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Evidence of meeting #42 for Agriculture and Agri-Food in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was animal.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Kathleen Gibson  Policy Analyst, BC Food Systems Network
Mike Beretta  Chief Executive Officer, Beretta Organic Farms
Graham Clarke  Government Affairs, Canadian Renderers Association
Frédéric Forge  Committee Researcher

5:05 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Beretta Organic Farms

Mike Beretta

Bone meal? I've never used it. I don't know. I would hesitate because that's what's been identified as causing a lot of the food safety issues we have today. I'd be much more apt to promote proper composting of manure and use that as a fertilizer, or use crop rotation.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Mr. Clarke, in one of your comments you talked about third party. Was it third-party regulation?

5:05 p.m.

Government Affairs, Canadian Renderers Association

Graham Clarke

Certification.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Certification. Could you explain what that third-party certification is?

5:05 p.m.

Government Affairs, Canadian Renderers Association

Graham Clarke

I used that term in the context of organic.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Yes, I realize that.

5:05 p.m.

Government Affairs, Canadian Renderers Association

Graham Clarke

If you're a certified organic producer, you have to be under third-party certification through a certification body.

The rendering industry, of course, would not have that because they're taking inputs from the conventional industry. These rendering plants are large. Their throughput is 24 tonnes an hour, so the organic industry per se could not provide that kind of raw material.

Third-party certification was simply in the context of the organic industry.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Could I ask a quick question?

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Is it for clarification?

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

It's on the SRM he spoke of earlier.

I want to ask him what a renderer would charge a packer or processor per pound to get rid of their SRM.

5:10 p.m.

Government Affairs, Canadian Renderers Association

Graham Clarke

The answer to your question is that I don't know the answer to your question.

They have contracts. For example, Rothsay would take all the SR material from the Cargill plant in Guelph. That would be an individual contract based on volume. I don't have access to that information.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Okay.

Thank you, Ms. Gibson, for joining us by video conference.

Mr. Clarke and Mr. Beretta, thanks for being here in person.

This is going to be a long study. At some point, we will have it. We really appreciate your participation. Thanks very much.

We have a bit of committee business to deal with. We will excuse the witnesses.

Thank you very much.

We have had a request. We are going to be moving, when we're done the red meat part of our study.... The indication before was that we would go into the poultry side of it. Although I don't have the information and details with me, we have had an invitation to go out, right close to Ottawa here, to see an egg-laying operation. I thought I would bring it up.

I don't know whether the committee would like to spend.... Basically, we could get a small van to take us out, or we could maybe get some cabs, or a couple of you may even have vehicles. We could use a meeting day for that and still be back in to Ottawa for votes that night. Would you like to use a meeting for that? I'd like some input.

Mr. Lemieux.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

I'd like to say that I think it's a good idea. I don't know how many people here have seen an egg-laying operation. It is something to see. This gives us the opportunity to witness it first-hand and ask the many questions that many of us might have.

As well, it's not very far, as you mentioned. There are no plane flights involved; it's simply down the highway a little bit. The area, I believe, is St. Isidore.

I'll tell you, one encouraging thing about egg farmers—

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

How far is that?

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

St. Isidore from here is probably an hour, tops—maybe 45 minutes.

One nice thing about egg farming in this area is that there is quite a centre of it in St. Isidore. A good many of the farmers are young; they are probably in their early to mid-30s. It's very encouraging to see.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

The only thing I would point out is that if it's an hour there and an hour back, we would probably have to arrange with our whips, because we would have to miss question period. If we happen to hit a day when there are no votes, that's fine—when we get back is probably irrelevant, unless somebody has a previous commitment. I just remind you of that.

If the committee has a will that you would like me to look into this, I will bring back the details and a possible date. It sounds as though there's a willingness to do it.

There's one other thing concerning the committee itself. Including the trip to Guelph, the return of the three witnesses who were here last week, and one other meeting with the pork producers, the cattle producers, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and what have you, we could have the red meat portion of this study done on June 4 and be ready to move into the poultry section.

