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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forward.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Westlock—St. Paul (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 78% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act October 20th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am from a small rural community and I still live in one. I have a little better idea of what small rural communities and agriculture producers have been going through in the Prairies over the last decade and the decade before that under Liberal rule than the member of Parliament for Guelph does.

With all due respect, he has the absolute right to ask the question, but he talks about tyranny of this government. I will tell members what western Canadian farmers think was tyranny. It was when the member for Wascana locked up 12 farmers for trying to sell their own product. That was tyranny. That was heavy-handedness of the Liberal government. It was not acceptable then; it is not acceptable now. Our party has always listened to western Canadian farmers. We have many of them here with us.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act October 20th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for the very respectful question.

Unfortunately, the very premise of the question which she asked is flawed because western Canadian farmers were never asked if they wanted to be a part of the Canadian Wheat Board. Seventy-six years ago, the Government of Canada decided it was what was best for the country and for Europe, at the time.

This was not a bunch of farmers getting together and saying that they needed a co-operative to fight the multinationals because around 1943 that was not an overwhelming concern.

However, today, when my farmers in Westlock get together with Westlock Terminals, they are looking forward to the future; they are looking forward to all the opportunities that are out there; and they are hoping that they can get the same opportunities with wheat and barley as they get with canola.

She does not have to take my word for it. Look at the numbers on the canola acreage over the last decade. There is a reason why farmers are planting more and more canola and less and less wheat and barley. It is imperative that we ensure we look to the future, as the member said, and it is imperative that we allow our younger farmers to have the same access with wheat and barley as they do with canola.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act October 20th, 2011

It is absolutely shameful. From a low of $13.72 per ton on feed barley in the five year reporting period to a high of $47.57 per ton on durum, this would have had a tremendous impact on my farmers. That is not money they can get back. That is money that has been taken away from them.

What we can do now is look forward and ensure that they do not have that money taken out of their pockets any longer. That is what we are talking about today.

The other thing I would like to briefly touch on is Westlock Terminals. I am very proud of this new generation co-op that is in my riding. This is a co-operative of community members who have come together and taken on this terminal. They are doing a wonderful job in ensuring it is profitable and is servicing our farmers well.

I have sat down with them on several occasions, and they had some concerns when we first started down this road. They heard that we were going to end the monopoly. They definitely had some concerns because the other side was ramping up the fear campaign. They were already calling them and telling them that the world was going to end for them.

As the minister has said, and I believe the terminal now realizes, “The sky is not falling”. The sky is actually the limit for our farmers moving forward, and for Westlock Terminals and other co-ops like that.

This is a time, moving forward, when we are going to have innovation and ingenuity on the Prairies. This is a region of the country that has been the economic engine in the country for the last decade. The one area that continually lapses behind has been on the agricultural front, particularly when it comes to wheat and barley. In my opinion, it lags behind because of the monopoly, and the Informa report clearly shows that.

As I rise in this chamber to speak on marketing freedom, it will shock many who are not familiar with this issue to know that in our great country we have had two distinct classes of grain framers: those who live under the oppression of the Canadian Wheat Board and are not allowed to produce and sell their own wheat and barley; and the rest of Canada that has complete marketing freedom, the freedom to maximize their profits and sell their property as they see fit.

As we go through this vigorous debate over the next couple of months, time and time again we will see urban members of Parliament, oftentimes representing people who do not fall under the tyranny of the Wheat Board, standing and arguing for the status quo.

Let us be clear. These members are arguing for a two-tiered system. They are arguing for a system, so that my family in Alberta should not be able to sell its own wheat and barley crops as it sees fit. However, my family members in Ontario and other parts of the country have that freedom. It is absolutely two distinct classes.

It is past time that we take the shackles off of western Canadian farmers. The status quo simply is not working. We need to allow farmers to farm the marketplace and not rely on the benevolence of government or its organizations. We have the best and brightest producers in the world.

This brings me to the Bauer family in Thorhild, Alberta. This is a young family with two young daughters. They earn their living on grain and oil seed production.

