House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tpp.


Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.


Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a real honour to rise today to speak to this important motion as the member of Parliament for Bow River.

I would like to acknowledge many of the members in the House today who have shared many different opinions and a lot of knowledge. I appreciate learning. This is a good opportunity to hear all of the different opinions and share knowledge, often much more knowledge than I might have, so I appreciate that.

I will talk about trade. Canada has a long history when it comes to trade. We could say it started with John Cabot in the 15th century, an Italian explorer who was in the employ of King Henry VII of England. As we know, Cabot mistakenly believed he had reached Asia when he got to the coast of Newfoundland. He was intent on trading spices, silk, and other high-end merchandise at that time. Cabot is considered the father of trans-Atlantic trade between England and North America because he discovered the abundant cod. Later, there were the cod fishermen from England and Europe.

Then there was fur. We know how important and crucial the fur trade was in the development of Canadian culture, identity, and institutions. Look at the Hudson's Bay Company, for example, which was established as a fur-trading outfit with a royal charter from King Charles II of England in 1670. It still exists today. Its main competition was The North West Company, though the two later merged in 1821.

Then there was our trade relationship with the United States, which virtually stalled in the years leading up to the War of 1812. I do not think it caused the War of 1812, but it did not help. By 1854, the treaty of reciprocity had been signed by both countries. Then there was still a group of British colonies in the United States. We could argue that was Canada's first free trade agreement. It reduced tariffs, duties, and fees for goods traded between the two countries. That treaty, in its form, did not really last, and although many similar treaties were negotiated, they never had the effect of the original reciprocity treaty.

That was true until the free trade agreement that was negotiated by former prime minister Brian Mulroney. It became the election issue in the 1988 federal election. The FTA then became NAFTA, and NAFTA has made Canada wealthier, stronger, and better off economically. NAFTA was a necessary agreement. Without it, I do not think we would have one of the world's largest economies today.

More recently, the previous Conservative government negotiated several trade agreements, including the Canada-EU trade agreement, which has the potential to give Canadian businesses and consumers access to a market of 500 million people. That same government negotiated the trans-Pacific partnership deal, which is the subject matter of the motion before us today.

As NAFTA and the Canada-EU free trade deal are crucial for the constituents in Bow River, the TPP is one of the most important trade agreements that Canada will ever ratify. We cannot ignore this agreement and stick our heads in the sand. The future economic prosperity of Canada is in jeopardy if we do not get ourselves organized and get this deal ratified. If we can get the TPP ratified, we would become the world's only major economy with free trade access to Europe, the NAFTA region, and the Asia-Pacific region. That is over 60% of the world's economy.

When the government hears that fact, all I can ask is, if not now, when will the consultations happen and when will it be back in the House? Can the government please explain to the House why we are not seeing a timeline for completion? That is what we are looking for, the timeline. Let us get it done and use that timeline.

I would like to look at some of the sectors that are going to benefit greatly from the TPP, and I want to start with a quote from Maclean's magazine on October 5, 2015, which stated, “on average, we can expect TPP trade liberalization to deliver higher productivity, higher GDP, and higher incomes to Canadians". This is the crux of the matter here.

Overall, the TPP is a good deal for our people. It is a good deal for the Canadian companies that employ Canadians, and it is good for our economy as a whole. One of the biggest sectors in my riding is agriculture. There are very large farms in Bow River. In fact, Alberta's crop commissions were here last month to lobby the government to get the TPP ratified immediately.

Do members know why the TPP is so important to these organizations? It is because, as stated in the press release they produced on April 19, “The TPP agreement would increase demand for Canada’s agricultural exports and ensure Canada can remain competitive in key markets, as two of our major competitors, Australia and the United States, would otherwise see preferential access to key Canadian markets within the TPP zone.”

Essentially, if we do not get this deal ratified, agricultural exporters in my constituency will be hurt because of it. Placing this sector at a disadvantage in some of their export destinations is just unacceptable.

I would be remiss if I did not mention one of the largest employers in my riding, which is JBS Food Canada. JBS Food is the largest meat packing plant in Canada. The group that represents it and other industry stakeholders nationally here in Canada, the Canadian Meat Council, had this to say about the TPP, “Canadian meat packers and processors strongly support ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

They also had the following to offer to the discourse:

The current and future viability of the Canadian livestock and meat sector is profoundly dependent on international trade. In the absence of competitive access to critical export markets, including those in the TPP region, the sustainability of the Canadian meat industry would be quickly and seriously imperilled.

Producers, processors, workers, [innovators], investment, exports, rural communities, and domestic food security in every region of Canada would gain measurable benefits from implementation of the TPP. All would suffer severe, rapid, and enduring negative consequences should the TPP be implemented without Canadian participation.

This is a very high-stakes agreement for food processors like JBS in Brooks, and they absolutely need to see this deal ratified.

Another group that is excited about this deal are the ones who supply the beef, the Canadian cattlemen. There are many of these cattlemen across my constituency. We have some of the best ranches in the country in Bow River, and our cattlemen are a dedicated bunch. Have I mentioned how much I love Alberta beef?

As a result of TPP, the Canadian cattlemen estimate that Canada's cattle producers could as much as triple their export capacity to Japan, which would mean $300 million worth of exports. That is a huge number and would greatly benefit businesses in my constituency.

One sector that has perhaps not been featured as heavily in the discussions surrounding the TPP is Canada's service sector. I am not sure if my colleagues in the House are aware, but Canada's service sector is a gigantic part of our economy. With numbers that are current as of 2013, it accounts for 70% of the GDP of Canada. There is 78% of Canadians, or 4 in 5 people, who work in the service industry. That is incredible.

The TPP deal covers this industry, and for us that could be a major advantage. The Conference Board of Canada, for example, believes that Canada's service is very high value and the appetite for such service is only going to grow stronger, even in areas like the TPP zone.

