House of Commons Hansard #155 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was producers.

Topics

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, first nations across Canada are increasingly developing plans for large scale commercial and industrial development projects. We now have Bill C-71, a first nations led initiative that would enable first nations to increase the number of major commercial and industrial projects on reserves.

Could the parliamentary secretary tell the House how Bill C-71 would improve the quality of life on reserve and help first nations communities build a brighter future?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

London West
Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage all members in the House to actively engage in the movement of this legislation.

The first nations have worked in partnership with the government and have a very direct stake in the proposed legislation and are pursuing opportunities to improve economies and create jobs. The bill would mean more opportunities for well-paying, meaningful jobs on reserve, along with better education and skills training, and a brighter first nations community across the country. I encourage the House to move rapidly.

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Independent

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, on April 27, 2004, the health minister admitted that the Liberal government was open to the public paying for private health care. The use of private for profit companies for nurses, surgery and diagnostic testing increases the costs to the health care system. This also goes against what Canadians want, which is a quality, accessible, not for profit, universal health care system.

Would the Minister of Health explain why the Liberal government is supporting private for profit health care?

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Vancouver South
B.C.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that we have strengthened public health care. We have provided more resources. We are training more doctors. We have more residencies across the country for international medical graduates.

The fact is that it is the NDP that walked into the lap of the Tories who actually want to destroy health care. Now the leader of the NDP is doing the work of the Conservatives in trying to call an election which is unnecessary and no one wants.

Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I read a report today that a Supreme Court vacancy may be filled before the federal election.

Order in Council appointments, on my reading of our conventions, should not be made when there is a question of confidence by the House in the government.

I would refer you, Mr. Speaker, to Pierre Trudeau's minority government in the 1970s when he was advised by the Privy Council Office that during the period of time when there was a question of confidence in his government that had not been settled definitively by the House that he not make order in council appointments.

However I also noted in the report today that the justice minister spokesperson said that the government not only had the legal right to do so when there was a question of confidence but that it had the legal right to appoint a Supreme Court judge during the election period.

I believe that clearly there is a question of confidence in the government today and certainly by next week there will be a question of confidence in the government and we will likely be into an election period. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you consider this a point of privilege in the House that order in council appointments not be made during this time and especially not during the election period.

Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

During question period, in reference to the former president of VIA Rail, Mr. Jean Pelletier, the member for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam used, most likely unintentionally, the word “bandit”.

Even if we are disputing how he did his job, no criminal charges of any kind have been laid against Mr. Pelletier.

I want to give the hon. member the opportunity to withdraw his completely undignified remarks.

Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I did use the word “bandit” in French, which of course means thief, but I was not specifically describing Jean Pelletier. However, if I did use language that was unparliamentary I withdraw it.

Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I believe we will treat that matter as complete.

With respect to the first point of order raised by the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills I am sure he is aware that the Speaker of the House does not decide whether motions before the House are matters of confidence or otherwise. What is more, the Speaker has nothing whatever to do with order in council appointments.

While the hon. member has made a representation that I am sure the Minister of Justice was fascinated to hear, I do not believe it is a matter that either constitutes a point of order or a question of privilege for the Speaker to make any decision on.

I appreciate the opportunity to say so, but I am afraid there is nothing more I can say on that subject.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Supply
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

When the debate was interrupted for question period, the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake had the floor and he has six minutes left in the time allotted for his remarks.

Supply
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to reiterate that I am splitting my time with the hon. member for Central Nova.

Just to bring some clarity back into the discussion, I want to reiterate that the Conservative Party has 24 members here who are farmers or who have been involved in farming. I am one of those individuals who knows that having a successful WTO is going to be vital to the success of my family farm operation.

I also have experience in the dairy industry. I used to be a cattle buyer and used to buy cattle out of dairy farms. I saw how well the dairy industry succeeded because of supply management. We want to ensure that it continues, but there is no doubt that we have to have a successful conclusion to the World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong. Talks may slide into next year, but we have to see this come to a successful resolution.

What we are saying here today is that Canada has to be a leader in this issue. We are the third largest agricultural exporter in the world and yet we are not sitting at the table. The mini-ministerials, the countries directing this discussion, are actually made up of five countries: the U.S.A., the European Union, Australia, Brazil and India. Canada is absent.

We are not there advocating for our farmers. We need to be there advocating that we need sensitive commodities protected where supply management fits in, and that we have to have a successful sensitive commodity definition. We have to have a successful guideline set out as to what percentage of commodities in any given country are allowed to be filed that way and we are not advocating that. We are doing it all through back doors, but we are not being up front and open about it.

We also have to talk about our grains and oilseed producers, our ranchers and hog producers, who need to have increased opportunities from the World Trade Organization. As we heard here in the House today, and we talked about it often throughout this session, the farm income crisis is the worst in history.

The reason that the minister can stand up and say that the government has delivered so much money into farm hands over the last two years is because the crisis is so bad. Even with the money that has been coming out as support payments, we are still in negative margins. Farmers are not making any money.

We have to have a World Trade Organization result that will address the trade and production distorting subsidies that exist in other countries. That is why we have to be at the table with the European and the Americans to ensure that their trade distorting subsidies are removed.

