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

Agriculture June 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is sad to have to disappoint the hon. member, but whereas he may be waiting for July 27 to go into court, Canada will be represented on July 13 at the appeals court which is being heard first.

We want the temporary injunction overturned. We filed an amicus brief and that was accepted. While those members may have been here cackling with one another and throwing insults across the aisle, I was in Washington on Friday working with the USDA to in fact get the border open.

Agriculture June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, obviously, in our WTO negotiations, as we move toward negotiating improved market access, one of the things that we have said clearly is that individual countries need to have flexibility in how they achieve that. That includes allowing our producers to choose their domestic marketing schemes and that includes supply management.

The government very much supports supply management. We have for 35 years in the past and we will continue to do so in the future.

Agriculture June 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as colleagues in the House will remember, in the budget we announced that we would be seeking a replacement for the deposit. We have been working with the provinces and the industry to move forward in this respect.

We look forward to a federal-provincial meeting in July and to having further discussions, but I am able to announce today that we have achieved an agreement with the provinces and that all CAIS money presently on deposit will be available for withdrawal. This will provide over $600 million available to producers.

Agriculture June 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member pointed out that the reductions that were announced were occurring in ridings represented by all parties. I think this clearly demonstrates that there is no bias as we are making in these decisions. I can assure the hon. member that we are dealing with all of these issues at all of these sites in exactly the same way.

I agree that the Nappan site has contributed significantly to science over the years. We will work together in the same way with all of these institutions.

Agriculture June 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, obviously our objective here is not to reduce the amount that we are investing in science, but rather to try to reduce our overhead so we will in fact have additional dollars to put into pure science.

There were some initiatives taken in respect of a number of sites across the country. Through the representations of a large number of individuals, provinces, my own colleagues within caucus, of which the hon. member is an example, and other hon. members, we have agreed to take a look at each one of these closures, to work with the community and the producers in the area and to review the way forward.

Agriculture June 8th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members would know, we had a four hour take note debate in the House last night on supply management.

We had an opportunity to have a very thorough discussion on article XXVIII. We made it very clear that our primary objective as a government is to achieve a result from the WTO negotiations that will allow us and allow our producers to choose supply management as their choice for domestic marketing.

That is what the government stands behind. It is what it stood behind for 35 years. It is what we will continue to stand behind as we move toward the future.

Supply Management June 7th, 2005

Madam Chair, I see that we are just about out of time for this debate and I just want to take a moment to thank members on all sides of the House for participating tonight. I am certainly appreciative of the time and energy put in by all members in preparing for this debate and putting their ideas forward. It is important that that be done tonight.

I want to express my personal appreciation to all members, to you, Madam Chair, to your table officers, as well as to all of the parliamentary individuals who have been part of this debate tonight. It is nearly 11:30 p.m. and I thank them for the work they have done here tonight.

Although I am not supposed to do this, I want to thank members of the industry who have been watching this debate here in person all night long. I thank them for their attention here tonight and for the hard work that they have done in respect of all of these issues, working with the government and with other members of Parliament.

Let me close by thanking all the folks and of course Canadians who have tuned in and have had an opportunity to watch this debate, including producers from coast to coast to coast.

Supply Management June 7th, 2005

Madam Chair, I do appreciate the speech from the hon. member. In having some comments directed at him, he sort of opened himself up to that question in respect of wanting to talk about some of the good things in agriculture. We have heard a little bit of what I would say are inaccuracies in some of the comments that have been made.

I would ask the hon. member about a couple of things. First of all, he mentioned the $1 billion we put into agriculture. I know that if he had had an opportunity he would have mentioned that in the budget we put in money to expand the spring and fall advance programs and we gave the Canadian Grain Commission some additional resources.

I know he would want to mention that slaughter capacity has actually increased by 30% in Canada, that we have two new plants coming on line, the benefits of the loan loss reserve program, that we have put investments in the P.E.I. plant, and that we have other plants that have expanded.

