November 23, 2004

LIB

Alan Tonks

Liberal

Mr. Alan Tonks

Mr. Speaker, I wish to be recorded as being in favour of the motion.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act
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IND

Chuck Cadman

Independent

Mr. Chuck Cadman

Mr. Speaker, I will be opposing the motion.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act
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BQ

Michel Guimond

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Michel Guimond

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Earlier, I alluded to Bill C-7, but the Chair will know that Bloc Québécois members are in favour of the motion dealing with Bill C-21.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act
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The Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science and Technology.

(Bill referred to a committee)

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act
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The House resumed consideration of motion that Bill C-23, an act to establish the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development and to amend and repeal certain related Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.


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The Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-23.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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LIB

Karen Redman

Liberal

Hon. Karen Redman

Mr. Speaker, if the House would agree, I would propose that you seek unanimous consent that members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as having voted on the motion now before the House with Liberals voting in favour, except those members who would like to be registered as having voted otherwise.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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The Speaker

Is there unanimous to proceed in this way?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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CPC

Jay Hill

Conservative

Mr. Jay Hill

Mr. Speaker, members of the Conservative Party of Canada present this evening are in favour of the motion.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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BQ

Michel Guimond

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Michel Guimond

Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Québécois will vote against this motion.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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NDP

Yvon Godin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Yvon Godin

Mr. Speaker, the members of the NDP are in favour of the motion.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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IND

Chuck Cadman

Independent

Mr. Chuck Cadman

Mr. Speaker, I will be supporting the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division)

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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?

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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The Speaker

It being 6:22 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act
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BQ

Roger Gaudet

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Roger Gaudet (Montcalm, BQ)

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, in the current World Trade Organization negotiations, the government should not agree to any concession that might weaken collective marketing strategies or the supply management system.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to move the motion today, which reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House, in the current World Trade Organization negotiations, the government should not agree to any concession that might weaken collective marketing strategies or the supply management system.

This is the complete text of the motion. The Bloc Québécois will support the supply management system, and it hopes that all political parties in this House will do likewise.

The Supply Management Five, or SM5, is a coalition for a fair agricultural model. Its goal is to support the Canadian government in the WTO negotiations. A broad-based coalition supporting supply management was set up in July 2003. It is composed of agro-industrial partners, businesses, financial institutions, consumer associations, unions, municipal, provincial and federal elected officials, as well as individuals.

Its aim is to unite all persons and organizations who believe in a strong agricultural sector and a prosperous food industry in Quebec and Canada.

Supply management is the means by which dair, chicken, turkey, table egg and hatching egg producers set the best possible equilibrium between supply and demand for their products in Quebec and Canada.

Producers thus only produce the quantities of agricultural products necessary to satisfy Canadian needs and avoid producing surpluses that would then have to be disposed of at a loss.

This planning process, coupled with the control of imports and a mechanism that enables producers to negotiate jointly for a price based on the production cost, assures them of a stable and fairer income, without governmental subsidies.

Supply management is based on three pillars. The first pillar is production management. Agricultural producers undertake to provide the Canadian market with quality products in sufficient quantities, avoiding surpluses. Dairy, chicken, turkey, table egg and hatching egg producers each undertake to supply a share of the Canadian market.

The second pillar is import control. The government commits itself to limiting imported products to ensure Canadian market requirements are met by Canadian production. This needs to be watched carefully.

Take the example of butter oil. The Ontario processed ice cream industry wanted to stop using cream in the production of its ice cream in order to cut production costs. It had hoped to buy a mixture of U.S. milk by-products and sugar called butter oil as raw material.

The federal government gave in to the industry lobby and abandoned dairy farmers by declaring that butter oil was not a dairy product, which opened the border to imports. In five years, between 1997 and 2002, imports increased by 557% resulting in a $500 million loss for dairy farmers.

The same is true for cheese sticks. Since this product contains as much bread as cheese, the government declared that it was not a dairy product. It promised the WTO to allow a certain quantity to enter duty free but regularly issued supplementary permits. Each time, the Bloc Québécois expressed its opposition and the government reversed its decision, until the next time.

The third pillar is a pricing policy that covers production costs. The government also introduced mechanisms to enable producers to receive prices that guarantee reasonable returns and a decent living from their production, without subsidy.

