House of Commons Hansard #202 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was dairy.

Topics

Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to committee.)

Canadian Dairy Commission Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Richmond
B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan for Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

moved that Bill C-86, an act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act, be read the second time and referred to committee.

Canadian Dairy Commission Act
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Prince Edward—Hastings
Ontario

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak today in support of Bill C-86, an act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act, and to urge speedy passage of this important bill and the amendments it brings forward to this act.

This government is strongly committed to building our vision of a growing, competitive, market oriented agriculture and agri-food sector. Canada's dairy industry is a key component of that sector. Trade and market development, both here at home and abroad, are crucial to achieving the sustainable growth necessary to allow this vision to materialize for dairy producers, processors, and further processors in the industry.

In recent years value added exports have grown steadily in importance for the dairy sector. I would like to add as well at this time that I commend those in the dairy industry for the approach and the actions they are taking in meeting the challenges that are coming forward, the competition that is there, and the way in which they are able to meet that competition and competitiveness in the export markets with the use of these amendments.

Market realities call for changes in the way dairy stakeholders do their business. It is essential to facilitate industry driven marketing approaches in the new GATT environment. With the passage of the amendments before us in this bill, we will enable the Canadian dairy sector to meet some of these new challenges. These amendments will allow for the maintenance of a successful, effective, and equitable framework for the orderly marketing of milk and other dairy products in Canada and beyond our borders, a framework developed and supported by the industry. I repeat that it has been developed and supported by the industry itself.

Bill C-86, along with this amendment, to the Canadian Dairy Commission Act was given first reading here in this place on April 28. It will provide the necessary federal legislative authority to permit the Canadian Dairy Commission, in close co-operation with the provinces, to implement a national milk pricing system with the pooling of market returns from different classes of milk and use. No cost to government is involved in these amendments.

This new strategy conforms with Canada's trade commitments under NAFTA and the WTO agreements. It will provide a mechanism for the Canadian dairy industry to continue to supply important export and domestic markets for dairy products and products containing dairy ingredients, while at the same time maintaining the equity that is inherent in the current supply management regime.

Under the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, which has been incorporated into the North American free trade agreement, or NAFTA, as we know it, export subsidies are not permitted on bilateral trade in agricultural products. Also, under the World Trade Organization agreement, which was implemented on January 1, 1995, the definition of export subsidies includes producer-financed export assistance. Therefore, as of August 1, 1995, the current system of using producer levies to finance dairy product exports to the United States will be prohibited. The ability to use levies to finance dairy product exports to other destinations is also gradually being reduced in volume and dollar terms under the WTO agreement.

Currently, through levies, milk producers across Canada share the costs associated with the export of dairy products not required for domestic consumption.

These levies also currently provide the funds that are needed to facilitate the payment of rebates to further processors of products containing dairy ingredients. Such rebates have been

necessary to assist further processors using dairy ingredients to successfully compete in domestic and export markets and to assist exporters of primary dairy products to be competitive on the export market.

The Canadian Dairy Commission administers these export and rebate initiatives on behalf of the dairy industry. These costs have always been considered to be a necessary part of managing the milk marketing system in Canada as a whole. The issue of equity between producers is central to the current milk marketing system in Canada and is preserved in the new pricing and pooling approach that will be enabled by this bill.

Equity is currently maintained through the payment of levies on every hectolitre of milk produced in Canada. Each province's current levy obligation is calculated by the commission on the basis of total fluid and industrial milk production. Levies are collected by provincial marketing boards and agencies through the deductions from producer milk payments and are remitted to the commission.

If Bill C-86 is not implemented by August 1, important dairy exports to the United States using producer financed levies will be in jeopardy. Furthermore, while export subsidies by levies to other destinations could continue for now, these subsidized shipments will also have to be reduced over time.

Canadian further processors, such as Hershey Limited in the nearby city of Smith Falls, De Tomasso Limited in Montreal, or McCains in New Brunswick, which use dairy inputs and products such as condensed milk, butter, and mozzarella in their chocolate and pizza products, for example, rely on U.S. exports to maintain the competitiveness of their Canadian production facilities. These companies, which employ thousands of Canadians, must continue to be able to obtain dairy ingredients at world price levels if they are to continue to successfully compete on the export market and to be competitive with the imports on the domestic market.

Pricing these dairy inputs at the producer level at U.S. competitive prices would eliminate the need for charging levies to producers and paying rebates to processors and would thus be a GATT-WTO acceptable method of maintaining this U.S. export activity. However, without the approach of pooling producer returns, which is enabled by this bill, Bill C-86, there would be no way of maintaining the producer equity that is achieved through the current levy system.

