Hon. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary Forest Lawn, CPC)
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise once more in the House to talk about the NAFTA trade deal. I listened to the talking points of the Liberals. They talk about all the good things international trade and the free trade agreement do. They are the same old talking points.
Once upon a time when we were in government, we said the same thing in support of free trade. However, I need to remind members on the other side that it was the Conservatives who were the party that pushed for free trade. NAFTA came about because of the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney. No one in the country would say that NAFTA was not a good deal for Canada.
However, as my colleague from Prince Albert has just eloquently said, the problems are with NAFTA .5. When the parliamentary secretary says why .5 and not .0, simply and straightforwardly, we do not trust the Liberals to set up any kind of a good deal, knowing the results since they have come into power.
I remember very clearly that it was the Liberal Prime Minister who shunned TPP in Vietnam. He was the only leader not to go. At that time, he had his own idea of free trade. Even the Chinese shut the door in his face. The point of this story is the reason why the Conservative Party supports this, despite all the flaws and everything here, because the business community needs this. The Conservative Party has always been a very proud free trade party. During the time of Prime Minister Harper, we signed a lot of free trade agreements around the world because we knew it is right.
The biggest one for everyone was NAFTA. Today, we call it NAFTA .5. The Liberals want to call it NAFTA 2.0. Mexico calls it NAFTA 8. The fact is that, yes, the business community needs stability. The business community is looking for some kind of stability in this economy so it can move forward. This is one way in which we can bring that kind of stability.
However, to remind all Canadians, since the Liberal government has taken power, five premiers have written to the Prime Minister today. They has said that under his regime, Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 will threaten national unity. That has never happened before, where five premiers have written to say that Liberals have created an environment in the country that is not conducive to business and actually threatens the security of national unity. It is unprecedented. That is the record the Liberals have for the economy, which is why we do not trust them to get NAFTA back.
However, there is some hope in the sense that even with this flawed NAFTA deal, the business community will have some kind of confidence in the economy, forgetting about what the Liberals have done. The country needs to do it. We do not know where the Liberals are going with the Trans Mountain pipeline. Hopefully very soon we will have shovels in the ground.
I come from a province that has taken a massive hit by the Liberals' economic policy, and it continues. Right now, confidence in Canada is declining under the government.
Under Prime Minister Harper's government, confidence in Canada was going up. Under the current government, investor confidence in Canada is going down. We can talk to anyone out there, in London or New York and so on. If it comes to Canada, they slowly turn their heads away. The sunny days and sitting on the international stage by the Prime Minister has all evaporated in the air. He is no longer the darling of anything and if he continues the way he is, we could face serious economic poverty.
Hopefully, on October 21, Canadians will have a choice and will send the Liberals packing on their economic record, which is one of the most important things that needs done, because jobs bring stability.
I saw the most foolish ads yesterday when watching the Raptors. They were so-called third party advertisements against the leader of the official opposition. I have never seen a more idiotic advertisement. They will make Canadians more angry.
Unifor, the so-called journalists' union, is absolutely at the forefront of this sentiment, making it very clear that it does not like the Conservative Party. What it seems to forget, however, is this is not about Unifor; it is about Canadians and jobs. Unifor keeps saying it wants to fight for jobs. However, if it wants to fight for jobs, it should be honest about it. It should work for all Canadians and not be partisan.
Once more, I am standing in the House of Commons to stand up for free trade. We all know free trade has immense benefits for our country and for our jobs. If there were no tanker ban, no problematic Bill C-69, there would be such confidence in Canada. We would be a model country.
We have been blessed with natural resources. We do not have just one natural resource, but multiple. We should develop them, although I agree 100% that this should be environmentally sound.
Let us look at our oil production. We have one of the best systems in the world. We can compare it to those in countries like Venezuela and Nigeria, where there are no environmental standards. They are moving full steam ahead. Let us be honest. Let us work environmentally. It is time for the country to move forward with developing its natural resources.
With respect to the new NAFTA that has just been signed, all my colleagues have, very eloquently, made it clear that it has serious flaws. We want confidence. It is the one piece of legislation the government has brought forward that can give some kind of confidence to the business community that Canada is a free trade country.
Many people do not understand the amount of money Canadian businesses invest overseas. It is in the trillions of dollars. If it were not for free trade agreements, Canadian businesses would be unable to invest overseas. The Canadian investments of over $1 trillion will, in the longer term, help our country's economy, making businesses very strong.
Free trade agreements go both ways. They are for us and the countries with which we sign. That is why so many are signing on to the TPP. I am glad that the government finally, after insulting the leaders of the TPP, came to its senses. This came after China told us to take a hike when Canada went to China to sign a free trade agreement.
In the end, the Conservatives will support the bill because we believe Canadians need confidence, the economy needs confidence and the business community needs confidence so we can proceed forward and create jobs that will benefit each and every Canadian.
Topic: Government Orders
Subtopic: Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act