At the beginning of every year, and this should be particularly interesting for some of our colleagues who are not familiar with agriculture, they put $400,000, $500,000 worth of inputs into the ground. That is the cost of a very nice home right here in Ottawa and across our country.

Each year they take that risk capital and put it into the ground. They pray for some spring rain. They hope that they can get the proper sun amounts throughout the year. During the summer, they honestly just hope they do not get hailed out. As their crop starts to come up, they have to put more fertilizer and more pesticides. They have to ensure the grasshoppers will not get it.

In the fall, in September, October, while everything looks good and they have their entire life savings out on the fields, they have to hope for the good graces of God to get enough good days before the heavy frost and the snow to get their crops off the field.

When they have done all of this, worked countless days and sleepless nights, they have to accept a lower price on their commodity, on their crop, because they live in western Canada, and that is simply not acceptable.

The Bauer family should have the same right as their cousins in Ontario to maximum their rate of return so that they do not have to rely on the government, so that they can put money away for their children's education, and for the new renovations to their home. That is what we are talking about here today.

When we talk about younger farmers and trying to get younger farmers into farming, this is a big hurdle. They are very intelligent. They look at the business model and say, “Why on earth would I want to get into something where the government restricts what my profit can be?” Sometimes $450 million to $628 million a year is a lot of money to be taken out of an economy in the designated areas.

What have they done? They have turned to other crops. Quite frankly, they have turned to canola and many other options, so that they do not have the shackles holding them back.

This has been positive for the last several years in western Canada. Canola has been a good crop, but when we are talking about feeding the world and making sure, as the opposition likes to do, that people in Africa and people around the world, who are starving, have enough food and relying on Canadian exports, we cannot feed them with canola. We need to send them our grains and oil seeds that they can utilize.

It is projected that in 2020 there will be seven billion people in the world. That is up from about 6.2 billion people today. That is an 800 million person increase over the next eight years.

The good news is that when my grandfather was farming his quarter section of land up in Fort Assiniboine 40 or 50 years ago, he could only feed five, ten people off his farm. Really, individuals can feed their family and a little bit more to trade off and get some other stuff.

Now, the Bauer family can feed 120 to 150 people off of their farm. The ingenuity in Canadian agriculture over the last 50 years has been amazing. The product increase has been amazing. The problem that we have in meeting the world demand is simply the fact that these guys are not willing to take a loss or not maximize their profit, so they are not dealing with board products as often as they used to, which affects the amount of global export that we give to other countries.

Those are just a couple of the issues for young farmers taking on farming in the future, especially with the Canadian Wheat Board. Hon. members need not take my word for it. They can actually look at the Canadian Wheat Board's 2011 producer survey that found 76% of younger generation farmers surveyed by the Wheat Board itself want something other than the status quo monopoly.

This is an amazing figure. This is not a figure that the Conservative Party came up with. This is a figure from the Wheat Board itself.

Another issue I would like to address is innovation in agriculture and the business model. It is important to make clear to those who may not understand how agriculture works that farmers themselves are businesses.

Gregg Adair and his family farm 3,000 or 4,000 acres. I was actually out in their fields this year. I hope everything continued to go well. When I spoke with Gregg, he said, “You know, Brian, I know exactly how much inputs I have, right to the acre; I know exactly how much I need to get in return for my product; and I know exactly how much loss I'm able to take”.

However, what he cannot calculate is what he is going to get out of the Wheat Board at the end of the day because what he does know is that he is not going to get the price he should get. He is going to take a lesser value on any wheat and barley that needs to go through the Canadian Wheat Board.

He also, because of the Wheat Board's restrictions on seed, does not have the ability to even utilize some of the Canadian seed and genetics that we have produced in our own country. The Wheat Board does not allow him to do that. Is that not amazing? The Wheat Board actually restricts Canadian technology. Who is using it instead of the Adair family in Westlock? Farmers in the United States are benefiting from of our research and development.

These are just some of the many issues that we experience in western Canada. The fundamental difference here is these are not things that are encountered in the rest of the country. It is not fair for us to have two totally different classes of grain farmers.

