October 12, 2004

CPC

Jay Hill

Conservative

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, CPC)

Mr. Chair, it is my pleasure to participate, albeit very succinctly, in the debate tonight. I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Crowfoot.

I want to pick up on some of the points that my hon. colleague from Malpeque just made. In his remarks he said that he would certainly like to see some cash in the hip pockets of our producers. That is something that we on this side of the House have been hollering about for 18 months. The program that was designed by bureaucrats for bureaucrats is not delivering the needed assistance to the farm gate. We have been saying this repeatedly for a year and a half.

It is more than a touch ironic to hear the hon. parliamentary secretary stand in his place and suggest that the Liberals too want to see some much needed cash reserves in the hip pockets of producers. I would argue that if that were true, the government would have found a mechanism or program designed by the producers to get that assistance to them a lot more readily than we have seen to date.

Earlier in his comments he said the government wanted to ensure that the design of this program was right. Speaking on behalf of the producers in Prince George—Peace River, we have heard over and over again, not only from members of the Conservative Party on this side of the House but from members of all parties, including his own party, the frustration from our producers on a daily basis.

It is hard not to be struck by a bit of déjà vu. In preparation for tonight I took a look at remarks that I had made back on February 3, 4 and 5, and a take note debate on February 13. I could read the same remarks word for word eight months later. The Liberals come up with these programs but the money does not get to where it is needed. The members representing the cabinet stand and say that they sure want to get that money out to producers because they know how bad they are hurting. Pardon me for being just a tad cynical.

In rising tonight the message I want to deliver, as I did in February, eight months ago, is the frustration that is at the farm gate. These are families that in some cases are second or third generation producers. They are on the verge of losing their farms, losing their ranches, and losing their feedlots through no fault of their own. This was not an issue of bad management. This was not an issue of them having spent their money unwisely. This is totally beyond their control.

The hon. member stands in this place and says that the government has done everything it can. People contact me in Prince George—Peace River who owe their livelihoods to this industry and point out to me that it is pretty strange that the government would not spend money on advertising, for example, in the United States, reaching out to consumer groups to suggest they are paying a bit too much for their beef and are getting an inferior product because we know that the best beef in the world is produced in Canada. The government would rather spend sponsorship money advertising Canada and Quebec instead of beef, lumber or whatever in the United States to put an end to this border closure.

The Liberals stand in their place and profess great sympathy for the industry and producers. When I talk about producers, I do not talk about Joe farmer. I talk about Joe farmer's family.

These are families that are hurting. It is children who are hurting. They are arriving home on the school bus and have to listen to their parents debating about how they are going to meet their monthly bills. There is real hurt, but to listen to the government we would never know it.

All I wanted to express tonight on behalf of my constituents is the frustration because they are not buying it any more that the government really cares. If the government really cared, it would have designed a program that worked, not try to funnel money through CAISP, and force provinces and producers into a program that it knows does not work.

As a past farmer of 20 years myself, I am fed up with governments that force-feed programs to producers and tell them that it knows what is best for them.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development), Lib.)

Mr. Chair, we can see vividly by that member's remarks why it is difficult to get anywhere on this issue because all we hear from the member is rhetoric.

Is the member saying that we should not consult the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and bring in programs with which it is in agreement? What is the member really saying?

I talked about the hurt that is in the industry. We know on this side of the House the hurt that is in industry and we are trying to do everything we can to overcome and compensate for that hurt. We are trying to build the industry, but the member stood up and all he gave us was rhetoric. I did not hear one positive suggestion from the member. A take note debate should be about putting forth alternatives and options on the table instead of the same old rhetoric that we got from that party when it was the Canadian Alliance.

The member has certainly not changed much since he has become a Tory. I would like to hear something positive out of him for a change.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

Jay Hill

Conservative

Mr. Jay Hill

Mr. Chair, I knew the member when he used to be the president of the NFU, if we want to talk about rhetoric. His rhetoric goes back a long way. He forgets some of the things he used to stand for, but since he became a Liberal somehow he does not stand for that any more. At least I stand for the same things no matter what my party is called. I stand for the same things today for which I used to stand. What about the member?

