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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was sector.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Sudbury (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Natural Resources January 29th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to planting two billion trees, and the first trees will be in the ground this spring.

The PBO report only considers the cost of planting trees in Ontario. The PBO also states that the estimates “may not accurately reflect program costs” because of their narrow scope.

We will be planting several different types of trees across Canada based on what is native to the local environment. Generations of Canadians for decades to come will recognize the importance of this initiative.

Natural Resources January 29th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, let me quote the PBO report, which I am sure my colleague has read.

Parameters used for this estimate are based off data from Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program and may not accurately reflect program costs under the federal government’s 2 Billion Tree program.

That says it all.

We are partnering with the provinces and territories, indigenous groups and NGOs to make sure that we get it right. We are committed to combatting climate change, and planting two billion trees is a part of our ambitious plan.

COVID-19 Vaccines January 29th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of the pandemic, our government has been committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians, which is why we secured the most diverse portfolio and the highest number of COVID-19 vaccines doses per capita of any country in the world.

Now that free, safe and effective vaccines are available, we are working around the clock to distribute them to the provinces and territories so that Canadians can be vaccinated as quickly as possible.

In my riding of Sudbury, public health officials have been hard at work all week administering these vaccines to residents of long-term care homes.

In the coming weeks, vaccines will be provided to other vulnerable populations and front-line health workers in Sudbury and across northern Ontario. In fact, the Canadian Armed Forces have been commissioned to support vaccine efforts in 32 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in the region.

We have already shipped more than one million doses to the provinces and territories, and we will be receiving six million doses for distribution by the end of March.

The residents of Sudbury are very pleased our government is focused on beating this virus and keeping Canadians safe.

Canada—United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement Implementation Act January 28th, 2021

Madam Speaker, at the end of the day, as the member knows, this is a continuity agreement. Basically, we are taking it out of CETA, and it is the basis to make sure that there is continuity and stability for our markets here in Canada. It also gives us an opportunity to continue negotiations for a new agreement with Great Britain, and that is exactly what we are going to be doing in the next year. It is important that we take in all of these concerns as we move forward.

Canada—United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement Implementation Act January 28th, 2021

Madam Speaker, my regards to my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue. I am sure the snowbanks here are comparable to the ones in his region.

To answer his question, it is clear, as I said in my speech, that protecting supply management is the reason we are doing this. We have to negotiate agreements with other countries to make sure farmers and businesses are properly compensated.

That said, this is also a business opportunity. We have to help those businesses and farmers access these new markets. It goes both ways. We have to help them financially and encourage them to benefit from these agreements in the near future. We have to make sure they can sell their products in the 51 countries with which we have agreements.

Canada—United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement Implementation Act January 28th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

It is a valid question, and we are working on that issue right now. However, today we are talking about the Canada-United Kingdom trade continuity agreement.

As I said in my speech, one of our priorities is to ensure the continuity and security of supply management. It is because of this agreement that all of the agreements that we already signed with Europe are able to continue. We want to ensure that there is continuity and that businesses, business owners and farmers know the rules of the game that led to this agreement. That is very important.

It was very important for us to ensure this stability. We have wanted to do that from the start and we succeeded.

We are currently entering into negotiations with the United Kingdom in order to come to a permanent agreement, while still ensuring that we properly protect supply management.

Canada—United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement Implementation Act January 28th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Surrey—Newton for his excellent speech.

I have the honour to speak to the Canada-U.K. trade continuity agreement.

As members know, the agreement will preserve the existing commitments between our two nations. It will help strengthen our trade relationships as we prepare to begin official bilateral talks on free trade in the coming year.

The United Kingdom is already a key market for Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. We exported an estimated $553 million worth of agri-food products and seafood to the United Kingdom last year.

The government always takes a balanced approach to trade agreements, to reflect the diversity of our agriculture and food industry. On top of ensuring stability for our agri-food exporters, we will continue to support our supply management system for dairy, poultry and egg farmers across Canada. Furthermore, I would remind members that our support for supply management did not stop us from signing 15 trade agreements with a total of 51 countries, giving our farmers a competitive edge in two-thirds of the global economy.

The same goes for the U.K. agreement. The trade continuity agreement fully protects Canada's dairy, poultry and egg sectors and provides no additional access for cheese or any other supply-managed product. This is yet another sign of our government's strong support for Canada's supply management system and the rural communities it supports.

The Government of Canada is also committed to not opening up access to the market for supply-managed products in future trade agreements. At the same time, we have kept our promise to fully and fairly compensate our farmers for the impacts of CETA and the CPTPP.

Last November, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced a major investment for Canadian milk, poultry and egg farmers. She announced $1.4 billion in direct payments to Canadian dairy farmers over the next three years based on their quota. That is $468 million by March 31, 2021, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23.

For instance, a farm with 80 cows will receive a direct cash payment of roughly $38,000 a year for the next three years. This funding is in addition to the $345 million that was already paid to dairy farmers in direct payments last year and the $250 million for the dairy farm investment program. This brings the total compensation to dairy farmers in response to CETA and the CPTPP to more than $2 billion.