In conclusion, I would just like to say that farm families across the Prairies are watching us today. They are hoping and praying that their government will stand up for them and fulfill the promise that we had made to provide them with marketing freedom. My farmers are not asking for special treatment. They are not asking for something that the rest of the country does not already have. They are simply asking to be treated as an equal with their cousins in Ontario and the rest of Canada.

Marketing freedom is a first but very important step in maintaining and encouraging young farmers to enter and stay in our agriculture sector.

This is not an issue of left or right. This is not an issue of blue or orange. This is an issue of equality and fairness. It is an issue of right and wrong.

I ask all members of Parliament when the time comes to please seriously consider their vote on this, to consider what their vote will do to western Canadian farmers. I ask all members to support our farmers and our farm families on the Prairies. Thanks and God bless.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act October 20th, 2011

Madam Speaker, it is good to see you in the chair once again.

I would like to thank my staff and friends who helped me put this speech together, which I am about butcher. Also, I would like to thank a few members of this chamber and former members, as we are discussing a very important topic to western Canadian farm families.

First, I thank Rick Casson, the former member of Parliament from Lethbridge. He is a good friend of mine and a mentor who fought hard on this for many years.

I also thank the following current members: the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, the parliamentary secretary, who has been a staunch advocate of freedom for farmers for as long as I have been here; the member of Parliament for Vegreville—Wainwright, when he is not out there going after gophers, he has always been a staunch advocate of freedom; the member of Parliament for Selkirk—Interlake; and the member of Parliament for Crowfoot.

We are very fortunate on this side of the House to have such institutional knowledge of not only men and women who have farmed and lived under the tyranny of the Canadian Wheat Board, but who have also taken time out of their lives for public service, to come here and do the right thing and provide marketing freedom for western Canadian farmers.

I also thank some of our new members of Parliament who have buoyed us in the last Parliament. They bring to the team a fresh sense of needing to get the job done and a lot of enthusiasm. We have the member for Prince George—Peace River, a refreshing change from the last member of Parliament from Prince George, as well as the member of Parliament for Prince Albert.

Now that my thanks are done, I would like to talk about something that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food first brought to my attention with his private member's bill back in 2006, when I first was elected. That was the issue of the buyback. I went to the minister, who was the chair of the agriculture committee at the time, and asked why he felt this was the road we need to take.

When we go through all the processes and steps, we see that our western Canadian farmers do not have the ability to maximize their return on profit like any other businessman would have, and that is really unbelievable. Most people who do not live under the Wheat Board tyranny do not understand what it is like to have to put all that risk out there and not be able to get the same return on investment that others in other parts of our country can have.

I would also like to address, as we are kind of doing a little housekeeping, my dismay. This has been a top-of-mind issue to western Canadians for as long as I can remember and certainly for as long as I have been in politics, which has been over a decade. All they want is to be treated equally and fairly. At the end of the day, when we finally get the opportunity to put a bill forward and have serious debate, what are Canadians given to watch in the House of Commons? Parliamentary games.

The opposition, the NDP and Liberals both, is guilty of trying to delay, to filibuster. Then, when they do not like that, they want to move on and not have debate on it. This is not just my word, this is what those members have been doing. This is what they did last night and this is what they are attempting to do once again today.

When issues of this great a nature come before our country, before our Parliament, all parliamentarians should give the respect that is due and have a proper ideological, practical debate. I am more than happy to have that debate with the member of Parliament for Churchill or anybody who would like to discuss the issues of the Canadian Wheat Board and the positive effects that our government has had on that region.

It is very troubling for me to sit and listen to a member of Parliament, not only from the prairie region but from Churchill, a port that is getting a lot of support from our government, sit here and say that this is the wrong thing to do when her own mayor supports our government's position.

There has been a lot of talk about polls and plebiscites. Let me be frank, anybody can turn numbers to look any which way they want, but numbers tough to sway are the economic impacts on our communities, the economic impact on my home province and home town.

