Mr. Martin. Some call him Mart-in, some call him Mar-tin, some call him Martine. We will see which one works when the convention comes.
To get back to my remarks, the opposition Parties believe this to be a dark day for Canada's future. We say that this legislation is an expression of confidence in the abilities of Canadians and it is a crucial step for building a stronger, more prosperous Canada. If that was not the case, we would not have introduced it.
I want to say to the opposition Parties, it is time for them to give the Free Trade Agreement a chance. They have made their case here in the House and before the people of Canada. We have made our case. The majority have accepted the case that we put before them, so it is time for them to give this agreement a chance. We will know in three or four years' time, before the next election, whether or not this appears to be a good deal. If at that time it is still doubtful, opposition Parties can make their case again, but in the meantime, I believe it is only fair and right for them to give this important commercial step forward a chance to see whether it
December 22, 1988
works or does not work, to see who is right and who is not right.
I appeal to opposition Parties to cease this campaign of trying to sabotage indirectly the agreement they could not stop directly, of ceaseless questioning here in the House of every example they can lay their hands on of some firm laying some people off or making some readjustments in its workforce. This is something that goes on and has gone on every week for the last 100 years and will be going on for the next 100 years. Why not save their fire for actual cases of lay-offs that are caused directly by the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, if there are any such? Why be crying wolf every day, day after day, with an election on this question just over with, trying to pretend that every lay-off in the country is due to an agreement that has not yet even gone into effect? It is just as right for us to come into the House every day and talk about every job that was created that day or every new investment that has been announced.
I would like to ask opposition Parties, once this legislation is passed, to relax and give it a chance, give it a fair trial. This is important for Canadians. This is important for hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers. It is important for tens of thousands of Canadian businesses. It is important for everyone who lives in Canada that this be a success and that the opposition Parties who oppose it not try to sabotage it. Their duty now is to give it a chance.
If their version of what the future holds turns out to be right, they will be in power in four years' time and we will be out. However, it just so happens that we are right and you are wrong, so you are not going to be in power in four years' time. But in the meantime, our opponents are patriotic Canadians and we therefore believe that they will not continue with a campaign of deliberately attempting to create fear and loss of confidence in Canada and deliberately attempting to sabotage the Free Trade Agreement for the next three or four years. The time has come to give the Free Trade Agreement a chance.
What does it do? It sets out a framework for greater security, stability and opportunity in our trade with the United States. That is all it does. It sets out a framework, crucial for creating the confidence that our enterprises need for investment if we are to keep Canada competitive globally. That is what the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement does.
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
It is no miracle. It will not provide miracles. It depends on Canadians to take advantage of the opportunities it offers. It could be a complete failure. It will be a complete failure if Canadians have not got the gumption, the confidence, the initiative, to seize the opportunities that are offered. No one will have anything laid on a platter before him because of the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement. We are not suddenly going to see miracles occur here in Canada. All we are doing is giving Canada and Canadians a chance to increase their economic wealth and prosperity, but it is up to Canadians whether they can compete or not compete. We think they can compete. We have confidence in Canada. I will not say anything about whether our opponents have confidence in Canada or not, but we do, so it is going to depend on us.
For Canadian producers, more trade simply means more business for our workers. More trade means more, better and more secure jobs. For consumers, it should mean wider choice and lower prices, and in the longer run, more trade means stronger economic performance, higher personal incomes and increased revenues to support existing and expanded government services.
All of the niggling talk we have heard about how government services will be threatened is so silly. It is so juvenile and also, of course, quite dangerous. How can we continue to improve and expand government services if we cannot increase the economic wealth of this country? This is a means of increasing the economic wealth of the country.
Let me give just three examples of investments that have occurred because of free trade. There are thousands of them. There will be thousands more. We will start with a small example because of the importance of small business. Roseworks, and I am not talking about some woman who works, Roseworks is a fledgling company that intended to move to the U.S. because of its fear that its business would wilt without free trade. It was going to move to the U.S. if we did not get the Free Trade Agreement. Now it says it can blossom in Canada because the agreement is going ahead. That is Roseworks. They have pioneered technology-
What about McCain's?
Some honourable nitwit says, "What about McCain's?" I will say this about McCain's. Starting out in a small way in New Brunswick, they are now a world giant and they have been able to compete from Canada. The Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
December 22, 1988
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
will not interfere in the continuing growth and expansion of McCain's, and anybody who thinks that it will has little confidence in McCain's and little confidence in Canadians.
What did Harrison say?
Wallace McCain and Harrison McCain are Liberals, but the rooster must be in the hen pen or something considering the cackling that comes from the other side. Harrison McCain and Wallace McCain are Liberals, but that does not make them any less admirable. I admire them despite the fact that they are Liberals. They are entrepreneurs. They may feel that some aspects of the food processing business might be adversely affected by the agreement, and if they are right, then we are prepared to assist whenever and wherever that might be necessary, but we already heard about a potato plant out in Manitoba that would be closed because of the U.S.-Canada agreement being approved, and we have already heard since November 21 that it will not close at all and no one ever said in the first place that it was going to close, so I can tell you that Harrison McCain and Wallace McCain will take great advantage of the Free Trade Agreement.
Tell us about the cucumbers.
What about the cucumbers? I have never eaten a cucumber in my life, Mr. Speaker. I hate cucumbers.
I don't like green things.
What about pickles?
I don't like pickles.
Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre):
Well, don't look in the mirror.