December 18, 1987 (33rd Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Carnell Crosbie (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crosbie:

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the hon. gentleman. Since we have a precedent of asking questions despite the occasion, I would like to ask the Hon. Member a question.
I would like to know what he thinks of the submission by Gerald A. Regan to the Committee of the House of Commons on trade negotiations of December 3. At page 9 of his submission, he said:
I regard arguments to the effect that Canada will lose its culture, its sovereignty, or its social welfare system as a consequence of this kind of a pact as downright silly.
That is the opinion of a former Liberal International Trade Minister under former Prime Minister-what was his name- Trudeau. He is a man who attempted to negotiate free trade with the United States on a sectoral basis, sector by sector, and got nowhere under the last Liberal administration. He has called the suggestion of the Hon. Member "downright silly".
On the same page of his remarks, Mr. Regan pointed out the following:
That increasing dependence on the U.S. market has not eroded our social security system-indeed, during those years it has been enhanced by expansion of the U.I. system and the barring of extra billing for medical services as well as other improvements.
I would like to ask the Hon. Member's opinion of what was said on page 12 by Gerry Regan, a former Premier of Nova Scotia, not a neophyte, not some minor member of the Liberal Party of Canada as the hon. gentleman might be considered to be. He said this:
The greatest assurance of protection of our sovereignty and our culture is the maintenance of a strong economy. Free trade, with the greatest market on earth, gives us an opportunity to strengthen our economy that any other country on earth would give their eye teeth to have.
That was said by the former International Trade Minister. There is a lot of good material in here, but I will go right on to page 15. The same prominent Liberal about whom the Hon. Member has said is a maverick and is now being described as a maverick by the front-benchers in the Hon. Leader of the maverick's Party, said this about Nova Scotia:
With barriers removed, we can enter a new era of economic development in this province.
Free Trade
That was said by a man who was Premier of Nova Scotia for eight years, not some little turkey jerky from some remote corner of the Liberal Party of Canada, and God knows they have more turkeys there. Perhaps the turkeys in the Liberal Party are endangered by this agreement.
Mr. Regan also said:
A good free trade agreement can be the most effective regional development plan this country could have and could move us toward the time when transfer payments will no longer be necessary.
Did the Hon. Member get that? He said that it can be the most effective regional development plan this country could have.

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