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37th Parliament, 1st Session

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 032

CONTENTS

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

. 1000

VPRIVILEGE
VMember for Edmonton-Strathcona
VMr. Rahim Jaffer

. 1005

VMr. Derek Lee

. 1010

VRight Hon. Joe Clark
VROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
VGOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS
VMr. Derek Lee
VCOMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE
VAboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural
VMs. Nancy Karetak-Lindell
VNational Defence and Veterans Affairs
VMr. David Pratt
VCANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ACT
VBill C-14. Introduction and first reading
VHon. David Anderson
VCANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ACT
VBill C-305. Introduction and first reading
VMr. Stan Keyes

. 1015

VBROADCASTING ACT AND INCOME TAX ACT
VBill C-306. Introduction and first reading
VMs. Caroline St-Hilaire
VPETITIONS
VMining Industry
VMr. Guy St-Julien
VCanada Post
VMr. Dale Johnston
VViolence
VMr. John Cummins
VCanada Post
VMr. Howard Hilstrom
VTransportation
VMr. Peter Adams

. 1020

VForeign Affairs
VMr. Peter Adams
VQUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
VMr. Derek Lee
VREQUEST FOR EMERGENCY DEBATE
VAgriculture
VMr. Peter MacKay
VThe Speaker
VBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
VThe Speaker
VGOVERNMENT ORDERS

. 1025

VSUPPLY
VAllotted Day—Agriculture
VMr. Stockwell Day
VMotion
VHon. Don Boudria

. 1030

VMr. Chuck Strahl

. 1035

VMr. Peter MacKay

. 1040

VThe Speaker
VMr. Stockwell Day

. 1045

. 1050

. 1055

VMr. Dick Proctor
VMr. Roy Bailey
VMr. John Williams
VMr. Howard Hilstrom

. 1100

. 1105

. 1110

VAmendment
VMr. Rick Borotsik

. 1115

VMr. Dick Proctor
VHon. Lyle Vanclief

. 1120

. 1125

VMr. Howard Hilstrom

. 1130

VMr. Rick Borotsik
VMr. Dennis Mills

. 1135

. 1140

VMr. Roy Bailey

. 1145

VMr. Howard Hilstrom
VMr. Rick Borotsik

. 1150

VMr. Dick Proctor

. 1155

. 1200

. 1205

. 1210

VRight Hon. Joe Clark

. 1215

. 1220

VMr. Rick Borotsik
VMr. Dennis Mills

. 1225

VMr. Peter MacKay
VMr. Rick Borotsik

. 1230

. 1235

VMr. Roy Bailey

. 1240

VMr. Peter Stoffer
VMrs. Suzanne Tremblay

. 1245

. 1250

. 1255

. 1300

VMr. David Anderson

. 1305

. 1310

VMs. Cheryl Gallant

. 1315

. 1320

VMr. Mac Harb
VMr. Mac Harb

. 1325

. 1330

VMr. Ken Epp

. 1335

VMr. Gar Knutson

. 1340

. 1345

VMr. Rick Casson

. 1350

VMr. Brian Fitzpatrick
VMr. Rick Casson

. 1355

VSTATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
VSPINAL CORD RESEARCH
VMr. David Pratt

. 1400

VFOREIGN AFFAIRS
VMr. James Moore
VBASKETBALL
VMr. Geoff Regan
VPOTATO INDUSTRY
VMr. Joe McGuire
VORGANIZED CRIME
VMr. Tony Tirabassi
VHOCKEY
VMs. Carol Skelton

. 1405

VORGANIZED CRIME
VMr. Jacques Saada
VJOURNÉE INTERNATIONALE DE LA FRANCOPHONIE
VMr. Benoît Sauvageau
VRADIO JEUNESSE
VMs. Diane St-Jacques
VAGRICULTURE
VMs. Cheryl Gallant
VJOURNÉE INTERNATIONALE DE LA FRANCOPHONIE
VMr. Bernard Patry

. 1410

VCANADA-FRANCE INTERPARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION
VMr. Yvon Charbonneau
VAIRPORTS
VMr. Norman Doyle
VSUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
VMr. Svend Robinson
VCANADIAN POLICE ASSOCIATION
VMr. Michel Bellehumeur
VGREG GATENBY
VMs. Sarmite Bulte

. 1415

VAGRICULTURE
VMr. Gerry Ritz
VORAL QUESTION PERIOD
VTHE ECONOMY
VMr. Stockwell Day
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Stockwell Day
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Stockwell Day

. 1420

VRight Hon. Jean Chrétien
VMr. Jason Kenney
VHon. Paul Martin
VMr. Jason Kenney
VHon. Paul Martin
VAUBERGE GRAND-MÈRE
VMr. Gilles Duceppe
VRight Hon. Jean Chrétien
VMr. Gilles Duceppe
VHon. Brian Tobin

. 1425

VMr. Michel Gauthier
VHon. Brian Tobin
VMr. Michel Gauthier
VHon. Brian Tobin
VSUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
VMs. Alexa McDonough
VRight Hon. Jean Chrétien
VMs. Alexa McDonough
VRight Hon. Jean Chrétien

. 1430

VETHICS COUNSELLOR
VRight Hon. Joe Clark
VHon. Brian Tobin
VTRADE
VRight Hon. Joe Clark
VRight Hon. Jean Chrétien
VORGANIZED CRIME
VMr. Vic Toews
VHon. Anne McLellan
VMr. Vic Toews
VHon. Lawrence MacAulay
VLUMBER
VMr. Pierre Paquette

. 1435

VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VMr. Pierre Paquette
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VJUSTICE
VMr. Randy White
VHon. Lawrence MacAulay
VMr. Randy White
VHon. Lawrence MacAulay
VSUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
VMrs. Suzanne Tremblay
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew

. 1440

VMrs. Suzanne Tremblay
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VLUMBER
VMr. Gary Lunn
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VMr. Gary Lunn
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VOFFICIAL LANGUAGES COMMUNITIES
VMr. Mauril Bélanger
VRight Hon. Jean Chrétien

. 1445

VTRADE
VMs. Judy Wasylycia-Leis
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VFOREIGN AFFAIRS
VMr. Svend Robinson
VHon. David Kilgour
VEMPLOYMENT
VMr. Loyola Hearn
VHon. Jane Stewart
VMr. Loyola Hearn
VHon. Jane Stewart

. 1450

VAGRICULTURE
VMr. Howard Hilstrom
VRight Hon. Jean Chrétien
VMr. Howard Hilstrom
VRight Hon. Jean Chrétien
VCOLOMBIA
VMs. Francine Lalonde
VHon. David Kilgour
VMs. Francine Lalonde
VHon. David Kilgour

. 1455

VAGRICULTURE
VMr. Larry Spencer
VHon. Lyle Vanclief
VMr. Larry Spencer
VHon. Lyle Vanclief
VTHE ENVIRONMENT
VMr. Larry Bagnell
VHon. Pierre Pettigrew
VAGRICULTURE
VMr. David Anderson
VHon. Lyle Vanclief

. 1500

VMr. David Anderson
VHon. Lyle Vanclief
VNATIONAL DEFENCE
VMr. Claude Bachand
VHon. Art Eggleton
VPRESENCE IN GALLERY
VThe Speaker

. 1505

VBUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
VMotion
VHon. Don Boudria
VPOINTS OF ORDER
VOfficial Report
VMr. Michel Gauthier
VThe Speaker

. 1510

VGOVERNMENT ORDERS
VSUPPLY
VAllotted Day—Agriculture
VMotion
VMr. Rick Casson

. 1515

VMr. Larry Bagnell
VMr. Leon Benoit

. 1520

VMr. Scott Reid

. 1525

. 1530

VMr. Larry McCormick
VMr. Larry Spencer

. 1535

VMr. Larry McCormick

. 1540

. 1545

VMr. Garry Breitkreuz
VMr. Howard Hilstrom

. 1550

VMr. Bob Speller

. 1555

. 1600

VMr. Howard Hilstrom

. 1605

VMr. Garry Breitkreuz
VMr. Garry Breitkreuz

. 1610

. 1615

VMr. Wayne Easter

. 1620

VMr. Larry Bagnell
VMr. Howard Hilstrom
VMs. Carol Skelton

. 1625

. 1630

VMr. Wayne Easter

. 1635

. 1640

VMr. Garry Breitkreuz

. 1645

VMr. Steve Mahoney

. 1650

. 1655

VMr. Jay Hill

. 1700

VMr. Gerry Ritz

. 1705

VMr. Dennis Mills

. 1710

VMr. Kevin Sorenson

. 1715

VDivision on amendment deferred
VAllotted Day—Lumber

. 1750

(Division 18)

VAmendment agreed to

(Division 19)

VMotion agreed to
VAllotted Day—Agriculture
VMotion

(Division 20)

VAmendment negatived

. 1805

(Division 21)

VMotion negatived
VSUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES (A)
VConcurrence in Vote 15a—Public Works and Government
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 1

(Division 22)

VMotion No. 1 agreed to
VConcurrence in Vote 1a—Foreign Affairs and International
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 6

(Division 27)

VConcurrence in Vote 5a—Foreign Affairs and International
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 7

(Division 28)

VConcurrence in Vote 10a—Foreign Affairs and International
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 8

(Division 29)

VConcurrence in Vote 1a—Canadian Heritage
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 9

(Division 30)

VConcurrence in Vote 5a—Canadian Heritage
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 10

(Division 31)

VConcurrence in Vote 1a—Privy Council
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 11

(Division 32)

VMotions Nos. 6 to 11 inclusive agreed to
VConcurrence in Vote 1a—Justice
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 2

(Division 23)

VConcurrence in Vote 5a—Justice
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 3

(Division 24)

VConcurrence in Vote 5a—Indian Affairs and Northern
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 4

(Division 25)

VConcurrence in Vote 15a—Indian Affairs and Northern
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion No. 5

(Division 26)

VMotions Nos. 2 to 5 inclusive agreed to
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion for concurrence

. 1810

(Division 33)

VMotion agreed to
VBill C-20. First reading
VBill C-20. Second reading
VMr. John Williams
VMotion for concurrence
VBill C-20. Third reading
V(Motion agreed to)
VINTERIM SUPPLY
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VMotion for concurrence

. 1815

VBill C-21. First reading
VHon. Lucienne Robillard
VBill C-21. Second reading
VMotion agreed to
VMr. John Williams
VBill C-21. Motion for concurrence

. 1820

VThird reading
VSPECIES AT RISK ACT
VBill C-5. Second reading

. 1830

(Division 34)

V(Motion agreed to)
VWAYS AND MEANS
VIncome Tax Act
VMotion for concurrence

(Division 35)

VMotion agreed to
VPOINTS OF ORDER
VTabling of document
VHon. Brian Tobin

. 1835

VPRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
VBLOOD SAMPLES ACT
VBill C-217. Second reading
VMr. Chuck Strahl

. 1840

. 1845

. 1850

. 1855

VMr. John Maloney

. 1900

VMr. Réal Ménard

. 1905

. 1910

VMr. Peter MacKay

. 1915

. 1920

VMr. Grant Hill

. 1925

. 1930

VMr. Steve Mahoney

. 1935

(Official Version)

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 032


HOUSE OF COMMONS

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

The House met at 10 a.m.



Prayers


 

. 1000 +

[English]

PRIVILEGE

MEMBER FOR EDMONTON-STRATHCONA

Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I have been doing a lot of soul-searching over the past three days and would like to share my thoughts.

I came to Canada as a baby, fleeing Idi Amin's Uganda in the arms of my parents. It was their dream to live in a great and free democracy. Canada is their promised land.

Four years ago, I became the first Muslim elected to Canada's parliament and one of the first refugees. I am very proud of this honour, not just to be chosen by the people of Edmonton—Strathcona and not just to serve in this great institution, but because I knew that my being elected as an MP was the last milestone in my family's road from tyranny to freedom, the final destination in my people's journey from being refugees who belong nowhere to being full citizens of Canada, the greatest country in the world.

That is why the events of the last few days have been so hurtful.

On Saturday, my partner and I opened up a new business, a cafe that employs a dozen young people in the heart of Edmonton. However my assistant had booked me on a radio show at the same time. He tried to call me at the cafe to let me know when I was to appear on the show but he could not reach me. With only a few minutes left until air time, he panicked and did the radio interview himself pretending to be me without my knowledge or consent.

It was a bad decision, an error in judgment, made in the stress of the moment. It has never happened before and it will never happen again. It was wrong.

Right after the show, my assistant drove to the cafe and told me what he had done. Shortly after that, the radio station phoned me and asked me about the interview. At first I covered for my assistant, a man who has competently and loyally worked for me and our constituency from the beginning. I told the producer that it was actually me on the radio. I lied.

 

. 1005 + -

It was wrong for my assistant to appear on the radio claiming to be me and it was wrong for me to cover that up.

My assistant and I have since telephoned the show to apologize and my assistant has resigned. He is sorry for pretending to be me. I am sorry for trying to gloss over his error.

I have already apologized to Peter Warren, the host of the show, and to all of his listeners across Canada. Today, Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer to you, as the Speaker of this legislature and my friend, my apologies for not living up to the standards of the House.

To my fellow MPs, I offer my regrets for not living up to their standards of integrity. I apologize for embarrassing them. I pledge my loyalty again to my leader and the whip, who have dealt with me firmly, yet compassionately.

To the people of Edmonton—Strathcona, I offer my sincere apologies for my momentary lapse in judgment. It has been a unique honour to work for my constituents in parliament and to serve them in the riding. I hope they will continue to look at me and judge me by the sum of my words and deeds and not by this one error.

More than anyone, I want to address my parents, Nizar and Razia Jaffer, who have been hurt the most by my mistake. For 30 years they have put their own interests and wishes aside to give everything they had to my brother and me. I would not have been able to get here to Canada without them. I would not have been able to get to parliament without them. All of my achievements have been because of their love and devotion. I am sorry I let them down. More than anything, that has hurt these last few days.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to clear the air. Let me close by pledging to continue doing in years ahead what I have done for the past four years, to serve the people of Edmonton—Strathcona as best I can and, just as important, to live up to my parents' example as best I can.

The Speaker: I am sure all hon. members appreciate the kind words of the hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona. I am sure that his parents and his electors will be very proud of him.

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not want to be seen or in any way derogate from the rather complete and forthright way in which this matter has been dealt with by the hon. member, but it occurs to me that in the facts as I have heard them there was a decision and an act by another individual, the staffer of the hon. member, who made a decision to do something which I believe would be contrary to the rules of the House and could constitute and be seen as contempt.

I would suggest that although there is probably a will to put closure to this, it having been addressed well by the hon. member, it seems to me that the staffer involved should be providing a written apology to the House for the actions or decisions that he made, if I have understood the facts properly.

It would be my view that the matter should not close until that individual has acknowledged the error that he appears to have made. I would like to suggest that an apology should come from that person.

In any event, I wanted that to show on the record, having heard all of the facts. Again I do not want it to derogate at all from the rather fulsome and complete way that the hon. member has dealt with this today.

 

. 1010 + -

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC): Mr. Speaker, I think it is time to put closure to this.

The Speaker: I agree.



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[English]

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PETITIONS

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to five petitions.

*  *  *

COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS, NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources relating to Bill C-4, an act to establish a foundation to fund sustainable development technology. It was agreed on Thursday, March 15, 2001 to report it with amendments.

NATIONAL DEFENCE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

Mr. David Pratt (Nepean—Carleton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs with regard to the third report of the committee entitled “Procurement Study”, which was presented to the House on June 14, 2000 during the second session of the 36th parliament.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, the committee requests that the government provide a comprehensive response to this report.

*  *  *

CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ACT

 

Hon. David Anderson (Minister of the Environment, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-19, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

*  *  *

CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ACT

 

Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-305, an act to amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (inventory of brownfields).

He said: Mr. Speaker, I consider it a privilege to introduce a bill, which is the first step of what I intend to be a three stage process, aimed at identifying, assessing and remediating what are known as brownfields. The term brownfields refers to industrial properties which lie vacant or neglected due to concerns of environmental contamination.

The bill will amend the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to expand the existing registry so that any member of the public can report suspected contaminated sites with the express purpose of building an easily accessible national registry of brownfields.

The bill would also allow the federal government, together with provincial, municipal and private partnerships, to assist with the often prohibitive costs of environmental assessments.

To solve a problem one first has to identify the problem. Ultimately, I see this is as a three stage process: identification, assessment and remediation. The bill addresses the first two stages directly. First, we identify the extent of the brownfields nationally. Once we know where these sites are, we can begin to assess the costs of the clean up.

Having this information open and available to all levels of government and private enterprise will foster co-operative and innovative solutions. The advantages of the remediation of brownfields are obvious: job growth, revitalization of our downtown cores and reversal of urban sprawl, as well as the clean up of potentially environmental hazardous sites right in our own back yards.

The bill is a small but crucial step toward reclaiming these commercially useful sites, revitalizing our city centres and combating urban sprawl.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

*  *  *

 

. 1015 + -

[Translation]

BROADCASTING ACT AND INCOME TAX ACT

 

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil, BQ) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-306, an act to amend the Broadcasting Act and the Income Tax Act (Closed-captioned Programming).

She said: Mr. Speaker, I am greatly honoured today to introduce this bill which requires broadcasters to provide closed captioning for their video programming by September 1, 2003. It also, generally speaking, allows income tax deductions to broadcasters for their purchase of closed captioning technology.

I would like to remind hon. members that over 10% of Quebecers and Canadians have hearing problems and that this House has passed a motion recognizing the importance for the public and private sectors to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing persons with the tools required for them to take their place in an increasingly communications-oriented world.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

*  *  *

PETITIONS

MINING INDUSTRY

Mr. Guy St-Julien (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is my honour pursuant to Standing Order 36 to present a petition signed by residents of the city of Val-d'Or and the Vallée-de-l'Or RCM concerning the Sigma-Lamaque and Beaufor mines.

The petitioners call upon parliament to put in place a financial assistance program for the mines with a thin capitalization structure in Quebec's resource regions and call upon government to ease up on the rules of existing programs and ensure they are used in the resource regions.

[English]

CANADA POST

Mr. Dale Johnston (Wetaskiwin, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table on behalf of my constituents a petition that calls upon the House to amend and repeal section 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act dealing with rural route mail couriers. I am pleased to present the petition on their behalf.

VIOLENCE

Mr. John Cummins (Delta—South Richmond, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition this morning organized by a constituent of mine, Mr. Cran Campbell.

The petition deals with violent material on the Internet and on interactive video and computer games. It addresses the problems associated with that material and the negative impact it has on our children. It brings to the fore the notion that the term obscenity in the criminal code has a linkage between sex and violence. It suggests that the linkage should be eliminated and that we should be able to deal with the notion of violence alone.

The petitioners call upon parliament to enact appropriate legislation to protect our children from these violent videos.

CANADA POST

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I have a petition representing rural route mail couriers of Canada who feel they have not been allowed to bargain collectively in order to improve their wages and working conditions. They are asking parliament to repeal section 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act.

TRANSPORTATION

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition that has attracted a great deal of attention in the greater Peterborough area. The petitioners are people who are interested in Canada fulfilling its commitments to the Kyoto protocol by developing sustainable transportation, such as rail services.

They point out that a commuter rail service running between Peterborough and Toronto would be environmentally and otherwise beneficial. This rail service would result in dramatic cost savings to society through reduced car usage and accidents. They point out that the commuter service would be economically beneficial by enhancing the employment mobility of Peterborough area residents and make the greater Peterborough area more accessible to students and tourists.

The petitioners call upon parliament to authorize the recommencement of a VIA service between Peterborough and Toronto. I know I am not supposed to endorse petitions, but I would like to say that the people of Peterborough are on the right track with this one.

 

. 1020 + -

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my second petition is from people who are concerned about children in Iraq. They call upon parliament to accept the recommendations of the standing committee on foreign affairs for the lifting of sanctions and the establishment of a diplomatic presence in Baghdad.

*  *  *

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

Mr. Derek Lee (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

The Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

*  *  *

REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY DEBATE

AGRICULTURE

The Speaker: The Chair has received an application for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 52, I contacted your office this morning. I wanted to bring this matter forward in a timely fashion because there is a great urgency.

Farmers in Prince Edward Island are currently facing a very devastating decision. They must decide within the next few weeks whether to plant their potato crops given the situation that exists in terms of the market that would be there for them in the United States.

It is important, as you, Mr. Speaker, would be quick to agree, that members of parliament be given the opportunity to express their concern and also to urge the government to act in a significant way. We know that there has been a compensation package offered to Prince Edward Island potato farmers in the range of $14.1 million. This was less than half of the amount of money that the Prince Edward Island government has put into this issue already itself. It was much lower than the amount that they were requesting.

I will put this situation into perspective as to the seriousness of the issue itself. Canada and Prince Edward Island agree that approximately 6.3 million cwt. of potatoes in storage currently is surplus resulting from the closed U.S. border, restricted shipments to Canada and the price protection in the rest of Canada. What Prince Edward Island did in absorbing this loss was to protect the rest of the potato market for the entire country at a huge expense to those individual farmers.

To summarize, United States protectionism is devastating the Prince Edward Island potato industry. The hurt that was suffered by the island is testament to the fact that this problem is Canada-wide, but it is being absorbed by a single province in this instance. Both short term economic and long term financial market re-entry needs must be addressed in the package.

I would urge the Chair to accept this application given the urgency, particularly the urgency pertaining to the necessity for farmers to decide whether to reinvest in their farms and to put potatoes in the ground for the coming season. I stress again that the border is currently not open for farmers to assess whether they should make this reinvestment.

The Speaker: The Chair has certainly read the letter that was forwarded by the hon. member and has heard his remarks today. I note that the subject of the debate today, an opposition day, is in fact agriculture as chosen by the official opposition. The motion will be put to the House in a few minutes.

In the circumstances, it would be premature for the Chair to allow this application at this time. We should hear how the debate progresses today. The issue may be discussed during the debate, as I suspect it might be. If the hon. member feels that perhaps the issue has not received a reasonable airing, he could bring the application before the House on another occasion. At this time I will say no.

*  *  *

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

The Speaker: Before I call orders of the day, since today is the final allotted day for the supply period ending March 31, 2001, the House will go through the usual procedures to consider and dispose of the supply bills.

[Translation]

In keeping with recent practice, do hon. members agree to have the bills distributed now?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Speaker: I wish to inform the House of a translation error in today's opposition motion. A revised copy is available at the table.



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

 

. 1025 + -

[English]

SUPPLY

ALLOTTED DAY—AGRICULTURE

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance) moved:  

    That this House call on the government to authorize an additional $400 million in emergency assistance for Canadian farm families (over and above all agriculture programs announced or in place to date), to be paid out in 2001, and that the confidence convention need not apply to this motion. Debate arose thereon.

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wish to raise an issue before the House on the acceptability and admissibility of the motion.

The motion reads:

    That this House call on the government to authorize an additional $400 million in emergency assistance for Canadian farm families (over and above all agriculture programs announced or in place to date), to be paid out in 2001—

It is noteworthy, from a procedural point of view, that the motion does not urge the government. It directs the government to do the action in question. The motion does not say that the House ask the government to consider the advisability of spending $400 million. It calls on the government to authorize such an expenditure. I will get to both of those terms in a moment.

In other words, I will argue with the Chair that the motion directs the government to make such an expenditure.

Standing Order 79(1) deals very clearly with this kind of situation. It states:

    This House shall not adopt or pass any vote, resolution, address or bill for the appropriation of any part of the public revenue, or of any tax or impost, to any purpose that has not been first recommended to the House by a message from the Governor General in the session in which such vote, resolution, address or bill is proposed.

There is no recommendation for the motion from the governor in council which purports to direct the government to make an expenditure. It is, therefore, in my estimation, out of order.

