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House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Madam Speaker, it is certainly a pleasure for me to rise on this debate in support of the proactive approach the minister and this government are taking to enhance the agriculture and agri-food sector of the Canadian economy.

I might say in beginning that my colleague who spoke earlier should try some of those P.E.I. potatoes from that beautiful red soil. It is unlikely she would then go back to her own variety.

The proactive approach starts right here in the House of Commons with the new government and in committees with the participation of backbench MPs, both from the government side and members opposite. I believe there is a new sense of democracy in the land. As a government we said we would give members of Parliament more power and that we would give a voice to committees. That is evident every day in the discussions in the various committees and is quite a turnaround from the past administration.

The tragedy of the past administration is that many of its policies are still ongoing today in the new administration.

Let us look at the work of the agriculture committee. I think it adds to the leadership provided by the government. The estimates we had before us and are before the committee as yet still contain some of the policies of the past administration. It will take some time to get the new policies of the government in place.

The agriculture committee has been very serious in doing an intense analysis of the department's estimates and looking at ways and means that the department can better deliver services to the farm community. We have been very open about that analysis. We believe that the views of all members are important and should be considered. In that way the government gives a renewed voice to primary producers, to the agri-food industry members, through their members of Parliament at the committee and House of Commons levels.

Let us take a look for a moment at the aggressive direction the government has been taking in the past six months. Let me start with what is a very difficult issue, GATT article XI(2)(c). It has been raised by members opposite to a certain extent. They are claiming that we have undermined producers of their ability to survive and prosper in some areas. We did have a stacked deck against us, left there by the previous administration. We have set up a process to retain the benefits of the supply management system and at every opportunity we talk about how supply management could be used as a model of development for rural areas in other countries around the world.

Changes that happen at the GATT negotiations are not without difficulty, but that is what leadership is all about and that is what this new Liberal government is showing. We have admitted up front to the loss of article XI(2)(c). We did not try to put a spin on it as previous administrations had tried to do. In fact, because we believe in primary producers and have great confidence in the farm community, we have involved them in a process to retain the benefits of the supply management system and move on to greater prosperity we hope in the future.

At this stage I must address some of the points the member for Québec-Est made in suggesting that the government failed Quebec relative to article XI(2)(c). Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is because of strong national policies that Canada has put in place over the years-most of those policies were started under a previous Liberal administration-that Quebec has been able to make the gains it has. For instance, Quebec's net farm income has grown steadily over the past 20 years as a result of the stability and the national programs that we put in place. In fact the member for Québec-Est on April 28 had this to say: "With milk definitely we have had a certain advantage in Quebec over the west, that is for sure".

I do not mind admitting that the attempt of members opposite to try to misconstrue the facts and show that certain moneys are going west or going east and not going to Quebec are creating grave difficulties for us as a nation because the wrong impression is left. Let me tell you that this national government wants

to ensure that dairy producers and chicken producers in all provinces retain the advantage that supply management has given them. We will continue to do so with the processes we have set up in order to see that supply management survives into the future.

Let us examine the stance of this government versus that of the previous administration in terms of the trade action and trade rhetoric coming from our neighbours south of the border. The United States continues to challenge our agencies, our marketing of grain, ice cream and yogurt and other areas. It knows full well that we have won every trade dispute that has been put to any panel. We have won before the International Trade Commission, the General Accounting Office, the Binational Trade Panel under CUSTA and just recently under an international trade audit.

However, instead of lying down and dying the government has said, as the minister said this morning: "This minister will not lie down and die. Canada will fight back". That is leadership. He is standing up for our producers and our nation and that is something new.

Another example of the proactive policies of the government is that we recognize full well the trouble in the transportation sector in terms of the car allocations of grain moving west. We immediately came together and set up two subcommittees, one on agriculture and one on transport. These committees held two intensive days of hearings. Out of them we came up with some recommendations in which we basically suggested that the GTA, the Grain Transportation Agency, should apply the rules of the land.

