John V. Nunziata
It was Brian Mulroney who tried to deindex pensions.
Subtopic: CANADA-UNITED STATES FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT MEASURE TO ENACT
It was Brian Mulroney who tried to deindex pensions.
The Hon. Member has mentioned pensions. One of the reasons we can have those kind of programs in this country is that we generate wealth. We produce. A big part of our production has to be exported. With the agreement we have a much better opportunity to continue to generate the type of wealth that we need to go on with our social programs.
As I pointed out, the only alternative that we have ever heard from the opposition benches and in their being critical of this deal is to print the money and to borrow it. We know that that does not work. We know that this country was not built like that. It was built by people who wanted to make the country productive. It was built by people who came here for an opportunity to make it productive. That is what this agreement does. It provides us with an opportunity to continue to be productive by giving us better and more secure access to a large market. That is what the agreement does.
I look forward to the results of this agreement. In terms of agriculture we have protected our marketing boards. There is nothing in the agreement that in any way changes the way the Canadian Wheat Board will operate. There is nothing in the agreement that does anything but provide a better opportunity for our farmers to sell. With the high quality product that we produce, that has to be of a benefit to farmers. If it is of benefit to farmers, it is of benefit to the whole country. Farmers are important to this country, which is why this agreement is so important as far as agriculture is concerned. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) and the Minister for International Trade (Mr. Crosbie) who negotiated this deal did it on the basis of providing opportunities. We in agriculture have very significantly
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improved our opportunities to sell into the U.S. market with this agreement.
Mr. Tom Wappel (Scarborough West):
Madam Speaker, it is with a sense of pride, coupled with humility, that I rise to address this House for the first time. I am deeply thankful to the people of Scarborough West for having considered me worthy of their trust and confidence. Indeed, for me it is quite literally the fulfilment of a life-long dream.
Scarborough West is one of the five federal ridings comprising the City of Scarborough in the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. In my view, it is a classic microcosm of urban Canada, containing upwardly mobile professionals, blue collar workers, many generation Canadians, immigrants, low income families and a large population of senior citizens.
During the election campaign, as I am sure most if not all Members did, I spoke with many thousands of people, although, with a population of over 90,000, it was unfortunately not possible to meet with all. I promised the people of Scarborough West that, if elected, I would represent them forcefully and with honesty and integrity.
The people of Scarborough West know that I hold strong convictions on most issues which affect us all and that they can count on me to make those convictions known in the House.
One of those issues about which I hold a strong conviction is this trade agreement, not free trade as a concept but this Free Trade Agreement.
Be sure now.
lam 100 per cent sure. During my quest for my nomination and during the election campaign, I made it crystal clear that I am opposed to this agreement. I do not oppose it for partisan reasons. Rather, I believe it is fundamentally a bad agreement. Why? Because the foundation of it is anchored in weakness, and thus, if the foundation is weak, the agreement built on it is fragile at best.
As a new Member, I listened carefully to the proceedings in this Chamber last week. However, I did not partake in the procedural debates which I felt were a waste of the time and the money of the Canadian people, a waste forced on us by the arrogance of a
Conservative Government which, heady with an election victory, refuses to acknowledge the great schism in Canada between those in favour of this agreement and those opposed or unsure. This arrogance caused the procedural wrangling which has been perpetuated by the petulance of the Members of the NDP.
To return to the weak foundation of this agreement, I want to point out to Hon. Members the three weaknesses upon which I believe this agreement is founded. First, the Government which negotiated this agreement is led by a Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) who, while campaigning for his Party's leadership, was an outspoken opponent of free trade with the United States.
He has never explained to Canadians why he did a complete about face. Was he forced to change by big business and some of his colleagues, almost pushed into the deal? It appears so to me, since he never told any of us why he changed. What kind of commitment from the top is that to this agreement?
Second, it is a cardinal rule of negotiation technique that one outlines the objectives to be obtained and makes no concessions unless those concessions are returned with the ultimate goal of obtaining the objectives.
The Conservative Government had two very clear and public objectives: first, to obtain an exemption from United States protectionist law; and, second, to obtain a binding dispute settlement mechanism included in the agreement.
The negotiations failed on both these counts. We did not get an exemption from American trade law, and the so-called binding dispute resolution mechanism is a toothless tiger. It is a mechanism without prescribed remedies in the event of default.
Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, of which I am a part, has tried to move that the agreement be amended to rectify this latter situation by adding to Bill C-2, immediately after line 29 on page 36 thereof, the following:
Notwithstanding any provision of this Act or the agreement, Canada may refer a bilateral trade dispute with the United States arising out of the implementation of the agreement to the dispute settlement mechanism of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to which Canada and the United States are a party.
Under the present interpretation of the agreement, Canada is not allowed to have trade disputes ruled on by the GATT. Article 1801 proposes that this agreement will deal exclusively with U.S. trade laws, laws which
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our U.S. counterparts may revise and/or strengthen at any time, now or in the future.
Under this provision Canadians are linked to U.S. trade law. I suggest that Canadians do not want to be tied to American law and thus the amendment proposed by my Party is a reasonable and constructive proposal which the Government should consider. It has not done so.
The third weakness in the foundation of this agreement, in my view, is that it commits Canada to negotiations over the next five to seven years to define the definition of subsidies. How can anything so uncertain lead to stability?
The Government of Canada expected the Members of this House, and indeed the people of this nation, to sign an agreement that does not contain set definitions.
I would ask the members on the government side if they would purchase a house and have the lot size determined later, or perhaps purchase and pay for a new car and have the dealer later decide on the model, make, and colour. I do not think it is unrealistic to say that no intelligent individual would enter into such an agreement. Why would the Government of Canada expect Canadians to sign an agreement that contains no definition of such a contentious topic as a subsidy?
The Prime Minister had, as one of his intentions, that a free trade agreement with the United States would provide certainty and stability to the Canadian economy. To this proposal I say bravo. However, as the Bill now before us stands, it requires polishing by way of amendment to provide the utmost certainty.
We know this Bill will pass at approximately 1.15. But what is so frustrating and irritating is that we have put forward literally a bookful of amendments which this Party believes would be helpful in protecting the concerns of Canadians. Those amendments have simply been totally ignored by the government side. Is the Prime Minister not big enough to accept the amendments or at least some of them proposed to the House? No. Instead, he allows himself to be outnegotiated and refuses to correct his mistakes or even admit them.
The true nature of this agreement was deliberately hidden from the Canadian people. The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (Mr. Turner) pointed this out during the election campaign. Now we are seeing first-hand the Government's attempt to blur the true focus of this debate by holding hostage this legislative
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
Chamber right up until literally the day before Christmas and by constantly invoking closure to limit debate and constructive criticism.
