This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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

Second readingMarketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ. We did have a plebiscite on May 2, and it was called the national election. By the way, we have a majority.

Opposition members often quote a plebiscite that was supposedly an accurate collection of the farmers' thoughts. My uncle and cousin farm in Manitoba. They farm grain and they did not even get a ballot. They were not even able to vote in the plebiscite.

We know on this side of the House that the plebiscite has a lot of issues and is an inaccurate representation of the views of Canadian farmers.

Second readingMarketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day NDP Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, a plebiscite, an election, is not just about the Canadian Wheat Board.

Canadians need to be reminded that the Canadian Wheat Board was created in the 1920s and was formally implemented in 1935 by farmers, for farmers. This board is entirely run and funded by farmers. Taxpayers do not contribute any money to this organization, as they do to crown corporations. This board is not a crown corporation. What is the government doing?

Second readingMarketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned the inaccuracies of the plebiscites held in the past by the Canadian Wheat Board. They do not support the numbers of 62%. They just are not accurate. Again I will mention my uncle and cousin, who farm in Manitoba and were not allowed to vote because they had not been given a ballot. There are a lot of issues with that.

The B.C. grain growers group overwhelming said it supports our legislation to move the Wheat Board forward into the 21st century.

Second readingMarketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree with my colleague more when it comes to the Wheat Board.

At home we farm about 3,000 acres. I have a son who is looking after it at the present time. He is still combining and trying to get the crop off, but he asks me why he is getting a world price for canola outside the board but not getting a world price for wheat, which is in the board.

I would like to know what my colleague would say to my son and I would like to ask that question to the opposition. Obviously none of those members actually farms wheat or canola and understands exactly what is happening at the farm gate. The real question should be how much the Wheat Board is costing at the farm gate today, because it is very significant.

Could my colleague come up with an answer that would satisfy my son?

Second readingMarketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speake, that is an easy one. We talked about it. I asked the hon. member of the opposition sits on the agriculture committee. We have not seen the same issues with canola and other crops that are on the open market. They simply are making money. In my neck of the woods in northern B.C. canola and other crops are making money. Farmers have shifted away from grain because it is so difficult to operate within the Canadian Wheat Board structure.

I would like to tell the member a personal story. I would likely be a farmer today because I wanted to be a farmer as a kid, but it just simply was not doable in the grain market as my family has continued on with in Manitoba. Hopefully it is coming soon.

Second readingMarketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand in support of this important and timely legislation for western Canadian grain farmers.

I would also like to thank the member for Prince George—Peace River for sharing his time with me today.

Our government has always promised western Canadian wheat and barley growers that they would be given market freedom. With this legislation, we are delivering on that promise. We live in a democratic country and we believe that western Canadian grain farmers deserve the same freedom as farmers in other parts of Canada and around the world.

I will outline what this new legislation will mean for western grain farmers.

In the June 2011 Speech from the Throne, our government reiterated its commitment to ensure that western farmers have the freedom to sell wheat and barley on the open market. With this proposed legislation, we aim to provide marketing choice to western wheat and barley farmers. To avoid market disruptions, the goal is for farmers and grain marketers to be able to start forward contracting for the 2012-13 crop year well in advance of August 1, 2012.

This bill would remove the monopoly of the Canadian Wheat Board and allow for the Canadian Wheat Board to continue as a voluntary marketing organization for up to five years as it makes the transition to full private ownership.

The Canadian Wheat Board will finally have the opportunity to become owned and operated by farmers. The Canadian Wheat Board will continue to offer farmers the option of pooling their crops. It will continue to benefit from a borrowing guarantee backed by the federal government. It will develop a business plan for privatization, which will be reviewed by the Minister of Agriculture no later than 2016.

During our extensive consultations, industry raised a number of valid issues around transition. We are taking these concerns seriously.

First, on the issue of the voluntary Canadian Wheat Board's access to elevators, ports and terminals, we expect grain handlers will be competing vigorously for grain volume in an open market, so they will want to handle the grain that is marketed by the Canadian Wheat Board.

Curt Vossen, president of Richardson International Limited, said that the end of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly is “going to open up 20 to 25 million new tonnes of marketing opportunities for companies inside and outside Canada”. This will mean more companies competing for farmers' grain, which is the good news for farmers. Our staged approach will provide the necessary checks and balances to help ensure a smooth transition, taking corrective action if needed.

Second, on the issue of producers' continued access to producer cars, the right to producer cars is protected in the Canada Grain Act. The Canadian Grain Commission allocates these cars to producers, and this will not change with marketing freedom.

Currently, the Canadian Wheat Board manages the marketing of grain shipped in producer cars so that shipments are related to a sale. Under the new rules, producers and short lines will be able to make commercial agreements and arrangements with grain companies or the voluntary Canadian Wheat Board to market their grain.