Without being able to pool returns on a national basis, milk producers in provinces where more Canadian processing and further processing activity takes place would be particularly impacted by the reduced market returns involved.

Under the amendments proposed in this bill, the levy system as it applies to milk marketed in interprovincial and export trade would be replicated through the creation of special milk classes where prices would be set at competitive market of destination levels and through pooling of the returns from those markets.

To maintain equity among producers across the country, milk revenues will be pooled and redistributed to producers through the Canadian Dairy Commission and provincial authorities according to terms agreed upon by the industry and the provincial authorities and set out in federal-provincial agreements.

In order to enable the Canadian Dairy Commission to administer such a pooling system for producers, certain federal and provincial administrative powers must be dovetailed legislatively. Most provinces currently have legislation authorizing pricing and pooling of returns on milk sold within their boundaries. The Canadian Dairy Commission requires similar pricing and pooling powers for milk sold across provincial boundaries and for exports. The commission must also be provided with the authority to both delegate and receive these new pricing and pooling powers from the provincial authorities. Such dovetailing of federal and provincial authorities does not involve any encroachment on current provincial powers.

The principal amendments to the Canadian Dairy Commission Act contained in this bill provide the commission with the legal administrative authority to calculate the average national price level for the milk classes whose returns will be pooled. Also it allows them to obtain the returns from sales to processors through the provinces and redistribute the returns to producers through provincial authorities on an equitable basis as per the terms of the formal federal-provincial agreements.

As I indicated earlier, the same effect is now being achieved through the producer levy system which finances such initiatives as the Canadian Dairy Commission's dairy product export assistance program; the rebate program for further processors and the butterfat utilization program.

Other amendments contained in Bill C-86 enable the dairy commission to recover pooling administration costs from funds generated by the pool itself; to establish a special bank account to deal solely with the producer moneys entering and leaving the pool; allow the commission to return any excess fees or levy funds to producers; permit the commission to establish a line of credit to ensure continuity of producer payments and strengthen the enforcement provisions of the act.

The price discrimination and pooling system approach that it will enable by Bill C-86 was developed through extensive dairy

stakeholder consultation and negotiations and is supported by provincial agriculture and agri-food ministers.

I have a number of letters of support from provincial governments, milk producers, organizations and provincial boards from across the country, from Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C., the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the UPA and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. They all support this bill and ask us to move it through this place and the other place as quickly as possible.

For the past two years stakeholders have dedicated extensive time and effort to develop a means of keeping in step with and responding successfully to all of the changes taking place in the domestic and international marketplace. Several working groups and committees, including the diary industry strategic planning committee, the negotiating subcommittee and the policy and all milk pooling committees, have all been established under the auspices of the Canadian milk supply management committee.

The committee oversees the application of a national milk marketing plan, the federal-provincial agreement which governs milk supply management in Canada. Chaired by the Canadian Dairy Commission, the Canadian milk supply management committee has representation from producers and governments from all provinces except Newfoundland, which is not a signatory to the national plan because it does not produce significant amounts of milk used in the industrial product sector. National processor and consumer groups also participate in the nationwide forum.

The federal-provincial task force on orderly marketing also reviewed the progress made by the dairy sector in defining a new framework for sustainable, orderly marketing. Last December ministers of agriculture and agri-food were advised of the industry's recommendation that national price discrimination be endorsed as the only viable option to continue current programs designed to export to the United States and maintain domestic markets facing import competition, and that the preferable method of sharing returns from price discrimination at the national level. The method that is equitable and GATT acceptable is the pooling of returns from all milk classes.

Ministers subsequently supported this approach and directed that amendments to the Canadian Dairy Commission Act be developed to provide for a national pooling of milk returns to delegated administrative functions.

The bill before us today is the culmination of this comprehensive, consultative process. Through the system enabled under Bill C-86, the dairy sector is adapting to a changing business environment. I congratulate it for doing that.

Dairy stakeholders have developed a flexible and more market oriented approach that will set the industry on a viable course for the long term. The approach will also encourage greater co-operation among provincial milk marketing boards, agencies and processors in developing new markets for Canadian dairy ingredients and products.

I urge all members and all parties in the House to give these amendments speedy consideration and passage so that we can continue to have a growing and strong dairy industry in this country.

Canadian Dairy Commission Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Before giving the floor to our colleague from Frontenac, I wish to advise him that the Chair will have to interrupt him to allow oral question period to proceed but that he will get to complete his speech afterwards.

Canadian Dairy Commission Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Frontenac, QC

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the clarification. I will of course comply.

