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

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, throughout the member’s speech I sensed a note of regret that the official opposition is supporting this treaty, given the impact it is likely to have on the car sector within Canada. I have also read through the briefs presented by Unifor and heard its deep concern that this would expand the trade deficit between Canada and Korea, and allow Korean vehicles to flood the Canadian market, while we mostly export more raw materials toward South Korea.

I wonder if the hon. member is a reluctant supporter of this treaty, as his speech tended to suggest. Why would he not join the Greens and vote against it?

Matthew Kellway:Mr. Speaker, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands mistakes my concerns, I am afraid, and I will take responsibility for that.

I stand in support of the agreement. It is qualitatively different from the deals that have come before, that the government has negotiated previously.

However, I think it is worthwhile in the context of having a debate on this issue in the House to raise the important questions that this bill raises. What is the broader economic policy context for this bill? Where is the policy or strategy that reflects the desire to ensure we can compete in terms of innovation, for example? Where is the policy and strategy that ensures all can participate in the economic benefits of this agreement?

What I got from the government is that simply dropping trade barriers seems to be enough for it, and what happens thereafter is somehow magic.

I support the freer trade agreement with South Korea, but it does raise the question for the auto sector and more broadly. What is the broad economic vision for this country? I would point to my neck of the woods, my neighbourhood, where we see the legacy of a strong industrial Canada that is now covered over with big-box stores and dollar stores, and where people are struggling to make a living.

I would ask the government what it is going to do about that.