Where the previous administration failed to apply the penalties that should have been imposed on the railways for not moving product and not putting the capital investment on the rolling stock into place, this government and its members through the committees have said that the penalties should be enforced and that the GTA should live up to its responsibilities. We have recommended that to the minister and the minister is moving forward. The minister of agriculture is moving forward to a meeting on May 16.

I have always been concerned about the policies that lead to a continuing reliance on off-farm income. Liberals will not be working toward removing more farm families from the land but rather working with them to strengthen their ties to the land and the farming community. The government will be working to ensure that farmers become less dependent on off-farm income which not only merely supplements family incomes but is often one of the pillars which ensures the very survival of farming operations.

We are pursuing policies in which primary producers can achieve the majority of their income from the farm. We will work toward implementing marketing programs to do this.

In conclusion, though the government has been very proactive and has provided strong leadership, one of the important factors is the minister of agriculture. Last weekend when the minister was in my riding he showed that he is a leader of the times, that he believes strongly in the Liberal policies that were in the red book during the election campaign. He is willing to sit down and listen to producers, discuss with them and build that strong rural community base in the interests of primary producers and the agri-food industry and businesses all across Canada that this country sorely needs.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

Madam Speaker, the hon. member referred to off-farm income and that his Liberal government would do its best to ensure that farmers do not need as much off-farm income as now.

I wonder if the member could explain to me exactly how the government will do that. Will it have policies that discriminate against farmers who have off-farm jobs? Just exactly what can be done in terms of policy to stop the movement to off-farm income or to stop farmers from supplementing farm income with off-farm income?

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Madam Speaker, members should look at the kind of policies we talked about during the election, the emphasis on supply management, the emphasis on strengthening and enhancing the Canadian Wheat Board.

The Canadian Wheat Board is a prime example. It is an agency that maximizes the returns from the marketplace back to primary producers and has shown that it does a reasonably good job of marketing. Certainly it has been having some difficulties as a result of the unfair use of the export enhancement program in many of our foreign markets, but it is still able to maximize returns to primary producers.

The way we hope to achieve a lessening of the dependence on off-farm income is through good marketing structures, through assisting primary producers with better financial arrangements and through farm credit. As we get down the line and are able to put before the House of Commons more policies in the future, members will see the fruits of our labours in terms of giving primary producers the opportunity and the right to be able to earn the majority of their income from their on-farm operations.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Wellington—Grey—Dufferin—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed very much the hon. member's speech. In fact I would like to say to the hon. member that if he does have a deal on potatoes, I do not have my garden in yet. I would be more than happy to take him up on that.

One of the things I noticed as a new MP and a person who has lobbied for the farm perspective all the way through is that previous to the GATT negotiation and the signing of the agreement we have now, there was an us and them situation in agriculture, us being supply management and them being grains and red meat. The GATT agreement laid down a foundation for farm policy where it got rid of that situation within agriculture. We are now all beneath one umbrella working together.

I would like to know what the member's opinion is on the direction we are heading right now under the new GATT agreement, looking too at the situation that all our policies if we are going to deal internationally have to be green.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Madam Speaker, one of the endearing characteristics of this administration compared to the last is that when we run into some difficulties as we did with the supply management sector at GATT, it is willing to put its trust and faith in producers. It will bring producers together to try to have them understand directly the implications of some of the changes that are being made, to involve them in the process, to actually consult and to listen to those producers who are going to be directly affected by any changes that come about in the future. That is one of the characteristics of the government.

We are seeing it through our committee structure. We are seeing it through the minister of agriculture and the parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture. It is an ongoing process, building on our strengths, knowing the rules and knowing the obstacles that are before us. In that way we are going to again reclaim and regain a strong primary production sector.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to advise the Chair that Reform speakers will be dividing their time with the exception of the leader of the Reform Party who will be speaking later in the debate.

