Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, let me point out the gigantic fallacy in what the parliamentary secretary just offered us. Implicit in everything she said was the idea—and it is not just the one member, but all of those who speak in favour of the treaty—that we could not trade with China or expand our investments in China or expand Chinese investments in Canada without this treaty. That is simply false.
The country in the world with the largest volume of trade with the People’s Republic of China is Australia. Australia has specifically decided never to enter in to an investor state agreement again, not with China, not with other countries. Australia did what Canada has not done. Australia studied the costs and benefits of the kind of treaty that would allow a foreign company, and in the case of the People’s Republic of China, a foreign government, to bring arbitration suits for billions of dollars if they did not like domestic laws passed democratically.
If Australia can attract $60 billion worth of trade with China without an investor state agreement, why on earth are we offering ourselves up as a sacrifice to the People’s Republic of China and potential arbitration suits that will cost us our sovereignty?
Shelly Glover: Mr. Speaker, that member is absolutely wrong. It would not cost us our sovereignty at all.
What the member said about opportunities that exist in Canada for Chinese investors is, in fact, true. However, the problem is that we do not have the same opportunities and the same equality of opportunity for our investors in China. That is why the FIPA is so important. It is to level the playing field and provide equal opportunity in both countries.
When I hear members talk about not proceeding with trade and using examples of countries that have refused to proceed with trade, I am appalled, because we are an exporting country. We must have trade to succeed. We must have trade to have economic growth.
Therefore, I would really urge the member opposite to reconsider her position against all trade, because it is not very much in the interest of Canada or Canadians.