June 4, 1993

PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Agreed and so ordered.

June 4, 1993

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink
PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siddon:

Mr. Chairman, in so far as the Indian Specific Claims Commission is concerned, the hon. member knows the commission was set up under the powers of the Inquiries Act to provide advice to government as commissions of inquiries do on the extent to which particular claims the government has rejected might be readdressed by the government because, it may be argued, there is a lawful obligation on the part of Canada.

The specific claims commission has criteria by which it is to conduct itself in regard of claims or alleged claims which result from a lawful obligation. Therefore it is important the specific claims commission address itself to issues. While we have rejected them on the basis of legal advice from the Department of Justice that we do not have a lawful obligation, those claims must stem in some way from a document or a legal commitment of some sort which is arguably binding upon the government.

In the case of any of the claims Mr. Laforme's commission is addressing, if we receive that advice we expect it to be backed up with thorough research and legal arguments. Then we will make a decision which remains to be the minister's prerogative with respect to any such claims.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink

Title agreed to. Bill reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed.


PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siddon:

Mr. Speaker, there has been agreement that there would not be closing speeches. I just wanted to thank all members of the House for their co-operation this afternoon.

I would like to say to the people of the western Arctic whose interests have not really been addressed today that we are very conscious of their feelings regarding the future.

We are all very grateful to the negotiators who served so well for the two governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada, and especially the representatives of the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut who are here today.

Government Orders

In conclusion I would like to say the following to our guests today.

[Editor's Note: Minister spoke in Inuktitut.]

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink
PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

I am sure all members of the House will concur in whatever the hon. minister said.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Jack Iyerak Anawak

Liberal

Mr. Anawak:

Mr. Speaker, I can safely say there were no derogatory remarks.

I would like to close by saying as I mentioned earlier that this has been a very humbling experience. It is a very proud day for the people of Nunavut as represented by the people in the gallery from Nunavut area.

I am very proud to have been part of the deliberations on the two bills: on the land claims bill and on the bill dealing with the creation of Nunavut.

Along with my colleagues from the north we are able to say that June 4, 1993 is a very important day for the people of Nunavut. It is a day to remember and tell our grandchildren about.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink
NDP

Robert Evans Skelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Skelly (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the remarks made by the minister once I get a translation. I trust the member for Nunatsiaq who assured us there was nothing derogatory in them.

I agree with his statement that June 4, 1993 is an important day for the people of Nunavut. It is almost equivalent to the July 1 celebration Canada enjoys on its birthday.

I am very proud to have been here representing the New Democratic Party at the birthday of Nunavut. I wish the young territory all the best in the future. Given the talent brought to bear on the negotiations, that talent will be brought to bear on the government of Nunavut and we will have a very successful territory.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink
PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

I want hon. members to know those last three little speeches were congratulatory speeches, not speeches on third reading.

It being 3 p.m. the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

Private Members' Business

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS


June 4, 1993 {English]


AGRICULTURE

NDP

Victor Fredrich (Vic) Althouse

New Democratic Party

Mr. Vic Althouse (Mackenzie) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider the advisability of protecting the family farm through stable returns to producers and funding for assembly and long-term lease-purchase of farmland.

He said: Mr. Speaker, for a few moments this afternoon I take my privilege and right as a private member to introduce some ideas I hope the government will attend. It seems to me it has been pursuing policies on agriculture and trade that are not serving the best interests of local and rural communities. I was hoping this afternoon to put a few ideas before the government that would make it change its policy so they would be more helpful to rural people.

In all debates on agriculture, trade and economic policies these days from the government benches I will begin by saying that we have to face that we are a global community and we must be competitive in that global community. We must have sustainable production and things will taper off after that.

We should make it quite clear there has never been anything but a recognition by Canadians of all persuasions, whether they are Progressive Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberal or political non-believers, that we are living in a global economy. I am from western Canada. Most of its economy is dominated by people who originated in Europe. They came to that part of the world because they thought there were some opportunities. The products they produced had to go to other parts of the world to find markets. We have always been a global economy in terms of the thinking on the farms of western Canada.

