House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was products.


(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #26

1:25 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

I wish to inform the House that because of the proceedings of the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by 30 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-5, An Act to amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Keeping Canadians Safe (International Transfer of Offenders) ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I ask that you see the clock at 1:30 p.m., plus whatever time was consumed so we can get on to private members' business.

Keeping Canadians Safe (International Transfer of Offenders) ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is it agreed?

Keeping Canadians Safe (International Transfer of Offenders) ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Some hon. members


The House resumed from March 12 consideration of the motion.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

1:25 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona has seven minutes left to conclude his remarks. I will give the floor to him.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

1:25 p.m.


Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Motion No. 460, which states:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should ensure that production management tools available to Canadian farmers are similar to those of other national jurisdictions by considering equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes by Health Canada, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

At first blush, this seems like a reasonable proposal. However, once one listens to the speeches of the various presenters on this bill, one soon gets a different impression of what this resolution is about. In fact, if the government were so intent on taking action in the area, one would think it would have opted to bring in a government-sponsored bill. We see this with the government in a lot of different areas. It has backbench members bring in initiatives under the umbrella of private members' bills. The government is just sitting back and not taking the initiative.

This is one such example. Clearly, we are involving a number of areas here. I will get to the specifics later, but a proper bill that would be brought in would include changes to several current acts in the Parliament. The basis upon which the motion is framed makes perfect sense. We should not be duplicating research. However, there are obviously other issues involved.

My colleague, the member for British Columbia Southern Interior, did speak to this bill in the first hour. He expressed the view that it is no secret that Canadian farmers often experience frustration in not being able to access the latest technology the way their competitors do, because American companies will go to the markets with the greatest population. It just makes sense.

If companies are going to develop a product, before they consider developing it for a country with 30 million people, like Canada, they will look at introducing and developing that product for the market that has the larger population, which in the case of the United States is around 300 million people. If they are going to invest a tremendous amount of money in research and development to develop a product, they are going to put those resources and dollars toward developing the product to the American standards, which in fact may be lower.

The conundrum we have is that we do not want to disadvantage our farmers. At the end of the day, if an American product such as, say, a fertilizer is approved in the United States and is not up to Canadian standards and therefore cannot be used by Canadian farmers, in fact that fertilizer will be used to produce crops that will be imported into Canada, be sold to consumers and be consumed by Canadians. Canadian consumers will still be eating the food that was grown under the conditions using, say, a pesticide that is maybe not acceptable in terms of Canadian standards.

This is a big problem and one that certainly has to be dealt with. The ramifications extend from there to the free trade deal as well. But I think the government has to show initiative and some leadership here and bring in a comprehensive bill amending all the pieces of legislation that I mentioned in an effort to solve the problem.

I am sure the member who submitted the motion had the best of intentions in mind. Having read in Hansard what members said, it is very clear to me that if he had discussed the matter in advance with the NDP critic, as well as the Bloc's, he would have found there would be a requirement from both critics to make certain that whatever we do adheres to Canadian standards.

He indicated that it is on his website. The question is: Why did he not, why would he not and why could he not amend his resolution so it would reflect that request from the two parties?

I am not certain that he could not have gotten broader support for this motion had he discussed it with the critics for the Bloc and NDP at an earlier point. Having read their submissions, I see the reality is that they are not very far off. They are in agreement. The Bloc and NDP critics both agree that this is a problem that needs a solution, but the suggestion is that somehow the motion does not cut it, partly because the motion does not indicate it would have to apply to Canadian standards. There are only three or four more words that would have had to be included in the motion.

The member who is proposing the motion indicated that it is covered on his website. If it is covered on his website and he believes it is in there, then why not simply make the extra effort and simply put it into the resolution?

Then we get back to the question of how relevant the motion is in the first place. If he will not do that, then clearly the motion will not succeed in the House, the problem will remain unsolved and the government will have to look at bringing in proper legislation.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

1:35 p.m.


Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to talk about an important issue for farmers in Kitchener—Conestoga and for all Canadian farmers from sea to sea.