The member said nobody put anything forward. The new Conservative Party, even though it was only in existence for a few months, in February put forward a comprehensive plan of how to address the issue. We ran on it in the campaign. The Liberal Party did not have any plan. It did not have anything until it cobbled together something in September, foisted it on the industry, said it had consulted for the last seven months, and that was it. Problem solved. What a bunch of nonsense.

I would like to take this moment to pay tribute to the producers who are banding together at a time of great peril to their industry and making the best of a tough situation. I would be remiss if I did not mention a new organization called the Peace Country Tender Beef Co-op in my riding of Prince George--Peace River.

I know it is not unique. It is a group of producers who banded together in a spirit of co-operativeness that we saw really take off in the so-called dirty thirties, in the Great Depression. It is sad that the industry is being forced to do something similar. It is almost like we are reverting in time but good on the producers. I want to pay tribute to them in Dawson Creek and the South Peace River in my riding. They are springing up all across the land as people try to come together in a time of need and of great peril to their industry and livelihoods.

The $4.2 million slaughterhouse facility will obviously help to alleviate the severe lack of slaughter capacity. Many of my colleagues have talked about that. Our critic has talked about the fact that the $66 million program is simply not enough to address that, that we need far more from the government and yet when we bring up issues like this, we are criticized and told we only stand for rhetoric.

As I said, we had a plan in February. I would challenge the member to tell me where his plan was in February or in March, April and May. Where was it during the election campaign when all of us were asked about it at all candidate forums? We had our plan. We ran on it. We are still waiting for something substantive from the government. The best it can offer is a half-baked plan that it came up with in September.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

Kevin Sorenson

Conservative

Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, CPC)

Mr. Chair, again I rise tonight to debate probably the most important issue we have had to debate in some time. As my colleague has suggested, we have been debating this since last February, and since the summer of 2003.

I want to thank my colleague from Haldimand--Norfolk for sponsoring this take note debate tonight. The debate is a direct result of a government that has failed to recognize and provide a timely response to the crisis which has severely impacted the cattle industry and all agriculture as a whole. It is the government's failure to implement a program that adequately assists farmers and ranchers devastated by this BSE, a failure that has resulted in losses now estimated to be $2 billion to the primary producers and maybe up to $6 billion or even higher when we consider the agricultural sector, the trucking industries, the auction markets and others. It is a failure that has stakeholders disheartened and discouraged.

As we all know, the two isolated incidents of BSE caused the United States border to close on Canadian beef. To date that door remains closed to all live animals, again because of the government's failure. This closure is due not only but in great part to the soured relations between our two countries, years of neglect and blatant derogatory statements made about our southern neighbours. Now protectionist forces that have picked up the battle cry in the United States have continued to keep the border closed.

The Liberal government's overall approach to this very serious issue has been, realistically speaking, timid and tentative. It is time for the government to act. It must do everything in its power to amend those relations with the United States, and then to assure it and the world that more resources will be focused on the study of BSE and other related diseases. As many have suggested, we must assure the Americans that we will meet our testing targets by January 1 and that we will increase our tests on animals 30 months and older in time to come.

We have an integrated market with the United States, one that this country depends upon very heavily. We must therefore work toward immediately reopening the border to livestock under 30 months and not just for beef and cattle, but to others such as buffalo, camelids, goats and other animals that have never shown signs of BSE or like diseases.

We must develop protocols on acceptable rendering materials with an overview to cross-contaminations. We must develop protocols on the removal and handling of specific risk materials, and I will say that the provincial government has done this. We must develop continental risk assessment rules for minimal disease outbreaks. Right now we are tied to regulations for a country that is going through a BSE outbreak. We need to ensure that the protocols are different for countries with minimal risk. Although there have been some steps, we need to continue on in that direction. Right now we are being treated as if we have had a major BSE outbreak. There are many other countries with many more cases. We have talked about it tonight and we spoke about it last Thursday evening. I think it is a given that we recognize that we must increase slaughter capacity.