In my view, this is a poor example of democracy. An excellent example of democracy is that of the election results in Scarborough West, where the Progressive Conservative incumbent met defeat by a margin of almost two votes cast against him for every one cast for him. The people of Scarborough West issued a stinging rebuke of this agreement. As their representative, I have the privilege and the duty to deliver their message to the House.
Government Members have been quick to point out what they perceive as the virtues of this agreement. Yet, as the deal comes under closer scrutiny, the risk far outweighs the return. Original employment projections by the Economic Council of Canada have been drastically reduced to the point where it is now projecting estimates of 250,000 jobs newly created by the year 1998. That is an impressive figure, no doubt, at first glance, but one must understand that, to achieve this figure, manufacturing productivity must increase by 3.6 per cent per year.
Is the Prime Minister trying to tell Canadians that they do not work hard enough already? If productivity does not increase, then the Economic Council predicts that an increase of only 76,000 new jobs may be possible over a 10-year period. That is what we have given up.
Contrast this to the projections of a study done by the University of Maryland which states that Canada could very well experience a loss of up to 131,000 jobs by 1995 under the trade deal. This projection is not difficult for me to believe as we have already seen mass lay-offs at several plants across this nation. To date, if the figures have not grown since yesterday, over 1,800 Canadians have been laid off. It will not be a very merry Christmas for some.
During the election campaign, the Government told Canadians that this agreement would save every household $800 a year in consumer expenses. That sounded like a very attractive offer. However, the Government did not tell Canadians that this suggested saving is calculated on items that are very, very infrequently purchased, such as refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners and the like. The Consumers Association of Canada disagrees with this estimate. It insists that individual savings are not likely to exceed one-tenth of 1 per cent of a person's annual income. Surely this
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negligible gain is not worth the larger price paid, namely the sellout of our country.
During the election campaign and indeed in the House since, Members on the opposite side have scoffed at the suggestion that our social programs are in jeopardy. Yet, if they are so sure that our neighbours to the south do not wish to tamper with these programs, why will they not commit this to writing in the agreement?
Yes, we have heard the argument from the Minister for International Trade (Mr. Crosbie) that universal social programs are protected under GATT. However, pressure from big business will be felt by this Government. There will be no need for the U.S. Government to force an end to our social programs. Big business has already proven itself capable of forcing the Prime Minister's hand.
My riding contains a large number of senior citizens. These are the people who worked to make Canada what it is today. They are entitled to a reward for that hard work and legacy. They are entitled to a secure knowledge that our social programs are not in jeopardy.
We have heard Hon. Members opposite orally guarantee that seniors are not in jeopardy, but talk is cheap and broken promises are the motto of this Government and its predecessor. What seniors in my riding and indeed all Canadians want is a guarantee in writing placed in the agreement, a few words to ensure peace of mind, but the Government will not listen.
My Party has proposed that the following be added to the Bill in order to complete the initiative of the Government. Let the Bill clearly and succinctly state "that for greater certainty, nothing in this Act or in the agreement shall be interpreted so as to affect the continuation of existing or the establishment of new Canadian social programs, including the health care system, unemployment insurance, child care, pensions, minimum wage law, labour law and maternity benefits". By adding this important amendment to the Bill, social programs are thus removed from the bargaining table and the Canadian social safety net remains intact.
Why will the Government not listen? Its philosophy is, "Our way and you pay". The attitude appears to be that any agreement is better than no agreement at all. I say to the Prime Minister and his Government, amend this deal to reflect the initial goal desired, or, since we have already cast aside all the amendments that were suggested, at least introduce legislation to protect those
Canadians who will suffer as a result. We have already seen Canadian companies announce over 1,800 lay-offs because of this poorly negotiated deal and yet it is not even in force. What will happen in the future?
This is far more than a commercial document, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) has called it in debates. Indeed, this is more than just a trade deal. It is a resource sellout.
The Government has guaranteed that the U.S. will have access to Canadian oil and gas, even in times of Canadian shortage. That cannot be disputed because it is there. Canadians should have the first claim and the full control over the use and disposition of our own resources.
It is in the agreement. The Prime Minister has bargained this away.
In closing, I would like to thank the Ministers of the Crown for their spelling lessons of last week. On Wednesday last, the Minister for International Trade stated that he would like speedy passage of this Bill, s-p-e-e-d-y. On Thursday last, he told us of consistent decisions, c-o-n-s-i-s-t-e-n-t. During our marathon session of last Friday, the deputy Government House Leader told us that the Prime Minister was going to discuss an interim report, d-i-s-c-u-s-s. Today, I would like to return the favour by telling the Ministers and this House what the people of Scarborough West say to this trade agreement, and that is no, n-o.
Mr. Micheal O'Brien (York North):
For many years, York North has been a bedroom community to the City of Toronto, but now the people of York North have begun to employ themselves in their own communities. Hundreds of burgeoning small businesses have grown to the point where they now each employ up to 700 local persons. These businesses have flourished and prospered within their chosen Canadian market sectors. They are modern, specialized, market-driven operations, run by Canadian entrepreneurs who are today seizing more opportunities and creating more wealth and more jobs than ever before, but they must continue to grow.
Having achieved success in their own market niche, the next step is to expand their business plans to include larger markets. The most sensible target market is the one that most closely matches their own home marketplace in terms of culture, language, consumer attitudes and the monetary system. That place is, of course, the United States, and many independent businessmen in York North have already taken a decision to explore U.S. markets. The Free Trade Agreement is responding to that new direction by removing impediments like protectionist tariffs and non-tariff barriers that have hindered necessary growth.
Businessmen in York North have been disappointed in the past when they found that it is easier to cross the U.S. border wearing Bermuda shorts and carrying a tennis racket than it is to venture on a trade mission wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase filled with samples of their companies' products.
When they arrived at their prospective customer's doorstep, many found that although they were presenting samples of fine competitive products those products had become burdened the minute they crossed the U.S. border. They were not competitive and were not able to win the sales order because of protectionist tariffs blocking their success.
That scenario in simple terms, Madam Speaker, explains the problem from the businessman's perspective and describes a phenomenom that has come to plague Canadian enterprise. This is a phenomenom which has had serious repercussions. Trade barriers have made us export only the things that others want, like our natural resources, for example, and has restricted the more sophisticated products which we prefer to manufacture and sell. Soon those barriers will be removed. They will be lifted by the Free Trade Agreement. Our businessmen and their employees will benefit from the free flow
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
of their goods and services into a market area that represents up to 10 times the sales opportunity they now enjoy.
The Free Trade Agreement is a good deal for Canada, Madam Speaker. It permits Canadian enterprise to take the next best step for market development and continued prosperity. Given that the best and the brightest of our Canadian businessmen and trade specialists were brought to the endeavour of creating this agreement, and given the fact that the Canadian people have decided in favour of the Free Trade Agreement, I believe it is now time for those opponents of the Free Trade Agreement who apparently live in a philosophical dark age, who apparently are not aware of the requirements of Canadian enterprise-many of whom sit opposite in this House-cease their outrageous tirade. They should now stand aside to let Canadians seize this new opportunity and begin the journey toward new wealth, new prosperity, enhanced employment opportunities and modern skills development. They should stand aside and allow Canadians, under the Free Trade Agreement, to build a stronger Canada.