Is that where we want to go? Is that enough meetings? I think, looking at the witness list, that it's a very good cross-section. I don't think we've really missed any part of it. I'd like some input so that we can plan.

Are there any comments?

Does that seem good?

I have talked to our analyst Frédéric. If we had our last meeting on the red meat on June 4, we would go into the poultry part of it on June 6. Whether that was the day we went to visit an egg barn or we actually had a meeting here, what we would do is probably have two or three meetings on that.

By that time, Frédéric and his staff would be able to have the report ready to consider. If we kept recommendations out of that portion of it and dealt with recommendations at the end, when we've added together the whole food chain and the red meat sector, the poultry, and whatever else we want to consider, it should be very easy and simple to have the report done and tabled in the House before we break in June.

Frank.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

I'm okay with all the scheduling, but I have a question.

Our analysts have a great deal of understanding, experience, and knowledge in this industry. I have never known a committee to ask the analysts, “Is there anything we're missing? Is there a gap that we might cover?” I think it would be worthwhile to ask them whether there is something we may have missed in looking, for instance, at this issue on meat.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

That's a good point, Frank. I'll let Frédéric speak to it, but they do have input. I know they talk with David concerning some of the witnesses and what have you.

Is there anything further to add to that, Frédéric?

May 16th, 2012 / 5:15 p.m.

Frédéric Forge Committee Researcher

No.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

I think Frédéric is usually not shy about offering, if he has to, and I appreciate hearing it as chair.

By all means, Frédéric, don't be afraid to mention something, okay?

Is there any more on that part of it?

Alex, you had something you wanted to discuss.

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

You are aware of it. It's the motion on the honeybee that Pierre and I have been discussing. There has been some back and forth. It's a simple motion that, in the opinion of the committee, the government should recognize May 29 as the National Day of the Honeybee, and that this be reported to the House.

We talked about this a few months ago. We initially thought we might get agreement in the House and do a kind of unanimous consent, but there are different.... I guess the House leader has a different way of doing things. He doesn't want to do that with this kind of motion.

I guess Pierre has talked with the minister, and he seems to be in favour of the idea. I have a request—and you have seen the letter—that we declare this the National Day of the Honeybee. There are a lot of provinces—we have the information—and communities that have done this. It's one of these feel-good motions for which it would be good if all of us got together and supported it.

I think we could probably get something done in the House once it was presented. We will have to leave that to the leaders.

That's my request—to pass the motion at this committee. I leave it to my colleagues.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

Okay. I didn't really hear you read the motion in.

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

I did.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Larry Miller

You did read it? You have my apology. I was conversing with the clerk, so I missed it. I'm sorry.

He is passing it around.

Mr. Lemieux.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Chair, thank you very much.

First, let me say that I think all MPs—certainly those of us on the government side—understand the issues facing the honeybee and those people who depend on the honeybee for their livelihood. I think it's important to note that the committee has passed a motion similar to this and reported it to the House. I think we did that in the last Parliament. It's still valid.

The second thing, though, is that Alex and I have had a number of conversations on how best to proceed with a national day of either the honeybee or anything else. The accepted protocol, Chair, is not for it to pass through committee and then somehow be reported to the House, and then the House does something with a kind of unanimous consent. The accepted practice is that a member of Parliament, if this is really important to them, use their private member's bill opportunity to advance a national day and that this be debated and voted on properly in the House.

To be fair, today I think we're voting on one from Geoff Regan, a Liberal MP, concerning a national day recognizing philanthropists. He has done exactly that. It's tabled in the House as a private member's bill, it is debated in the House, and it is voted on in the House.

In the last Parliament, or it might have been in this Parliament, Mr. Galipeau, one of our MPs, proposed a national tree day. It was exactly the same process.

It's important to respect these processes. For this reason, I would say that's the process my colleague should follow, rather than trying to move it through the agriculture committee and into the House, when we know it really isn't going to go anywhere in the House because it's not following the accepted process.