Promoting Canada and Northeastern BC to Our American Neighbours
As the Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River, I have the great honour of representing our region and being your voice on the issues that matter most to you. Most of the time this is done in Ottawa or in our riding, but every so often I get to travel abroad to ensure our region’s interests are heard. In early February I had the opportunity to travel to Washington with fellow Member of Parliament Rob Merrifield to meet with several Senators and Congressmen to promote Canada and Northeastern BC and discuss trade issues.
During these meetings, we took the opportunity to discuss the need to continue to have a good trading relationship with the United States. We expressed our concerns with protectionist measures, such as the previously proposed Buy American provisions. History has shown that these types of measures can stall growth and kill jobs, and at a time of continued economic uncertainty, both nations need to continue to have an open trading relationship.
We also outlined how a key part of our Government’s Economic Action Plan is to broaden and strengthen our trade and investment relationships around the world. We discussed Canada’s formal entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, as well as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement currently being negotiated between our Government and the European Union. At the same time, we once again reiterated our commitment to continuing to have an open trade relationship with the United States.
Other topics which were discussed during these meetings included the need to support the responsible development of North America’s natural resources, encouraging the continued purchase of Canadian resources and products such as beef, and the positive effects our competitive tax regime has had on the Canadian economy.
Further, I had the opportunity to catch up with former US Ambassador David Wilkins who I first met on his trip to our riding in 2007.
On the final morning of our trip we joined thousands of guests and dignitaries for the 61st National Prayer Breakfast at which President Obama spoke of the need for humility in both public and private life. The breakfast also provided me with the unique opportunity to meet with many representatives from around the world to promote our region.
There were countless conversations about the positive view other countries have of Canada. From our economic record at the top of the G7 to our peacekeeping efforts, but most of all our helpful, warm Canadian ‘personality’.
Good relationships don’t happen by accident. And that’s why I believe that it is important to continue to foster a close trade relationship with our neighbours to the south.
The Canada-U.S. relationship is the closest and most prosperous of any in the world. Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement came into force in 1989, Canada’s annual GDP has risen by $1.1 trillion, nearly 4.6 million jobs have been created in Canada, and two-way trade in goods and services with the United States has more than tripled.
However, Canada is not immune to global challenges from beyond our borders. We all know that Canada’s economy will be impacted by the health of our most important trading partner. That is why we must continue to engage constructively with the United States as we look to create more jobs, hope, and opportunity in our two great nations.