Marleau and Montpetit, at page 901, indicate how such a motion should be worded. It says:

    As an alternative to a bill which might require a royal recommendation obtained only by a Minister, a private Member may choose to move a motion proposing the expenditure of public funds, provided that the terms of the motion only suggest this course of action to the government without ordering or requiring it to do so.

The motion uses extremely definitive language. It does not suggest something to the government. When one calls upon someone to do something, one is not thinking about it or making a suggestion, one is telling or directing someone to do it.

Beauchesne's 6th edition, at page 186, goes into more detail. Citation 616 states:

    Motions purporting to give the Government a direct order to do a thing which requires the expenditure of money are out of order.

Citation 617 states:

    Abstract motions should use the words, “that the Government consider the advisability of...”

Number (2) of citation 617 states:

    When these words are used, it leaves the Government free, after considering the advisability of doing something, to come to the conclusion that it should not do so. There would not, therefore, necessarily be an expenditure of public money involved.

In other words, if one is ordering the government to do something, it causes the expenditure, and if the government does not have the tools to refuse to do that thing, then it is ordered and therefore it requires royal recommendation.

Number (3) of citation 617 states:

    An abstract motion does not finally bind the House to make the grant, and it imposes upon the Government the responsibility of either accepting or rejecting the recommendation.

 

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This motion is not at all abstract. It specifies an amount of money. It specifies the recipient. It specifies what is not to be included in the calculation of the amount. It specifies a time limit by which the payment is to be made. All of those elements, not just one or just some, are there. It does not say to the government to go away and think about it or consider it, it says to do it. This is a direct violation of Standing Order 79.

I would like to draw a couple more things to the attention of the Chair. Page 213 of the 6th edition of Beauchesne's, which refers to the royal recommendation, states:

    The recommendation precedes every grant of money, the consent may be given at any stage before final passage, and is always necessary in matters involving the rights of the Crown, its patronage, its property or its prerogatives.

This comes from Bourinot, page 413.

You will notice as well, Mr. Speaker, that the motion in question states “That this House call on the government”. I explained extensively why I do not think call satisfies the criteria. However the word authorize is in the motion. That is a word utilized in the estimates, estimates that are tabled in the House pursuant not only to a royal recommendation but signed by the Governor General and we rise in the House to acknowledge the royal recommendation which was made.

Page 1-2 of the main estimates, entitled “The Expenditure Plan Overview”, states:

    The 2001-2002 Main Estimates present budgetary spending authorities totalling $163.4 billion.

That is the amount in question. In other words, that language is in the estimate process with which we deal.

Finally, Mr. Speaker might be tempted to say that it has happened on a couple of occasions that the words “call upon the government” have been inserted in a motion put before the House by the opposition. Should the Speaker be tempted to say that that would constitute the precedent on which the Chair might want to rule that the motion is in order, I would suggest that it does no such thing.

First, there may have been two or three such motions in the past. Prior to that they were never accepted. Because no one has challenged him on a point of order in the past, the Chair did not rule on the acceptability of those motions. Therefore, he was not called upon to rule them in order. I believe that this is the first opportunity the Chair has been called upon to do so by a member of the House. I would ask the Chair to consider that particular proposition as well.

Those are points that I wanted to make to the Chair this morning. The motion calls upon the government to authorize an expenditure. It specifies when the expenditure is to be made, who the recipient will be, the timeframe on which to give it and what is to count and not to count as part of that expenditure.

In my opinion, this is not in order.

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, first, to quote the hon. House leader, he knows this is not a point of order. It is a nice try but it is not a point of order and he knows that full well.

It is also cutting into debate time. I hope at the end of this discussion that this time could be added on to the allotted day because farmers want this issue debated, they want it debated in full and they want it debated today.

 

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I point out in Marleau and Montpetit on page 724, under the consideration of opposition motion, it says:

    Members in opposition to the government may propose motions for debate on any matter falling within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada, as well as on committee reports concerning Estimates.

We could have a debate today about the estimates and how the government has failed to contribute the necessary funds to deal with the farm crisis. Instead we chose a motion which is obviously in order and has been tabled with the required notice ahead of time.

It is also important to note that our motion does not direct the government to a course of action. It does not order the government to do a certain thing. It does not compel it to a certain course of action. However, it does call on the government, as are farmers across the country, to a course of action that will direct the government to help out with the farm crisis. So it is a plea.

It calls on the government to address that concern. I hope it will enter into the debate in such a way that by the end of it the government will understand the severity of the crisis and will vote in favour of the motion.

Under Beauchesne's parliamentary rules, page 256, paragraph 923, with respect to opposition day motions, states:

    The Opposition prerogative is very broad in the use of the allotted day and ought not to be interfered with—

The government House leader, while he has an interesting discussion, should perhaps change his late night reading to something more entertaining than the standing orders because he knows full well his is not a point of order.

I did not have notice of this. It would have been interesting to go back to see what the government House leader had in some of his opposition day motions when he sat on this side of the House. He called on the government of the day to spend money freely, widely, indiscriminately and at will, especially his. I am just pointing out again that is not what this is. It is very specific to a particular crisis and is calling on the government.

For clarity, there are two parts to this motion. The second part has to do with the confidence measure. Just to be clear, that is what we call a free vote. That means the government will not rise or fall on this debate. It is a free vote. We can have a debate on this and the House can even decide in favour of this motion without the government falling.

The Speaker: The hon. member is straying a little off the point. I do not think the government House leader was arguing that the motion was out of order because of anything it said about the confidence convention, words which I know are in the motion I put to the House a minute ago. The hon. member might simply be wading into a morass if he brings that subject up.

Might I suggest we deal with the admissibility of the amendment on the grounds raised by the government House leader, rather than going off. Frankly, the Chair is not concerned beyond anything the government House leader might have raised. That is why I would like to hear on that point and nothing else.

Mr. Chuck Strahl: Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, the confidence measure, not to belabour that, is in order as it says in Beauchesne's. The first part is also in order because it does not direct the government or order the government. It would have been out of order if, for example, we had just said that the House authorize or the House direct the government to spend money, or change the budget or any such thing. It does not do that.

It calls on the government to address this serious crisis. It calls on the government to react to this particular proposal, which is very precise. It is completely in order. We look forward to the debate which I suggest should be starting immediately.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, to speak very briefly in support of the submission put forward by my learned friend the House leader for the official opposition, this matter when viewed in the whole does not order the government to do something. It calls upon the government to exercise its discretion and increase spending with respect to farming.

The Speaker has always held, as set out in both Beauchesne's and Marleau and Montpetit, that broad discretion should be used when interpreting these types of motions. It would be unduly unfair for this motion to be ruled out of order.

 

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I suggest that it is very much an attempt by the government House leader to eat into the debate time. This can be interpreted as not only an insult to the official opposition and members of the opposition who support this, but also a swipe at farmers who are very much in need and very much interested in seeing their issue aired in a public way in this House.

I suggest that the submissions of the government House leader do not rule this motion out of order, that we should get on with the debate so we can talk about the real issue today, and that is how the government is underfunding farmers in this country.

The Speaker: The Chair thanks all hon. members who have made contributions to this debate, the House leader for the official opposition, the government House leader and the member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

I start by citing to hon. members page 724 of Marleau and Montpetit:

    Members in opposition to the government may propose motions for debate on any matter falling within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada, as well as on committee reports concerning Estimates. The Standing Orders give Members a very wide scope in proposing opposition motions on Supply days and, unless the motion is clearly and undoubtedly irregular (e.g., where the procedural aspect is not open to reasonable argument), the Chair does not intervene.

Notwithstanding the very able arguments of the government House leader, the Chair has reviewed this motion and I will allow myself to fall into the temptation that the government House leader warned me against by citing to the House past practice in respect of this matter.

On October 25, 1999, the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake proposed a motion to the House:

    That, in the opinion of this House, the government has failed to defend the interest of Canadian farmers from the unfair subsidies and unfair trading practices by foreign countries...accordingly, the government should immediately ensure that emergency compensation is delivered to farmers—

On March 2, 2000, the hon. member for Halifax moved:

    That this House calls upon the government to stand up for the Canadian value of universal public health care by announcing within one week of the passage of this motion a substantial and sustained increase in cash transfers for health—

On March 20, 2000, the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill moved:

    That this House calls on the Minister of Finance to increase the Canada health and social transfer by $1.5 billion—

There is ample precedent for these kinds of motions to be moved in the House. The Chair, in considering these motions, admittedly heard no argument on the admissibility of the motions. However, in putting any motion to the House, the Chair reviews its procedural acceptability, and unless the Chair feels that the motion is within the rules and the precedents of the House, the Chair will decline to put the motion and may instruct hon. members that amendments are required, and that consultations are an ongoing feature of submissions of motions and amendments in the House.

As hon. members know, if they submit an amendment that in the opinion of the staff of the House working under the Speaker's direction feel is inappropriate or out of order, suggestions are made to improve the wording or change the wording to bring it within the practices of the House.

While the hon. government House leader feels it might be falling into temptation on my part to rely on these past practices, the fact is they have been allowed in the past because the Chair took the view that they were in order. It might have been urged otherwise, but I suspect the ruling then would have been the same as it is today, and that is, that this motion is in fact in order. Notwithstanding the very able arguments of the hon. government House leader, we will proceed with the debate.

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, thank you for your prudent ruling. I am sure that members of all parties who individually supported your ascendancy to Chair are in fact congratulating themselves for their good judgment and your good judgment. We appreciate that.

Farming is said by some to be a way of life but it is also a business. No one knows better than Canadian farm families today that the price of this business has often been bankruptcy. Over the past year prices have plummeted. Farmers are facing the prospect of not being able to put seed into the ground. They are facing many challenges.

 

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Let me say from the outset and make it very clear that I believe Canadian farmers are as innovative, as hardworking and as entrepreneurial as any in the world. In fact, Canadian farmers can take on the world and feed the world and do it on a competitive basis.

Canadian farmers believe this too, but the fact of the matter is that our farmers are competing in an artificial field, competing against subsidies in the United States and in Europe that are artificially high. Everything is skewed against our farmers. They are asking for the playing field to be levelled. In fact, because of the field not being level and because of the federal government's neglect, it is as if the federal government has tied the hands of our farmers and hobbled their feet. It is as if the government has put a 100 pound weight on their backs, thrown them into the international race and is expecting them to keep up. That is unrealistic and it can and needs to be changed. However, the federal government does not want to change the rules to give our Canadian farmers the level playing field they need and that is what this discussion is all about today.

Add to this weight that farmers already carry because of government inaction an unrealistic tax regime, not just for farmers but for agriculture businesses that would like to expand opportunities for farm products, and add to that Agriculture Canada user fees, and we see the weight that has been unrealistically placed on the backs of our farmers.

Whether we are talking about growing grains, oilseeds, corn and soybeans in Ontario or about wheat in the west or any of the ridings producing farm products across Canada, farm incomes have fallen severely in the last three years. The projection is that they will continue to fall. This is a very serious message and it is a very serious crisis that our farmers face right now.

It has been estimated that farm income for grains and oilseed producers is projected to fall as much as 35% from the five year average in the year 2000. That is a drastic and unbearable drop. It is important to note that the five year average already includes two years of disastrous commodity prices. This level of income is not sufficient to sustain the agriculture industry in Canada. Years of neglect by the federal government has resulted in the need for an immediate emergency compensation package. We will talk about the other things that also need to be done, but this compensation package is the most pressing issue for agriculture today.

We believe the situation is so severe that we have called for an immediate emergency package of at least $1 billion in new federal spending. It is important to point out that this must be additional spending from the federal government, not just a reallocation of spending that has been promised and in fact not delivered. This dollar amount is based on clear estimates of what we calculate to be the hurt Canadian farmers have been carrying and the damage they face, mainly as a result of the unrealistic subsidies from the United States and the European market.

Some of our political opponents would like to say that the Canadian Alliance is not bringing forward a consistent policy because we call for free trade on the one hand yet demand an emergency package for farmers on the other. However, let me be very clear that this is absolutely consistent with the Canadian Alliance position. Our agriculture policy states that “we should only reduce Canadian farm support in conjunction with other countries”. That is a direct quote from our policy.

This is far different from what the Canadian government has done since it signed the general agreement on tariffs and trade. Support for European and U.S. farmers has not changed significantly from the time of the GATT agreements. We saw support for our farmers slashed and drastically reduced. We cannot expect our farmers to fight this, and not just against farmers from the United States and Europe because those farmers are backed by the might of the treasuries of Europe and the United States. This is an unrealistic expectation.

Subsidies provided by our trade competitors to increase their own agriculture production are the principal cause of this current farm income crisis in Canada. A lot of Canadians would be surprised to know that in 1999 European wheat farmers received 58% of their income from government. In 1999, U.S. wheat farmers received 46% of their income from government, while Canadian farmers received only 11% of their income from the government in 1999. This is a very dramatic change in terms of what Canadian farmers face.

 

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In 1997, U.S. support for its oilseed producers amounted to only 4% of income. However, we must look at what happened in just two years. By 1999, that support had ballooned to 25% of U.S. oilseed producers' income. During the same time, support for Canadian oilseed producers remained essentially unchanged. These are drastic comparisons. It should be no surprise that the U.S. is now forecasting a fifth year of record soybean production while the value of Canada's soybean crop continues to fall dramatically.

Before the last GATT round of trade negotiations were completed Canadian farmers were basically at par with U.S. subsidy levels. After the round was completed, the gap between Canadian and U.S. subsidies began to grow and that put added pressure on our farmers. While Canadian farm support has fallen since the accord, support for U.S. farmers has actually returned to pre-GATT levels. Canadian farmers were actually worse off after the last round of trade negotiations.

This gap between support levels for Ontario and those for U.S. grain and oilseed growers is actually equivalent to about $63 an acre for a typical farm growing a mix of corn, soybeans and wheat. This means that the cost of achieving equity with U.S. farmers would be about $300 million per year for Ontario and about $1.5 billion nationwide. These are real costs. These are measurable effects. Our farmers, as I have said, are some of the most efficient producers in the world, but they are competing against European and U.S. treasuries all on their own.

This serious drop in revenues, which has been caused by these increasing foreign subsidies, has also been compounded by skyrocketing costs. It is not as if farmers are just fighting subsidies. Costs are rocketing through the roof.

There are not many people outside the farm community who know the degree to which farmers are impacted by energy costs and the significant increases there. The cost of getting their crops into the ground in the spring and of harvesting in the fall is highly dependent on the cost of diesel fuel, as is the cost of getting their product to market. Then we have the ballooning cost of fertilizer which uses natural gas as a key ingredient. All farmers here today know what has happened to fertilizer costs, but I wonder if Canadians know of the increased cost because of soaring energy costs.

What has the federal government done to assist in those energy costs? It has sent cheques to students and to prisoners in jail. I think it is time that the government looked at the energy costs and the increases being carried by farmers.

The current programs have failed. The 1998 agriculture income disaster assistance program continues to hold back a huge percentage of the money that was promised to farmers, with 8,700 claims from 1999 that have not even been processed. We say it is time to get that money off the cabinet table and onto the kitchen tables of family farms.

Some have said that the $500 million the government has just promised is a lot of money. We can make the analogy of putting 500 litres of fuel into an airplane so it can cross the ocean, but it needs 1,000 litres to make the trip. There is no point in even filling the plane if it is going to crash into the ocean. That is what we are talking about. Farmers cannot even get the crops into the ground if they know they cannot complete the job.

This must be done and it must be done immediately. We are talking about an industry that is 8.5% of the Canadian gross domestic product and employs 1.9 million Canadians. In Ontario, it is the number two industry.

I want to add that we must not leave unattended the other things that must be done. I just want to say in closing that once we get this emergency help we must aggressively attack foreign subsidies, we must remove the 4 cent per litre federal excise tax on farm fuel, we must encourage more value added processing with a realistic tax regime, we must give all grain farmers marketing choice, especially those in western Canada, and we must reduce farmers' costs by modernizing the grain handling and transportation system.

We demand this action. We demand that the government move on this emergency request and that it do so now.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting the balance of my time with the member for Selkirk—Interlake.

 

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Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the speech from the Leader of the Opposition. I recall that when the member was campaigning in Regina during the election he said that our farmers do not need any more subsidies, that they are the best farmers in the world. I am wondering why he has changed his tune to such an extent in a matter of a few months.

Mr. Stockwell Day: Mr. Speaker, this is ridiculous, because all through the campaign, as a matter of fact, I gave a speech very close to this one. I said that if the U.S. and Europe were not involved in this increased subsidy game, we would not need these subsidies. However, because they are involved in that game, we need these subsidies.

I also distinctly remember a speech in Saskatchewan during the election in which a Liberal candidate said the reason farmers were not getting help was that they were not voting Liberal. Those are the kinds of comments I remember in the campaign in Saskatchewan.

Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Dr. Gordon Barnhart, a former clerk of the Saskatchewan legislature, recently published a book on the history of Saskatchewan's first premier, Walter Scott. Throughout that book he made references to agriculture, one which I will quote: “If agriculture prospers, so will this land”. He was referring mainly to the new province of Alberta, but it is also true if we look at the history of Saskatchewan in particular. If agriculture prospers, so does the province.

The hon. member alluded in his speech to the fact that agriculture has been going down. All he has to do is take one journey through my constituency. It is so evident what is happening: agriculture and the people are in a desperate situation. I have received well over 1,000 desperate calls.

I wonder if the Leader of the Opposition could agree with the premise that we must prosper in agriculture if we are going to be a viable community.

Mr. Stockwell Day: Mr. Speaker, the member for Souris—Moose Mountain is not only good on history but on the future, because he is looking ahead in a proactive way.

Of course when agriculture as an industry is 8.5% of our GDP, with 1.9 million Canadians directly involved in agriculture or agriculture industry markets, it is vitally important to the entire economy of the country.

If we look back to pre-depression years, we can see that when the agriculture community was affected everything got hit, whether it was implement dealers or producers of various seed products, everything we can imagine in terms of all the products and lines that are being affected today.

I agree 100% and, as a matter of fact, it is not just a premise but a fact that our economy depends on agriculture in a very significant way.

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the front page of the National Post today tells us that junior ministers are to get limos as the Prime Minister reverses policy. It will cost the Canadian taxpayer about $50,000 for each one of the secretaries of state who will get a limo courtesy of the taxpayers of Canada, yet farmers are left behind.

As my colleague said: 1,000 desperate phone calls and they have received nothing. How many desperate phone calls did the Prime Minister receive from secretaries of state demanding cars?

I would like to hear the hon. leader's comments regarding the disparity in the ways in which cabinet secretaries and farmers are treated in this country.

Mr. Stockwell Day: It is a penetrating question, Mr. Speaker. I am tempted to move toward some partisan remarks, but I will try to restrain myself because this is very serious. It reflects the priorities of the government, whether it is cars for junior ministers—and reflecting the fact that tractors cannot move into fields—whether it is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into other highly questionable activities, or whether it is to reflect on the comments of the auditor general who has asked the question in terms of the management of hundreds of millions of dollars by the government. The auditor general has asked this question: who is minding the store?

Just on the amount of money the federal Liberal government has spilled and wasted, we could top up this amount and meet what is required for farmers facing disaster today, leaving alone the government's misplaced priorities.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance has today brought forward this motion suggesting very clearly and telling the government quite clearly that $900 million is the minimum amount of money required to get our grains, oilseeds, corn and soybean producers through this spring seeding.

 

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Only $500 million of that money was brought forward by the agriculture minister. As a result, I have found it necessary to bring the issue of agriculture and the income situation back to the House and once again put it to the members. We are moving past the cabinet, which produces half measures, to the House as a whole so that individual MPs can stand in their places and say through their votes whether or not they support agriculture.

This is a crisis. This is not some frivolous exercise we are going through in the House. This is a crisis.

However, agriculture is not in total crisis. There are many sectors that are doing fine. The problem the agriculture minister has is that the government has not put forward any long term policies that would help the sectors that are affected when the price cycle hits bottom, which is a normal thing with agriculture commodities around the world and in Canada. The government has no policies that come into play to give those farm sectors and commodity groups not a profit but the ability to continue to farm and to contribute to Canada's national product and to the food supply we all need.

People have been asking if this should even be done. Our food supply is essential to the well-being of our country. It contributes dramatically to the well-being of every Canadian. Having a viable agricultural sector, with the expertise required to be a farmer these days, is in our national interest and our vital interest. We must maintain that infrastructure and ability in Canada so that we can continue to feed ourselves.

I have mentioned the agriculture minister. He has brought programs forward and he will be talking about all the money that has been put out to farmers. However the last statistics I have on the AIDA program, for the years 1998 and 1999, show that only 62% of that money has been given out. That is part of the problem. Not only is the money insufficient but it is not necessarily given out.

I will deal a little more with the politics of this and the responsibility of backbenchers. Ultimately the cabinet has responsibility but we, as individual members of parliament, have one member, one vote. My vote is every bit as good as the minister of agriculture's in that we each have one of 301 votes in the House. If each member represents their constituents, then we will see the motion pass at the end of the day because many MPs in the House know that farming is essential to the country and that the $400 million is essential to farming.

Backbenchers on the government side, including the Ontario rural caucus chair, have indicated that the opposition should be doing more on the issue and that somehow that would translate into more action by the cabinet. We have been doing quite a lot, right back to 1998 when I became chief agriculture critic for the official opposition. We have had motion after motion.

The agriculture minister was giving speeches in Regina and suggested to the agriculture committee that we should go out west and hold hearings for farmers. The chair of the day from Charleswood St. James—Assiniboia said that was a good idea and nine meetings were held. I put a motion forward saying that not only should we hold hearings in western Canada to listen to farmers but that we should go into Ontario.

It is not enough to have fancy words and good speeches telling everyone how sincere we are about the issues.

 

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When I was at the agriculture committee there were members who voted against my motion to hold hearings on safety net issues in Ontario. Had those hearings been held I think perhaps the government would have understood from farmers back in 1998-99 that the crisis was real and that it had to do something.

The members who voted against me and against holding hearings in Ontario were the members for Gatineau, Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, Whitby—Ajax, Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, Kitchener Centre, Leeds—Grenville and Lambton—Kent—Middlesex.

The member for Toronto—Danforth has professed quite loudly that he is a big supporter of farmers. I take him at his word. He held a concert in Toronto and a big dinner here in the Hall of Honour. It was a big public relations exercise, for all apparent purposes. Here at the Hall of Honour dinner farmers believed they and MPs were signing a petition that would result in action being taken by the House. That was not within the rules of the House. It was a deception for the farmers who thought backbench Liberals would do something.

I told them constantly that the only way to get something done in the House was to have a vote—

Mr. Dennis Mills: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I take constructively the comments from the member with one exception, and I would ask you to rule on it. The member used the word deception and I believe that is inappropriate language because it would suggest that it was a deception, a lie or a trick. Those words to me are very close, and I would ask him to withdraw.

The Deputy Speaker: I thank the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth for his intervention but, respectfully, I am not satisfied that I would require asking another member to withdraw the word deception in the context in which it was used.

However I take the opportunity early in the debate to ask all members to be generous and, to use a word from previous parliaments, judicious in their choice of words, and particularly to be respectful of one another given the importance of this issue to a large number of Canadians.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom: Mr. Speaker, I was certainly trying to commend the member for what he tried to do in bringing the information to city people around the country, but also for ensuring that the right message is sent to rural dwellers.

After the $500 million was announced, of course, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, following up on what I had already done, sent a letter to the editor “Re: Federal government campaign against farmers”. It was dated March 15, right after the $500 million was announced. It said:

    The federal government has fired up its formidable propaganda machine to counter the day of action carried out by farmers across Canada on March 14, 2001.

The ad that ran in newspapers cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 at the going rate. I know the federal government gets a cut but it is still an awful lot of money.

Members will note that the newspaper ad, in big black letters, says “Supporting our Farmers”. This is followed by smaller font, and then, again in big black letters, it says “$1.6 billion”. This is followed by more small font, and then the ad talks about the spring credit advance program. The next big font reads “$700 million”. This is misinformation to people who do not understand farm issues or how much money has actually gone to farmers.

