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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is report.

Liberal MP for Malpeque (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Madam Speaker, it is certainly a pleasure for me to rise on this debate in support of the proactive approach the minister and this government are taking to enhance the agriculture and agri-food sector of the Canadian economy.

I might say in beginning that my colleague who spoke earlier should try some of those P.E.I. potatoes from that beautiful red soil. It is unlikely she would then go back to her own variety.

The proactive approach starts right here in the House of Commons with the new government and in committees with the participation of backbench MPs, both from the government side and members opposite. I believe there is a new sense of democracy in the land. As a government we said we would give members of Parliament more power and that we would give a voice to committees. That is evident every day in the discussions in the various committees and is quite a turnaround from the past administration.

The tragedy of the past administration is that many of its policies are still ongoing today in the new administration.

Let us look at the work of the agriculture committee. I think it adds to the leadership provided by the government. The estimates we had before us and are before the committee as yet still contain some of the policies of the past administration. It will take some time to get the new policies of the government in place.

The agriculture committee has been very serious in doing an intense analysis of the department's estimates and looking at ways and means that the department can better deliver services to the farm community. We have been very open about that analysis. We believe that the views of all members are important and should be considered. In that way the government gives a renewed voice to primary producers, to the agri-food industry members, through their members of Parliament at the committee and House of Commons levels.

Let us take a look for a moment at the aggressive direction the government has been taking in the past six months. Let me start with what is a very difficult issue, GATT article XI(2)(c). It has been raised by members opposite to a certain extent. They are claiming that we have undermined producers of their ability to survive and prosper in some areas. We did have a stacked deck against us, left there by the previous administration. We have set up a process to retain the benefits of the supply management system and at every opportunity we talk about how supply management could be used as a model of development for rural areas in other countries around the world.

Changes that happen at the GATT negotiations are not without difficulty, but that is what leadership is all about and that is what this new Liberal government is showing. We have admitted up front to the loss of article XI(2)(c). We did not try to put a spin on it as previous administrations had tried to do. In fact, because we believe in primary producers and have great confidence in the farm community, we have involved them in a process to retain the benefits of the supply management system and move on to greater prosperity we hope in the future.

At this stage I must address some of the points the member for Québec-Est made in suggesting that the government failed Quebec relative to article XI(2)(c). Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is because of strong national policies that Canada has put in place over the years-most of those policies were started under a previous Liberal administration-that Quebec has been able to make the gains it has. For instance, Quebec's net farm income has grown steadily over the past 20 years as a result of the stability and the national programs that we put in place. In fact the member for Québec-Est on April 28 had this to say: "With milk definitely we have had a certain advantage in Quebec over the west, that is for sure".

I do not mind admitting that the attempt of members opposite to try to misconstrue the facts and show that certain moneys are going west or going east and not going to Quebec are creating grave difficulties for us as a nation because the wrong impression is left. Let me tell you that this national government wants

to ensure that dairy producers and chicken producers in all provinces retain the advantage that supply management has given them. We will continue to do so with the processes we have set up in order to see that supply management survives into the future.

Let us examine the stance of this government versus that of the previous administration in terms of the trade action and trade rhetoric coming from our neighbours south of the border. The United States continues to challenge our agencies, our marketing of grain, ice cream and yogurt and other areas. It knows full well that we have won every trade dispute that has been put to any panel. We have won before the International Trade Commission, the General Accounting Office, the Binational Trade Panel under CUSTA and just recently under an international trade audit.

However, instead of lying down and dying the government has said, as the minister said this morning: "This minister will not lie down and die. Canada will fight back". That is leadership. He is standing up for our producers and our nation and that is something new.

Another example of the proactive policies of the government is that we recognize full well the trouble in the transportation sector in terms of the car allocations of grain moving west. We immediately came together and set up two subcommittees, one on agriculture and one on transport. These committees held two intensive days of hearings. Out of them we came up with some recommendations in which we basically suggested that the GTA, the Grain Transportation Agency, should apply the rules of the land.

Where the previous administration failed to apply the penalties that should have been imposed on the railways for not moving product and not putting the capital investment on the rolling stock into place, this government and its members through the committees have said that the penalties should be enforced and that the GTA should live up to its responsibilities. We have recommended that to the minister and the minister is moving forward. The minister of agriculture is moving forward to a meeting on May 16.

I have always been concerned about the policies that lead to a continuing reliance on off-farm income. Liberals will not be working toward removing more farm families from the land but rather working with them to strengthen their ties to the land and the farming community. The government will be working to ensure that farmers become less dependent on off-farm income which not only merely supplements family incomes but is often one of the pillars which ensures the very survival of farming operations.

We are pursuing policies in which primary producers can achieve the majority of their income from the farm. We will work toward implementing marketing programs to do this.

In conclusion, though the government has been very proactive and has provided strong leadership, one of the important factors is the minister of agriculture. Last weekend when the minister was in my riding he showed that he is a leader of the times, that he believes strongly in the Liberal policies that were in the red book during the election campaign. He is willing to sit down and listen to producers, discuss with them and build that strong rural community base in the interests of primary producers and the agri-food industry and businesses all across Canada that this country sorely needs.

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed listening to the remarks of the hon. member for Vegreville, but there was a considerable number of contradictions in them. I refer specifically to the case the member mentioned about 1,000 cars of canola meal that sat on a siding in Lloydminster for a month. There is no question that was a problem for the transportation system.

The member was talking about how well a deregulated system would work. In fact the reason those 1,000 cars sat on that siding was that some private individual or company tried to gain advantage for itself, was able to load those cars and get around the regulatory system. As it so happened the ship was not in port. The product could not be moved. While it was trying to obtain individual gains, complications for the system as a whole were caused.

