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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farm.

Topics

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Do you have any members on the prairies?

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Yes, we do as a matter of fact.

In any case, let me turn to the issue of debt and quote statistics from the United States, which show that debt to income ratios in the United States was 2.9:1 between 2004 and 2005 versus the statistic that I gave earlier for Canada, which was 23:1. We should think about that in terms of what type of income one has left over when one's debt ratio is that low.

What have we been doing that is so significantly different than our counterparts in the United States when it comes to our farm programs, where their debt to income ratio is so significantly lower than ours? It is clear that the higher the debt one has, the more it consumes one's income.

That means farmers cannot invest in R and D, innovation and equipment or buy additional agricultural land when the need arises and when it is there for them to do. They perhaps cannot put more food on their own tables. Perhaps they cannot even send their kids to university. They do not have enough money because they are paying the debt. That is a crime against our farmers.

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague on his excellent speech. He is newly elected to Parliament and therefore a new member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. I want to say that his contributions there have been very helpful. He has really good ideas and I am happy to sit on this committee with him.

He had some really good things to say as well in his speech, especially when he said that measures like the loan guarantees in the program that Bill C-29 would provide are little more than a band-aid solution when what we need is a real agricultural policy. People are entitled to that, not necessarily in this bill, but in general. How is it possible that since this government came to power in 2006, there has been a total absence of any agricultural vision or policy to help farmers?

My colleague knows, of course, that Ontario and Quebec grain producers have joined forces to promote a program designed by and for them and implemented by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. This is the AgriFlex program I mentioned earlier.

Can my colleague explain why the government did not simply look at what is in this kind of program, advocated by the grain producers of Ontario and Quebec, instead of trying to complicate things, because the government always says why make things easy when they could be made hard? The producers have their own income support program, but they would like the federal funding for agriculture to go directly to the provinces, which can then adapt the federal programs to their own needs and the needs of their producers.

Why did the Conservatives promise this in the election campaign? Why did they promise it just before the budget and then table a document that made a total hash of what the farmers had presented?

Can my colleague explain what the government was doing here?

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I said earlier that we need a comprehensive policy. My colleague from British Columbia Southern Interior has been on a food for thought tour for about eight months which will be completed when he finally reaches the east coast some time later in the summer.

We will actually look at having a comprehensive policy for agriculture and food for the first time across this country. We have never had one. All we have had are stop-gap measures. Our response to a crisis is to put a band-aid on it, and when there is another crisis, we get another band-aid out, and on it goes. It is similar to the old story of the boy using his finger to plug a hole in a dike. After using all of one's fingers and thumbs, if there is still a leak and one is a nimble person, one could use one's toes, but ultimately, if the dike is not fixed, it will forever spring a leak.

That is what we see in agriculture. Farmers are telling us there is a problem with the system. It is not about individual producers. It is not about sectors, whether it be red meat, oil seeds or horticulture. Farmers are saying there is a problem with the entire system and there needs to be a policy. We need to talk about how to fix it. Ultimately, we need to fix it so we can go forward. We cannot go forward with a haphazard policy that fixes one thing today and ignores another thing tomorrow until there is another crisis.

It is in all of our interests for all of us to come together and finally establish an agriculture policy for the entire country. It would be the best thing for Canadians and consumers, but more important, it would be the best thing for our farmers now and in the future.

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I particularly appreciated the attention my hon. colleague paid to what young farmers are dealing with. I took note of his reference in terms of the increased debt that young people in Canada face today.

Only this morning I had a chance to meet with student leaders from McGill University who spoke very clearly about the pressures student debt puts on them today. It is very much the same story with young farmers, many of whom have decided to follow other paths because they can no longer make ends meet. This is extremely problematic for an industry that is very much at the core of who we are as Canadians.

I would like to ask my fellow colleague what his thoughts are about the supports that are needed in this industry in order to support young farmers, people who have spent their lives making this industry a reality and, as a result, benefits that could be provided to this industry that would be to the advantage of all Canadians.