When they read the ad, it says “Government of Canada”, “Supporting our Farmers”, “$1.6 billion”, “$700 million”. Those words stand out. The ad has everyone believing that somehow farmers have received $2.3 billion. This kind of information should not happen.

 

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We have letters of support for the motion today from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Keystone Agriculture Producers, farm organizations and farmers across the country. I do not think there is one farmer out there who will not support it.

I am asking if Liberal members will support the motion, which gives direction to the agriculture minister and the cabinet that $400 million is what is required as an immediate emergency cash injection for the year 2001. I think the government will support the motion and come through with the required funding.

I would like to move an amendment at this time. I move:  

    That the motion be amended by inserting between the words “to” and “authorize” the word “immediately”.

The Deputy Speaker: The amendment is in order.

Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon—Souris, PC): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member and the Alliance Party for bringing forward this issue under their supply day. I do, as members of the House recognize, believe very strongly in the issue.

I have always been somewhat confused about the Alliance policy on agriculture, but it seems to be a little clearer today after the Alliance leader and the member for Selkirk—Interlake spoke on it, although it is more anti-government than pro-farming.

I have a question for the member for Selkirk—Interlake and perhaps he can clear it up for me. He spoke very eloquently on support for farmers right now. However, back in October 2000 Statistics Canada said there were 22,100 fewer farmers than during the previous year. I will quote the member who indicated at the time:

    It doesn't necessarily indicate a disaster happening. It indicates to me more the rationalization and changing of the business side of the agriculture sector. While the study indicated that there's fewer farmers on the prairies, that doesn't mean we're going to have less production or lower agriculture sector dollar earnings.

Could the member explain how that comment fits into what he is now talking about with respect to the supports that are necessary in agriculture? He says here that it does not necessarily mean less dollar earnings, but that it does not necessarily mean less production either. Perhaps he could clear that up for me.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom: Mr. Speaker, obviously the member for Brandon—Souris continues with old style politics about how the agriculture sector works and his understanding of it. The Progressive Conservatives had many years with massive majorities to set forth a long term agriculture policy. The member for Brandon—Souris sits there questioning whether the Canadian Alliance has a strong agriculture policy.

We have a strong policy regarding grain transportation and organic farming. We support supply management. We have always supported safety nets for farmers. When the Crow rate was thrown out we had the trade distortion adjustment program that would have continued supporting farmers.

Let us talk about the survey the member mentioned. The survey was not taken out of income tax forms. It was not taken out of who was filing an income and expense statement. It was a phone survey done by Statistics Canada. The survey did not determine the number of farms lost. It determined what it was told were the number of farm jobs lost. Certainly there were fewer people in the agriculture sector than before. However this member continues to ignore history. At the end of the second world war in Saskatchewan there were something like 175,000 farmers. At this point there are some 60,000 to 75,000 farmers there.

 

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The Canadian Alliance very clearly understands that change or evolution in any business sector, including the agriculture sector, is necessary. Those members who would sit and save the status quo as it was 5 or 10 years ago are doomed to failure, and the Canadian Alliance will not let Canadian agriculture fail.

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the previous member talked about the standing committee on agriculture visiting the prairies in late November and December 1999. He read into the record the number of members of parliament from Ontario sitting on that committee who voted against similar meetings being held in Ontario.

My question is for the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake. Of the nine meetings that were held in western Canada, three in each of the three prairie provinces, how many meetings did the agriculture critic for the Canadian Alliance attend?

Mr. Howard Hilstrom: Mr. Speaker, this is a very interesting question. I did not attend any of those meetings because the Canadian Alliance has such a depth of members of parliament with expertise in the agriculture field that we had members at every one of those hearings. While those hearings were ongoing and in that immediate timeframe, I was in southwestern Ontario representing farmers who were not being represented by their own MPs. Also during that time we had the agriculture producers hearings on the go. We had meetings with 3,500 farmers in 72 different ridings.

It is pointless for the NDP to say that we have not been doing our job. Hansard will show that the Canadian Alliance has done more for agriculture in the House than any other party since 1997.

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to take part in this debate and discussion on the importance of agriculture and agri-food in Canada.

We in the government can clearly show through our actions the importance of the industry. Farmers and the agri-food industry are the backbone of rural Canada. A lot happens in rural Canada, and agriculture is a major part of it. Certainly other sectors of our economy and resource sectors are involved as well.

We all contribute to the good standard of living in Canada. There is no question that there is some stress out there in certain sectors of primary production. The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake pointed out in his comments a minute ago that some sectors were affected at the present time more than others. A couple of years ago some other sectors were affected.

We must work collectively and constructively to put together programs, recognizing that those programs have to be altered and changed as time goes on. It is like building a new building, a new office or a new kitchen. In a few years one has to recognize there are some realities to deal with.

One of the realities we had to deal with was the financial situation of the country when we formed the government in 1993. I will not go into it, because people know about that disastrous situation. In 1997, when I became minister of agriculture, the safety net envelope of the federal government was $600 million.

In the fall of 1998 the industry was saying that it needed $450 million in extra support above and beyond what was there for income support. The government put $1.07 billion in place to assist over the next two years.

 

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The long term safety net agreement that we signed with the provinces last summer for the first time ever has an envelope in it of $435 million for income support alone. That is above and beyond the support that is there for programs such as companion programs within the provinces, the net income stabilization account, crop insurance support, et cetera. As a result of the document we all signed, it is $1.1 billion. When the provinces put their share with ours, their 40% for our 60%, it came to $1.8 billion.

As everyone knows, a couple of weeks ago the government announced an additional $500 million for income support to be allocated to the provinces based on our allocation formula of 60%. Agriculture is a shared jurisdiction, as we know, so when the provinces put their share with that it came to the $830 million which was announced a couple of weeks ago. The total available to farmers is $2.66 billion, the highest level of support for farmers since 1995. Members can say what they want, but I assure them that money will go to farmers.

In addition, we increased two and a half times the spring advance program the government put in place last year. Farmers can borrow up to $50,000 interest free this year to help put their crops in the ground. We estimate that farmers will take advantage of that to the extent of at least $700 million.

I ask the House and people across the country where the provinces were. Most of the provinces did not put any money on the table until the federal government forced them to come forward with their 40%. Some of them are even kicking and screaming at that, saying that their province does not want to take part in it.

For example, one province in the last two years received $400 million in support from the agriculture income disaster assistance program. The announcement last week of $500 million will mean another $200 million to that province on top of the estimate of the Canadian farm income program for this year of $200 million. That will be $400 million in government support to one province alone for the 2000 crop year.

I appreciate some of the comments being made today. I appreciate some of the comments out there in the public today and coming from farm leaders. I neglected to say that I will be splitting my time with the member for Toronto—Danforth.

Overall we need to talk about government support to farms, but we need to talk about farm income in general. What can we do as opposition parties, as government, as industries, as provincial governments, to put in place a longer term plan?

The analogy I would like to give is that we have been trying to fix the roof for a number of years, with some success but certainly not total success for everyone. It is time that we put effort into analyzing and reviewing the programs, which was started. That was discussed and agreed to by my provincial counterparts last week.

We have 145,000 farmers enrolled in the net income stabilization account with $3.3 billion in their accounts. Is that $3.3 billion being used to the extent that it could be? I do not know. We need to look at it.

We have 100,000 farmers that participate in crop insurance. They have $5 billion in crop insurance out there. Are the crop insurance programs the best they could be? I do not know. My guess is there will be some improvements in co-operation with the provinces. I could go on, but we need to talk about how we can assist the overall income.

We know that there are pressures and that consumers are concerned about how agriculture is treating the environment and about food safety. We also know there are farmers out there who need some transition within their own farming operation, for example. We know as well that there may be some lands out there that, given the realities of the day, economically just do not make sense. No matter what the good Lord gave them for resources and under the best of management, with the realities of today production capacity is just not there.

 

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Can we assist those producers to do something else or something different with their land? There is no question that there are some producers who need skills training. I believe there is a role for the federal and provincial governments and industry to provide that type of thing. I look forward to hearing constructive criticism.

We need to take that approach to build a new barn. When we build that new barn a few years down the road we know we will have to do some renovations. I have farmed all my life and I am realistic. When I built barns I thought they were the be-all and end-all, but I knew that down the road I would have to analyse and make some renovations.

The long term approach is the one we have to take. There is a short term need. The government has sought all available resources for the bridging approach that will take us to the long term approach. We cannot continue to manage the way we have been on a year to year basis. As we said in the throne speech we have to do long term planning to move it beyond crisis management. I am confident that will take place as we already have it started.

Provincial ministers told me at the federal-provincial meeting last week that they too have to take that approach. They are being told by their cabinets that they have to do something in the long term approach about the overall income of farmers. This includes government support to income, but there is more to farm income than government support such as research, innovation and resource allocation.

I look forward to the comments members will be putting forward today. I am confident that as we work together we will continue to strengthen the industry to deal with the realities before us today both domestically and internationally.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the agriculture minister has recognized that not all commodities are in trouble. However grain, oilseed, soybean and corn producers are subject to world market prices and in a lot of trouble. That is where the AIDA program has failed to deliver to farmers.

The government has changed the name of the program from AIDA to CFIP, the Canadian farm income program. Does the minister expect this program to serve farmers, those that are being hurt in particular, any better than what AIDA did?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief: Mr. Speaker, there is no such thing as a program that can be designed to do exactly what every individual producer wants it to do for them.

The reality of any program in Canada is that it is based on the amount of production of producers. If, for example, the gross sales of a farm in Canada are $75,000 or $80,000, the program is based on guaranteeing 70% of the gross margin, which is a considerably smaller sum than the gross sales. The program brings the farmer back up to 70% of the gross margin referring to a period of reference years prior to that.

I can tell the member that over the two years of the AIDA program in the province of Saskatchewan a bit shy of $400 million will be put into that province. The $500 million that we announced two weeks ago in Saskatchewan, along with Saskatchewan's 40%, and I trust that it will be there, will put another $200 million into that province for this year.

In co-operation with the Saskatchewan government and the federal folks the estimate is that another $200 million will go into Saskatchewan. That is on top of the $200 million that was connected with the announcement two weeks ago. This means that for this year those two programs with federal and provincial portions will put $400 million into the province of Saskatchewan.

 

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Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon—Souris, PC): Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for being here during the debate. I have a couple of comments and a question for the minister.

The minister has indicated that the responsibility is a shared federal-provincial responsibility. We all accept that. The norm now is a 60:40 split. Could that not be adjusted? Is there any reason this could not be an 80:20 split as opposed to a 60:40 split?

The reason I ask that is because in the United States it is a federal responsibility. The U.S., between 1998 and 2000, has put $48 billion of federal money into the pockets of farmers. Our government seems to always say that the provinces are not coming to the table equally and as quickly as what the feds are. Why could that split of 60:40 not be changed?

The minister has said that since 1995 there has never been more money in agriculture. The government took power in 1993. Prior to 1993, $4.3 billion went to agriculture. Today it is $1.6 billion. Forgetting about all the rationales, reasonings, budget deficits and the rest, the fact of the matter is that there were $4.3 billion and it is now down to $1.6 billion.

With the amount of surpluses that are available, does the minister not see that more of those dollars should go back into agriculture?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief: Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the hon. member keeps bringing this up all the time. He only embarrasses himself and his party. When we took government, the Government of Canada was taking in $120 billion a year. That member's government spent $162 billion a year. Someone had to take hold of the finances of the country because his government had put it into bankruptcy. Someone had to put it back. When we got it back in line, and there is no question that we did, we did it through the contributions of all Canadians.

Over the last five years $7.1 billion has gone into support and safety nets for Canadian farmers.

The member asks why our system is different than the United States. It is because our constitution says that it is a shared jurisdiction. If the hon. member wants to change the proportions, a shared jurisdiction would be 50:50. If he wants to talk to the provinces about a 50:50 split, I am for it. We, as a federal government, have said that we will go to a 60:40 split. It is a shared jurisdiction.

As we strengthen this industry in every way possible, the individual producers, the provincial governments, the consumers of Canada and the federal government will all benefit. The biggest beneficiaries are the consumers because our industry provides them with the safest, highest quality food of any country in the world. We need to work collectively to continue to provide that to our Canadian consumers.

Mr. Dan McTeague: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I was watching part of the debate from my office and became somewhat concerned about aspersions cast on my colleague from Toronto—Danforth. More important, right after that I noted that the member for Selkirk—Interlake introduced an amendment to his party's own motion.

I would like to point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that the amendment effectively precludes, prevents and, in a very calculated way, denies any opportunity for a member of parliament to expand on the very important and meaningful debate. Specifically, I had intended to put forth a motion that would also consider the impact of the grocery industry concentration in the manufacturing industry. It is a point—

The Deputy Speaker: With the greatest of respect, I believe the hon. member is engaging in debate. He will certainly have time for that over the rest of the day. For the time being, we will resume debate on the amended motion.

Mr. Dennis Mills (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to say at the outset that I will not be supporting the motion. I feel that the debate is serious and that all parties must be involved, but I feel that the approach taken by the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake, the agriculture critic, is mischievous. He tries to divide the House. When he uses a word like deceive to describe our efforts on this side of the House, he dumbs down the ongoing constructive approach.

 

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I deal with the issue from the perspective of an urban member of parliament. I do most of the shopping in my family. I have tried for many years to understand the complexities surrounding the issue. I will continue with all my energy and intellect to support family farms, but I want to do it in a reasoned and constructive way.

At the outset, all of us in the House have done a mediocre job educating consumers on agriculture. Few consumers or few urban people realize that the average family farm income is under $20,000 a year. Few consumers realize that the average age of a person farming today is close to 60 years old. I am not surprised that more and more younger people living on farms are not inspired to continue in the footsteps of their mothers and fathers and maintain their farms.

To shift the emphasis we have to go back to the consumer. Is it not amazing that in the city of Toronto one in six jobs depends on the food business? When we in the House of Commons press the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister for support and resources in the automotive, aerospace, tourism or any other sector, we always link it to jobs. It seems that most of the debates on agriculture focus on 270,000 farmers. We should start including in the debate and in the rationale the fact that one in six jobs in urban areas depends upon the agri-food business.

If we turn to the business section of any newspaper, we see the massive profits of food retailers and processors. Then, when we come to producers, we see an incredible disparity. I cannot figure out how producers, who are supplying processors and retailers, are getting screwed right in front of us. How is this happening? Why is it not being challenged?

The numbers we are using are wrong. We talk, for example, of the $500 million of new money going to farmers. To someone making $25,000, $30,000 or even $100,000 a year, it seems like a lot of money going to 270,000 farmers. The reality is that consumers, the urbanites, are the net beneficiaries of the work of farmers.

We have the cheapest food policy of any country in the G-7. Over 90% of Canadians probably do not know this fact. We have a cheap food policy in Canada. In other words, it is not farmers that are getting the subsidies. When we in urban areas go into Loblaws, Sobey's, Dominion, or whatever, we get access to high quality food at very cheap prices. We are the ones who in the end are the net beneficiaries of any moneys going to farmers.

 

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The motion today is asking for another large sum of money. By the way, I support the principle and the spirit of the motion, whatever the amount of money, whether it is $400 million or $600 million.

However we have to start educating urban people. The issue is about food sovereignty. Would an average family of four be willing to spend $1 per person per week, or $4 a week, for a year to maintain the family farm system of Canada? Would that average family spend $200 a year to have a safe and secure supply of food and to maintain food sovereignty?

Canadians should understand that this is the cost to them on an individual basis, approximately $50 per person per year. They should link to the issue on a personal basis and understand what it means to them in terms of added cost. If so, the energy and the reason behind rebuilding the agriculture and agri-food sector would be greatly enhanced.

Let me say to all farmers listening that I have no doubt about their need for the dollars put on the table. In fact, as a city MP I could never understand how this number was arrived at.

On March 13 I received a fantastic letter from Mr. Brian Doidge from Ridgetown College, University of Guelph. I would be happy to share it with anyone who is interested. He did the calculation of gap in income support payments from government for grain and oilseed farms in Ontario versus those in the U.S. He did a brilliant calculation.

Essentially the calculation showed that if we gave Canadian farmers the $63 per acre over the 4.83 billion acres planted in grain and oilseed crops, we would arrive at the $1.5 billion and the 60:40 split. However, it would only be half the subsidy American farmers would receive. Even at half we are not totally in the game with our American friends.

We have to bring the debate to city people. We have to ask city people if they want a food sovereign country. We never seem to challenge the profits of retailers, restaurants, food services, food processors and hospitality industry. We never challenge those sectors because we understand the number of jobs they create.

I say humbly that if the Minister of Finance took a look at all the revenue through personal income taxes which those jobs and those corporations created, maybe he has to take a little less from the food processing and food retailing sector. He may have to distribute some of what he is taking from those sectors to farmers who make sure the quality and secure supply of food ultimately serves all Canadians.

Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague on doing a commendable job on education, which is the term he used.

All provincial governments, all local governments and all parties in the House, I say without fear, have not done a good enough job educating the public on this issue.

 

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The previous speaker, the hon. minister of agriculture, used some figures for Saskatchewan. I direct this question to him concerning the federal-provincial cost sharing.

Saskatchewan, as we know, has the largest number of farmers, the largest number of acres under cultivation and so on. With the 60:40 split, it is extremely difficult for Saskatchewan to match that 40%, more so than for any other province in Canada. We have to be careful in condemning one province for shying back a little because it is in the least financial position. It has the least resources right now to match that 60%.

Does the member think this all or nothing approach, which is meet the 40% or the province does not get the 60%, is perhaps the right approach?

Mr. Dennis Mills: Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. member that I have always believed that the essence of being in the House is that the stronger regions look out for those regions which do not have the same financial resources.

I understand that Saskatchewan does not have the financial strength that the provinces of Ontario or Alberta have, but I will give an even better example. I think it is a near scandal that we cannot find $6 million or $7 million for the potato farmers in P.E.I. when we all know that we spend that amount in a year around here on paper clips.

In answer to the question, I have always been a believer and have always supported the fact that the advantaged provinces have a duty to look out for those provinces that go through bad patches.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth is in essence up to his old game of trying to divert this debate away from what the real issue is. The real issue is simply that this motion says that farmers require an additional $400 million.

I am going to ask the hon. member not to try to blame government inaction on the fact that the consumers in Toronto or other cities do not fully understand the agriculture issue. Elected MPs fully understand it. They have been lobbied by every group, such as the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Does the member not recognize that the motion is a vote about $400 million and not a vote about educating the consumer?

Mr. Dennis Mills: Mr. Speaker, the motion belittles the intelligence of government members because essentially the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake is trying to embarrass government members into a money motion.

Anybody in the House realizes that a money motion is a vote of non-confidence. Quite frankly, I think we can do a hell of a lot more to rebuild the family farm sector of this country in here rather than in another election.

Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon—Souris, PC): Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate the member for Toronto—Danforth. Being a city folk, he has done an awful lot to try to put across the issues of the farm crisis and certainly the issues that affect farmers themselves.

In saying that, I wish everybody in the House would stop playing politics and get to the issue. The issue obviously is trying to find solutions to a very serious problem. It is a non-money issue.

I have a question for the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth. There was a non-money issue when the Minister of Finance decided to spend $1.3 billion on an energy rebate, and I am not going to argue that program. Perhaps it was the best program that could have come forward.

Does the member not believe that the same kind of political will in the government could and should come forward with $1 billion, or $900 million or $1.3 billion for an issue that is equally as important, which is agriculture in the country?

 

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Mr. Dennis Mills: Mr. Speaker, I said in my remarks that I am passionately committed to this issue, as are nearly all of my colleagues in the House.

Members of parliament on this side of the House were in a state of absolute shock when we did not get the full $900 million a few weeks ago. Does that mean we are going to go back in our corner and hide? We are going to continue to use our reason and use our arguments to press the government to come up with the amount of money that is required to have a proper national agricultural policy in the country. We are all committed to that.

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in today's debate and to indicate at the outset that the New Democratic Party will be voting in support of the resolution put forward.

That is not to say we do not recognize that there is a good deal of double talk going on here today. One of the earlier speakers, in questioning the member for Toronto—Danforth, said that we have not done a good enough job of explaining agriculture to Canadians.

While I would not disagree with that, I point out that one of the reasons that perhaps we have not done a good enough job is because some political parties in the House are johnny-come-latelies to the crisis. I am speaking specifically about the Canadian Alliance, formerly the Reform Party, that introduced the motion today. That party has come to prominence in the country based on a cheap food policy. There are many examples over past years.

The one and only leader of the Reform Party said in Truro, Nova Scotia in the early 1990s that western provinces could not afford all the farmers they had. We have quotes on the record that I alluded to in the past, indicating that Elwin Hermanson, who was the agriculture critic in the House between 1993 and 1997 for the then Reform Party, said that he would not disagree with any of the cuts that were made in agriculture following the arrival of the Liberal Party to power in 1993.

The 1997 election platform of the then Reform Party indicated that it would cut support to agriculture by several hundred million dollars. Less than a week ago there were a number of rallies around the country. The Leader of the Opposition, the person who introduced the motion today, spoke at the rally in Ottawa that a number of us attended. Anyone would have had the impression, as would any one of the 5,000 in attendance, that he was going to rush right back to the House of Commons and demand additional funds for agriculture. He rushed back to the House but he dealt with immigration and not the crisis on the farm.

While I share the sentiments of the member for Brandon—Souris that we should not play politics with this issue, at the same time history teaches us some lessons. It is important to point those out from time to time.

When the history of the problem of agriculture in Canada is written, people will recognize and realize that 1993 was a pivotal year in the process. Not only was it the election of the Liberal government and its preoccupation with eliminating the deficit as quickly as possible, but that year coincided with the conclusion of the lengthy Uruguay and GATT round at which time agriculture and support payments for agriculture, both domestic and external, were dealt with for the very first time in an international setting.

I believe that the government, with its preoccupation on eliminating the deficit, hid behind the GATT resolutions and recommendations that everyone should cut subsidies or support payments by 20% over five years.

 

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We all know, and it is a matter of public record, Canada went much further than 20%. It eliminated it by some 60% over that period of time.

At the same time it is a matter of public record as well that following the 1993 election two parties lost their voices in the House. The former Progressive Conservative government and the New Democratic Party did not have official representation between 1993 and 1997. The government opposite was listening to the fact that the Reform Party was not being critical at all of the cuts that were coming in agriculture. It went at it in a very ruthless way. That was the period of time in which the Crow benefit was lost in western Canada. That was a huge amount of money out of farmers' pockets, more than $600 million per year across the three prairie provinces.

The province of Saskatchewan, as was pointed out by the member for Souris—Moose Mountain, has most of the arable land. It is over $300 million.

The fact of the matter is, the minister of agriculture would have all of us believe that history began in 1997 when he started to put more money back into agriculture. My colleague from Brandon—Souris was absolutely correct when he said there was far more money in agriculture support payments for Canadian farmers prior to 1993. That first mandate of the Liberal government took a lot of money out of agriculture, the Crow benefit being one of them, and it enormously jacked up the costs to farmers. We are still seeing the downside of all of that.

Another point the minister of agriculture raised, and he talked about it again today, was this 60:40 split. He correctly pointed out that there was a joint program for agriculture between the provinces and the federal government. I do not believe it was part of the confederation bargain that agriculture would be split in any kind of a 60:40 arrangement.

To go back about 15 years ago to 1986, I remember very well that the premier of Saskatchewan, Grant Devine, was demanding a billion dollars to help grain and oilseed farmers. This was in the midst of a provincial election campaign in Saskatchewan. I recall as well that the billion dollars was forthcoming from the then Conservative government of Brian Mulroney with absolutely no 40% arrangement having been made by Saskatchewan to pay for that. This is relatively recent history which we are dealing with.