It is a real honour for me to speak in support of this positive initiative put forward by my friend and colleague, the member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

Farmers in my riding of Kitchener—Conestoga have spoken to me about the issues covered in this motion, long before Motion No. 460 was tabled, so I know that this is a timely and crucial issue for them.

Not being allowed to use newer products that are more effective, less costly and safer for our environment puts them at a competitive disadvantage with producers in other countries who can use these new and improved production tools and still export their vegetables, fruit or meat here to Canada for our consumers.

Farmers in my riding and all Canadian farmers need timely access to these newer products in order to remain strong and competitive in our global markets. These production tools they refer to include a broad range of federally regulated agricultural products: fertilizers, seeds, feeds and veterinary biologics under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and pesticides and veterinary drugs under the regulatory jurisdiction of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the Veterinary Drugs Directorate of Health Canada.

Canadian farmers compete with foreign growers, particularly those in the U.S., for market share both in Canada and abroad. It is vital that we provide our farmers with an environment that is conducive to business while we continue to protect human health and the environment.

A significant step forward would be to ensure that the regulatory frameworks that apply to production management tools are flexible enough to put our farmers on par with competitors while respecting our legislative requirements. That is why I support Motion No. 460, which reaffirms the Government of Canada's commitment to support the agricultural industry and our producers. This motion reflects the concerns of the agricultural sector regarding the lack of availability of production management tools, which in turn affects Canada's global competitive position.

The Government of Canada recognizes farmers' need for timely access to safe and high-quality agriculture production management tools in order to support our global competitiveness. In Canada agriculture remains an important element of the economy, and in the current climate of economic uncertainty this message of support must be loud and clear.

Over the past several years, we have made progress in ensuring that producers have the same access as their competitors to production management tools, but there is always room for improvement. That is the essence of Motion No. 460.

We can continue to strengthen this vital industry by reinforcing our commitment to provide Canadian farmers with better access to more diverse products. Supporting this motion will allow us to do just that. Whether they need fertilizers, seeds, pesticides or veterinary drugs, it is our responsibility to ensure that the federal regulatory system provides Canadian farmers with access to products similar to those used by competitors in foreign jurisdictions.

In order to achieve this, Motion No. 460 calls for increased consideration of equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada in making product registration decisions. By doing so, the Government of Canada would continue to improve regulations on food and product safety and corresponding legislative commitments to expedite and streamline the Canadian regulatory approvals process.

Collaborating with other countries also ensures Canada maintains its high standards for the protection of the environment and human, animal and plant health.

However, before going further, I must make an important point regarding the use of foreign scientific data. Using foreign scientific data does not mean that any product that is registered in another country would automatically become registered in Canada. We have the sovereign right to make decisions that are based on some of the most stringent regulatory requirements in the world. All production management tools must meet Canadian regulatory requirements in order to be approved for use in Canada.

I mentioned earlier that there is always room for improvement, but I would like to spend some time talking about the work that is already being done by our government to address the concerns of the agricultural community.

The Government of Canada has been a global leader in establishing processes that allow simultaneous approvals in many countries at once.

In the past, pesticide manufacturers often approached one market at a time. But with the new joint review process that Health Canada supports, they now routinely seek regulatory approval in several countries simultaneously, taking advantage of incentives offered through these new processes.

Joint reviews are now the preferred way of doing business when registering new chemicals as pesticides. Canada has been at the forefront of the joint review process due to early efforts made more than a decade ago with the U.S. to better align our regulatory systems. Thanks to this, in 2010 new pesticide submissions going to the U.S. will also come to Canada.

Canada is also taking a leading role in new global joint reviews that span many countries. However, more work needs to be done. Supporting this motion signals a clear step forward.

In order to improve Canadian farmers' access to new and effective products already available in other countries, our government is strengthening collaboration between all stakeholders, including foreign governments, producers and the agriculture industry. For example, Health Canada has information-sharing agreements with our trading partners, such as the U.S., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

However, we are hearing from many farmers that there are still needs that we can address. Acting on this motion can foster more effective co-operation between these groups.

I mentioned earlier that we have one of the most rigorous regulatory systems in the world. Not only must products be registered, but specific uses for those products must also be approved. This ensures that extra level of protection for our environment and for the health of our people. However, this has also resulted in a new challenge.

