June 23rd, 2024

Motz calls for immediate trade action

By Collin Gallant on July 21, 2018.


cgallatn@medicinehatnews.com
@CollinGallant

The region’s Member of Parliament says action is needed in the Commons this summer on a lingering trade pact with Asian nations, trade in general, pipeline development and border security.

“I’d even give up pancakes to knock a few of these things off,” said Glen Motz, the MP in Medicine Hat where the first of many of Stampede breakfasts next week gets underway Saturday.

On Thursday, Motz joined Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer’s call for a resumption of parliament and quick passage of the Transpacific Partnership, now known as the CPTPP.

That could boost trade into Canada by C$20 billion over 20 years, he said, and count as a much needed win as trade talks linger on with the United States and Mexico.

“We need to get a free trade agreement done,” said Motz on Friday. “We’re in stall-mode on NAFTA, the (CPTPP) is a great opportunity for our country.

“Conservatives signed it in 2015, and it has benefits across the country and (helped) our producers to get to international markets.”

The Harper Conservatives announced the deal, while the final text was being written. Passage in each of 11 nations in the trade group is required.

It was introduced this spring in the Commons, which is now on summer recess.

“The Commons could take care of it in a couple of days,” said Motz.

That agreement, known and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TransPacific involves Pacific Rim nations. It originally involved the United States in early discussions, but also Australia, Chile, Malasia, Vietnam and Mexico, among others, and would only come into effect when six of 11 current partners sign on.

Opponents, including labour groups and left-leaning think tanks, say the correlated opening of the Canadian border to more imports could further damage manufacturing and result in job losses.

In terms of the agriculture sector, tariffs on shipments to Japan, which buys C$4.3 billion in Canadian food each year, would drop by one third immediately, then be eliminated over 20 years.

All tariffs with disappear to New Zealand and Australia, and barriers would drop to Mexico, another major destination for Canadian ag production.

Specific to Alberta, CPTPP nations buy C$2.1 billion annually in pork, beef, wheat and other grain, according to Ottawa, but only C$200 million in petroleum products.

The goal of moving more oil, gas and refined products is also a subject that requires discussion, said Motz.

This week’s federal cabinet shuffle puts the Natural Resources portfolio, including the TransMountain Pipeline issue, under Edmonton-area MP Amarjeet Sohi. He was the former Infrastructure Minister. Former minister Jim Carr takes over an augmented international trade ministry.

“It’s a course correction that doesn’t inspire confidence,” said Motz, a deputy shadow cabinet minister for public safety, who has been staunchly critical of the government’s handling of illegal border crossings.

He also backed Conservative MP Michelle Rempel’s call for resumption of immigration committee work to tackle the issue.

The cabinet change moves the border security file as well as organized crime away from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and under the auspices of Liberal MP and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair.

“He’s got a full plate, it will have to be his top focus,” said Motz.

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