As the committee recommended, the rules under the Western Grain Transportation Act need to be applied more vigorously. The GTA did not do its job. In the regulatory system the rules and the penalties need to be applied. In its proactive way the subcommittee on transport and agriculture made the recommendations to get around the problem. I am sure the ministers will act on them next week.

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The minister made it clear this morning that he would not get caught in horse trading, region against region or commodity against commodity. The member is misinformed in terms of the-

Supply April 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am having difficulty sorting out where the hon. member is coming from relative to the Canadian Wheat Board. There is no question that this government showed leadership during the campaign and since the campaign.

I would quote out of the red book what we said on the Canadian Wheat Board and that is what we were elected on: "Canada's agri-food industry needs policies and programs such as supply management, the Canadian Wheat Board and stabilization programs to minimize the impact of market price fluctuations".

We ran on a campaign of strong support for the wheat board and we are continuing to show that. I recognize there is a debate taking place in the west. I have been inundated lately with petitions asking to strengthen the Canadian Wheat Board and expand its powers.

The member wants some components of the wheat board it seems, but not its all. I am wondering if he has anything to comment on in terms of the Canadian Wheat Board advisory committee. The Canadian Wheat Board advisory committee is the legitimate, elected producers who act in an advisory capacity to the wheat board. Clearly, during the last election eight of the eleven were very strong, orderly marketers.

I am wondering what the member's thoughts are relative to the Canadian Wheat Board advisory which is calling for us to maintain the powers of the wheat board, that it is the sole seller of export wheat and barley.

Supply April 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note in the member's speech that he recognizes the benefits of the supply management system that has been designed in the Canadian context.

I again come back to a question I asked his colleague previously. The principle that the program of supply management operates under is basically managing supply to meet effective domestic demand. Given the fact that Quebec has 46 per cent to 48 per cent of the Canadian production, how is the member going to explain to his producers under his proposed separation that they will be able to have in place this system that he so admires?

The member mentioned the trade discussions we are having with the United States. I think we have to recognize that the ministers are taking a tough stance in the interests of all Canadians. I certainly say to the hon. member opposite we on this side would welcome a statement of support from his party in terms of that tough stance our Canadian ministers are taking in those negotiations in all of Canada's interests.

Supply April 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised at some of the comments from the member on the other side. He is certainly playing with numbers.

One of the principles in the country is that in times of need we share in helping each other out of our difficulties. In terms of the payments to the west, I remind the member that there was an international grain price war. We had an obligation as a country to support western Canada and that is what we did. By the same token, when there were low prices in the hog industry and in the

beef industry, which is more located in Quebec, the country supported those industries.

The member opposite should understand that one of the programs Quebec benefits from probably more than any other province is the supply management system. Quebec has benefited greatly. Its dairy production is somewhere around 46 per cent to 48 per cent of the total dairy production in the country as a result of our great Canadian supply management program.

I have a question for the member. If his party were successful in moving toward separation, which I do not believe it will be, what would that do to dairy producers in the province of Quebec in terms of the loss of the great Canadian supply management system we operate under?

Trade April 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I was shocked and angered last night to hear United States Senator Kent Conrad suggest before a United States hearing that the United States should retarget its Minuteman missiles against Canada to deter us from our trade initiatives.

This attitude and threatening rhetoric by the Senator and some of his American colleagues is both out of line and unsubstantiated. The facts are that Canada has been proven four times to have been a fair trader, once by the U.S. General Accounting Office, once by the U.S. International Trade Commission, once by COSTA and most recently by an international audit.

Senator Conrad should look in the mirror and see where the real problem lies and that is with the use of the export enhancement program in which they subsidize prices in the international market, drain their supply short, and naturally when they are short stocked we are going to as fair traders move stock into that market.

Senator Conrad should be wise and refocus his policy.

Agriculture March 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the standing committee on agriculture has just completed hearings on whether to allow the use of BST in Canada. The entire committee process was conducted in public and open session, including the work on the recommendations and final report.

The work of the committee has confirmed the new role of parliamentary committees promised by our party during the last election. The decision to examine the BST issue, which one witness described as unprecedented attention to a veterinarian drug, was taken collectively by the committee.

Throughout the process members of the committee worked in a spirit of co-operation and commitment toward achieving a consensus report which will soon be tabled in the House.

Once the committee report is tabled it will be up to the government to respond with the appropriate legislation to implement the moratorium called for by that committee. I would hope that same spirit continues.

In that sense of co-operation, with a name like mine, I want to wish everyone in the House and everyone associated with it a very happy Easter.

Forum For Young Canadians March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I and many other MPs had the opportunity to have a dinner with a group of youths visiting Parliament last week. The group was here under the Forum for Young Canadians program.

In my opinion the Forum for Young Canadians is a valuable educational program that brings young people from all parts of this great nation together to learn about our political process. The forum allows young people to learn about our political system through participation and workshops, presentations and a mock Parliament. It gives students real, hands-on experience. It is also valuable because it allows friendships to form between the participants from all provinces of Canada, friendships that last a lifetime.

It is programs like the Forum for Young Canadians that we as members of Parliament must continue to support and expand because their benefits are enormous. These youths are the leaders of tomorrow and their individual and collective experience will lead to the development of a greater nation.

Questions On The Order Paper March 18th, 1994

Who were the members of the Canadian government's GATT negotiating team from June 1992 through to January 1994, what are their backgrounds and the positions they held prior to becoming members of the team and the dates of their appointments?