House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.


SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, this makes me smile a little since the minister, once again, is trying to get away with not meeting with producers. I would remind him that, yesterday evening, after the House adjourned, I and ten Bloc Quebecois colleagues went to support the producers.

Unfortunately, we learned of the minister's response only over the course of the evening. It is a shame because I would have simply invited the minister to accompany us. We would have made room for him on the plane so he could meet with them.

There have been programs and plans, but ineffective plans. There is a problem. We cannot turn a deaf ear to producers unable to send their cattle to the slaughterhouses. We need a floor price. When will the minister work with his provincial counterparts to set a Canada-wide floor price? When will he improve his assistance package, as producers are demanding?

He is telling us that things are so good, there are no problems.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.


Wayne Easter LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development)

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite extended an invitation for the minister to go to the UPA convention. There is no question about that. It would be really nice if the member would at least go home and tell the facts. The member should go home and admit to the UPA that the reason the minister could not be there is because the members opposite picked today to have the debate on this important issue. It is fundamental to have the minister here so that questions can be answered.

He just spelled out the amounts that have gone to Quebec on this issue a moment ago. I would invite the member to go home and give those facts to his producers because obviously it sounds like producers in Quebec do not know enough about the program. Maybe it is because the member opposite is not telling the people in Quebec what the Government of Canada and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is doing for producers in Quebec.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand the secretary of state's question. However, I would propose something even more simple. The minister and secretary of state should come with me, this afternoon or at least whenever their schedules permit, to go explain things to producers currently at the convention who are waiting for this government to introduce an assistance package or at least some concrete measures. He should come with us.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Fundy Royal. As many people in the House know, I am a cattle producer and have been living through this tragedy along with my family, friends and neighbours. My constituency is heavily dependant upon the livestock industry.

I wish to congratulate the Bloc for bringing forward the motion. I wish that it addressed the entire gamut of ruminant livestock that has been affected so seriously by this crisis. We have sheep, goats, bison, elk and the cattle industry that have all been wrapped up in the problem. They all have issues that need to be talked about. I think we do need to talk about the entire ruminant industry.

There is no doubt that we have problems. Just three weeks ago I sold three good, mature cows that, before the crisis came along, probably would have brought me a clear cheque of about $1,800. My cheque was for $114 three weeks ago. This thing is definitely having a negative impact and it is not just impacting at the farm gate. This is going through every community.

Without having available cash in the hands of farmers, they are not in a position to go out to buy the goods and services in their local communities. That is affecting the little cafes, the barbershops and the farm supply stores. All those industries need to ensure that this crisis gets resolved and that cash gets flowing into the hands of farmers.

We are here to talk about the BSE recovery program and essentially it is in two parts. We have the 2003 recovery and we are into 2004 now. In 2003 there was cash that flowed a lot easier into the hands of producers, not great gobs of money as often it is made out to be. I know that in my situation, it averaged out to about $45 a cow. My loss last year was in excess of $400 per animal. We are not talking about a lot of money to keep the farms going, but then again, we are into a new year. We are into 2004 and a different way of delivering money. The ministry of agriculture is delivering these funds primarily through the CAIS program. We all know that there are some fundamental flaws with it, as the minister himself has admitted, that we need to look at other ways of delivering the money.

I received a letter yesterday from one of my producers. He has a 100 cow operation and at best he can expect $12,000 from the CAIS program this year. That will not pay the bills. It is not going to make him meet his tax requirements, pay his operating loans, mortgages, never mind paying the fuel and fertilizer for the farm, and putting groceries on the table.

I have also been talking to some of the ruminant producers and they have not even seen a dime in 2004 yet. We are still in a situation where the bison industry is negotiating some form of compensation for 2004. The sheep industry does not even know where it stands. I was talking with some members of the Manitoba Sheep Association and they are not sure what type of compensation they will see for 2004, if any.

There is also the whole question of regional disparity. I have talked to the minister and the parliamentary secretary about this in the past. We have a situation where the problems are quite different across the country. As we have already heard from the Bloc, Quebec has its problems. I know that in Manitoba we have a lack of slaughter capacity and this has really hurt, especially on the mature cattle and even on the fed animals, the youthful animals. There is a lack of competition. We have become price takers rather than price makers. We have to depend upon the will of packers across other areas of Canada to bid on our animals and of course they have an abundance of animals closer to them.