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of being in the Simcoe and Delhi area not long ago. Although it was a pleasure to be there, it was an unfortunate situation because of the buyout program for the tobacco farmers in that area.

One can debate the merits of whether we should grow tobacco or not, but for those farmers it was clearly the end of an era. When I talked to some of the farmers, especially those who were a little bit older and had been in the business for a long time, they were not talking about themselves exiting that industry. They were talking about young farmers who were going to be exiting at a point in their lives when they had taken on the maximum debt load and were now seeing no income whatsoever. All they had basically was $1.05 a pound to buy back the program. They were wondering what to do next.

In fact, a few of those young farmers asked me what I thought they should farm next. I live in the country, but as I have told many friends, I just grow big trees. They grow all by themselves. I have a managed wood lot, so the trees just grow. I do not know how they grow. They just grow. The farmers were asking me what to do next. I had no idea what product a young farmer should get into farming next. They were at a point in their lives when they truly did not know.

We need a comprehensive policy that talks about agriculture and does not force young folks on the farm to start out so far in debt that they are going to be bankrupt by the time they are 35. That would be unconscionable.

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Is the House ready for the question?

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canadian Agricultural Loans ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

National Police WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House during National Police Week to pay tribute to the brave men and women who selflessly protect our families and our communities each and every day.

Our government prides itself on the support it continues to provide to the police community. We are firmly committed to ensuring that police have the legislative backing needed to tackle crime.

We have passed laws providing for mandatory prison sentences, made it tougher for offenders to get out of prison, and eliminated house arrest for serious crime.

This government has introduced legislation to tackle auto theft, property crime and identity theft, and to increase penalties for gang and organized crime related violence and drug trafficking.

This government has also provided funding to hire more police officers for the provinces and municipalities. We now have 1,500 new RCMP officers in place.

I and other members of our party have worn the uniform, be it municipal, provincial or RCMP, and we can all attest to the commitment and dedication police officers bring to their jobs every day.

National Police Week is a chance for all of us to show our appreciation for these outstanding men and women, who, as we are reminded today, place their lives on the line every day.

Veterans Affairs CommendationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Mr. Jan Van Der Rassel, a Korean war veteran and Canadian Forces veteran from my riding.

Earlier today Mr. Van Der Rassel was presented with a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for the remarkable work he does to assist veterans and their dependents.

Mr. Van Der Rassel has been an active member of the Korea Veterans Association of Canada, KVA, for more than 30 years. In fact, he was instrumental in organizing the charter for KVA Unit No. 58 in North Bay.

Mr. Van Der Rassel is also a member of the Memory project and is heavily involved in community fundraising.

I have had the great pleasure of working with Van over the past several years, and I have always been extremely impressed by his commitment to his community and his fellow veterans, whether it is visiting them to bring up their spirits or helping them obtain the benefits they so deserve.

On behalf of all hon. members, I wish to congratulate Jan Van Der Rassel on receiving a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, and express my sincere gratitude for his tremendous commitment to veterans and their dependents.

Municipality of Saint-EspritStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fabulous work done by the committee and the people involved in organizing the municipality of Saint-Esprit's participation in the program La petite séduction as part of the festivities to mark the village's 200th anniversary. On April 22, 2009, Quebec television viewers had the opportunity to see Véronique Cloutier warmly welcomed to the village of Saint-Esprit. The people of Saint-Esprit should be delighted by their success. Their guest was captivated by the their unique character.

That event was part of the enormous success of Saint-Esprit's bicentennial and reflected the residents' pride in their municipality. As the member of Parliament for Montcalm, I would like to congratulate them on their efforts to introduce ourselves to the rest of Quebec.

I would like to thank Danielle Allard, mayor of Saint-Esprit, Jean Latendresse, chair of the 200th anniversary celebrations, and all the volunteers and members of the organizing committee for this marvellous initiative.

Windsor SpitfiresStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday night the Windsor Spitfires capped off an incredible playoff run with a 2-1 overtime win over the Brampton Battalion to win the Spitfires' first OHL championship in 21 years.

