Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was made.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Portneuf (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member on his remarks. I found him to be rather optimistic, in contrast to what we had heard before. In any case, he understands the issues in Quebec very well.

At the same time, we might congratulate the UPA for organizing open house days on the farms. That made it possible for us to visit thousands of farms in Quebec and find out firsthand about the problems they face.

I would like to reassure the hon. member; the minister is entirely aware of the issues in question and he understands them. While not rushing to his defence with regard to the letter that was mentioned, I can say that the minister has received not just hundreds, but thousands and thousands of letters since the mad cow problem began. I am sure that the letter in question will be answered.

I would just like to make a little statement here. We must understand that the farmers of Canada have developed an incredible economy in collaboration with the federal government, regarding agriculture in Canada. We have lived through a problem, but it is through the farmers and the federal government working together that we will be able to solve the problem.

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to make a few points concerning certain aspects of what the hon. member has said, particularly about the problems facing farmers.

Farmers are not being confronted by certain problems, but have certain problems that have to be solved, and which the government is in fact in the process of solving.

One hundred days after this extraordinary and harmful crisis began—one that makes no sense whatsoever—the minister succeeded in reopening the border. The government initially invested $460 million to help farmers, and then another $50 million or so. I think that an extension of some five or six days was given because of the power outages in Ontario.

We are currently negotiating protocols with Japan and Mexico. As for the agreements, we are involved in daily discussions with the United States with a view to fully reopening the border. It is partially open, I must point out, which has allowed 8 million tonnes of beef across so far.

The opposition must realize one thing: this is the first time in the world that borders have been successfully reopened within 100 days.

In this connection, I am curious to know whether the hon. member is in the least aware of the efforts that have been made. Judging from what he has said, he seems to be indicating that nothing at all has been done. I have, however, given some examples of efforts that have been made and could give dozens more.

Does he realize that efforts have been made by this government, with a view to fully reopening the border?

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Madam Speaker, I have just a few questions for my hon. colleague. We are still hearing statements that are completely untrue.

I do not want to downplay the importance of the mad cow crisis in Canada and Quebec—since the hon. member comes from Quebec—as it is an extremely serious problem on which the minister works hard every day. There is talk of sending a delegation, but approximately 200 interventions are done directly with other countries via correspondence, discussions and so forth. This means that there is something happening every day.

People also say that nothing is being done, but budgets were prepared and there are still funds available under the strategic framework. All the stakeholders agree that a national agricultural policy was needed, and this policy is part of the strategic framework. Is the hon. member trying to get the strategic framework signed as quickly as possible, because there is a great deal of money for the farmers?

She continues to provide inaccurate information, including that the specialist from the European Union supposedly said that consumer confidence was down, which is untrue. Is she aware that consumers are eating more meat now? Here is the real question: does she know how many head of cattle Quebec buys from the west, when she mentions regionalization? Because cattle can be shipped from one province to another. Does she know the answer?

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a comment and ask a question directed to the hon. member as well as to the other hon. members who have spoken so far.

They do not seem to be aware of exactly what is happening and they say nothing is being done. Perhaps they should listen when the minister speaks. Just now, he was talking and no one was taking notes to see what has been done in fact.

Hon. members have made allegations that are completely untrue. The first member who spoke said that the borders were not open; the borders are open. Someone talked about the quantity of livestock killed, and the numbers were completely wrong. They said that this sector of the economy was about to disappear but the associations told us yesterday that, while they are certainly having problems, the sector will not disappear.

And during this time, they accuse the minister of just eating hamburgers, while in fact he has been working relentlessly on this issue, all summer, since May in fact. It is incredible. This is the first time—after 100 days—that a country has succeeded in reopening its borders, and they make accusations that the borders are not open.

As for negotiations with Japan, as the minister mentioned, there have been over 76 contacts with that country to negotiate the complete opening of borders. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And the consumers have not stopped eating beef, in contrast to what happened in Europe. On the contrary, they have increased their beef consumption in order to help the farmers. It is a very serious problem and the government is working with all its might to find solutions.

I wonder if the problem is not that the hon. members in opposition do not stay up to date on the issue in order to be able to inform both the farmers and their constituents properly. The allegations they are making are completely wrong.

If they think that they lack information, we can try to do something about that, and get more information to them, if that is what is needed. The information is available. However, they do not seem to transmit it because they do not have it.

Agriculture September 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has a strong interest in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and supports the environmental objectives of the protocol on biosafety.

Canada signed this protocol in 2001 and is committed to addressing the concerns of stakeholders in the agri-food and biotechnology industries.

The agri-food sectors support the protocol's goals and have agreed to work with us in accordance with the protocol and to minimize the uncertainties related to trade.

Agriculture September 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the border is open, and work needs to be done to open it fully. Now, the member needs to understand that this is the first time ever that a country has managed within 100 days to open its borders after detecting a case of BSE, and this needs to be said.

If the member is unable to explain this to his constituents, I humbly offer my services to go to his riding to help him explain—

Agriculture September 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I do not understand how the hon. member can say that the border is not open. The border is in fact open and meat can now cross the border. There are still problems to resolve. The border needs to be fully reopened. The minister is currently working on this with his American counterparts.

Agriculture September 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, Canada went to Cancun to agree on a framework document on agriculture that would allow us to continue to pursue our negotiation objectives, in other words, the elimination of export subsidies, maximum reduction of internal support that distorts trade, and true improvements to market access for all agri-food products, which is very important to us.

Agriculture September 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, that is totally untrue. The new strategic plan will provide farmers with tools to receive all the support necessary. As the provinces sign the framework agreement and we sign bilateral agreements, farmers will be able to benefit from them.

Agriculture September 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate what the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food achieved by working hard with his colleagues.

This is the first time we have managed to reopen a border to trade. Several millions of dollars have been invested in trying to rebuild the industry.

Consultations will continue to try to find ways in which to assist the farmers even more. I do not think that consultations are useless at this time.