I want to read from an article that came out of the Winnipeg Free Press just yesterday. The Manitoba minister of agriculture said:

I am very frustrated with the federal government. Every option we put forward is rejected by the federal government. It's as if they don't want a slaughter-capacity increase in this province.

He was referring to Manitoba. He went on to say:

Numerous proposals for increasing slaughter capacity in Manitoba have been turned down by Ottawa.

The province of Manitoba has committed $11.6 million toward the $16 million Rancher's Choice project and cash strapped producers have kicked in over $1 million on top of that. Yet, the federal government's programs do not seem to be addressing that particular need, as well as other projects that are trying to get off the ground across the country. We also need to have a level playing field in the way programs are set up across the country. One of the big debates right now is in the feeder cattle set aside program.

Alberta has been extremely generous with its producers by providing some extra incentives in the feeder set aside program, as well as a different date that the animals will become available for market versus the rest of Canada. If the rules are not the same across the country that will create a big problem. If the cattle that are in the set aside program in Alberta are released before they are released in Saskatchewan, Manitoba or B.C., they will be the first ones in the marketplace to capture premiums and will disadvantage the other provinces. We need to ensure that the rules are tightened up and all these things are taken into consideration.

One of the other things I want to talk about is the whole trade issue. There is no doubt that Canada has been fortunate that in this BSE crisis the border still is not shut as has happened in other countries, particularly in Europe. The goodwill of the American government to open the border up to muscle cuts from youthful animals has been very generous. It has helped keep the industry from complete disparity.

The one thing I took out of the press conference by President Bush this week is that he is working toward opening the border, but I have not heard the media pick up on his one comment “for animals under 30 months of age”.

The reality is that mature animals are not in the current rule that is being proposed to the OMB. We have a situation where we still have to deal with the mature animal crisis. We have to have a made in Canada solution. I urge the government to move ahead and continue to support the initiatives that are coming forward.

There is no doubt that the President of the United States and his administration are interested in having an integrated market. They want to see the issue of the movement of young animals back and forth across the border resolved. This would benefit their industry greatly for sure and will hopefully provide some economic growth in Canada as well as the border opens up.

However we cannot bank on that. We have to stay on the offensive and be ready in case something derails this process. It is tied up right now in the bureaucracy. It could again become political. We also know that there could be other health concerns that come up, such as another diseased animal on either side of the border which could derail the whole rule process.

We need to be vigilant and we need to stay committed to a made in Canada solution. That means that we have to continue to work toward increasing slaughter capacity, increasing export market opportunities and increasing the opportunities for wealth in the livestock industry.

As an agriculture producer, this is something that is extremely dear to my heart. This is an issue that I want to see quickly resolved. My children, my neighbours, my family and people across this country want to have a long term investment in the industry. They believe that agriculture is still the place to raise a family, a place to make a comfortable living and to be one's own boss. I want to see us come to a quick conclusion to this issue so all of our children and future generations will have a bright and prosperous future.

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1:40 p.m.


Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a city boy. I was practically born on the sidewalk. Many urbanites across Canada are very sensitive to the plight of agriculture, because we are generally proud of our farm community. In Quebec, we are proud of the quality of our dairy products and the diversity that has developed. In addition, while we are still very fond of Alberta beef, we find it very unfair that a single case of mad cow disease discovered two years ago in Alberta had such a dramatic impact on rural life.

There are some things, however, that we do not understand and that the hon. member could perhaps explain to us.

Could he tell me and other urbanites like me how a floor price works? Would it actually work if only one province had a floor price? Does the federal government need the consent of all the provinces to set a floor price? Would such a floor price represent significant costs to the government? Will it really save the rural community, whom, once again, we greatly appreciate even when we were born and raised in a Canadian city?

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1:45 p.m.


James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the current BSE situation, as it is with all animal health diseases, there is no doubt that we are one country when we are viewed by the OIE, Office International des Epizooties, which is the rule making body that Canada belongs to along with other nations in the world, as to how we look at disease in livestock.