The Free Trade Agreement establishes a set of rules, rules that work to eliminate foreign political imperatives that have hitherto been damaging to the free flow of Canadian exports. It is a commercial agreement covering trade, and no more than that. It is a crucial agreement for Canada. Over three million Canadian jobs are linked to export trade, of which two million depend on our trade with the United States. This country exports 30 per cent of its output. That is more than any other nation in the world and is why the Free Trade Agreement, a deal with our best friend and nearest neighbour, is important and valuable to all Canadians.
Industry experts agree that the Free Trade Agreement is good for Canada. It is in the national interest. For businesses in my riding, it is the next best step to ensure their future prosperity. The Free Trade Agreement is important to York North enterprises like the members of the machining and metal working industry. In an August 1988 editorial in their trade journal, Canadian Machinery and Metal Working, editor Jim Barnes expressed his greatest fear about the November election. He said referring to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Turner):
If Mr. Turner is elected and delivers on his threat to renege on the Agreement, the effects on our international reputation as a reliable trade partner will be catastrophic, completely apart from whatever we lose by cancelling (the Agreement) itself.
That is what the experts say, Madam Speaker.
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Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
Even within that Liberal bastion we know so well in York North, The Toronto Star, economist Richard Lipsey wrote about free trade:
Consumers of Canada unite. You have nothing to lose but your
The Free Trade Agreement achieves four significant objectives for Canada. It eliminates the remaining tariffs over the next four years and reduces non-tariff barriers. The Free Trade Agreement liberalizes investment flows between the two countries. The Free Trade Agreement allows Canadian and American service industries to compete on favourable terms within the two countries. It establishes effective and impartial procedures for the resolution of future trade disputes, something we have been wanting for years.
The Free Trade Agreement will preserve existing jobs in York North, especially those which are dependent on trade. The Agreement will lead to more and better jobs for York North constituents, paying higher wages, putting more money in the pockets of more people and providing more and better priced goods for purchase by consumers in York North and throughout Canada.
I believe that this agreement is truly about Canada's future and today's youth. With the national debt as high as it is we all know in this House and in this country when we have a large debt to pay we have to do one or both of two things we either decrease our expenses or we increase our revenues. The Free Trade Agreement will work toward that imperative, the paying down of the national debt as we increase revenues for Canadians.
The future prosperity of our nation will some day rest in the hands of our children. I believe that the Free Trade Agreement will provide them with the foundation they need to accomplish great things and, as it should be, to benefit themselves from their own accomplishments. People create prosperity, not governments. But government must provide the people with free access to the markets they need. This Government has done that, Madam Speaker. This Government has acknowledged that Canadians are traders, that Canadians are innovators and that Canadians are winners.
For the opportunities that the Free Trade Agreement provides enterprising Canadians in York North and Canadians throughout the nation I want to thank the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) and the Minister for International Trade (Mr. Crosbie), all their colleagues and negotiators and this Government. This is the best next best step for developing our local businesses, our industries so that the people in York North, formerly
living in bedroom communities can now begin to employ themselves.
We have all heard the Opposition's arguments against the Free Trade Agreement. Time and time again we have heard the same tiresome chant about water, social programs and subsidies and about a lot of things not in the Free Trade Agreement. While the recent past election was an arduous and emotionally inflamed affair, I am, nonetheless, pleased that the matter has been given a complete airing.
Never before has an issue been so intensely debated, and now the people have decided. The people have decided that if you cannot get along with your closest neighbour, you cannot get along with anyone. The people have decided that the time has come to protect Canada's economic future and to end the trade war with the United States. The people have decided that a more secure access to U.S. markets allows us the confidence and the opportunities to enrich our manufacturing industries and increase the amount of processing we do to our own raw materials. The people have decided that Canadians can compete in the U.S. market because when it comes to export marketing, Canadians are the best in the world.
We do have industries in this country that do have the know-how and the record. Some of our industries export up to 85 per cent and 90 per cent of their output. From my perspective as a former international trade journal publisher and from this vantage point in the far corner of this House, I believe that I have found the true reason that the two opposition Parties are trying to outdo each other in their anti-free trade tirades.
I go back to the commencement of the last election campaign. As a journalist and publisher, I examined the machinations of the three Parties going through the process of attempting to decide what their platform would be. I believe that my colleagues on this side of the House also know that the real motivator is fear. Members of the opposition fear that the Free Trade Agreement is so good, that it will make Canada so strong, that Canadians will become so prosperous and thankful that they will elect a Conservative Government for the next 20 years. That is the real concern of the Opposition.
Representatives of industry, businessmen, and the people have spoken in favour of free trade, and given that it is a commercial trade agreement, those are probably the people to whom we should listen, We should take it from the hands of parliamentarians and
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give it back to the people who will do that job, the people in whom we have confidence to do that job. I believe in their hands, as they have capably shown in the past, lies the future and prosperity of this country.
I do believe that the debate has ended. Now it is time for healing and for preparing to lead Canada into the 1990s, and for that we all have a responsibility.
I am sure that each Member in the House wants the best for his or her constituents, and is willing to work hard to achieve that end. My goal and pledge is to make certain that the people of York North have a Member who, regardless of any partisan views, strives for the benefit of the people of the riding. As new opportunities for prosperity unfold, as new quests for learning arise, and when adjustments are to be made, I will bring the maximum extent of my abilities to their endeavours. I am sure that all Members will do the same in bringing Canada into this new and exciting era.
To you, Madam Speaker, to the staff of the House of Commons, and the Members here, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.
Mr. George S. Rideout (Moncton):
Madam Speaker, may I take the opportunity to thank the people of Moncton for the confidence that they have placed in me by electing me as their representative. Like many other new Members in the House of Commons, this is our first opportunity to speak in the Chamber, and I do so with a great deal of emotion knowing that both my mother and my father have stood in this House and given a maiden address.
The issues of their day were also issues of great nation building. They dealt with such issues as the flag debate, medicare, and the B and B Commission back in the 1960s, to name a few pieces of legislation going on then. Now it is my time and again we are dealing with an issue of major importance for our country.
The Government's trade legislation and the manner in which it has been handled since day one of this debate is indicative of the manner in which the Government has approached many crucial issues. There has been no information, no discussion, and little debate in the hope of quick passage of the legislation.
The people of Moncton were given an opportunity to speak on the free trade deal. In fact it was their first opportunity to vote on the deal with the result that I am very proud to be standing in the House representing the riding of Moncton.