I think he would want to mention that we have been able to regain access to 14 new international markets. Certainly even today the fact is that we have concentrated on the appeal to the ruling in the U.S. in the California court. Canada's standing at that court was accepted by the court today. That is something we have done. I think that is a positive side.

I think it is important that we do have a fulsome display of the facts on the public record here and that we do understand what was done in the budget, what additional support was provided after the budget and the progress we are making. That is not for a moment to suggest that there are no other important issues to deal with. Obviously supply management is one, as is our WTO negotiations.

The hon. member indicated the importance of talking about some of the positives in agriculture. Would he agree that some of these I have mentioned are positives? Perhaps he has some others that he would want to enunciate.

Supply Management June 7th, 2005

Madam Chair, I appreciate the opportunity to intervene in the debate at this point. I thank the hon. member for her intervention although I believe there needs to be somewhat of a reality check based on some of her comments.

First, we should understand and all Canadians should understand, that if she gives a litany events that have occurred prior to this year, that at the time those events were occurring and prior to the March convention of the hon. member's party, the position of that party was not to support supply management. That is the reality and I will have my hon. parliamentary secretary read it. It is fair enough to change their policy, but they should admit to the fact that they have changed it and their approach.

Second, in the first part of her speech she is critical of the government for not having a particular approach. Then later on in her speech, she criticizes that approach. There is an inconsistency there. On the one hand she cannot criticize the government for not having an approach and then later criticize the approach.

The negotiating mandate that we are pursuing is one that was developed over time in consultation with the industry. That is the reality. The member said that Canada was on the sidelines. I was in Geneva in 2004. We sat through the night, we sat through the day and we sat through the next night. Canada was not unrepresented. Canada was at that table. I think if she spoke to the 40 or so industry representatives who were with us in Geneva at that time, they would say that the framework agreement achieved in that process was one that provided us with an opportunity to pursue the negotiation in a way that would allow us to move toward protecting supply management and toward what our objective clearly is.

To suggest for a moment that Canada was not at the table, that Canada was not aggressively defending the interests of supply management and other producers in this country and that we were not there with the industry is simply not accurate. It represents misinformation being put forward.

We clearly support the supply management sector in our country and we have since its inception. We have given that support for 35 years. We are negotiating in the WTO to achieve important objectives for all Canadian agriculture in elimination of export subsidies, in the reduction of domestic supports and to provide new market access. However, we do it in a way that continues to provide Canadian producers choices about domestic marketing regimes, including supply management.

The actions and the position we take and the process that we pursue is one that has as its objective the long term sustainability of supply management in Canada. The decisions we are taking are designed to achieve just that. There may be disagreements about the strategic approach in which we pursue these objectives and that is fair enough. Part of the debate in the House should be about that. However, I stress that there is not a disagreement about the importance and the willingness of the government to support supply management in all its forms in Canada.

Supply Management June 7th, 2005

I do not think people send us here with an expectation that we will not be partisan from time to time. That is why they send us here and we engage in these debates.

In terms of agriculture and general supply management in particular, I think it is important to understand that it is absolutely essential for all parties in the House to work together to achieve important results in the WTO negotiations. It is important for supply management. We have a number of folks from that industry here in the audience tonight and I am sure many are watching on TV. That is important for us to achieve.

There are also other broad issues in terms of those WTO negotiations that are important for agriculture in general. It is really going to be critical that members from all sides of the House work together to achieve those important results, because having a strong agricultural industry in this country is absolutely essential. Yes, it is important for rural Canada, but it is important for the nation as a whole.

Agriculture represents 8% of our gross domestic product. It is a large generator of wealth in this country. Regardless of whether one lives in the smallest of communities or the largest of cities, a viable agricultural industry is imperative. It is something that we have worked on as a government. We have had many successes in doing that and there are many challenges yet to be faced. Indeed, we will address them.

Let me stress for the hon. member the importance of working not in a non-partisan way, because we will be partisan from time to time, but in a way such that we achieve the important objective of sustaining a strong agricultural industry in this country.