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  • 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

Supply April 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a couple of comments to the member opposite who has been chatting with us this morning for a little while.

The last part of the motion refers to the agri-industry which is currently facing the most significant changes in the last 30 years. I would agree with that but I would like to have him recognize, which I think if he were very straight with the House he would, that these changes are also opportunities.

Yes, there are challenges there. At no time in the history of Canadian agriculture has the agri-food industry starting with the primary producer, the farmer, going right up through the whole chain, had the opportunities before it as the industry has at the present time.

The opportunity is there to meet the challenges that are there. It is like everything in life. Those challenges are not always simple and easy, taking a snap of the finger to get them, but those opportunities are there.

I would suggest to the member that he recognize that this government has only been in power for the last six months. He should look at what this government has done with regard to trade initiatives, protecting the family farm, our success in getting the tariff levels in place at the GATT talks, and I could go on. Work is being done on the pesticide review and with regard to the whole farm safety net program.

I remind the member that we have done a lot in the first six months. He had better sit back and wait because we are not done yet.

Co-Operative Housing April 14th, 1994

Madam Speaker, in response to my colleague who raised that question earlier, I would like to emphasize to my colleague, to the House and to all Canadians in the industry that the minister certainly has not softened his position.

This is emphasized by the fact that the negotiations have been completed in Marrakech and Morocco for today. They will continue tomorrow. I spoke to the minister about 4.30 this afternoon and our position there and his position there is still firm, clear and forceful to the United States.

Let us not be fooled. We are in the midst of some very serious and tough negotiations on bilateral issues with the United States. We have a large two-way trade with the United States in agriculture and agri-food. It is about $11.5 billion so it is important that what we get a deal, a negotiated deal with the United States, that is in the best interest of Canadians and in the best interest of the agri-food industry in Canada. The minister will accept nothing less than that.

These negotiations were going on before the settlement in Geneva on GATT. Canada plays by the rules. Every country in the world does not always play by the rules. We will be signing on to the GATT rules. We have signed on to the NAFTA rules and those negotiations will continue. I want to make that very clear to the member and to everyone.

Our officials have been meeting over the last number of weeks with the Americans and we are not going to roll over and play dead. We have been firm. We will continue to be firm and get the best deal for the Canadian industry and for Canadian national interest.

Agriculture April 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, a guarantee that the government and I can give to the hon. member and to the Canadian grain industry is that the minister has not done that to date. He does not intend to do that and he is going to negotiate an agreement with the United States in the best interest of Canadians and Canadian farmers.

Agriculture April 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I point out to the hon. member the minister has made it very clear to all the sectors and all Canadians that he is not pitting one sector of the Canadian agri-food industry against the other. He will not be trading one off against the other. Negotiations are going on in Morocco as we speak right now.

The reports the hon. member read in the press are only that. They are reports from the press only and do not necessarily reflect the facts.

Points Of Order April 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the members of the House for the opportunity to clarify what has been a misunderstanding of a statement I made at the end of question period today. Unfortunately the time allotted to me did not allow me to make a very critical part of that statement regarding the PVY-n virus in Prince Edward Island and the potato growers there.

As I said then, the minister recognizes and continues to give serious attention to the issue, as he has for the number of months he has been appointed. He recognizes that legal proceedings are inevitably lengthy and expensive to all parties that may be involved. The minister sincerely hopes that protracted litigation may be avoided and can be avoided. He will seek through legal counsel and continuous discussion with the industry to achieve that result.

I apologize to the industry for any misunderstanding that may have been caused by the incomplete statement earlier today.

I again thank the House for the opportunity to clarify this.

Potato Industry April 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been pursuing this very important issue since it was first raised with him almost immediately after his appointment as Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food.

He has met with Prince Edward Island potato growers. He has met with the Potato Growers' Association. He has met with the premier. He has met with the MPs from that province and discussed this. He started and completed some analyses so that he could become fully and fairly informed on all the facts.

The process has taken some time. He has made sure that all of the facts have been before him. The process has been slowed up a little bit and interrupted by the launching of a lawsuit by some Prince Edward Island growers and the government has no alternative but to defend itself, and the government will.

In the meantime, the minister will continue to treat this as seriously and as thoroughly as he has in the past. It is now in the hands of the courts and nothing more can be said at this time.

Agri-Food Industry February 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his continued commitment and interest in the future of the agri-food industry in Canada. I would remind the House of the continued commitment of this government to orderly marketing in the supply management sectors in Canadian agriculture, the dairy, egg and poultry sectors.

In order to ensure this the minister has put in place a task force to meet with and to talk to all sectors of the industry, producers and primary producers, processors, hotel and restaurant wholesalers, retailers and right to the consumer to ask them about issues they feel need to be addressed in order to take the supply management industries into the next trading regime.

