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NDP MP for Welland (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 42.20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With respect to changes to Canada’s food safety laws: (a) what is the status of regulations requiring better labelling of food safety risks caused by meat tenderization and related processing techniques; (b) what communications and consultations have taken place with industry in the last year regarding these new regulations; (c) what compliance rates have been measured in regard to the new regulations; (d) what is the status of new regulations developed in regards to ensuring better traceability for Canadian fresh produce and meat products; (e) what is the status of the implementation of regulations related to Bill S-11, the Safe Food For Canadians Act; (f) what has been the cost of developing new regulations related to Bill S-11; (g) what is the status of the implementation of all of the the recommendations to improve food safety that were outlined in the Weatherill report; (h) what are the names and costs of food safety programs that will sunset in the years 2014 and 2015; and (i) who was consulted with regards to new regulations related to the implementation of Bill S-11?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With respect to the interim Canadian Wheat Board (CWB): (a) what is the salary range afforded to the executive management of the interim CWB; (b) what information does the government possess as to the bonuses, benefits, fees, and other forms of compensation are the members of the executive management receiving; (c) what information does the government possess as to the bonuses, benefits, fees, and other forms of compensation will the members of the executive management receive upon the transfer of the interim CWB to new ownership; and (d) what commitments have been made regarding bonuses, benefits, fees, and other forms of compensation for the members of executive management after the transfer of the interim CWB to new ownership?

Julia Turner December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, next Tuesday, December 16, the Welland minor hockey midget teams will join members of the community for a good old hockey game and to remember the life of Julia Turner. Julia tragically lost her life to cancer three years ago at the age of 15. She was an avid hockey fan and worked at the arena every Sunday night, where she would watch her friends play. Now, every year, her friends come together to play in her memory. They all wear purple, Julia's favourite colour.

Julia was committed to helping those less fortunate in our community. She was so young, but for much of Julia's life she gave selflessly to her community. To celebrate her life and work, those who attend are asked to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the HOPE Centre in Welland, a cause that was very special to Julia.

I would like to thank the organizers of Julia's hockey night in Welland, especially her family and friends, for their touching tribute to a remarkable young woman. I would also like to remind all members of the House and all Canadians to think of those less fortunate as we enter the holiday season, and perhaps to donate to a local food bank. I know Julia would be smiling on all of us.

Canadian Wheat Board December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the idea that the folks who wanted to make the bid would impose timelines on themselves so that they could derail their own bid makes perfect sense, especially from this minister.

The Wheat Board's assets are public. They should be for sale and they should actually benefit farmers, but the board's management seems determined not to sell the assets to interested farmers. It seems it would prefer to give a sweetheart deal to a foreign multinational.

Would the minister state, for the House and for the record, if he is aware of any kind of bonus, special compensation, or incentive that would go to the executive management of the Canadian Wheat Board?

Canadian Wheat Board December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in October, when Farmers of North America expressed interest in buying the Wheat Board's assets, Conservatives said, “Well, there's no time”, but then they changed their minds and said, “Oh, we'll give you a month.”

A month to put a bid as complex as that together was hardly enough time, so guess what? The bid was rejected.

However, when private companies were allowed to bid on it, guess what? There was no timeline.

The CWB is still considering offers from private companies, so why did Conservatives impose a timeline on farmers but not on multinational corporations? Why does the current minister not want farmers to own the Canadian Wheat Board?

Canadian Wheat Board December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we are actually ideologically in favour of transparency, and we want to see some transparency from the government for a change.

Are the Conservatives going to give the assets away, yes or not?

Why is are the Conservatives giving out cushy patronage jobs? We would like to know why exactly the Conservatives' friends are actually getting these jobs in the first place, when there really are people out there who could do the job and who are not just simply patronage additions. There is actually no end in sight to the grey and black log, and my friend across the way knows that.

Will the minister for once give the rhetoric a rest and tell Canadians and farmers how much money the Wheat Board actually owes, how much it makes, and will the minister give the board away, or is he going to sell it and make money for Canadian farmers?

Canadian Wheat Board December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wheat Board is now owned by Canadians. It is a public company and its financial statements actually should be made public. Is it losing money? Is it making money? Well, we do not know, because no one on that side will tell anyone.

In addition to keeping the documents secret, the minister will not even confirm or deny that he is going to give this public asset away to a private company.

I have a really simple question for the minister. Will the government make the Wheat Board's financial documents public before it literally gives it away?

Agriculture and Agri-Food December 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in 2012 the Conservatives cut one-third of the staff at the Canadian Grain Commission and said there would not be any impact. Well, surprise, there was. There were fewer inspections, and now buyers of Canadian wheat are complaining about under-weight shipments and variable quality. In fact, one foreign-based buyer found 850 kilograms of peas in what was supposed to be a wheat shipment.

Under the minister's watch, the commission cannot get farmers' grain to market, cannot assure the quality of the grain at market, and cannot even deliver the right quantity to the market.

When will the minister stand in his place, apologize to Canadian wheat farmers, and tell them that he intends to make it right and that he will stop failing Canadian farmers in the future?

Agriculture and Agri-food December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Farmers of North America, a group of more than 3,000 Canadian farmer investors, recently offered to buy the Canadian Wheat Board for—get this—about $250 million to $300 million, which they thought it was worth.

The Conservatives rejected the offer. They did not give a reason. They just said no.

Now, we hear the minister will hand over the Wheat Board's assets to the private sector for a grand total of—get this—zero. That is right: nothing, nada, no thank you; just give it away.

I ask a simple question. Why would the Conservative government give away these assets free to multinational corporations instead of simply selling to Canadian farmers and actually gaining a real value for Canadian farmers—

Agriculture and Agri-Food December 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we witnessed last fall what really happened when it came to the rail companies and this government. The government stood tall and said it would be tough with the rail companies. The reality? Grain really did not move. The government said that the fines would be daily, and now they are going to be weekly, so $300,000 a day has became maybe $300,000 a week. Now we find out that they have not fined anyone yet; not one rail company has been fined.

CN did not meet its targets. The government did not hold it to account.

When will the minister stand on her feet and say that the fines have been levied, the fines have been collected, and the government will stand for farmers, because right now it does not?