F. Dale JOHNSTON

JOHNSTON, F. Dale

Personal Data

Party
Conservative
Constituency
Wetaskiwin (Alberta)
Birth Date
November 14, 1941
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_Johnston
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=c4415db6-a613-497f-8b0b-cc64d3647d04&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
REF
  Wetaskiwin (Alberta)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
REF
  Wetaskiwin (Alberta)
March 27, 2000 - October 22, 2000
CA
  Wetaskiwin (Alberta)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
CA
  Wetaskiwin (Alberta)
  • Whip of the Canadian Alliance (April 4, 2002 - January 1, 2004)
  • Chief Opposition Whip (April 4, 2002 - December 22, 2003)
  • Whip of the Conservative Party of Canada (January 9, 2004 - February 1, 2004)
  • Chief Opposition Whip (January 9, 2004 - February 1, 2004)
  • Whip of the Conservative Party of Canada (February 2, 2004 - July 21, 2004)
  • Chief Opposition Whip (February 2, 2004 - July 21, 2004)
December 23, 2003 - May 23, 2004
CPC
  Wetaskiwin (Alberta)
  • Whip of the Canadian Alliance (April 4, 2002 - January 1, 2004)
  • Whip of the Conservative Party of Canada (January 9, 2004 - February 1, 2004)
  • Chief Opposition Whip (January 9, 2004 - February 1, 2004)
  • Whip of the Conservative Party of Canada (February 2, 2004 - July 21, 2004)
  • Chief Opposition Whip (February 2, 2004 - July 21, 2004)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
CPC
  Wetaskiwin (Alberta)
  • Whip of the Conservative Party of Canada (February 2, 2004 - July 21, 2004)
  • Chief Opposition Whip (February 2, 2004 - July 21, 2004)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 122)


April 18, 2005

Mr. Dale Johnston

Madam Speaker, I see an opening. I really cannot speculate as to why the government would wait until the last day at the eleventh hour, other than to speculate perhaps that it just simply places a low priority on something like this, which is a tremendous mistake.

As I said in my comments, not only is agriculture in a financial crisis, but in the west we suffered through a drought for the last four years when we just barely got by, fortunately not so far this year. Members will recall the hay west initiative that started in this part of the country where hay was shipped out west to us. It was very unusual thing, but it was a very neighbourly gesture. It is the kind of thing one would expect a farmer to do for a farmer. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Ontarians.

However, we are completely underwhelmed by the performance of the government when it comes to agriculture. I have been asked to speculate and I can only speculate it is because the Liberals place such a low priority on this. To put this into perspective, imagine farmers with herds of cattle and land bases. They can put up enough feed to keep the cattle through the winter and enough pasture to keep the cattle through the summer. Then they are faced with several years of drought where their feed supplies dwindle off and they should be selling off the cattle, but the cannot because there is no market for them. Can we think of a worse situation than that? I cannot think of a worse situation for any business to be in.

It is like being in the shoe business in a community of people who have no feet. That is exactly the kind of situation in which they are. There is no market and there is no feed for the cattle. Every year there are more cattle because they cannot be sold.

For some years now we have been trying to get this message across to the government that there is a crisis in agriculture because of the BSE, the low commodity prices, the drought and the high debt load. If farmers cannot sell their product, they have to borrow money. Now the banks will not loan the money.

Why has the government not dealt with this sooner? I am at a total loss as to any logical reason why it would wait so long and leave this until the last minute. The only thing I can think of is that it does not place much priority on the western Canadian farmer.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Grain Act
Full View Permalink

April 18, 2005

Mr. Dale Johnston

As my colleague from Yellowhead says, it is not a joke. If people try to set their kids up in farming, what they do is saddle them with huge debt. They pay exorbitant prices with the taxation on fuels. They pay exorbitant prices for their machinery with the taxes and excise taxes, all that goes with buying machinery. They have very little expectation for profit. They can do almost anything else. They can train to become tradespeople and make many times more money and work far fewer hours.

My reason to speak to the bill today is to give my grudging support to it, but also to draw attention to the fact that agriculture has been and always will be the backbone of the country. Certainly we have manufacturing and service jobs and all the jobs in the information, tourism and energy sectors. Those jobs are all important, but without agriculture those people will go hungry. There is another old expression that says, “If you ate today, thank a farmer”. That is an absolute truth.

We have been neglecting the farm community far too long and have not placed high enough priority on its needs. We should be searching out markets for farm products. We should be helping to secure capital at least for individuals who want to set up packing plants, have good business plans and secure markets in other countries of the world. We should be helping people to realize that goal so they can kill off some of the old cattle that are plugging up our system and piling up more and more all the time. There are markets all over the world. It is a hungry world. People want beef and are willing to pay for it. We need an opportunity to realize that processing and packaging.

As my friend referred to earlier, we feel as though we are hewers of wood and drawers of water. To me that means we put everything in its most primal form and that is the wrong thing to do. When we ship raw product off our borders, we send jobs along with that product. There should be more processing in Canada. We should have more pasta and packing plants for beef.

Those markets are out there. All we need to do is have the packing and the processing capabilities of doing that. We need a farmer-friendly government to help that happen. We do not need its subsidies and we do not want to have it saying, “Check the mailbox because that is how you make your living”. They do not want to make their livings by checking the mailbox. They want to make their livings by a reasonable expectation of profits. I could go on and on.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Grain Act
Full View Permalink

April 18, 2005

Mr. Dale Johnston (Wetaskiwin, CPC)

Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to the comments of my colleague from Yorkton—Melville. Certainly he knows whereof he speaks, because he is also in the agriculture business himself.

I realize this is a bit of a loaded question, but what relation does he see between the fact that this particular bill has not been dealt with before now and the fact that there is a great feeling of alienation in the west and particularly in his area? How does he relate the two?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada Grain Act
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April 11, 2005

Mr. Dale Johnston (Wetaskiwin, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today from constituents in my riding with regard to marriage. The petitioners pray that Parliament pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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April 11, 2005

Mr. Dale Johnston (Wetaskiwin, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I am sure members will be familiar with the farm aid concerts organized by Willie Nelson to raise money for cash-strapped farm families in the United States.

He got the idea from the original band-aid concerts where British and American rock stars banded together to help starving people in Africa. Perhaps that is where the Minister of Agriculture got his idea of how to deal with the Canadian agricultural crisis.

So far he has applied liberal amounts of band-aids across the land and done nothing to secure foreign markets for Canadian agriculture commodities and beef in particular. The agriculture industry is so plastered with band-aids that farmers look and feel like the walking wounded.

The role of government is to show leadership and to actively promote Canadians and their products.

The minister must act in the best interest of Canadian farmers instead of just plastering Liberal band-aids on Canada's farm crisis. He should know that band-aids may stop the bleeding but they do not cure the ailment. A long term solution is far past due.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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