According to Global Affairs Canada, as of 2011, Canada was the 18th-largest exporter of services in the world. Would it not be incredible if we could elevate ourselves to the top five, or even aim for number one?

I believe the benefits to our service industry are clear, and ratification of the TPP would be very welcome among those Canadian companies that provide such services.

With all this in mind, we urge this Liberal government to make a decision on the ratification of the trans-Pacific partnership, which they have already signed. If it would do this before the North American Leaders' Summit on June 29, it would send a great message to our business community. The clarity that such a measure would bring to Canadians would be welcomed.

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, my question to the member is related to something that members of the Liberal caucus have put forward, that the Conservatives are trying to create this false sense of urgency that is just not there.

I am sure the member is aware, and if he is not, he could indicate that very clearly now, that this is an agreement that does not have to be ratified until February 2018. A number of countries are doing their consultations with their populations.

Do the Conservatives feel that Canadians do not deserve to be consulted and worked with, and that the stakeholders and many different groups out there do not deserve to be listened to? Why is there this false sense of urgency?

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, I do not think there is a false sense of urgency. I am just asking for a specific timeline.

The Liberals have stated many times, even today, that we need consultation. That is great, but what we need is that timeline. We are in sectors where investment will occur when they know those timelines. The sooner those timelines are published and those dates actually happen, that investment will occur.

Our business sector needs to know. If large quantities are going to be invested in our business sector, those timelines are important and the date is important. That is not false.

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciated hearing my Conservative colleague's speech, especially his comments about coming to this place to learn to respectfully hear each other out.

I am curious about the member's personal views on when local, provincial, or federal governments legislate in the public interest. What are his thoughts on inserting clauses into trade agreements that would allow private foreign companies to sue those governments that legislate in the public interest? Does he put more stock in the company's ability to sue, or does he put faith in elected governments representing their constituents?

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, in the legal world, if people were not allowed to sue, we would have a problem. Lawyers make money with lawsuits, and the law industry is an incredibly busy and important part of our world.

Whenever levels of governments make decisions, there is a recourse in the court system. Having been involved in different levels of government, when one makes decisions, one can find oneself in court for one reason or another. That is the reason the courts are there, so people have another place to go to appeal whatever decisions governments make. We may not like that as a government when we make decisions, but that is the world we live in with democracy and people having the right to do that.

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I too would like to thank and commend my colleague for his openness, particularly since he reminded us of certain historical realities, including dealings with the first nations in the fur trade and the other countries that wanted to reap the benefits of Canada's great riches.

My question is about this deal. How will it affect the member's own constituents in his own riding?

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Madam Speaker, I live in a constituency that not only has a large cattle ranching industry with beef to trade, but it is also a large irrigation district, the fourth largest in Canada, and produces many significant levels of high-value crops. Trade is critically important. We trade with many parts of the world. We produce some of the best quality production coming out of agriculture in the world. We are one of those areas that can feed the world many times over.

Therefore, with our cattle industry and our agriculture with the niche crops and the many things it produces, trade is critical for those industries to survive. It is critical for other parts of the world to have access to the commodities we can produce.

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

I will apologize ahead of time, because I may need to interrupt your speech at some point.

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I would like to make it very clear from the outset that the Liberal Party has a great tradition of recognizing the value of trade in the world. We have recognized that Canada has been blessed in many ways, whether it is our natural resources or the people who make up our great country. One of the things that is absolutely critical, in terms of the future potential growth and development of our nation, is trade. We have recognized that as a party. When we have had the good fortune to be in government, members will find that Liberal governments have been very progressive and proactive at looking at ways in which we can expand trade, not just limited to trade agreements, but looking at other ways to be able to increase world trade where, ultimately, Canadians have benefited by the millions.

I would really like to recognize that the Prime Minister, in appointing our current Minister of International Trade, has done a phenomenal job in terms of protecting Canada's interests, and I would suggest even going beyond our borders.

If we take a look at the CETA agreement, last summer there were individuals in Europe who were raising concerns with respect to the fate of CETA. Whether it was France or Germany, they were expressing concerns that this was something that might not pass.

Immediately after being appointed by the Prime Minister, our current Minister of International Trade took the initiative head-on, made the necessary trips, had the discussions, and Canada, as it should, played a critical role in demonstrating leadership and was able to make some changes that alleviated many of the concerns that countries such as Germany and France had. Through our minister and through this government, we did play a role in ensuring that particular agreement is back on the right track and moving forward. We do that because this is something we recognize is of great value to our country.

The current process we have under the TPP should come as no surprise to anyone inside this chamber. After all, it was during the election campaign that our party committed to consulting with Canadians on the trans-Pacific partnership. That was an election campaign platform that was presented to Canadians.

We are very much aware what the NDP's position was, and that was without even seeing the agreement. It had no sense of the terms of the agreement, and it said “no” to the agreement.

We, on the other hand, understood the importance of being able to share the agreement and do the consultations, and whether it was the parliamentary secretary or the minister responsible, we have very clearly indicated the types of efforts that have been put forward to date, and there are more to come. Four hundred meetings or consultations have taken place in virtually all sectors, with labour unions, business, and different types of stakeholders.

A legislative committee is out there holding meetings in our communities, and we do assign value to our standing committees. The minister herself has had other public meetings in this regard, whether in Toronto, Montreal, or Winnipeg, There have been meetings in virtually all regions of our country.

We are doing that because, after all, that was a commitment made by us in the last federal election. No one here should be surprised that we are doing exactly what we said we would do.

Talking about the importance of trade, and the TPP in particular, I highlighted the fact during a question—and I believe our minister made reference to it when she addressed this motion—that this particular agreement needs to be ratified by February 2018. That begs the question as to why the Conservative Party today is trying to create a false sense of urgency. That is really what it is, a false sense of urgency.