Another point that the minister of agriculture referred to was the AIDA program, which is now morphed into the Canadian farm income program. My recollection goes back to 1998 when the minister of agriculture spoke at the United Grain Growers convention in Regina. It was in the fall of 1998, a few weeks before the AIDA program was announced in December of that year. The minister was very clear in his comments that morning that the real problem in agriculture was in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and by golly he was going to do something about it. The something became the AIDA program.

Despite the numbers the minister has revealed here today, the fact of the matter is, and the statistics bear it out, that the agricultural income disaster assistance plan has worked less well in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba than in any of the other provinces. This has to do with the rules and regulations and the fact that it looks at previous years to sort out their income for this year.

With farming, especially in the grains and oilseeds which is predominantly in western Canada, having been at such a flat plateau over the last number of years, there were no dips. With few exceptions, many farmers have not qualified for the AIDA program, nor do I predict will they be able to qualify in those two provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba for the CFIP.

 

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That leads me to comment on the fact that now we are getting signals from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food saying that it will not be putting money into the CFIP plan in the province of Saskatchewan unless that province puts up its 40% of the money for CFIP. I think that is a very wrong way to go.

I think the government of Saskatchewan has looked at agriculture support plans in the country and has concluded—and I agree very much with the member for Souris—Moose Mountain on this point—that this program and its predecessor, the AIDA program, simply do not work for Saskatchewan farmers. What the government of Saskatchewan is saying is that it will put the equivalent money into agriculture to help farmers in its own province, but it does not want to contribute specifically to this program because it has demonstrably failed over the last number of years. I do not think there should be any demur on the part of the Government of Canada in regard to that approach.

As long as the government of Saskatchewan can demonstrate clearly that it is putting in new and equivalent money but is not putting it into a flawed program that does not work for its farmers, surely that should not be a reason to tell Saskatchewan that if it is not going to comply, it will not get its share of this $500 million that was announced a couple of weeks ago.

Just as an aside on the $500 million, it was very revealing to me to hear the member for Toronto—Danforth say essentially how shocked and appalled he was, although those were not his exact words, that it was only $500 million, not $900 million, when the announcement was made two or three weeks ago. Yet I well remember every one of those members standing up to vigorously applaud the minister of agriculture when he said that he had just come from meeting with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and that the government had put in $500 million.

I note again the duplicity in all of this and the theatrics that go on around here, with the member for Toronto—Danforth now saying how disappointed he is that there was not more money, although doubtless he was one of the people who was up and applauding the $500 million. There were certainly a number of others who did so at that time.

After 1997, when the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives were once again represented in the House in sufficient numbers, the early arguments we heard when we started talking about the need for federal assistance for agriculture were that our pockets were not as deep as those of Washington or Brussels. Those were the arguments at the time and to some extent they were correct, because the deficit had not yet been eliminated but the government was bent in that direction.

Now that argument, I submit, no longer applies. The budget has been balanced. There is a healthy surplus of some $21 billion this year, I think, and for the next four years thereafter it rolls out to about $100 billion, so there is no argument that our pockets are not as deep as those of Washington and Brussels or that we cannot compete with them. The fact of the matter is that the government can compete. The reality is that it chooses not to do so.

It was not lost on farmers when just before Christmas an announcement was rolled out by the government about a $1.7 billion loan guarantee for Bombardier. There was no hint of any problem whatsoever in that aerospace industry. There is $1.7 billion in loan guarantees for Bombardier while farmers are fighting for any financial scrap they can get in their area.

If we do not put money into agriculture, I do not think there is any question that we are going to risk losing the food security we all want to retain. I think the Europeans understand that. They have survived two famines over the past century and that is why they support their farmers. They have simply determined that they are not going to accept a third famine and they are prepared to put some money into farming to ensure that it does not happen.

 

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The Americans have responded and are saying that they will not put their farmers at a disadvantage in regard to what is happening in Europe. The numbers have been bandied about this morning; they have put a lot of money into supporting their farmers in recent years. We in Canada have not done so and I think that if we do not, we risk losing our security over food and agriculture.

In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in answer to some questions, I think, talked about the need for transition and about farms perhaps continuing to get larger, like they have over the last many decades. That is all well and good, but if we are to have some transition programs, we are talking about an aging farm population. The average age of farmers in Saskatchewan is 58 and I suspect it does not differ very much in that province from many other provinces. If the government is planning to do that, it will have to look at putting some transition programs in place to help ease the adjustment of farmers who will be leaving the farm and going on to other types of work.

The member for Toronto—Danforth talked about the disparity between producers and the food business, the retail sector. He is absolutely right. I think the National Farmers Union has indicated that for the last 30 years food production across Canada has basically held steady at something less than $5 billion, while the retail sector has increased sixfold to $30 billion or $31 billion.

The point is well made, but we also now have people like Larry Solomon, who was recently quoted in the paper as saying that we cannot afford to continue to subsidize farmers and that if only we had small farms around big cities all our problems would be over. It would be interesting for Mr. Solomon to visit Saskatchewan and see the reality of 47% of the arable land and figure out how everybody would be able to cluster around some large cities.

The point I am trying to make is that we really do not have an oversupply in the country as long as we have people around the world who cannot feed themselves. What we have is a difficulty in getting the food to the people who need it most. It would be short term pain if we were to reduce our food supply and not be able to get back into that business.

I will conclude my remarks with that point and just emphasize again that with a $100 billion surplus, there is a need to put some of that money into farming. I have never been persuaded that the $900 million was enough. There were a lot of farmers in western Canada saying not to go down that road, that they needed more than that. It is probably important and it is probably high time that provincial ministers of agriculture, farmers and, to pick up on the point from the member for Toronto—Danforth, consumers as well try to have some kind of a discussion and debate about the future of agriculture in the country and where it is that we think we are going.

Rather than the top down approach, where lobbies happen, a rally happens and the government comes out with a dollar amount, I think we should turn the process on its head. Let us have some discussion with the farm community, consumers and the agriculture ministers across the country. Let us deal with it in that way to see if we can finally come up with a program that works for farmers.

It may be that we need a long term safety net program where, on one occasion in one year, there will be a certain group of farmers accessing the money, perhaps in southeast Saskatchewan or southwestern Manitoba, for example, because of the flooding there which wreaked havoc. That might be for this year, and then next year there would be another. There will always be uneven results in farming. In those happy years where there are not, it may very well be that we could set aside some money and have a larger pool on which to draw in future years.

That is the position of the New Democratic Party and I appreciate the opportunity to speak about it this afternoon.

 

. 1210 + -

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC): Madam Speaker, let me begin by congratulating the Leader of the Opposition for moving this motion on a matter of real urgency, not simply to people who live in rural Canada, as the member across the way indicated earlier, but to Canadians as a whole.

Let me serve notice that I will be splitting my time in this debate with my colleague from Brandon—Souris who, as the House will know, moved the first emergency debate on this issue when the House resumed after the election.

Just last night Statistics Canada reported that 63,000 Canadians have left agriculture in the last year. They are farmers, farm workers and farm families. What is most concerning is that of those who remain, the average age is steadily increasing. People do not see a future in farming in this country.

Let me be clear about what that means. There is a financial crisis now in agriculture. There could be a food crisis tomorrow in Canada. Consider for a moment a related field, that of energy. Whether the Bush administration in the United States is right or wrong, it has now embarked on an energy policy to reduce the reliance of its consumers on foreign energy producers.

In agriculture, the Liberal Government of Canada is embarked on a program to increase the reliance of Canadian consumers on foreign food, because that is the natural consequence of driving Canadian farmers off the farms. That would be food that could cost more than households in urban Canada are paying today. It would be food that might be of a lower quality. It would be food that could go to families in other countries if they were prepared to pay more.

We have taken for granted Canada's ability to produce large quantities of high quality food. We will lose that ability if we continue to drive farmers off our farms, and driving farmers off the farm has been a consistent result of the Liberal government, which has cut the federal budget for agricultural support by nearly $3 billion since it came to office in 1993.

How does this happen? One way it happens is that governments too long in power or too easily in power become so arrogant that they ignore what the public is saying. Indeed, in this House on this question, without any doubt at all, the government ignores what its caucus is saying. That is why the proposal by the Leader of the Opposition to have this as a vote that is not construed as a question of confidence is of such great importance.

The Liberal government governs by public opinion poll. When it does that it runs the risk of enormous harm. The Liberal government has done that before. This is the government, after all, that let Canada drift to the brink of losing the last sovereignty referendum. Do members remember the arguments? The Prime Minister claimed there was no crisis. He ignored the people on the ground. He said that public opinion polls showed there was no crisis. He nearly lost Canada.

Now, again, he claims that there is no crisis in agriculture. He took a poll on the farm crisis in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. The people his pollster questioned have not seen much of a farm crisis, not in Scarborough, not in Etobicoke, not in Ville Laval. Therefore, since they did not see it, the pollster did not report it and reality cannot exist. The Prime Minister puts rural Canada at risk because he has let urban Canadians believe that a cheap food policy is their natural right and there is nothing that would threaten it in Canada.

What the Prime Minister who nearly lost Canada in a referendum is in danger of losing now is rural Canada and, in doing that, losing the capacity to provide quality food grown here at home for Canadian families.

If farmers keep leaving the land, more Canadian supermarkets will have to look abroad for their supplies. They will have to look to Europe for their beef and their lamb. They will have to pay higher international prices that consumers are spared from today because past governments have protected a strong agricultural industry at home.

[Translation]

This government does not look after rural Canadians. It changed the employment insurance program, thus penalizing workers in seasonal communities in Canada, communities that live primarily off fishing, forestry, tourism and other industries that are inactive during the winter.

 

. 1215 + -

Most of these communities are located in rural settings and the Liberal government continues to pick on them.

Reductions in federal funding for health care have hurt all Canadians, but nowhere more than in rural communities where the quality of health care has largely diminished. It is impossible to attract doctors and nurses to many rural communities and to encourage them to stay there.

The federal government is not helping the situation at all. And so now, the government is turning its back on the Canadian agricultural industry and driving our farmers to bankruptcy. The Prime Minister, however, is saying that the polls reveal no crisis in agriculture. Why? Because the majority of the people polled live in large cities. They take agriculture for granted. That is unfair and dangerous.

If we lose our farming capability, the cost of food will shoot up in Canada. Our country can do better. We have done better in the past. It was my privilege to be part of a Canadian government that was familiar with agriculture and concerned about the sector.

However, the Liberal Party has cut substantially the programs we had put in place to help farmers. Federal aid paid out to the farm sector today amounts to nearly $3 billion less than in the time of the Conservatives. Agriculture is not a priority for the Liberal government. Rural communities are not either. This has to change.

[English]

This is not about fiscal restraint or fiscal prudence. This is about priorities. The government is quite prepared to spend public money. Let us look at the fountain in Shawinigan or the $1.3 million given yesterday to book publishers because Heather Reisman's company is paying publishers with returned books rather than cash.

When there is new money to spend, why is the heritage minister so much more influential in the government than the minister of agriculture?

More damningly, let us look at the spending estimates for the government's own propaganda. What is euphemistically called communications co-ordination services in the department of public works translates into government advertising. It has a budget of more than $75 million this year. That does not cover crown corporation advertising. It does not cover what the Prime Minister will spend in Quebec. The figure does not cover the cost of the polls which tell the Prime Minister there is no crisis in agriculture.

As Canadian farmers leave the land and Canada's food security is put in jeopardy, what is the government spending its money on? Perhaps the House has seen the expensive television ad for the Royal Canadian Mint featuring a little girl dancing over her birthday cake, lip-synching to the tune of All I Want Is Money. Now there is a celebration of Canadian values and a model to which young Canadians can aspire.

Let us assume the little girl in the expensive Liberal ad also wants her cake. Because the government is driving farmers off the land, the odds grow every day that the grain and flour in the cakes that Canadians eat will come from foreign fields and will be grown by farmers whose governments make agriculture a priority, as is not the case in Canada.

I wholeheartedly support the idea that there needs to be broad public debate about the future of agriculture. We have serious issues to face: the real nature of the viable family farm; what to do about international corporations and competition; what to do about vertical integration; what to do to ensure we are competitive around the world; and how do we sustain rural communities.

Those issues are critically important to the future of the country but they are being ignored. The House has a duty to play a leadership role in ensuring they are discussed. We must face them. We cannot simply let the future of farming drift away.

The urgent issue now is money. If it is urgent for us as a group, it is particularly urgent for Canadian farmers who want to continue to produce quality food for Canada, but who must go to their bankers and must put seed in the ground in the very next few weeks and have no help in doing that.

We strongly support the motion, but we also strongly support the need for a very real, thorough debate on agriculture, the place of food security in Canada and the importance of a food policy that will not only keep our rural areas active but ensure the security and quality of the food eaten by our urban populations.

 

. 1220 + -

Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon—Souris, PC): Madam Speaker, I thank the right hon. member for Calgary Centre for his most eloquent speech as well as his understanding of the issue. As most members of the House recognize, the right hon. member for Calgary Centre has been in the House a long time and has experience in the House that I and others do not have.

I would like to ask the member a question. Looking at agriculture over the years, particularly in western Canada, has he ever seen the type of desperation that is now etched on the faces of producers he meets on a constant basis? Has he ever seen such a lack of the political will necessary to give those producers hope, not only for this spring but for springs to come, with respect to their livelihoods in farming? Has the right hon. member ever seen anything so desperate as what is now before the House with respect to agriculture?

Right Hon. Joe Clark: Madam Speaker, I have not before, in my career in public life, seen this level of despair. This despair is not simply among farmers one might consider as business people, but also among families.

I will never in my life forget a conversation I had with a kindergarten teacher in rural Saskatchewan near Carnduff a little over a year ago. She told me the story of a five year old who had been missing classes because he had to go home and walk around to restore the confidence of his father who was on the verge of losing his farm. That is a terrible reversal of the roles that should exist in families.

What happened that night in Carnduff is happening across the country in agriculture. It is a human crisis, it is an economic crisis and it is a security crisis for Canada.

As to the government, my only explanation is that, try as he might, the minister of agriculture has no influence in the government. I have never before seen a government in which a minister of agriculture had so little influence. It makes me long for the days of Eugene Whelan.

Mr. Dennis Mills (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.): Madam Speaker, the right hon. leader of the Progressive Conservative Party has had experience as prime minister. He has had experience as a minister at the cabinet table. He made remarks about priorities. I would ask him a very specific question. Where would he suggest the cuts come from to find the $500 million?

I would say respectfully that a $200,000 fountain in Shawinigan or a portion of government advertising would really not make up the critical mass necessary to do the job here. What will need to happen eventually are deep and profound sectoral cuts because, as the member would understand, there is a limited amount of cash available.

My question for the right hon. member is: Where would he find that $500 million?

Right Hon. Joe Clark: Madam Speaker, that is a serious question and it emphasizes the point that we are dealing here with a question of priorities.

I personally would not spend the $500 million, or whatever it is we are spending, on the gun registry. It is a waste of money and a mistake.

I talked about government advertising. The government is spending excessively on advertising; $75 million, that we can trace in one piece of the estimates, for ads that need not run and serve no public purpose.

How much money can we gain here? We can gain millions of dollars here. There is money in the EI account that could be directed toward this.

I take the member's point. This is a difficult question of priorities. We must, when considering it, consider not only the moneys we might need to take from other expenditures or from government services, but we must also consider the cost of doing nothing.

What will be the cost in the future if our farm population continues to age and no young people are prepared to go into the production of secure, high quality food? What will we do in the future if we continue to downgrade the infrastructure that is available in rural communities, communities that contribute significantly to the quality and distinctiveness of Canadian life?

 

. 1225 + -

What do we do in the future if Canadian consumers are forced to pay for foreign food because we have made it less and less possible for Canadians to produce high quality, secure food at home?

The questions are serious but when they are considered by the Liberal government agriculture always comes out last. That is not acceptable.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Madam Speaker, I commend the right hon. member for his remarks. I also commend the member opposite, the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth, who has a great personal interest in the issue and has taken initiatives that have furthered the cause of those in crisis in agriculture.

My question for the right hon. member focuses on remarks he made about priorities. I would also put to him that this is an issue of leadership. With respect to the department of agriculture, I have a quote from one of the Liberal members from Prince Edward Island. An article that was in the Guardian newspaper quotes the hon. member for Malpeque as saying:

    The underlying problem from the start has been that the very department (Ag Canada) supposed to be working in the interest of the farmers has been the greatest obstacle.

He goes on to say:

      —but to be honest, it's virtually useless talking to Ag Canada—

That was a quote from a Liberal member.

The situation in Prince Edward Island is outside the normal circumstances of federal-provincial problems. The P.E.I. industry has made large sacrifices to protect the rest of Canada and there is no certainty that the U.S. border will even be open for the remainder of the year.

I wonder if the right hon. member could focus a little bit on that situation, on the lack of leadership shown there, and on the fact that the federal government has come up with less than half of what P.E.I. potato farmers were looking for to address their problem.

Right Hon. Joe Clark: Madam Speaker, I think we sometimes forget that P.E.I. potato farmers have made sacrifices at the behest of the federal government to ensure their sales were within Canada. The sacrifice they made on Canada's behalf should surely be reflected in the aid the Canadian government gives them at a time of exceptional crisis, a crisis that grows from one field, not from several fields. The support that has been given so far is not only inadequate, it puts at risk an industry that is fundamental to the future of that province.

Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon—Souris, PC): Madam Speaker, as always, it is difficult to follow the right hon. member for Calgary Centre. He speaks so eloquently and knowledgeably about the issue.

I am sorry that I must once again stand in the House to speak to an issue I thought the minister of agriculture and the Prime Minister would have by now realized is of such a serious nature. I am sorry that the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake had to put forward a motion on his own supply day to once again profile what is a very serious crisis in our communities and in our country. Unfortunately that is what has happened.

It is necessary to continue to profile the issue because unfortunately the government has not seen the seriousness of the crisis. It is serious. It is extremely serious. I am talking of farmers whose livelihood comes from the land, farmers, whom I deal with on a daily basis by telephone and in my constituency office, who are absolutely desperate.

This is a way of life. It is their livelihood. It is all they know. Their families before them and their families before them came from the land and they are now in my office and on my phone saying that they do not know what to do. They want to grow products for the rest of the country and the rest of the world but they have found themselves in a position where they may not be able to.

This is spring today, March 20. One month from now a lot of them should be on the land. Unfortunately the government, without the necessary supports, has thrown them onto the garbage heap of our society. That is sad.

This is not just about farmers. It is about their families. It is about their children who go to schools in the communities.

 

. 1230 + -

It is about the wives who work off farm and have always worked off farm to provide a livelihood for those families. It is about the same children the hon. member for Calgary Centre spoke of who are concerned about the welfare of their parents. This is extremely serious. It is about the communities that surround my community and the communities of the member for Palliser and of the member for Souris—Moose Mountain.

In my community the backbone of our economy is agriculture. It is desperate when we walk into a small rural community and we see boarded up businesses, schools being closed down, and elevators being ripped out. We see the way of life being destroyed in those communities. That is what this is about.

It is not about the ego of a prime minister. It is about families, communities and farmers. It is about businesses that have tried to develop in communities and because of lack of support are closing their doors. When those businesses close their doors, they close the doors on employment. The people employed in those businesses then leave their communities. Where do they go? They go to Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto. They go to urban centres.

We have a rural way of life that we want to preserve, not only in western Canada but across Canada. That rural way of life that should and must be preserved is not even on the government's radar screen. Why has this happened?

It is not happening because farm families, communities and businesses said that they were making mistakes and therefore they had to live by them. That would be easy to fix. The reason they find themselves in this position is unfair competition with the Americans and with the Europeans. They are eating our lunch and the minister of agriculture is allowing it to happen.

What is happening right now with unfair subsidies is that the Americans, between 1998 and 2000, provided $48 billion of support for agriculture. In that same timeframe in Canada it was less than $3 billion. That is despicable. The government is allowing the Americans to put us out of business through no fault of our own.

Another problem we have right now is increased costs. In most cases when people are in the business of making things they can pass on costs to consumers. In our particular case the costs are going up quite dramatically because the fertilizers being utilized on the land are natural gas based. We know what is happening in the natural gas industry right now. Costs are going up by 100% over last year's costs. Fuel being put into a tractor, a swather or a combine has gone up again about 100%, or 45% coming back in the other direction.

These costs cannot be passed on because the commodity price that is being driven down by these unfair subsidies is now less than what it was in 1995-96. It does not take a very long time to realize that when it costs more money to make a product than to sell it one cannot stay in business very long.

We are not only finding ourselves in this position because of unfair competition and increased costs. It is also because, as was mentioned earlier, we have a government and particularly a Prime Minister who have lost the priority and the profile of this industry.

It was also mentioned earlier that the government wants to govern by polls. I was told by a member of the backbench that the Prime Minister said that they had done plenty for agriculture and that nobody out there was making any noise as to what the problems are.

Over the last four weeks we have had a minister of agriculture burnt in effigy in Saskatchewan. We have had a rally here in Lansdowne Park, at which I, the member for Palliser and others spoke in front of thousands of farmers. We have had people in the Manitoba legislature sleeping overnight with their families, without sleeping bags because they were not allowed to take them in. Why did they do this? It was because they were desperate.

Was there a profile given to the seriousness of the industry? Of course there was. Where has the Prime Minister been when he cannot see what is going on around him? We had members of his own party, his own backbenchers stand to say very effectively that there must be more support now.

 

. 1235 + -

There are three issues with respect to support. The first one is support now. The motion is very specific. It asks for an additional $400 million. The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth said that $400 million was an awful lot of money above the $500 million that has already been expended. On a per acre basis, that probably, in most cases in Saskatchewan and Manitoba alone, would mean less than $5 per acre. That does not even take into consideration the cost of what the inputs are that are going into the land for the coming year. Four hundred million dollars above the $500 million is the minimum amount that is necessary to make sure our producers can get onto the land. That is an ad hoc program.

I remember listening to the minister in the House saying many times that the government does not like ad hoc programs in agriculture. He said that the government would like a long term, well thought out safety net program that will solve the problem. I see no evidence that the government is leading in that direction. Everything that has been dealt with, in my experience in the House, in agriculture, has been totally ad hoc.

We all know about the ice storm in Ontario and Quebec back in 1998. It was ad hoc. The government gave money to Quebec and to Ontario for issues that have never been dealt with before on an ad hoc basis. I remember the 1998 flood in the Red River Valley. What was the program for agriculture? It was an ad hoc program. They received lost inputs, seeding requirements and a lot of programs that were kind of made up on the go and put into place ad hoc.

In 1999, when the hon. member for Palliser's area and my area in southwestern Manitoba were affected by extreme rain conditions, to the point where 1.1 million acres were not planted, we asked the minister for some programs. He told us that he could not do ad hoc programs. He said that we had a wonderful program called AIDA that would take into consideration all the losses suffered in the area and that AIDA would fix everything.

Half of what my office handles in my constituency are complaints about the AIDA program. The program has not solved the problems. In fact maybe the minister was getting off track. Maybe he should have gone to an ad hoc program. I would have been much happier, believe me, because I would have had some compensation for people who required it.

We heard the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough say that there is no program right now in P.E.I. The government came along, pulled $14.6 million out of the air and it is an ad hoc program.

We desperately need money now. All members in the House must vote in favour of the $400 million. We need long term programs that will put some hope back into agriculture. We need a government and a Prime Minister who will say publicly that there is a problem in agriculture and that, yes, they are prepared to fix it.

Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I might say, without telling my age, that I have been directly or indirectly involved with this industry probably longer than anyone in the House, but I have never seen people so absolutely at a dead end as they are now. This is no longer a question about agriculture. It is now a question of human tragedy.

I would like to direct a question to the hon. member. Would he not agree that there is a lack of funding right now to see that the crops in my area and his area get into the ground? If the money is not there, is the government saying that it will let this human tragedy play its full course and maybe it will die out and go away?