I would like to thank the hon. member for a chance to address the very important topic of agricultural reform. It is clear to many people that the counterproductive programs in place today cannot be fixed by simply cutting them without replacing existing programs with something else.

Most hon. members would agree that changes are needed in how we help Canadian farmers compete in the world market of the 1990s. The question of what type of change has not yet been resolved.

I would like to talk about the problem of subsidies and how they relate to transportation. We know that subsidies largely do not work. Not only do subsidies drain the public purse, they actually retard economic development.

We are fortunate in Canada to be able to learn from the mistakes of other countries like New Zealand, which had no choice but to drastically slash its farm and transportation subsidies. Between 1979 and 1983, a period of just over four years, farm subsidies in New Zealand tripled from $440 million to $1.2 billion per year. The former president of the Federation of New Zealand Farmers pointed out that these subsidies had inflated land prices, made it difficult for younger farmers to enter the industry, and ate up much of the value of the land.

The more the farmers received in subsidies, the more they had to pay in taxes for fertilizer, farm chemicals, machinery and transportation. The subsidies had a practical effect of limiting the choices of farmers when it came to deciding which products were the most economically viable to produce. Finally, the heavy subsidization paid for by the taxpayers of New Zealand encouraged wasteful and inefficient land and transportation practices.

The former finance minister of New Zealand, Roger Douglas, has a warning for countries with heavily subsidized agricultural sectors. He said the following:

New Zealand was able to demonstrate to the world the true effect of such subsidies, and I would say to those other countries: "The results of your policies are that your poor are poorer than they need to be; your jobless are more numerous than they need to be; your taxes are higher than they need to be; your economic performance is worse than it needs to be; and your farmers nevertheless continue to go bankrupt".

Sounds very familiar to us here.

In 1984 New Zealand ran into a debt wall. It was unable to borrow money to continue to fuel deficit programs and had to slash agricultural subsidies to almost zero. With no other choice the new New Zealand government withdrew agricultural subsidies and farm prices fell 40 per cent. The market values for some livestock fell to one-third of their original value and many farmers were driven off the land.

In spite of the hardships created by the withdrawal of subsidies, New Zealand today finds itself in an enviable position in the world market. The economic growth rate of the country will probably be about 3 per cent this year, the second strongest in the OECD. New Zealand now boasts as many farmers as it did a decade ago. Perhaps most important, farmers are free to choose what types of produce are the most economically viable.

The result of this is that New Zealand has diversified into many areas previously closed through directed subsidies and overregulation.

I believe Canada can learn a lot from the New Zealand experience. Canada is fortunate to have more time to change than New Zealand did. If we use this time to make wise decisions, Canada will be able to achieve the benefits of a

market driven agricultural economy without facing many of the hardships suffered by New Zealanders.

No matter how long we wait, Canada will still have to make the transformation from a centralized and over-subsidized farm economy to a market driven economy. If we wait too long we will not be able to assist our farmers in the transition.

One thing is clear. We have to change our policies. Three factors external to the agricultural sector are coming together to force us to change.

First, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade specifies that all members, Canada included, will have to modify their domestic agricultural programs to conform to a world of reduced subsidies and greater market access.

Second, there is an urgent need to keep Canada's debt from growing. Agricultural subsidization has put an enormous strain on our national resources and has had a negative effect on the industry.

Third and last, the Canadian agricultural industry needs to diversify if it is to survive.

The subsidization programs by previous governments forced Canadian farmers to produce and export only certain crops and only in an unprocessed form. Farmers want to be able to choose which products to develop and how to transport them.

If there is a trade war in wheat but not in wheat products then it only makes sense to sell wheat products instead of wheat. In addition, these value added products will create additional jobs and will help us avoid trade disputes over grain.