Canadians need not be as concerned as the Conservatives are trying to portray. We have plenty of time to do the types of things that other countries that are signatories on this agreement are doing. There are 12 countries in total and not one of them has actually ratified it. A number of them are going through elections. Others are having different forms of debate and discussions with their citizenry. As was clearly demonstrated with the CETA, this particular agreement is in fact being put across the table to Canadians. We want and will continue to pursue input. There is a great deal of benefit and there is none of this great urgency that the Conservatives are trying to portray.

If I can just speak very briefly on my own province of Manitoba and use a specific example, I for years have followed Manitoba's pork industry. It is a very important industry to the entire province. Not everyone works in the pork industry, but everyone has benefited in our province from the pork industry. It employs thousands and thousands of Manitobans. The pork that is being produced cannot all be consumed in the province of Manitoba. We are very much dependent on exporting our product. I would argue that we produce the best pork in the world. There are agreements that no doubt would enhance it. When we looked at the Korea trade agreement, I spoke to this particular issue because I believed that the pork industry would have benefited from that.

There are healthy industries in all regions of our country. However, let us not kid ourselves, there are areas of concern. I have heard the Minister of Agriculture on numerous occasions talk about the importance of supply management and how our government is going to be there to support supply management.

We have many of my caucus colleagues, in particular from the province of Ontario, who are very much concerned about the auto industry. I can reflect in terms of the auto pact back in the 1960s, which was a Liberal government achievement, which I understand both the Conservatives and the New Democrats opposed back then. I think of that auto pact agreement and because we got it right, we created literally hundreds of thousands of jobs and in essence built the automobile industry that we have here today. However, we must not kid ourselves. There are very real and genuine concerns that we need to listen to. I know that by just listening to not only my Ontario caucus members but other caucus members related to different types of issues.

Let us do what it is that we committed to do. That was to get that better, more comprehensive understanding of this issue and the impact it would have on Canada. We have the time to do it. As I say, there is no urgency.

Canada has demonstrated leadership on the world trade file in the past, and most recently in terms of dealing with the CETA. Again, I commend the efforts of our current minister who has done a fabulous job.

It goes beyond those trade agreements, including the efforts of our Prime Minister going down to the U.S. with other ministers and the efforts of other ministers approaching the U.S., which is our greatest market. It is more than free trade agreements. It is getting the job done, and that is something that this government has been achieving in six months. Wait, there is going to be a lot more good stuff around the corner.

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton


It being 5:15 p.m., pursuant to an order made earlier today, all questions necessary to dispose of the opposition motion are deemed put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions.

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I suspect if you were to canvas the House, you would find it the will of the House to call it 5:30 p.m. so we can get into private members' business.

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members


Opposition Motion—Trans-Pacific PartnershipBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

It being 5:30 p.m., we will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

5:15 p.m.


Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

moved that Bill C-231, An Act to establish National Food Waste Awareness Day and to provide for the development of a national strategy to reduce food waste in Canada, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce in the House Bill C-231, which comes from a motion that I moved during the 41st Parliament, Motion No. 499. I put that motion on the Order Paper, but it was not debated. This time, I decided to introduce a bill because this is a timely topic and urgent action is required.

A rich country like ours should not be wasting so much food. Food waste has economic, social, and environmental impacts. According to recent studies, people in Canada wasted over 31 billion dollars' worth of food in 2015 alone.

The true cost of food waste would actually be $107 billion a year if we factored in the production and transportation costs at every step of the supply chain, for example, labour, energy, inventory, and infrastructure.

Of that waste, 47% is attributed to consumers, while the rest breaks down as follows: 10% from farmers, 4% from transportation and distribution, 10% from retail, 20% from processing, and 9% from restaurants.

From farm to plate, everyone would win from the government developing a strategy to reduce food waste. For example, consumers, who are responsible for 47% of the waste, lose an average of $771 a year. That is on average 15% of their groceries that are literally being thrown out.

According to Statistics Canada, Canadian consumers waste 183 kg of food every year. According to Value Chain Management Centre, companies with the least amount of waste are those with the highest margin and highest profits. In other words, less waste equals more profit.

In his testimony at the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Mr. Gooch, from Value Chain Management Centre said that there is a growing body of evidence that shows it is worthwhile for governments to invest more in reducing waste. He gave the United Kingdom as an example, which saw a return on its investments and initiatives to reduce food waste.

In short, combatting food waste benefits everyone. Food waste is responsible for huge volumes of greenhouse gas emissions, and this gas is 20 times more powerful than methane. Wasting one tonne of food is the equivalent of emitting 5.6 tonnes of CO2. Furthermore, food waste puts a huge amount of pressure on composting centres and, even worse, on landfills.

Overall, this type of pollution from around the world represents the world's third-largest polluter, after China and the United States. It amounts to 3.3 gigatonnes. This is just the tip of the iceberg, since this problem can affect the environment in many different ways. For example, water and land resources are literally being wasted as a result of the avoidable loss of food.

Every year, 6,750 billion litres of water are wasted. This is the equivalent of a daily consumption of 200 litres of water by 9 billion people a year.

According to 2007 global data, if food waste were a country, it would cover 1.4 billion hectares of land, an area larger that India and Canada combined, or 30% of the world's agricultural land.

It is important to note that eliminating food waste plays a role in combatting climate change. If the government and all parliamentarians in the House truly want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I hope they will strongly support this bill.

In social terms, it is absolutely ridiculous that we waste so much food, while thousands of Canadians do not have adequate access to food.

Food waste and food insecurity are two different problems, but solving the first one could help us make things better around food insecurity.

In Canada, over four million people do not get enough to eat every day. Nearly 900,000 people, one-third of them children, use food banks every month.

In a country like ours, we should be ashamed of that. Since 2008, food bank use has grown, but it should have shrunk. In total, 1.6 million households cannot feed themselves properly every year.

We have to fight poverty in Canada and eliminate it. We have to create good jobs. We have to ensure access to employment insurance. We need good pensions.

