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  • His favourite word is farmers.

Conservative MP for Battlefords—Lloydminster (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 66.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

International Trade November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, about the only thing in that statement that is correct is that there are hundreds of quality Canadian cheeses produced in our great country. A number of those end up on tables in the European Union, and it is welcoming of our Canadian cheese in the deal we have signed.

We continue to work with the Dairy Farmers of Canada and with the processors on the best way forward, and we will continue that dialogue.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, he just made the point at the end. After 23 years, the points have all been made. No one has changed his or her mind.

The NFU came in many different iterations to committee and said exactly the same thing it had been saying for 23 years. Grain growers of Canada, canola growers, dairy farmers, and all the other relevant groups came forward and said exactly what they had said, that they needed to be competitive, they needed the best, they needed to move forward on this and get it done. That is exactly what we are doing.

We are starting to run government like business. We make a decision, push forward and get it done. We implement it and move forward. That is what this is all about, ensuring that farmers have access to the best varieties and the best programming we can possibly deliver as a government.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am always happy to discuss agriculture with anyone. It is well known in the House that I have been the most lobbied minister for a number of years in a row, simply because we discuss this with every farmer and farm group caring to have a discussion with us.

Therefore, we are accessible, available and we continue to have those meetings, and we will on any legislation that affects farmers.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there is no small or large farmer affected any differently throughout the bill. It is all about economies of scale. Even small farmers need good seeds. It does not matter whether they are planting a garden or planting 10,000 acres, they need good seed and need the best seed that is available out there so they can compete with the farmer down the road, or the farmer in the United States, or the farmer in Australia. That is what this is all about. Even small farmers will benefit from this because they will be have access to that best seed.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as I said, in this legislation, and in some of the other parts that are in it as well, is comprehensive legislation. There have been discussions for over two decades, so it is well known what everyone's opposition and thoughts are in this regard, so I will not say that we need to have more debate.

The problem is the motions that the NDP members put forward, which they want to debate for the rest of time, would gut the bill. They would pull UPOV '91 right out of the bill. That is all it does. We will not tolerate that. We are moving forward.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canada is not an island when it comes to investments by companies developing new seed varieties. We are competing with a number of other venues around the world, so it is very important that we get this passed.

When we started talking about this, and the member for Welland made that point that, we were trying to get this through by August 1. We had some transportation logistics that took the House time, and I thank them for their help on that. However, at the end of the day, we have to get this passed. We have already seen some significant investments from several groups coming to Saskatchewan apparently and developing some of these research farms. We are seeing investments coming through our universities with other people partnering around the world, which is not a bad thing.

The parliamentary secretary also made reference to farmers in Quebec wanting to see this happen. It is not just farmers in Quebec; it is also dairy farmers across Canada who want to see this happen. They are very supportive of this because they know they need the best new corn and alfalfa varieties to keep the animals under their care well fed. Our dairy animals have the best genetics in the world. That is what they require of this, those new varieties, so they want to see this done very quickly too.

I cannot understand why the NDP continues to vote against supply management.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure how the member for Welland knew what I said at committee when he was not even there.

At the end of the day, I do have a couple of things I would like to discuss with him. He talked about this bill. We consider it comprehensive. It is five different parts and pieces that dovetail in with agriculture, so it is a very comprehensive bill. It is not large, rather it is several pages long, so I do not see why anybody would have a problem understanding what is in it.

He talked about existing varieties, and he is right to that extent. He said that it was so easy for companies to deregister, which they can do now as it has nothing to do with this bill. If I as a seed grower or a farmer I want to pick up something that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has deregistered, I can do that. It would cost me $200 through the Canadian Grain Commission. It is not an onerous project or process. It has been done before.

There are a couple of issues with some durum wheat. I remember a few years ago there was a variety that was deregistered. When it is no longer registered, it cannot be put into the system under the old Wheat Board. We have made some changes in that regard too. It is much easier to maintain these historic varieties than it ever was before because we do not have the Wheat Board saying that it is prescriptive. The idea that one can deregister and somehow hide that is no longer on. We can pull that variety back up for that registry fee of $200 and continue to produce those seeds.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his constructive criticism.

It did not surprise me at all that the canola growers would want a bigger program to administer, since they are the ones that administer it. At the end of the day, only 2% of farmers, to date, hit the $400,000 cap. They want me to double it to $800,000 to catch whom? It is the big farmers. The member just made the statement that he wants to ensure that there are still small farmers out there. That is what we are doing by maintaining this cap at $400,000. We changed it from $250,000 under the Liberals to $400,000 when I became minister. We also changed the $50,000 interest free to $100,000 interest free, and we added livestock. We significantly changed this program in the last few years.

To increase it to $800,000, as I said, would only affect 2% of farmers, so that really was not a constructive amendment.

I recognize the great work the canola growers do, but I would not be shocked that they came forward and said, “We want more money to play with”. However, they do not need it. As I said, only 2% of farmers hit the cap now.

On his other point on penalties, which the CCA brought forward, it was a bit of a misunderstanding by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, unfortunately, and the member for Sydney—Victoria has picked it up, in that the federal government only comes into play post farm gate. Everything done on the farm, and these were the examples they gave, was on the farm. They were concerned about the onerous penalties. That is all at provincial level. That is not us at all. There is a bit of misinformation out there that the punitive side of on-farm animal husbandry could go up. That would be up to the provinces, not the federal government.

CFIA, our regulatory agency, only comes into play from transportation from the farm gate on through the processing sector and so forth, so there is a bit of misinformation there.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I completely reject that diatribe, as any clear thinking Canadian would.

Yes, that party brought forward 56 motions on this particular piece of legislation, each one to take a clause out of the bill. Each one of those clauses is pertinent to UPOV '91. All those members are doing under the smokescreen of democracy is pulling out the parts of UPOV '91 that are in this legislation.

We have been 24 years getting it to this point. There has been a lot of discussion. Several bills were tried by the Liberals at different times during their reign here. We are now moving forward. Farmers, now that they have marketing freedom and are moving forward and having access to other markets in the world, will have access to new varieties of seed, not just hard red spring anymore. There will be a lot of utility varieties that are still millable. They will keep the price down yet have a return per acre that is better.

That is what we are seeking to do here. The NDP is seeking to gut the bill. We will not allow that. We will put this legislation forward. We will stand it on its merits out there, and farmers will make use of it or not. This would not affect in any way, shape, or form any types of seeds that are out there already, including heritage seeds and the predominant seeds that are out there now. This is only on new varieties as of when this legislation is passed. That is another thing the NDP gets wrong all the time.

Agricultural Growth Act November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more. We need to talk about agriculture more in the House. It is one of the base industries in this great country. It is the third-largest contributor to our GDP. Our exports are in the $60-billion range. They have gone up exponentially since we formed government, simply because we have gone out there. The Minister of International Trade, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, a number of other ministers, and I have been on the road. The Prime Minister himself, who is the greatest salesman ever when it comes to agricultural goods, just had a successful trip to China. That is another $1.5 billion of new access to that growing market for our commodities.

That is the nature of agriculture in this country. It is innovative. It is lean, mean, and efficient. It needs this type of cutting-edge legislation to allow farmers to continue to move forward.

It is important that the opposition listen to farmers who want to move ahead, not to those who want to move back to the fifties, when grain was dug out of a bin and stuck in the ground. It should listen to those farmers who are excited about the new varieties out there that give them efficiency, ingenuity, and that edge when it comes to competing with other farmers from the U.S., Australia, Argentina, and Brazil.

We need this legislation. We needed it 20 years ago. We did not get it then, but we will get it today.