I remain very skeptical that the government's proposed $66 million loan loss reserve plan will really significantly help accomplish this. I base this scepticism on a number of people, even today, who have called me. Our member from Edmonton--Spruce Grove spoke about a group. Representatives contacted me as well today. They said that nobody really fully understood the process. When they tried to talk to the government, it seemed that even the bureaucrats did not understand exactly the process. Others have said that they could not get application forms for other parts of the program.

This program, although it has been announced, is not up and running, and it is not running to the degree it should be. Is the government on the right track? I am not sure. Maybe it is. I know one thing. There is such little action here that if people are sitting on any track, they are about to be run over. We have major difficulties when we move into a fall run and producers do not understand programs.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

Jay Hill

Conservative

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, CPC)

Madam Chair, I appreciated my colleague's remarks tonight. He put forward some good plans. I have heard some good proposals.

I have heard from constituents in my riding about the CAIS program. They are drawing comparisons now between it and the Income Tax Act. The Income Tax Act has become so convoluted, so big, so unrecognizable and so difficult to understand that even accountants cannot understand it. It is the same thing with the CAIS program.

That is why I said during my remarks that it seemed to me it was a program designed by bureaucrats for bureaucrats, which seems to work quite well when they do all their test models in Ottawa. However, when it comes out to the farm gate, it all falls apart somewhere between the ivory towers of Ottawa and the farm game.

How would my colleague see a program that would deliver the assistance to the producers in a timely manner, rather than this convoluted program that they have now? I have stacks of letters from producers in my riding who have tried their best to access this program. They cannot understand it. They have made repeated phone calls at huge expense to themselves over a period of weeks and months. They receive conflicting responses from the other end, depending on with which bureaucrat they talk. It seems to be a nightmare of ongoing frustration for them to try and access this program to get the paltry assistance the government has tried to filter down to them.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

Kevin Sorenson

Conservative

Mr. Kevin Sorenson

Madam Chair, again that member hits the nail on the head. There is a high level of frustration among the producers, the cow-calf operators, the ranchers and farmers. Whether it is all the government's fault or not, let us just back up. We used to have a program called NISA, net income stabilization account, and the government shut it down and began the CAIS program. Farmers, even in the last few months, have until next January to decide whether they will go into the CAIS program.

Now the government has come forward and has said that it will deliver a lot of the program through CAIS. The government should recognize that producers are questioning whether they will enter the CAIS program. I read in the House Thursday night a letter from a cow-calf producer in Endiang, Alberta in my constituency. The family went to the accountant who suggested they join the CAIS program. The family has lost huge equity in their farm and in their cattle herd. Now they are being told to take, I believe, $15,000 and put it into the CAIS program. Others have been told to take $20,000 or $25,000 and put it into the program. In the letter she said that the government simply did not get it. They have gone from earning $40,000 in the sale of bulls to $6,000. They have had to pay their insurance and their bills. They do not have $15,000 to put into an account and if they did, 10 other businesses are asking for payment.

Again, I am not sure the government fully recognizes the severity of what is happening in my province and across the country. It is coming up with programs that simply do not meet the needs of the producers. Certainly we have gone through and recognize the increase of capacity that is needed. Now we are moving into the fall run. We would expect that if we ask our ranchers and farmers to manage their farm as a business, that these programs would not come forward in the middle of our fall run of cattle.

Every auction mart is or should be busy at this time of the year. Farmers still do not understand this program. Are they going to hold 40% of their calves back and put it into the set-aside program? They do not know. What is the ear tag identification system all about? They do not know. They did not have the ability to be at our GEM 4-H Club the other night to hear the answers to those questions. They do not know and yet we are asking them to manage.

The government is known for knee-jerk reactions in a crisis. My producers are caught up in this, and the way the member expressed this is absolutely right. People are devastated. The industry is in crisis, and the government members are out looking for a camera to stand in front of so they can announce some big dollar program that nobody can access.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter

Madam Chair, I rise on a point of order. On procedure, I would take it in the exchange following a speech that the party on the other side should have the first opportunity to raise the question. That kind of soft lob and more of a speech that we had on that side is not the answer. I would have liked to ask why Japan and Korea closed their borders if the only reason the Americans closed theirs was because some backbencher said something. Let us get a life here. They go on with that a lot--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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?

