It's been a very busy autumn for Liberal Scott Brison, who not only was busy travelling the globe in his role as international trade critic, which was capped off by organising a non-partisan day of round-table talks on trade issues, which happened here on the Hill this past Monday. But he's also mentioned how he's looking forward to spending time back home now that Parliament is about to rise for the winter break.
Q: How did your trade day go on Monday?
A: We had an exceptional day, Monday. The type of event was unprecedented on Parliament Hill. In this toxic Parliament, we were able to have a non-partisan forum on an important issue facing Canada, and that is of international trade. This is particularly important at a time when Canada has its first trade deficit in thirty years. Clearly we need to strengthen our ability to defend our interests in the US, but we also need to diversify our trade interests to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world – economies like China and India particularly. Some of Canada’s finest public servants participated in the conference. We had the former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark, former Premier of Quebec Pierre Marc Johnson. We also had former deputy ministers like Peter Harder, and former ambassadors like Peter Sutherland, former ambassador to India, and Ron Wright, former ambassador to China. It was an interesting contrast that we engaged some of the best and brightest minds and public servants on these important issues during a period when the Harper government has been attacking our diplomats. It was very successful, and we are developing some very solid ideas that will result from this.
Q: This morning at his end of year press conference, Jack Layton declared victory on stopping the Free Trade agreement to Colombia, so I thought I’d get your reaction to that.
A: I’d suggest that there’s blood on Jack Layton’s hands, because most of the violence against union leaders in Colombia, most of the violence against Colombians is emanating from the drug trade. And it’s globo-phobic, socialist luddites like Jack Layton who refuse to provide any legitimate economic opportunity to the emerging economies like Colombia who are forcing people into that drug trade. Jack Layton is economically illiterate. Jack Layton wouldn’t know a stock from a sock. He doesn’t understand trade, he’s opposed to all trade agreement, and as such, his opposition to the Colombia FTA is an ideological opposition. He and the other branch of the NDP, known as the Council of Canadians, continue their campaign against all free trade agreements. Most Canadians understand that Canada is a trading nation – that’s why they’ll continue to reject Jack Layton and his demagoguery when it comes to trade issues.