Gordon O'CONNOR

O'CONNOR, The Hon. Gordon, P.C., B.A. , B.Sc.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative
Constituency
Carleton--Mississippi Mills (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 18, 1939
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_O'Connor
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=84b1612a-384e-4a19-8425-3ddbe9d7d1e4&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
consultant

Parliamentary Career

June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
CPC
  Carleton--Lanark (Ontario)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
CPC
  Carleton--Mississippi Mills (Ontario)
  • Minister of National Defence (February 6, 2006 - August 13, 2007)
  • Minister of National Revenue (August 14, 2007 - October 29, 2008)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
CPC
  Carleton--Mississippi Mills (Ontario)
  • Minister of National Revenue (August 14, 2007 - October 29, 2008)
  • Chief Government Whip (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)
  • Minister of State and Chief Government Whip (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)
  • Whip of the Conservative Party of Canada (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)
May 2, 2011 - August 2, 2015
CPC
  Carleton--Mississippi Mills (Ontario)
  • Chief Government Whip (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)
  • Minister of State and Chief Government Whip (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)
  • Whip of the Conservative Party of Canada (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)
May 2, 2011 -
CPC
  Carleton--Mississippi Mills (Ontario)
  • Chief Government Whip (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)
  • Minister of State and Chief Government Whip (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)
  • Whip of the Conservative Party of Canada (October 30, 2008 - July 14, 2013)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 270 of 271)


October 18, 2004

Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, as finance minister, took over $20 billion from the military.

We now have the unconscionable situation where the government is considering taking between $300 million and $800 million from the underfunded forces.

The revenue minister, who is in charge of this activity, said when he was Minister of National Defence that the forces need more money simply to keep operating.

Will the Minister of National Revenue provide the House with a justification now for taking money from the cash strapped forces?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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October 12, 2004

Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC)

Mr. Chair, on my first opportunity to speak in the House of Commons, I would like to sincerely thank the voters of Carleton—Mississippi Mills for electing me as their member of Parliament.

My riding faces two large crises, unemployed technology workers and BSE. I find it appropriate that I have the chance to speak tonight on one of these crises.

BSE is a national issue. I point out that Ontario is home to 8.3% of the national herd and makes up 21.2% of all fed cattle production in the country. The beef industry is significant to the Ontario economy. Prior to BSE, beef was Ontario's second largest commodity in terms of annual farm gate receipts, with an annual value of $1.2 billion.

Beef exports from Ontario to the U.S.A. in 2002 were valued at $354 million in live cattle and an additional $292 million in beef product. As of June 2004, losses to Ontario's 21,000 beef farmers has reached more than $200 million. Ontario's 4,200 sheep producers have lost about $4.3 million in export sales, while Ontario's 5,400 dairy farmers estimate their loss at a minimum of $50 million.

I mentioned earlier that Ontario beef makes up 8.3% of the national herd, which translates to roughly 415,000 head of cattle. In a normal year of trade, my riding of Carleton—Mississippi Mills contributes approximately 35,000.

Rough calculations estimate that the BSE crisis has cost agribusiness in my riding somewhere in the neighbourhood of $10 million since the crisis began. If this were not bad enough, farmers in Ontario, particularly beef farmers, will soon face a double whammy. Adding to their troubles is the cost of complying with the Ontario nutrient management act, effective July 1, 2005.

The rural communities in Carleton—Mississippi Mills have grown tired of phantom money, bad policy and waiting for the U.S. border to be opened. They have started taking matters into their own hands with what they call the rural revolution.

The Lanark Landowners Association is a grassroots group that sees government policy, both federal and provincial, as intrusive, corrupt and discriminating against the multigenerational family farm.

To raise awareness of the high cost of beef in the supermarket, and subsequent profit is not making its way to producers, the LLA is staging “Here's our Beef” food strikes, where it sells beef directly to the consumers for a price reflective of the true cost of beef, $1.99 a pound.

I applaud the efforts of the LLA for raising awareness about the inflated price of beef, but the elected officials in the House, namely the Liberal government, need to do more if they do not want to see the ruination of the beef industry in this country.

Based on conversations with producers in my riding over the past several months, I have a few recommendations on what could be done to help the industry right now.

I understand the new Liberal program calls for increased slaughter capacity. I encourage the government to include in its plan a strategy for dealing with the need for increased slaughter capacity in Ontario beyond the current limited monopoly.

While the government deals with the problem of increasing slaughter capacity by building new facilities, it should be concerned about the ownership of current facilities. For example, American owned Cargill recently purchased Caravelle Foods, the provider of beef for the McDonald's chain in Canada. There are also suspicions that Levinoff Meat Products will also be on the block to an American buyer.

As it stands, the overall Canadian beef industry is threatened by the possibility of large monopolies dominating our market.

To quote the Dairy Farmers of Canada, "Tthousands of farm families saw the price that they normally received for older animals destined for the meat market plummet by 70%". While the government's efforts to assist producers are encouraged, the latest package does not address the economic situation confronting dairy producers.

Not only are cull cows fetching a mere fraction of their worth, they are now depressing the beef market in general. To compound the problem, rather than accepting pennies for these animals, farmers are holding back cull cows that would normally sell, creating a glut in the market. These animals must be removed from the system.

Why does the government not offer a plan to purchase excess animals for use at federal institutions such as penitentiaries, government cafeterias and the Canadian Forces instead of allowing them to import beef from Uruguay, the United States and Brazil?

Many in the beef industry believe that the U.S. border will not open to Canadian beef until the Japanese lift their ban on U.S. beef. As one might suspect, President Bush is working hard to get the Japanese border opened before November.

What is Canada doing to facilitate a market for Canadian beef with Japan? We know that Japan and South Korea have already indicated that they will accept Canadian beef exports, provided all animals are screened for BSE. Why then is the government not considering this option seriously? There are a number of financially feasible options for private BSE testing and as science advances, these costs should be expected to lessen. In fact, with funding from the B.C. cancer agency and Genome Canada, the U.S. department of agriculture is mapping bovine DNA and is bringing us that much closer to understanding mad cow disease as well as accurate and inexpensive screening.

By testing all animals we would be proving to the world what we already know, that Canadian beef is the safest in the world, and at the same time building ourselves an alternative market for our beef. Then should the U.S. border finally open, we would be able to sell our beef at a premium.

Should this beef crisis continue in the same vein, we are at a risk of losing family run beef operations across the country. I encourage the government to take note of the importance of this industry to the Canadian economy and take all the necessary actions that will assist producers to overcome this crisis.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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October 12, 2004

Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I interpret that the minister is telling us that all the appropriate training was provided.

However we have the statement of a senior officer involved in the submarine service and the DND chief of review services report that says that program delays adversely impacted training.

Will the Minister of National Defence acknowledge that shortcuts in training were taken to meet the expediency of the government?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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October 12, 2004

Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, there are reports that pressure on funds and artificial delivery deadlines forced the department to cut corners with respect to submarine training. A former submarine commander referred to the training program as the great dolphin giveaway. He said that there was a shortage of candidates and that sailors were awarded qualifications without completing their training.

Will the Minister of National Defence confirm that the required number of personnel were trained for the submarine service and that all were provided with all the approved training?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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October 8, 2004

Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, during the last election the Prime Minister dismissed the need for substantial investment in defence. This ongoing attitude toward the military is seen in the mismanagement and underfunding of a range of defence capabilities. The most recent example is the sad state of our submarine fleet, which has unresolved fleet-wide problems.

Will the Minister of National Defence assure the House that until he knows that the electrical fire problem does not apply to all submarines, the safety of the crews will be paramount and the fleet will stay in port?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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