Reform believes that we have to change our agricultural policies to reflect a more market oriented approach and that we should do so with the least amount of disruption possible. Whatever their failings, free markets drive efficiency. Events in New Zealand are only the latest of many examples which underscore this fact. Markets allow farmers, grain companies and carriers the freedom to choose. Change and efficiency in a market oriented system are driven by the free choices made by the market participants.

Also, it should be recognized that there are some circumstances, such as international trade disputes, that farmers cannot control. For problems like this we need to redirect the funds currently used to subsidize transportation toward a trade distortion adjustment program and crop insurance safety net system. To demonstrate how we think this can be done let me say a few words about Reform's policy on transportation.

Under the present system trains loaded with U.S. bound grain are travelling as much as 1,400 kilometres out of their way so prairie shippers can take advantage of attractive federal freight subsidies. Ironically, at the same time we are told that farmers stand to lose over $200 million because there is poor grain movement.

Clearly the present grain transportation act does not encourage efficiency in the transportation system. The WGTA is a direct federal subsidy on grains and oilseeds paid to the railways. Because it encourages farmers to export grain instead of shipping it to Canadian processors, the WGTA results in the creation of provincial programs such as the Alberta Crow benefit offset program set up for the purpose of counteracting the WGTA, subsidies to balance other subsidies.

Second, the government currently subsidizes 57 per cent of the cost of shipping prairie grain by rail to various ports. This takes away any incentive for the railways to increase efficiency since they get paid anyway.

The third point is one of the most important. Under the WGTA farmers are given no incentive to diversify into higher value crops or to ship to domestic processing facilities. I can think of no better job creation program than to allow the market to create its own jobs in our dying rural areas by allowing farmers to make the decision based on cost effectiveness as to where they want to ship their farm produce.

Reform proposes that we do away with the WGTA subsidy and redirect funding to a trade distortion adjustment program to compensate exporting producers as a direct counter measure to foreign subsidies on competing products. This would force the railways to develop efficient methods of transportation and would allow farmers to choose which method of transportation is the most cost effective for them. At the same time it would encourage rural development by adding a market driven incentive to process raw goods into value added goods.

Reform also suggests the deregulation of the rail transportation system and the elimination of regional development as a goal of transportation policy. The markets are far better at creating development than the huge bureaucracy which currently exists.

Under the present system farmers can be held hostage to grain handling strikes at any time. The elimination of the WGTA and the creation of a more efficient system would allow farmers to seek alternative means of transportation if this occurred.

Let me end by saying that Canadians involved in the agricultural sector can and will compete in the changing world economy if only given the chance to take control of their involvement in the market. External factors will eventually force the necessary changes with or without our agreement.

Unlike New Zealand and other less fortunate countries, we have the chance to create a viable, self-reliant and market driven agricultural industry before we are forced to. Reform believes now is the time.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Wellington—Grey—Dufferin—Simcoe, ON

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed the hon. member's speech very much. In fact the subsidies she talked about are a basic pet peeve of mine.

When they got into trouble in New Zealand, they had something they called welfare for sheep. That was the subsidy program they had. In 1984 when New Zealand had to realign its debt there was an 80 per cent write-off of equity in that country which I imagine the hon. member is well aware of.

As a poultry producer dealing under supply management at the present time in my farming operation I collect two subsidies, the farm tax rebate and the fuel tax rebate.

Since the early 1950s I have watched my industry go from producing a four pound chicken in 14 to 16 weeks to producing a four pound chicken in 37 to 41 days, a male or a female.

Under this type of system our industry has had a capital influx into research and development, R and D, which is one of the most important things in agriculture today. As a farmer I know that is true.

I am wondering what the hon. member thinks about supply management when she talks about the subsidy system from which we are not really collecting and being market responsive.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I am sure he knows a great deal more about this subject than I.

I think it is very clear given the trade agreements we are negotiating and have negotiated that supply management is no longer up for debate. It is going to be forced to be phased out by the requirements of the agreements we have negotiated with trading partners.

