Greater economic freedom and freer flow of goods have in no small part shaped the prosperity Canadians enjoy today.

I’m proud of the record of the last Conservative government in signing new free trade deals with almost 40 countries, including one of the largest in Canadian history, the European Free Trade Agreement.

We must continue to pursue economic opportunities that can benefit Canadian businesses and consumers.

Throughout my 30-year career in business and finance, I worked for 8 years in Asia, part of which, I served as Senior VP of HSBC in Singapore.

I am keenly aware of the abundant economic opportunities that the Asia Pacific offers.

However, it’s no secret that China is not a free market economy.

Many Conservatives disagree with the Liberals’ plans to open up free trade with China.

Signing a free trade deal with China would open up Canada’s utilities, industries and natural resources to a massive insurgence of Chinese ownership and control.

It also creates some significant challenges for establishing a free trade agreement with reciprocal obligations and benefits. You need only look at Australia’s free trade agreement with China to see some major immigration questions that don’t have answers yet.

This is a dangerous route to trade, with some major imbalances that would put Canada in a vulnerable position:

  • over 80% of China’s business revenue is generated by state-owned enterprises,
  • China’s foreign currency restrictions make it slow and difficult for business to move capital out of China,
  • China maintains heavy restrictions on foreign investment but expects unfettered access in other countries,
  • China has now passed Canada as the America’s largest trading partner and has passed the US and Germany’s largest partner,
  • China will shortly become the world’s largest investor in other countries, part of China’s near complete eclipse of US economic power.

In the recently signed China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, China has also demanded unlimited visas to import Chinese labour for Chinese investments in Australia over $150 million. These types of demands have complex implications which have negatively impacted the domestic labour force in some African countries with which China has similar agreements.

Canadians are rightly concerned about protecting our businesses and market from this kind of imbalance.

Unfortunately, one of the leadership candidate, Mr. Bernier, supports pursuing a free trade deal with China despite the many unanswered questions.

A Saxton Government would pursue the Chinese economic opportunity through negotiating a multilateral agreement, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, that would counteract the power imbalance with China.

A Saxton Government would also continue to actively pursue free trade deals with countries with similar customs, laws, and values of human rights, such as the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

Mr. Bernier’s ideas lack detail and consideration for the consequences of his policies.

For the Conservatives, the consequences of simplistic proposals is more time in Official Opposition.

When Conservatives make pie-in-the-sky promises, we jeopardize the faith that Canadians put in us.

But the good news for you is that there is a path to fiscal conservatism that leads to victory in 2019.

Let’s get back to basics – join me in bringing common sense policies back to Ottawa in 2019.