Hon. André Harvey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.)
Madam Speaker, what contributes to spread this negative culture are incorrect statements. I would like to provide some basic information on this issue.
The Minister of Finance, when he was the natural resources minister of Canada, led a mission to promote trade and investment in China, South Korea and Japan from January 22 to February 3, 2000. I will briefly report the facts. Then, we will talk about the money that was supposedly wasted, and you will see that I will be clear.
The purpose of this mission was to promote Canada's leadership and innovation, particularly in the natural resources sector. This mission helped to achieve many goals relating to this sector, which affects the live of all Canadians.
The mission responds particularly to the interests of the Canadian policy, especially with regard to market access, trade, regulatory reforms, sustainable development and climate changes.
This mission offered a great opportunity to expand the natural resources sector, which was already thriving. It opened doors to natural resources businesses so that they could enter the China market and expand into it, and it had many positive and sustainable results.
Since then, China has adopted new building codes to make them compatible with the construction of wood frame houses. This resulted in the opening of new markets for Canadian wood products.
Currently, Canadian geomatics and geoscience companies are active in China and provide useful data for the development of that country's natural resources.
In fact, the Chinese recognize Canada as a competitive and world-class provider of minerals and mining expertise.
I can never emphasize enough the fact that the current Minister of Finance did not hire a videographer to record this trade mission to China and that he was not accompanied by someone to produce this film during the mission.
In order to meet the objectives of this mission, the department prepared a video before the mission. That video did explain to Chinese audiences the purpose of the mission and the diversity and skills of Canada's natural resources sector.
The video, which was produced in three languages, that is Mandarin, English and French, was very well received. It proved very useful to overcome the language barrier, particularly since simultaneous translation was not always available.
The video's research and production work was done on a contract basis by an agency selected through a well-defined competitive bidding process. The video cost $115,000 to produce.
This was a worthwhile investment, as I am sure you will agree, since its goal was to promote Canada's natural resources sector in one of the fastest growing economic regions of the world and to contribute to the positive impact I just mentioned.
The video prepared for the mission was produced by the firm Allard et associés, through a strategic partnership with Columbia Group.
The world economy of the 21st century is characterized by tough competition for markets and investments. Canada needs to have access to foreign markets, foreign investments and new technologies to promote innovation and productivity, to create wealth and to meet the goals our nation has set for itself in terms of quality of life.
These types of missions lay the foundations that position our natural resources sector and related industries as key players in the new knowledge and innovation based economy, and ensure Canada a place of honour and influence among the great nations of the world.
Topic: Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic: The Acadians