We have to think ahead about how we can make it easier for our producers to move into these new market realities. That could be by way of measures to ease the transition for them and to assist them in finding better ways to manage and to compete in the marketplace.

We agree with R and D. I think that R and D is one of the things this country needs and should continue to be encouraged by the government and by our tax system. We also could point out that more efficiencies have resulted as the hon. member has said. That again is proof positive we can do better when these things are managed properly.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Kitchener Ontario

Liberal

John English LiberalParliamentary Secretary to President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest as well to the hon. member's speech. I would like to remind the hon. member that Canadian grain exports were really not subsidized except through transportation until the late 1970s and to some degree in the 1960s. We responded to international pressures which created subsidies.

In terms of the figures, the subsidies for grain exports are highest in the European Community and second highest in the United States. There was one country which did not compete in subsidies. That was Argentina which is an example the hon. member did not choose, choosing New Zealand which approached this more recently.

Given the fact that the subsidization of grain exports in Canada apart from the transportation subsidy occurred after the 1980s would the hon. member have taken a different course? If we had not subsidized grain at that point, is it not quite likely that Canadian grain exports would have diminished to the level of Argentina's during that period?

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Madam Speaker, I think it is fair to say that when we are fighting in an unfair competitive position where trading partners are being heavily subsidized that we must find ways to assist our own industries. That is why we welcome the recent GATT agreement which diminished these international subsidies and allowed us to compete on a more level playing field.

At this point we are reversing that trend, as I understand it. Now the question is what we can do to make our industry more competitive in this new regime of freer and fairer trade.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today to address the subject of agriculture.

Because of my rather extensive experience and background in agriculture I have a bit of trouble when I read the motion as put forward. It talks about proactive work of the government and uses phrases and words such as co-operation, enhance, building the sector to be among the best in the world, and sustainable agriculture. Sustainable is a good catch phrase. It is one that we as farmers have heard and used ourselves for some time now. Farmers are not looking for fancy catch phrases or motions but some assurance of where we are headed from this point.

As I have said I was born and raised on a farm. As such I have had the enjoyment of learning firsthand about picking rocks on our land. I have been involved in farming virtually all my life. For many years I operated about a 3,000 acre grain farm with one of my brothers who continues our family farming tradition today.

The farm was started by my father with the help of the Veterans Land Act shortly after the second world war. My family has quite a tradition of being on the land. Something I have witnessed and something I have personally felt is what I call the farmer's love of the land. The enjoyment of actually producing from one's own efforts is the very reason so many farmers today continue to struggle against all odds every year

when the economics of their business would dictate that in reality they should just give up and do something else, do something more profitable.

This love of the land could be equated to the similar feelings I am sure aboriginal peoples have for their traditional lands, or that foresters feel for forests, or pilots for the skies. In short, farmers are happiest when they are working on their land or working with their livestock.

Back home right now I know they have started preparing the soil and planting the 1994 crop. As I said earlier, they desperately need some assurance from the government that it intends to support those efforts with more than simply more empty rhetoric.

Over the years I have been involved in many farm organizations working on behalf of my fellow farmers. For a while I was president of the B.C. Grain Producers Association. As such I served as the director responsible for grain with the B.C. Federation of Agriculture. I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand farm programs that I would say were designed by bureaucrats for bureaucrats. By that I mean programs that have been unnecessarily cumbersome and heavy in administration, programs designed more to justify an ongoing need for government jobs than for sustaining agriculture.

The reality is that farmers are not asking for a handout. They never have and they never will. They just want to be able to earn a decent return on their investment and labour. In short they need to know if their industry will be protected from circumstances completely beyond their control.

Because farmers sell their products on the world market they are price takers, not price setters. When our competitors, namely the EEC and the U.S., choose to continue the seemingly never-ending trade war, it is our farmers who are caught in the middle.