I would like mention right away that five of my colleagues will join me in debate on Bill C-86, a bill of major importance for Quebecers in our view. I will be supported by the hon. members for Champlain, Lotbinière, Québec-Est, Matapédia-Matane and Mégantic-Compton-Stanstead throughout the day and tomorrow, if need be, as I put across our views on Bill C-86, which, I must tell you right away, we will be supporting. We do not have any amendment to put forth at this time. I can therefore assure the hon. member for Prince Edward-Hastings of our full support.

The GATT negotiations in Geneva led dairy producers a merry dance. Negotiations concerning article XI in particular, as well as discussions about maintaining a supply management system did not give much comfort to dairy producers.

I remember attending, in December 1993, a few weeks after this government took office, a large meeting with some dairy producers from my riding. The meeting was held in Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, in the riding of the independent member for Beauce. There were between 500 and 600 farm producers in attendance, and they sounded quite worried. This meeting was chaired by the chief economist of the UPA in Quebec, Yvon Proulx, assisted by two other persons.

I must say that three questions were asked over and over by our dairy producers. The first question of particular interest to them was this: Will supply management with respect to milk be maintained?

I clearly remember the answer chief economist Proulx gave them at the time, as it left me wondering. He said something like this: "My friends, if you want supply management, you can

have it. If you exercise self-discipline, we can have a well-disciplined dairy policy in Quebec and Canada".

He managed to give some reassurances to the producers, who feared among other things that producers could decide overnight to increase their dairy herd, or that those running a cow-calf operation could suddenly decide to start dairy production to supplement their income.

Another matter of concern to producers was quota value. I remember one producer saying: "I could have sold my farm for $1.5 million last fall. Will I be able to sell it for the same price with these declining quota values?" Of course, the question remains unanswered. It was not answered in October 1993. Just this week, I read in La terre de chez nous an article by none other than the president of the union representing agricultural producers in the Châteauguay valley, Peter Bienz, who figured out that his dairy quota was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and who is most interested in what will happen to the value of his quota.

A milk quota is only a work permit, a piece of paper, a certificate which says, for example, that so-and-so has the right to produce 12,000 kilos of milk fat per year. Our agricultural producers are extremely concerned about the monetary value of this piece of paper, which is now so valuable in Quebec, because many of them see it as their pension fund. They are not like MPs who, after sitting in the House of Commons for six years and reaching the age of 55, as provided in the new bill under consideration, can receive a pension for life, which, all in all, is quite reasonable after spending six years in this House. Unfortunately for them, farmers do not enjoy the same perks. They equate their pension fund with the value of their quotas, so I hope that this value will not be slashed.

Finally, another question of concern to farm producers was the following: Will the proposed import tariffs ranging from 181 to 350 per cent remain the same?

Mr. Speaker, I see that the time is passing very quickly and, with your permission, I would like to stop now and resume my speech after Question Period.

Canadian Dairy Commission Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Yes, my dear colleague, you may resume your speech after Question Period. You will be first.

It being 2 o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to statements by members.

Street Kids International
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Barry Campbell St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I met recently with four high school students from my riding representing Street Kids International, an organization which raises awareness about human rights abuses perpetrated against the most defenceless segment of society, our children.

During our meeting, these young students pointed out Guatemala's, Brazil's and Colombia's flagrant violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. For a government to order that homeless children be killed because they are seen as harmful to society is totally unacceptable to Canadians.

As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Canadian government must make every effort to ensure respect for the rights of children whatever their nationality and wherever they live. It is a matter of justice and human dignity.

Minister Of Labour
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Réjean Lefebvre Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, now we know what cynicism really is. After relentlessly condemning the federal government's interference in the health sector, and after strongly criticizing the national standards imposed by that same government, the Minister of Labour is now making an about face and claiming that Quebecers want national standards.

She says that the government must make sure that everyone can benefit from the social programs which give Canada its distinct character.

What irony. After defending the idea of Quebec as a distinct society, which implied the rejection of Canada-wide standards, the minister now claims to want to protect Canada's distinct society with these same standards.

This is mind boggling.

Gun Control
Statements By Members

May 16th, 1995 / 1:55 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the more Ontarians learn about the Liberal gun control bill the more they oppose it. They oppose the bill because gun registration has never proven to decrease crime. It failed in New Zealand and Australia. They oppose the bill because it contains draconian search and seizure measures like those of a totalitarian state. They oppose the bill because the consultation process was non-existent at worst and haphazard at best. They oppose the bill because it will cost between $100 million and $500 million of scarce taxpayers' money. They oppose the bill because they want real reduction in crime and not a made in Ottawa solution that will not work.