Discussions have been held in the past about regionalization. It becomes an issue of where we draw the line on certain things and how we start tracking animal movement within the country. Canada does have a free flow of livestock throughout the country, as they do in the United States. I know for a fact that a lot of the cattle in my province of Manitoba was bought up by Quebec feedlots, taken home, raised, fattened and slaughtered in Quebec packing plants.

I do not want to discourage that type of commerce and that type of flow between all the regions, but there is no doubt that there is a discussion about regionalization.

Foot and mouth disease is a good case in point. In South America there are regions of countries that are considered to be free of foot and mouth disease versus other areas of the same countries.

On the issue of pricing, the provinces do have the ability to set prices if they want. I do not believe that as a government we want to necessarily look at a set floor price. I know there have been discussions around basis pricing and not necessarily even to have that taken from the government's coffers. If basis pricing in Canada were tied to the prices in the United States versus historical averages converted into Canadian dollars it might possibly be an option to consider. I understand discussions have taken place on that.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario


Andy Mitchell LiberalMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across the way is a very knowledgeable individual about this particular industry.

I want to ask him a question because he is from Manitoba. I share with him the necessity and the desire to create increased capacity in Manitoba. I also understand the frustration of some in Manitoba but I think it is absolutely something we have to work toward. My question for the member would be in terms of the context for that to take place.

Our view is that whatever proposal is put forward it needs to be supported by a good business plan, it needs to be something that will be sustainable even after the border is open and it needs to be something in which the government participates, with the private sector and, because of the situation in Manitoba, the producers making a significant contribution.

Does the hon. member feel that our approach should be taken under those types of conditions?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the situation of the Ranchers Choice Beef Co-op, it has put together a good business plan and a great marketing plan. Its whole focus has been on the mature animals, which, as I mentioned in my presentation, is an area where we doubt that there will be much movement in opening the border for mature animals.

Therefore the opportunity there is great. The supply of animals is there and there is a lot of market opportunity. However there is no doubt that the business plan has been sound. The provincial government would not have backed it had it not felt that this was something to jump into. There has also been interest from commercial lenders as well. I encourage the government to use the loan loss program to help those commercial lenders get involved with the project.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Rob Moore Conservative Fundy, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak today in the House to an issue that is of great importance to my constituents in Fundy Royal, New Brunswick, as well as to many other Atlantic Canadians and Canadians from coast to coast. I also am pleased to speak to this motion because it shows solidarity with and support for farmers across Canada who are going through a difficult time.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of our agriculture critic with the Conservative Party and other members of the opposition who have done great work on behalf of the agricultural industry in this regard.

Our agriculture critic sought input from members across the country, which is important because this is an issue that affects Canadians from coast to coast. I was pleased when I was asked for my input from a New Brunswick perspective on how this crisis was affecting farmers in New Brunswick.

I want to speak specifically to that impact on New Brunswick farmers as the BSE crisis has developed. I will give a couple of facts. New Brunswick has approximately 1,000 beef farmers who were contributing $27 million to the provincial economy prior to the crisis. This has dropped to $19 million since the finding of BSE in 2003.

Over the last several months I have had the opportunity to meet with producers in and around my riding and around the province to hear how the BSE crisis has affected them. What I heard was that if no action is taken on this, there is a good possibility that they will not recover from this crisis. Many of the farmers with whom I spoke were facing the very real prospect of bankruptcy, including the loss of their farms.

The federal aid programs, although well intended, are, unfortunately, not reaching the people who need it most, our farmers. When we are debating and talking about various programs, it is important that these programs reach the farmers at the farm gate in order to be effective.

Our farmers are some of the hardest working people in Canada and when a crisis like this hits, they deserve our help. As I mentioned, the feedback that I have been receiving from some of the farmers in my riding is that the programs so far have been of little assistance.

When we deal with an issue that has a national impact and we talk about facts and figures, I think it is important from time to time to deal with some of the real life situations and the humanity of how a crisis like this can impact on individual Canadians. I want to give a couple of examples.

