December 20, 1988 (34th Parliament, 1st Session)


Steve Butland

New Democratic Party

Mr. Butland:

As I say, I hope against hope that the deal will bring prosperity to my community. I must because I care for my city and its people, I hope that all the promises of prosperity will come to fruition because it will be of little consolation for me to say, "I told you so". I hope this leap of faith will, indeed, be a leap which will land us somewhere and not in to an abyss. I prefer to believe Leo Gerard who said, when addressing the steel industry.
They'll ship on their subsidized barges and their de-regulated
trucks and then over our border on free trade.
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
This steel will originate in non-union mini mills in the southern United States. The acceptance and endorsement of this deal is the most dramatic turnaround in political history, and that prompts anyone to ask why. What changed all of these people's minds? Who are these people and which Party do they espouse? I suggest it is a very notable list.
The Prime Minister,who said, "It affects Canadian sovereignty and we will have none of it"; the External Affairs Minister, who said, "Unrestrained free trade with the United States raises the possibility that thousands of jobs could be lost in such critical industries as textiles, furniture and footwear"; the Minister of Finance, who said, "Bilateral free trade with the United States is simplistic and naive"; the former Secretary of State, David Crombie, who said, "Our natural destiny is to become a global leader, not America's weak sisters"; ex Veterans' Affairs Minister, George Hees, who said, "A clear indication of a move toward free trade with the United States would not be a good thing for this country"; the Ontario Conservative Leader, Andy Brandt, who said, "Taking a multilateral route in trade negotiations is the best long-term way for Canada"; former Ontario Leader, Larry Grossman, who said, "I contend it would be a mistake for anyone to have excessively high expectations about the results of any trade arrangements with the United States." It goes on. Then there was Tory strategist, Hugh Segal, but the piece de resistance was former Ontario Premier Bill Davis, who said: "You will not get me". Six months later he said: "What a courageous course of action by the federal Government".
Did a bolt of lightning strike in so many places at once as to profoundly affect the way such so-called learned politicians read into such an agreement? It makes anyone wonder about the credibility of people who espouse the deal now but who were vehemently opposed just a few scant years ago.
Have we not precluded ourselves from the international world of business?

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