In an effort to fight food waste, many organizations recover food across the country, including in my riding. However, recovering food does not eliminate food waste and food insecurity at the source. In the past few years, several initiatives to fight food waste have emerged.

In Quebec, organizations such as Moisson Mauricie and Moisson Montréal have launched pilot projects to reduce food waste and fight food insecurity. They work with supermarkets to recover unsold food, which is placed in bins and refrigerated or frozen at the store. The organizations visit each participating supermarket twice a week.

In collaboration with Quebec's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, volunteers from that organization ensure that the products meet grocery store requirements in terms of quality control, traceability and respecting the cold chain. In fact, all employees and volunteers must get the proper training for this program and help ensure standards are met.

The Association des détaillants en alimentation du Québec, which contributes to these initiatives, notes that, “to date, 534 tonnes of food from 83 supermarkets have been redistributed to more than 66 food banks”. In recent years, community fridges have popped up in many cities in Quebec, such as Montreal, Saguenay, Sherbrooke. This initiative aims to fight food waste by having a fridge for restaurants and the public to drop off fruit, vegetables and grain products.

Volunteers trained by Quebec’s department of agriculture, fisheries and food check the fridges' contents every day. The Corporation de développement économique communautaire de Sherbrooke, which instigated one of these projects, explains it was motivated by a desire to both reduce food waste and combat food insecurity.

There are initiatives like these in every province all across the country. In fact, these types of initiatives are found all around the world. Unfortunately, the Canadian government is lagging behind other governments in the world. In 2014, Martin Gooch was already saying that Canada was trailing compared to other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, and to a number of initiatives in the United States and in Europe, for example.

Since then, France has passed legislation to significantly reduce food waste in that country. On March 17, in Italy, a legislative measure to reduce food waste was passed by the vast majority of members. Even the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has launched initiatives to fight against food waste around the world.

The Canadian government has to get on board and be a leader in this file. That is why I wanted to introduce a bill calling on the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to work with his provincial and territorial counterparts to develop a national strategy to fight against the scourge of food waste. The minister will have six months to convene a conference with the provincial and territorial representatives. He will have a total of one year to develop a pan-Canadian strategy.

In my bill, I recommend that the strategy include a plan to educate the different stakeholders about the devastating impact of waste and best practices to be adopted; rigorous targets for waste reduction for the government; the tools needed to allow consumers to reduce food waste; and various ways of reducing the environmental impact of the production of unused food resources. Raising public awareness should be very important because people change their habits over time.

For this reason, I believe that it is truly relevant and important to create a national food waste awareness day. After consulting a number of stakeholders, we chose October 16, which is the same date chosen by France. Some people had reservations about the possible negative effect of selecting the same day as World Food Day. I am open to changing the date when permitted by the legislative process.

The time is right for holding a debate and establishing a national strategy to reduce food waste.

When the bill was introduced, many groups and stakeholders said that they were pleased to see a debate on food waste, here, in the House of Commons. Among them, Centraide Mauricie and Moisson Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec believe that it is important to support this bill.

Mr. Boutet, chair of the board of directors for Centraide Mauricie, is very much in favour of this bill. In fact, he publicly supported it because food recovery is essential to his organization. He does not understand why we waste so much food, when some people do not have any. According to him, the results of food waste are disastrous because food insecurity is associated with significant health and learning problems and school dropouts.

I repeat: food recovery does not eliminate food insecurity at its source, but it is currently helping hundreds of thousands of people.

I would also like to invite all members to read the study authored by Éric Ménard from Université de Sherbrooke. Mr. Ménard is a lecturer, blogger, and food waste expert. Recently, in January 2013, he published a research report on food waste. The study was conducted here in Canada, more specifically in Sherbrooke. It shows the disastrous consequences of food waste in Canada. It helps us to better understand how big of a problem this is both here in Canada and internationally. Mr. Ménard strongly supports our bill. It is high time that we had a strategy in this regard.

I would now like to come back to the study that was conducted by the Value Chain Management Centre, which shows how important it is to put an end to food waste now.

In 2014, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food heard from Martin Gooch, the chief executive officer of this organization, around the same time that I moved my motion on waste. This organization shows how important it is to combat food waste and also offers solutions to eliminate food waste at no cost. This study also highlights the scope of the issue and offers solutions that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food could adopt or use as inspiration.

I would like to highlight the work that many countries around the world are doing. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is focused on the need to take action against food waste. The international community is watching, so now is the time to act and to show some leadership. We have the perfect opportunity to work with other nations. We must absolutely keep this momentum going. Now is the time for the Canadian government to show some leadership. This is important to our future.

In closing, the House can see that food waste is a scourge in Canada, and the situation is not improving. Food waste is important to all of us, and there are some simple solutions. This bill does not include a lot of restrictions. We are simply calling on the government to establish a national food waste awareness day and to conduct a study. I am opening the door to my colleagues, and I hope to have their support.

I am now prepared to take questions from my colleagues.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

May 12th, 2016 / 5:30 p.m.


Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I applaud my colleague for bringing the bill forward. I think that, as we have seen from the different movements throughout Europe, and France in particular, about being more cautious about the way we treat wasted food, that the bill is extremely timely. I am glad we can bring this issue to centre stage, because I think it is an issue we need to be talking about in this room.

I am curious as to what degree the sponsor of the bill consulted with the different stakeholders: those who would be affected, those who would distribute the wasted food, those who would be responsible for collecting it, as well as any of the administrative aspects that go along with this. I wonder if she had an opportunity to consult those stakeholders and if she has any information she could give us regarding that.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

5:30 p.m.


Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

In the last Parliament, in 2014, I tabled a motion on food waste, and that was because of consultation, because of witnesses coming before committee talking about food waste, and because of seeing what was happening in my community and across Canada.