We have contacts in all parts of the globe. We sell to all parts of the globe. There has never been any doubt that we were a global economy. It leaves me somewhat sad and baffled to see the front benches of the Conservative government trying to pretend that they are inventing globalization. They have not.

What they have invented is a different kind of globalization. It is becoming evident in the economic models. When one looks at the practice of the three or four larger trading blocs of the world one sees that there are emerging three global models.

One model is the American-British model, the sort of Reagan-Thatcher view of life, that looks at the world working in an economic system wherein there are very few rules other than the devil take the hindmost and the one with the most bucks wins. This kind of economic model means the lowest price and the cheapest wage will always get the jobs. That is a model that has no great future.

Granted, it is the one the government is attempting to tie itself to, a deregulated kind of economy with no rules and nothing limiting the power of the transnational and international corporations. It has not worried about what happens to the people who have to stay in the country and cannot move as readily and as easily as transnational corporations. We can forget about that model. We have to worry about it now because the government that adopted it as its code of practice is now in power. Hopefully it will not last very much longer.

Another economic model that has been pursued globally with some success is the Japanese model wherein business and government form a very cosy alliance and various corporations do joint ventures. The Japanese for Japanese business take on the world and usually win. That model is beginning to show some signs of having difficulties. Mostly the problem is that we have great difficulty from a societal sense accepting the close regimentation workers have to follow and the loyally to their company for a lifetime.

It goes both ways. The company is also loyal to its workers. That has not been part of our practice in this country and so we probably would find that somewhat difficult to adapt to.

Most futurists see the third model, the European model that has developed, as the kind of model that is most likely to survive because it is a more communal kind of model involving labour, workers, rural people, governments and corporations all working together for a set of combined common goals that are good for all of the participants in the effort to expand their influence in the world community.

June 4. 1993

The Europeans have come together economically and to some extent politically. They have taken all of the players in the economy and come up with a fairly workable mix of labour, business and government decision making that most closely copies the kind of thinking that exists in New Democratic philosophy and political policies.

I think that model is the one that we have to look at as the one that is most likely to survive. I believe the reason that it will survive is that unlike the first model that I mentioned, the British-American system in which the objective is to get to the cheapest labour and the cheapest raw resources, the European model looks at ways of improving standards of living, wages and prices in a way that will improve all of the society together. Instead of depressing society it attempts to improve it.

That is the model that we would do well to copy. The proposals I am putting on the table today for agriculture tend to copy some of those ideas but they are essentially Canadian solutions made for Canadians in Canada.

Members will notice that the motion asks the government to do two things. I will deal with the first one first. It says:

The government should consider the advisability of protecting the

family farm through stable returns to producers-

In the past we have not had systems of stable returns that will withstand the onslaught of international trading rules. To be fair neither have the Europeans, Japanese, or Americans. Everybody is searching for this kind of solution. We are saying, after lengthy discussions and consultations with various farm organizations over the last five or six years, that perhaps the place to start is to look at the amount of the domestic market that is supplied by Canadian farmers and divide that among them and provide some price guarantees and assistance through tax dollars so that we are not put at a disadvantage to those countries we compete against. In particular we should not be at a disadvantage to our American cousins and neighbours.

We have said, and I will use the grain sector as an example, that we will take the amount of grain that is utilized within Canada and is fed and consumed here and divide it among all the farmers. That will amount to between 8.000 and 9,000 bushels per existing farm.

Private Members' Business

For a beginning, why does the government not simply offer to meet the price guarantees that the Americans are giving their farmers on that domestically consumed grain so there would be no exportation of subsidies. The way we are proposing to do it would not impact upon secondary users whether hog feeders, beef feeders, or dairymen.

It would simply be a guarantee equivalent to the guarantees that the United States gives to its producers. At the current American target prices and at the current exchange rate between Canadian and American currency that would amount to about $5 per bushel on delivery at the elevator. It would be approximately $2.75 a bushel on delivery for corn, $6.25 a bushel for canola, $2.95 a bushel for barley and $1.80 a bushel for oats.