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
The bilingual riding of Moncton is a centre for education, transportation, communication, and manufacturing. Its geographic location in the heart of the Maritimes makes it a natural distribution point into central Canada, Atlantic Canada and, as we say, the Boston States. We are also a tourist destination point with Magnetic Hill and the tidal bore, to name a few of the many attractions in our area.
The country we know and love as Canada was built on the twin strengths of agriculture and the railroad system. Moncton is no exception.
The future prosperity of Canada depends on a fair and equitable distribution of Canada's wealth. We must protect and support our agricultural sector, maintain our social programs, and provide the conditions for strong economic growth in all regions of Canada. The passage of the free trade deal jeopardizes these important issues.
The agricultural community has been ignored and abused by the Government, and its concerns are at the bottom of the Government's agenda. My view, and that of the Liberal Party, is that Canadian agricultural producers have not been taken care of by the Government.
The Canadian food processing industry has been taking a beating under this deal. Its concerns, expressed over and over, have fallen on deaf ears. The food processing industry processes raw materials, in this case, Canadian eggs, Canadian cheese, Canadian meats, and Canadian fruits and vegetables produced all across Canada. Under this deal, the processing sector will be trapped between the Canadian farmers and their American counterparts.
Canadian supply-management programs have stabilized production, supply, and the price of agricultural commodities for our farmers. However, the price we pay is moderately higher for basic dairy and poultry commodities in Canada than it is in the United States. Not only can American owned plants buy from American farmers cheaper than they can from Canadian farmers, certain other structural differences give these firms a definite advantage.
American owned plants can take advantage of significant economies of scale. Their plants are large and the production runs longer. Canadian based plants face certain climatic difficulty. Canada can be a cold and harsh land, albeit beautiful. The realities of our climate lead to a shorter growing season and lower crop yields. The American sunbelt growing area can deliver year round supplies of agricultural commodities.
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What are the choices facing Canadian food processing plants? Well, they can go out of business. They could rationalize their production runs and supply the Canadian consumers from their existing U.S. plants, in other words close their plant operations in Canada. They could decide to only buy from those Canadian farmers who will sell their produce at the same low price levels as their American counterparts, severely hurting and harming the Canadian farm community.
Could our Canadian farms survive this blow? Are we as Canadians willing to pay this price? The Canadian food processing plants and farmers cannot afford to wait for the Government to react to the dislocations and job losses that will occur. The Government's response to the factory closings over the past 10 days do not inspire confidence.
The people of Moncton have had a first-hand experience with the manner in which the Government deals with economic restructuring and the resulting job losses. It is easy to sit in Ottawa and forget how the closing or rather the rationalizing of a plant affects communities across Canada. The Moncton riding has already felt the harsh cold hand of rationalization with the closure of the Moncton shops. The Government promised no massive lay-offs at CN shops. It was correct in one respect, there were no lay-offs. This was closure. A small riding must now deal with the reality of the loss of 1,100 job opportunities in its future. That is not an easy task.
A similar job loss occurring in a city such as Winnipeg would put 8,500 people out of work. Could one imagine the Government tolerating that situation? This gives one an idea of what my riding has faced and will face.
When the 1,100 jobs were cut, what was the response of the Conservative Government? It gave the community $2 million initially to create replacement jobs, and once the election was called and the hand-out of money began, we received a further $1.6 million, the so-called final chapter in that story. If that is all Canadians who suffer job loss as a result of the Free Trade Agreement can expect, they have every right to be concerned and suspicious of this Government.
Earlier today I spoke about the raw deal that Route Canada employees received at the hands of this Government. Can we trust this Government to look after Canadians who are dislocated in the workplace as a result of free trade? Can we trust this Government to deal with the social costs of free trade?
We have seen what appears to be the inequitable application of compensation to workers, to communities, and to provinces. The CNR Shop was the largest of its type of facility in New Brunswick, and the total compensation received was $3.6 million. The Newfoundland Railway closure compensation amounted to $860 million for the loss of 650 jobs. As well, the CNR workers in Newfoundland received larger exit packages and better benefits than did the workers in Moncton.
I am not trying to pit the CNR workers in Newfoundland against the CN workers in Moncton. However, the inequity in that situation has to be dealt with. Only in that way will Canadians know exactly how this Government intends to deal with the "rationalization" of jobs.
Given that record of neglect, the people of Moncton are rightly concerned about this Government's word that it will "look after those people who will be adversely affected by this trade deal".
Another key area is that of infrastructure. If Canadians are to compete and continue to export successfully under this trade deal, we must have a modern transportation system in place. It would appear that the railroad in Atlantic Canada will be shut down. The highways in New Brunswick are old and in need of major upgrading.
Is this Government prepared to take under active consideration Premier McKenna's request for a four-lane Trans-Canada Highway? Another question which has to be asked is if the new Trans-Canada Highway is to be built, in which direction should it go?
Canada's traditional links have been east and west. Under the Free Trade Agreement, Moncton should perhaps no longer distribute goods and services, or its raw materials, west to Toronto and Montreal but south to Boston. So, will this Government contribute to the construction of the trans-Boston highway?
Substantial sums of money must be spent by this Government in other transportation areas as well. The Moncton Airport needs to be expanded and upgraded. More freezer and cold storage space is needed at the airport to facilitate the shipping of fish and agricultural products to markets in the U.S. and around the world.
Canadians do not want to return to the days when we were hewers of wood and drawers of water. Canadians do not see themselves as just exporters of raw materials to be processed elsewhere. We want to compete and we have been competing successfully in a wide variety of sectors. The Free Trade Agreement will prevent us from
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doing that. It is the smaller Canadian-owned plants that will be hardest hit by this deal.
We have heard time and time again that the American plants can rationalize their production. It is the Canadian worker and his/her family who will face job dislocation. We have to deal with the inadequate employment programs put into place by this Government, or go through the Moncton experience.
Behind words like rationalize, relocate, employment dislocation, and government job retraining lies a harsh economic reality. These words and their effect on communities across Canada will appear more and more often in the economic dictionary of the new unwelcome environment that this deal will bring.
Canadians also do not want to see an entrepreneurial drain into American head office plants. If we are only to become a source of raw materials for the U.S., our young energetic entrepreneurs will move to where the action exits.
This could have very bad consequences when one looks at the long range effect. This is exactly what happens in Atlantic Canada with the brain drain to Upper Canada-although Upper Canada is fortunate that we are there to keep it going.
This Government must provide the producers and the consumers of Canada with specific guarantees that the adverse effects of this deal will be dealt with, and dealt with adequately and equitably for all Canadians.
By the time we are ready-and it may be already too late-we must have in place the transportation links and the other essential infrastructure. Otherwise, we will be going into this arrangement with one hand tied behind our back.
I have heard time and time again that the FTA opens up a market of 250 million consumers. But that does not deal with the reality that that market is already open to us, with 80 per cent of it being available tariff free. So, what did we give up to get tariff-free access to the remaining 20 per cent? I think we gave up a lot. I do not think we got what we bargained for. It is to be hoped that this Government will reconsider its decision.