I believe that if the government had the will it would come to the rescue. Obviously it does not have the will so it cannot find a way.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Madam Speaker, I could not agree more with the hon. member for Souris—Moose Mountain. I said that earlier.

 

. 1240 + -

There always seems to be demonstrated a lack of political will, to the point where the Prime Minister says that there is no problem. He does not talk to the same people we talk to on a daily basis, because then he would recognize that there is a problem. He received thousands of phone calls from producers in my area and the hon. member's area. We know because the his office returned the calls. Why is he not getting the message?

If there were political will, could it be fixed? Absolutely, and let me give an example. Prior to the election we sat in the House when the Minister of Finance stood and announced a $1.3 billion program for an energy rebate. There was no protest. There were no ministers burned in effigy. There were no phone calls made. There were no people protesting in legislatures. All of a sudden this was the major issue of the day. The government's political will was to do something, so it put in $1.3 billion.

What do we have to do to tell the government that it is also an issue in agriculture and that if it comes up with the same amount of dollars we will be able to fix the problem in a very short period of time? There is no political will and that is the problem. That is why it is necessary that the motion stays in the House and that the government listens to us regarding the agriculture industry.

Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NDP): Madam Speaker, I congratulate the member for Brandon—Souris on his great speech. I also congratulate him on his basketball club that played St. Francis Xavier in Halifax. They were great ambassadors of the Manitoba people. They should be congratulated on a great effort.

Now Canadian farmers know what east and west coast fishermen have been going through for many years. It is sad for me as a member of the New Democratic Party representing Nova Scotia to stand in the House to make that comparison. That is exactly what has happened.

The government and previous governments have basically said to the family fishermen that they are finished. It does not even have the stamina or the wherewithal to tell the truth. It says quite clearly that the family farm is finished. If that is the direction of the government, it should stand up on its hind heels and tell the people of the farming community throughout the country that is the game plan. That is exactly what it is doing.

That is a tragic policy on behalf of the large corporate sector which will gobble up these farms and destroy the hopes and aspirations of many young people who wish to pursue agriculture as a proud and noble career.

I thank the Alliance for bringing forward the motion today. It is very important as the member and others have indicated. We only hope the government will honour this commitment.

The leader of the Saskatchewan party, Elwin Hermanson, a previous member of the House, said in the House:

    There should be no guarantees to small business. There should be no loan guarantees to farms. We should not treat farmers differently.

Also the leader of the Reform Party said:

    The brute truth is the prairie provinces cannot support the number of farmers they have been supporting.

I am very proud and would like the Conservative Party member to elaborate on why there is a change of policy in the Reform Party. We are glad it is doing it, but it may be a little too late. All the government is doing is honouring the Alliance policy—

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos): I am sorry, but the member's time is up. I will permit the hon. member for Brandon—Souris to give us a short answer.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Madam Speaker, my answer will be very short because I cannot speak for the Alliance. I do know that it has had some changes in policy and some changes in thinking on any number of issues in the House, regardless of whether it be Stornoway, pensions or whatever. It seems to change its mind on a number of issues. This is just another one where it seems to have finally seen the light. It has come to the issue a bit late but we certainly thank the Alliance for that.

[Translation]

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ): Madam Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise to speak today to the motion moved by the official opposition leader, the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla. The motion reads as follows:

    That this House call on the government to authorize an additional $400 million in emergency assistance for Canadian farm families (over and above all agriculture programs announced or in place to date), to be paid out in 2001, and that the confidence convention need not apply to this motion.

 

. 1245 + -

As is customary, the motion was amended by adding the word “immediately”. The government is therefore now being asked to pay out this additional $400 million immediately.

I am gradually becoming familiar with the world of agriculture which is a completely new portfolio for me, but one thing I have understood. Recently I attended a meeting of leading agricultural stakeholders in a room here and I heard the minister of agriculture say “In Canada, there is always someone somewhere saying that it is too little, too late. There is always too much rain, or it is too dry, there is too much of one thing or not enough of another. It is never possible, in the world of agriculture, from coast to coast, to please everyone”. Fine, but what is amazing is that the minister of agriculture manages to displease everyone at the same time. This is amazing.

People are unanimous in saying that the half a billion dollar effort—and I do recognize the effort—announced by the Canadian government two weeks ago is totally inadequate. On this, people are unanimous from coast to coast. Some have their own way of putting it but, generally speaking, people agree on that. For example, the Quebec minister of agriculture said that it is a good initiative—he is being positive—but that there is still two-thirds of the way left to go. It is not enough and everyone agrees on that.

The minister should have announced an investment of $1.5 billion, not half a billion dollars. With regard to that announcement, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture also confirmed that this amount is far from the minimum of $1.5 billion a year that would be required over the next three years to help farmers.

There is no need to look at all the releases issued on that occasion. Each stakeholder has its own style of communication. For example, in Quebec the UPA says that the amount is barely enough to keep one's head above the water.

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris rightly pointed out that the fact that the government wasted $1.4 billion in January 2001 to fulfil an election promise was rather shameful. He said $1.3 billion, but I have always known the amount to be $1.4 billion. We will not argue over $100 million. After all, it is peanuts considering how the government seems to be throwing money out the window. We know that money was very badly spent.

If the government could find close to $1.5 billion quickly in order to keep a campaign promise, one might well wonder how it can be that the ministers were incapable of sitting down for discussions in order to acknowledge that Canadian agriculture was in urgent need.

This past weekend I met a number of my constituents and many of them told me “Being made responsible for agriculture may be interesting for you, but it will not be easy. It is a difficult area, because farmers are rarely content”.

Since I got involved with agriculture especially I have an understanding of why farmers are never content. They are constantly having to beg for help, and when they do get any it is always out of synch with their needs. When they get half a billion, they have to continue to demand the full billion they really need.

It is hard to understand why the government is not capable of giving them what they are calling for. We ought to be able to sit down for once and for all and say that crisis management is over, that now there will be long term planning and find out what the needs of agriculture are.

 

. 1250 + -

It is time to stop seeing agriculture as a holdover from the past. Obviously it is a style of life that must be maintained, but agriculture is also a vital industry contributing nearly 10% of the gross domestic product. It provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of people across Canada.

Therefore, it is not just the lifestyle that must be maintained so we can go for a drive in the country and say there are farms around still, we will go camping on a farm or stop over there or do all sorts of things on the farm to keep it traditional. No, we have to do something and find a way to provide the millions of dollars families need to resolve their problems.

To be more specific about the contribution agriculture makes to our economy, in 2000, 46% of net farm income in the United States came from government subsidies. Canadian support for the agri-food sector has been cut by half over the past ten years, shrinking from $5.1 billion dollars in 1991 to $2.6 billion in 2001. In 10 years, spending on agriculture has decreased from 3.6% of the federal budget to 1.7% of it.

We can see from these reductions that since the Liberal government has been in office, the surpluses it now has coming out of its ears it found in employment insurance—as we have said—the former unemployment insurance. According to the auditor general, it helped itself to at least $28 billion, mostly in worker contributions. But there are also billions of dollars in subsidies and assistance that our farmers used to receive.

Today, Canada has become one of the OECD countries providing the least support for agriculture, $163 per capita, as opposed to $336 per capita in Europe and $350 per capita in the United States.

With figures such as these, it is not hard to understand why the farmers of Quebec and of Canada cannot go up alone against the competition from the U.S. and European countries which provide generous subsidies for farming.

Our WTO agreements are being held up as an excuse for being over zealous and cutting our support to farmers.

In addition to the disasters so eloquently described by the members who spoke before me, our farmers have had to face many difficulties with much less assistance from the government.

They have another problem as well: the increase in production costs, which is largely the result of the increase in fuel costs. This is exacerbating the structural crisis in the agricultural sector. On the whole, producers have seen their fuel costs alone go up $400 million since 1998. This in turn means that it will also cost more to produce fertilizers. There goes another $400 million.

So while the motion is asking to immediately give farm families an additional $400 million, the total amount would still be $600 million less than what is needed by farmers. But it goes without saying that an additional $400 million would be helpful and might enable farmers to keep a little more than their heads above water.

Quebec and Canadian farmers are confronted with soaring production costs and a reduction in prices on the market. They are suffering a shortfall that is now in excess of $1 billion. In a period of budget surpluses, Canada refuses to provide fair assistance to its agriculture industry and is letting the situation deteriorate.

 

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As I said earlier, the agricultural sector currently accounts for 10% of the gross domestic product. It also accounts for about 10% of the jobs in the country and provides Canadians—and this is worth noting—with the world's least expensive grocery basket.

Again, we are number one in the world. In spite of the fact that the government does not look after them, our farmers continue to produce food items at a reasonable price after all since our grocery basket is the least expensive in the world.

In order to solve the crisis, the government must implement long term structuring measures based on the actual costs of production. The Canadian agri-food sector includes not just farmers but suppliers, processors, shippers, grocers, and restaurant workers. This entire industry is the third ranking employer in Canada. It is far from insignificant.

We must therefore ensure that an industry that generated in the year 2000 more than $95 billion worth of business is worthy of our taking the time to reflect on how best we can give it a hand up out of the mess it is in, and enable it to at least move onward and upward like any other industry.

For instance, there was no hesitation when it came to giving a tiny little business like Bombardier a $87 million hand up. With it, Bombardier was able to finance the development necessary to make it into a company that is now flourishing both in Canada and in the rest of the world. If we want our agricultural sector to develop a degree of self-sufficiency and if we want to see it develop further, it needs to be given the required assistance for that forward move.

Since the federation has said that the requirement was $1.5 billion over three years, I asked the farmers of my region—the lower St. Lawrence, a tiny region when compared to the whole of Canada—to give me some idea what amount of money I would have to give them if I had the means of meeting their needs.

The means are there, the needs corresponding to catastrophes they have lived through, but there are also needs that relate to development of what I call planning of medium and long term visions. For example, another $750,000 would be required to compensate producers who have lost their herds as a result of scrapie.

In this case, the government decided to provide compensation. However, it sat down with business people, not with producers. They used that and said “Fine, that will be a good thing. We have to develop traceability. We will therefore use this opportunity to spend $1 million of the money we are giving you in order to produce, in the field of informatics, everything necessary to keep track of your sheep production from the farm to the table”.

During this time while they were taking the means to set up this system, which I consider praiseworthy, it would for example, make it possible to take $750,000 away from producers, money they could have applied to the purchase of animals to rebuild their flocks.

In my region agricultural lime production is being developed. It would require $400,000. There is a plan to develop cattle farming over a five year period which would require $2.5 million. A potato marketing project—because my region produces potatoes—would require $30,000.

In order to establish the standards so dear to the Food Inspection Agency for the abattoir located in my riding just to put the standards into effect it will take $150,000. If it does not get $150,000 to implement the standards, I wonder what sort of job the Food Inspection Agency will do if the money is not available to put the standards into practice.

 

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Since the lower St. Lawrence region is a farming region we have tried to develop quality products. The humus in the region is excellent and we must therefore develop quality products. We are very advanced in the development of organic farming.

One brand name, Les saveurs du Bas Saint-Laurent, has been put on the market. Expanding this line would require $175,000.

Since our region also produces maple syrup and honey an investment of $60,000 would be necessary to develop a shared brand name for these two products.

There are also large sheep production operations in our region. Since we have no wool processing plant $500,000 would be necessary to set one up. Otherwise, we can do nothing with the wool and this entire sector of the economy will be unproductive.

We would need $500,000 for a meat processing centre in addition to $100,000 to build a cheese factory to process the goat's milk produced in our region.

An investment of $150,000 is needed to rebuild the Centre Avibier. Finally, $60,000 is needed to develop farm tourism so that we can keep our rural way of life alive, just to mention this aspect in passing.

So a small region like mine needs $5.375 million to meet urgent and real needs that relate to sustainable development and that require long term policies.

The region could be further developed which would create jobs and allow most people to leave the employment insurance program. Jobs would be created in primary and secondary processing plants if only the government showed some vision and stopped relying on crisis management.

The government thinks that people will be happy with half a billion dollars. We do not even really know how all the issues will be solved.

I thank my colleagues from the Canadian Alliance for bringing forward this motion today. This is an extremely important issue.

Since the Minister of Finance said that he is leaning toward fall budgets, we should not expect too much this spring. Yet today is a beautiful day.

It would be important for the minister of agriculture and all his colleagues to understand that action is urgently required in agriculture since it is a leading industry in Canada. It is an industry we should be proud of because we will be increasingly dependent on what is produced worldwide if we cannot become increasingly self-sufficient in the agricultural industry.

[English]

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

I will quickly deal with three questions today: Why are we here, where are we going with agriculture, and what are we doing with it? We are faced with a desperate situation in agriculture today. This morning I heard people criticize the Alliance for its agriculture policy. I want to read it to them to assure them it has not changed.

Our agriculture policy reads:

    To ensure a self-reliant and economically viable agricultural sector, we will vigorously seek free entry of Canadian products into foreign markets. We support and will advocate the phased reduction and elimination of all subsidies, support programs and trade restrictions in conjunction with other countries.

We further go on to state:

    We believe it is in the best interest of Canada and Canadian agriculture that the industries under the protection of Supply Management remain viable.

Our agriculture policy has not changed. It continues to be compassionate and based on common sense. We are in a situation now that requires some common sense and we do not seem to be getting any direction from the government. We are stuck in a subsidy war with the European Union and the United States, and Canada is the third and smallest partner in those trade wars.

 

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Our grain and oilseed prices have crumbled to the point where farmers cannot compete. Why do we need to help? When incomes have fallen to 20% of the five year averages, something needs to be done. We either let our farmers go down the drain or we help out. We are not prepared to let them go down the drain.

We must expect changes in agriculture as the industry goes along, but seeing 23,000 people per year leaving the industry is far too many. We have a problem.

The second question is this: Where are we with agriculture and what are the specific problems?

The first problem to which I have already referred is financial viability. People put many years into their farms. We heard the member for Brandon—Souris talk about that. At a young age they begin trying to build equity in an operation. They make the best decisions they can. They try to raise their families on the farms.

Farming is not just a living. It is a way of life that contributes $95 billion to the Canadian economy. A farmer's decisions can be absolutely right but in the end the results can be wrong. They must make their crop selections and guess their incomes far ahead of production. When incomes go down and costs go up, as we have seen with the price of diesel and fertilizer, grains and oilseeds are no longer viable.

We have other problems in our agricultural sector, one of which is political interference. I have talked a little about subsidization. According to reports, U.S. farmers are asking for $14 billion more in subsidies on top of the approximately $28 billion they already get.

Farmers cannot afford to be involved in trade wars. Last week we had a discussion on softwood lumber. It is the small people who are affected by trade wars and disputes. Wheat and cattle have begun to get dragged into the softwood lumber dispute. Farmers cannot afford that.

We see trade problems in the area of P.E.I. potatoes. We feel for the people who have produced their product and then are not allowed to take it to market.

Another concern for farmers is transportation. Our system continues to be very expensive, particularly in western Canada, and not all that efficient.

Producers are separated from legislation which seems to be made far away from them and into which they have no input. Two examples are the firearms legislation in western Canada, which is still a big issue, and the endangered species act that producers look at with suspicion because they realize they do not have a big say in how it is being put together.

Farmers have concerns over GMOs. Many have grown them. They are unsure whether they can continue to grow them or even whether they should. The government needs to give some direction and regulation in that area.

There are food safety issues. Producers are concerned about food safety but they also need to be protected from overreaction. Producers have issues over seed patents. We put public money into seed research and then turn around and sell the new varieties to private companies, and farmers in turn must deal with those companies. It is one more expense for the farmer and for the taxpayer. Those kinds of things make farmers and producers feel marginalized.

Perhaps my biggest long term concern, and the concern of many people to whom I have talked, is that there seems to be no leadership or coherent direction in Canadian agriculture. I have farmed for 25 years. For decades we have seen ad hoc programs. I would sum up what I have seen over the years by saying that policies are often too little, too late.

The federal and provincial governments need to sit down and accept responsibility for the sector, negotiate what they will do and begin to develop long term plans. Uncertainty in this business kills. We have enough of it without the government providing more.

I talked a little about why we are here and where we are with agriculture. I will now talk about where we are going. I have some suggestions.

I suggest we begin by building on the positives. Specialty crops have been a real success story in Canada in the last few years. Organic crops like kamut and the chick pea industry which has developed out of nowhere in western Canada are examples of this.

The second success story is the development of the pulse industry. It has seen a 2,500% increase in productivity in the past 20 years. It is now a $1 billion industry and within the next five years it is expected to be a $2 billion industry. That is a success story.

A third success story has been our livestock industry. Infrastructure is being developed and has been developed to support that industry. We need to protect it.

These are three sectors where we have had limited government involvement and have had success. We need to give the Food Inspection Agency the power to keep our cattle industry safe.

 

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I suggest that we need emergency aid at this point. People have been criticizing the Alliance for what they see as a change in policy. As I have explained, it is not a change in policy at all. Farmers need compensation. We are prepared to deal with that and we want to deal with it.

We need an emergency structure for natural disasters. People come into our offices on a fairly regular basis who have not had satisfaction in dealing with natural disasters such as floods. We need long term planning for those kinds of situations.

We need to strengthen our insurance programs. Those programs have worked for the most part. Producers and the government contribute to them, and with adjustments as we go along they seem to be working not too badly. It was mentioned earlier that we need transition programs. I would echo that as well.

We need a long term safety net program with producer participation that works better than AIDA. We also need good trade negotiations to reduce foreign subsidization. We need to reduce our involvement in that regard. We need our trade negotiators to sit down and do serious business in that area.

As our motion says, we need $400 million of short term aid to farmers. I would call on the government to do more than just criticize the opposition. In the last two weeks it has changed its tactics. Last week members such as the member for Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey expressed the opinion that it is the opposition's fault the government has not responded to the crisis. I reject that.

This week there has been a very expensive Canada-wide media campaign to convince Canadians that farmers are well off as it is now. The government still does not understand that driving a wedge between people is not good agricultural policy. Perhaps again its agriculture policy is being driven by poll.

I cannot believe the lack of planning and commitment we see in the government. Liberal backbenchers today need to stand and show their influence. The opposition has done its work. We have tried to bring the issue to the forefront and we have done so today.

Many opposition members agree with the Liberal member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex who said, in response to the government's last announcement of new agricultural funding:

    It was one of my darkest days in politics so far. I had really honestly thought the Prime Minister understood the plight of the grain and oilseed farmers...I just really felt my knees were cut out.

We call on members opposite to support our motion today to get involved, take care and do their part in correcting the emergency situation we have on the farm.

Ms. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate to support the motion to immediately authorize an additional $400 million in emergency assistance for Canadian farm families. It is clear that the concerns of Ontario farmers have been falling on deaf ears with the government. Farmers have been facing their worst income crisis since the great depression. It is also clear that only a Canadian Alliance government would listen to the problems facing rural Canada.

In my riding of Renfrew-Nipissing—Pembroke, farmers are experiencing the same income crisis that is being experienced elsewhere.

Considering that a large portion of the terrain in my riding is the Canadian Shield, which has poor, rocky soils where there is soil, production is substantial. Beef farms account for over 50% of all farms in Renfrew county. Dairy, field crop and miscellaneous specialty farms account for most of the remaining farms. Renfrew is a leader in hay, maple syrup and Christmas tree production.

However, the profile of farming in my riding is changing. The number of beef farms is steadily declining and field crop and miscellaneous operations are on the increase. That is happening because our farmers are searching for ways to make a living in light of the problem of low commodity prices. Here in Ontario the federal government has developed a reputation of being anti-farmer.

This past year Ontario farmers have been faced with bad weather, reduced yields and declining prices due to the international agreement the Liberals signed that created the World Trade Organization. Not only did the new agreement end the provision which protected supply management from imports, it exposed Canadian farmers to penalties which the Liberals claimed would not occur.

In September 1999 the WTO ruled that Canada was dumping milk on to the world market and it ordered Canada to change or to stop exporting. This exposed the lie told to farmers when they were advised that supply management would not be affected by the Mulroney-Liberal trade agreements, and that there would be no effect on domestic supply management.

 

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The Liberals then tried to cover their tracks by incorrectly stating that a Canadian Alliance government would unilaterally end domestic supply management. That is false and the worst form of negative politics from a federal government that thrives on negative politics. The Canadian Alliance knows that farmers want straight talk from Ottawa about what is happening in agriculture here at home and abroad.

The Canadian Alliance believes it is in the best interest of farmers, Canada and agriculture that the industries under the protection of supply management remain viable. While the Canadian Alliance supports greater international trade, our farmers will only benefit from increased trade if it is rules based fair trade. We will continue to support supply managed farmers. Tariffs will only be reduced and my party and I will only consider changes to domestic policies if other countries match our existing commitments.

It is clear that a significant segment of the Ontario farming community did not support the Mulroney-Liberal trade agreements because it feared the deal would mean the end of the family farm. The Mulroney-Liberal trade agreements are a direct assault on rural Canada.

In Ontario since the current government took power, according to Statistics Canada the number of farmers for whom farming is their principle means of livelihood have declined from 121,200 to 88,200, or a loss of 33,000 farmers. Farmers' worst fears are being realized with the government.

According to the Ontario Corn Producers Association, federal statistics on farm income data for all provinces show that the total net farm income was substantially lower in Ontario than in Saskatchewan in both 1998 and 1999, even though the scale of agricultural output was larger in Ontario. Total net farm income was $484 million in 1998 and $281 million in 1999 in Ontario. For Saskatchewan the figures were $603 million in 1998 and $531 million in 1999.

During the past federal election in rural Ontario, some elected politicians had big words of encouragement but the sad fact is that it was just another last minute vote ploy. With two days before an election call, when this cynical government thought it might need the votes from farmers, it promised bigger and more flexible AIDA program payments. The AIDA funding, offered two years ago, is for the most part still in Ottawa. Funding programs are meaningless unless they reach those who need them.

The Canadian Alliance believes Ontario's market revenue program must be maintained or it will be lost for good. We believe the program has served Ontario producers well. We will not allow the program to run out of money or be scrapped because if it does the Mulroney-Liberal trade agreements will not allow us to start it up again.

The Ontario farmer in rural Ontario is an endangered species. The Prime Minister and his contemptuous advisers knew that they did not have to make commitments to farmers but were quick to throw money at rich urbanites, including $500 million for the Toronto waterfront and $380 million for new four lane highways and bridges for Quebec.

Farmers in Ontario have long feared that the Liberal government policy of driving them off the land would mean a loss in political influence. That grim realization has come with the November 27 election results.

Ontario farmers are asking for a level playing field. Agriculture is important. I say that to all members of the House but I particularly direct my comments to the Liberal MPs in Ontario who have rural constituencies but cannot seem to convince their leader that agriculture is important.

This is not just a western Canada issue to ignore, as the Liberal Party tends to ignore the west.

 

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As the only unbiased voice of rural Ontario since 1993, I can say that farmers are talking to me. Members opposite may think that four years is a long time and that they will forget how they have pushed away their concerns, but I am saying that they will not forget because as their voice on Parliament Hill I will remind them of how their trust was betrayed. Excuses can be made but the facts are there.

We in the official opposition are asking the government to support the needs of Canadian farmers so that they will be here tomorrow to put quality home grown food on the tables of consumers.

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have a copy of two statements from the Reform Party policy platform and statement of principles. One is dated August 14, 1988, and reads:

    We support the shift from a government dominated and supported agricultural industry to an industry shaped by market forces.

The other statement is also from the policy declaration of the Canadian Alliance dated January 2000 and reads:

    We will support and we will advocate the phased reduction and elimination of all subsidies, support programs and trade restrictions in conjunction with other countries.

Would my colleague not agree that these two statements, one that is twelve years old and the other one which is nearly one year old, are very contradictory to the motion proposed by the Leader of the Opposition which is calling for the exact opposite?

I know my colleague is a straight shooter. I would like to know whether or not she agrees that there is a contradiction in the two statements and which one she supports.

