Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rural.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Parry Sound—Muskoka (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Dairy Industry November 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely ludicrous that the party over there would demand that we protect supply management in a Hong Kong negotiation and then come into this House and defeat the government, so it cannot do that. It is ridiculous.

Agriculture November 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, we have been working on the CAIS program. In terms of changes, we have increased the cap. We have allowed for negative margin coverage. We have eliminated the deposit. We have allowed for a targeted advance. We have expanded the eligibility for negative margins. We are working on other changes such as inventory evaluation.

As the hon. member knows, if we are to make a change in how margins are calculated, we need the agreement of the federal government and the seven provinces that represent 50% of farm gate receipts. We have a meeting scheduled next week where ministers will be discussing just that.

Agriculture November 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, quite the contrary, the economic statement presented by the Minister of Finance clearly stated that we stand by our farmers. We will and we have. We refer to the TISP payment of $1 billion, the FIP payment just this spring of $1 billion, and our CAIS program of $2.2 billion.

In reality, payments to producers are at record levels in this country today because our producers are in need. We understand that and as a government we are responding to it.

Agriculture November 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the fact is payments to producers are at record levels right now in Canada. The fact is this past year we provided an additional billion dollars, beyond all our other programs, to help Canadian producers. The fact is they cannot have it both ways. They cannot on one side call payments bribery and then on the other side criticize us for not making them.

Agriculture November 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, just to set aside the political rhetoric for a moment, I want to recognize the hon. member for coming back to the House after having faced serious health challenges. We appreciate seeing her back in the House.

Right now governments are making record payments to producers. We have provided over $2 billion in the CAIS program. We have provided our fifth payment this year, which was an additional billion dollars to producers.

Question No. 201 November 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the reply is as follows:

(a) The Canadian agricultural income stabilization, CAIS, program replaced both the Canadian farm income payment, CFIP, and the net income stabilization account, NISA, program. Whereas, under the NISA program, governments deposited their share of program payments into producer accounts, the CAIS program makes the government share of payments directly to producers. Currently, the only deposit requirement is by producers in order to secure coverage under the CAIS program.

In July, federal-provincial-territorial ministers agreed to replace the producer deposit mechanism under CAIS with a fee-based structure in order to respond to producer concerns regarding the affordability of the program and to free up capital which was previously held in CAIS accounts. In the meantime, the deadline for producer deposits for the 2003, 2004 and 2005 program years has been extended until March 31, 2006 and producers have been allowed to withdraw their previously deposited funds. There is currently less than $340 million remaining in producers’ CAIS accounts, down from nearly $650 million in March of this year.

In relation to government funding under CAIS, I would like to point out that CAIS is a needs-based program. This means there is no annual spending cap on the program in order to allow CAIS to better respond to producer-demand. As a business risk management, BRM, program under the current agricultural policy framework, APF, the CAIS program, together with production insurance and the spring and fall cash advance programs, is funded from a committed $5.5 billion in federal funding over the five-year life of the program (2003-04 to 2007-08 fiscal years), which equates to approximately $1.1 billion per year. Under the 60:40 federal-provincial cost-sharing ratio, the provinces have committed to adding another $700 million per year to this federal funding.

Since the inception of CAIS for the 2003 program year, governments have paid a total of $2.3 billion ($1.38 billion federal and $0.92 billion provincial shares) to producers under the program.

(b) This has resulted in producers receiving more than $2.3 billion in income stabilization and disaster assistance payments through the CAIS Program to date, which include final payments for 2003, interim (advance) payments and final payments for 2004 and interim payments for 2005. As 2003 CAIS payments are winding down and payments for the 2004 program year are now being paid, as well as interim payments for the 2005 program year, this number will continue to increase.

(c) In response to your request for CAIS payment number for your riding, I must say that the administrative systems for the CAIS program do not allow me to provide that type of a breakdown. However, I would like to report that more than $200 million has gone out to producers in Manitoba since CAIS was implemented.

Agriculture November 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, supply management has existed in this country for close to 35 years now. It was a proposal put forward by a Liberal government, a proposal that has been maintained by a Liberal government and a proposal that will be kept into the future by a Liberal government.

Agriculture November 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in the negotiations leading up to Hong Kong, we are pursuing the objectives that we always have. We want to see a reduction in domestic supports, the elimination of export subsidies and increased market access for Canadian producers around the world. We are doing that in a way that guarantees that Canadian producers can make their own decisions about their domestic marketing regimes.

Question No. 185 November 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in the 2005 budget, the federal government committed to replace the deposit under the Canadian agriculture income stabilization program, CAIS, with “a better means of effectively engaging producers in joint management of business risk under CAIS”. As the CAIS program is a cost shared initiative, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food discussed the issue with his provincial and territorial counterparts in July and it was agreed in principle to replace the deposit requirement with a fee based approach in time for the 2006 program year.

The fee based approach will respect the basic program principles that producers must be actively engaged in managing their business risk and share in the cost of the program. However, the approach will not require producers to tie up large amounts of operating capital—the principal producer concern related to the deposit. Options for replacing the deposit were developed in consultation with the industry advisory groups set up to support the program and there was general acceptance of a fee based approach.

Ministers agreed in principle on a fee that would approximate the differential between the cost of borrowing funds to make a full deposit under the program and the interest that would be obtained on that deposit. The fee would be calculated at 0.45% of the historical reference margin (a measure of farm profit) that the producer chooses to protect under the program, or $4.50 for every $1000 of protection. A farm with a reference margin of $100,000 would pay $450 for full protection, a substantially lower financial commitment than setting aside $22,000 in an account to gain similar protection.

Early in 2006, producers will receive a notification of their coverage options and the related fees, as well as the deadline for application

Agriculture November 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, yes, clearly we will. We firmly believe that Canadian producers should have the right to choose their domestic marketing regimes, including that of supply management. That is a point we have been making internationally all along.

In these negotiations we have been saying there needs to be a robust, sensitive products regime, one which allows us to deal with those issues in a way that provides flexibility and allows us to meet our national interests.