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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was industry.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Prince Edward—Hastings (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Agriculture September 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this is entirely and completely the work of the beef roundtable, which was in place for some time before the BSE issue. At that time it was talking about the industry and how to expand the industry and respond to international demands and market situations. At the present time that very same beef roundtable, with provincial and federal representation, producers, processors, consumers, is involved in how to best adapt the beef industry to the realities of the day. At the same time it is working to get our borders reopened.

Agriculture September 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows the border was closed on May 20 to the United States and other countries because BSE is considered to be a health issue.

What he also knows, and I pointed out yesterday, Canada's chief veterinary officer along with the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries are leading a discussion at the OIE meetings in Paris in September, and they are there right now, in response to a letter that the United States, Canada and Mexico sent there asking them to review the science, the surveillance and the feeding practices and put the whole situation as far as health in a proper and new risk assessment.

Agriculture September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in the last number of months, we have had directly and indirectly, because I have kept track of them, close to 100 interventions with the United States. We have had face to face meetings, phone calls of diplomats, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, my colleague the trade minister, the industry, the food inspection agency and I can go on.

As far as working with the provinces, I have had signing authority since May. The provinces just need to sign the papers so we can flow the money to the farmers. We know they need money. Those provinces are not even committing their 40%--

Agriculture September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should be aware that last Friday I announced $600 million in transition funding to farmers across the country. That is on top of the $312 million from the federal government, plus the provincial money, as far as the BSE recovery program is concerned.

The hon. member also knows from his experience, legal and otherwise, that there has to be agreements and signatures before money can be moved. Three or four provinces have refused to sign federal-provincial agreements which would allow us to move hundreds of millions of dollars to those provinces.

Agriculture September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the approach that this government and this industry, with the provinces, have taken has been very successful in comparison to what has happened in similar situations in the rest of the world.

Some premiers have been to Washington. Some premiers have spoken out on this issue. I leave it to those people over there, as other people have, to judge how successful their actions and their statements were.

Agriculture September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, when the United States has already imported over eight million pounds of beef from Canada, the hon. members are saying it is nothing.

When nothing was happening, they were upset. Now that we are starting to move product, they are upset. Do we have further steps to take? Yes, we do. Are those actions taking place? Yes, they are.

The Secretary of Agriculture in the United States again said this week she is expediting the process to move live cattle under 30 months directly to market in the United States. That is another big step that will be in the near future.

Agriculture September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member fails to recognize and appreciate the fact that Canada is the only country in the world that has had other non-BSE countries open their borders to our product. That has been because of the efforts of a lot of people: ministers, diplomats, phone calls by the Prime Minister, the industry involvement in all of this, and the recognition by both the Canadian and the United States industries that this is an integrated industry in North America. Therefore they have as well recognized the safety system that we have here in Canada and therefore have begun to open their markets.

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is very familiar with the beef industry and I respect his comments and his question. I know he is not going to have a chance to respond but my guess is that if that cow had been in the United States, many hon. members in this chamber would have said, “They have BSE, we don't”, and they would suggest that we follow the guidelines of the OIE.

The OIE has guidelines for different levels, minimal risk, different levels. Other countries are following those guidelines. However, many of those countries are saying that because of the system we have here, because of the strategy that the CFIA, Agriculture Canada and international trade, Health Canada and everyone has put in place, we have successfully had the borders opened to some extent. It is a big step but we have a long way to go.

Let us take advantage of what we have and the system that we have which is recognized throughout the world. Remember, the international body said that no other country in the world has ever moved as quickly, as competently and as thoroughly in addressing, assessing and seeking to see what the level was. No other country in the world has moved and moved as quickly as Canada has done. Our officials worked night and day. Our industry worked night and day. All Canadians need to be given thanks, and I know everyone does, for what has been done so far. But they too know that our job is not done.

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we had a federal-provincial ministers meeting yesterday and the cattlemen made a presentation. As far as their suggestion on dealing with the cull cows, there was a clear consensus of the ministers who were there that we not do anything specific on cull cows, that we flow the money, the $500 million that is there under the agriculture policy framework.

By the way, I do not have a cap on that. Some of the provinces have said to their treasuries, which I understand, that they budgeted for what they might think. Federally we do not have a cap. If we need more than that, that money is there, if more than that money is triggered because farmers' incomes dropped in reference to their production margins in the past. That may very well be because they did not get as much for fat cattle, they did not get as much for cows as they did in the past, or they did not get as much for canola or they did not get as much for wheat, corn, soybeans, or whatever it is, in their individual situations. That money is there. That was the decision as well.

As far as capacity to handle these, it was very clear yesterday through work that was done by the provinces and by the industry that they feel we do have the capacity to move them. The packers are not paying very much for cull cows right now. I am confident that if the packers were perhaps to pay a little bit more, more animals would be presented to them by the producers.

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should look at how the BSE recovery program went.

When the owners of those cattle shipped their animals, they filed and got a cheque for the amount that the BSE recovery program paid. That paid out over $500 million directly to those people who sold their animals. The transition money cheques, the $600 million of transition money that I announced last week, will be based on their eligible net sales, their history and will go directly to farmers' mailboxes. When they make their applications through the disaster aspect of the business risk management, the APF, it will go directly to the farmers. All of that money will go directly to the farmers.

That is who is getting it. That is who deserves it. That is whom it will go to.