One of the farmers with whom I spoke said that this fall was 10 times worse than the previous year. He is selling feeder cattle for $300. Last year he sold heifers at $82 and this year they were selling at only $50. Last year steers were $92 and this year he was only getting $60. He told me that he had lost money last year at those higher prices and that he was due to lose much more this year.

I spoke with another young farming couple who run a dairy and beef farm with about 100 head of beef. They used to sell their cull cows for $600 and now they are only receiving $66. We have to remember that this is when, for producers in New Brunswick, it costs $70 to send a cull cow to Quebec for slaughter.

I spoke with another farmer who last year only received in aid an amount equal to what he normally would have received by selling two heifers. Clearly for him the aid package that he has received so far has not done enough.

I have also spoken to many producers who have had to take on not only a second but possibly a third job just to cover their cost of living and to support their families. It has created a tremendous personal burden on these individuals.

The other thing I have heard overwhelmingly is how confusing it is to apply for funding and even confusing to determine whether or not a person is eligible. I have been told by many farmers that they have had to talk to departmental officials or even have their own accountant or lawyer look at these forms in order to see that they are properly processed.

There has to be a better way of doing this so that we make these programs more accessible and farmers are not required to spend $100 or more an hour to have a lawyer or accountant look at the forms. Clearly, as we are debating today, farmers do require assistance, but what I find they do not need more of are more delays, red tape and hoops to jump through. They need help and, as I mentioned, they need it at the farm gate. That is where it is going to be most effective.

I also want to speak today about the impact that BSE has had on dairy farmers. There is a lot of talk about beef producers when we talk about the BSE crisis, but I do want to speak a bit about the impact that BSE has had on dairy farmers.

Dairy is a very important part of my riding of Fundy—Royal where, I am told, about 70% of the dairy production for New Brunswick comes from that riding. Some of the solutions we have seen come forward from the government clearly do not do enough to help dairy.

Specifically on the CAIS program, most of the dairy farmers I spoke to do not meet the requirements as set out. They are ineligible for funding. This has been somewhat typical of some of the programs we have seen. There is an announcement on aid, but as for the actual delivery, when we actually look at how this is going to work and how it is going to be delivered to farmers, it falls far short. I use as an example the fact farmers need a deposit to participate in the CAIS program. Many of the farmers in my riding are unable to borrow money for the deposit.

In Atlantic Canada our farmers are also in a particularly tough spot because there is not the infrastructure in place for them on the farms for other farming endeavours. That creates some difficulty when their primary source of income is completely cut out from under them.

I am encouraged that we are working to increase processing capacity in Atlantic Canada and that stakeholders have been working hard to find solutions, but as we know, debate and hard work can get us so far and then at some point we have to implement these things. I want to emphasize that when we do implement policies, the number one priority as I see it is that the money we are allocating gets to the people most in need and that is at the farm gate.

Of course we all know that this crisis will not be resolved until the border is fully open. We did have a recent visit from the President of the United States. We have seen in the past where having a negative relationship with our largest trading partner has affected our ability to resolve trade disputes and border issues. I believe it is time for politicians from all sides of the House to put some of the pettiness and bickering aside and to work together for solutions on behalf of our farmers and producers across the country.

I am very pleased that this motion was brought forward. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to speak to it. I hope that farmers across Canada who have the opportunity to find out what we spoke about today are encouraged that members of Parliament are taking their concerns seriously.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member will have time for questions and comments after question period.

Riding of BrantStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to two outstanding individuals from my riding of Brant.

Lorne and Elsie Hankinson recently won $5 million in a lottery. Having lived in the Brant community for some 54 years, the couple has decided to give back. The Hankinsons have created, in the true spirit of giving, a $1.5 million trust fund to help Brant's health care system, education and other community causes and organizations dear to them.

I ask all hon. members to join me in congratulating Lorne and Elsie Hankinson and to commend them for their true act of generosity.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of International Volunteer Day. In 1979 the United Nations designated December 5 as a day to honour and thank those who contribute so much to our lives. I cannot possibly mention all the examples of daily generosity that quite frankly we often take for granted.