The minister also announced that for supply-managed chicken, egg, broiler hatching egg and turkey farmers, we will provide $691 million for 10-year programs. These programs will respond to the demands of the poultry and egg working group, following the ratification of the CPTPP, and will support investments in their operations to improve productivity for further market development. Program details will be designed in consultation with sector representatives and launched as soon as possible.

Our government remains committed to providing the sectors with full and fair compensation for the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. We also remain committed to supporting our supply-managed processors for the impact on the markets. Thanks to the funding we announced on November 28, dairy, poultry and egg farmers will be able to make key investments in their operations and improve their activities to be even more competitive. This will help them to be more efficient and more innovative. The investments they make in their operations today will allow our young farmers to position themselves for growth and success in the future.

Our important announcement clearly shows that farmers can count on our government to keep its promises and do everything in its power to help them and help the next generation succeed. These farming families are the heart of our communities.

We know that our dairy, poultry and egg farmers want our system to stay strong and sustainable, and we want that too. We believe that supply management is a pillar of rural prosperity in Canada, and it works. It is an effective economic model. It brings stability and prosperity to our family dairy, poultry and egg farms.

Our supply-managed producers and processors have deep roots in our rural communities. Some farms and food companies go back generations. Others were founded more recently by passionate young women and men. One such example is Dalew Farms, which is where I buy local meat here in my region.

We will absolutely protect our supply management system. There is no question about that. This system guarantees a supply of high-quality products for Canadian consumers. It is a model of stability that provides high-quality products at fair, predictable prices for farmers, processors and consumers. Supply management also provides a living for farming families and sustains rural communities across the country. Our milk, poultry and egg farmers are powerful drivers of our economy, with nearly $12 billion in farm gate sales, creating more than 75,000 direct jobs in Canada's production and processing sectors.

Beyond farms, dairy and poultry processing contributes about $22.6 billion to our economy. In all cases, our producers and processors deserve our utmost respect. They work hard every day, and the entire family is often involved in making the business successful.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, they overcame surpluses caused by changes in demand, labour shortages and market volatility to ensure that our grocery store shelves were fully stocked with their excellent dairy, poultry and egg products.

Our government was proud to help our supply-managed farmers weather the storm. We launched the $50-million surplus food rescue program to help food banks and other organizations redistribute surplus food, including poultry, turkey and eggs, to Canadians in need.

This program does not just provide Canadians with nutritious food from our agricultural exports during a difficult period. It also helps poultry and egg farmers stabilize their markets. In addition, to help dairy farmers manage their excess milk, we increased the Canadian Dairy Commission's borrowing limit by $200 million so processors could temporarily store cheese and butter and avoid waste.

Our egg, poultry and egg farmers are always looking for ways to improve. They are innovating and are proud of putting the best food on our tables. I am pleased that the supply management system provides them with a fair return on their efforts and investments. Our farmers and processors want to have a strong and prosperous business that they can hand down to their children. We will help them achieve that.

Agriculture is one of our government's priority sectors for stimulating Canada's economic growth. We will continue to invest in this sector. We will continue to listen to our farmers and processors as we set the best course for Canada's agriculture and agri-food industry. We will continue to ensure that they are protected under the Canada-United Kingdom trade continuity agreement and under all future agreements.

Questions on the Order Paper January 25th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a) of the question, following the announcement by the Minister of Natural Resources on July 10, 2020, Natural Resources Canada consulted stakeholders and finalized the implementation plan for this initiative. This program will provide up to $30 million to small and medium-sized forest sector operations to offset costs associated with the implementation of COVID-19 health and safety measures.

With regard to part (b), contribution agreements with participating provinces and territories have advanced, with most expected to be completed in early January. Provinces and territories were allocated base-level funding, supplemented by a top-up increment that is based on a combination of each jurisdiction’s share of total forest sector employment and each jurisdiction’s share of total trees planted. Once agreements are in place, participating jurisdictions will compile and submit claims for reimbursement to the federal government. Once claims are validated and paid, this will enable provinces and territories to reimburse eligible small and medium-sized forest sector businesses, likely starting in early 2021.

With regard to part (c), eligible costs will have been incurred by companies between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Payments will be made on a retroactive basis and participating jurisdictions will report which firms received support. As this program is ongoing, there is insufficient information available to answer this question.

Government Response to Petitions January 25th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 253 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Sudbury Women's Centre January 25th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, the Sudbury Women's Centre is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a 40 years, 40 days, $40,000 fundraiser from January 27 until March 8, which is International Women's Day. Since August 1981, the centre has been working to provide a safe place for women to seek help and refuge when, at times, there is nowhere else to turn.

The pandemic remains a major challenge for survivors of gender-based and domestic violence and the organizations that serve them. Since last April, the centre has been assisting clients with basic needs like food and hygiene items through delivery and curbside pickup. It offers peer support over the phone, and still delivers such programs as Self-Compassion and Collective Kitchen. The centre enables women to reclaim their self-worth and drive.

On average, more than 9,000 women use it each year. Before the pandemic, an average of 150 to 250 women visited the centre each week.

I want to thank the workers and volunteers of the centre for their continued leadership in our community.