Stephen Vandervalk, president of the Grain Growers of Canada, believes “You'll see more and more producer cars because it's like a specialty crop as far as quality and contracting directly with the farmer. It has very little to do with the Canadian Wheat Board”.

Short line railways are expecting some adjustments as they will have more options of marketing partners for the grain volumes they can attract from producers. However, Sheldon Affleck, president of Big Sky Rail , believes that “The flexibility of a short line should provide improved service that will attract grain”.

Third, these changes will not change the Canadian Grain Commission's role in assuring the world-renowned quality of Canada's grain.

Second readingMarketing Freedom for Grain Farmers ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order, please. Excuse me for interrupting the hon. member for Red Deer. He will have six minutes remaining when the House returns to this matter.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, local grain farmers in my riding, such as the BC Grain Producers Association, have made it clear that they want the same marketing freedom and opportunities as other Canadian farmers. Our nation's grain farmers feed the world, and they deserve the opportunity to decide when, where and how they sell their product.

With the introduction of Bill C-18, we no longer would see those same western Canadian grain farmers go to jail for selling their grain across our borders. Our Canadian government believes in marketing freedom for all Canadian grain farmers. I, for one, am in full support of our legislation to reorganize the Canadian Wheat Board. I hope all of us in the House will support the bill. It all can be summed up into one word: “freedom”.

PensionsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Alain Giguère NDP Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, right now, there are too many seniors with inadequate pensions in my riding and in other ridings across Canada.

For these people, a strong pension plan would mean the difference between living well and merely surviving. For retirees, financial planning is key. To have one's pension plan cut by up to 40% after 30 years of service is unacceptable. It is unfair.

Under the existing Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, creditors are paid before employee pensions. This does not make any sense. I hope that this Parliament will be able to keep future retirees out of poverty by revitalizing the Canada pension plan. Only the CPP can save people from poverty when they retire.

An amendment to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, as the hon. member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek proposed earlier this week, would truly put money in the wallets of those in need across the country and help keep them out of poverty. These people deserve to live well, not just survive.

Business Excellence AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our Canadian economy. Nowhere is that more true than in Newmarket—Aurora. Entrepreneurs there are creating jobs and are a vital part of our community's fabric.

Today, I would like to recognize the 2011 Business Excellence Award winners from my riding.

From the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, I congratulate the following: Roadhouse and Rose Funeral Home, Mr. Janitorial Supplies, Neptune Innovations, Keller Williams Realty, Tim Hortons; Warden Restoration, Rose of Sharon Services for Young Mothers, and Stephen Kearley of Benson, Kearley Insurance Brokers.

From the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, I congratulate the following, Rent Source Tools Etc. Mini Bins; Simply Yummy Bakery, Commport Aerospace Services; Robinson's Karate Schools, Park Place Manor; Longo's Aurora, Carcone's Auto Recycling, and Peter van Schaik of Van-Rob.

Congratulations to all on a job well done.

David Y.H. LuiStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a cultural icon in Vancouver, David Y.H. Lui, who passed away last month.

David was a B.C. boy. Born in Vancouver in 1944, David attended Kitsilano Secondary School and, later, UBC. From a young age, David was interested in ballet, but it was in university where that interest really took hold.

The man with the flowing cape, as he was known, made Vancouver a destination for world-class artists. His David Y.H. Lui Dance Spectacular series brought artists like Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, the Joffrey Ballet and Shirley MacLaine to Vancouver.

David was the head of the arts community, a prominent member for more than 40 years. He built the David Y.H. Lui Theatre in 1975, co-founded Ballet BC and BC Arts Council and was board member of the Canada Council, where he pushed for a multicultural arts scene.

Canada's artistic community has not only lost a great visionary and advocate, but a dear friend. On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, I offer sincere condolences to David's friends and family. A celebration of David's life will be held at The Playhouse in Vancouver on October 23.

Parliamentary Fitness InitiativeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to remind fellow members of the parliamentary fitness initiative intended to make each member healthier personally and in the process better role models as parliamentarians.

Members are invited early Tuesday mornings to run or walk and to swim on Thursdays, with the highest calibre volunteer coaches. For cyclists, their fitness initiative team recently secured indoor shelters on Parliament Hill.

The aim is not at high performance athletes, but at every member and, more importantly, at every Canadian represented through us from across our great country. Every step we take is a step in the right direction at a time when, as a nation, we Canadians need to confront childhood obesity, diabetes and other consequences of unhealthy lifestyles.

All Canadians like to see members work together in common cause for the benefit of the whole country. That is why colleagues for Etobicoke North and Sackville—Eastern Shore are working with me on this initiative, and I thank them for their support.

