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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Huron—Bruce (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 June 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, this member rarely forgets what he said. I should point out that I said at that time I would vote affirmatively with the motion before the House but then would be voting with the government hence on.

Main Estimates, 2005-06 June 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, hence on where votes are applied, I want my vote applied in the affirmative with the government.

Supply Management June 7th, 2005

Madam Chair, the question is a fair one. Obviously the answer that I am going to give is probably one that he may or may not believe or may not want to understand totally, and I am not sure that I understand all the implications of the invoking of article XXVIII, but I must say this.

He made reference to the Americans and other countries using article XXVIII. It is there for a purpose, just as article XI was. Article XI was lost. The argument is being made that because we lost on article XI we may also lose on this one and therefore we should use article XXVIII before we lose it. It is not a case of losing it, and I am not talking about trading off one aspect of supply management against the other. I am simply saying there are those communities in the supply managed sector that do not want article XXVIII invoked because they realize there could be consequences.

If we shut the door totally to negotiations for the supply managed sector because at this juncture of the negotiations we have invoked article XXVIII prematurely, then we have in fact sold out all of supply management. That is not what we want to do. I think the judgment is being made that if in fact we find we need to invoke article XXVIII at a later time, then we will do that. We have the assurances of the minister.

I realize that this is perhaps not a real consolation to some people, but I will tell members that if we use article XXVIII at this particular juncture and it ends up that, as we had feared, we lose the ability for further negotiation on behalf of supply management, I am sure none of the other supply managed sectors would come forward to thank the dairy sector, nor would they thank us as a government. I am sure the opposition--

Supply Management June 7th, 2005

Madam Chair, I want to thank my hon. colleague for the great work he does in our committee along with his other colleagues from other parties as well. We work very well together. Because of the non-partisan kind of work we do, we have been able to achieve a great number of things.

My hon. colleague asked what tools we have. The greatest tool we have is the tool of educating people in what supply management is all about. If Canada has failed in any area, it has probably been in this area. Perhaps some of that fault lies with the sectors of the supply management communities by basically not having explained it to our friends.

As was recently mentioned, we met with our New Zealand counterparts and those people did not understand. They thought supply management was an arm of government, that somehow supply management was a great plan of government that allowed us to function in that way. That is not the case. The belief that there are huge subsidy dollars going into the supply management sector is another fallacy.

A lot needs to be done. For those partners that we have at WTO, and there are 147 other countries involved in this partnership, we should not, as has been already mentioned, be trading one sector against another.

Tonight we have talked a great deal about article XXVIII. It should be pointed out for all who are listening and watching the debate this evening that article XXVIII is only wished by the groups supporting supply management in the dairy sector. Those in other sectors of the SM5 do not support article XXVIII being used at this time.

We have to be very careful that not only do we trade other aspects of agriculture, but that we also not trade one aspect of the supply management sector against the other. There is very great danger in that as well.

The greatest tool we have is education. I was at the round in Cancun, where I saw in our own Canadian delegation of about 150 people, on one side of the room the group representing the trading groups, the grains and oilseeds, and on the other side of the room the supply management sector. It was a very divided group. It was divided not only in terms of where they sat in the room where the discussions were going on, but they were divided in their opinion of what we should be doing at the round.

We have a lot of educating to do. If we clearly understood and if people in other parts of the world and our other partners understood in the round what this is all about, that this is the fairest way, basically we could have a lot more countries supporting us in our efforts to achieve what we want at the WTO.

Supply Management June 7th, 2005

Madam Chair, it is a pleasure for me to take part in this important debate about supply management tonight.

As other speakers have addressed the importance of the supply management system and the government's commitment to the entire agrifood sector, I would like particularly to focus on the efforts this government has made to promote a successful outcome at the WTO Doha negotiations, which hold out the promise of a more level playing field for our producers and exporters.

Above all, the WTO is a tool for domestic prosperity, ensuring that our exporters have secure access to markets around the world, a stable and predictable business environment, and a level playing field for our producers.

The WTO has also ensured that our importers can source product from the most efficient sources in the world, providing cheaper inputs that boost productivity and provide better choices for consumers.

The WTO sets the rules for global trade. These multilateral trade rules underpin Canada's commercial relations with the WTO's 147 other members.

It is through the WTO that Canada seeks to secure and expand access to both our established trading partners, such as the U.S., the EU, and Japan, as well as to emerging markets of the developing world, such as China, Brazil, and India.

The WTO also helps Canada manage disputes with the U.S. and our other global trading partners on the basis of rules and not simply on the basis of power.

In short, the WTO ensures the openness of the world to Canada.

As a medium-sized trade-dependent nation, Canada knows the importance of clear and enforceable rules and effective dispute settlement mechanisms to ensure that power politics do not impair the way agrifood products are traded around the world.

Canada has consistently worked with a wide range of countries to build a trading system in which all countries, regardless of their political or economic power in the world, can compete upon a level international playing field governed by multilaterally agreed upon rules.

It is our belief that the WTO negotiations represent the best opportunity to deliver real economic benefits for growth and development to both developed and developing countries. This is why Canada remains committed to aggressively pursuing an ambitious and balanced outcome to the current round of WTO negotiations. This is also why Canada's international policy statement, “A Role of Pride and Influence in the World”, recognizes that a successful outcome to the current round of WTO negotiations under the Doha development agenda would be a significant boost to Canada's international commerce strategy and to the development prospects of most WTO members.