The farmer would receive the guaranteed price on his initial deliveries at the elevator until he had made approximately $40,000 in sales. The subsidy that would be available on the product that he was presenting for sale would be paid by the taxpayers of Canada.

The cost of this kind of system would be no more and perhaps even less than has been the case with the ad hoc programs that have been proposed and the programs that have been put in place through GRIP, which are paid for by federal and provincial taxpayers as well as by farmers.

Therefore the subsidy levels would not be much different but the effect of the subsidy would be felt very directly in the rural communities. Instead of spreading those taxpayer dollars across all the production we would instead be dividing it among the producers.

The smaller and middle sized producers would reap a proportionately larger benefit from this kind of system than would the very large producers. Very large producers at the moment receive tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars through the various subsidy programs that are available.

I do not think it makes much sense for large growing entities to be receiving taxpayer dollars to continue to grow and prosper when they could do that all very well on their own as good, efficient and effective producers.

June 4, 1993

Private Members' Business

The emphasis has to change. In addition to the changes in the way that government assistance from the over-all community through the country is dispersed to the farming communities there has to be further consideration than has been shown at this point to the future of those rural communities.

In a deregulated market, which the government is hell bent upon moving us toward, there is very little opportunity for young and beginning farmers to become farmers. The young people are virtually elbowed out of the farm community at the moment.

I know this is a problem under deregulation for all young people. It is extremely difficult if not impossible for anyone under 25 to find a position at all. That is a result, to a large extent, of the deregulation and the mean-spirited approach that we have been insisting and persisting in following lately.

It is even more difficult to establish a young family on a farm because of the investment requirements, even though land values have dropped considerably and there is not a lot of hurry to go out there and bid up the price of farmland. It is very difficult for young people to find the kind of credit and raise the kind of funds they need in order to establish their own family on a farm.

There is a lot of farmland sitting available. It is not all sitting idle. A lot of it is being farmed by lease. However institutions like the federal banks, the big five, hold a great deal of farm property. The Farm Credit Corporation, the Crown corporation which was struck to lend money to farmers, holds over a million acres of Canadian farmland right now. More than 85 per cent of that is in my home province of Saskatchewan.

It is loathe to sell those lands because it will not recover the amount of money that is owed against them. The value of the lands has dropped about 50 per cent since those loans were made in the last eight or ten years. As a consequence nobody wants to pay Farm Credit Corporation's debt for it. The only way that FCC will be able to move that land into the private sector is to take a loss on it, something it is of course not anxious to do, although the government does pick up a considerable amount of its losses every year.

The proposal that I think the government should be looking at is to take these lands that the Farm Credit Corporation has available, lands that the banks, some of the credit unions and some of the trust companies might have available, and form a local community trust or a community trust in each of the provinces, because land holding under our Constitution is under the aegis of the provinces.

It should allow them to continue to be shareholders in the land if they insist but should set up an agency whose mandate it is to lease land to beginning or younger farmers, not to the older, established ones but those under 30 or 35. It should make the leases relatively long term, 20 or 30 year leases, once the lessees show that they have the ability to do a competent job of farming the land. It should put local boards and directors in charge of the leasing, the administration and the overview of the lands to make sure that they are well handled so that younger people do have an opportunity to get a land base and to remain in those rural communities.

Without a regeneration of those rural communities there will be no children to go to school for the teaching jobs, there will be no children to be born in the communities so that there are hospitals, nurses and doctors, and there will be nobody to look after the elderly population that is filling up the nursing homes that are there now. The communities will continue to wither and die.

To a degree that has been happening now, but there have been magnificent efforts by those rural communities to sustain themselves and find production facilities they can invest in.

I continue to be amazed at the amount of money and effort that rural communities are willing to put into a new processing plant, regardless of how difficult it might be for that new product to come on to the market. The local communities put up their money, expertise, time and effort to make certain that some of these groups do have a chance to get started.

They do not do it because they think they will make a profit. Most of these people are buying shares in these community processing plants with the view that this is virtually a donation. They are doing it because they think that if they can get this plant going it will employ 15, 20 or 30 people and that will mean 15, 20 or 30 young

June 4, 1993

couples who can stay in that community, fill up the houses and keep the community going.