Ms. Cheryl Gallant: Madam Speaker, I was not aware that my rifleman talents were known that widely. The Canadian Alliance will reduce subsidies only in conjunction with other countries. It is the Liberal government that unilaterally took away subsidies from Canadian farmers.

Mr. Mac Harb (Ottawa Centre, Lib.): Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this issue. I represent an urban riding in Ottawa Centre, the riding in which the House of Commons is situated. I am a bit at a loss when I see the official opposition come forward with motions such as the one before us today.

As I indicated in an earlier question to the member of the Reform Party, her party policies call for the exact—

Mr. Howard Hilstrom: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to know what the member is talking about. I thought the Reform Party of Canada was demised.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos): I would caution the hon. member to use the official name of the official opposition which is the Canadian Alliance.

Mr. Mac Harb: Madam Speaker, my deepest apologies. It was an honest oversight on my part. It is difficult for a government member to differentiate between the old party and the new party.

The policy of the Canadian Alliance Party speaks very much to the opposite of what the motion is speaking to today. As I told a colleague on the other side earlier, it is quite clear and quite unequivocal that in essence it contradicts what is in the motion. I will be splitting my time with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

It is fair game when we have consistency before us, but when we see situations like this one it is quite frustrating because we do not know where that party sits on the issue. At the end of the day the issue before us is an issue of fairness. It really has nothing to do with partisanship. It has nothing to do with the political affiliation of one member or another. It has to do with the issue of fairness.

 

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We have a situation where the farming communities across Canada are telling us that they are faced with a situation where farmers in other countries, in particular south of the border, are getting unfair subsidies. As a result they are putting our farming communities at a disadvantage.

This is an absolutely fair statement and fair game. Ultimately at the end of the day it is imperative that those in the farming community are playing with the same rules. Therefore, if subsidies are being put on the table by other countries, it does not necessarily mean that we will have to bring in more subsidies. It means, though, that we will have to do our utmost to ensure a level playing field.

In the meantime what should we do? Should we let our farmers leave? Should we let our farmers suffer the inequity that exists while we are fighting the injustice that is taking place elsewhere, or should we fight for them and at the same time do something to support them?

That is exactly what the government has done. Every business venture and every trading nation has to play by the rules set out by the World Trade Organization and by the rules set out previously under the free trade agreement and eventually under NAFTA. We all have to abide by and to follow the same rules. We have to subscribe to those rules and we have to ensure that our industry subscribes to those rules.

When we see situations such as we are seeing now in the farming communities, or when we see situations such as we will see at the end of this month with the softwood lumber issue, we get frustrated. We as elected officials feel that we have an obligation to do what is right and not just to correct what is wrong. This is exactly what the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and what the Minister for International Trade have been doing consistently over the past few months to address the whole issue of inequities.

What is enough? The minister just announced a support package for farming communities to balance the imbalance that exists. What is enough? Frankly I would say that $500 million may not solve the problems of the farming communities for good. Even $1 billion will probably not be enough to solve the problems of the farming community for good. What will solve those problems is the removal of unfair subsidies from anywhere in the globe where farming products and farming services are provided. That is the only way for us to ensure fairness.

In the absence of that we have to be exceptionally careful not to create the impression that we have a well with an endless amount of resources into which we dip every time there is a problem and wait for the problem to go away.

We have to be consistently persistent in trying to speak out on behalf of farming communities, as the minister and the government have done. We have to consistently seek justice when it comes to the World Trade Organization and NAFTA to ensure a level playing field.

I am not saying that we have to eliminate subsidies all at once and for good. However there are others who have already embarked on eliminating subsidies altogether. That has happened in New Zealand. Others may also follow suit and eliminate subsidies altogether so the market can decide.

If I were asked as an elected official from an urban riding whether or not I am calling for the removal of subsidies, I would say no.

 

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That cannot be done unilaterally and cannot be done by one country in the absence of action by others. We must do it collectively. As nations we must collectively set the rules of law and ensure those rules are respected by member countries.

It is fairly hurtful when we see situations like the one the farming community is faced with now. To a large extent it is being discriminated against. I commend the minister of agriculture who is very knowledgeable about the file. I also commend the Prime Minister and the Minister for International Trade for speaking out on behalf of farmers. That is responsible action on the part of the government.

When the official opposition says if we throw another $400 million at the problem it will go away, I challenge it to tell me the exact amount the government must put on the table to make the problem go away. No sum of money will make the problem go away as long as other nations outbid us and subsidize more than us.

At the end of the day what is required is corrective action like the government has done: work with farm communities and leaders and speak out on the international scene. We must bring sanity to the system so that farmers around the world will play by the same rules. When they play by the rules, they know that all other farmers in every other country are also playing by the same rules.

We have an unjust situation that is made worse by the fact that some member countries of the World Trade Organization are not playing by the rules. That is the issue before us. Rather than telling the government it is onside in the fight to ensure equity and a rule of law that is fair across the board, the official opposition says that if we throw more money at the problem it will go away. That will not work in the long run. It might be a bit of a band-aid solution in the short term, but ultimately it is not the answer.

Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I think the hon. member has put his finger on it. What will solve the problem? Successive governments in the past have failed to respond with a long term solution to agricultural problems. The problem before farmers right now is very clearly that their production costs exceed the compensation they get for the sale of their products.

Some may say it is not the government's responsibility, but it is the Liberal government, with its majority, that has mandated that western Canadian farmers must sell their grain to the wheat board. In essence we are back to the Trudeau salute. Trudeau asked western farmers why he should sell their grain for them. It is because the government passed a law that said it would.

I simply comment on the member's speech. We are looking for emergency aid. It is needed. It is absolutely necessary for farmers this instant so that they can stay out of bankruptcy and not lose their businesses, their farms and their homes. That is the immediate measure. How we wish the previous Conservative government had signed agreements with the Americans and other trading partners in the world that they were willing to live by.

Will the hon. member comment on the fact that he is part of a government that has failed in the very area he is talking about: the lack of a long term policy to meet the needs of Canadians for a secure food supply through our agriculture industry?

Mr. Mac Harb: Madam Speaker, we do have a long term policy. Negotiations have been going on for years. We had the GATT, under which the rules of law were set up for member countries. That was followed by the World Trade Organization, the free trade agreement and then by NAFTA. These organizations represent hundreds of countries around the world. The rules of law are there for everyone to follow.

 

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What we are saying on this side of the House is that at the end of the day the long term solution my colleague has called for is for everyone to respect the law of the land.

We have a situation now where some member countries are not respecting the law of the land. The policy of the government is to ensure that member countries respect the rules of law and do not create unfair subsidies that put our farmers at a disadvantage. We must fight and continue to fight on their behalf and we must provide them with the support they need, which is exactly what we are doing.

However, at the end of the day, and I repeat this one more time, there is no amount of money that will solve the problem. The only way to solve the problem is for everyone to play by the same rules. As long as people from other corners, doors or windows do not play by the rules, the situation of inequity will repeat itself. We will see our farmers in front of the House of Commons and elsewhere protesting and asking for assistance.

I will mention another point to my colleague. In any operation or business, every time there is a crisis, whether it is financial or otherwise, inefficient operations will fall victim to it. What we must do is ensure we have a support mechanism to assist those who are in need.

That is exactly what the government has done on a number of occasions. I will not repeat this for the record, but speakers before me have, and speakers after me will, put on the record specific programs the government has put in place to support farming communities. Through such programs we will continue to work with farmers to ensure they can support themselves and their families.

However for my colleague to say that we do not have a long term policy is grossly unfair because we do in fact have long term policies.

Mr. Gar Knutson (Elgin—Middlesex—London, Lib.): Madam Speaker, it is my honour to rise today to discuss the very serious issue of the agricultural crisis. Let me begin by commending the opposition for bringing it to the attention of the House and for using one of its opposition days to discuss the issue.

As hon. members know, my riding in southwestern Ontario is one of the richest farm areas in the country. The counties of Elgin and Middlesex have a vast array of agricultural producers, whether in wheat, corn, soybeans, livestock or supply management. The health of the agricultural industry and its livelihood is a very critical issue to my riding, to my community and, as such, to me as well.

It is important when we define the problem, and it is a very real and serious problem, that we acknowledge that not all of agriculture is suffering. Certainly areas involved with supply management, whether dairy production, the feather industry or the production of eggs, continue to do reasonably well. That is because they are protected from the games foreign countries play in terms of increasing subsidies at a rapid rate. They know when they go to the marketplace that they will get a reasonable return for their production and one that will cover their production costs and allow them to feed their families and make a good living.

The other part of the farm sector that is doing well right now is the whole area of cattle. Hog production is also doing well because the prices those producers are enjoying are reasonably high.

 

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Again, not all parts of the farm economy are in a crisis. It is a particular part of the farm economy. If we look at the numbers in Ontario we see that farm incomes went up last year, which is not what one would expect given world prices for grains and oilseeds and the awful weather we had in terms of a very wet spring.

Let me turn my comments to the issue at hand, which is the farm income crisis in the grains and oilseeds business. I will provide some statistics.

The Ontario average for the price of grain corn has dropped from $4.65 a bushel in 1995-96 to $2.85 a bushel. That is a huge drop in a very short period of time and farmers cannot make money at that price.

The Ontario average for the cash price of soybeans has dropped from $9.66 in 1995-96 to $6.90, which is more than a 30% drop in the space of about four to five years. At the same time, the cost of production has risen through the roof. Farmers are facing the lowest prices for their product, in nominal terms, for the last 27 years while incurring an increase in the cost of fertilizer. Fertilizer costs have gone up primarily due to the cost of oil that goes into making it.

Costs have increased for things like drying expenses. When harvest corn is taken from the field and shipped to market, it must be dried to prevent it from moulding on the way to market. Because of the high input costs involved in that and the low revenue, the farmers are suffering and going broke. They incur high costs for the rental of land and a variety of other costs.

The average cost of production for corn is estimated in Ontario at $3.50 per bushel. If one compares that with the number I gave previously, we see that the price farmers get for corn is $2.85 per bushel. The breakeven for soybeans is estimated to be $8 per bushel compared to the $6.90 per bushel. These numbers, as well as any, highlight the difficult times farmers are having. The worst part is the source of the problem: The Americans have increased subsidies to farmers fourfold over the last few years. They are paying their farmers to produce at a level that distorts the marketplace both in Canada and abroad.

The Americans have a policy of not giving up market share around the world, and they have gotten into the business of paying their farmers to produce without getting a normal price from the marketplace. For example, when Ontario corn farmers go to the marketplace they sell corn at a certain price. When American farmers go to the same marketplace they get a certain price plus a very high subsidy.

The market is not signalling to U.S. farmers or to European farmers that they should cut back production because the market is being distorted by high subsidies. Ontario farmers are extremely frustrated by this and by the fact that they have no hope or optimism that it will change.

A number of people have talked about signing new trade agreements that would bring in new rules so that subsidies would go down. Even if we did that, farmers in Europe or the U.S. would go through a period of adjustment, some say from five to ten years, but the Ontario corn and soybean farmers would get no immediate relief.

That highlights the level of frustration and how difficult the situation is. It indicates that the federal and provincial governments need to be cognizant that the situation has changed dramatically since 1993-94 when the Liberals first came into office. Our support for agriculture at the time, in terms of safety nets, was roughly $600 million. We did not hear squawking or complaints that it was too little money because the price farmers got from the marketplace compensated for the fact that they did not get subsidies.

They now find that when they go to the marketplace they cannot get a fair price so they are looking to the federal and provincial governments for help, as is their right.

 

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I am happy to say that the federal government has responded. It may not have responded as aggressively or as generously as some farmers and farm organizations would have liked, but it moved the $600 million in safety net programs from the 1994-95 budget year and increased it by $500 million to what was then called AIDA.

AIDA was designed to deal with sudden and quick dramatic drops in price. It played an important role two or three years ago in maintaining a hog industry in my riding when the price of hogs fell through the floor and a number of livestock farmers were facing very difficult times. They made good use of AIDA, and I was pleased to see a government safety net program come into play. It was virtually put in as a permanent program. It is now a multi-year commitment that farmers can rely on for the next few years.

The minister just announced an increase of $500 million. One of the two debates surrounding that $500 million is whether it should be higher. As someone who represents a farm riding, I would have liked to have seen it higher, but I understand the government has a lot of competing calls on resources and it came up with $500 million.

However, if we go back to 1994-95, when we went from $600 million of total safety net programs, we added roughly $500 million to AIDA. We also increased our $600 million bottom line safety net programs by another $85 million. We have now increased it by another $500 million. In my view, that is not bad. We have almost tripled the support for agriculture and the safety net since I have been in office.

Other than the amount of money that we should be putting into agriculture, we also need to call on the government to make a multi-year commitment. The $500 million we have is a one year commitment. I will have an opportunity in a take note budget debate to talk about this, but if the Minister of Finance is taking note tonight I would tell him privately or publicly that we need to be more generous in our multi-year commitment to agriculture.

I understand the difficulties in making a decision now. We do not know where the economy is going. We do not know what resources the government will have in six, eight or nine months from now. However, I call on the government to be as generous as possible.

While I commend the opposition for what it has brought forward today, I should point out that it did not mention a word about increasing support to farmers during the campaign. The only party that had a coherent platform in terms of increasing cash support for farmers during the campaign was the Progressive Conservative Party. Its leader came down to my area in Woodstock and spoke about how we need to do more to support our farmers and he talked about increasing the budget. I never heard—

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos): The hon. member for Lethbridge has the floor to ask a question.

Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, we have to get past the rhetoric of who did what when and who asked for what.

The other day there was a comment from across the floor that I did not ask an agriculture question until the fifth spot. What is that all about? The fact is that our agricultural community is in trouble and needs some help. Let us get past all the rhetoric.

I just received a letter today from a couple who live on Heritage Road in Georgetown, Ontario. They have asked me if I would ask the Liberal government some questions. The letter reads:

    In doing so, please be sure to ask the government, who is having difficulty finding the moneys desperately needed to sustain our food system and ensure food sovereignty the following question: Why did they spend valuable consumer tax dollars on an anti-farmer campaign that ran in Canadian newspapers on March 15th?

It goes on to explain how much money the government proposed to have spent. It ran in all the big city newspapers, although I am not sure what that was all about. The couple wants to know why the government did that? They also want to know how much that cost and why the money was spent on something like that instead of going directly to farm families?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Madam Speaker, the hon. member should know that I have no idea how much the advertising campaign cost.

As question period will start in about 25 minutes, that question would probably be better put directly to the minister who, I am sure, would be happy to answer it.

 

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As for the comment about it being an anti-farmer campaign, the opposition likes to make the point that Canadians have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent. It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that because the government is explaining how we spend roughly $1.7 billion in terms of annual farm support programs to Canadians that it is somehow anti-farmer.

We are telling Canadians how we spend the money. Is it not implicit in that argument that we need to spend the money and that our farm sector is important?

Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, I will preface my question with a statement. There was once an American president who defined liberal economic policy. The policy was very clear and concise. It stated “If it's alive and it's moving, tax it. That will slow it down. If it doesn't slow it down enough, regulate it. And when the thing is almost dead, subsidize it.”

I believe we have an industry in Canada that is in the third stage through that type of policy. When the government starts subsidizing using the Liberal way, it does not want to make the subsidies too big because it might get healthy again. Keep it down.

There was some mention made in the throne speech about helping agriculture move to become a value added industry. We have a good example of what the president of the United States was talking about with liberal economic policy in Saskatchewan. The Americans blocked or restricted Canadian durum, the best durum in the world, from the U.S. market. For people who do not know what durum is used for, it is used to make spaghetti, pasta and those types of products.

A group of farmers trying to help themselves, tried to form an organization that would grow its own durum, build its own pasta plant, crank out its own pasta and export it directly into the U.S. market so it could get away from government regulations and subsidies. These farmers wanted to empower themselves to help themselves. Unfortunately, Canadian Wheat Board regulations prevented those farmers from going ahead with that very worthwhile venture.

Would the member comment on how we could get our regulations simplified so that farmers could empower themselves rather than being at the mercy of subsidies and governments for their support?

Mr. Gar Knutson: Madam Speaker, I do not have a detailed understanding of the pasta plant in southern Saskatchewan, but off the top, if in fact the wheat board prevented that plant from developing, that was a mistake in policy. We need more pasta plants and food processing plants and any regulation that gets in the way of that should be abolished.

However, it comes as no surprise to hear the member quoting a U.S. president. That party is trying to make an argument for more subsidies—

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos): THe hon. member for Lethbridge has the floor on debate.

Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, we are here today to speak in support of the opposition motion to get an additional $400 million into the pockets of our farmers this spring before seedings starts. We want to do it in a way that is quick and efficient, not like some of the programs that have been developed in the past by this government. We need to do something that responds quickly to the situation.

I just spoke to a gentleman a couple of minutes ago to ask if it would be all right to read a letter that I received last week when I was at home. It is from a company with which I did business while running my farm operation. Last year this organization won one of the awards given out by the Lethbridge chamber of commerce for businesses that excel in what they do and how they promote their business. I read the letter even though it is a form letter. It states:

    I want to begin this letter by saying thank you for giving us an opportunity to serve you and allowing us to work with you. We have dealt with some of you since 1977 and through that time we have come to know you very well and it has been a very rewarding experience.

    My son, Tim, made an interesting comment a few years back after he returned to work with us following his legal training in B.C. We were sitting talking about our business and he remarked that one of the things that he liked about agriculture was the kind of people with whom he dealt. I agreed with his feelings.

    We have had an opportunity to work with some very fine people. We have found that the small size of our company was continually a limitation on what we hoped to achieve. In recent years it has been very difficult to run a profitable business. I know you face that same struggle. Getting financing continued to grow to be a larger and larger challenge. The competitive environment also became tougher as the grain companies battled for a market share and used ag inputs as part of their marketing levers.

    The drought last year was the final straw. It was financially very damaging and even though we improved in every aspect of our business we cannot overcome the impact of the drought and the resultant drop in sales. The prospect of another such year was a factor that convinced us. We no longer were strong enough to survive in this market so on January 6 of this year we began the plan to shut down the fertilizer, pesticide and seed sector of our business, and the related services.

    It was with considerable sadness that we realized that the close working relationship we had with you would not continue in the same manner. It was also very painful to have to lay off our crew, 12 full time people and 20 part time people after working with them and watching their skills develop. Some of them had also been with us for a very long time and we had been watching with much interest hoping that some good opportunities would come to them.

 

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This was a small business in southern Alberta that has gone out of business because of the farm crisis. This goes further than farmgate. We are not only talking about primary producers, we are also talking about the entire industry of agriculture when we talk about the seriousness of the situation.

The dramatic increase in input costs is one of the things that caught farmers in a real vice in the last few years. Commodity prices, as we know, are low in the grains and oilseeds sector, and to compound that with the increase in inputs, plus, in our area, a very severe drought that has not relinquished yet, could really send us into a crisis situation this year.

With a combination of all those things, as this gentleman has indicated, it has put a well run family business that had been in place since 1977 out of business. They were award recipients for the way they ran their business. They had to lay off 32 people. That is just a part of what is happening.

In the misplaced and misguided policies of the government, it went ahead of the rest of the world and took away the subsidies or any support that our farmers had. It did that before anybody else did, before any other countries with which we deal. We have now placed our people at a competitive disadvantage. It is not because of the marketplace or low commodity prices, which are all part of this, it is because of misplaced government policy.

Government policy has more to do with the price of goods than the marketplace does. We have done that through very ill-advised policies, whether it is trade, foreign or domestic policies, that affect our farmers. We now have a situation that some feel is irreversible.

We have to do something in the interim while we decide what we will do in the long term for our agricultural community. We have to do some things in the short term and that is what we are talking about today. Let us get this out. Let us put some of the crisis decisions that are being made on farming on hold until we can have a long term plan.



STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[English]

SPINAL CORD RESEARCH

Mr. David Pratt (Nepean—Carleton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, earlier today I joined with colleagues from the House, including you, Mr. Speaker, and the Prime Minister, to provide a send off to a remarkable, courageous and tenacious individual, Mr. Mike Nemesvary.

Today at noon, Mr. Nemesvary set off from Parliament Hill with the goal of becoming the first quadriplegic to drive around the world. The goal of Mike's 40,000 kilometre Round the World Challenge is to raise $10 million for spinal cord research and rehabilitation. I am sure that Mike's determination and bravery remind us of a couple of other Canadians, namely, Terry Fox and Rick Hansen.

I urge all Canadians to visit Mike's website at www.roundtheworldchallenge.org and to follow his progress on this incredible journey. I hope that all Canadians will join Mike in helping to work toward a cure for spinal cord injuries.

*  *  *

 

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Islam encourages man to live a life blessed with honesty, mercy, courage, patience and politeness.

The Taliban government in Afghanistan, twisting and torturing the Quran, has embarked on a demolition campaign to destroy two monumental Buddha statues that date back to the second and fifth centuries.

The use of instruments of war to extinguish diversity, in this case that of Buddhism, is an affront to the best interests of all who believe that the best interest of man is served in a world tolerant of religious plurality and compassion.

Tolerance and religious freedom are virtues on which the future of a safe and secure world will be built. The military assault on these virtues by the government of Afghanistan is an action we should all deplore.

*  *  *

BASKETBALL

Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the X-Men are kings of the court. This past Sunday at Halifax's Metro Centre, St. Francis Xavier University men's basketball team repeated as the CIAU men's basketball champions with an 83 to 76 overtime win against the Brandon Bobcats.

This is the third national title for the X-Men since 1993 and the third straight win for the Atlantic conference. This championship game caps off a remarkable season during which St. F-X held a 31 and 1 record and marked its 29th straight win on the court. As coach Steve Konchalski put it, his team refused to lose all year long.

I congratulate Coach K., tournament MVP Randy Nohr, and the entire team and staff of St. F-X, home of the top CIAU men's basketball team in Canada..

*  *  *

POTATO INDUSTRY

Mr. Joe McGuire (Egmont, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the number one industry in Prince Edward Island has fallen victim to unfair trade restrictions from the United States.

The potato industry almost ground to a complete halt last fall when the discovery of potato wart prompted the U.S. to close its borders. Even though science is on our side, the U.S. still bullheadedly continues with ridiculous and unjustified restrictions which could essentially result in the destruction of an entire industry of a Canadian province.

Free trade agreements are useless when only one partner abides by the rules. Our province is part of Confederation and should benefit from nationwide support. The U.S. has demonstrated a patent disrespect for P.E.I, for Canada and for an entire system set up to protect the industries of our two countries.

I call upon our government and our nation to unite and send a clear message to the United States. If it can shut the border without just cause then Canada can too. Next week let us target Idaho, then California, then Florida.

*  *  *

ORGANIZED CRIME

Mr. Tony Tirabassi (Niagara Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has made the fight against organized crime its number one law enforcement priority.

Working with those in the justice system, including the police forces, is essential to this effort. Last fall the House subcommittee on organized crime reported to parliament with recommendations to help combat organized crime. Subsequently the government has been consulting with the provinces, police forces and others to identify needs and priorities in the fight against organized crime.

These efforts are proof of the government's work to fulfil its commitments in the Speech from the Throne and to provide law enforcement and others with the tools they need to break the back of organized crime.

*  *  *

HOCKEY

Ms. Carol Skelton (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an outstanding group of young athletes from my riding, the Delisle Bruins, who on Saturday won the provincial bantam A hockey championships.

In the total point series, the Bruins triumphed over the Weyburn Red Coat Rams by a score of 12 to 4. The Bruins are made up of players from Delisle, Asquith and Harris.

I extend congratulations to Rylan Isaac, Cory Thiessen, Derek Gramson, Matt Dunlap, Kevin Chave, Andrew Busby, Perry French, Tyler French, Blake Rolston, Jeff Colborn, Brendan Reynolds, assistant captain Dustin Knittig, Kevin Burwell, Adam McTavish, Mitch Mrack, Dan Yakasovich, assistant coach Shawn Colborn, coach Joel Durham, and manager Bill Mrack. Because I am a bit biased, I wish to extend special congratulations to Shaun Cairns, assistant captain Chad Laing and captain Louis Genest, all from my home town of Harris.