Certain cities and businesses have adopted strategies. We have seen supermarkets donate food. There was a great project in Montreal and one in la Mauricie as well, working with the supermarkets, taking the food, testing it along the way, transforming it, adding value to it, and feeding people. There are a lot of things that can be done. I decided this time to have a bill, because I thought it was really important.

A lot of the food waste is done at home. Years ago, I would open my fridge and there would be furry fruit and all kinds of stuff. I did not know how to take care of my food. Therefore, I think there is a lot of work that can done just to educate people on how to take of their food at home to reduce food waste.

The other aspect was asking the minister to work with his provincial colleagues to talk about food waste. We have seen what has been done in France and other countries. I did not want to be so prescriptive, but I thought we could look at food labelling and expiration dates. There are a lot of things we can do.

It is not prescriptive, but I think it is really important to have this debate on the floor of the House of Commons. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues, and I am open to amending certain parts of the bill. It is important that we act and see what we can do to help facilitate food, to share it and feed people who are hungry. We can also look at the whole environmental impact of it, because we do have a lot to do to fight climate change.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

5:35 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé for bringing forward this very important bill.

As the member well knows, the NDP has done a lot of work in the area of food security. I think specifically of Malcolm Allen, the former member of Parliament for Welland, and Alex Atamanenko, the former member of Parliament for British Columbia Southern Interior, who together developed a pan-Canadian food strategy.

I would like to hear the member's thoughts on how her particular bill fits in with that overall strategy and the important conversation that our country needs to have on food security more generally.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

5:35 p.m.


Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the food strategy that I had the pleasure of working on with Malcolm Allen and Alex Atamanenko was a great experience. We were able to produce a document about food from the farm to the plate. It had a lot of great aspects, and we are very happy to see that the new government is going to elaborate on a food strategy.

It is very important that we have a long-term vision for agriculture here in Canada and not just piecemeal projects or programs that start and end every few years. We need predictability.

Here in Canada, as the member knows, we have a lot of people who are food insecure. Sadly, a lot of people, and a lot of children, use food banks. Food banks were created to solve a problem and feed people for a short period of time, we all hoped. However, still today, we have food banks here in Canada, and about 900,000 people use them, and a lot of them are children.

The adoption of this bill, and hopefully getting it to committee, would start a great discussion about how we could better handle our food at home and work with initiatives that are done locally in our communities, cities, and provinces. We have to work hard to deal with this, because it an economic issue, an environmental issue, and a social issue. I hope that, with this bill getting to committee, we can have a great discussion and have witnesses come.

Canada could really take a leadership role in dealing with food waste, because we have so much work to do compared to other countries.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

5:35 p.m.

La Prairie Québec


Jean-Claude Poissant LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Berthier—Maskinongé for raising the important issue of food waste.

These ideas are valid, but we think we need more time to look closely at the issue and develop a national food policy with a specific action plan. Food waste is a complex issue that spans the whole system from farmers' fields to families' dining tables.

That is why we believe we should talk about a national strategy for our government, which our government pledged to develop. An increasing number of Canadians are becoming concerned about food loss and waste because it is a societal phenomenon that will affect our children and grandchildren.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that one-third of the food available worldwide is lost or wasted every year. That amounts to $750 billion. In May 2015, G20 agriculture ministers recognized that food waste is an international issue.

Then, in April of this year, the G7 agriculture ministers, including the hon. Lawrence MacAulay, agreed that they should take action to reduce food waste and strengthen food security.

Fruits and vegetables are the food products most likely to be wasted and account for nearly half of all food wasted worldwide. Food is wasted at every stage of the agri-food system. We estimate that these losses account for approximately 30% to 40% of the food produced throughout the value chain.

As for Canadian households, food waste represents about $14.5 billion, the larger share of the value of overall food losses in the country in 2014.

In 2009, over 1.5 billion tonnes of food were lost or wasted around the world, which is enough food to feed one billion people every day for an entire year. We can and we must do better when it comes to managing food waste. That is why Canadians need a strong and equitable food policy that meets their needs.

As we know, food waste is problem that has a serious impact on the food security of Canadian families and on the environment.

Our government is committed to working with Canadians to develop a national food policy. It will develop this policy in order to promote healthy living and the quality of Canadian food, as well as to provide families across the country with better, healthier food grown and raised by Canadian farmers and producers.

We will invite the different levels of government, the agri-food industry, and sector stakeholders, including dietitians, environmental groups, organizations that promote food security, and all Canadians to participate in this policy development process.

The issue of food waste will certainly be addressed as part of the discussions. This is a government-wide issue that goes beyond the responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture, which increases the complexity of the file. Food waste also touches on the mandate of many government agencies and industry organizations, given that this is an important issue for agriculture, security, and the environment.

We agree with the member for Berthier—Maskinongé that food waste is a serious problem. We are presently addressing the problem from various angles.

Our government has invested $38.5 million to modernize Canada's food security system.

We will also invest $70 million in research in order to invigorate the agricultural sector and develop new and innovative techniques to reduce food losses in the primary production phase and to analyze and quantify the food lost or wasted, among other things.

We are concerned about the food security of Canadian families, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers across the country are trying to reduce agricultural losses in order to address this issue. Reducing food losses, increasing the amount of food, the shelf life of food, and the decay of horticultural products are at the top of our list of priorities.

We even have researchers in British Columbia overseeing a post-harvest research program, whose results could be of interest to the international community that wishes to work on reducing food waste.

As we saw, our research centres are involved in many activities to reduce losses and to work down the food chain. In addition to the techniques to reduce food waste, there are techniques to recycle organic waste from food. A company in British Columbia has developed a technique using insects to convert food waste from grocery stores into products that farmers can use to feed their animals and fertilize their crops. The project received financial assistance through the growing forward 2 program, following an agreement between the federal government and British Columbia.