It is vital to the future of not only rural communities but the viable operation of Canada as we have known it. These modest changes to the way we view globalization and economic development could go a long way toward humanizing the kind of economic development and social structures that we have in our country.

I would hope that the government would begin to see the futility of following the Reagan-Thatcher model of globalization and look a little more closely at some of the things that the Japanese and the Europeans are doing because those countries have accepted a lot of socialist ideas that are good for people, are good for the economy and can even be good for global business.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY FARM
Permalink
LIB

Maurice Brydon Foster

Liberal

Mr. Maurice Foster (Algoma):

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have a chance to say a few words on the motion of the hon. member for Mackenzie.

The motion before the House sets out the need for constructive and worth-while government programs. It is very beneficial that it should happen to be before the House today because the Minister of Agriculture, during the last 24 hours, has practically adopted a scorched earth policy toward Canadian farm organizations, groups like the Prairie Pools Incorporated and the Ontario Corn Producers. Many of the policies adopted are just unbelievable.

It was announced this morning by the Minister of Agriculture that he planned to open the border with the United States even though support programs have not been balanced as is required under the free trade deal. He is moving the marketing of barley from the Canadian Wheat Board to individual shipments. This means that we end up with a flooding of the market in Montana. It will drive down the price-setting mechanisms in the United States for barley that are set in Seattle and we will see lower prices and less returns. We will see an industry that is not going to be doing very well.

On the other hand, it is the government's wish to remove that barrier which was put in place by the FTA. It is the government's decision to take the exclusive re-

Private Members' Business

sponsibility for the marketing of barley in North America away from the Canadian Wheat Board.

We proposed in the agriculture committee that if the government is hell-bent on doing this, then it should put it to a plebiscite and let the producers decide. The Canadian Wheat Board is not an agency of the Government of Canada, it is an agency of the Canadian barley and wheat producers. Therefore, it is the barley and wheat producers who must decide if they want to have this exclusive responsibility, even though the Canadian Wheat Board has served the industry very well.

The studies that were done by Prairie Pools Incorporated suggest there is going to be a major cost to Canadian producers.

We started discussions in the agriculture committee and within a week government members on the committee shut down the whole review process. It is unbelievable the government is taking the marketing of barley away from the Canadian Wheat Board and then imposing its majority in the committee and not even allowing the Canadian Wheat Board to appear. I guess this is because the chairman of the Canadian Wheat Board had been so critical of the proposal to take away barley marketing.

The government will argue that the marketing of barley is only a few percentage points of the total wheat board operations, but in fact barley is a major coarse grain commodity. It is not just the volume, but the fact that the marketing of barley is removed from the wheat board weakens the wheat board and will have a longterm, disadvantageous effect on that board.

The second area in the trilogy of the scorched earth policy which has been adopted by the minister is to take away the interest-free cash advance.

The House will recall that the government moved in this direction two or three years ago and within six months of removing the interest-free feature of the cash advance program it had reinstated it. The economic situation was so desperate in the fall of 1990 that it suddenly reinstated the interest-free feature even though it had to do it by Order in Council. It had removed it as a statute program. We received an endless number of letters from the Ontario Corn Producers, the prairie pools, the corn producers in Manitoba, all making

June 4, 1993

Private Members' Business

the same argument, that this is one of the best programs the government has.

If everybody markets their corn or barley or wheat, or whatever the commodity is, at harvest time in October, prices are driven down. Everybody is desperately strapped for cash so this has the impact of driving the price of the commodity down. Under the interest-free cash advance, the mechanism is spun out so that the individual producer markets the crop in December or January or later on in the season and has a tremendous advantage. The advantage is not one for one, that you get an advantage of whatever the interest-free portion of the cash advance is, in some cases it is as high as 15 to 1.

