House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farm.

Topics

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, today three representatives of western Canadian organic farmers clearly outlined why they need marketing choice. Arnold Schmidt, John Husband and Eric Leicht gave repeated examples of how members in their organizations had lost sales because of the Canadian Wheat Board.

The board has completely closed its mind to the requests of organic farmers for an exemption. Why is the Canadian Wheat Board minister ignoring his responsibilities and refusing to introduce the changes to the Canadian Wheat Board Act that are necessary for the development of organic farming in western Canada?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I will examine very carefully the testimony of the producers that appeared today. I will make sure that testimony is drawn to the attention of the duly elected producer-directors of the Canadian Wheat Board.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister has not been paying attention to western Canadian farmers. He was not even paying attention to the committee today because the representative of Canadian Wheat Board, Mr. Ken Ritter, was at the committee meeting. It already knows about this.

Western Canadian organic producers want an exemption from this monopoly so that they can market their grain at the highest price possible. The Canadian Wheat Board merely adds costs to marketing. It does not reduce costs. Will the minister do the right thing and give an exemption for organic farmers to market their grain outside the wheat board monopoly?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I have indicated repeatedly that the issue to which the hon. member is referring is a matter that should properly be referred to the directors of the Canadian Wheat Board.

There are 15 members, 10 of which are farmers elected by farmers. Obviously the testimony given by farmers today will be taken very seriously.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are surprised to learn that the democracy clause negotiated in Quebec City is no longer a matter of consensus among the foreign ministers gathered in Costa Rica to follow up the Quebec City summit.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us what happened in Costa Rica, and specifically why there is no longer a consensus on the democracy clause?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is still consensus on a democratic charter. But I can say that, with only six weeks between the Quebec City summit and the conference in Costa Rica, there was not time for all the countries represented at the OAS to obtain the support of their government.

So, it is an ongoing project. There will be another meeting in three months, and the democratic charter will be adopted then.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister, who chaired the Quebec City summit, plan to intervene directly with his counterparts in the other countries to remind them of their commitment to include a democracy clause and make sure that what the minister has just said actually happens?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what the minister has just said is that the ministers are discussing certain procedures to implement the decision taken clearly by all the government leaders at the Quebec City summit.

The democracy clause applies from now on and those who do not maintain democracy in each of the countries of the free trade area of the Americas will be excluded from the agreement.

This principle was clearly established by the heads of government, and I can assure the hon. member that we in Canada, and I in particular, will remind each of the heads of government present in Quebec City of it at every opportunity.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board is on record as telling farmers to grow something other than traditional wheat for export. Yet his legislation is preventing producers from doing just that. The minister's stubbornness is costing farmers money in their time of crisis.

During testimony in committee today organic farmers made it clear that the CWB's board of directors does not represent them. Yet they must submit to its authority.

Why does the minister refuse to allow these farmers who have already diversified into niche markets not serviced by the board the right to market and process their own grain?

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, in terms of other grains, specialty crops, pulse crops and so forth, the Canadian Wheat Board is not involved in that field of marketing activity whatsoever. Its jurisdiction extends only to wheat and barley in particular circumstances.

With respect to organic farmers, a number have expressed the views that have been represented in the House today. Others have expressed other opinions. Obviously both sides need to be weighed very carefully and the ultimate decision making should rest with the duly elected producer board of directors.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, that is classic buck passing. The minister and his board seem to think that organic producers like John Husband are threatening other wheat and barley producers when they ask to opt out of the board's monopoly. This makes no sense when we consider that the board does not even market organic grains.

Could the minister explain why giving organic farmers an exemption from the board system threatens the income of other wheat and barley farmers in western Canada? He has never given us an explanation. Organic farmers deserve one right now.

Canadian Wheat Board
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the detailed explanation has been offered, not by the government, not by bureaucrats, but by the duly elected farmers who serve on the board of directors of the Canadian Wheat Board.

The party opposite has argued in the past for democracy in the administration of the Canadian Wheat Board. The legislation in the last parliament provided that democracy. Now the opposition wants to override that democracy by direct edicts by the Government of Canada.

Water Exports
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Dennis Mills Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Could the minister clarify why an official of his department put out a tender asking for bulk water export valuation?

The valuation of water studies that includes bulk water studies contradicts House of Commons Bill C-6. Does this not create confusion as to what the government's real intention is on bulk water sales?

Water Exports
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I make absolutely clear that there is no change whatsoever in the stated policy of the Government of Canada not to export water. I would go further and say our policy is not to have transfers from one water basin to another and that also remains the policy of the Government of Canada.

At the same time we have a data gathering project to which the member referred which is one of scores and in fact hundreds that take place every year. It is done for other areas of the environment such as waterfowl and wildlife. These studies have proved to be very valuable for conservation measures.

Housing
Oral Question Period

June 7th, 2001 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister responsible for housing will be hanging his head in shame as Canada gives its report on housing to the UN this week. What else could he do given the government's dismal record of cancelled social housing, offloading to the provinces and homelessness?

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why has the government failed on its own commitment to Habitat II and housing for all? When will the government get its priorities straight and provide a real housing program for Canadians who are desperately in need?