That task force is well on its way. It is ongoing. I can assure the House that we will not be repeating any of the good work that has been done. However we are working hard to make sure we are ready in the industry and in the country for July 1, 1995 when the new GATT rules come into effect.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to reply to my colleague's comments. I commend him for the interest that he has shown and continues to show on this issue.

There are a number of outstanding agri-food trade issues that are being discussed and are problems between Canada and the United States at the present time. The Minister of Agriculture attempted to resolve these while he was in Geneva but the Americans did not see fit to take part in those discussions at that time and unfortunately we were not able to get a bilateral agreement.

Of course, the issues did not go away. The problems did not go away. Canada is still seeking a resolution to these issues in a way that meets Canadian needs. There have been ongoing bilateral negotiations over the past several weeks. The minister met with his U.S. counterpart in Toronto on January 8. Those discussions are not yet concluded and continue to go on at this time.

I would like to state clearly that the government is working to defend the interests of Canadian agriculture in these negotiations. All sectors of agriculture and the agri-food industry in all parts of Canada are being considered and taken into account.

Everyone who is familiar with the Canadian industry has known for some time that the trade regime for ice cream and yogurt was going to be a difficult issue in the conclusion of the Uruguay round. A GATT panel ruled in 1989 that Canada's import quotas on ice cream and yogurt were not consistent with article XI. Canada accepted the findings and agreed to bring its measures into conformity with GATT. In light of that multinational trade union result, the government is continuing to seek resolve of that situation.

The government remains committed to ensuring that our supply management systems can continue.

With the support of the provincial ministers of agriculture, the federal minister has asked me to lead a small task force to consult with all stakeholders to talk about and discuss what changes may be necessary and what mechanisms will be required so that we can continue to have orderly marketing for the supply managed commodities into the future for the benefit of all Canadians.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to respond to the hon. member's concern.

There have been bilateral negotiations on agriculture and agri-food trade between Canada and the United States for the past several weeks, and I would like to assure and clarify to the hon. member that those negotiations are not completed and are still ongoing.

Many rumours have been spread about what is under discussion and what the outcome might be, and I stress they are rumours with respect to the commodities being discussed.

I would like to say clearly that the government is working to defend the interests of Canadian agriculture in these negotiations and that all sectors of agriculture and agri-food production in all parts of Canada are being considered and are being addressed with high priority.

There are a number of outstanding agri-food trade problems with the United States dealing with a number of commodities, as we know. The minister attempted to settle these in a bilateral framework in Geneva in December, but time did not allow the concentrated and detailed effort that was needed. Unfortunately, the situation was too hectic at that time, but of course negotiations have continued. That also did not mean that these problems went away.

The minister met again with his U.S. counterpart on January 8, and negotiations have been and are still continuing.

I want to state clearly that Canada will not trade off one commodity against another. Negotiations for each commodity are taking place on their own merit and are self-contained.

In this context we should recall that a GATT panel in 1989 ruled that Canada's import quotas on ice cream and yogurt products were not consistent with article XI. Canada accepted that finding and sought to reach an agreement and a solution to this problem in the course of a bilateral trade negotiation.

The government is seeking a solution that will provide stability for Canadian dairy farmers, producers, and processors.

I wish to underline that the government's only priority is an agreement that is in the interests of Canada.

The government remains committed to ensuring that our supply management system can continue to operate effectively.

The government also remains committed to ensuring that we have the best possible access to U.S. markets for products we

export there. We will carefully examine any proposed settlement with the U.S. against these commitments.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, the member has indeed pointed out a concern about the operation and effects of the Western Grain Transportation Act.

The previous government put in place and was conducting an ongoing review of the WGTA as we know it. I can assure the hon. member that our government is continuing those types of reviews. It has an ongoing study of the WGTA.

The first action that was put in place by the previous government was a review by the grain transportation agency of the grain transportation deficiencies, which the member will agree will address his concern. That report has recently been received by the minister and is now being reviewed by the department.

The other study is on the method of payment of the so-called Crow benefit, which in that study group is called the producer payment panel. That report is expected to be received by the minister a little later this spring.

The government will be interested in the results of these two studies, improving grain transportation and the efficiencies in the grain transportation system in western Canada.

I want everyone in the House to note that this government is not bound by the recommendations or reports of the two studies that were put in place by the previous administration. But we will be reviewing and observing those recommendations and taking them into account as we make ultimate decisions as far as the future of grain transportation in western Canada is concerned. We will also be conducting other consultations as to the efficiencies and effectiveness of grain transportation and act in the best interests of the industry for all of Canada.