Although more and more products are being registered simultaneously in Canada and in the U.S., our next challenge, one that this motion addresses very well, is that new uses for products are often expanded faster in other countries than in Canada, into what we call minor crop uses.

In order to bridge this gap, Canada is successfully working with the United States environmental protection agency to review, evaluate and make decisions on regulatory packages for minor use pesticides.

In 2008 and 2009 Health Canada and the EPA completed many joint reviews of applications that were submitted jointly by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the U.S. department of agriculture. This joint effort shows our commitment to providing Canada's agriculture industry with access to similar tools as other foreign countries.

The Government of Canada considers foreign data packages and risk assessments in our regulatory decisions. Health Canada continually seeks out new and innovative pesticide products and uses for growers, including reduced risk products, such as bio-pesticides. Continued foreign co-operation such as this can lead to more production management tools being available to our country's growers.

Another way that we are addressing the concerns of the agriculture community is by helping to provide farmers with improved access to pest management tools under the action plan for the agriculture sector.

This action plan advocates the use of other countries' scientific assessments to help make regulatory decisions for new chemicals. In order to achieve this, our government has provided $22 million to Health Canada as part of this initiative. Foreign assessments can also help in the re-evaluation of pesticides that are already registered in Canada.

Funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada initiatives has helped the government to respond to growers' needs, while allowing us to streamline the regulatory process and increase international co-operation.

Health Canada has been acknowledged by stakeholders for its regulatory progress. The Government of Canada will continue to improve its regulatory procedures and help farmers access the tools they need, while continuing to protect human health and the environment.

Our government is committed to improving the lives of all Canadians and to making this country's population among the healthiest in the world.

Supporting this motion is a show of support for Canadian agriculture. But, more important, we will be doing so in a responsible way. The Government of Canada will continue to require that new products meet regulatory standards and every decision, while based on science, will always respect Canadian law and the environment.

This motion is a driver toward meaningful change that will result in more production management tools becoming available to Canadian farmers, tools that are currently available only to competitors in major markets, particularly in the U.S. and the EU

The Government of Canada stands behind our farmers and our agriculture industry. We are continually making improvements to reduce the regulatory burden on the industry while maintaining a rigorous science-based approach to regulatory assessments.

I urge all members of this House to support Motion No. 460 and, in turn, continue to support our producers and our Canadian agriculture industry.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

1:45 p.m.


Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be speaking today to the motion presented by the member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. The motion reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should ensure that production management tools available to Canadian farmers are similar to those of other national jurisdictions by considering equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes by Health Canada, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

I support the motion in the hope that its adoption by the House will encourage the government to diligently and meaningfully take substantive action to move toward greater equivalency of scientific research and agricultural regulatory approvals, particularly in relation to the United States.

Having spent the last year engaged in investigating the competitiveness of the Canadian agricultural industry, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, which includes the member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, has heard repeated and compelling expressions of concern from farmers, processors, food marketers, farm input retailers and other key Canadian agricultural stakeholders, that very often the disparity between accepted research in many foreign countries as compared to Canada, and the disparity between the regulatory approval process times between Canada and many foreign countries, are some of the most debilitating factors injurious to the competitiveness of our agricultural industry.

This becomes a particularly egregious situation when one recognizes that many farmers in other foreign countries, that are Canada's trading partners, are often able to use commercial agricultural products, like feed and fertilizers for example, that are not available or allowed for use in Canada due to regulatory restrictions, and are allowed to export their eventual production into Canada to be sold in the Canadian market on our grocery store shelves; thereby, creating an unfair competitive advantage against our own Canadian farmers who do not have available to them the same use of these inputs.

The evidence and testimony from Canadian agricultural stakeholders is compelling, and if we are to assist our food and agricultural industry at every level, their calls must evoke a favourable response on the part of the government to address this issue.

It is the government's responsibility to ensure that our Canadian agricultural industry meets its international competition on equal footing in the marketplace. This motion is a very clear call for the Canadian government to meet that responsibility on this pressing issue.