City dwellers simply do not understand some of the sacrifices their rural cousins are called upon to make. I am speaking about the need for off-farm income. It has been well documented that in order to sustain farm operations farmers' wives are working off farm. Farmers may spend many days themselves in the wintertime away from their families just to sustain their farming operations. Also they have to make do with much lower standards of living in some cases than those of their urban neighbours.

I am concerned that when urban people drive by and see a farmer working his fields they relate his efforts to a small businessman rather than to an industry. They should be better educated about the situation. When they see a farmer and consider the need to sustain agriculture and to assist farmers, they must look at it as a primary industry similar to forestry, oil and gas or mining rather than a small business. It is not fair to equate farming with small business because like forestry, it is renewable.

I have always been somewhat upset when I pick up a newspaper and read about another subsidy to farmers. We have to recognize that all industries at different times, especially our natural resource industries, call upon both levels of government to support them. At different times both levels of government provide tax incentives or royalty holidays or initiate specific programs to assist major industries. As I have said, agriculture should not be viewed any differently.

Over the years there has virtually been a flood of farm programs supposedly designed to assist farms to remain sustainable. As has already been outlined, some programs have taken the form of transportation subsidies, the Crows Nest Pass rate which eventually became the Western Grain Transportation Act. There are various feed freight assistance programs and those types of things. Some have been designed to protect farmers from natural disasters, natural elements. Crop insurance is a program put in place to provide that type of protection.

There have been many others implemented to protect farmers from price fluctuations in the marketplace. The western grain stabilization program was such a program. It was proclaimed in 1976 and was eventually dissolved 15 years later in 1991. I know from personal experience on our farm that in consultations among my father, my brother and I, we chose not to participate in that program because we could see that it was not sustainable. By the way it was initially set up, it was not a good program for farmers.

As president of the B.C. grain producers I was personally involved with the special Canadian grains program that came about because of the trade war. In 1985-86 it was recognized that the WGSA was simply not addressing needs because it did not foresee how badly prices would drop.

We have moved through myriad programs over the years, and now we have come to GRIP and NISA. I am sure I could spend a lot more time than I have available today talking about all the problems that have developed with GRIP and NISA. Actually NISA is the one program that has been a relatively bright light in the darkness of government programs.

Despite all the problems with the programs that have been created in the past, we still talk about being proactive and co-operating with farm groups and farmers. The discussion seems to centre around which commodities to include in new programs on the horizon to replace GRIP and NISA.

As mentioned by my colleague earlier, Reform suggests a different route. It suggests elimination of the present farm support programs and instead the diverting of funds into basically three separate programs. The trade distortion adjustment program is an all-sector program, an all-inclusive program designed to address some of the concerns of my hon. colleague

across the way and what is going to be facing the supply management sector and other sectors.

We talk about a program specifically designed to offset foreign intervention and foreign competition through unfair subsidies our foreign competitors might be granted that we in this country do not have. We talk about other areas. As I have said, NISA has been a relatively successful program. We talk about making it more inclusive and making it applicable to all sectors of agriculture rather than just the grain sector.

We would continue to require crop insurance to offset the elements, the natural disasters that always occur and that farmers must be protected against. That briefly outlines my past history and what I say our government must move toward in relation to farm safety net programs.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the member for Prince George-Peace River talked about the Reform agricultural policy. He also talked about the elimination of farm support programs.

Could he be a little more specific so that we on this side would have the benefit of knowing what farm support programs that are in place now he wants to eliminate? Could he give the specifics on that?

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague on the other side of the House for his comments and question.

There are a number of programs. The two I specifically referred to were the gross revenue insurance program and the Net Income Stabilization Act. There is also the feed freight assistance program that we talked about. My colleague referred earlier to western grain transportation. There are a number of programs for livestock, feed development initiatives, and economic and regional development agreements. A wide range of programs are presently in place.

