Evidence of meeting #30 for International Trade in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was industry.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Fred Gorrell  Assistant Deputy Minister, Market and Industry Services Branch, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Alexander Lawton  Director, Trade Compliance, Canada Border Services Agency
Robin Horel  President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council
Yves Ruel  Manager of Trade and Policy, Chicken Farmers of Canada
Caroline Emond  Executive Director, Dairy Farmers of Canada

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Sukh, you're absolutely right. We're looking into a number of options.

You mentioned a few of them, including the DNA testing and verification program and others. Of course, this is a problem which affects several government departments. My colleagues and I have had many discussions, and we have a working group with government officials from several departments to look into this.

You know, it can involve Americans with the spent fowl. Putting up certification that it is spent fowl and they come from a spent fowl production area is one of the options. DNA is another option that could possibly be used.

If any of my officials would like to expand on it, they can.

11:15 a.m.

Fred Gorrell Assistant Deputy Minister, Market and Industry Services Branch, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food

That is a good question, and thank you for it.

On the spent fowl, as the minister has clearly identified, there are concerns of fraudulent practices. We are working right now with Trent University and looking at the opportunities of having a protocol on the DNA, distinguishing between broiler meat and spent fowl, and you can appreciate that's a very complex issue that's going to take some time.

We're also consulting with the United States Department of Agriculture. They have a spent fowl verification program. We're looking at what they can do. Right now it's a volunteer program.

It's very clear that we need to be looking at all options to ensure that the product coming north is the product that is being described, and that will be continuing.

I think those issues are complex, because doing a DNA testing of poultry itself will not be that simple. In working with the Chicken Farmers of Canada, I think there is an opportunity to be looking at that as one of the options that the government will be considering.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

I think it's fair to say that the people who are producing the spent fowl in the U.S. want this situation rectified too, as we do.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Thank you.

Minister, you mentioned about the search clusters during your opening remarks, and you have mentioned some of the initiatives that your department and the government are considering. Could you expand on how they will help the poultry and dairy industries?

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

The clusters have been place for a number of years, and governments have supported them. I think it's very important that you have the brain trust of universities, the manufacturing sector, and the dairy industry, our poultry industry, whatever is involved. Whatever cluster it is, sit down and have a chance to.... You have to have the brains and the research and then the agricultural sector to put the stuff in play.

The end result is that the university and the scientist create, for example, canola. That's a prime example of what can happen when everybody works together. China alone brings in $2 billion a year of new money for the farmers in this country. That's the kind of thing we want to develop.

There was $70 million allocated in our budget for this type of thing and to make sure that we enhance the research in this country. We want to make sure, hopefully in the next budget, that we continue on this process. We want to make sure that the researchers, number one, talk to each other, and number two, talk to people around the world.

The announcement I made in Swift Current a few days ago of $35 million was to make sure that people understand that this government is fully committed to research and agriculture. Science-based research is vital for the agricultural sector.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

Thank you, Mr. MacAulay. Thank you, Sukh.

We're going to move on to the NDP.

Madam Ramsey, go ahead, five minutes.

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

Thank you. I'll be sharing my time with MP Brosseau.

Minister, thank you for appearing before us today.

I think it's also fair to say that Canadians are not happy with our supply-managed sector being opened up further in CETA and in the TPP, in particular for dairy. We've heard many people sit at this committee and certainly individuals present to this committee who have stated that exactly to us. In my riding I've heard from people that they're unhappy about that.

This government accepted the Conservative-negotiated deal under the trans-Pacific partnership. There was a commitment from the previous government of $4.3 billion in compensation to the supply-managed sectors.

My question is on whether you are going to provide the $4.3 billion in compensation to the supply-managed sectors under CETA and TPP.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Thank you very much for your question; I appreciate it.

As you know, this country is a trading nation. Statements were made before the election. We have to sit down with the different agricultural sectors, as we have been doing, and make sure we understand the importance of compensation for CETA. I've indicated that a number of times.

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

In June after the rally here on the Hill, you said you'd meet to discuss compensation within 30 days. Did those meetings take place within 30 days?

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

I certainly did meet, and I appreciate your input and direction.

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

It's a limited time.

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

It's always limited time and it always seems to be limited money. That's business.

The truth is I have met many groups. I think the dairy sector and the poultry sector in this country understand that we're involved in these trade deals and they understand fully that the government realizes that to have an orderly transition, some compensation has to be involved. That is why we met with these groups just to find out from them. Being a farmer myself, I always felt it was much fairer if you started from the ground up to the minister, not from the minister down to the farmer. That's what we are trying to do.

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

I come from a rural riding, too.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Excuse me, I did want to answer your question.

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Tracey Ramsey NDP Essex, ON

I know, but I have limited time and next I have to go to my colleague for her participation, so I thank you for that answer.

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Thank you, Tracey. Timelines once again.

I know that you've consulted on diafiltered milk. When we had meetings about diafiltered milk and other issues at committee, we had experts and stakeholders tell us they had met with the government and government officials about seven times talking about diafiltered milk and spent fowl.

Farmers and Canadians are tired, and with reason. They're very concerned. They're losing hundreds of millions of dollars because of diafiltered milk and other trade issues...spent fowl. Is there a timeline for the compensation and for diafiltered milk? A promise was made during the election that we would take care of diafiltered milk. I know once in government, it takes a while to get settled and it is a complicated issue, but this is a problem when CBSA considers diafiltered milk a protein and CFIA considers it milk. Everybody has been on the same page for what needs to be done. When will the government apply the rules?

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Thank you very much, Ms. Brosseau. I appreciate your question and I appreciate your concern over the months I've been minister.

You're fully aware that some of these issues have been ongoing for quite a period of time. On the CETA issue, you're fully aware that it has not been ratified yet. TPP is fully in a different area. We have made statements as to—

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

You've made promises to farmers too that you would resolve the diafiltered milk issue. You've been in power for a year. The diafiltered milk issue is completely unacceptable. You keep talking of a long-term solution. What is the solution? You've consulted enough. What do you say to farmers who don't have revenue because of diafiltered milk, who are losing money? Do you tell them to wait, that you have a solution, but wait? What is the solution? What are you going to do?

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Thank you very much. I appreciate it, and I know you are concerned.

As I've said a number of times, what we're going to do with this issue, with the problems in supply management issues overall, what we have done.... I've been here about eight or nine months. It's hard to change things that have been in place for.... You can't change everything all at once.

Please let me finish. We have consulted with the people involved. We now have the issues—

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

I'm sorry, Minister. Industry has been consulted enough. They will say that.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

Sorry, I know you guys are right into it, but time is up and we're going to have to move on.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Chair, she's a lovely lady with good questions and great concern. I'd like to respond, but that's okay.

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Can you give us more time?

September 20th, 2016 / 11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Mark Eyking

Your time is up. You're always welcome at our committee, but we have to move on.

Madam Lapointe, you have five minutes. Go ahead.

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair

Hello and welcome, Mr. Minister. We are pleased to have you here as part of our work.

Earlier you mentioned that spent fowl producers in the United States simply wanted to resolve the situation with ...

Is there a technical problem, Mr. Chair?