Supply management is a fair agricultural model thatensures consumers a nutritious basket of high-quality products that are among the least expensive in the world.

Under the Canadian Dairy Commission Act, the CDC’s legislated objectives are:to provide efficient producers of milk and cream with the opportunity to obtain a fair return for their labour and investment; and to provide consumers of dairy products with a continuous and adequate supply of dairy products.

Dairy products are a good buy for Canadians. According to an AC Nielsen survey this summer of 83 stores in 10 Canadian and 10 American cities, Canadians paid 23.6% less than Americans for the same 25 dairy products.

This backed up the findings of a previous study. Canadian dairy producers have been carrying out surveys on a smaller scale since 1996, and these show that dairy products are a far better buy in Canada than in the United States.

According to a Statistics Canada spending report, Canadians spend under $12 a week on dairy products, less than it costs to go to the movies, buy a CD or park for one day in Ottawa.

What the dairy farmers get for their milk is just a drop in the milking pail. Even the tip we leave for our waiter, or the taxes added to our restaurant bill, are more than what the dairy producer gets for the products sold to the restaurant.

Supply management also introduces stability into the market, and contributes to the success of processing companies, which realize attractive earnings in Canada.

For example, according to a survey by Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche, in 2001, Canadian dairy processing plants realized a 21% return on shareholder equity. This same sub-sector was found in the same survey to rank in the leading group of the entire Canadian agri-food sector.

This sector does not cost public treasuries one cent. Dairy, table egg and hatching egg, chicken and turkey producers get no government income subsidies whatsoever.

It stabilizes producers' revenues and allows a better distribution of the consumer dollar among the various links in the food chain, from producer to retailer.

It promotes efficient and human-scale agriculture throughout Canada that respects resources and people.

Supply management thus helps create a stable and equitable economic environment that benefits every link in the food chain.

I would now like to speak about the WTO, whose goal is to create a free-flowing international commercial system by eliminating all obstacles to trade, from high customs tariffs to restrictions on the types of products that can be imported into a country. For example, the Europeans no longer want to import beef containing growth hormones or genetically engineered farm products, also called GMOs or genetically modified organisms.

During the last round of WTO negotiations, the Uruguay Round, the issue of agricultural products came up for the first time. The treaty nations agreed at that time to reduce the obstacles to trade in these products. They began to trade more freely and agreed to continue this process during future rounds of negotiations.

In Qatar in November 2001, the WTO member countries began the Doha Round of negotiations, which was expected to conclude by January 1, 2005. Agriculture is one of the principal issues in this round.

The proposals are now on the table and if they are accepted they will have a very serious impact on agriculture here, and especially on products that come under supply management.

Export subsidies offered by the great economic powers are largely responsible for the ridiculously low prices of some agricultural products on the world market.

Our governments in Canada and Quebec do not have the means to compete with the United States or European Union treasuries. The proposal now on the table would not completely eliminate these subsidies.

I would like to tell the House about a study by Daniel-Mercier Gouin. It was published in Le Devoir on November 16, 2004, and reads as follows:

Replacing supply management for dairy production in Quebec by income support to maintain producers' income approximately at its current level would cost the governments $600 million more every year, without any guarantee that consumer prices would not rise.

This is what Daniel Mercier Gouin, the director of the Groupe de recherche en économieet politique agricoles and a professor in the Department of the Agri-FoodEconomics and Consumer Sciences at Université Laval, concluded. This study was carried out for the Coalition pour un modèle agricole équitable, representing the five supply management sectors in Quebec, namely dairy, poultry (chicken and turkey) and eggs (table eggs and breeder eggs). The coalition has 7,000 members, including municipalities, businesses and various economic organizations. The party leaders in Quebec City and Ottawa also gave their support to this formula.

This 120-page study, presented yesterday morning with former Premier and coalition counsel Pierre Marc Johnson, Marcel Groleau, the president of the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec (FPLQ), and Serge Lefebvre, the president of the Fédération des producteurs d'oeufs de consommation du Québec, present, marks the launch of a new public awareness campaign in preparation for the negotiations at the WTO, scheduled to resume next spring.

There have been various modes of regulation.