On behalf of my constituents and all the proud parents, let me offer my congratulations to the Delisle Bruins on their wonderful victory.

*  *  *

 

. 1405 + -

[Translation]

ORGANIZED CRIME

Mr. Jacques Saada (Brossard—La Prairie, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to underscore the importance I attach to any government initiative that would control the problem of the intimidation of society by organized crime.

Any attempt to intimidate a parliamentarian constitutes an attempt to intimidate the entire institution of parliament.

Any attempt to intimidate a party to the legal system, be it judge, witness or lawyer, constitutes an attempt to intimidate the entire legal system.

Any attempt to intimidate a member of the media constitutes an attempt to intimidate the media as a whole.

Parliament, the judiciary, and the media are all pillars of our democracy. It is time that concrete and effective actions were taken to preserve our democratic rights.

I am anxiously awaiting the outcome of government reflection and consultation on this matter. The measures we take must be energetic, effective and dissuasive in nature.

*  *  *

JOURNÉE INTERNATIONALE DE LA FRANCOPHONIE

Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Repentigny, BQ): Mr. Speaker, on this Journée internationale de la Francophonie, we salute the dynamism of the various communities almost everywhere in the world who share the use of French, and whose devotion and passion ensure its survival and expansion.

Through a variety of events, such as the Francofête, and the Francophonie summits and games, and through the various associations and federations of the francophone communities here and throughout the world, we are building links which enhance the vigour of the francophone culture and contribute to the greater diversity of our global culture.

Some express the culture in song, some in the written word, and many in the spoken word, some of them in shouts. Many envy it, but everyone everywhere cherishes it.

*  *  *

RADIO JEUNESSE

Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw my colleagues' attention to the Radio Jeunesse initiative, which was launched as part of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, which will be held until March 25.

Radio Jeunesse broadcast on the airwaves for the first time in 1999 during the Jeux de la Francophonie in Moncton, and was a hit. The second edition is happening this year, as the fourth edition of the games is being held.>

Over 70 young people aged between 18 and 30 from countries belonging to the Francophonie will have a turn to speak. They will report the events of the games and introduce us to international Francophonie. They will prepare, host and produce very diversified programming.

I invite you to listen to 89.9 on the FM band, the RFA network or the Internet from June 24 to July 24, and you will be part of a great radio gathering as the guest of the world's young francophones.

*  *  *

[English]

AGRICULTURE

Ms. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Ontario's vibrant culture begins with the family farm. The crisis in rural Ontario goes beyond agriculture. Our way of life is under assault.

The history of our province is steeped with stories of our attachment to the land. In my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke the extensive linkages that agriculture has in the local economy and the benefits provided go far beyond our farmers.

The government needs to look past the current economic crisis to the loss of our rural heritage with the demise of the family farm.

The government will subsidize books, films and television about Canadian culture because in the future if our children want to learn about the family farm, they will have to read about it in a book.

*  *  *

[Translation]

JOURNÉE INTERNATIONALE DE LA FRANCOPHONIE

Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, every year on the 20th, Canada celebrates the Journée internationale de la Francophonie.>

This is the occasion chosen by francophones and friends of the Francophonie in Canada to express their attachment to the French language and culture and to promote its vitality in our country.

During the two weeks surrounding this day were born the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, which aim to draw attention to our francophonie through discussions, get togethers and celebration.

The Rendez-vous gives the country a picture of Canadian francophonie and underscores its strength, diversity, important contribution to building the country and contribution to Canada's cultural wealth.

March 20 reminds us of the solidarity of the francophonie. This is a rendez-vous not to be missed.

*  *  *

 

. 1410 + -

CANADA-FRANCE INTERPARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION

Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to draw your attention to the presence in this chamber of a delegation of French parliamentarians, led by the member for l'Eure, François Loncle, who is also the president of the French section of the Canada-France Interparliamentary Association and the president of the foreign affairs committee of the French national assembly.

During its visit, the French parliamentary delegation will be taking part in the Journée internationale de la Francophonie.

In addition, president Loncle will present his views on the theme of European defence to members of the foreign affairs committees of both chambers as well as to members of the Canada-Europe and Canada-France interparliamentary associations.

Finally, the French delegation will attend the annual general meeting of the Canadian section of the Canada-France Interparliamentary Association.

I am pleased to note the very high quality of the relations established between French and Canadian parliamentarians over the years and I wish our colleagues and friends a productive visit to Canada.

*  *  *

[English]

AIRPORTS

Mr. Norman Doyle (St. John's East, PC): Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals were in opposition they were against airport privatization. These days the Liberals have forced airports across Canada to come under local airport authorities, and Toronto's Pearson airport is no exception. Most airport authorities charge a departure tax of $10 and now Pearson airport is no exception to that practice as well.

However, Pearson airport will also charge a $7 connection fee for changing flights at Toronto, and that is a big change. Given that most flights of any distance involve passing through a major transportation link like Toronto, people will have little choice but to pay the extra fee.

Is this the beginning of more fees for the travelling public from a Liberal Party that used to be against these fees on principle?

*  *  *

[Translation]

SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I took part in a press conference with Régine Laurent, the spokesperson for the Table de convergence pour une opposition pacifique au Sommet des Amériques, a member of the executive of the Fédération des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec and of the Table de convergence.

Also there was Philippe Duhamel, non-violent direct action trainer, and organizer and spokesperson for SalAMI, a grassroots anti-globalization organization.

I attended in order to express my solidarity with hundreds of groups from Quebec and various regions of Canada, including the Réseau québécois sur l'intégration continentale, which is calling on the government to make public the texts of the negotiations for the FTAA.

Today, March 20, is the deadline for making these documents public, and I now ask, on behalf of all these groups, that these documents be made—

The Speaker: The hon. member for Berthier—Montcalm.

*  *  *

CANADIAN POLICE ASSOCIATION

Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier—Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, today, for the seventh year in a row the members of the Canadian Police Association are meeting with parliamentarians to discuss issues of concern to them.

I take this opportunity to salute their determination and the professionalism with which they present their views.

You, the people in the front line, are the ones we need to listen to.

The Bloc Quebecois shares the majority of your concerns, and we will continue, with you, to seek to make our society still safer than it is at present.

Like you, the Bloc Quebecois has been concerned about biker gang wars and organized crime in all of its forms for some years now.

Like you, the Bloc Quebecois proposes legislative measures that are aimed at prohibiting membership in a criminal organization and make it more possible to get at those in charge.

Like you, the Bloc Quebecois also wants to see more federal government funding put into an effective battle against organized crime.

We hope that the Minister of Justice of Canada will, like all of us, have the firm intention of putting a stop to organized crime and of doing so very soon.

*  *  *

[English]

GREG GATENBY

Ms. Sarmite Bulte (Parkdale—High Park, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute and congratulate one of my constituents, Mr. Greg Gatenby, who has been named the third recipient of the WNED Steuben Canadian Arts Award. Mr. Gatenby was presented with his award on Tuesday, February 27, in Toronto.

Greg Gatenby is a poet, author and founder of the International Festival of Authors in Toronto. He is also artistic director of the Harbourfront reading series, which welcomes the world's finest and most influential authors to read their work at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.

Greg has been an outspoken advocate for writers and for freedom of expression. He was one of the five founding members of the reconstituted PEN Canadian centre.

 

. 1415 + -

In 1989 Greg was given the city of Toronto literary award. In 1991 he was made an honorary lifetime member of the League of Canadian Poets. In 2000 he was named to the Order of Canada. I congratulate Greg. This is another award that is well deserved.

*  *  *

AGRICULTURE

Mr. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, recently the government attempted to address the anguish of Canadian farmers by tossing out some old money and claiming it was new. The fact that the amount was still too little does not seem to bother the government. In fact it diverted untold thousands of dollars to big city newspapers to brag to urban Canadians about their phony compassion.

The agriculture minister claimed he was merely trying to inform all Canadians about the great job he was doing. However, the ads failed to mention that farm programs were slashed over the last year while our trading partners continued to prop up their industries. The ads did not mention that almost half the money promised back in 1998 was never delivered, while the part that was delivered is now being clawed back.

Government advertising is not the real issue. Did it ever occur to the government that thousands of Canadian travellers should be informed that the hoof and mouth virus rampaging through European herds can be carried on shoes, clothing or on fresh foods? Did it ever occur to the government to stop patting itself on the back and to put resources in the hands of farmers and inspectors who will save Canadian agriculture, despite the Liberal government?



ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[English]

THE ECONOMY

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Alan Greenspan has just cut the United States federal reserve rate by 50 basis points. The Canadian dollar is weakening and the C.D. Howe Institute has stated:

    Inflation has been creeping up and is now pushing on the upper limits of its target range, which of course will limit the bank's ability to match the federal reserve's rate cuts.

Could the government tell us how it intends to provide further stimulus to the Canadian economy without further jeopardizing our dollar and without risking inflation?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition ought to know, the Bank of Canada is independent. Monetary policy will be decided by the Bank of Canada.

In terms of stimulus in the Canadian economy, again as the hon. member ought to know, as of January 1 the Canadian government as a result of its fiscal actions and its spending actions provided the Canadian economy with a larger amount of stimulus than any of the major industrial countries.

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister clings frantically and stubbornly to his policy of maintaining a weak Canadian dollar, the savings of Canadians continue to erode. Mr. Jeff Rubin of CIBC World Markets has said:

    If we continue to have our heads in the sand about this, we are going to wake up one day and we are going to see a 60 cent Canadian dollar.

He went on to say:

    I think that day could well come before the end of the year.

When will the Prime Minister get his head out of the sand and take action to improve the position of the dollar and abandon his policy of a weak dollar? When will the Prime Minister abandon his policy of a weak dollar?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when we are in a time of global volatility such as we are now, when they are talking of deflation in Japan, when there is a banking crisis in Japan, and when there is a major slowdown in the world's largest economy, the United States, it is incumbent upon all political and economic leaders to show a sense of responsibility.

I would ask the Leader of the Opposition to do that. As we discussed yesterday here in this room, he knows full well that the government does not have a weak dollar policy. It makes absolutely no sense to take statements out of context.

The fact is the Canadian economy is doing much better than those of the vast majority of our competitors and that—

The Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I will quote the Prime Minister's own words. There was a question to the Prime Minister when he was in opposition about the fact that the dollar was too strong and he did not like that. He said again that he wanted the dollar to flow downward. He then said 12 years later that it was time to accept a weaker dollar.

[Translation]

For the past 15 years, the Prime Minister has been an avowed supporter of a weak Canadian dollar. The Minister of Finance, however, claims that this is an irresponsible position.

Can the Prime Minister tell this House whether it is his own statements that are irresponsible or whether...

The Speaker: The hon. the Prime Minister.

 

. 1420 + -

[English]

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance yesterday and today has stated, we have an independent monetary policy that is decided by the Governor of the Bank of Canada and the Canadian dollar is a floating currency.

In fact over the last two years it is the Canadian dollar that has done the best of all currencies in relation to the American dollar.

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal loonie tanked four years ago, the finance minister said that it was because of low commodity prices at the time.

Now we are facing new record high commodity prices, so I am wondering what is the finance minister's excuse. Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that his boss, the Prime Minister, has articulated a weak dollar policy for 20 years?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, that statement is simply ridiculous. The fact is that the policies of the government are the result of the economic consequences of the actions taken by this government under this Prime Minister.

Let me just simply say that our mortgage rates, as an example, will now save the average Canadian over $750 a year. That cut has occurred since January.

Let me go on. Our building permits have surged to a record level in January. Our housing starts were up 6% in January and February. This is what is happening in the Canadian economy and there is no other economy in the world—

The Speaker: The hon. member for Calgary Southeast.

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, he talks about the consequences of the Prime Minister's economic policy. That economic policy, the highest income taxes in the G-7, the highest corporate income taxes in the OECD and the second highest debt in the developed world, has led to a 64 cent dollar which may be going to 60 cents, and he said it is irresponsible. What is irresponsible is an economic policy which is impoverishing Canadians and diminishing our standard of living.

When will the government finally get its fundamentals right so that we can have a currency we are proud of which increases and does not decrease our standard of living?

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, impoverishing Canadians is what the finance critic for the Alliance said. There are twice the number of jobs over the last eight months in Canada as compared to the United States.

Our current account surplus hit record levels in the fourth quarter of 2000. Our investment in machinery and equipment was up 19% last year. Today Canada announced the highest monthly trade surplus in its history.

*  *  *

[Translation]

AUBERGE GRAND-MÈRE

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in defence of his actions in the Grand-Mère golf course affair, the Prime Minister says that his shares were sold in 1993.

But the ethics counsellor said “In January 1996, we both discussed this, because at that time he was not receiving any money and wanted to know what his options were”.

How does the Prime Minister explain that, in January 1996, he was looking at his options in connection with the golf course, and that, four months later, he contacted the president of the Business Development Bank of Canada so that a loan would be approved for the Auberge Grand-Mère?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I have said ten or fifteen times since November 1, 1993, I sold my shares.

Since that time, neither I nor the company in which I had an interest have— These shares were disposed of. They were acquired by a third party, and I have not been part of that company since November 1, 1993.

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the Prime Minister told us that he sold his shares in 1993. However, he had not yet been paid in 1996, and in 1999 he was negotiating. If someone is selling something and has not been paid, the sale has not been completed.

If he had made the deed of sale public, things would be a little clearer. I hope that he is going to do some explaining to the House because, according to the ethics counsellor himself, the Prime Minister, who had not been paid in 1996, was still looking at his options in the matter.

Is there not a direct link between the Prime Minister wondering about his options and the lobbying of the president of the Business Development Bank of Canada?

[English]

Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I quote from the words of the ethics counsellor who appeared on CBC on Friday of last week:

    I have access to all of the documents. I have seen all of the documents. I've been able to examine them. They are personal information to the parties, including some other citizens other than Mr. Chrétien, but I have been able to confirm to my entire satisfaction, that these shares were sold in 1993 and never returned to his possession.

 

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[Translation]

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister telephoned the president of the Development Bank on April 12, 1996. He invited him to his residence on May 29, 1996. He called him again on February 20, 1997, and the loan was granted on May 6.

Here is my question. How can the Prime Minister claim that he had no interest in the arrangements to save the Auberge Grand-Mère, when he was still waiting to be paid for his shares and, according to the ethics counsellor, whom they quote abundantly, the Prime Minister was trying to discover his options?

[English]

Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me quote further from the ethics counsellor on Friday of last week with respect to this matter:

    This is neither as complicated nor as mysterious as some would make it out. Mr. Chrétien ceased to be a shareholder in 1993.

[Translation]

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is basing his defence on the fact that his assets were administered by a blind trust and that this trust was responsible for recovering his money in the Auberge Grand-Mère matter.

If a blind trust did look after his shares, why did the ethics counsellor say that the Prime Minister himself had decided to hold negotiations in order to resell his shares in 1999 and finally recover his money?

[English]

Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the facts are clear. Here is a member who yesterday had so much courage, the courage of his convictions, that he dared not say outside the House what he said inside the House. This is an attempt at a smear campaign and it is beneath this member. He should know better.

*  *  *

SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Today we learned that Scotiabank, Alcan and other corporate executives would buy direct preferential access to world leaders at the Quebec summit of the Americas. Trade bureaucrats say it is just business as usual. For a mere half a million dollars corporations can pole vault right over the three metre high chain link fence.

Has the Prime Minister no understanding of why ordinary citizens find this unsettling? Does the Prime Minister have no problem with corporations buying political access at the Quebec summit?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, every time we have had summits in Canada we have always invited corporations in Canada to help the government offer the best reception possible. Everyone does it on a voluntary basis.

Most of these people have interests in Latin America. As they are all coming to town they want to show that they are good citizens of Canada like they are good citizens of these countries. None of these corporations will have a chance to have privileged access to the leaders during all the meetings. They will be present with hundreds and hundreds of other people at receptions.

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, first we hear that it is about extending hospitality, then about saving money. What on earth is next? Will the Prime Minister pull the maple leaf down from the peace tower and replace it with a McDonald's flag?

This has nothing to do with saving money. It has everything to do with giving corporations preferential access. Half a million dollars and one is in: no problem, instant access. No money, stay behind the chain link fence. Is the real reason the Prime Minister is ignoring his critics that they do not have half a million dollars to put their message on a tote bag?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is clear. We have done this all the time. We ask corporations that have interests in Canada to show to the visitors who are coming that they are good citizens of Canada just like they are good citizens of their countries.

We did it at la Francophonie summit in Moncton. I remember very well a company from Vancouver made a contribution to the good of Canada. It was the biggest contributor to la Francophonie summit in Moncton.

*  *  *

 

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ETHICS COUNSELLOR

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC): Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for the Prime Minister.

Can the Prime Minister tell the House if there was any consultation by any member of the Prime Minister's office or any member of the privy council office with the ethics counsellor relating to the attendance of the ethics counsellor at the industry committee meeting today?

Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor reports through Industry Canada. I want to assure the leader of the Conservative Party that the ethics counsellor is quite free to testify in any way he wants before the committee. More to the point, members of parliament on all sides, but notably members of the Liberal Party, are quite free to ask whatever questions they want as he appears before that committee.

*  *  *

TRADE

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC): Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Prime Minister.

The government has denied the premier of Quebec, the host province for the summit, a speaking role at the summit of the Americas. At the same time the government has offered to any corporation prepared to spend $500,000 what the government's own document describes as “a potential speaking opportunity during the world leaders' welcome reception”.

How can the government justify that double standard? If the premier of Quebec were a company would he be able to buy his way in?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the process that has been followed for the premier of Quebec is the same process that we follow for all the summits that we have, including the one by the Conservatives when the leader of the fifth party was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. When the Conservative government had the summit in Toronto it did not invite the premier of Ontario to make a speech to the leaders.

*  *  *

ORGANIZED CRIME

Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, projections now indicate that the Minister of Justice will spend another $1 billion over the next 10 years on a long gun registry that everyone, including the minister, knows will not work.

Why does the minister not give these resources to front line police officers who daily demonstrate their work in this country's fight against organized crime?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as we have said before in the House, our gun control program is about public safety. It is about a commitment to Canadians that we will not see the pictures on our television screens that tragically are seen night after night in the United States of America.

Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, organized crime, according to the RCMP continues to expand while this minister chases sportsmen and hunters. Organized crime has unlimited cash available for the best technology. Our police are handcuffed by ineffective laws and ineffective programs.

Why does the minister not support our police and Canadians by putting resources back into front line policing?

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember that the government has taken many steps to fight organized crime. We have put $1.5 billion into the public safety envelope in the last budget. We have 13 proceeds of crime units across the country to take proceeds out of organized crime.

*  *  *

[Translation]

LUMBER

Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in commenting on the softwood lumber issue yesterday, the Minister for International Trade said that Ottawa would, ultimately, bow to the wishes of the industry. Yet there are persistent rumours that the producers in British Columbia are not opposed, apparently, to the imposition of a voluntary tax by Canada.

Can the minister tell us whether he sanctions this approach of some producers in British Columbia, and can he assure us that he is not in the process of negotiating an agreement that would be contrary to free trade?

 

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Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I never said that the Government of Canada will bow to the industry's wishes. What I did say was that our government is open to hearing what the industry's needs are and will most certainly meet with industry leaders if they request it.

This morning I had the opportunity to meet with British Columbia producers. The industry in British Columbia did not ask me to impose an export tax. They were far more prudent than that. They asked whether the suggestion made in this connection by Mr. Zoellick might prove useful at some point. They did not, however, make the suggestion attributed to them by the hon. member for Joliette.

Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, when the minister says he is prepared to examine any option except free trade for softwood lumber, does he not realize he is giving the Americans the impression that Canada is prepared to give in, contrary to the interests of the industry in Quebec and in Canada?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the objective of this government is to have free trade where softwood lumber is concerned, as we do in other areas.

Our objective is clear and firm and we are going to act responsibly in order to ensure that all of the very important interests in the softwood lumber matter throughout the country are respected by this House and by our government, which will provide the necessary leadership, and by the Americans and the American producers above all, who are only concerned with protectionism in this area.

*  *  *

[English]

JUSTICE

Mr. Randy White (Langley—Abbotsford, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the solicitor general told Canadians that American sex offender registries are of no value because only 50% of the people who should be registered are registered.

On the other hand, the government introduced the national gun registry where less than 50% of Canadians are registered.

Perhaps the solicitor general could enlighten us. Why it is more important to register law-abiding Canadian citizens rather than sex offenders.

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what I said yesterday was that we do have a national registry. We have CPIC, one of the best database systems in the world. It is the envy of all police forces around the world. We have a national database with input from all the provinces across the country.

Mr. Randy White (Langley—Abbotsford, Canadian Alliance): Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, he is the only one in the country who believes it.

The Canadian Police Association represents over 30,000 front line policemen and those policemen say, and I quote:

    A registry would help us investigate and apprehend repeat sexual offenders in ways CIPC cannot.

Let me quote Ujjal Dosanjh as he introduced the sex offender registry in British Columbia yesterday. He said “There is no national registry and none is guaranteed or promised”.

Could the solicitor general get the courage to stand up in the House and be forthright enough to say that the CPIC system is not a national sex offender registry?

Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I have said a number of times in the House, CPIC is a registry of all individuals who commit a criminal offence in Canada, whether it is a sex offence or any other offence.

What I have said over the last few days is that the government will not spend dollars just to duplicate a system already in place. I met with the Canadian Police Association today, and we are working together to make sure that we have the best possible rules and tools in place.

*  *  *

[Translation]

SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ): Mr. Speaker, by paying $75,000 for a coffee break and up to $1.5 million for the Prime Minister's reception, companies and CEOs will have access to the 34 heads of state present at the summit of the Americas in Quebec City, while civil society is excluded from the event and parliamentarians are not allowed to see the documents of the sectorial tables.

Is this not proof that the sponsorship system being promoted by summit organizers is slanted toward commercial priorities, to the detriment of all others?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister gave a very good explanation of our government's practice, which is to allow certain companies that behave like responsible corporate citizens to benefit from this opportunity to encourage our country's hospitality. What these companies are doing, obviously, is acquiring a certain visibility vis-à-vis countries where this is important.

But I think that we have been very clear that these companies will not have privileged access to heads of government. They are doing this for the visibility and in order to improve Canada's credibility and skill when it comes to providing top-notch hospitality, rather than having taxpayers foot the bill, which is what the Bloc Quebecois would prefer.

 

. 1440 + -

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am not about to pay $500,000 to believe all that.

Why is the government so mean and secretive with civil society, pressure groups and parliamentarians when it is throwing the summit doors wide open to those willing to put cash on the table?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member's simplistic approach is not worthy of this House. Everyone is perfectly aware that we will be meeting with representatives of non-governmental organizations. I have already accepted.

My colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I will be sitting down with representatives of the summit of the people. We are going to work harmoniously with them as well and they too will have a chance to express their views.

I find it very interesting to see the Bloc Quebecois aligning itself with those who oppose free trade and economic progress and who are trying to do everything they can to hamper the economic development of our country.

*  *  *

[English]

LUMBER

Mr. Gary Lunn (Saanich—Gulf Islands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in 11 days the softwood lumber agreement will expire. The government has had 1,816 days to prepare and what does it suggest? It suggests 1,816 days of litigation.

Tens of thousands of workers will lose their jobs. Our industry will be bankrupt. Where will our government be? It will be in court.

We have spent $100 million in legal fees in the last 20 years. Where are we now? We are at ground zero.

Will the minister agree that going back to court for four more years is not the answer while Canadians lose their jobs?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, up until today I have always thought that the Alliance Party supported the government's move toward free trade. Moving toward free trade means that every country can have some recourse to its legal tools that we have in the kit.

I can tell the opposition that the government has not been waiting for the termination. We have not been waiting for the end of the agreement. We have been working for a few years on this file. We have been working at building a coalition of consumers in Washington and supporting them in their arguments.