This issue is important to our government. Environment and Climate Change Canada is also a key player when it comes to addressing food waste. It has formed a partnership with the North American Free Trade Agreement Commission for Environmental Cooperation. The partnership supports efforts to reduce food waste in landfills by looking for ways to reduce food waste in industry, businesses, and institutions.

Our government will continue to act in this file. We will talk about food waste as part of our discussions preceding the development of a national food policy with sector representatives.

As a farmer, I am particularly sensitive to the issue of food security. When I decided to go into politics, I made it my mission to help every Canadian family have access to good-quality, healthy food. I am making it my personal duty to fight tooth and nail for this cause and improve the quality of life of our families.

After meeting with many organizations that are working to eliminate food insecurity, such as Food Secure Canada, the Dietitians of Canada, La Corne d'abondance, and Complexe le Partage, I saw that food waste is a major factor that must be included in a national food policy.

We will not support this bill because we believe that the best solution is to first consult Canadians and the industry. We believe that food waste will be part of those discussions, and the information obtained from the consultations will be used to develop a national food policy that reflects Canadians' wishes and values.

Once again, I would like to thank the member for raising this issue so that the industry and all Canadians can make real changes and reduce waste at every stage of the food processing chain, from farm to table.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Chris Warkentin Conservative Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to stand in the House this evening to speak to Bill C-231.

I want to thank my friend from the NDP for bringing this bill forward to the House. It is an important bill. It provides an opportunity for us to have a discussion about food security in Canada today.

The title of the bill is probably as complex as the bill could be: an act to establish national food waste awareness day and to provide for the development of a national strategy to reduce food waste in Canada. That describes exactly what is delineated within the bill.

The first part of the bill does something which I think we could all get our heads around and absolutely support, and that is to create a national day to bring awareness to food. It would be called the national food awareness day. By and large, we in this House could all agree that would be an important thing for us to do.

I grew up on a farm. I am a proud farm kid. I am really proud of the work and the vocation my parents were involved in, creating healthy food for people not only in Canada but around the world. The vast majority of what is produced in many parts of the Prairies actually gets exported around the world. We as Canadians can be very proud of the fact that we are supplying food for hungry people around the world.

When I was a young farm kid, I spent a fair bit of time helping my parents on the farm. One thing that I became aware of very early in my life is that any bit of waste is unacceptable. The reason was it is not good to waste food, but as a farmer knows and any farm kid knows, every bit of the produce or every bit of the grain that one's family produces is the income that the family lives off. By and large, farmers are probably some of the most careful people when it comes to ensuring that food waste does not in fact happen, especially at the farm.

I should note that it would be important for us to have a national food awareness day for another reason. As our communities and our country become more urban-centric, as people move off the farms, as fewer people are required on the farms to produce the food, people get further and further away from where food is produced.

As a farm kid living in a community of farmers, I knew very clearly from a very young age that not only do farmers not waste food, but farmers also make sure that they grow the healthiest food. They care for the animals they raise. They are probably some of the greatest stewards of our environment, of our animal health and welfare, and of the land generally. They know that this is going to have an impact on their bottom line.

There is also another point. Farmers are very proud of what they do. They are very proud to be able to produce the best quality and the safest food in the world. Canadian farmers produce the best quality and the safest food anywhere in the world. We as Canadians can be proud of this.

If we were to consider having a national food awareness day, I think one of the things we would want to do is celebrate the success of Canadian agriculture and the people who make sure that we have some of the safest and best quality food in the world.

We would also want to celebrate some of the advancements that have happened over time, the technologies and the modern farming practices that make sure that in Canada today we produce more food than we ever have. We also do it at less cost, using less land, with less water, and less of an impact on the environment than we ever have. That is all because of the modern practices that we use. These include the introduction of new tilling practices when farmers plant their crops on the Prairies. It includes the introduction of GMO crops, and some of the plant breeding that has happened to increase the productivity of our crops, and also to reduce the amount of water that is necessary for these crops to grow and thrive.

We have also seen a number of other advancements that have really seen the ability to grow more commodity on less land mass, which means that we continue to feed not only Canadians but people around the world.

There is a lot to celebrate, especially when it comes to primary agriculture in Canada. A national food awareness day is where we would want to start. It is about really understanding where food comes from. It is about reminding our urban friends that farm families across Canada do an admirable job of growing crops and fostering a brand that we can be proud of the world over, which is that we produce the safest and the best-quality food in the world.

I did talk to my friend before I started speaking. It will not surprise my friend that the second part of the bill is the part that I am a bit more concerned about, and that is the part that talks about having a national strategy. That is when we introduce government into the equation and encourage government to solve a problem. A number of things that were included in the strategy were articulated by my friend in the bill, one of which would include a national awareness campaign.

A national awareness campaign is probably quite an important thing to do, in terms of reminding people that we all have a responsibility to reduce food waste. Any food waste means that food is not being used to nourish people, and there are many people who could use food that might otherwise go to waste.

We have to consider who we would want involved in this. The government is not necessarily the best group to lead any conversation on this issue. I reflect upon some of the greatest successes when it comes to reducing food waste in Canada. The charitable sector has been working on this for years.

In my own life, my parents and my grandparents here in Canada concerned themselves with food waste. There was a time when a lot of Canadians had gardens. The initial way that everyone made sure there was no food waste was to share it with neighbours, if they had more than they could eat in their gardens. If they had too much of something, they would trade it with their neighbours for something else.

Things evolve over time, and people have moved off farms and do not have gardens anymore. Things change. Other groups step in, such as churches, the Salvation Army, food banks, to ensure that nobody goes hungry within their communities. These organizations have been in existence since Canada has been here. Canadians care about one another. We care about our neighbours. We continue to install different systems because we truly care about our neighbours and we want to make sure that nobody goes hungry. We have instituted a number of these things.

Over the last number of years, as some of these programs have become antiquated or are not addressing the need that might be out there, other groups have stepped up and introduced new disruptive technologies that have changed the way that food waste is reduced.

