Question Period: International Trade

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, my question for the Prime Minister is about an investor state agreement that was tabled with the House in February. It is with the west African country of Benin. Benin has a gross domestic product of $7 billion. We can compare and contrast it to the People’s Republic of China, which is $7 trillion, yet this tiny West African country has negotiated far better terms that are much more protective of domestic health, environment and labour legislation in an investor state conflict than what Canada negotiated.


Why is this? Why could we not negotiate as good a deal as Benin got from us?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Speaker, once again, as I think I have said many times before, Canada’s economic relationship with China is very important. China is the second-largest economy in the world and growing. I note that Canadian businesses, Canadian investors and Canadians generally have welcomed the fact that we will have legal protections in our dealings with China.