The Acting Speaker

It is not a point of order. We will resume debate, the member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Rose-Marie Ur

Liberal

Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, Lib.)

Madam Chair, I am happy to have the opportunity to discuss the ongoing crisis facing the livestock industry in Canada. It is important to have an open, frank and factual debate on the current situation and to continue to discuss ways to help the industry.

Canadian farmers in all sectors are feeling the negative impact of BSE at this time. As the government and as the member of Parliament representing the riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, in which agriculture is a primary industry, it is our duty to take any and all possible steps to make sure this sector regains its position as a world leader in beef production. This government is here for our farmers and we will continue to act in the best interests of the industry.

The beef and livestock industries have changed drastically as a result of the BSE crisis, in both Canada and the United States. The once highly integrated single market with an invisible border has become a stone wall. Since beef products from both countries have been shut out of international markets, we need to work together to convince the international community that North American beef is safe.

North America is a highly integrated beef industry and has functioned as a single market with an invisible border. In the last five years, two-way trade totalled $13.6 billion for 7.3 million animals. Canada exports about half our total production to the United States and 97% of all live cattle imported to the United States come from Canada and Mexico.

Slowly, U.S. cattle producers and government officials are starting to realize that if they want countries such as Japan to open their borders to U.S. beef they first have to allow Canadian beef into their country. They cannot expect another country to open its borders when they themselves are keeping borders closed to Canadian livestock for the same reason.

We are still awaiting the United States department of agriculture's decision to clear the way for the U.S. border to reopen. In August, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in the U.S. passed a resolution urging American officials to work toward the normalization of beef trade in recognition that it is unlikely that a major importing nation will reopen borders to the United States until trade issues between Canada and the United States are resolved and their election is held.

The number one priority for all levels of government, industry and producers in Canada continues to be that of convincing the international community to completely reopen borders to Canadian beef and livestock. It has been extremely disappointing that the international community, including our neighbour to the south, is basing its continued border closure on politics and trade protectionism rather than proven science.

As members know, on July 18, 2003, new measures were introduced by Canada which required that specific risk materials be removed from cattle at slaughter. The effective date for these regulations was August 23, 2004. However, in federally registered establishments, a CFIA directive required SRM removal as of July 24, 2003. Since the infected cow found in Washington State, the United States has now taken similar action.

In order to help convince the international community that our beef is safe we are implementing additional measures to ensure that another BSE case is not discovered in Canada. On July 9, 2004, the Government of Canada announced the introduction of new animal feed restrictions to further strengthen Canada's safeguard against BSE. This measure will add an additional level of security to Canada's current feed ban, which has prohibited feeding cattle with ruminant materials, including SRMs, since 1997.

The government has been consulting extensively on a series of regulatory and policy enhancement options with the provinces, stakeholders and key trading partners since the case of BSE was reported in May 2003.

On September 28, 2004, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency released a detailed information paper outlining an array of potential regulatory enhancements the agency is considering. Interested groups have been invited to comment as quickly as possible. At the same time, the CFIA has been drafting a set of regulatory amendments to Canada's existing feed restrictions. It is anticipated that a proposed set of regulations will be published by the government in the fall of 2004 and implemented by the spring of 2005.

One of the possibilities being considered would see the elimination of SRMs from all feed. This would ensure that there is no cross-contamination between ruminant and non-ruminant feed. The removal of SRMs from all feed could be an expensive endeavour, but if it leads to reopening of international borders it would be worthwhile.

We do need to ensure that the potential economic impact of imposing this new regulation is not placed solely on the shoulders of livestock producers, who are already confronted with economic hardships. Far too often it is the primary producers who are most negatively impacted. For instance, the government program was designed to assist livestock producers but instead appeared to result in meat packers taking advantage of the situation and benefiting from the same.