Mr. Terry Clifford (London-Middlesex):
Madam Speaker, I am very honoured to be here this evening and to be making my first speech in this the Thirty-fourth Parliament.
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
I should like to begin my remarks by expressing my gratitude to the voters of London-Middlesex for reelecting me to the Parliament of Canada. I might say, it is the first time London-Middlesex has returned the incumbent to Parliament. Having been re-elected by my constituents, I now have a responsibility to stand in this place and speak out on their behalf.
The November 21 election was an historic one inasmuch as it provided Canadians with the opportunity to express their feelings on the vision that they see for Canada. I think it was worth the fight-and indeed it was a fight. Up and down every street in the riding and out on the concession roads, there was a battle for votes. Clearly, it was an election in which Canadians had to make a decision about this country's future. The question was whether they would reflect upon the economic record of this Government and choose its vision for the future of this country. Clearly, the voters of London-Middlesex made their choice, and I stand in this place today to represent them.
I think it important to reflect upon why the voters chose the Progressive Conservative Party as their Government.
In the election of 1984, the concern of Canadians had to do with the lack of jobs and the lack of opportunity for our youth. Those were the important issues. When Canadians reflected upon the record of the first four years of Progressive Conservative Government, they could see that this Government clearly delivered on its promises to do something about those two main concerns, and it did so through the very innovative Canadian Jobs Strategy Program and by bringing about decreased inflation and lower interest rates.
As a consequence of this Government's management of the economy, investment was fueled and jobs created for our youth. In fact, over the course of its first mandate, this Government created 1.3 million jobs in Canada. Clearly, that provided new hope for Canada's youth, and when it came time to vote in the 1988 election, Canada's youth did not forget what this Government had done for it.
When one reflects upon why Canadians made the decision that they did, one should look at the riding of London-Middlesex, because it is a microcosm of Canada. London-Middlesex represents all that we can find in this great nation of ours. When the people of London-Middlesex considered what the Free Trade Agreement was going to do for them in terms of the workplace and their place in Canada, they responded in
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a positive way. The business community responded positively to the policies of this Government. We saw major success stories-something which the Opposition doesn't like to talk about. One can see them cringe when reference is made to firms such as General Motors Diesel, a company which, in 1984, had tremendous problems, with few prospects for the future. That company took advantage of this Government's policies, took advantage of the strong economic environment created by this Government and began to build on that, to the point where it now has a North American mandate for the manufacture of locomotives.
This is a success story. This company makes locomotives and competes with the finest in the world. That was recognized by General Motors management when they closed the plant in the U.S. to enhance the operation in London-Middlesex. Now, of course, with more than 2,000 workers and many small businesses involved, we are starting to see what free trade will mean to Canadians. Companies will grow and prosper and provide a future for Canadian workers.
Some people on the streets say to me: "Terry, you are right, but that is big business. What is going to happen with small business? I work at a little company. Where is my future?" That is a very good question and a very real concern because the majority of Canadians work in small companies. Indeed, we have already heard from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business which indicated a majority of the owners and managers of its membership supported the agreement, but what happens on the street? What happens to the ordinary worker?
In London-Middlesex we have overwhelming evidence that the small business cannot do anything but prosper. As a matter of fact I have one example, Knechtel Mill Works. A small company in 1984 with under 20 employees, it had some innovative technology, an innovative Government that provided the proper economic parameters to operate within, and now has over 100 employees. The business has gone sky high and there are opportunities for many, many people. The company is taking advantage of this agreement because 80 per cent of its trade is with the U.S. and it is looking for more because it knows it can compete.
That company was able to train workers to use the new technology in window-making. The Canadian Jobs Strategy provided that training and the company in turn became very competitive and innovative and went into
that market and provided jobs and opportunities and futures for many, many Canadians.
It is not just big companies that this agreement is good for, it is good for little companies that will grow and prosper and provide futures for our young people.
I think those are two reasons why the electorate in London-Middlesex said, when it got right down to the crunch, that we had better be with this Government because it has a vision for the future which ties in with our beliefs, and so they voted for the Government.
Along the way I was a little disappointed because the election campaign became so involved with the free trade issue that one of the most important issues to the electorate in my riding, indeed Canadians everywhere, the environment, was hardly discussed. Clearly our Government has delivered on the environment. It has only just begun to deliver.
I am glad the Opposition is finally awake. I want to talk about some of these things. There is page after page of achievements. Some Members opposite are new to this House. I do not know if they have done their homework, but it is very significant that the first effects of the International Conference on Ozone Depletion will be felt on January 1, 1989. We are going to see the results.
Tell us about acid rain.
I am coming to that. We have already seen in the Environmental Protection Act some bold new steps. We have seen a reduction and will see a further reduction in the amount of lead in gasoline. We have taken hundreds of steps that will add to the quality of life for Canadians. This was all forgotten in the election. Maybe the Opposition did not really want it to come out.
Some people recognized the situation. Norwegian Prime Minister Brundtland, who chaired the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, paid tribute to Canada's leadership in June when she addressed the Canadian Government's International Conference on the Changing Atmosphere in Toronto. She said:
I thank the Canadian Government, in particular Prime Minister Mulroney and Environment Minister McMillan, for their commitment and for the example they have been setting for other industrialized countries.
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Clearly Canada has shown leadership. We are out front, not behind.
Dr. Noel Brown, North American Regional Director of the UN Environment Program, said:
If there were ever to be a Nobel Prize for leadership in exploring the complexities and intricacies of sustainable development, then my submission is that Canada would have to be a candidate ... the leadership that you are asserting in this field is extremely important and the world is watching.
1 am pleased to see the Opposition is watching. We want them to watch. We do not want them to set fear among Canadians. Canadians had a dose of that and clearly they chose the alternative. I think it is important for the Opposition to remember that.
A couple of myths that were perpetuated in the election dealt with the environment. The FTA will in no way force us to lower standards or change our focus on preserving our environment. We have heard the fear-mongers and we are hearing them again, claiming the agreement will force us to accept American standards on products like pesticides. I am glad to say that Canada has high standards of safety and control on pesticides higher than the U.S. Will we lose the right to maintain our higher standards? Of course not. One simply has to look at the agreement.
Article 603 states that both countries maintain the right to set product standards whose purpose is to protect health, safety, essential security, the environment or consumer interests. Clearly the example has been set and high standards will prevail. Not only will we not allow Alachlor to be used in this country, any products with Alachlor will not be allowed to enter Canada. Everyone remembers when Alachlor was ruled unacceptable in Canada. Clearly this Government acted responsibly. Our officials determined it is harmful to Canadians and it is gone.