Only one season removed from the tragic loss of the team's tremendous captain, Mickey Renaud, the Spits, under the skilled leadership of a remarkable ownership group and the unwavering support of the community, have christened the Windsor Family Credit Union Centre, in the centre's first season, the home of the Windsor Spitfires with the J. Ross Robertson Cup.

I would like to congratulate owners Peter Dobrich, Warren Rychel and Bob Boughner, who have led this proud franchise back to prominence. The member for Windsor—Tecumseh and I wish them and the entire organization the best of luck in the Memorial Cup.

The Spitfires have the support of the community behind them. Go Spits go.

Alberta Film and Television AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, on May 2 I attended the 2009 Rosies, the Alberta Film and Television Awards, where two constituents won two prestigious awards.

MacKenzie Porter won the Best Actress award for her outstanding work in the Nomadic Pictures production, The Other Woman. Landon Liboiron was awarded Best Actor for his exemplary performance in the Seven24 Films production, Wild Roses.

MacKenzie hails from Medicine Hat and comes from a talented family. Kalan Porter, Canadian Idol 2004 winner, is MacKenzie's older brother. MacKenzie is 19 years old and has already performed in several cinema and TV productions and undoubtedly has a tremendous career ahead of her.

Landon, from Jenner, Alberta, is a grade 12 student at St. Joseph's Collegiate in Brooks. Remarkably, this is 18-year-old Landon's second Rosie. We will soon see this wonderfully talented and accomplished young man on CTV's Degrassi: The Next Generation.

On behalf of my constituents, I want to extend our congratulations to MacKenzie and Landon. They are an inspiration and we are all tremendously proud.

Veterans Affairs CommendationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Garnett Turner of Kensington, P.E.I., for receiving a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation. The award recognizes those who have made a substantial contribution to the care and well-being of veterans.

Mr. Turner's service to the Canadian war effort during the second world war is exemplary and includes time in the Canadian army as well as the Merchant Navy. Since the war, Mr. Turner has played an active role in the Royal Canadian Legion and has been a member of Legion Branch No. 9 in Kensington for 55 years.

Through a project called Passing the Torch, Mr. Turner has taken photos of cenotaphs and war memorials in an effort to compile a more extensive list of those who have served and to perpetuate their names in recognition of their service. It is a superb piece of work.

On behalf of this House, I congratulate his exceptional contribution to our community and to the legacy of Canadian heroes.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals, hot off their do-nothing convention, have a new slogan: “We can” That is really original. I wonder where they came up with that.

Here is what we know so far about what Liberals mean when they say, “We can”.

“We can” means they can raise taxes on the backsides of Canadian families.

“We can” means they can abandon a majority of Canadians, including first nations, who support scrapping the long-gun registry.

“We can” means they can all sign onto a coalition government that they now say would have deeply and enduringly divided Canadians.

Conservatives have a saying too: “We are”.

We are keeping taxes low for Canadians during these economic times.

We are providing stimulus for industries to emerge stronger and greener than ever, and we are moving forward on our promise to dismantle the long-gun registry.

What is the irony of all of this? In the last election, we asked Canadians for permission to rebuild and modernize Canada's infrastructure and lead them through this global recession, and their answer was, “Yes, we can”.

Michèle RouleauStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to congratulate a great lady from my riding, Ms. Michèle Rouleau, who was just awarded an honorary doctorate by the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT).

Originally from Senneterre in Abitibi, Ms. Rouleau has been an advocate for the rights of native women. She has served as the director of the Senneterre native friendship centre, president of Quebec Native Women and a commissioner on the AFN Renewal Commission. She has always been actively involved in her community and today is a consultant in aboriginal affairs and a facilitator.

Michèle Rouleau was awarded Quebec's Prix de la Justice award and the Droits et libertés award by Quebec’s Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. She is also a Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec.

By awarding this honorary doctorate, UQAT is underscoring the exceptional commitment made by this remarkable humanitarian. We are very proud of this honour, which reflects on the entire community and riding.

Congratulations, Michèle.

Agricultural LoansStatements By Members

May 11th, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of new farmers and young farmers in my riding of Lambton--Kent--Middlesex to commend my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, for introducing the Canadian agricultural loans bill.

