Motion No. 3
That Bill C-60, in Clause 5, be amended by a ) replacing line 20 on page 2 with the following:
"5. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Governor in Council shall appoint a" b ) adding after line 24 on page 2 the following:
"(2) The Governor in Council shall ensure that persons appointed to the positions referred to in subsection (1) have a comprehensive knowledge and a broad experience of the areas dealt with by the Agency."
Motion No. 4
That Bill C-60, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing line 24 on page 2 with the following:
"may be renewed for one further term."
Motion No. 6
That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by adding after line 11 on page 3 the following:
"(1.1) Notwithstanding subsection (1), no person may be appointed by the Minister to an advisory board unless that person has been recommended for such appointment pursuant to subsection (1.3).
(1.2) Such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters shall invite each province and the organizations in that province representing agricultural interests to submit to the committee the names of candidates residing in that province for appointment to an advisory board.
(1.3) Subject to subsection (1.1), the committee referred to in subsection (1.2) shall, for the purposes of subsection (1), recommend from among the candidates the persons it deems most suitable to be appointed to the advisory board.
(1.4) The committee shall recommend persons under subsection (1.2) from each province and the percentage of candidates recommended from a province shall be equal to the percentage that the population of that province represents of the total population of Canada."
Motion No. 7
That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing line 14 on page 3 with the following:
"Agency that such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters submits to it."
Motion No. 8
That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by adding after line 14 on page 3 the following:
"(2.1) On any matter within the responsibilities of the Agency, the board may advise a ) a provincial government; b ) a union representing some or all of the employees of the Agency; and c ) a person from the agriculture, fisheries, food processing, food distribution and public health sectors.''
Motion No. 9
That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by deleting lines 15 to 21 on page 3.
Motion No. 10
That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by adding after line 21 on page 3 the following:
"(3.1) The Minister shall appoint at least one representative of a union representing some or all of the employees of the Agency to the board."
Motion No. 11
That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing lines 22 to 24 on page 3 with the following:
"(4) The Minister shall appoint as Chairperson of the advisory board the person recommended for that position pursuant to subsection (4.1).
(4.1) Such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters shall, for the purposes of subsection (4), recommend the member of the advisory board that it deems most suitable as Chairperson of the board."
Motion No. 12
That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing line 27 on page 3 with the following:
"pursuant to the recommendation made under subsection (5.1).
(5.1) Such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters shall, for the purposes of subsection (5), recommend the amount that each member of the advisory board shall be paid as fees for his or her services."
Motion No. 21
That Bill C-60 be amended by adding after line 44 on page 5 the following new Clause:
"17.1 The Agency shall, once every year, provide to such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters a detailed report respecting all actions taken in that year by the Agency in the exercise of its powers under section 17."
Madam Speaker, again, these motions are well grouped. Motions Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 21 are amendments proposed by my colleague, the hon. member for Lotbinière.
The reason the Bloc Quebecois is trying hard to improve Bill C-60 is because of the serious risk of patronage. From 1984 to 1993, another party was in office and some people would literally wake up at night despising the Prime Minister of the time, because they were so fed up with his politics of patronage.
The party that took over from the Mulroney government does not fare much better in this respect. This is serious, as you are well aware. The government, through the governor in council, will appoint the president for a term of five years which may be renewed, and also the executive vice-president. There will be an advisory board of not more than 12 members, who will also be appointed by the governor in council.
What is even worse is that the regulations governing employment in the public service will be suspended for an indeterminate period of time. This means anyone can be hired, whether it is an uncle, an aunt, a nephew, a niece, a brother-in-law, a mother-in-law, a sister-in-law, the niece's friend, the sister-in-law's nephew, even the grandfather, if he still young enough to go to work. This is a serious matter. We are talking about an indeterminate period of time which could be six months, a year, two years, whatever. I have no doubt that the executive vice-president and the president will all be good friends, good Liberals.
These people will appoint employees of the new food inspection agency in a fashion similar to that of the government. We raised this issue during question period. The director general of the space agency, which is located in Longueuil, or Saint-Hubert, lives in Ottawa and refuses to move. So, the government pays $1,300 a month to house him in a luxurious rental unit. Is it a frient of the government who is enjoying all this? Of course.
Look at the recent wave of appointments in our ridings. Our new returning officer in my riding is a well-known Liberal. The fact that he is a Liberal does not make him incompetent, but, by the same token, one need not be a Liberal to be qualified.
This retired gentleman was appointed, while we have young men and young women looking for work. They are very competent, but they do not have a job and have to rely on either unemployment or welfare benefits. This government has appointed in my riding a man who is drawing a good pension. Why not have given the job to a competent young person?
In my riding, the employment or unemployment insurance-we are not quite sure what word to use any more-board of referees is chaired by a notary who happens to be the daughter of a former Liberal member.
When representatives of the farm debt review board appeared before us at the agriculture committee, I was the only one to ask them: "Who do you have to thank for your appointment?" Jean-Yves, the representative from Quebec-he is from the St-Hyacinthe area-made it quite clear that he had his political affiliation to thank for it. And what affiliation is that? Liberal. In the greater Eastern Townships region, the same Jean-Yves has managed to win the nomination as Liberal candidate for the riding of Richmond-Wolfe in the upcoming election. He managed to get himself nominated.
Are we going to give the Liberal Party of Canada a blank cheque to waive the public service hiring procedures for an indeterminate period so that the new food inspection agency can become a patronage haven? Never. We will condemn this measure with all our might.
The fact that a person is a Liberal does not make that person competent. The name of Jean Bienvenue comes to mind; he was the minister of education in Quebec under Robert Bourassa. Guess what his political affiliation was. He was appointed superior court judge in Quebec. The fact that he was a Liberal did not make him a
competent judge. He was appointed by the Liberals, not the Conservatives.
We have proposed countless amendments to improve on Bill C-60, so that the people of Canada could have a reliable food inspection agency built on a solid foundation. To have a solid foundation, the best qualified people must be hired.
One of these amendments suggests that the education and experience of the president and the vice-president should match the agency's management and service delivery requirements. Qualified people should be hired. Chances are the government party will vote against that to protect themselves, because they do not want to have their hands tied, they want to be able to appoint whoever they please.
By ensuring that the president and executive vice-president of the agency have a comprehensive knowledge and a broad experience of the areas dealt with by the agency, we would minimize the risk of seeing one or more unqualified person appointed to these positions, as was the case of Justice Bienvenue, to whom I referred earlier.
We are proposing that the president be appointed for a term of five years and, if he does an excellent job, he could be appointed for one, but only one, more term of five years. After ten years in a position, I would say he would have given all that he can give, and that is enough. I bet our friends opposite will vote against that too. What they want is to be able to appoint the members of the new agency for life, like the senators.
I urge our Liberal colleagues to consider carefully what they want to do. If they want this agency to be above suspicion, it has to be as free of patronage as possible.