At the same time, in London-Middlesex, which is the hub of most activity in Canada, a recently built agriculture research centre, to be officially opened this spring, is currently doing work on biological control and natural methods to deal with pests. Their work will not be affected by the FTA in any way, shape or form. Their approach promotes common sense farming, where agricultural production costs are reduced while using sound environmental farming practices. Our standards will not be lowered. American producers of pesticides wishing to sell their products in this country will have to meet our stringent standards.
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
It is very important that that point be made clear. The Opposition has said almost all the time that we have to accept the lowest common denominator when not only is that objectionable to Canadians, it is objectionable to Americans and those who share the global environment with us. When one looks at what is going on in Europe in the common market as they struggle toward union in 1992, in every documented case of their working on harmonization of standards they have chosen the highest standard. It is the highest common denominator, not the lowest.
I know the fearmongers find that hard to accept. They would just as soon be able to capture that fear as they tried so hard and diligently to do for 51 days during the election. Clearly it did not work then and it will not work now. The people have decided.
One month after the election, one month after the mandate that Canadians have given to our vision of the future, particularly as it pertains to the environment or the doomsayers all said that Canada would not be a fit place to live-what are they saying now? As reported in The Gazette of Montreal: "Free trade could help the environment". That was written by Lawrence Solomon, the author of The Conserver Solution, research coordinator of Energy Probe. Clearly now that the people have decided these agencies and organizations have started to see the wisdom in what the people have decided upon. I hope that it can carry across the House.
All those trips up and down the streets and the concession roads were well worth it. Those people in that riding and the others across Canada had an opportunity to reflect on what this Government has done. They have decided that they want to be part of that vision of the future. They see it as the alternative. When they see that Canada is showing leadership, it has been acknowledged that it is moving out with other countries of the world. It is not a shell any longer. It is a country whose place in history and time has come.
It is particularly fitting for the young people of our country that they do not now have to sit back and apologize for their elders' timidness. They can now say: "Gee, my Mom and Dad, my grandparents, cared about me. They included me in their vision in voting for a vision of Canada in which I will have and be able to take my rightful place. I will be able to compete. I will be able to challenge with the best in the world, in fact to make the world a better place".
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I think that this is a monumental and historic occasion. In three or four hours from now we will have an opportunity to put closure on this motion and bring on the new prosperity, the new hope, the new vision for the young of Canada who in fact are going to carry all of us into a very pleasant retirement. By that time Canada will clearly have taken its place as the leading country in the 21st century in the world.
Mr. Stan J. Hovdebo (Saskatoon-Humboldt):
Madam Speaker, across the country tonight there are many, many constituents of ours who are saying: "Forgive them for they know not what they do". They are saying that because they are knowledgeable, intelligent people who have made the effort to find out what this free trade deal is all about. They are a group of men and women who wonder why we cannot recognize that economic union with the United States to which we are committing ourselves is a change in the basic philosophy of Canada, a basic change in what Canada is all about.
This agreement alters the basic tenet of what makes Canada different from the United States. The United States believes in the supremacy of the market. The economy of the United States is basically driven by the market. Over the years in Canada we have decided that certain things which are provided by the market in the U.S. should be available to all Canadians, available even if they do not have the ability to get them in some other way. They should be provided not by the market but by the country regardless of the ability to pay or to get it from the market.
I am sure that everyone here tonight can think of an example of how Canada is different from the United States. We have chosen the Canadian way of providing service to all, not just to those who can pay for it. In this regard medicare is probably the best example. We believe that the best possible care that we as a nation can provide should be available to all. In the U.S. the best care is available only to those who can pay for it. Some 36 million Americans have no medicare insurance. Therefore only minimal care is provided for them and even then it is considered welfare. If one cannot pay for it then one cannot have it unless someone is there to give it to you.
Unemployment insurance is another good example in this regard. We make it available in quantities much greater than the contributions that were made by people to the plan.
Our public pension plans are another example, as is family allowance. These are familiar programs that we
have in place which are not in place in the United States of America. These programs are directly funded and are available to Canadians outside the market-place. It is not surprising that these are also the programs or the types of programs to which the Americans refer to as subsidies when they impose a countervail on our products. They do not understand our philosophy that everyone should have a part of the good life and that it should not only be available to the privileged few. Their philosophy is you get only what you can afford and if you cannot afford it then that is too bad.
This so-called trade deal will require the harmonization of our economies. What will that do to these programs? Does it mean that they must be harmonized as well? Nobody has said "Yes" to that question. And no one has said "No". If the Americans think they are subsidies, as they have indicated on a number of occasions, then they will demand that our levels in these programs be lowered or theirs will have to be raised. I ask Hon. Members to figure out which one will happen.
One of the main issues with respect to this deal is whether or not it threatens our sovereignty. Again, nobody can come up with a convincing "No". The Government has pointed often to the European Economic Community saying that the countries there have not lost their sovereignty. This is different. We are quite different. Why are we different? First, there are only two countries in this agreement. One of those countries, the U.S.A., is 10 times larger than Canada. Trade with the U.S. already takes up 75 per cent to 80 per cent of Canada's exports. Much of Canada's industry is foreign-owned. These are differences between us and the economic community in Europe.
Canada and the U.S. share a common language. Our nearest neighbour aside from the United States is 1,500 miles away, not just across the border to the East or to the West.
Canada's history has been one of resistance to absorption by the United States. Strong measures have been necessary in the past to stop that absorption. In 1812 the Americans attempted absorption by invasion. We fought them off. In 1867 Confederation was a response to American expansion after the Civil War.
The expansion was to the west and the north under the American slogan "54-40 or Bust", which would have taken in most of the western Prairies and British Columbia. Confederation was in response to that American expansionism, and it worked.
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The railways that we built across Canada were expensive responses to deal with American attempts to absorb Canada. They were built to help settle and develop the West through immigration, as well as to bring British Columbia into closer contact with central and eastern Canada.
Tariffs that were in place 100 years ago were established in response to American attempts to move into our territory. They were an attempt to force east and west movement of trade rather than the north-south flow. Again, they worked.
I know that many government Members believe the CBC is an expensive way of resisting American pressure, but it was put into place to fight the predominance of American media on the airwaves. In a sense, Air Canada and the Trans-Canada Highway were used to bring Canada closer together.
We have been successful in resisting absorption by the Americans until now. It has been costly on occasion, but we have resisted. Can we continue to do so?
Until World War II we had a counterbalance to American domination. It was the Commonwealth, or British Empire as it was known then. The Right Hon. John Diefenbaker often spoke about how the Commonwealth counterbalanced the U.S. impact on Canada. He believed that the connection between Canada and the Commonwealth should be strongly supported in order to keep the American counterbalance at bay.
Shortly after the war we ceased to be British subjects. We no longer flew the Union Jack, which is something else John Diefenbaker fought against for many hours in the House. We no longer had the Commonwealth trade preference and moved to the point where we can now amend our own Constitution.