It goes without saying that when considering such an effort toward greater regulatory harmonization, we know that it is imperative that it not in any way diminish or compromise the integrity of Canadian health and safety standards, standards that protect our health and our environment.

The key is that we work toward reducing the costly repetition and replication of scientific research and data developed in other countries in order for it to be made accessible here in Canada, and consequently move to hasten the licensing of production management tools, processes and inputs for Canadian farmers.

I believe that this motion strikes an appropriate balance in taking into account considerations of Canadian sovereignty, while advocating for a common sense approach to harmonization in scientific, research and agricultural regulatory approval processes that would allow Canadian producers to be more competitive.

It is essential that the government send a clear signal to Canadian farmers that this Parliament stands with them and that we want to take every reasonable and responsible measure, and opportunity within our power as parliamentarians to enable them to compete on more equal footing in the global market.

I would like to commend the member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex for taking leadership on this issue from the backbenches of the government side of the House because admittedly, as has been said in this House by the Liberal critic for agriculture and agri-food, the member for Malpeque, the Minister of Agriculture has been missing in action on this critical issue for some time.

The primary goal of the motion, as has been detailed, is to permit Canadian authorities to more quickly approve products in Canada, that have already been approved for use in other countries, for use in Canada, should those countries' regulatory processes, and their science and research methods employed toward producing the data, be considered equivalent to those of the Canadian system.

As our shared experiences listening to the testimony on the standing at the committee for agriculture and agri-food have shown, this is an absolutely sensible, practical solution for the Canadian agricultural industry. I trust that the House will endorse this worthwhile goal.

The member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex has suggested at committee, and is urging the government though this motion, that the relevant Canadian agricultural regulatory institutions, such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency and Health Canada accept or apply the equivalent scientific research and agriculture regulatory approval processes of other countries with whom we engage in reciprocal trade and whose processes themselves, as a condition, have recognized satisfactory and acceptable regulatory and research institutions worthy of our confidence.

The one proviso of course, as I described, is that the processes and products do not in any way compromise or diminish Canadian health standards, but we must recognize that the duplication of similar processes costs our agricultural industry hundreds of millions through inefficiencies and the government must address this through substantive action.

The motion, if approved, as has been said in the House previously, would be an expression that this House considers foreign science to be equivalent to Canadian science. Regulatory agencies and other departments engaged in the agriculture and agri-food industries of Canada would be encouraged to accept scientific research from foreign countries as part of their regulatory submissions, thereby expediting the approval process.

Another consequence of this is that it would encourage the emergence of applications for approval in Canada by foreign agricultural suppliers for their products. The point here is, let us be clear, and I am quoting the Liberal agriculture critic who could not have said it more clearly:

One of the problems that is not allowing our producers to be competitive is that the products that come in from all over the world do not meet the same requirements that Canadian producers must meet but it ends up on our grocery store shelves.

As the member noted, it is incredibly ironic that Canadians are not aware that the food that they purchase on the shelves of Canadian grocery stores for their consumption has been treated with products, while outside of Canada, not licensed for use inside of Canada; thereby, depriving our own producers the ability to compete with such products.

There are many other areas as well in which we can enhance the competitiveness of the Canadian agriculture industry. I raised another example of the government's failure to address competitiveness issues in the Canadian agricultural industry just a few weeks ago during question period.

I noted the example that American fertilizer and chemical supplier industries are supported by the American government in their implementation of comprehensive security measures to keep fertilizer and chemicals out of the hands of terrorists, narcotic producers and dealers, and other criminal elements.

The Canadian government, however, continues to decline the invitation by Canadian fertilizer and chemical supplier industry associations to introduce tax incentives similar to those of the U.S. for the application of similar comprehensive security measures here in Canada. This not only places the Canadian fertilizer and chemical industries at a severe and growing competitive disadvantage, but also places Canada at an increased risk of such dangerous materials being stolen and used for illicit or malicious purposes.

This motion is one step forward to correct this absurd and unfair predicament in which our Canadian farmers find themselves. It does not suggest that we are moving toward the lowest common denominator in terms of regulatory standards, but would rather encourage reasonable, collaborative efforts to be undertaken among participating trading countries to satisfy each other that the science, research and approval processes of one country are compatible with the standards of the next, while simultaneously ending the unfair burden that the differences place on Canadian agricultural producers.