Rather than having all the specific programs that actually end up distorting one sector of agriculture to the detriment of another, Reform is suggesting that we should be looking at the whole farm approach to protect farmers regardless of whether they are producing chickens, grain, milk or whatnot. We have to protect all farmers in all sectors against unfair foreign practices. To do so we need to move toward all farm and all sector programs with both our trade adjustment distortion program and our new income stabilization program, which would be an enhanced NISA and applicable to all sectors instead of only the ones it currently covers.

AgricultureGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5) the House will now proceed to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Canadian Military Heritage MuseumStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday I had the pleasure of participating in the opening of the Canadian Military Heritage Museum in the city of Brantford, Ontario.

In the words of the board members, Canada's military heritage collections are part of the history of all Canadians. The story of our military past should be understood and made meaningful to all Canadians, many of whom have had no direct experience of war or the part played by conflict in Canada's history.

The museum is a wonderful museum. It has displays of original armaments, vehicles and uniforms from Canada's earliest conflicts right to the present. Most striking are the pictures that depict Canadian men and women in the heat of battle.

I would like to congratulate those who have made the museum a reality and invite all Canadians to Brantford to share in the Canadian Military Heritage Museum.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Deshaies Bloc Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the green revolution launched by Horne, a copper smelting operation in Noranda, is worthy of note today since it stands as proof that a mining company can conduct its operations without polluting the environment.

The company derives no less than 15 per cent of its supplies from various recycled products. More than 150 suppliers from around the world do business with Noranda. These include such well-known companies as IBM and Kodak.

In addition to making an economic contribution, Noranda enriches the quality of life in the community by making substantial grants to local agencies.

The technology employed at the Horne smelter goes far beyond our borders. Agreements for the export of continuous smelting technology have been concluded with China, allowing the Horne smelter to make a name for itself in terms of its technology, productivity and concern for the environment.

Grain TransportationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, the joint subcommittee of agriculture and transport has been dealing with the crisis in grain movement in Canada. The testimony of these meetings clearly demonstrates there are too many uncoordinated and overlapping government organizations attempting to control and regulate grain movement.

There is no clear authority. One organization often interferes with the actions of another. This has led to a transportation and grain handling industry which has failed miserably. This is unfair to Canadian farmers.

Reform agriculture policy has always recognized the need for a less regulated industry and the evidence supports our position. The government must back off. We must allow farmers to control the system they pay for and which exists to serve them.

It is my sincerest hope that this government will recognize the need for less government regulation and for a more market driven grain transportation industry.

Mining IndustryStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, May 14 to 20 is mining week in Ontario. The mining industry has been and continues to be the cornerstone of our economy, representing 16.2 per cent of total exports.

I wholeheartedly support the "Keep Mining in Canada" campaign and the Save Our North organization which have been actively working to keep mining alive and well in this country.

As the member of Parliament for Timiskaming-French River, as a northern Ontario MP and as a member of the natural resources committee, I have been working and will continue to work to raise the profile of our Canadian mining industry and to push for mining incentives for exploration and development in Canada, especially in northern Ontario.

On behalf of all members of this House, I wish to extend my best wishes to the mining industry, to the over 100 mining communities across Canada, and to all Canadian miners and their families for a very successful mining week.

Killer CardsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Wellington—Grey—Dufferin—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of myself and the many constituents who have petitioned this House, I congratulate the Minister of Justice for bringing forth draft amendments to the Criminal Code and the Customs Tariff Act.

These draft amendments would restrict the sale and distribution of serial killer cards and board games. We do not need products which commercialize and glorify violent crime. There is too much violent crime as witnessed by my constituents in the village of Clifford in the senseless shooting of Joan Heimbecker.

I trust that members from all sides on the justice committee will work co-operatively to achieve the restriction of these offensive products.

South AfricaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Réginald Bélair Liberal Cochrane—Superior, ON

Mr. Speaker, May 10, 1994 is a day that will go down in the history of South Africa. The swearing-in of newly-elected President Nelson Mandela marks the beginning of a new era of growth, common vision and national reconciliation.