In my own riding of Vegreville--Wainwright, there is an unending list of the ways that volunteers keep communities strong: delivering meals to people who would otherwise go without and helping at schools, with sports teams, at cultural events, special celebrations and exhibits, and yes, with elections. And of course volunteer firefighters regularly give up time with their own families in order to keep their neighbours safe.

Volunteers are truly the heart and soul of our society. Without them, many communities would simply disappear and our lives would be bleak indeed.

I extend thanks to all volunteers for their willingness to serve, their generosity and their tireless devotion to their communities. May God bless them all.

Gerhard HessStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the life of Dr. Gerhard Hess of Kitchener, Ontario, who passed away on November 19. Dr. Hess was an outstanding person whose caring and compassion will be fondly remembered by those who knew him and the community that surrounded him.

Dr. Hess was born in 1926 and came to Canada at the age of 12. He was a veterinarian who served with the KW Humane Society.

I would also like to mention that Dr. Hess was one of the founders of the Black Ribbon Day committee, which dedicated its time to fighting for human rights behind the Iron Curtain.

As we all know, 14 years ago the Iron Curtain came down, but with what is happening in Ukraine, we are reminded that we must always be vigilant to make sure that human rights are protected.

HousingStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 22, I met with officials from the organization Loge m'entraide, in my constituency.

They made the following request: federal investment in social housing should be 1% of total expenditures, or $2 billion annually. This request is in line with our position, and I am conveying it to the government.

Some families are spending up to 80% of their income on rent. In the city of Saguenay, it is the case for 2,500 households, or close to 11% of tenants. Considering the surplus generated by the CMHC, this is enough to be upset, because it is a social injustice.

According to Loge m'entraide, the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region needs $20 million, including $7 million in my riding, to build social housing units.

The federal government must increase its transfers for housing—

HousingStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Chuck Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

The hon. member for Oak Ridges—Markham.

St. Augustine's ChoirStatements By Members

December 2nd, 2004 / 2 p.m.


Lui Temelkovski Liberal Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring attention to the visit of the St. Augustine's choir to Parliament Hill today.

The choir is made up of a wonderful group of high school students who attend St. Augustine's and have dedicated considerable time to crafting their vocal talents.

The choir performed earlier today in the rotunda. For those fortunate enough to hear them, they are familiar with the choir's talents. For those who did not hear them, I shall vouch for their angelic voices and gifted instrumental abilities.

I ask for a warm parliamentary welcome for these young students and their teachers who are here today.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Dave Chatters Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has failed to provide the promised support for beef producers. Despite all kinds of announcements, the desperately needed support has not arrived at the farm gate.

I would also like to remind the minister that beef cattle are not the only ruminants banned by the U.S. and that beef cattle ranchers are not the only sector decimated by the border closure. Bison and elk producers were initially led to believe by the minister that they would be included in the support program. However, in the Liberal tradition, the minister is now abandoning these sectors.

When is the minister going to do the right thing and get support out to the producers of all ruminants?

MunicipalitiesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently members received a copy of “Our Place in the World”, the role of municipal government in Canada's international policies and programs.

I would like to congratulate the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for this document. It lays out clearly the potential for municipal governments in this country to play an important role in achieving our collective international objectives in areas of development assistance, trade and representing Canada abroad.

The ideas in this document are built on the successes of FCM's international program, which started in 1987 when FCM and CIDA joined together to work in the developing world.

Since then, thousands of municipal officials from Canada and overseas have worked together to improve the quality of life and sustainability of communities around the world.

This document presents the argument that municipalities are able and willing to do more, more to strengthen our development assistance, more to enhance relationships with our diplomatic and trading partners and, in short, more to strengthen Canada's place in the world.

I encourage all members to read this document and think about the valuable contribution--

MunicipalitiesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

International Volunteer DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, December 5 is International Volunteer Day. I am taking this opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional work of a person in the riding of Trois-Rivières, Laurent Pontbriand.

On what began as just another ordinary day, Mr. Pontbriand was the victim of a very serious traffic accident, for which he was not responsible. While in hospital, he received a blood transfusion and contracted the hep C virus.