We have to bring down their domestic support to a level that is comparable to what we have here in Canada. We have to ensure that their export subsidies are eliminated, that food aid is only used for actual food aid and not used to dump commodities into other markets like we see around the world and hold back development in those countries.

More important than anything else, we have to have market access. We have to ensure that our producers can access markets that are more profitable, so that we can sell commodities that we grow here and can export. Unfortunately, the motion does not address it. I would love to see the motion amended, so that not only are we committed to supply management but to all of agriculture.

As we stated earlier, only 10% of agriculture in Canada is dependent upon supply management and 90% is dependent upon access to foreign markets. We are exporters of 90% of what we produce, whether it is corn, wheat, barley, beef, pork or bison, we have to have those open markets. We have to ensure we have a successful WTO negotiation.

That is why we have to ensure that we provide direction to our negotiators, have an official Canadian position, and that the position should be that, first, we are supportive of supply management and we want to see it protected under sensitive commodity. Second, we are going to open markets, reduce subsidies and tariffs, and ensure that the rest of agriculture succeeds.

With that type of motion, 100% of agriculture would be taken care of and we would be addressing the entire issue that we want to see as a successful conclusion to the Doha round.

One thing we need to be concerned about, and this was reported today in the Ontario Farmer, is that back in July 2004, during WTO negotiations, there was already an agreement signed by the government that threatened overall supply management in egg, dairy and poultry producers. It committed Canada to reducing tariffs in proportion to reductions made by other countries.

What is said in the Ontario Farmer is that a 10% quota cut is coming down, which is essentially 10% more market access. Combine that with the 12% that we have already lost in imports because of poorly defined definitions out there in things like butter oils and caseinates. We are losing market share in those industries all the time. We have already lost 10% plus 12%, so it is already at 20% access to the supply managed industries. We need to find the tipping point.

Supply
Government Orders

November 22nd, 2005 / 3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Middlesex—Kent—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague's speech and certainly value his input, both at the agriculture committee as well as during this debate.

He indicated in his speech that there were 24 farmers in his caucus and I respect that. We do not have 24 farmers in the Liberal Party. I would like to ask my hon. colleague, during the Conservative convention earlier with the 24 farmers, why did it take an Ontario delegate to put forward a motion, not only to support the goals, but also to support the concept of supply management?

Supply
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that my hon. colleague is a great contributor to our agriculture committee and that she brings her farming background and experience to the committee's work at all times. I want to read what the Conservative Party passed as a resolution that came out of our meeting. It states:

The Conservative Party believes that it is in the best interests of Canada and Canadian agriculture that the industries under the protection of supply management remain viable. A Conservative government will support supply management and its goal to deliver a high quality product to consumers for a fair price with a reasonable return to the producer.

We are 100% behind supply management. We have definitely benefited from the quality food products that are brought forward. I know, from experience, that the product price in the marketplace in Canada versus the United States is very similar. It has done a great job in ensuring that consumers are receiving a quality product at a reasonable and fair market value.

Supply
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague for once again restating the Conservative Party's commitments to farmers, to agriculture, and to the supply management system. I have to give kudos to the member of the Liberal Party who pointed out that this was recently reaffirmed at our policy convention. This is Conservative Party policy and I am delighted that she highlighted that for us.

I want to come back to something the hon. member said, which was the importance of support for our country's position at the World Trade Organization and our support in the international arena for our farmers and agricultural products. He indicated that he believes the federal government is absent from pushing Canadian farm and agriculture issues in the international sphere. I wonder if he would agree with me that there has been an absence of leadership domestically, within Canada.

Let me give an example. We have had three budgets in this country in the last eight months. I defy people to have a look at any of those documents and come away with any inkling that agriculture is a priority with the Liberal Party. I listened to the third budget here within the last week. I did not hear anything about the government's commitment to agriculture or support for any of these things. I do not think anybody heard anything and that is a shame.

We have been pushing for changes to the CAIS program. We want support for the supply management system in this country. We would have liked to have seen changes in federal excise tax as it applies to the wine industry, but we did not hear any of that sort of thing. I wonder if the member would agree with me that not only is there a lack of leadership in the international arena but there is a lack of leadership at the domestic level as well.

Supply
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that farmers have felt abandoned over the last number of years.

We have had three budgets brought forward in the last eight months and not one gave any more money to agriculture. The last two did not even mention it. We have a situation where farmers feel that they have been completely forgotten. They wonder why there is not any support coming. They wonder why there is not any leadership at the WTO.

As the third largest agriculture player in the world, we should be sitting at the table on those mini-ministerials laying out our position, advocating for farmers, and ensuring that we have a position where they are adequately protected and represented. That is not happening. Instead, we want to go behind closed doors and have little private discussions.

We cannot expect the Europeans, Americans, Brazilians, or Indians to say that Canada wants this and that they should bring that forward. That is not going to happen. If we are not at the table negotiating and advocating for our farmers, we will never have the opportunity again. We are abandoning our farmers by not being more active, more aggressive, and ensuring that we have a position where we are going to get the best for our producers.