I again reiterate my full support for the motion and hope that once passed by the House, it motivates the Government of Canada—

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

1:55 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Nickel Belt.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

1:55 p.m.


Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak briefly to Motion 460, brought forward by the hon. member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

As a member from northern Ontario representing a diverse riding of small agricultural communities, such as Verner, Warren, St. Charles and Noelville as well as urban and suburban communities, issues with respect to agriculture and food security are of great interest to me.

I congratulate the member on the intended goal of the motion, but I must agree with my colleague from British Columbia Southern Interior, who spoke recently on the motion.

I agree with many who note that our Canadian farmers are experiencing frustration at not being able to have access to the latest technology the way their competitors do. We definitely need to level the playing field for our farmers. We should not lose sight of that, even when debate on the motion concludes.

My New Democrat colleagues noted that while the motivation behind the motion is a good one, the vagueness of Motion No. 460, as it is written, would result in something I could not support, and that would be Canada automatically approving any product approved in the United States, Mexico and other countries without ensuring that they meet Canadian standards. That would be a race to the bottom, to the lowest level of Mexico. Instead of bringing Mexico to our level, Mexico would bring us to its level.

The motion could potentially result in products being made available in Canada that do not meet our standards. It is really an issue of maintaining our autonomy in this area. Therefore, let us apply a precautionary principle here and revisit the motion in a more detailed and comprehensive way.

By way of context, we know that Health Canada, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, PMRA, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, CFIA, already consider equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes, but the House has also heard about the challenges that exist.

For example, as noted previously, according to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, CFA, there currently exists a pesticide technology gap, which has a significant impact on the competitiveness of Canadian producers. This is due in good measure to one key factor, pesticide companies often do not see the economic value in registering products in the smaller Canadian market.

However, the CFA says that there are ways of addressing this problem. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency, PMRA, must continue working toward harmonizing its practices with other countries and encouraging pesticide companies to enter into joint or multinational review processes.

The PMRA must also continue to modernize the review process so it can increase the reliance of acceptable foreign reviews to make the pesticide registration process as efficient and fast as possible, while maintaining high Canadian standards for health and safety. This wording does not appear in Motion No. 460. I agree that maximum residue limits need to be harmonized at a faster rate so required pesticide products can be registered, and some trade irritants eliminated.

The CFA also emphasizes that in addition to the availability of products, the other irritant for Canadian farmers is the price of these pesticide products. The fact remains that Canadian producers continue to pay up to 60% more than their American competitors for pesticide products. Surely we can correct this problem. Canadian producers need to have a level playing field.

I am told that the PMRA is now in the process of finalizing regulations that will outline the process for registering generic pesticide products in Canada. I believe it is so important for Canadian farmers to gain access to these important pesticide products.

The harmonization approach, at least in regard to pesticides, often fails to consider variations in environmental conditions across jurisdictions. Pesticides that are used to combat pests in Mexico, which is hot and dry, are not the same as those we need in Canada's much cooler climate. Streamlining this process is critical. It begs the question as to why there are 55 to 60 generic product applications still under review by the PMRA, some under review for several years.

The 2010 growing season is almost upon us. Clearly, some farmers are anxious that some of these products be registered in time for them to use. My colleague from British Columbia Southern Interior spoke about a program that was available to Canadian farmers.

The current grower requested own use import program was developed to assist Canadian producers to access the same products as Canadian producers. Canadian farm organizations, such as the Canadian Horticultural Council, act as a nomination committee to propose pesticide products that should enter into this program. Farmers can purchase approved products in the U.S., apply a Canadian label to them and bring them into Canada. Unfortunately, this program has not been as successful as hoped for because the rules that restrict the eligibility of products have made it difficult to get useful and important pesticides on this list.

In short, Motion No. 460 is about recognizing as equivalent to our own, the scientific research and regulatory approval processes of Canada's principal trading partners, such as the United States, for products used in the agriculture sector. I understand the intent is to ensure Canadian farmers are competitive and have a level playing field by having access to commercial agricultural products similar to those used by producers in competing countries, subject to Canadian standards, but here is where the problem lies. The motion, as written, does not mention the last part, “subject to Canadian standards”. This is a major stumbling block for me.