Mr. Pontbriand refused to let this bring him down and decided to help people who, like him, have to live with the consequences of that disease.

He toured schools and prisons to talk about prevention, and he also provided information to victims. In 1998, he created the Laurent-Pontbriand foundation to provide support, information, supportive care, and a hotline service.

To all those who know him, he is a model of courage and remarkable humility.

David VienneauStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Russ Powers Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to advise the House that Parliament has lost a friend, a personal acquaintance from my hometown of Dundas. David Vienneau, a distinguished journalist, has passed away.

On your behalf, Mr. Speaker, and on behalf of members of the House, I offer my condolences to David's wife Nicki and his family.

David will be missed by his many friends and colleagues and by all the people who have been associated with this, our national House, over the years. David was respected, admired and liked in both Houses and by all sides for his buoyant spirit, his relentless drive, his fairness and his humanity.

As a journalist covering national affairs for more than two decades with the Toronto Star and lately as bureau chief of Global Television, David knew everyone from prime ministers to the cleaning staff of the House of Commons. It was one of the elements that made David an outstanding journalist.

Journalism was only part of David's rich life. He loved sports and was a good athlete. He was an avid squash player and golfer, often having matches with members of the House.

Today we mark his passing. It is a sad day, but we are also grateful to have been in the company of this remarkable man.

Great Lakes WatershedStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1993, through the International Joint Commission, Canada committed itself to reducing chlorination byproducts from entering the Great Lakes watershed.

In May 1994, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a report on the dangers of using chlorine for drinking water treatment in small communities.

In October 1994, the federal government developed the chlorinated substances action plan to prune the chlorine tree.

Despite this evidence to the contrary and the fact that environmentally friendly alternatives exist, the federal government, in partnership with the Liberal Party of Ontario, is forcing the spending of millions of dollars on water treatment systems rural people cannot afford. It is doing so without regard for the environment or for people's health.

Clean, safe drinking water is the right of all Canadians. Let us forget the smokescreen of Kyoto. It is time for the government to get serious about people's health and the environment.

Organ DonationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Kristopher Knowles. Kristopher is a courageous and determined 14-year-old boy who is waiting for a liver transplant. Not content to sit on the sidelines, Kristopher initiated a walking tour of Canada. He has visited over 200 communities to speak with young people in order to raise awareness about the need for organ donors.

Today Kristopher spoke before the health committee and shared with us his passion for life. Kristopher is an inspiration for all of us. We wish him well in his quest. He is with us today. On behalf of all members of the Standing Committee on Health, I want to express my support for his efforts and encourage all hon. members to learn more about organ donation. We thank Kristopher.

ImmigrantsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, on December 1 we honoured and recognized the International Day for the Elimination of Racism. To my shock and surprise, while reading one of the local newspapers from Nova Scotia, I could not help but be appalled by and very angry at a former Conservative candidate, a prominent member of the Conservative Party of Nova Scotia and Canada, who said the following words, “Immigrants will dilute our population”.

As an immigrant myself, as well as 39 members of Parliament who come from other countries, I am ashamed and disgusted with the Conservative Party for having someone like that in its party.

I ask the leader of the official opposition and the deputy House leader from Nova Scotia to kick that guy out of the Conservative Party and send him back to the cave from where he came.

LeftiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP tells us that President Bush slapped him on the back and said “Every country needs a good lefty”. That is true, because while our troops fight the war on terror and patrol Afghanistan, lefties fight a valiant war on trans fats and patrol Tim Hortons, and God only knows at what terrible human cost.

They fight a war on poverty by overtaxing, over-regulating and just overstaying their welcome. Their war on poverty looks suspiciously like a war on prosperity. Their governments are overweening. One might say that lefties are overweenies, but that would offend them because weenies are full of meat, salt and maybe trans fats, and we all know they are at war on those things. Lefties are at war against violence and if we do not believe them, they will peacefully break our windows and peacefully protest our faces in.

We may not agree with President Bush on everything, but he is clearly correct when he says that every country needs a good lefty. With lefties now overwhelming the NDP and Liberal benches, we have a lefty surplus, which leaves Canada in a terrible deficit.