We have things like Food Cowboy, which is a technology company that has created an app. It basically provides companies with the ability to donate surplus food to nearby charities, and organic waste composters and farmers and biogas generators, to ensure that the food does not fall into landfills but goes to another purpose. I was not familiar with this company, but I was inspired when I did some research on it. Food Cowboys now serves over 400 charities and has about 200 donors. It has significantly reduced the amount of food waste from restaurants and other food establishments, as well as retail stores and others.

There are also companies like Froodly in Finland that basically does the same. It attracts best before dates and makes sure that food that might otherwise fall into landfills is highlighted so that people could get discounts on those foods.

There are a number of things that have happened.

The folks who do a lot of the processing in Canada are already doing a great job in terms of ensuring that food is not wasted, because for them it is also about the bottom line. They have a strategy to ensure that they donate to food banks as much as they can. As a matter of fact, those surveyed said that 92% of their organizations donate to food banks on a regular basis.

The private sector is doing a good job and the public sector is there to assist those who are doing it. I think there is an opportunity for us to cheer on those who are doing a good job. The charitable sector, the private sector are doing an incredible job. We do not want to stand in the way of that. We want to incentivize them to do those things. The last thing we want to do is add additional red tape for what is increasingly the Canadian way to ensure that nobody goes hungry here in Canada.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand here with my colleague, the member for Berthier—Maskinongé, in support of a bill to develop a national strategy to reduce food waste.

The numbers here are compelling. Canadians waste approximately 27 billion dollars' worth of food every year, food that is landfilled or composted. The true cost of that food waste might be more like $107 billion a year, if we include the labour costs, transportation, and capital investments in infrastructure and inventory.

Globally, and this is the terrible link, 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year, yet 870 million go hungry every day. Just this morning a number of parliamentarians heard at breakfast from Laval University professor Jean Caron. He said one billion more people could be fed in this world if we went ahead and reduced food waste in the food chain by more than 50%, which he and a number of other activists say is absolute doable.

Right back in Canada, almost 2.5 million Canadians experience food insecurity, and over 800,000 visit food banks every month. In a country as wealthy as ours, this is shameful. Since 2008, the number of people turning to food banks has increased by over 25%. Close to 900,000 households in Canada are food insecure, and a few years ago the UN's special rapporteur harshly criticized the right to food in Canada under the Conservative government.

Connecting food waste with people in need is what people in Nanaimo—Ladysmith have done, and I am so proud of the success stories that are coming out of our riding.

Loaves and Fishes is a community food bank in Nanaimo. After many years of just working to try to get people fed who were in need, they had this brilliant innovation. They put the donations they were able to receive into refrigerator trucks and they now drive all around the riding. They might get a phone call from a shipping company that says they got stuck in a ferry line and now they cannot deliver their load of cheese or whatever under the conditions that were guaranteed before, but it is still good if they want to come and get it. They will go and get a whole pallet of food. They have processes around food safety that they have negotiated with the provincial and federal governments on a one-off basis, and they are able to assure their volunteers and their food bank clients that this food is good.

We have people in poverty in Nanaimo who are eating rack of lamb, and it is fantastic that this is a choice they can make and that their food bank offerings are not only the traditional canned goods. We have something like 600 local volunteers at Loaves and Fishes who are helping this non-profit sort and distribute food throughout the riding, and last year alone, the food recovery program of Loaves and Fishes saved 2.5 million dollars' worth of fresh food. It is fantastic.

That food goes to 30 different non-profits, who in turn distribute it to their own clients, and to schools as well for their lunch programs. It is helping over 8,000 people a month. This is due to the partnership with the grocery stores, with volunteers, and with shipping companies. It is very much a collaborative exercise and I wish that it was more common. We would love to find ways to get out of the way of the innovation of local organizations such as Loaves and Fishes and have this be a model that happens all over the country.

This is exactly what the MP for Berthier—Maskinongé is asking the government to strategize on, just these sorts of donations of unsold food. It does not cost donors anything. In fact, it can relieve the grocery stores of a great deal of cost around disposal, but better co-operation between food banks and retailers is needed. That would reduce food waste and would reduce food insecurity in our region.

Bill C-231 encourages this and it provides the tools to make it happen. The process that it proposes could well reassure non-profits that they will be supported if they do this important work safely.

Worldwide, food waste is a major problem, and that has been recognized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Union of Wholesale Markets.

Most famously, to date, France has led the charge on this. Just a year go, it was the first country to legislate against food waste. Part of that was amending the legal framework to remove the liability for donors. There is now a push to make that law European Union-wide.

In 1996, the United States adopted a similar kind of legislation where voluntary food donations were covered by legislation. That makes everybody volunteering in the field feel just a bit more secure and protected.

The need here is so great. In my province, British Columbia, more than 100,000 people were assisted by food banks last year, 32% of whom were children. The Ladysmith food bank and the Nanaimo Loaves & Fishes food bank said 3,600 individuals accessed their food banks last year. Of those, 31% were children.

In a more focused area of needs, the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses say that 75% of Canadian shelters rely upon food donations. This is both to meet the needs of women in shelters and also to support them and their children when they transition out of domestic violence shelters.

Another great story, in the same vein, is about a local non-profit called Nanaimo Foodshare. Through its community and school programs, it is teaching people around buying food in season, shopping locally, cooking from scratch, food management, how to compost, how to cut the amount of food wasted. It also has a paid gleaning coordinator who is funded through a provincial grant. That person connects people who have unharvested vegetables and fruit trees groaning with apples, organizes carpooling of volunteers to harvest that food, and then, again, redistributing them throughout the community.

In one season alone, Nanaimo Foodshare saved over 400,300 kilograms of fresh produce.

Again, people who are using food banks need to access fresh produce. It is good for local farmers; it is better for nutrition. We need to include all these innovative ideas into a national strategy to reduce food waste in Canada.

