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House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was grain.

Topics

International Co-operationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada is doing its part. Our government's initial $72 million support has helped provide food to 11.5 million people and nutrition, clean water and medical care to over 2 million people in the region. Matching the generosity of Canadians, I am happy to report an additional $70.5 million will be put into the famine relief fund to support ongoing aid relief.

Recently, humanitarian workers have been targeted and kidnapped in the region. I call on all parties to allow for safe humanitarian access.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have written to the government requesting that the October 31 deadline for the Canadian Forces appreciation fare on Marine Atlantic and the quota system be removed.

One of my constituents, who recently returned from Afghanistan, inquired about the fare and was told the crossing he wanted to take had its quota of veterans and that he would have to pay. That is some appreciation.

Over 30,000 trips have been taken by veterans since the start of the program. Clearly the need exists. Will the minister commit today to extend the program, eliminate the quota and honour all our veterans who give so much to our country?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. Veterans and their families are our government's priority. They are the focus of our actions. I invite my colleague to forward her concern to me and we will look at the situation.

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, 118 countries are meeting in Brazil to develop an action plan on the social determinants of health. Nevertheless, this government did not feel it was necessary to send representatives. In Canada, 20% of health care expenditures are related to social issues such as homelessness and unemployment.

The World Health Organization recognizes that social inequality leads to health inequities. The costs are astronomical.

Can the Minister of Health explain why she is not participating in this important international meeting?

HealthOral Questions

3 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, we do participate in a number of conferences internationally. Most recently, we were at a conference in New York, at the United Nations, on the declaration around poverty reduction initiatives across countries.

Our government has worked hard to protect and promote the health and safety of all Canadians who make huge investments internationally, as well as in Canada.

Pan American and Parapan American GamesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Kyle Seeback Conservative Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the next two weeks, athletes representing 44 countries will compete in the 2011 Pan American Games and later, the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara , Mexico. Among these athletes is our very own Team Canada.

Could the Minister of State for Sport tell us how we are supporting our athletes in Guadalajara and how Canada is preparing to host the games in 2015?

Pan American and Parapan American GamesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bramalea—Gore—Malton Ontario

Conservative

Bal Gosal ConservativeMinister of State (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, the member for Brampton West. is an Olympian as well.

Last week, I travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico to support our athletes at the 2011 Pan American Games. I am proud to announce that so far Canada has won 33 medals.

The government is proud to support Team Canada through funding to the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees and national sports organizations. As a proud supporter of the upcoming 2015 games in Toronto, we have committed funding to sports infrastructure, legacy and essential federal services. We look forward to welcoming these games to Canada.

Human RightsOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is Spirit Day. By wearing purple, we show our support for LGBT teens who are the victims of bullying.

The tragic suicide of Jamie Hubley, a 15-year old who took his life in Ottawa last Saturday after being bullied because of his sexual orientation, shows to what extent gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual teens are crying out for help. It is high time we demonstrated leadership to protect our young people.

Can the government tell us how it plans to address the bullying and harassment our young people are experiencing?

Human RightsOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I know I would speak for all members of the House to offer our sincere condolences to the family of Jamie Hubley. Bullying, homophobia, intolerance and incivility have no place in our schools. It underlies the real challenge of depression and mental health, especially among young people.

Let us resolve, as a society, to promote tolerance and acceptance of each and every one of our fellow citizens.

JusticeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, blinded by ideology, the Conservatives refuse to believe the statistics, refuse to listen to the Quebec bar and refuse to heed the warnings from places like Texas that have tried this approach and rejected it. Today, Quebec's National Assembly passed a unanimous motion demanding “the withdrawal of the provisions of federal Bill C-10 that go against the interests of Québec and Québec values as regards justice, including those concerning the treatment of young offenders.”

Will the minister continue to impose his approach, a major failure, or will he listen to Quebec and its National Assembly?

JusticeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I know anything about the fight of crime always upsets what is left of the Bloc Québécois.

The parts of the bill that we have before Parliament have been reviewed by my provincial counterparts over the years, and I am appreciative of their support.

Canadians elected us on this mandate to move forward to get tough on crime. That is why we are here and that is what we will continue to do.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the honourable Kathleen Casey, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I believe the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh may wish to pose his inaugural Thursday question.