While all these are progressive steps making Canada independent, it also made us much more vulnerable to the drawing card of the United States. That Commonwealth connection was replaced by the American media. Ninety per cent of movies that we watch in Canada are from the United States. Much of the time our children spend watching television is on American programs. Some 90 per cent of music recordings sold in Canada are American, 77 per cent of the books sold in Canada are American, and 75 per cent of the magazines in Canada are American.
Our prospects for survival even before the trade deal were rather doubtful because most of our daily activities are influenced by the United States.
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
The United States provides more post-graduate education to Canadian students than all the other countries put together. We are already strongly influenced by the United States.
I and some 53 per cent of Canadians oppose the Government's free trade proposal. I know that over 50 per cent of my constituents do not believe in it because they elected me instead of the previous Conservative Member.
However, let us assume for a moment that the Government is right in believing we will increase our wealth. Will we win the other battles for sovereignty? Will we remain politically separate from the United States? Will we remain socially separated from the United States? Will we remain culturally separated from the United States?
We are already awash in U.S. companies, awash in U.S. investment, awash in American culture and media. Economic control is being lost in Canada. If this continues will we be able to remain Canadians?
What will happen when Canadian businesses begin complaining that the taxes they pay for environmental, regional and social programs are too high? Will the Government gradually reduce the emphasis on those social, environmental and regional programs? I believe the more dependent these companies become on the U.S. market, the more policies like medicare and unemployment insurance will have to be changed.
The pressure will come from Canadian companies that want to compete and from American branch plants that could threaten to go back to the United States where they can produce goods cheaper. Even American based companies that do not have a branch plant in Canada will start complaining because the playing field is not level. They will suggest that Canadian workers receiving family allowance, medicare, and unemployment insurance are getting an unfair advantage. They will threaten to withdraw, to refuse Canadian products unless the Canadian Governments do something about it. The pressure to maintain or increase the number of jobs in Canada will force the Government to drop those programs that make Canada different from the United States. Sometimes I wonder if we will have to return to the use of Fahrenheit, pound, feet, and miles as a result of harmonization.
Once the harmonization of economics and ideas occurs, there is little point in claiming that we can reverse it. The six-month cancellation clause becomes more useless as harmonization increases. Besides that, as
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we become more dependent on the the U.S. market, it will soon be so important to us that we will not be able to back off without disastrous effects to our own economy.
Most of the adjusting to this deal will be done by Canadian companies. It takes only a 10 per cent increase for a U.S. industry to take over the entire Canadian market, but it takes a 100 per cent increase for a Canadian industry to take over 10 per cent of the U.S. market. We will be doing the adjusting here in Canada.
In many cases, those U.S. companies can probably supply our market with their surpluses. We know right now, for instance, that the U.S. can supply us with all the dairy products we use in Canada with the surplus they pour down the drains in the United States every day.
As the deal becomes entrenched, there is no way we will be able to back off. The six-month cancellation clause is a laughing matter. Ask Hawaii. Hawaii signed a 10-year trade deal with the United States, and when the 10 years was up, the United States said: "Well, there is not much in this deal for us, we are going to back away from it". After 10 years, Hawaii could not back away. It begged to become part of the United States.
Perhaps there will be an increase in trade, but where will it come from? Jacques Parizeau says that it will come from the provinces. In fact, all the hurt will go to them. He says that that is why Quebec will be able to separate. It will no longer be dependent upon the domestic markets of Ontario and the Prairies to sell its products.
I spared only one facet of this deal, the impact on sovereignty. There are many other facets of it that need to be explored. Government Members tell us that all the adjustments will be good, that it will be a win-win situation, and that Canada will always remain strong and free. I hope they are right.
Like the Hon. Member for Western Arctic (Ms. Blondin), I have to say that if the deal has to go through, I hope I am wrong and that the 53 per cent of Canadians who voted against this deal are wrong as well. I would not object to being wrong in this instance, as the Hon. Member for Western Arctic said. If we are right, the disaster that will occur and the fact that we will no longer be Canadian are something we do not want to have to face in the next few years.
Mr. Ross Stevenson (Durham):
Madam Speaker, I am deeply honoured to be here in the House of Commons of Canada, representing the great riding of Durham. I appreciate the opportunity and the trust the people of Durham have put in me. I will certainly do my utmost in the months and years ahead to justify the trust they have given me in sending me with such strong support to the House of Commons in Ottawa.
When compared to many other ridings in central Ontario, the riding of Durham is a relatively large one. It consists of the regional municipalities of Uxbridge, Scugog, Newcastle, the rural part of Whitby, and the north part of the City of Oshawa.
In this riding are some of the best agricultural lands in Ontario. There are parts of Lake Ontario and Lake Scugog and the beautiful hills and ridges that run north of Lake Ontario, all across the central part of the Province of Ontario.
We have a strong agricultural sector. We have a vibrant manufacturing and service industry. Of course, most everybody knows that in the Oshawa area, there is a very strong automobile manufacturing and auto parts industry.
Here this evening, as we debate the free trade Bill, we are discussing much more than just this Bill. We are really talking about opportunities for Canada, opportunities for our young people as they look for jobs in the future, opportunities for our business people and workers to excel in a strong Canada of the future, and indeed, opportunities for Canada itself as it plays an ever growing leadership role in the economic well-being of the western world.
We have seen, of course, that Canada has obtained entry into the G-7 nations. The economic leadership shown by our Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) and by the Progressive Conservative Government of Canada is exemplary when compared to that of other nations of the world.
I want briefly to review some parts of the free trade Bill we are discussing at third reading stage and relate some of the significant parts of that Bill to the great riding of Durham. As I stated earlier, there is a very strong auto sector in that area. A great many residents of my riding earn their living directly or indirectly from the auto industry.
To some degree, the free trade Bill was born out of the Auto Pact or, as it is officially known, the Canada-U.S. Automobile Products Trade Agreement. This is
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one of the most successful trade agreements ever negotiated anywhere in the world. The residents and businesses of Durham have thrived as a result of that trade agreement. It is more than interesting to note that Simon Reisman, who negotiated the Free Trade Agreement we are discussing tonight, also negotiated the extremely successful Auto Pact.
I think it is also interesting to note that manufacturers in the Canadian auto industry shipped a total of $38 billion worth of products in 1987, and $34 billion of that total was sent to export. In the Province of Ontario, $30 billion worth of exports, essentially 50 per cent of the exports of the whole Province of Ontario, came from the auto sector. That is how important it is to the economy of Ontario, the economy of Canada, and most certainly to the economy of Durham.
Over 160,000 people work in the auto sector. In the 1980s, there will be approximately $13 billion of investment from automobile manufacturers and parts manufacturers put into the economy of Canada. That is a phenomenal amount, and a significant proportion of that was in and around the area I represent.
The Auto Pact has allowed automobile producers and parts manufacturers to rationalize, specialize and increase their productivity, and to sell on both sides of the border. In fact, some of them in my area are exporting auto parts to Japan. This is very clearly a tremendous success story. Yes, the Auto Pact is somewhat different from free trade. We have heard that many times from the opponents of the Free Trade Agreement.
