Calls for Opposition Support of Bilateral FTAs

by 5m Editor
13 March 2012, at 10:18am

CANADA - Canada's Regional Minister for Manitoba is calling on the official opposition to support the establishment of new bilateral free trade agreements, writes Bruce Cochrane.

On Friday, the federal government announced it will provide Maple Leaf Foods just over 4.5 million dollars to help it upgrade its pork processing plants in Brandon and Winnipeg, including the installation of new line processing, heat recovery, and packaging equipment, as well as new value-added production lines.

Vic Toews, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Regional Minister for Manitoba, says the improvements will help Maple Leaf take advantage of new international marketing opportunities.

Vic Toews-Canada's Reginal Minister for Manitoba

Essentially what we believe that this is going to do is improve operational efficiency, it's going to reduce cost and indeed increase revenue through the adoption of value added activities.

In all respects this is going to make Maple Leaf a more competitive company internationally.

Of course the Government of Canada is also doing its share in trying to open up markets around the world.

We are very aggressively moving forward on free trade initiatives.

I know that both Minister Ritz and Minister Fast, who's responsible for International Trade, have focused on opening up these markets.

What we are very concerned about is the lack of support by the official opposition, the NDP, to support our trade initiatives.

They have consistently voted against all of the free trade agreements that we have initiated and that is a lot of concern.

I think at this time in a very fragile global economy we would appreciate the support of the NDP in terms of helping us open up these markets.

Mr Toews says Canada has been successful in reaching agreements with Japan and China and right now the focus is on the European Union as well as Korea.