I cannot for the life of me see why the government is removing that interest-free portion because the interest rates are at the lowest rate they have been in 10 or 15 years and it is the least costly of programs. When the government was driving the interest rates through the ceiling in 1989 and 1990, and interest rates for so many commodities were 14 and 15 per cent, at least double what they were in the United States, in a free trade environment one can imagine the impact it has had on the entire Canadian economy, but especially on Canadian farmers. Now when the interest rates are very low we have the ridiculous situation where the government is putting that additional burden on Canadian farmers.

That is the second part of the trilogy of the scorched earth policy that has been adopted by the government this spring. Beyond that, the government has moved today to table a bill in the House to change the method of payment of the Crow benefit.

This is the third part of the trilogy. Last December the government moved to chop the western grain transportation assistance program by some $72 million, roughly 10 per cent of the benefit itself. When the Minister of Finance brought down his budget a few months ago he said: "Okay, I have taken away $72 million. If you people do not adopt my policy I am going to double that". Well, it is a hollow threat because he is not going to be around. The idea of blackmailing producers with an either accept our policy or we will remove more of it is horrible.

This is a great historical support program. It was adopted because it is part of the Crow rate agreement dating back almost a hundred years. If the farmers do not agree to the change in the method of the Crow benefit,

the government will reduce the benefit. It is breaking faith with thousands of producers.

I hope the government will back down on this. There may have to be changes if the GATT agreement determines that this is an export subsidy and subject to a mandatory reduction. But at this stage there is no consensus and the government should not be cutting that support. It should not be blackmailing Canadian farmers at this time, or any other time, by threatening to reduce their support programs if they do not agree to the changes that the government is threatening.

I am glad to have had this opportunity to make these few comments this afternoon on the hon. member's motion because clearly this is a black day for Canadian farmers in what the government is proposing in these three scorched earth policies.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY FARM
Permalink
PC

Robert Harold Porter

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bob Porter (Medicine Hat):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for Mackenzie for his concern about the future of the family farm. He and I have shared a considerable amount of time on the standing committee as has the previous speaker. While we do have those concerns, we may have different views on how to achieve them.

The government understands the important role of the family farm operation in our rural communities, economically and socially. That is why we have stood by Canadian farmers in times of need. Certainly these last few years have been times when farmers in all areas have gone through difficult periods as a result of markets, of weather conditions and of a variety of problems that they have faced.

In 1986-87 we provided $2 billion to help farmers cope with low grain prices caused by an international subsidy war. In 1988, when farmers were dealing with one of the worst droughts in the history of this country there was $800 million in special support through the Canadian Crop Drought Assistance Program.

As well, one may recall the program that was brought in for the deferral on breeder stock which had taken place that year where livestock had to be culled. If the tax had been paid and those cattle been replaced at the higher market value, that would have had a detrimental effect. This government did recognize, after 20 years of previous agricultural groups trying to initiate that program, the fact that breeding stock is like the machinery

June 4, 1993

we use in any manufacturing plant to turn grass into beef and not tax it in times of disadvantage.

There was a further $500 million through the Special Income Assistance Program in 1990. It was followed by the Farm Support and Adjustment Measures, one and two, which provided $1.4 billion in federal support.

Between 1985 and 1992 almost $17 billion in direct federal payments have gone to producers. The government has been there for Canadian farmers. However I share the hon. member's view that the long-term viability of the family farm cannot and will not be brought back with programs that put a cheque in the mail. Farmers do not want it that way. They would rather in all cases- those I talk to-get their returns from the marketplace.

The success or failure of the family farm will depend on its ability to compete. As the hon. member has said, we have always had to compete in world markets. It has been emphasized before. There are some commodities which are more regionalized. Some are on a North American market and obviously in our grain sector on world markets.

To ensure fair and stable returns the industry needs long-term solutions and certainly better prices, improved market opportunities, diversification and world development opportunities. Those needs are driving our reform of agricultural policies and programs. This reform is being carried out with the participation of provinces and the industry.

The key to that reform is securing access to markets. The Canadian agrifood sector depends on trade. One of our priorities is to get a reduction in the subsidies used by Canada's major competitors in international grain markets. We can do all of these wonderful things that have been suggested, but if there is $320 billion in agricultural subsidies throughout the world, supply and demand has little impact on what will happen to individual markets.