Having witnessed the birth of a democratic nation, I was pleased to see that the Black majority was able to express itself freely, with pride and tolerance and without fear of reprisals.

With all communities working closely together in the fields of education and government, the new South Africa will become a model to be emulated by others.

The black majority's dream has been realized through Nelson Mandela's vision for a new South Africa in which a government represents all South Africans through a spirit of co-operation and peaceful coexistence.

This era of rebirth for South Africa will set an example for all African countries to strive to offer every citizen, regardless of tribal affiliation or racial association, hope for their future generations.

Women RefugeesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a study conducted by Florida State University, women and children account for between 75 per cent and 85 per cent of the world's refugees.

However, in the past ten years, one and a half times more men than women have been admitted into Canada as refugees.

Furthermore, the refugee selection process applied at offices located abroad is also biased against women. Indeed, women living in refugee camps must demonstrate their potential to integrate the country in question. Considering that in many

countries, women receive less formal education than men, they are less likely to satisfy admissibility criteria.

It is time that we denounce this situation on behalf of all those seeking refuge in countries that respect human rights.

Young Offenders ActStatements By Members

May 10th, 1994 / 2:05 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, about one hour ago in my riding of Beaver River students and staff of J.A. Williams High School in Lac La Biche joined together to offer their sympathy to families that have lost loved ones at the hands of young offenders.

They joined to form a heart with the word yes underneath it; yes to major changes in the Young Offenders Act.

They are telling us it is not just the older generation that is concerned about youth violence, they are also concerned. They are puzzled as to why the identities of all young offenders are protected. What about the rights of citizens to be informed of potential dangers in their own neighbourhood? Young people who commit criminal acts must be held responsible. All Canadians are angry and frustrated at a court system that allows young criminals to thumb their noses at the law.

I congratulate the students at J.A. Williams High School for their initiative. We should listen to them and to millions of other Canadians. They are telling us loud and clear that yes, the Young Offenders Act needs reform. The government must act now.

CommunicationsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the constituents of London-Middlesex believe that communication is a vital link in the development of a unified community.

In 1993 a large area of land including the village of Lambeth was annexed to the city of London. Lambeth is now part of London and as such receives most of the same services and utilities as the residents of London.

There is one exception. That is that Lambeth residents are subject to long distance telephone rates when calling surrounding communities.

The community of Lambeth has a strong social and commercial dependency with neighbouring exchanges. It does not seem fair or equitable that Lambeth residents do not receive extended area service in the same manner as other London residents.

An overwhelming number of my constituents are in support of the CRTC providing extended area service to the Lambeth telephone exchange. On their behalf I ask that the government consider this unique situation which would go a long way in improving our vital community communication links.

Killer CardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

David Iftody Liberal Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to address the issue of serial killer cards and games.

It is particularly troubling and indeed perverse to think that someone is profiting from the depiction of such horrific murders which serve to deviously corrupt our young people and attack our basic values of respect for life.

I applaud the Minister of Justice for introducing draft legislation banning the sale of such cards and games. He is leading the way to a more decent and respectful society.

I would encourage members of the justice committee who must now work at ways to refine and strengthen the legislation to follow through with firmness and determination. Let us put an end to this new form of obscenity and hate.

Government ServicesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a matter of great concern to the electorate. That is the quality of service that is delivered to the taxpayers by government.

Many of our civil servants are hard working, dedicated people. However, I have discovered many incidents of poor attitude and indeed the inability to deliver personal services in many departments of government.

A recent freeze on public sector wages has been imposed on government employees. This freeze is, at the choice of the public service, being borne by the junior employees; that is to say incremental increases have been curtailed. As a consequence the freeze on mid-line management is minimal as it would only forgo modest cost of living increases.

As it is generally the more junior ranks that deal with the public, I fear that this policy will further erode motivation and reduce service. This is occurring at a time when the private sector is embracing concepts like total quality management.

I believe that it is time the public sector did the same.