At the end of the day, our system must ensure that appropriate Canadian authorities still maintain the right to ensure that all approved products meet Canadian standards. For this reason, I will not be supporting Motion No. 460.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

2 p.m.


Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the agricultural sector in Canada is one of the most important components of our economy. Our country produces a wide range of agricultural goods for domestic and international consumption. It is something of which we should all be proud.

However, no one has been spared from the global economic downturn, and agriculture is no exception. For this reason, more than ever, we must ensure that our farmers remain competitive on the world stage against competition from other OECD countries, in particular, the U.S.

Competitiveness of Canadian farming operations is of paramount importance to maintaining growth in food production and ensuring that our farmers have access to the newest, most innovative and safest products available.

Motion No. 460 reminds us that our agricultural sector is part of a global marketplace. It comes at a time when we must send a clear signal to our agricultural community that we are ready to support them in today's difficult economic climate.

Farmers across the country have told us that their competitiveness against foreign growers is an important issue for them. If they are not afforded access to the same production management tools as competitors in other countries, they will face stronger resistance from those markets.

In fact, this issue is so important that the first hour of debate on this motion became the first news item in the March 15, edition of The Canadian Cattlemen's Association Action News. The cattlemen praise our colleague from Lambton—Kent—Middlesex for this motion and conclude by asking farmers to get involved in this debate. They say:

—let your MP know of any experiences you have with inputs like endectocide, herbicide or other regulated products costing you more than in the U.S. Also let them know when you cannot get a product that is available south of the border. Improving Canada’s regulatory processes should help to improve access to new products and to keep prices competitive with those in the U. S.

The government wants Canadian farmers to know we have heard this message loud and clear and we are taking action.

When we are talking about production management tools, we are talking about farming products, such as seeds, feeds, fertilizers, veterinary biologics and drugs and pesticides. In Canada all of these tools are subject to comprehensive and rigorous scientific assessments that are on par with international regulatory partners and are carried out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency and Veterinary Drugs Directorate. This ensures that the products used on livestock and on crops can be used both safely and effectively.

We must acknowledge that in the global context there are markets that are larger than ours. In these markets, increased competition drives innovation in technology and often quicker adoption of new pesticide uses. For business, this is sometimes more attractive. This means that Canada is not always the first place that springs to mind for companies that want to sell their production management tools.

For this reason, we must create a climate conducive to bringing those products here, so our farmers can compete on equal footing with their competitors. Supporting this motion is a step forward in addressing that gap. That is why I am supporting Motion No. 460.

I would like to spend some time to talk about some of the work the government is doing to ensure that Canadian farmers have access to the same production management tools available in other countries. This important work is ongoing and efforts must be sustained in the future, but we must also acknowledge that more can be done and that, in certain, areas we can do better.

For example, over the years, there has been a growing movement toward the use of generic products for use on crops and to control pests. Being based on proven brands and benefiting from low manufacturing costs often makes generic products highly attractive to many growers.However, strict data protection laws in Canada made it difficult for generic alternatives to be available to Canadian farmers. This meant that they only had access to more expensive brand name products. Ultimately, this did little to foster innovation on the part of the bigger manufacturers. That is why the government is updating its legislation with regard to pesticide data protection.

Both innovators and generic manufacturers provided input to the design of a mechanism that would benefit all stakeholders in order to achieve three broad objectives: first, encouraging the registration of new innovative pesticides, including for use on minor crops; second, facilitating timely registration of competitively priced generic pesticides; and third, to ultimately benefit pesticide users, particularly the agricultural sector.

Thanks to these efforts, we are one step closer to providing an environment where generic manufacturers can enter the Canadian market earlier, potentially providing thousands of dollars in savings for individual farmers and much more for the industry as a whole. It will encourage the registration of new innovative pesticides and uses on minor crops and the timely entry into the market of competitively priced generic pesticides for the agricultural sector.