Still, it is a clear indication that Canadian workers and Canadian companies can compete on an international basis. They have done that extremely successfully. The people of Durham know that we can compete in many other sectors by the strength of the majority with which the voters of that area sent me here to the House of Commons.
We will see that auto sector grow in the future, undoubtedly, particularly the auto parts section. In 1982, we manufactured only 9.8 per cent of all auto parts in the North American market. In 1987, that number was up to 14 per cent, almost double, and the trend will continue. It is a trend from which the manufacturers of Durham riding will benefit. They know it and they have made that positive statement.
We have auto parts manufacturers in the riding of Durham located in Uxbridge, Port Perry, Bowmanville,
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
and several other towns and villages in the area. Those companies give jobs, very stable jobs, to the people of our area. They have grown to appreciate the industry and know just how important trade is to the local economy and their own livelihoods. Durham has much more than just an auto sector. We have a thriving manufacturing sector outside of the auto industry.
The Durham Region Manufacturers' Association has organized itself into an exciting group of people. Its members have marketing seminars for their several hundred members. They assist each other with management and export seminars. They have seen first-hand from the auto industry how aggressive salesmanship can help their companies. They are exporting now on a much wider scale than just in the auto industry. They have seen how the automobile industry has rationalized, specialized, and increased production. Believe me, that will continue to happen at an even greater pace as we go into the Free Trade Agreement.
I also stated earlier that agriculture is an important industry in our part of the country. We have some excellent farm land. Some farm families have been in the agricultural business for generations. Indeed, some of them have been there as long as Canada has been in existence as an organized country as we know it. We have seen, of course, the great debate in the agricultural sector relating to free trade. The attention in most of the daily media has been directed to those who were opposed to the deal, but a great many farmers are in favour of it.
This evening, in other speeches, members have shown the tremendous support that is in existence for the Free Trade Agreement speaking on behalf of the agricultural sector, particularly the red meat, grains, bean farmers, fruit and vegetable sectors. All of them have been very strongly supportive of the agreement. It is interesting to note that the soybean growers of Canada recently met with their counterparts in the United States and agreed to ask their respective Governments to withdraw all tariffs immediately from soybeans and soybean products moving back and forth across our borders; they do not want them phased out over 10 years. They want them reduced immediately. That is the other side of the story in the agricultural industry, one that has had very little attention in the daily media. Most of our urban people do not realize the tremendous support that exists for this agreement in the agricultural area.
We have heard at great length what is going to happen to the food processing industry in Canada.
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Basically that it is going down the drain is what the doomsayers have been saying for several months.
I would like to draw to your attention, Madam Speaker, just what some of the companies in the food processing and the agricultural industry are doing in this country right now. Cargill, for example, which is the biggest privately owned corporation in the United States, is investing massive amounts of money in Canada this very moment. That is not being done for the Canadian agricultural industry. It is not being done because Cargill thinks the industry is going down the drain or the food processing industry is going down the drain. Cargill knows that we are going to benefit from this deal. It is a building a large new processing plant in Alberta at present. It has just bought Cyanamid and the grain division of Maple Leaf Mills.
Very clearly, multimillions of dollars of investment has been made in Canada in 1988, getting ready for a very vibrant agricultural industry that will exist here in the future. Gainers, Canada Packers, and Cold Spring Farms are all currently modernizing or building new meat processing plants here in Canada. General Foods, a major international food processing company, is going to invest $25 million in Canadian food processing plants in 1989. Campbell's Soup is doubling its investment to $15 million. Quaker Oats is going ahead with a $15 million expansion of its plant in Peterborough to process more Ontario and Canadian-grown oats to send breakfast cereals into the United States market.
It is quite a different story than the one heard hour after hour from the people on the other side of the House. The Opposition is saying that the food processing industry is going to leave Canada. Much of the industry is saying exactly the opposite. We will see precisely what we have seen in the automobile industry,
I suggest. We will see them, and I repeat the words I have already used twice in my speech tonight, they will rationalize, specialize, and increase their production here in Canada to markets around the world.
I want to draw to your attention, Madam Speaker, just briefly a report that came out in December, 1988. It is entitled The Road Not Taken. Maybe a better title would be "The Road Not Yet Taken-An Opportunity For The Canadian Grains and Meat Industry". The report says that we must sell wheat as bread, as cookies, and Durum wheat as pasta. We do not need to sell them as grains any more. We now have the opportunity to merchandise those products in a
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value-added form and keep some of the jobs that are now outside our borders and inside our borders.
That is the future at which the Canadian food processing industry is looking, not the sort of story we have heard from the Opposition at great length. If there is such a thing as a resources sell-out, that is what we have today. We will see in future the production and processing of our resources into products, food products, furniture, petrochemicals and the processing of our fish here, as we have heard from many Progressive Conservatives speakers all across the country. They have stated that our raw materials are going out of the country in raw form. In future we will see them going out as value-added products and giving jobs to Canadian people.
I firmly believe that supply-management commodities which have received so much attention are protected under the Free Trade Agreement. At the moment a new supply-management marketing board is being developed in Canada. That system of laws that allows farmers to determine what marketing system they want to select is still in place. They have used it in the past and, if they wish, they can use it in the future. Canada is acting to increase the strength of Article XI under GATT which allows us to have that supply-management marketing system.
Our laws still exist in agriculture which will allow us to protect all areas of that marketing system, whether one is talking about the Canadian Wheat Board or supply-management for dairy and poultry products.
It is also interesting to note that in the whole resources area, agriculture and otherwise, every single group that has had a trade dispute with the United States over the last several years is in favour of the Free Trade Agreement and the dispute settlement mechanism which exists under the free trade Bill. It is not perfect, but it is far better than what those groups have had to deal with in the past. Broad support from lumber, agriculture, fisheries, and steel clearly indicates that we have a Bill here which is a great improvement over what was available in the past.
In summary, I believe that the real issue in all our discussions tonight, and over the last days, is the fear of the future. We in the Progressive Conservative Party do not fear the future. We look at the future as challenges and opportunities. Unlike the other Parties we have confidence in our leadership. We have confidence in the men and women of our Party. We have confidence in the
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business people and the workers of Canada. Most important, we have confidence in the youth of Canada who are coming along and who will be prepared to accept the challenges and the opportunities in the future.
Tonight, in approximately three hours, we will take a major step in the history of Canada, a major step into the future. I am proud to be part of that action. I look forward to the future of Canada. If we want a strong and vibrant Canada, we have the opportunity to have it. If we want a strong business community, we have that opportunity. If we want an independent Canada with our own unique culture and identity, a country with tolerance and compassion for everyone, we too will have that opportunity. The future is up to us. We can face it without fear. I am proud to be part of that future.