Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-09-20 17:10 [p.4882]
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me this afternoon to speak on Bill C-13, the trade facilitation agreement.
As we all know, and as we have stated here in the House for the last day and a half, Canada is a trading nation. It always has been and always will be, despite what is decided this year, this decade, or this century. Canada is known for trading.
From the early days, the traders came over to this country and settled many centuries ago. We should also be reminded of our first nations, because they were the first real traders of this country and they continue to be a valuable asset to this country.
I think our previous Conservative government raised the bar on trade. We started with the five agreements and we are at 51 now. With a country so rich in resources, we all agree that trade is essential in growing our economy here in Canada.
Canada needs to be a part of this trade agreement. As members know, it takes two-thirds of the WTO membership to make this happen. When we get there, hopefully we will be part of the solution.
This agreement seeks to level the playing field, and it would also help developing countries. I have a couple of instances in which I am going to talk about developing countries. So often we talk in the House about big business, but I am going to talk about how we in Canada, with our innovation, can help those in need throughout the world. I think that is an important part of this equation.
At the end of the day, this is all about making sure we have global standards that truly are enforceable. We talked a lot about the trans-Pacific partnership, and we will talk more in the House this coming year. On TPP, there is no question that it is the most comprehensive trade agreement in the world today, and I truly believe we must be a part of it.
We should reflect on the great work done by the previous government and the lead minister on the TPP, the member for Abbotsford, B.C. My province of Saskatchewan certainly salutes him. We averaged $23 billion in trade annually from 2012 to 2014. The TPP would eliminate the tariffs on almost all of Saskatchewan’s key exports and would provide access to new opportunities, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. Saskatchewan would benefit immensely from agriculture and agrifood.
We recently toured the Port of Vancouver, and I was delighted to see the rail cars come from Saskatchewan, with the word “Saskatchewan” on them, in the Port of Vancouver, dumping their grain into the ships for export worldwide. It was a thrilling moment to see the end part of that. Of course, being from Saskatchewan, I know that this is an important time in our province with the harvest that is going on. Our grain and agrifood is certainly a big part of who we are in this country.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to tour a potash mine in Allan, Saskatchewan. It was a real eye-opener to see what goes on in the potash industry. We spent the better part of the morning underground and then toured the facility on the surface as they prepared to ship Saskatchewan product to the world. Again, potash cars heading west with Saskatchewan product gives our province a sense of pride in the work that is being done by our men and women in the province of Saskatchewan each and every day. We all know that potash feeds the world, and even underdeveloped countries.
I should add that a number of new developments in potash have started in my province. We have the big miners, like BHP putting through their mine in Jansen. However, I want to talk about another mine that is coming up, K+S, originating from Germany. It is in the southern part of Saskatchewan.
Not only are the big producers benefiting from this agreement, but a number of the smaller ventures are also benefiting, such as mines like Karnalyte, which is starting a project in Wynyard; Gensource; and many other small operations that are exploring the possibility of exporting their product worldwide.
Also, pulse crops are really big in our province of Saskatchewan. Recently, I was flying back to Ottawa from Saskatoon and a delegation from the University of Saskatchewan was on the flight. They were going to Ethiopia to help partner with that country.
Ethiopia, as we all know in the House, is struggling, but the University of Saskatchewan has reached out, trying to develop Ethiopia’s farming industry and pulse crops. People believe that pulse crops can be grown in Saskatchewan and also in Ethiopia. Canadians, as we all know, have great innovation skills and we love sharing our knowledge worldwide to make this a better place to live. That is what I mean about helping underdeveloped countries such as Ethiopia reach their potential.
I know several businesses in Saskatchewan that trade daily with countries around the world. I am going to name one in my city, Nutana Machine. It is in the city of Saskatoon. It supplies mining equipment, not only in our province but around the world. Imagine the sense of pride of the workers at Nutana Machine when they see their work being produced in Saskatoon. We talked about products produced and shipped over to Europe, and Nutana Machine now because of the Internet can deal with problems. If it does have an issue in Europe when it ships the product over to Europe, and Romania is one place that I have seen where it has shipped some goods, then the company can deal with it on the Internet and can actually see the end product. It is built in Saskatoon and then it is shipped to, let us say, Romania and they can see the end product and how it is working over there. Nutana employs right now a healthy workforce who live in our province of Saskatchewan. They certainly help our local economy.