Obviously if we could resolve some of the problems that we are trying to do under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and end the trade war that still plagues our grain sector, it would not end all of our problems. It would perhaps bring some stability to world markets.

Private Members' Business

I noted with some interest the hon. member talking about other ways of doing things. I commend anybody who has suggestions for improving the situation in agriculture.

Land banking is something that has been tried. I think, Sir, that it has been tried in your province before. I can recall it a number of years ago in the 1950s and the 1960s. I do not know whether there were positive results.

Rural communities are going through changes in most areas. Some of it is going to happen regardless of the policies of government or with markets. There is a change in the lifestyle of some of the people who live there. Schools systems are changing. The road system has changed. Most people from small, rural communities are retiring into the larger centres.

.(1535)

We have seen that happening. I come from a community where the largest growth industry involves retired Saskatchewan farmers moving into Medicine Hat. They move there for a number of reasons. They want availability of health care, a recreation facility and better housing. They are not going to stay, as they did a number of years ago in the small, local community when they retire from the family farm. I do not think any of the programs that we are talking about are going to have an impact there. It is a change that is taking place throughout this country and others and I think it is a reality that perhaps we have to face.

We know the benefits of secure market access through our trade agreement with the United States. Our share of American markets is now larger than it has ever been. I am looking at headlines from about two weeks ago in The Calgary Herald. It indicates that the annual revenue from cattle and calves has grown by 64 per cent or $700 million since 1984 to achieve a forecast of $1.8 billion this year. This is in the province of Alberta. The trend is accelerating, fed by growth in exports to the United States. Canadian cattle achieved a five-fold growth in their share of U.S. beef markets to 5 per cent since 1987. We are now slaughtering roughly 60 per cent of all the cattle in Canada in the province of Alberta. Even with that taking place I noted last week that 11,000 head of slaughter cattle were going across the border.

Private Members' Business

We have access to another market is one of the things which has added some stability to our market. It is also closer than providing a shipment to the Montreal market as we have done in the past. Some of the trade is moving on a north-south basis rather than being forced east or west as it was for the last 100 years has served the industry well on both sides of the border. We can perhaps see that happening in other commodities.

We hope to see access extended through the North American free trade agreement to include Mexico, which is a market that is growing quickly. Earlier this year a thousand Canadian firms attended a trade show in Mexico. These were not large conglomerates and huge corporations. They were small firms from 10 to 100 employees. There was interest shown there. Some contracts were signed that could develop through this initiative. Further, other countries of the southern hemisphere have shown an interest in trading with Canada.

We do have things like malt barley going into Colombia. We have trade in energy resources. We have firms in western Canada at the present time that were developing markets in some of those countries there. There is an interest on behalf of other countries in opening up trade.

Last November we announced a trade opportunity strategy that helped the agrifood sector improve its marketing success abroad. The strategy will see Canada establish positions in our embassies in key growth markets. These people in these positions will promote our agrifood products and help link up sellers in this country with buyers.

As part of that strategy we have established an agrifood export council chaired by Ted Bilyea, vice president and general manager of international trade for Maple Leaf Foods Inc. Canada. This council will help develop policies that will help us improve our agrifood export performance. At the same time we are working with industry to help the sector become more competitive even in the face of international pressures over which they have no control.

We recently passed amendments to the Farm Credit Corporation Act which gave the FCC more flexibility to help farmers who want to diversify their operations with off-farm-but related-opportunities. A number of farmers have expressed over the years an interest in being able to finance some of the farm-related businesses that they have developed. We have seen that taking place across western Canada.

We passed Bill C-54 which is the national check-off legislation that is allowing innovators like the Canadian Cattlemen's Association the flexibility to respond to market and research opportunities as they see fit. Last year the federal government launched a review of the regulations within Agriculture Canada. This involved the Grains and Oilseed Branch, including the Canadian Wheat Board, the Canadian Grain Commission and the Food Production and Inspection Branch. Industry representatives have played a central role in this process. I think the objective of this review is to reduce unnecessary policies and regulations which impede competitiveness without compromising in any way the safety of Canada's food supply.