I see some members standing on points of order. We will do the Thursday question first, and then we will deal with any points of order that may have arisen out of question period.

Business of the House

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was hoping you would go ahead with the point of order so that when I made my points it would be somewhat quieter in the room.

It is my first question as the House leader for the official opposition. I want to thank the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada for placing her confidence in me to take on this role.

I would also like to note that as the deputy House leader, I had the opportunity to sit in many meetings with the current government House leader and the current House leader of the Liberal Party. From those experiences, I expect that we will work out a co-operative, collegial relationship. We will not always agree, but I believe we will attempt our best to make this Parliament work for all Canadians.

I would like to ask the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons about his plans for next week. We know that the government has decided to cut off debate on Bill C-18 on Monday and that there will be an NDP opposition day on Tuesday. What other bills does the government intend to have us debate for the rest of the week?

Business of the House

3:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the new official opposition House leader. I had a surprisingly positive and constructive relationship with his predecessor. I say “surprisingly” because some people were skeptical that we would work well together, but indeed we did so in a very genuine way. I am very optimistic that the same will continue with the new official opposition House leader. He has proven himself always to be an individual of very fine comportment so I have great optimism about that.

I would like to thank the member for Windsor—Tecumseh for his question, and now in response to his question, I would point out that the government's top priority continues to be creating jobs and economic growth.

In that regard, I am pleased to say that we have had a productive week so far in the House. On Monday, we passed the Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act and sent it to committee.

This very important bill includes vital measures that Canadians need and expect our government to implement, including a tax credit for small businesses that create jobs, extension of the accelerated capital cost allowance for businesses that invest in manufacturing equipment, and much, much more.

Unfortunately, I was surprised that the opposition voted against these positive economic measures. However, we can hope for better in the future.

Then, on Tuesday, we began debate on the Copyright Modernization Act, an important and long-needed bill that will boost Canada's cultural and digital economies.

Unfortunately, members opposite unveiled tactics to delay this bill and the important benefits it would bring to Canada's economy.

In the previous Parliament, that bill had passed second reading after just under seven hours of debate. I hope the opposition will reconsider and allow that to happen this time around.

Nevertheless, tomorrow the House resumes debate on Bill C-11. As I already mentioned, hopefully the opposition will see the wisdom in letting the bill get back to a committee for study and clause-by-clause review.

Yesterday, we began debate on the marketing freedom for grain farmers bill. Again, this is a bill that will have real economic benefits for Canada, especially for the economy of western Canada. It is also a bill which offers members a clear-cut choice, either for marketing freedom or for the continuation of the seven decade monopoly. We are looking forward to a good focused debate on this important platform commitment of ours.

Again, however, we are surprised that we are seeing efforts to prevent this bill from moving forward with a motion to adjourn the debate. We heard some bells yesterday.

We will continue debating the bill this afternoon. The third and final day of debate on the bill, following the motion adopted by the House this morning, will be Monday, October 25.

The next allotted day will be Tuesday, October 26. For the business of the House beyond next Tuesday, I will apprise my counterparts at the earliest opportunity.

Oral QuestionsPoints of Order

October 20th, 2011 / 3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question I asked in question period, the minister made note that no defeated Conservative candidates have been hired by ACOA. To that end, could I ask the minister to table a list of persons hired by ACOA and ECBC since the Conservatives came to power?

Oral QuestionsPoints of Order

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

That is not a point of order. There are ways for members to ask the government to provide information such as through questions on the order paper. I do not believe that is a point of order in this fashion.

Oral QuestionsPoints of Order

3:10 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, in reference to the question asked by the member for Guelph, I just wanted to point out he quoted me as saying yesterday, “we want to provide the same freedom for farmers right across the country.” I did in fact say that, but I followed that by saying:

It is the 21st century, people spend, as I have said, hundreds of thousands of dollars on their own operations. They have to pay their expenses. After growing their own crop, harvesting it, buying the bins and the machinery to do that, they should be able to market that product themselves as well.

Perhaps the Liberals' research department is as poor as it seems to be, but if misquoting members and smearing other members is their new strategy, they should perhaps consider a different one.

Oral QuestionsPoints of Order

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I am afraid question period is over. If members have these types of points to make, the proper place to do it is either through questions and answers or during debate on legislation, but not through points of order.