Most of our farm-machinery outlets reach out to the world with their products and their knowledge. In the small community of St. Brieux, with a population of just over 600, is a farm manufacturer called Bourgault Industries. It does millions of dollars a year of business overseas. Looking at its website, we see it is advertising employment opportunities for assembly workers, for painters, for welders, for engineers, and for maintenance. All this is in a community of 600 people in St. Brieux. The company travels to Europe several times a year. In fact, I actually have a relative who works at Bourgault in St. Brieux. He travels to Europe several times a year, not only building relationships, which as members know is an important part of business, but has also adopted a second family from Germany who go back and forth. Bourgault Industries is one of the big success stories in our province.
I come from Humboldt. It is in the area called the “iron triangle”. Manufacturing firms have set up everywhere around the Humboldt community in places like Annaheim, Englefeld, and as I mentioned, St. Brieux. They are communities that probably would not exist today if not for some previous trade agreements. All of these communities have welcomed experienced workers from all over the world to come to Canada and start a new life. They have fit in well in our communities in Saskatchewan. They have contributed greatly to the economy and well-being of rural Saskatchewan. I would say that rural Saskatchewan would be a ghost town without these trade deals.
My late father was born too soon. He was the head flour miller for Robin Hood. He started his career in Ontario, went to Moose Jaw, and later to Saskatoon. He moved to Humboldt to help the Humboldt flour mills. Even in the 1960s, the flour that he produced was sent all over North America. I can imagine now if he were living today, hearing about this opportunity to show the world his product and the quality he could provide to others in other countries.
This agreement, as we all know, would give Canadian businesses access to over 60% of the world’s economy. The gains from tariff elimination and improved market access in agriculture are especially significant in the markets of Malaysia. We have talked about Vietnam here in the House, and also Japan, but let us think about the market of Japan. Thirty-two per cent of tariff lines on agriculture and agri-food products would be duty free upon entry. That is a real opportunity for our economy, especially for our beef and pork producers, who would have access to that huge market. This would have a big impact on small- and medium-sized businesses. Trade missions to other parts of the world are a normal process in this country. There is not a province or a territory now that does not do trade missions worldwide. We have one from our province right now in South Korea.
Canada must act quickly on Bill C-13. There are 800 million new potential customers waiting for Canada. Canada is known for its hard work. We are known for our quality products and innovation. Let us not get in the way of this process.
Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-09-20 17:22 [p.4884]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way for the kind remarks.
Yes, the population of our province is just over 1.1 million. We were stagnant for years under an NDP provincial government. Now we have a progressive government in Saskatchewan and we are open to the world, and it is showing. I imagine when the trade commission went through Saskatchewan and Saskatoon, the glass was half full. They want to trade their product.
I go to major league baseball games in the United States, and one of the greatest thrills I have is getting a hot dog and putting mustard on that hot dog, because I know that mustard came from the province of Saskatchewan. It gives me great pleasure to say I am from Saskatoon in Saskatchewan in major league ballparks.
Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-09-20 17:24 [p.4884]
Mr. Speaker, these businesses are small. Like I just mentioned, in the community of St. Brieux of 600 people, 200 work at Bourgault. They employ a third of the community. Anything that we can do with this TFA to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses, certainly we are all for that.
Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood)
2016-09-20 17:25 [p.4884]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague. I have enjoyed the heritage committee. This is not a heritage issue, although he did bring this up.
For our province, it is simple. We need this agreement. We need the TFA. We need the TPP. With every trade agreement there is good and bad. There is no question about that, but we can work as governments to facilitate and make things easier for every company and country involved in these agreements.
As we mentioned before, there are 81 that have already signed on. We must be quick and sign on to this agreement.
The full debate can be found online at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=42&Ses=1&DocId=8413967