Mr. Speaker, as my colleague mentioned before, I already mentioned my favourite one, which is chapter 19. I am going to leave it at that.
As I said, there was an opportunity right from the start for the government not to insert itself in the process. I really believe that at the end of the day, when Mr. Trump was concerned with tariffs, what he was really concerned about was China.
If we look at what has happened recently with his involvement with China, when he was talking about unfair practices, I do not believe that was ever directed at us.It was mentioned by the minister, when she spoke earlier, that they welcomed the opportunity to jump into this thing.
As a government, Conservatives would have done things differently. We would have been down there right away. We would have said that in terms of some of the issues around China, the issue is not one that they were targeting us on, but they were targeting other people around the world for their unfair practices.
We would have been in there and had a conversation. We would have dealt with this in a way that it would not have formed a crisis manufactured by ourselves that then had to be fixed.
Mr. Speaker, we have worked on a number of files as they relate to trade and all these things.
As I mentioned before in my remarks, there has been a lot of discussion back and forth in the Conservative caucus regarding their support and non-support. I had a chance to talk to stakeholders last summer. I spoke to over 150 myself, and I had a number of other colleagues who were on the road speaking to individuals as well. By and large, all those people said to me that we needed to make sure we had a deal done. The context in which they said that was in eliminating the steel and aluminum tariffs.
When we signed the deal, which the Prime Minister said he would not sign unless steel and aluminum tariffs were done, and that he went ahead and signed anyway, the reality is that businesses needed certainty. Therefore, we were challenged, as the member mentioned. There are a number of issues that we have concerns with. Supply management is certainly one of those issues, in terms of the fact that we have given up the right to export some of the proteins, etc.
However, there is also the fact that they have put provisions on what we are able to do in dealing with a non-market economy, or in this case, China. That will be a bigger issue in terms of sovereignty as we get down the road.
The U.S. has said that if it does not like the deal we create that it can deal with this new deal itself, and that will cause problems.At the end of the day, we are challenged. We realize that this deal is not a good deal. However, it is what stakeholders, businesses and people have told us they need in order to have certainty so they can move forward with their relationships with the U.S.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from New Brunswick Southwest. She is correct that we sit on the trade committee. We have had a number of discussions about how we can help our SMEs do a better job and to access these things.
We can never forget that it was the Conservative government that was the government of trade. It was the Conservative government that worked to get CETA down the road and implemented. I realize that the Liberals came along and helped with the ratification, which we appreciate.
I think that is important.If we look at the TPP, we had a bow on it and it was gift-wrapped. All the Liberals needed to do was to take it across the finish line. However, for a couple of years, they were unsure whether they wanted to do anything. At the end of the day, we got a new deal. The new deal had a new name. Therefore, the only new thing we got was that it is now the CPTPP instead of the TPP.
To answer the member for New Brunswick Southwest, one of the things we did as a government was to promote the trade agenda. We moved it forward to create and access more markets so that our SMEs and other businesses had more opportunities to sell around the world.
Mr. Speaker, as we look at the number of trade irritants we have with the United States, certainly softwood lumber is one that comes to mind. It was one of the things our former prime minister, Mr. Harper, dealt with. We had a deal in place that expired just after the current government came in.
I have heard nothing from the government about its plan or what it would like to do with respect to softwood lumber. It has been languishing for these last three or four years on the issue.Let us look at some of the things that have been going on.
Let us talk about pipelines for a second. The current government likes to talk about all the pipelines we did not build, which is categorically false. We twinned, and did a number of things with at least four pipelines. However, I have not seen anything go in the ground over the last three and a half years. When we talk about our forestry sector, our major concern is that there has been no action on softwood lumber. We thought that with the renegotiation of NAFTA, this would have been front and centre. The government would have recognized that it had to deal with that kind of thing.
However, when I look at the way that these things have been handled—the fact that we had tariffs on steel and aluminum that we did not need to have, because if we had dealt with the issue of safeguards right from the start that would not have been the case—we have gone through pain and suffering.
There has been no mention of what is going to happen with softwood lumber. We see a history of what has happened with this party. As I mentioned in my speech, we see a party that is not prepared to begin the conversation around the renegotiation of NAFTA.
Mr. Speaker, I take exception to some of my colleague’s comments on wine. We are going to have to talk about that later.
NAFTA caused the Canadian industry to step up its game in a big way and, with the help of the government, to pull out some of the stuff they called wine before and plant some newer vinifera varieties.
I asked the minister about the ratification process and the timing. I agree with the member in terms of the confusion or the lack of direction in the U.S. around ratification, as it relates to the Democrats and Mr. Trump. I asked the minister whether something about ratification would happen now or later.
My thoughts are that the Liberals should hold off until the U.S. is actually in a position to move forward so we do not play all our cards and box ourselves into a position.
Does the member believe that the Liberals are looking to ratify this as a way to show in the window for the next election “Look at us; we’ve ratified it”, even though that is disingenuous, given the fact that there is so much uncertainty in the U.S. right now?