To this day, I still do not know why my hon. colleagues from the official opposition refused to support the report of Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food to allow two meat packers that refused to provide the committee with their financial information to a forensic auditor to be fined $250,000 per day. I should note that the committee took the necessary steps to assure that all meat packers would have their privacy protected, and I certainly agree with that.

Without the financial information from the meat packers, we will never know how much they benefited from the federal government program. As a member of the agriculture committee under the 38th Parliament's first session, I will work to ensure that this issue is reviewed once again as well as ensure that federal programs are addressing the financial problems our primary producers are facing.

It is unknown when the international borders will completely reopen to Canadian livestock. Therefore, we need to find out why prices at the retail levels have not lowered despite the fact that cattle prices have been reduced drastically. We need to ensure that a fair share of the money that consumers are paying for the beef is getting back to the primary producers.

I would like to point out that without the continued support of the beef industry by Canadian consumers, the situation facing our primary producers would be considerably worse. Not too many countries could find a case of BSE and still have their beef consumption increase as much as 60% to 70%.

Far too often, primary producers do not receive their fair share of money for their finished product. This has to stop. Producers cannot afford to farm much longer if this continues. We need to ensure that any assistance provided by the government is getting into the hands of the primary producers, because they are the individuals most affected by this crisis.

If there is anything to be learned from the BSE crisis, it is that we need to expand our processing facilities in Canada and become less reliant on the United States. This is not to say that we completely shut our borders to the United States. Rather, we need to work to balance the amount of livestock we produce with the amount of processing facilities we have in Canada.

The U.S. livestock producers have suffered since the international borders have closed to their product, but certainly not to the extent our Canadian producers have. We produce approximately 60% to 70% more beef than we can consume, while the U.S. consumes all it produces. BSE is therefore not hurting them as much as it is us. If we had more processing facilities we would be able to continue to export the boxed beef products instead of having a backlog of close to a million excess cull cattle.

That is why the federal government recently announced a strategy to help the livestock industry reposition itself to ensure its long term viability. The plan is geared toward enabling sustainability of the industry through the following measures: by creating a loan loss reserve to facilitate the increase in domestic slaughter capacity for ruminants; by providing cash advances on CAIS for certain breeding animals and other ruminants until domestic capacity targets are reached; by introducing set-aside programs for feed and feeder animals to manage Canada's current oversupply of cattle; and by establishing additional technical experts to focus on strengthening relationships with regulatory agencies in export markets.

As export markets expand, the increased ruminant slaughter capacity in Canada will provide greater value added opportunities for the industry and will reduce its reliance on live animal exports.

CFIA is committed to streamlining the process for establishment reviews and the approvals of new plants under the Meat Inspection Act. As well, governments will examine existing regulatory processes to identify opportunities for streamlining in order to allow expansion or construction of facilities to begin sooner.

Despite the international standards set by the OIE, Canada was able to regain access to the United States, Mexico and Russia in just over 100 days as opposed to the recommended seven years. No other country--and I emphasize that--hit by mad cow disease has been able to reopen its borders so quickly.

This proves that the international community has confidence in the surveillance and testing we have in place and that the efforts by the federal and provincial governments, along with those of industry, have been more successful than those of most countries. We need to also revisit our international standards to ensure rules meet today's technical information.

To date, the federal government has committed $1.9 billion in assistance to the industry. We will continue to work with the industry and producers to find solutions to address their situation and ensure the viability of the beef and livestock industries.

I would like to say to the farmers and to all Canadians listening to this debate tonight that we will continue to do everything in our power to convince the United States and other countries to open their borders to our proven safe Canadian beef and livestock.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

Myron Thompson

Conservative

Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC)

Madam Chair, the member brought forward some very good points on a number of issues. One that attracted my attention and one which I am always anxious to hear the Liberals answer is this: what do they mean by and what do they suggest for value added? I know what I think value added means. I wonder if the member could explain that to me. I am not talking about more processing plants. We know we want to get more meat butchered and processed. What does value added mean? What other industries are she and other members of her party thinking of in terms of value added?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Rose-Marie Ur

Liberal

Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur

Madam Chair, as I stated in my speech, it is really important for all Canadians to recognize that this is not the industry coming to the government and to politicians asking for our opinion as to what we want it to do with its products or live animals. It has been proven that the stakeholders, the provincial governments and the federal politicians have come together and are all sitting at the same table to decide what is in the best interests of our livestock producers.