The study consisted in analyzing the various regulation modes for the dairy sector in five countries, namely Canada, the United States, France and the Netherlands in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The professor found that, despite the Uruguay Round, safeguards at the borders remain high and interventionism is the rule to regulate dairy markets. For example, between 2002 and 2004, the United States paid $1.8 billion in direct subsidies. In Europe, quotas were imposed as part of a budget control process.

Whether it is in constant or absolute dollars, the study shows that the price paid to Canadian producers is stable and higher than the prices paid to their fellow producers in the other countries. Moreover, in those countries that have supply management (France, the Netherlands and Canada), prices paid by consumers increased less between 1981 and 2002 than in the other two countries. There is also this finding that Canadian producers are better protected, and that Canada is one of the countries where state support is the least significant. And producers are responsible for production surpluses.

Based on these findings, Mr. Gouin concludes that deregulating the Canadian dairy sector would not provide any guarantee of a benefit to consumers. Why then is there this widespread desire among WTO members to deregulate agricultural products? The answer is that this is part of a prevailing ideology to the effect that liberalizing the agricultural economy would result in significant gains. “It is an economic theory that does not stand the test of reality”, says Mr. Gouin.

Access to markets through tariff quotas is an effective means of promoting trade, while allowing the country to maintain programs such as supply management. If all countries were to put in place conditions that would provide clear access to the market though tariff quotas, the volume of agricultural and food products that could be traded in the world without being subjected to special tariffs would increase drastically.

Supply management or SM5 will not solve all agricultural problems. There are still the main crops, such as corn and wheat. Even the Prime Minister received a cow yesterday. Today, it was auctioned off for 18¢ a pound. This means less than $200, because the cow was not very heavy.

Therefore, we support supply management. This should not be negotiable. We should hold firmly to our position and defend it. I hope that all members of this House will support my motion.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   World Trade Organization
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BQ

André Bellavance

Bloc Québécois

Mr. André Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a question of my colleague. First, I would like to congratulate him on moving such a motion. This was a very important issue during the last election campaign. I myself come from a rural riding. The Arthabaska RCM, which is part of my riding, is the largest milk producer in Quebec. Consequently, this issue was very important and still is.

We deplore the Liberal government's failure to defend supply management as it should have. It is thanks to a motion such as the one moved by my colleague from Montcalm that we will succeed in getting things done.

I would like to ask him one thing, since he was a mayor and also a reeve in a rural region and is very familiar with this issue. How will this motion alleviate the concerns of our milk producers, who are under supply management?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   World Trade Organization
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BQ

Roger Gaudet

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Roger Gaudet

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

The answer is simple. They will have a guaranteed income. That means that subsidies the government has difficulty providing will not be there; they will have a guaranteed income. They will themselves be responsible for their surpluses.

In that case, it would be better for the government to negotiate properly at the WTO to ensure that these five sectors remain efficient and do not produce more than is necessary. Moreover, our government must not import to interfere with our products.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   World Trade Organization
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BQ

Louis Plamondon

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I too wish to congratulate my colleague from Montcalm on this fine initiative of putting forward a motion concerning the entire farming community in Quebec as well as Canada.

In his very sensible remarks, he provided a good background of the SM5. He clearly defined the SM5 movement, which started in Quebec. As we know, in the last election campaign, the current Prime Minister agreed to sign. So did the representative of the Conservative Party, as did every member of the Bloc Québécois. This commitment having been made, it is only a matter of having election commitments approved by the House.

This commitment proposed by our colleague would ensure that supply management is protected in WTO negotiations. I have a question for my hon. colleague however. I think that he left the door open when he answered the question of another member earlier.

As far as the supply management he is talking about is concerned, at present, the government is not implementing it fully. He mentioned that. The government is allowing butter oil. It has refused to get involved in the butter oil issue, and to implement supply management fully. And the Canadian representatives are always the ones granting a 5% allowance regarding the various supply management productions.

At the same time, does his motion not send the government a clear message not only to negotiate supply management properly, but also to implement it fully right away to show how important it is to us?

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   World Trade Organization
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BQ

Roger Gaudet

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Roger Gaudet

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is quite right. Given the current crisis in the agricultural community, I think that supply management is a good way to help the government and the producers make fair and equitable choices in the future, so that everyone can live within their means.

I find that very fair. Besides, this is the way to go. The government must make its support to supply management very visible.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   World Trade Organization
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November 23, 2004