Probably another area that we should look at is the interprovincial trade barriers, not just with agriculture but within a lot of other areas. There are 500 impediments to trade between provinces across this nation. Obviously agriculture gets caught up in some of the problems that we face in trying to deal within our own country.

We have made progress in a number of areas. For example we are holding discussions with the provinces on setting up pilot projects to eliminate duplicate inspections between the two levels of government.

We have tabled changes in the Canada Grains Act this spring including plans to eliminate maximum tariffs at grain elevators.

I guess we are simply posing the question: Are there other ways of doing things that in the end help the farmers' bottom line. I think it is only right, I think it is only fair that regardless of where we come from or which side of the House we are on that we must look at any way that we can which has some viability for improving the situation of those people who make their living producing an agricultural product.

We are posing the question regarding western grain transportation. It is an issue that has been sensitive. It has been coming up for generations. Most of us have heard both sides of that issue. I have listened to that ever since I was very young. We have not resolved it yet. I think it is going to have to be focused on regardless of what happens in the international marketplace. It is

June 4, 1993

coming to a focus and I think we should be seriously considering what we do with that.

Our goal is to-

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY FARM
Permalink
PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

I do regret the hon. member's time has expired.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY FARM
Permalink
LIB

Don Boudria (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Liberal Party Deputy House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Don Boudria (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell):

Mr. Speaker, I hate the fact that another member had to be interrupted for me to speak. I always listen carefully to the comments of the hon. member across. I know he has a very strong attachment to the agricultural community. I am always pleased to hear what he has to say, as I was to listen to the comments of the hon. member for Algoma and of our colleague from Saskatchewan as well.

We are debating today the motion to consider the advisability of protecting the family farm through stable returns and, second, for the funding for land assembly and long-term lease-purchase of land.

The funding for land assembly is not always a popular issue depending on how that is put. I am sure my colleague from Saskatchewan will agree that it has not always been a popular idea. Certainly the lease-purchase kind of initiative I think would meet the approval of many Canadians.

When the hon. member spoke a little earlier about some one million acres that the Farm Credit Corporation owns right now, shall we call it a reluctant owner of one million acres or so, I was not surprised at that figure because I had heard it many times. As the hon. member will know I have a large agricultural constituency as well. What I did not know was that 85 per cent of that land was in his own province of Saskatchewan.

There is a very sad message in that. That message I believe is the following, that for those areas of the country which depend on cash crops the cash cropping business has been so bad over recent years that many farmers have unfortunately gone out of business and have lost their farms.

We all knew that, but in other parts of the country where supply managed agriculture is a more popular form of agriculture, for a whole variety of reasons fewer farms have ended up being foreclosed or otherwise getting into the Farm Credit Corporation's hands.

Private Members' Business

If that happens with the Farm Credit Corporation I am sure it is also true of other banking institutions as well. Banks have become owners of large tracts of land and of course they are reluctant owners. I am sure they would rather be doing the business of banking rather than owning farm land and they are reluctant owners there.

Where there are no instruments to ensure stability in the farming area, the absence of those instruments has made it such that there is a higher rate of failure in those particular sectors. That brings me to the following topic.

I want to speak briefly about supply managed agriculture in Canada. The hon. member across, a colleague from Alberta, will know of my strong attachment to supply managed agriculture. He and I participated in a series of international meetings only a few weeks ago at which we had some occasion to raise these issues with leaders of other nations. He will know that I have a strong attachment for that particular method of ensuring the stability of the agricultural sector.

I want to talk a little bit about an area that perhaps I am a little bit more familiar with than I am with other areas, the area of dairy farming. There are a large number of dairy farmers in the riding of Glengarry- Prescott-Russell.

There are some 33,000 dairy farms in Canada. They provide approximately 100,000 jobs in this country. Operating a dairy farm is no bed of roses. It is a very difficult industry but it is at least more stable than other areas of farming where there is no supply management or other tools to ensure stability of income.