Decorum in the chamberPoints of Order

3:10 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am making a point of order I have made before, but it seems particularly poignant today when we are wearing purple and observing Spirit Day on which we are supposed to be assisting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth oppose bullying behaviour.

The point of order I wish to make relates to Standing Order 16, that when a member is speaking, no member shall interrupt him or her, and Standing Order 18, that no member shall use offensive words against other members.

I would just ask members to consider what kind of behaviour we are modelling. I know question period is seen to be a blood sport. I know you, Mr. Speaker, would appreciate more decorum.

From the bottom of my heart, as a mother who does not like to see bullying, I would like us to consider our own behaviour.

Decorum in the chamberPoints of Order

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I thank the hon. member for the intervention. We will move on now.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-18, An Act to reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board and to make consequential and related amendments to certain Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member has six minutes left to conclude his remarks.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, before question period we were talking about issues that were going to have to take place during transition. The first was on the Canadian Wheat Board's access. The second was on producer cars.

I had just indicated the third where these changes would not change the Canadian Grain Commission's role in assuring the world-renowned quality of Canada's grain. The Canadian Grain Commission will continue to provide its services regardless of who is marketing the grain.

Fourth, on the issue of the future funding of wheat and barley research and market development, a deduction from producers' sales will be established to continue the same level of funding by farmers to these activities. These funds will support the great work that is being done by the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Canadian International Grains Institute and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre.

The deduction will be mandated by government for the transition period. In the meantime, we are discussing with industry a long-term mechanism to support research and market development in order to keep our great industry moving forward.

As Keith Degenhardt, chairman of the Western Grains Research Foundation, wrote to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, “The Canadian Wheat Board method of collecting the check-off is certainly not the only method of collecting wheat and barley check-offs”.

Many have expressed concerns about the future of the port of Churchill which depends upon Canadian Wheat Board shipments for the majority of its business. Our government knows how important the port of Churchill is to the strength and growth of our northern economy. The port is part of the government's overall northern strategy, setting out a vibrant vision for the north and it will remain the Prairies' Arctic gateway to the world.

Over the past four years, we have invested close to $40 million, $37.4 million to be exact, to improve the port's facilities, including rail and air access. We are backing up that commitment with a concrete plan to support a strong future for the port following the introduction of marketing freedom for western grain and barley growers.

As the first phase, we are investing federal funds to provide timely support for Churchill. For the second phase, once we know better the impact of marketing freedom on the port, we will decide what new initiatives will be needed to drive a bright future for the port. We will continue to work with all stakeholders to explore new opportunities for this vital northern asset.

We are also very encouraged by the willingness and positive outlook of owners OmniTRAX, the largest privately held rail service in North America, to sit down with us to develop a business plan and chart a way forward for Canada's only major northern seaport.

As for grain industry jobs, while we will see some job losses at the Canadian Wheat Board initially, we expect private grain marketers and processors to expand and start up new businesses in Canada. In fact, Milton Boyd, a professor and economist at the University of Manitoba, believes, “Just as creation of the Board in the 1930s shifted some jobs away from the private grain firms, removal of the board's monopoly in 2012 would shift some jobs back to the private grain firms.”

Milling firms will be able to purchase directly from the farmer of their choice at whatever price they negotiate. Entrepreneurs will have the option of starting up their own small specialty flour mills, malting and pasta plants.

As Brian Otto, president of the Western Barley Growers Association, said, “Canadian millers will have the opportunity to develop niche contracting programs to satisfy needs for specific traits”. He also believes, “Minor classes of wheat will find new, robust markets that were ignored under the single desk because they were too small”.

The future of our agriculture industry is bright. We have seen tremendous growth in value-added opportunities for oats, pulses and canola across the Prairies over the past 20 years. We will see these same opportunities open up for wheat and barley as we implement marketing freedom, just as we saw in Saskatchewan a few weeks ago.

We will work with farmers and industry to attract investment, encourage innovation, create value-added jobs and build a stronger economy. By taking this historic and decisive action to ensure certainty and clarity for producers who will soon be entering into forward contracts for their 2012 crop, this will create opportunities in the grain market and respect western wheat and barley farmers' property rights, rights upon which our nation was built.

I urge opposition members of the House to support the bill. Its timely passage will give farmers the certainty they need to plan their business decisions for the coming year. We will free farmers to feed families around the world with the safe, high quality wheat and barley they are so proud of.