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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was debate.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 48% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Official Languages November 28th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on November 17, the House passed Bill S-3, which confirms the Government of Canada's obligations to promote linguistic duality. On November 22, the Senate did likewise.

My question is for the Minister responsible for Official Languages. When will Bill S-3 come into effect in order to protect Canada's language minorities? Could he answer my question, as this is likely the last question I will ever ask in this House?

Foreign Affairs November 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The people of Haiti are still suffering despite the help of several countries including ours. Has the minister recently announced additional help or will he do so in order to provide the Haitian population with all the help Canada can offer to the poorest country in our hemisphere?

Committees of the House November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 54th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), this report contains the list of items added to the order of precedence under private members' business on November 14, which should not be designated non-votable.

Supply November 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the debate on and off throughout the day. I did not have the opportunity to make a long speech, because the time available today is limited. Many members of my party also want to express their support for supply management. I know that one of my colleagues will do so in a few minutes.

I just want to raise a particular issue, namely the production of eggs in Canada. There is a problem in this supply managed sector that I did not mention earlier today, but I want to do so now. I am referring to the huge importance of over-quota tariffs.

Currently, foreign products account for 5% or 6% of the total production of eggs. However, the problem is the increased value of our currency. Because of this, over-quota tariff protection has diminished. Moreover, if pressure is exerted to reduce the tariffs that are left, that is the over-quota tariffs, we could lose one of the pillars of supply management.

This is why it is important to support maintaining over-quota tariffs at their current level for egg production, in addition to all the other sectors that were also mentioned.

Supply November 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his very kind remarks. This may be one of my last days in this chamber, but I hope it will be a bit longer. Like the man at the garage said, “Them's the breaks”.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada sent a communiqué to many of us in which it expressed its concern and invited our support. Perhaps my colleague has had the opportunity to see it. The Dairy Farmers of Canada have had a particular bone to pick over the last little while. It is not just the issue of supply management for dairy farmers, but it is the fact that there seems to be no limit to the devious imagination of some in trying to bypass the supply management system to allow products to come into Canada that normally could not. The butter-oil-sugar blend issue is an example. Items are artificially sweetened to make them cross the border and then the product is removed. The sugar is more or less a container in that regard to make some product cross the border.

Would my colleague agree that is an abuse of the system, which is being perpetrated on Canadian dairy farmers? It clearly was not part of the deal when supply management was established or in the subsequent rounds of the GATT, subsequently the WTO.

Supply November 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, after listening to the hon. member's remarks, I prefer to make a comment. I am among those who espouse the theory that not only does Canada's supply management system allow us to provide extremely high quality products to our consumers at reasonable prices but it does so almost entirely without subsidies. The only subsidies that enter the picture might be for some inputs, if the feed eaten by animals under the supply management program was subsidized. This is not a subsidy. So we can say that there are virtually none.

Some consumer groups have sometimes propagated a myth. It is heard less often today than it was a few years ago. Nevertheless, it was said that supply management increased product prices. This is not true.

I want to ask my colleague if he recognizes, as I do, that, under supply management, we often end up with almost identical prices. I have checked this myself. For example, I compared the price of a litre of milk, or rather a pint of American milk in Florida to the price of milk sold here in an Ottawa suburb. If there is any price difference, I cannot see it. The same goes for a dozen eggs. We have even seen on several occasions that the same products cost more in various American cities than they do here in Canada.

So it is important for us to state not only that there are no subsidies involved and that the system is self-sufficient, but also that it ensures good products at good prices for Canadian consumers. It is important that consumers support us in this. I invite my colleague to respond.

Supply November 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have a comment for the member. I could have agreed with nearly everything he said in most of his speech, at least for the first 10 or 15 minutes. It goes without saying that, due to his comments in the last 4 or 5 minutes, I and most Canadians think less highly of his speech. But never mind all that.

I want to start by saying that I support this motion.

Last week, I wrote a letter to the government House leader. This letter was co-signed by the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, who chairs my party's rural caucus, and the member for Kitchener—Conestoga, who chairs the dairy caucus. I myself chair the group of MPs interested in the poultry industry. The purpose of this letter was to ask for such a debate, which was set to take place this evening. As we now know, in light of today's debate, this evening's debate has been abandoned.

Here is my problem with what is happening. I must admit, I had hoped to be among the members going to Hong Kong. I think that members on both sides of the House were preparing to go too.

We are in a situation where, in a few days, the government could be defeated, causing an election during the holidays. There is no doubt that having this happen in the midst of these negotiations unnecessarily weakens our position. There is also no doubt that parliamentarians scheduled to attend will not be able to do so, including those who, like me, are about to retire. Usually, members about to retire are not sent to represent Canada, although I would be willing to go anyway.

Although I support his motion, would the member not agree with me that the timing—since his party is preparing to force an election in the midst of these negotiations where we all need to work together to defend the interests of Canada's agricultural industry— and the message he and his party are sending are contradictory? On one hand, they support farmers, but on the other, they are pulling the rug out from under the very government that is trying to defend those farmers. The member's statements are somewhat contradictory.

Criminal Code November 21st, 2005

I hope I do not crash.

Criminal Code November 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, on the second point, I do think the two groups the hon. member mentioned would make excellent witnesses to contribute toward debate. That is certainly a good idea.

As the hon. member will know, over the last many years Parliament has increased the number of witnesses that it has before parliamentary committees all the time. It is almost unheard of now, legislating without the benefit of witnesses appearing before committee, and certainly witnesses of the kind that he enumerated are perfect witnesses to bring before the committee. There is nothing wrong with that idea. As a matter of fact I do think we would be remiss if we did not have people representing, for instance, organizations like Ducks Unlimited. He could use the name of a different organization if he thinks another one is better. It does not matter. Groups such as that, of course, would be perfect to testify before the committee.

As to whether or not fishing is permitted in New York state, obviously it is. The point I was making was not that it was illegal in New York state. I referred to the fact that the animal cruelty laws in New York state are stricter than the ones we are implementing in the bill.

Criminal Code November 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, it is a little hard to follow what is going on across the way this afternoon. The first speaker on the opposition side said that he was in favour of the bill and wanted it to go to committee to see if the bill could be improved.

The second speaker said that he was against everything in the bill because, in his view, with his riding being close to the United States and so on, it would harm what he called the hunting and so on. Clearly, the bill does not do anything like that.

Then the member from St. Albert said that the only people supporting it were the special interest groups. We read, of course, that the special interest groups he referred to were all the agricultural organizations across Canada. Then of course he had to backtrack a little bit and redefine what he had said.

Now the hon. member is saying that we are adopting the bill because it pleases our friends who are judges and lawyers, or words to that effect.

Maybe they should have read the bill first and gave the speeches later, instead of the other way round.