What is interesting is that the Canadian dairy industry receives approximately $266 million from subsidies right now. If anyone thinks that is a large amount of money, as a percentage of income it is actually very small. Something like 7 per cent of what dairy farmers get is from subsidies.

In the United States where there is no such initiative as supply management as we know it for dairy farmers, $66 billion is spent annually on agricultural subsidies and 34 per cent of the revenue of a U.S. dairy farmer comes from governments. If anyone likes to say "why do quotas exist, why can they not just compete freely and it would be a lot cheaper", it depends on whose mathematics.

June 4, 1993

Private Members' Business

No one can tell me that $66 billion of U.S. agricultural subsidies indicate there is something efficient about that particular form of marketing or doing business there. Indeed I would argue that the reverse is true. With our system only 7 per cent of income to dairy farmers comes from governments. That is indeed far more efficient.

We all know that the price of milk in both countries is substantially the same. I know someone will phone me up tomorrow and say: "Mr. Boudria, we saw this on television. We want you to know that last week milk in Massena was selling for one-third less than it sells for in Cornwall".

Of course they forget to say that was a loss leader designed to get people to cross the border to do a little bit of cross-border shopping and has nothing to do with the average price of milk sold in that area because it is substantially similar. I enumerated statistics some months ago comparing Detroit, Windsor, Cornwall and Massena and a number of other border communities in both Canada and the United States.

I think I argued at that point, and quite successfully if I may be so presumptuous as to suggest, that the prices were essentially the same in both countries notwithstanding the fact that the Canadian dairy producers get very little direct assistance from government as opposed to what they do south of the border.

The difference is that the stability that exists in the system here has been good for the Canadian dairy industry.

That is why I support Canadian farmers and especially the marketing boards that want to preserve supply management systems in Canada, including my own province, Ontario, for dairy farmers.

I must say today that I am very concerned. This may be my last chance to make a speech in the House before the election. Next week the House will probably adjourn and is not expected to come back. Those members who are re-elected by their constituents some time next fall will come back.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell for sending me

to this, the highest court in the land, as their elected representative.

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, we are nearing the end of this session and the GATT negotiations are continuing. I must say that I am concerned about the future of supply management. A few weeks ago I had a chance to talk to the delegates and presidents of Venezuela and Colombia, both members of GATT. I must say that neither country supports our position on supply management. I know the government keeps saying it wants to preserve article XI of GATT, which allows us to have supply management, but I am not at all convinced that the other countries support us in this.

In the event that I do not have an opportunity to speak again in this Parliament, it is only a week from its adjournment, I know that you, Sir, may not be a candidate for office. I am going to take this opportunity to indicate to you, Mr. Speaker, my strong and sincere best wishes on whatever future plans you have.

I have particular affection for this particular Speaker. He was a member when I was on staff on Parliament Hill many years ago.

I do wish for you, Sir, that the future will bring many good things to you.

I also take this opportunity to say to my colleagues in this House in all parties how much I have enjoyed working with them. Of course it may not be a surprise to hear me say that I hope I am back to discuss issues again in this Chamber with many of the members who will be re-elected and new ones who will be coming in. It may not shock anyone to hear that I hope many of those new ones will be of my political affiliation.

Perhaps the day will come soon when I will have the opportunity to address the Speaker from the other side of the House. I hope that opportunity does come soon because I have been in opposition for many years.

With that I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, and say to all my colleagues and our staff here in the Chamber how much I have enjoyed being a member for all these years.

I do hope I am back again to continue my work on behalf of my constituents.

i

June 4, 1993

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY FARM
Permalink
PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

I thank my hon. colleagues. I know one thing. When I leave here I will have a few black suits and I can always get myself a hat and be a taxi driver or a chauffeur.

There being no further members rising for debate, the time provided for consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired.

Private Members' Business

Pursuant to Standing Order 96(1), the order is dropped from the Order Paper.

It being four o'clock p.m., this House stands adjourned until Monday next at 11 o'clock a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   FAMILY FARM
Permalink

The House adjourned at 3.54 p.m.



Monday, June 7,1993


June 4, 1993