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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Vegreville—Wainwright (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the member stated during his presentation that he hears from farmers the comment: "All I really want is a fair price for my product. I don't want subsidies".

How does the member answer this question?

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member.

It may have been a slip of the tongue, I am not sure, but she referred to the farm stabilization programs as being social safety nets. I just want to clarify whether that was in fact a slip of the tongue or does she see farm stabilization programs as a type of social safety net.

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member which I ask on behalf of Quebec dairy farmers.

Quebec has a surprisingly large percentage of the dairy quota within the supply managed system. Quebec depends on markets beyond the borders of the province in this arrangement. If the Bloc gets its way and Quebec does separate then certainly Quebec dairy farmers will lose that production which is presently being sold in the rest of Canada.

What is the member going to tell Quebec dairy farmers about the prospect of virtually overnight losing this market outside Quebec?

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. secretary to the minister.

The member mentioned that there are several departments involved in food safety, several agencies outside of the department of agriculture, all these people involved in dealing with food safety. Is that perhaps part of the problem not just in the food safety area but in agriculture in general? Are there too many different groups involved in making the decisions in food safety and in other areas?

Grain Transportation May 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the joint subcommittee of agriculture and transport has been dealing with the crisis in grain movement in Canada. The testimony of these meetings clearly demonstrates there are too many uncoordinated and overlapping government organizations attempting to control and regulate grain movement.

There is no clear authority. One organization often interferes with the actions of another. This has led to a transportation and grain handling industry which has failed miserably. This is unfair to Canadian farmers.

Reform agriculture policy has always recognized the need for a less regulated industry and the evidence supports our position. The government must back off. We must allow farmers to control the system they pay for and which exists to serve them.

It is my sincerest hope that this government will recognize the need for less government regulation and for a more market driven grain transportation industry.

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Madam Speaker, the hon. member referred to off-farm income and that his Liberal government would do its best to ensure that farmers do not need as much off-farm income as now.

I wonder if the member could explain to me exactly how the government will do that. Will it have policies that discriminate against farmers who have off-farm jobs? Just exactly what can be done in terms of policy to stop the movement to off-farm income or to stop farmers from supplementing farm income with off-farm income?

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member.

If his party's cause is successful and Quebec does separate, understanding that Quebec has a large share of market quota in dairy products now, how does he expect dairy farmers in Quebec will deal with the large loss in market share that will certainly occur with a separate Quebec?

How are they going to deal with that huge loss of income and their lack of access to the Canadian market? I would assume that if supply management remains in place that the quota for the rest of Canada will be redistributed among the other provinces.

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member.

He pointed out during his debate, quite proudly it seemed, that Quebec had received a lion's share of quota under supply management particularly in the dairy and that it was probably more than a fair share. Does the member feel that it is fair for any part of the country to get more than what would be considered a fair share of any type of program, or quota in this case?

Does the member feel that is one of the problems with the present supply managed system as it is now in that it will not allow one part of the country, which maybe can compete and should and does have a natural advantage of some type or some other type of competitive advantage, to improve competitiveness to gain a larger share of the market?

Does the member feel that this is part of the problem with the system, at least as it is now?

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

I appreciate the comments from the hon. parliamentary secretary to the agriculture minister.

For such a strong attack on what I said, I am not so sure that in the area of safety nets we have such different ideas. I guess that will be determined down the road.

However, both prefer some kind of whole farm approach to the problem. I have never said no government involvement. I said this industry is tremendously overregulated. There is much too much government interference. We can get rid of a lot of it. I believe the safety net programs that I outlined will cut down on the amount of government involvement tremendously. It will take the market distortion out of the system that is there now.

I did not want to get into the flaws of the GRIP program, but GRIP has just demonstrated almost everything that can go wrong with a government program. It really has. It was supposed to be market neutral and it is far from that. It encouraged farmers to grow wheat at a time when the market said not to grow wheat. There were flaws in the basic design of the program and there were lots of flaws in the administration and in the overlap of administration between the federal government and the provinces.

GRIP is a program that interferes in farmers' business and in their decision making process way beyond what any government program should.

I am saying there is a matter of degrees here. I assume with our difference in philosophy the programs the Liberal government comes up with to replace the programs in place now will involve too much government involvement but I am going to continue to give input along the way. Hopefully I can at least affect somewhat the outcome of this process.

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

I have been accused of a lot of other things, that is right.

First of all, in terms of the majority of farmers deciding, it is very simple to deal with. The hon. member feels he is right, I have a good feel for what the majority feels. Let us hold a plebiscite and decide the issue. It is as simple as that.

In terms of a partnership, my concept of a partnership is two or more bodies that work very closely together and have equal control. I believe the safety net programs the Reform Party is proposing take that government control and interference out of the safety net mechanism, so it is not a partnership. This is money provided by taxpayers to help farmers deal with situations which are largely beyond their control. I think that is legitimate, but it is not a partnership, nor should we have a partnership.