The tenets of Bill C-231 are to build that strategy against food waste, to assist consumers to reduce food waste, to facilitate the donation of food by the private sector, and to study the environmental impact of food waste. Those environmental impacts are significant. It is not just the land that is taken up by landfilling, but it is also the methane that is generated, which is a tremendous greenhouse gas amplifier and is something that really exacerbates climate change. It is an unnecessary use of land. It is bad for climate change. If we can keep food out of the landfill and redistribute it to people in need, that is better for everybody. Perfectly good food should not be landfilled when people go hungry.

We want the Canadian government to be a leader in this area and to implement tools so all stakeholders in the supply chain, from farmers to consumers, can reduce their food waste.

This can be done by removing barriers to donations from the private sector of goods that are imperfect, but goods that are welcomed by community groups and food banks. They are doing the front-line work of fighting insecurity and this national work can be done by supporting Bill C-231.

In my final moments, I want to celebrate, as my colleague before me just has, the work of some of our local farmers.

I am inspired every time I am at home by the Boulton family on Gabriola Island. Eric Boulton is, I believe, 85 years old. He is still driving the tractor. When our provincial government put rules in place that really impeded the ability of local farmers to slaughter meat and sell it in their own communities, the family hung on. It thought it was going to improve food safety, but in fact it really interfered with local food production. This tenacious farmer just hung on and got his slaughterhouse re-certified by the provincial government. He now sells beef to local restaurants. Our biggest grocery store, Village Food Market, and the McCollum family are very strong supporters of local produce. We can buy locally-raised beef right there.

The Boulton family is a great donor of its organic turkeys and other meats that it grows and slaughters at home on its huge farm. It donates that directly to charities, to partners like the People For a Healthy Community. Its annual Christmas dinner is a festive, beautiful time. It has all local produce, the best turkeys one will ever have. It is a great example of celebration at the community level, a great example of farmers' support.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order, please. I never like to interrupt hon. members. We were out of time, plus it is late in the day and it is the time when we start to get a little hungry. There were wonderful descriptions about some wonderful food.

I will let the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth know there are only about six minutes remaining in the time provided for private members' business, but we will get started and she will have her remaining time when the House next debates this question.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.


Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I am really pleased that the member for Berthier—Maskinongé has brought the issue of food waste before us. It is truly wonderful that we are having a conversation about food policy today, because it is very important to me.

I will say that I have some concerns about the wording in the bill. I was very happy to hear that the member is open to making some amendments, because I believe that some amendments will be required. However, it is a good start. I worry that the bill leads us in the wrong direction. I say that because I think that food policy is very important and food waste is something we need to address, but I do not like making a link between food waste and food insecurity. They are two different issues and form part of a larger food policy.

I do not like it when I hear ideas like edible food going to landfills should, instead, be given to people in need. The truth is that food insecurity is about poverty and dealing with poverty issues, and food waste is an issue that is economic, environmental, and needs to be addressed, but we should not be making a link between one and the other.

I am personally very interested in food policy. I have been involved in food policy issues in my own community. I have worked with local farmers markets, I have organized an annual stone soup event, where people contribute vegetables to a communal soup that they eat together. Any extra vegetables that are collected are brought to a local food bank. I am interested in this issue very much and I have personal experience. I have also worked with Second Harvest in Toronto—Danforth, picking up food and bringing it to women who are new to Canada and in need.

I recently had the opportunity to see a Canadian documentary called Just Eat It, which is a food waste story. It tells the story of a Vancouver couple, I believe, or a couple in British Columbia, who made a pact that they would live off of food waste for a six-month period. They were actually able to collect enough food during that period of time to eat. They also found that they became tremendously unhealthy from the kind of food that they were collecting. Well, “tremendously unhealthy” might be too much, but they were gaining weight and were not feeling quite as healthy as before.

I always like to celebrate Canadian arts and culture and it is good to highlight that this a Canadian documentary. It was made in 2014 and it won numerous awards, including the people's choice award at the Calgary International Film Festival, and best Canadian documentary at the Edmonton International Film Festival. It also won some awards at the Vancouver International Film Festival. It is always nice to tie some issues together like that.

I would like to take a moment to talk about the bill. It was interesting to hear my colleague raise the question about the title, “national food waste awareness day”, and suggested “national food awareness day” without referring to waste. That is something we can discuss. My bigger concern is that the preamble talks about food banks and makes a link between food waste and food banks. I agree that food waste is an economic problem. I agree that we need to deal with it.

It is interesting, actually, that the preamble does not mention the part about methane gas, which is a source of climate change, but food waste can lead to it. My friend mentioned that in her presentation and that was great.

I am concerned about the choice of October 16 as national food waste awareness day. October 16 is already World Food Day, which my colleague mentioned. It is a global day to end hunger and it has been celebrated since 1981. It is a date that celebrates the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the FAO, which was created on October 16, 1945, in Quebec City, at the Château Frontenac.

The day is marked with hunger walks, dinners, food drives. In Canada, there is World Food Day Canada, which hosts speakers, has exhibits, and really aims at solving issues about world hunger and poverty issues relating to food. To me, having national food waste awareness day on the same day as World Food Day is a concern.

I would say that it is an issue that is important for us to deal with. Food banks are important. I will have a chance to speak a bit more on this issue, so just in case it happens at a later date I would point out that there is Hunger on the Hill on May 18. My office will be participating in it and I will be participating in it to raise awareness about hunger issues and food insecurity. I would encourage other people to also participate in that event.

What concerns me the most, one of the reasons that I ran, is growing income inequality. I was concerned about food insecurity. We do need to gain more awareness of that. I really like that we are starting to talk about those issues in the House and having a good discussion about it. I just do not want to see that link made to food waste. That is a discussion we can have a bit later.

Fight Against Food Waste ActPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth will have four minutes remaining for her comments when next the House has the opportunity to consider the question.

The time provided for private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.