Let us join together Canadians of every measure of ability to make Canada the healthiest place on earth.

Montreal Metropolitan AreaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, later this evening, on behalf of the 28 NDP members from the Montreal metropolitan area, a colleague and I will be presenting a submission entitled “Putting a human face on our metropolis: towards a green, sustainable and prosperous Montreal metropolitan area” as part of a public consultation process.

As representatives of our constituents and in the spirit of co-operation with all levels of government, we wanted to share our thoughts and contribute to these public consultations. This submission is the product of a collective effort. We hope it will add to the plan and help it come to fruition.

The NDP members from Quebec want to play an active role in partnership projects and plans for the future. Residents and community stakeholders want the Montreal metropolitan area to finally have a coherent and comprehensive plan that respects the diversity and wealth of the land, facilitates travel, and contributes to the economic and social development of the region in a sustainable manner.

Eldred KingStatements By Members

October 20th, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Conservative Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, this was a sad week for residents of York Region. Over the weekend, Eldred King, former mayor and York Region chair, lost his battle with illness and passed away at the age of 84.

Mr. King lived a full life as a leader, mentor, husband and father. He was an extraordinary individual who dedicated much of his life to our community. He guided us through a period of tremendous change and was a towering figure in helping to make our community the extraordinary place it is today.

Wednesday was a difficult day as we officially said goodbye to Mr. King. He was a prominent man in many people's lives. For me, he was the first to support my decision to seek public office. His advice was instrumental. He helped me truly understand the importance of maintaining rural heritage in the face of dramatic growth.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. King for his work in helping shape Markham, Stouffville and York Region.

On behalf of my family and my entire team, I pass on my sincere condolences to his wife, Beulah, and sons Jeff, Rod and Jan.

Bay of FundyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Kerr Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, as I said in the House in March, the Bay of Fundy is Canada's finalist in a prestigious global campaign to identify the New 7 Wonders of Nature. I am pleased that other colleagues have spoken in Parliament in support of the Bay of Fundy.

Time is running out and we need the help of all Canadians. Our Bay of Fundy belongs in the company of other prestigious finalists, like the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands.

The top New 7 Wonders of Nature will be announced on November 11, just three weeks away. A win for the Bay of Fundy would have huge significance for Canada on a global scale. It may be one of the best known destinations in the world.

I am once again asking all members of the House to support this initiative and encourage their constituents to vote for the Bay online and by text. With the help of Canadians, we can ensure that on November 11, Canadians will be proud to hear the Bay of Fundy declared one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

A vote for the Bay of Fundy is a vote for Canada.

Binational Health WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

François Pilon NDP Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the exceptional work of the organizers of the 11th Binational Health Week in Montreal.

This event is one of the largest mobilization efforts of federal and provincial government agencies, community-based organizations and volunteers in North America.

Through this effort, the consulates general of Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru invite people from their countries to contribute positively to their communities and improve their health.

I want to congratulate all those who make this positive initiative possible, and I encourage them to continue their amazing contribution to Quebec and Canadian society.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, members will be shocked to know that the CBC has not corrected the record on its misleading report from Monday night. It failed to inform Canadians about the drug treatment court exemption in our government's safe streets and communities act.

Today the Quebec Bar Association confirmed that it supports the important drug treatment court exemption in Bill C-10 for those who are seeking treatment for their addictions.

Police chiefs have confirmed that drugs are the primary currency of violent criminal organizations. Fire chiefs have confirmed that grow ops and meth labs constitute a significant threat to the health of Canadian communities.

Bill C-10 is clear. If individuals do this criminal activity, they will pay with jail time. It is time the opposition parties across listened to the front-line experts and supported our efforts.

Canadians are concerned about crime and the experts agree. Bill C-10 targets organized crime while providing treatment options for those addicted to drugs. I call on the CBC today to apologize, to correct the record, and to stop misleading Canadians.

BullyingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize October 20 as Spirit Day, a day started in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan to remember the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth lost to suicide.

Many of us are wearing purple today in their memory and as a way to draw attention to the need for action. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens, and homophobic bullying often plays a significant role in these tragic losses.

I want to applaud the efforts of the purple letter campaign in B.C., which has collected thousands of letters urging the provincial government to adopt an anti-bullying campaign in every school.

I would also like to draw attention to the efforts of Ottawa youth who are dealing with the loss of a friend this week by holding a vigil tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Human Rights Monument.

Beyond wearing purple today, we also need to take action to bring an end to suicides caused by homophobic bullying. We need to ensure that youth have the supports they need, so that no one is left feeling that suicide is the only option. We need to listen to the calls from youth to make things better now. Yes, for most it will get better, but some feel they cannot wait.