I would like to take a few moments now to explain what Canada is seeking in an ambitious outcome to the Doha negotiations, one that is in the interests of all Canadians.

We are seeking to level the playing field upon which Canadian agrifood producers and processors compete; improve market access for goods and services providers to developed and developing countries; strengthen trade rules on antidumping, countervail duties, and subsidies; facilitate trade by cutting red tape at the border; and better integrate developing countries into the world trading system.

The WTO agricultural negotiations are critical for Canada as a whole and for the agrifood sector in particular because these negotiations offer us the best opportunity to work with other countries to level the playing field by addressing foreign subsidies and tariff barriers that hinder our ability to compete fairly in foreign markets.

Before the agriculture negotiations began in 2000, the government consulted extensively with provincial governments and the entire agrifood sector to develop Canada's negotiating objectives. Canada's primary objective is to level the playing field. More specifically, we are seeking the elimination of export subsidies as quickly as possible, substantial reductions of trade-distorting domestic support, and real and significant market access improvements for all agriculture and agrifood products.

Our negotiating position has enabled Canada to put forward strong, credible ideas and approaches throughout the negotiation.

I am proud to say that Canada is a very effective, active, and influential player in these negotiations. Our negotiators have been working with a wide range of countries, developed and developing, to put forward creative and practical approaches that advance our objectives across all areas of these negotiations.

Canada has been playing a very effective broker role between divergent points of view, building on our current alliances and forging new ones. This approach has been very successful for Canada. Many of our ideas and approaches have been reflected in negotiating texts to date and, most important, in the framework agreement that WTO members reached in July 2004.

The framework agreement continues to guide the negotiations. It clearly points the way toward a more level international playing field, and moves in the direction of righting some of the imbalances that have faced our producers since the Uruguay round. The framework provides scope for Canada to continue pursuing our negotiating objectives, and reflects many of the key ideas that Canada has been putting forward since the negotiations began.

As the framework was being negotiated in July 2004, Canada's negotiating team left no stone unturned to advance our negotiating objectives and to work toward a framework in the interests of the entire agri-food sector, including the five supply managed industries and the Canadian Wheat Board.

I would like to applaud the Minister of International Trade and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for the amount of time and energy they and their officials have devoted to working with stakeholders over the course of these negotiations.

With the framework that we now have in place, Canada can continue to work toward achieving our negotiating objectives that were developed in close consultation with the provinces and a full range of agri-food stakeholders. It is true that Canada will continue to face growing pressure on our domestic sensitivities, but we are ready. Canada will continue to consult closely with our stakeholders to achieve a positive outcome for the entire agri-food sector.

The government needs to continue to strongly press Canada's position in these negotiations: that all of our producers need a rules based trading system in which to do business; that our producers need a level playing field in which to compete fairly and effectively; that Canada will continue to defend the right of producers to choose how to market their products, including through orderly marketing structures like supply management and the Canadian Wheat Board; and that the Canadian Wheat Board is a fair trader, as clearly upheld by a WTO panel and appellate body in August 2004.

We welcomed the momentum the July 2004 package provided to the negotiations. We were pleased to see that the July package integrated many Canadian ideas. While negotiations continue to build in intensity and momentum, there remains much hard work to be done if we are to move the negotiations forward toward a successful sixth WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong, China, December 13 to 18, 2005. Canada will be at the forefront of these efforts.

We need to make every effort to advance the interests of our agri-food sector. We need to continue to support Canadian agriculture which depends heavily on exports, a predictable trading system, supply management and the Canadian Wheat Board.

As a trading nation with almost 40% of our GDP depending on trade, a predictable multilateral trading system is vital to Canada's interests. Therefore, Canada must be in a position to engage in the negotiations and exert influence in order to ensure our interests are articulated and achieved in all aspects of the negotiations.

Petitions May 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table a number of petitions which include several thousands of names of residents who draw to the attention of the House the issue that the moral good of society be protected as we elected officials make judgments in the House and as we pass laws.

The petitioners believe that the defence of traditional marriage as the bond between one man and one woman is a serious moral good. They also believe that marriage is the lasting union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of others, and cannot and should not be modified by a legislative act or court of law.

The petitioners request that Parliament take whatever action is required to maintain the current definition of marriage in law and perpetuity, and to prevent any court from overturning or amending that definition.

Committees of the House May 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. In accordance with its order of reference of Friday, February 25, 2005 the committee has considered Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 under agriculture and agri-food in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, and reports the same less the amounts granted in interim supply.

Canada Grain Act May 12th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move:

That Bill C-40, an act to amend the Canada Grain Act and the Canada Transportation Act, as amended, be concurred in at report stage, read a third time and passed.

Committees of the House May 12th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in accordance with its order of reference on Tuesday, April 19.

The committee has considered Bill C-40, an act to amend the Canada Grain Act and the Canada Transportation Act and agreed on Tuesday, May 10 to report it with an amendment.

Committees of the House May 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want my vote recorded as being in support of this motion.