Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act (Bill C-41)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am slightly off the topic of the Canada-Korea agreement, but I am looking forward to a response from my hon. colleague from Toronto Centre because she made some very important observations about balance of trade issues in the situation with Canadian exporters.

I wonder what the position is of the Liberal Party on the fact that exports from Canada have tilted rather toward raw resource exports and away from manufacturing and value added. My own analysis of the economics of the situation is that we have actually undermined our productivity in doing this because we know the manufacturing sector has a lot more innovation and a lot more R and D than the raw resource sector.

Has she any comment on whether our economy would be healthier if we did more value added prior to export?

Chrystia Freeland: Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree with the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. Part of the reason we are seeing this view, and I emphasize this because it is really important, coming from the business community, among others, that Canada’s export performance is falling behind is because of this balance.

We do not need to shrink from the fact that we are a powerful commodity producer. That is a great thing, but that cannot be the only leg on which our economy stands, particularly because our economic performance has been flattered by high commodity prices, which we cannot count on lasting forever.

In building a stronger export-driven Canadian economy, we have to work harder to be sure that value-added exports are a big part of it, including really high-valued manufacturers.