While generic products are based on brand name chemicals, it does not mean that they are subject to less stringent standards. Generic products submitted to Health Canada for evaluation and potential registration will be subject to the same scientific rigour as any other product. As a result, Canadian farmers can be assured that should they choose to use generic products, not only will they be affordable but they will also safeguard their crops and boost their yields. In turn, these savings will help translate into better competitiveness and resilience in the global marketplace.

While this motion focuses specifically on products that are not yet available in Canada but available elsewhere, there is a related issue that affects the competitiveness of Canadian farmers that I would like to discuss.

In many cases, there is a variety of pest control products that are available in both the U.S. and in Canada. However, due to the dynamic nature of the U.S. market, product labels are often expanded at a much faster rate than they are here.

What does this mean for our farmers? It means that they do not have as much flexibility in pesticide use as their southern counterparts. In order to address this challenge, the government is actively working with growers to regularly update a database that identifies and prioritizes products and uses available in the U.S. but not in Canada.

This was a major step forward and for the first time we were able to quantify the difference in availability between the U.S. and Canada. This database will continue to be a valuable tool as we address this gap and bring more value to Canadians.

These initiatives are beginning to bear fruit and Motion No. 460's goal of achieving global competitive parity for Canadian farmers can be achieved. However, only with meaningful change in the way we act on improving competition in the agricultural sector will we achieve this goal.

The health and safety of Canadians is the government's priority and our path forward will continue to require that all products meet Canada's stringent regulatory requirements before being registered for use. Support for this motion signals the intent of the government to support Canadian farmers by making the necessary changes to ensure that more production management tools become available to them.

I would encourage all members of the House to vote in favour of Motion No. 460. Let us all put Canadian agriculture first today.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

2:10 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate. There being no other members rising, I will return to the hon. member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex for his five minute right of reply.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

2:10 p.m.


Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank you and the House for the opportunity to wrap up the debate on my private member's motion, Motion No. 460 which seeks to level the playing field for our Canadian agriculture producers with those they have to compete with around the world.

I am a farmer who represents a rural riding in southwestern Ontario. I can tell the House that the issue my motion addresses is an important one not just for producers in my riding but for all farmers and producers across Canada.

Motion No. 460 deals with a long-standing issue. It is one that is continually hurting the competitiveness of Canadian producers from the west coast to the east coast. Simply put, it can be broken down in three ways. First, it is about the long delays our producers encounter in getting products licensed after their competitors do. Second, it is about products licensed because our markets are just too small for the financial investment and therefore our producers never have access to these management tools. Third, our competitors will get a product licensed in their country but that same product may not get approved in Canada because of research reasons.

My motion proposes to help farmers by considering whenever and wherever possible parallelling a regulatory and licensing process with that of other jurisdictions. This would happen by utilizing equivalent scientific research, and everyone knows that scientific research does not change when it crosses a border, provided that a product not only meets or exceeds our Canadian standards and does not in any way compromise Canadian standards.

For example, a pork producer who has access to a medication in another country who failed to get a licence in Canada in my opinion should not be able to have his product come into Canada and sit on our grocery shelves in direct competition with Canadian pork. Canadians need to know that produce and commodities being imported into Canada for the consumption of Canadian families only have been treated with a licensed product that our producers can use, or quite honestly, they should not come into Canada.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I want to thank the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board and the Minister of Health as well as their departmental officials at CFIA and PMRA. I want to especially thank the hon. member for Kitchener—Conestoga, the member for Guelph and the member for Sarnia—Lambton for their positive and accurate presentations on this motion.

I also cannot forget the amazing amount of support that has come in from across the nation from farm organizations, commodity groups and also those consumers who have vocally supported this motion and have also written to my office on this important issue.

My motion reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should ensure that production management tools available to Canadian farmers are similar to those of other national jurisdictions by considering equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes by Health Canada, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Consumers hope for it, producers need it and supporting it is just the right thing to do for all of our farmers. I would encourage all members of the House to support Motion No. 460.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

2:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The time provided for debate has expired. Accordingly, the question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members


AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

2:15 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

2:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

AGRICULTUREPrivate Members' Business

2:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being 2:16 p.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday next at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24.

(The House adjourned at 2:16 p.m.)