We need a national suicide prevention program and we need to ensure youth have access to supports like gay-straight alliances in their schools. Let Spirit Day move us closer to these goals.

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Conservative Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leadership candidate from Skeena—Bulkley Valley is proposing non-compete deals with the Liberals in government-held ridings.

After seeing the candidates the NDP has run over the years in various ridings, does this show this member's lack of faith in his party's ability to find quality candidates for office?

The member for Winnipeg Centre backed this idea. There has even been support within their caucus for an outright merger.

While our government is focusing on what is important to Canadians—job creation and economic growth—the NDP is looking at who could defeat our members. The NDP is splintered in these difficult times.

This week, NDP spokespersons contradicted one another on the issue of a coalition with the Liberals. These are disturbing examples that show that the NDP is too weak and divided to govern.

Kings--Hants National LeadersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, this year Kings—Hants is home to a trifecta of great Canadians providing effective leadership to three prominent national organizations.

Trinda Ernst is the president of the Canadian Bar Association, Dr. Robert MacGregor is president of the Canadian Dental Association, and Peter Clarke is president of the Egg Farmers of Canada.

Trinda Ernst is the fifth woman to lead the CBA and practises with Waterbury Newton in Kentville, Nova Scotia. She is a graduate of Dalhousie University.

Dr. MacGregor has practised in Kentville for almost 30 years and is a graduate of both Acadia University and Dalhousie University.

Peter Clarke is a well-respected member of the Nova Scotian agricultural community and operates an egg farm in the Annapolis Valley. He is also a recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia.

I congratulate these three fine citizens for their leadership in their communities and national organizations, for their leadership within Canada, and for their dedicated public service to all of us.

Shipbuilding IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on what matters most to Canadians, which is, creating jobs and economic growth.

Yesterday, the shipbuilding secretariat announced its decision. The national shipbuilding strategy is a win for all of Canada that will create thousands of new jobs and billions in economic growth in cities and communities across this great country.

Unfortunately, as non-partisan public servants were explaining the process that was based on merit and run at arm's length, free from political involvement, the leader of the NDP was calling for political intervention in the process.

Let us remember that the NDP members voted against this procurement, and now they want political interference in a plan they never supported. This contradictory position from the NDP is another worrying example of its lack of understanding of how Canada works.

Homelessness Awareness NightStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Marie-Claude Morin NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, October 21, the 22nd homelessness awareness night will take place in 25 Quebec cities. The theme is poverty. This event raises awareness of the fact that, every night, whether it is 20oC or -20oC, people sleep in the streets and sometimes die of hunger and cold.

One in every six Quebeckers believes that he or she could become homeless. This event is an outdoor vigil for solidarity where street people and ordinary citizens spend some time together enjoying various activities and entertainment. I commend the initiative of the agencies that organize this event and that struggle every year to make ends meet and to help the disadvantaged, even though they receive inadequate funding.

I am taking this opportunity to share my dream with you. I hope that one day we will no longer hold such events because there will be no more homeless people.

Join us on October 21, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., to put an end to isolation and indifference, fight prejudice against homeless people and eliminate a problem that can happen to anyone.

Marketing FreedomStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on what really matters to Canadians which is, creating jobs and economic growth.

Instead of working with us, the NDP caucus members have become so disunited that they are contradicting each other on important issues that are important to Canada, and particularly western Canada.

Yesterday, the NDP leader tried to argue, wrongly, that Parliament could not amend legislation that would give farmers marketing freedom.

One of her own colleagues, the member for Winnipeg Centre, said that he actually did not buy her argument.

Now, I seldom agree with him, but on this one I do. In fact, he recognized that our legislation can give farmers the freedom that they are asking for. Unfortunately, his leader does not agree with him.

This contradictory position from the NDP is just yet another worrying example of how weak and disunited the NDP is and that it is nowhere even close to being fit to govern.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the NDP shipbuilding critic from Sackville—Eastern Shore, along with myself and all New Democrats, celebrate with the workers of Nova Scotia and British Columbia, but for other workers yesterday's announcement came up $2 billion short. Instead of announcing the full $35 billion in contracts, the government picked winners and losers.

The Prime Minister left major shipyards like Davie vulnerable. Why?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, while the leader of the NDP has chosen at the last hour to criticize the process, the fact of the matter is this. The NDP member of Parliament for Louis-Hébert said, “We would like to ensure that all the processes are clear and transparent and we recognize that that is the case here”.

In the case of the NDP member for Sackville—Eastern Shore, he said, “We are very pleased and we congratulate the government on that process”.

This is a process that will result in enormous benefit not just for the shipbuilders that won the contracts yesterday but for all of the shipbuilding industry and all of the Canadian economy.