The June 2008 Informa report shows its assessment of the monopoly versus not having a monopoly on the Canadian Wheat Board. It should be pointed out that this is what we are talking about here. Everyone on the other side continues to misconstrue this as being an attack on the destruction of the Canadian Wheat Board. This is not about that. This is about ending a monopolistic system and opening up marketing freedom for western Canadian farmers.

The June 2008 report clearly demonstrates that the economic impact on western Canada will be between $450 million a year and $628 million a year. That is a lot of money. This is not money that has to flow through some government program before it gets to my farmers so they get 70% of the cut that the government was supposed to give them. This is direct money, taken out of their pocket every year by the Canadian Wheat Board.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act October 19th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious matter we are discussing. My constituents have been waiting for this for 70 years. It is really troubling to see the third party make a mockery of this debate. This is a serious debate that we should be having in the House today.

I have a quote here from Professor Charlebois from the University of Guelph. He said:

At the end of the day, single-desk marketing should cease. Such a reform will make Canada more competitive, as the monopoly is a hindrance to our ability to compete globally.

My question is for the hon. member for Guelph. If he will not listen to my farmers who are being oppressed by the tyranny of the Wheat Board, will he at least listen to his own constituents?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as I listened to my colleague give his speech, I noted that he made a couple of comments that I found to be somewhat inaccurate. He said that of the 650,000 total employment positions that have been created under this government since July 2009, none were full-time positions, when in fact over 90% of them were full-time positions. He talked about job increases. In September alone there were over 60,000 new job increases where the unemployment rate declined.

One thing I have learned in this place is that when we want to have a fulsome debate, it helps if both sides use the real numbers. I just wonder where this member is getting his numbers from. Perhaps he could cite his sources for us.

The Environment October 5th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear that Scott Vaughan, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, recognized our Conservative government's world-class oil sands monitoring plan yesterday.

Before committee yesterday, Mr. Vaughan confirmed that our government had already acted on the concerns highlighted in his report.

Given the report covered a period ending in mid-2010, it preceded the government taking action with the oil sands advisory panel report, which Mr. Vaughan praised for its ambitious 90-day timetable, while noting that the government has already met that timetable.

This past July, we took the next step by announcing the integrated plan for oil sands monitoring, a real plan that focuses on air quality, biodiversity and water.

Our government is working to ensure Canadians have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe for generations to come. Unlike the NDP, which is willing to sacrifice Canadian jobs, our government will balance the need to protect Canada's environment with the need to protect Canadian jobs.

Canadian Human Rights Act September 30th, 2011

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-304, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (protecting freedom).

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in this House to introduce a bill entitled “An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (protecting freedom)”.

Freedom of speech is a fundamental principle in our democracy and one which Canadians have fought and died for, for over a century. This is not a fight that one Canadian can take on himself, but rather an issue that all Canadians must engage in vigorously.

In this, I would like to thank my friends and colleagues such as Senator Finley and the member for St. Catharines, who have rigorously pursued a freer, more open society and resisted the tyrannical instincts of bureaucracy to censor speech in our great country.

Freedom of speech is the freedom that all other freedoms are built on. It cannot be restrained to the politically correct. The best way to fight bigotry is to ensure that we protect and enhance our fundamental freedoms in this great country of ours. That is why I ask all members in this House to support this bill that protects the fundamental building block of democracy: freedom of speech. God bless.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act September 20th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I can assure everyone that I did not say that human smuggling was minimal, nor did I in any way mitigate the importance of this piece of legislation.

I understand that the hon. member may not have been in the chamber representing constituents last summer when this was such a huge issue across the country.

I believe the approach that the Government of Canada is taking is a fair, reasonable and tough action to prevent abuse of Canada's immigration system by human smugglers.

We had a strong mandate given to us in May of this year to take action such as this, and I can say that constituents in my riding were appalled at the games that the NDP and Liberal Party played in the last Parliament on this legislation. It is time to take real steps to get something done on this.

Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act September 20th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I am disappointed that her question was so brief.

I do not know about empirical evidence, but I have seen the pictures and can point to the ships that we have confiscated and that are sitting in Canadian harbours and show that Canada is in fact a target for those in other countries.