Since being elected, I have been privileged to conduct a number of round table meetings with all sectors of agriculture that have provided me with important input on issues. I have heard consistently from young farmers about the challenges they face in trying to carry on the family farm.

The Canadian agricultural loans bill would allow young farmers entering the farming business and intergenerational farmers hoping to take over the family farm the opportunity to access loans of up to $500,000. These significant changes were not available under the previous program.

This is yet another example of our government's commitment to the agriculture industry and to new farmers, and our recognition of its importance to Canada.

Speech and Hearing Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Isabelle Allain, from my riding of Moncton--Riverview--Dieppe, who has been awarded the prestigious student excellence award by the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

Isabelle, who is currently completing her master's in speech pathology at McGill, is a former New Brunswick ambassador to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights.

Isabelle also earned an honours B.A. in international development and Spanish at Dalhousie University.

This award is timely, as May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month in Canada.

Speech pathologists like Isabelle work with children, adults and seniors, and their families, helping to deal with different communication disorders, and improving the lives of everyone who may have to deal with hearing or speech issues.

I ask this House to join me in congratulating Isabelle Allain and the difference she is making.

Security InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, hate crimes undermine the security of our neighbourhoods. The communities at risk security infrastructure program is a $3 million initiative that allows targeted communities to apply for funding to improve security and enhance their safety.

Canada is not immune to violent acts that target individuals based on their race, culture or identity. Crimes that target community or religious institutions are sometimes considered to be victimless crimes, but this is not the case. Hate-motivated crime leaves more than just physical harm because it targets an entire community.

That is why our government has acted to extend this important program, allowing community organizations to apply for federal funding to assist with upgrades to security infrastructure. This program continues our government's efforts to not only punish crimes but also to prevent them whenever possible.

Now is the time for community organizations to apply for this funding. Whether it is for a synagogue, a mosque or a community centre, all Canadians deserve the right to feel safe in their community, and our Conservative government is taking action to enhance both safety and security.

Édith ButlerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, Acadian Édith Butler was awarded the highest distinction granted a performing artist in Canada. She received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award.

On behalf of the people of her home riding, Acadie—Bathurst, I would like to convey our gratitude, admiration and pride.

Through song and story, Édith brought Acadia to the world, and taught so many about the place we call home. Most importantly, she brought it to life just as she brought us many a happy moment singing “Paquetville, Paquetville”.

Her heritage and the joy it brings are part of our collective psyche. I would like to pay tribute to this extraordinary artist's 40-year career, to her exceptional contribution to our cultural life, and to her generosity, both on stage and off.

We thank Édith. Congratulations, and best wishes in her future endeavours.

Leader of the Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, Liberal ideology at its worst has returned on the other side of the House. The Liberal leader wants to raise taxes. Raise taxes for the good of the nation, he said.

This weekend, the Liberal leader also denied his party's recent history. After—like all his colleagues—signing a letter to the Governor General begging her to allow the opposition to lead the country with an unelected coalition, today he is dissociating himself from that.

For this man, Quebec is a little like Minnesota or Vermont. He recognizes Quebec's distinctness only by highway signs written in French. I have no congratulations for him.

For the Liberal leader, there is nothing like a healthy tax increase, a latent insult to Quebeckers and a firm denial of history. We expected nothing less from a Liberal leader who is gradually falling into line with the shortsighted ideology of his party and that of Trudeau.

Mining IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, today in Montreal, various organizations got together to call on the government to shoulder its responsibilities with regard to Canadian mining companies abroad.

The Canadian government's response to the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries report shows that it fails to understand the issues involved. It has ignored the many recommendations made by the industry and civil society on how to ensure that foreign activities by Canadian extractive companies comply with international environmental and human rights standards.

The Bloc Québécois supports this report, which recommends developing a code of practice for extractive companies, introducing independent oversight and accounting mechanisms and implementing punitive measures for companies that violate the code of conduct.

It is deplorable that the Canadian government lacks vision and prefers to rely on companies to take voluntary action.