As I stated in my speech, we export 60% to 70% of our beef. Producers are indicating to us that they need to have other venues available to them, because we certainly cannot consume that amount of beef. They need to have the opportunity to access export markets once they have those various products available. They know what they want to do. It is not that we as politicians are dictating to them what they should be doing with their products.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Nepean—Carleton, CPC)

Madam Chair, I would like to thank the hon. member for her remarks and I would also like to note with delight the presence of five members of the Liberal caucus here, including the--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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?

The Assistant Deputy Chair

The hon. member for Peterborough on a point of order.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Peter Adams

Liberal

Hon. Peter Adams

Madam Chair, it is directly opposed to the Standing Orders to make a remark of that type, particularly when the member is here virtually by himself. I hope that you advise the member of that. I suspect he does not understand, but in regard to the fact that he is here on his own I understand he is very courageous in mentioning some of the numbers.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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?

The Assistant Deputy Chair

It is inappropriate for members on either side to point out the number of members in the House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

Pierre Poilievre

Conservative

Mr. Pierre Poilievre

Madam Chair, the parliamentary secretary pointed to his government's willingness to listen to the Canadian Cattlemen's Association's suggestions with respect to dealing with this crisis.

I would like the hon. member on the government side to discuss with me why it is that the government was reluctant to look at a temporary income tax deferral to help producers temporarily suffering with this crisis and why the government refused to look at tax averaging options to balance over a 10 year period. Why were we not able to balance over a 10 year period tax payments for those producers who have decided to exit the market?

Finally, could the hon. member talk to us a bit more about the government's plans to provide tax incentives that would help attract capital investment, venture capital, to increase slaughter capacity here in Canada?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Rose-Marie Ur

Liberal

Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur

Madam Chair, I will try to answer the greater portion of the member's questions. As I indicated earlier in my response to the previous question, the fact of the matter is that we have worked with provincial governments and with the industry in consultation to work on reopening the border with the United States, taking steps to increase slaughter space, introducing measures to sustain the cattle industry until capacity comes online, and expanding access to export markets. These were conclusions that were taken with the various premiers as well as the industry.

I had the great pleasure of meeting with the president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association this summer and he indicated to me that he was more than pleased with what came out in funding in the last program. He looked forward to continuing to work on this issue with the provinces as well as the federal government and the stakeholders. I think that when we have someone from the industry appreciating what has come down, they can go on beyond the one item tax deferral and look at the whole program, as the Canadian Cattlemen's Association indicated.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Wayne Easter

Liberal

Hon. Wayne Easter (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development), Lib.)

Madam Chair, I enjoyed my colleague's remarks. She is a longstanding member of the agriculture committee. She mentioned in her remarks the problem with getting to the bottom of the investigation. The committee was investigating where some of that money that was intended for the producers slid away to.

I believe there was an effort to try to look at the books of the packing industry. She mentioned that in her remarks and I wonder if she might expand on that. A member opposite in the Conservative Party refused the unanimous consent of the House to have that come about. Could she expand on that and explain to the producers exactly what happened?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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LIB

Rose-Marie Ur

Liberal

Mrs. Rose-Marie Ur

Madam Chair, the hon. parliamentary secretary is right. I am very pleased and proud to sit on the agriculture committee because agriculture is the largest industry in my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. Our committee for the most part leaves politics at the door and works very much in harmony on various issues.

On the BSE issue and regarding the meat packers, it appeared that we were coming to the House to obtain unanimous consent on that matter. When it came to the House, the official opposition would not go along with the motion put forward by the chair of the committee. Thus, it died on the floor.

I can quote from newspaper articles which say that meat packers are making 231% or 345% more money. That is highway robbery when our primary producers are getting nothing.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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CPC

October 12, 2004