If Ontario MPs fail to represent their constituents and oppose Bill C-68, the old saying about safety in numbers will fail to apply to Ontario's voice in Ottawa.

Technology
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the business and professional organizations of my riding that assembled recently in an attempt to explore opportunities to enhance democracy through the use of new technologies.

I have made a personal commitment to consultation in my riding and this initiative is another step in refining the process. The brainstorming session that took place covered all areas of technology with representatives from cable, computer, software, hardware, communications and telecommunications industries.

I anticipate great things as a result of the gathering with more access available to the public policy development process and a real economic development benefit to the high tech centre of Atlantic Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick.

I thank everyone who came out and look forward to future developments as we continue to explore technological opportunities to our mutual advantage.

Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to understand why rBST is needed in Canada, a country that produces dairy products of the highest international quality.

The National Dairy Council of Canada is strongly opposed to rBST. It refers to it as being an unneeded and unwanted intrusion into its business that offers no benefits whatsoever to consumers and processors.

Dairy cows injected with rBST are at greater risk of developing mastitis, a condition requiring the use of antibiotics. This will increase the dumping and waste of milk and potentially can lead to increased levels of antibiotic residues in milk for antibiotics that escape current detection methods.

Some researchers are concerned with the possible link between rBST and human health risks. I urge Health Canada to extend the moratorium on rBST. By waiting until conclusive independent studies have been completed Health Canada will have protected the health of Canadians.

Research In Motion
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House of the Canadian Advanced Technology Association 1995 Award of Distinction being awarded to Research in Motion of Waterloo.

The CATA award for outstanding product achievement was presented to RIM in recognition of its exceptional contribution to the growth and competitiveness of Canada's advanced technology industry. The award was presented to RIM at the Global Connections Conference on May 3 to May 5, 1995 in Calgary.

Research in Motion represents the best that Canada has to offer in the new economy. RIM is a 100 per cent Canadian owned, export oriented, high technology company operating in the wireless data communications sector.

RIM's CATA award is the second award given to a Waterloo company in as many years. Mortice Kerns Systems won the 1994 award for its Internet anywhere software which eases access to the Internet.

The federal riding of Waterloo is in the heart of Canada's technology triangle and is a critical mass for technological innovation. Research in Motion is to be congratulated for its achievements as a leading edge Canadian company competing in a global stadium and bringing home the gold.

Program For Older Worker Adjustment
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, while Ottawa keeps procrastinating regarding the Program for Older Worker Adjustment, the Quebec government is taking concrete action. Yesterday, Quebec labour minister, Louise Harel, announced that her department would help older workers who are victims of mass layoffs but are not eligible to POWA.

For five years now, the Quebec government has been asking that the program be amended, since many older workers are not eligible because of criteria which are too restrictive. When they were in opposition, the federal Liberals strongly supported Quebec's claims. However, now that they are in office, they are not following up on their stance.

Once again, to ensure fair treatment to all Quebecers, the provincial government is forced to go ahead without federal financial support, in spite of the fact that Quebecers pay close to $30 billion in taxes every year.

Trans-Canada Highway
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the prairie provinces 113 kilometres of Trans-Canada Highway from Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, to the Alberta border is still two lanes. In the last 15 years that

stretch of winding hilly goat paths has claimed 23 lives and 320 people have been injured.

Twinning would cost $35 million. Last fall Saskatchewan had its money on the table but Transport Canada would not pony up its share.

Each year the federal government collects $5 billion in road fuel taxes and puts only 10 per cent of it back into the national highway system. There seems to be no limit to funds for hockey rinks, swimming pools and silly bureaucratic projects like universal firearms registration but nothing for this long overdue investment in essential infrastructure, an investment that would save lives.

Priorities, boys and girls, priorities.

Bill C-72
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rex Crawford Kent, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again Henri Daviault, the man charged with sexual assault of an elderly disabled woman, was acquitted by using drunkenness as a defence.

After consuming an enormous amount of alcohol this man dragged the victim out of her wheelchair and sexually assaulted her. Despite the fact that the crime was committed, the courts determined that Mr. Daviault was too drunk to know what he was doing.

His acquittal has rightfully angered many Canadians. I have received a petition of several hundred names from the Sexual assault crisis centre of Chatham-Kent. Every signature demonstrates the frustration with the justice system and proves that Bill C-72 is needed and applauded by many.

Each time Mr. Daviault was acquitted of this hideous crime the dissenting judges commented that Parliament was free to deal with the matter of intoxication and criminal fault. That is exactly what the government is doing.

I rise in support of the bill and hope its passage will help in strengthening our justice system.