Canada has initiated a WTO challenge against the United States legislation regarding export restraints of Canadian logs. We have been active—

The Speaker: The hon. member For Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Mr. Gary Lunn (Saanich—Gulf Islands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is unbelievable that our government is not even talking to the Americans. The minister goes on about all these things they have done for the last three years but there are absolutely no discussions going on right now.

Make no mistake that thousands of forestry workers in this country face a very uncertain future and unemployment because of our government's incompetence to set the record straight in Washington.

What will it take for the government to pick up the phone instead of burying its head in the sand and pretending that everything is going to be just fine on April Fool's Day?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have been engaging in dialogue with Mr. Zoellick. I was in Washington three weeks ago. We have expressed very well the points of view of the Canadian industry and the Canadian provinces. The Prime Minister also raised the issue with President Bush when he met him.

We have been engaged in talks and we will continue to provide the right leadership for all regions of the country toward free trade and against U.S. protectionism.

*  *  *

[Translation]

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES COMMUNITIES

Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, true to its convictions the Government of Canada reiterated its commitment to linguistic duality in the January 30 Speech from the Throne, along with its desire to mobilize the efforts of the federal government in connection with official languages.

On this Journée internationale de la Francophonie and the first day of spring, can the Prime Minister tell us what his government has in mind for promoting the cultural, economic and linguistic development of this country's official language minority communities?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is a major priority for our government. Certain steps have already been taken and we have considerably increased the program budgets for Francophonie and French language education.

For example, we have a totally new initiative in the medical field.

 

. 1445 + -

We have established an institute here in Ottawa to help francophones in the health field. We are going to take all necessary steps to allow all Canadians access to the French language in Canada and to celebrate with all Canadians the fact that Canada is the second ranking country in the world as far as numbers of French speakers are concerned.

*  *  *

[English]

TRADE

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Medical Association today validated the concerns we in the NDP have been raising repeatedly in the House about the government's trade agenda. It agrees with us that under NAFTA and GATS, Alberta's bill 11 on private hospitals will allow international trade tribunals to intrude in our health policies. It agrees that action is needed now because there is no retreat from liberalizing a sector of trade. If we open the door now, we cannot go back.

Will the trade minister now agree to act with urgency to protect Canada's health care system in all its trade deals, or is the minister saying the CMA is wrong?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me reaffirm quite clearly in the House today the firm commitment of our government in the past, today and tomorrow, never to open the door to force our public health or public education systems into a challenge at the international trade level.

In all our trade agreements, whether at the GATS level or at the FTAA, Canada will protect the margin of manoeuvre of our government and our provincial governments in the health and education sectors.

*  *  *

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa. Today we learned that 33 Huey helicopters, recently sold by the Canadian government to the U.S. state department, are in fact being used by the Colombian military as a part of the destructive Plan Colombia. Last week the minister agreed in committee that this kind of sale would be totally unacceptable.

Will the minister now agree to close the gaping loophole in our military export controls that allows this shameful complicity with the Colombian military, a military that has one of the worst human rights records in the entire hemisphere? Will he close this loophole now?

Hon. David Kilgour (Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the helicopters to which the member refers were built in Fort Worth, Texas, in the 1970s. They were brought to Canada and used by the Department of National Defence for about 20 years. They were then sold to the U.S. government. They were reconfigured by the U.S. government and sold to Colombia. We do not give re-export permits to the government of the United States.

*  *  *

EMPLOYMENT

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resource Development. Every year the minister releases her programs for student summer placement programs. These programs are available to not for profit and for profit agencies.

This year the not for profit groups are paying 100% and the for profit are paying 50%. She has lumped the municipalities in with the for profit groups. Why did the minister's department decide to do this?

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely correct. The Canada student summer placement program is one of the most important programs in which the Government of Canada participates.

I can tell him the reason we chose to make the changes on which he commented is that we want more students to participate. There is no less money. We just hope more students will be able to participate.

Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC): Mr. Speaker, the minister is correct. If we have everyone paying 50% we will get more students, but small, medium size and large municipalities cannot afford to pay a cent. They are taking out street lights to balance their budgets. The best organized institution in communities is the council.

Will the minister review her decision to see the negative effect this decision is having on small and medium size communities and even larger ones throughout the country?

Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I note that members on this side of the House have raised the issue with me. Indeed we are looking at the direct application in communities and we will see.

Fundamentally the intention of the program is to ensure that the largest majority of students possible can participate in this great program.

*  *  *

 

. 1450 + -

AGRICULTURE

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. The Liberal member for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex said she was devastated when the minister announced only $500 million in aid. She stated “It was one of my darkest days in politics so far. I had really honestly thought the Prime Minister understood the plight of grain and oilseed farmers”.

Her constituents clearly want her to vote yes. Will the government unshackle its backbenchers today and allow them to freely vote the wishes of their constituents?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, over the last three years we have substantially increased the contribution the government has made toward the farming community. We increased it substantially last week. Of course everybody wishes we could have done more.

I note that since we came to the House of Commons the question of the aid has not been raised by the leaders of those parties. Perhaps the member raised it once or twice. It was a members from this side of the House of Commons who put the pressure on that led to the increase of $500 million.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, clearly I reject the premises of the Prime Minister. The Leader of the Opposition has been up asking questions on agriculture. In fact he was the only opposition leader to do it for several weeks. I also—

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: Order, please. It is clear we are having trouble with the premises on both sides of the House, but we want some order in the House so we can hear the question and its premises.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Does he not believe that there is still an ongoing farm income crisis when Canadian farmers, many in the grains and oilseeds sectors, will have an income of $10,000 or less and when many will lose money? Does he not believe that this additional $400 million, which is a minimum required, should be given today?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it was because we believed there were problems that we decided to invest more money on top of the money we invested a year ago and the year before.

Three years in a row we have increased the contribution of the federal government to this problem. We are very proud of it because we know there is a problem.

Some would like us to do more than that but we are doing much more than what they do in New Zealand and Australia. There is a war between the United States and the Europeans. We said a long time ago that Canada could not afford to go as far as the Americans in terms of subsidies.

*  *  *

[Translation]

COLOMBIA

Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in January 2001 the Vector Aerospace company of Newfoundland proudly announced that it had won a contract worth $6.5 million to sell military helicopter parts to Colombia.

According to Amnesty International, the Colombian armed forces and paramilitaries have killed 20,000 civilians since 1996. This situation, under Canadian policy, should prohibit this export.

How does the minister explain his department's permitting the violation of its own guidelines?

Hon. David Kilgour (Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, up to now, and I imagine this will continue to apply, we have not approved a permit for Vector to export helicopters to Colombia. That is the answer.

Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the minister allows them to operate, but he does not allow them to be there.

The Minister for International Trade justifies Cuba's exclusion by the fact that the FTAA would create a sort of close relationship between Canada and its various partners, different from that with China, for example.

How then are we to explain his agreeing to promote such a close relationship with Colombia, a country with more than 1,000 political assassinations a year and where human rights offences are no longer counted?

Hon. David Kilgour (Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, once again, until now Vector's involvement concerns civilian planes. There are no helicopters for military purposes. So the same response applies.

*  *  *

 

. 1455 + -

[English]

AGRICULTURE

Mr. Larry Spencer (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, five provincial governments have publicly called upon the Liberal government to deliver at least $900 million in emergency aid to farmers this year. This is the absolute minimum farmers need.

In today's Regina Leader Post the Saskatchewan minister of agriculture stated:

    The $500 million in aid announced recently by the federal government to address the current problems in the industry is clearly an inadequate response given the emergency situation facing the industry.

Will the minister listen to his provincial counterparts and commit the additional $400 million being called for today?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member, in reference to the province of Saskatchewan, that the federal contribution to NISA crop insurance and companion programs is $175 million this year.

The Canadian farm income protection program is estimated by its officials and ours to be $200 million this year. When it puts its 40% with the announcement that the government made two weeks ago, it will be another $200 million. That is close to $600 million for Saskatchewan alone this year.

Mr. Larry Spencer (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the agriculture minister is more concerned about fighting with provincial governments to force his own programs upon everybody rather than allowing some provincial discretion.

Is the minister trying to tell the House that the governments of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are wrong in saying that at least $900 million is needed from the government?

Only the current agriculture minister could unite two Conservative governments and two NDP governments with the separatist government of Quebec. Why does the minister continue to ignore the advice of governments and—

The Speaker: The hon. the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I find it very interesting and quite sad that the province of Saskatchewan, for example, did not offer to put in any more money until the federal government was there. It did not offer any.

With the combination of all of us it is over $600 million. In the spirit of negotiating and discussion I remind the hon. member that those five minister walked out of a meeting rather than stay and discuss it. I stayed there. I had a press conference. They walked out of the meeting.

*  *  *

THE ENVIRONMENT

Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade. U.S. political leaders in industry say that our forest management system subsidizes our industry and hurts the environment. Is this an accurate assessment? Is it true that the U.S. system offers stronger environmental protection?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our forest practices absolutely do not unfairly subsidize our industry. We are actually much better than the United States in protecting our environment.

Canada protects its forests from depletion. For every tree that is harvested, two new ones are planted. We only harvest one-half of one per cent of our commercial forests each year. Ninety-four per cent of Canada's forests are publicly owned and strictly regulated. By comparison, 90% of U.S. timber comes from private lands. It has virtually no regulations on forest management.

*  *  *

AGRICULTURE

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, agriculture has been a priority for the Canadian Alliance all winter, but it appears that the Prime Minister does not particularly care if farmers can even plant their crops this spring.

The government spends money advertising government rhetoric rather than giving emergency money directly to farmers who need assistance. Why will the government not make agriculture a priority and deliver the additional $400 million needed by farmers?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is wonderful what cold weather will do. It must have been shock treatment. The Alliance Party finally got interested in agriculture. It is nice that it was interested this winter. It was the first one.

Adding to what I commented on a few minutes ago, the government increased interest free loans for farmers this year two and a half times what they were last year, up to $50,000 per farmer. We estimate that farmers will borrow interest free over $700 million to help put their crops in the ground this year.

 

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Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister may not have heard or answered the questions but we have been asking them. The backbench member for Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey repeatedly states that the $500 million aid package is not nearly enough to avert the farm crisis. He promises to continue his lobbying efforts to the Prime Minister and the minister of agriculture.

Since the Prime Minister refuses to acknowledge the depth of the crisis and get the needed resources out to farmers, will he at least allow his backbenchers to vote freely for the additional $400 million?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the lobby for this from outside the House approached cabinet, approached me and approached the Prime Minister, and as a result of this lobby, the government has done something.

*  *  *

[Translation]

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the chief of the land staff, Lieutenant General Mike Jeffery, has announced that given the budget available to him he is getting ready to make staff cuts that could number in the thousands.

Will the Minister of National Defence explain this contradiction to us? On the one hand, the Minister of National Defence is arguing in favour of increased recruitment and, on the other, the chief of the land staff is threatening to make deep cuts. Which will it be? Increase, cut or stabilize military personnel?

[English]

Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has not correctly characterized what General Jeffery said, but let me say that General Jeffery, as is the government, is determined to implement the 1994 white paper defence policy. We are determined to make sure that our troops get the resources they need.

In addition to considering additional resources, we have to look at making sure the existing resources we have are used in the most efficient and effective way possible. That is all of what General Jeffery and the army are attempting to do at this point. There is no decision on any cutting of troops.

*  *  *

PRESENCE IN GALLERY

The Speaker: I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Bjorn Bjarnason, Minister of Culture and Science of Iceland

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

[Translation]

The Speaker: I would also like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of François Loncle, the president of the French delegation of the Canada-France Inter-Parliamentary Association, and the chair of France's foreign affairs committee.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

*  *  *

 

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[English]

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

 

Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among House leaders and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion with respect to Ways and Means Proceedings No. 3:

    That a division on the motion to concur in the Notice of Ways and Means tabled on Friday, March 16, 2001, be deemed to have been requested and deferred to the conclusion of government orders later this day.

The Speaker: Does the hon. government House leader have unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt it?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

*  *  *

[Translation]

POINTS OF ORDER

OFFICIAL REPORT

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to complain about a situation and to clarify another, as I indicated earlier.

Yesterday I put a question to the Prime Minister in the House which included conditions, in my opinion, in my text and in the way I asked it and which hinted conditionally at an infringement of the criminal code.

On reading Hansard, I realized that the last part of the sentence did not reflect my thinking. It was not what I had intended to say, and I wanted the sentence to be in the conditional, since I was questioning the Deputy Prime Minister on a hypothesis.

That said, I asked the people at Hansard, as is a regular practice, to correct a part of the sentence I did not consider represented reality, which was not at all the intent of my remarks.

I was given no explanation. This morning I realized they had rejected my correction, and yet, I regularly saw as House leader that substantial corrections had been made to the answers given by the Prime Minister or the Minister of Human Resources Development, for example, to such a point that it was even impossible to raise a question from the blues since Hansard was so different.

At the time it was explained that the changes in Hansard were made more to have the record reflect what the person speaking wished to say, what had actually been perceived here in the House of Commons.

I will say simply that I find it unfortunate I was denied the opportunity to correct Hansard. In this regard, obviously, I have no problem, as you discussed with me, with removing the last part of the sentence of my question since it did not really reflect what I had intended to say, which I had asked, before you spoke to me to have corrected.

It is therefore fitting, both for the Prime Minister and for myself, that this sentence be withdrawn from Hansard. Since you allowed the question yesterday in the belief that it was in the conditional, I too thought I had put it in the conditional, but I realized that it had been put in an affirmative style.

In this context I think you will be satisfied at my requesting the end of the sentence be removed so that my question concludes with “acted in his own interest”.

I do not think the rest is in the context in which I wanted to ask my question.

The Speaker: The Chair greatly appreciates the retraction requested by the hon. member for Roberval.

I must admit that I referred to yesterday's Hansard to check what had been said and was somewhat shocked at what I read. I indicated to the hon. member that it was important in my opinion both for the House and for the Chair for there to be a retraction. I greatly appreciate the hon. member's co-operation in this matter.

 

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The editors of Hansard always try to be fair and just in reporting and printing what we have said in the House. It is often difficult to determine exactly what was said.

We work together, the editors of Hansard, the clerks at the table, and everyone who works for the House, to provide a quite accurate and precise text of what was said in the House. We shall continue to try to improve the already excellent service Hansard provides to this House.

I thank everyone in this regard.



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[English]

SUPPLY

ALLOTTED DAY—AGRICULTURE

 

The House resumed consideration of the motion and of the amendment.

Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I should like to finish this portion of my speech. I was talking earlier about the far-reaching effects of the farm income crisis. We are talking not only about the people who are on the land, the primary producers. We are talking about the communities and the businesses that support the industry and how it reaches into all aspects of our society and all aspects of our communities.

I should like to mention a couple of points besides the immediate influx of cash into the farming community we are talking about today in addition to what the government has already done. This is much needed money which we think should be going out immediately before spring seeding.

The government could do other things in the long term to improve the plight of our agriculture community. Certainly in western Canada one of the things that needs to be done is to maximize marketing opportunities. We need the ability to market our product the best way we see fit and to get rid of the monopoly the Canadian Wheat Board has on certain aspects of our marketing abilities.

This is something that is peculiar to western Canada. Producers in other parts of Canada have the ability to choose who they wish to deal with in selling their grain. Western Canadians do not. Our party has advocated forever that marketing choice should be part of the mix when it comes to curing the ills of the agriculture community.

We also worked an awful lot on the reform of the Grain Transportation Act, the changes to that act when they were before the House last spring. The government had an opportunity at that time to make some meaningful changes and put some market forces back into the costs farmers have to pay to get their product to the coast to be shipped to other countries. It fell very short of what was needed.

I know from personal experience that when grain is taken to the elevator the amount of money taken off the top of the farmer's cheque for transportation and grain handling is huge. We could do something about that tomorrow. We could do something about the wheat board. We could do something about the transportation system. The government chooses not to work on those angles as well.

We talk about increased input costs. Input costs in the last few years have gone right through the roof. Energy costs have skyrocketed. However there is one area the government could act on tomorrow which would leave $100 million in the pockets of producers in Canada: the elimination of the excise tax on farm fuel. This tax collects $100 million that the government could very well leave in the pockets of producers. All these things could be done to add up to a whole that would be better for the community.

We have done some extensive travelling across the country. I remind members opposite who keep insinuating our party has done nothing as far as agriculture is concerned that it was our party which twice asked the agriculture committee to travel into Ontario, the rest of Canada and the maritimes to discuss the crisis in agriculture, and twice we were refused. After the feeble attempt the government made to have the committee travel in western Canada, we took it upon ourselves to travel extensively across Canada to discuss face to face with primary producers the situations they were facing.

 

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One of the things they told us was not to leave them hanging. They said that if it was the policy of the government to destroy the family farm, then let them know. If they knew there was no further support for them, they would not use up all the savings and equity that they have in their land and machinery.

They are asking the government to be up front with them. They are asking the government to be forthwith. Hopefully the government will do that.

In closing, we want to reiterate that on a short term must have basis, we implore the government to top up that support to the farmers by $400 million. That is what we are asking for today.

Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that through the motion today, not only the speaker who just spoke but all the speakers in the Alliance are now supporting a subsidy. However, they ran a campaign against subsidies of various types.

Canada is involved in subsidies in all sorts of areas. Other countries are involved in subsidies, and we have to match them. Many of the subsidies the opposition spoke against are there because other countries have them. Yet they are inconsistent in this one situation. I made this point before in the House. The reason I did was because it hurts my riding. It needs these subsidies for other things than just agriculture.

We have a town called Faro which has the largest open pit lead zinc mine in the world. The people of Faro want to be heard in the House because they have nowhere else to go now. Their only industry has collapsed, the ore has run out and they do not want to leave their homes. They believe in their land.

I have to compliment the people of Faro. They are very ingenious. They are trying to come up with all sorts of things to improve their economy. The chamber of commerce of Faro, the town council, citizen groups are trying to think of things. Through think tanks, they are also trying to come up with ideas on improving the economy. Without some sort of start up O and M money or capital, they will not be able to get back on their feet.

If we are going to help people we have to have a philosophy that helps people in all parts of this country equally, so that we can all get back on our feet, including the citizens of the town of Faro.

Mr. Rick Casson: Mr. Speaker, I imagine one of the reasons the member opposite was elected and sent to the House by the people he represents was to work hard for them. I applaud him for fighting to keep the industry in his town open. That is why I was sent here. I will stand in the House every day if need be to fight for my constituents.

He inferred that we did not campaign for farmers during the election. I will read what it says in our Alliance policy. This is misquoted time and again by the agriculture minister and it is very unfortunate that he does that. It states:

    To ensure a self-reliant and economically viable agriculture sector, we will vigorously seek free entry of Canadian products into foreign markets. We support and will advocate the phased reduction and elimination of all subsidies, support programs and trade restrictions in conjunction with other countries.

That is where the government has gone wrong. It has gone out ahead of other countries and reduced the subsidies for our producers while other countries receive subsidies. This has put our producers in a very bad situation. They will not agree with that.

A component of what the agriculture community needs on a long term basis is a disaster program that responds to the need and gets the money out quickly. We need a long term income stabilization program to put some stability back into the program. We need opportunities to market our product the way we see fit. We need a government with some guts to go to the United States and the European Union and fight down the subsidies that are killing our producers.

Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, my colleague has in a very effective way presented the parts of the puzzle to solving this agriculture problem by reducing high taxes, unfair user fees, changing regulations that will make the grain transportation system less expensive and getting our product to market more reliably which will increase price.

 

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He also talked about the problem with subsidies. He mentioned subsidies in a broad scope, but the subsidies that drive Canadian farmer prices down most are export subsidies. That is money spent to put a product into the market at a reduced rate. That is what hurts farmers more than anything. We are talking about compensation for that harm. Could the member comment on that?

Mr. Rick Casson: Mr. Speaker, that is the thing we are advocating. We have to come to the plate to support our producers when their lives are being ruined by forces beyond their control. The export policies of the United States and the European Union are distorting the marketplace. The price our producers are receiving for their commodities is no longer market driven, it is driven by poor government policy. Because of the situation that exists, we have to do something in the short term to keep our farm families alive.

Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Carleton, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of the motion put forward by my colleague, the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake. I will read it for the benefit of members who have missed some of the earlier part of the debate. It states:

    That this House call on the government to authorize an additional $400 million in emergency assistance for Canadian farm families (over and above all agriculture programs announced or in place to date), to be paid in 2001—

There is a little bit added on the end about not being a confidence motion to avoid giving the government an excuse to require their MPs to vote against this.

I would like to start by paying tribute to my colleague's dedication to the cause of Canadian farmers, which is admirable. He is my seat mate of course, so I get to see his passion and enthusiasm up close. It has been an education to me, to see the way in which a member can take on and responsibly advocate the interests of a community within Canada. He deserves to be applauded for that.

Almost single-handedly my colleague, the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake, has pushed the crisis in Canadian agriculture to the top of the policy agenda. The very first question that was raised in the House following the Speech from the Throne was raised by my colleague and related to agriculture. In fact, he set a bit of a precedent in asking a question in that manner at that time.

He is assured, along with a few others from this caucus, that the Canadian Alliance will lead the charge on this issue, keeping our traditional place as the most vigorous defenders and indeed as the only serious defenders of the legitimate interests of Canadian farmers in the House of Commons.

It is all too easy to forget, because of the way this has been brought to the fore of the agenda, just how far agriculture had been pushed from the mainstream agenda over the past year. It was almost completely absent from the 2000 election campaign, so much so that when a debate on the subject was finally held in my riding, five days before the election, I felt compelled to begin my remarks by saying “Tonight's debate is about agriculture, the most important issue not being discussed in this federal election”. Well that has changed, thank goodness.

This is partly due to the work of my distinguished colleague and is partly due to the remarkable efforts of farmers from across the country who have met and who have demonstrated in cities to draw attention to their situation.

Last Wednesday an enormous farm rally was held here in Ottawa. I was honoured to attend it. This was the lead item on that night's news. The surest sign that Canadians are finally turning their attention to the farm crisis is this. After having utterly ignored the agriculture issue in the election campaign and in the first three and a half months of this parliament, even the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party was finally willing to ask a question in the House of Commons last Wednesday relating to agriculture.

Mr. Wayne Easter: Where was Stockwell Day?

Mr. Scott Reid: A member has just asked where Stockwell Day was. He has asked so many questions, it is hard to keep track. He also addressed that—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): I know the hon. member is new in the House. He should know that we do not address ourselves by our personal names but by the riding or in this case the Leader of the Opposition.

 

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Mr. Scott Reid: I thank you for that, Mr. Speaker. The member obviously needs to get some wax removed from his ears because on so many occasions, and it is hard to keep track, our leader has in fact addressed this issue.

I will simply continue now to give a little information on the background of the agricultural industry. I think Canadians forget sometimes just how important this industry is to the country. Agriculture is one of the pillars of the Canadian economy, accounting for just under 9% of our gross domestic product.

The average Canadian farm produces enough food to feed 120 people. One result of this remarkable efficiency is that food prices have dropped to record lows. Canadians were able to eat better and to do so at a lower cost than at any time in our history.

Another less fortunate result of this efficiency is that the number of farmers, as a percentage of the Canadian population, continues to decline. In fact it is in steady decline. This means that increasingly governments are able to ignore farmers and the farm vote and still get elected. Heaven knows the government is proof positive of that fact.

The result of the policy of ignoring the interests of farmers can be seen everywhere. It can be seen most dramatically in the number of dollars that the Canadian government has been willing to devote to farm support. To make this point, in 1997 for every dollar the Canadian government spent on farm support, Japan spent $3.47, the European Union spent $2.14 and the U.S. spent $2.06.

These policies of our competitors have led to a worldwide glut of agricultural product and to dramatically declining prices. Corn prices have dropped from $3.60 a bushel two years ago to around $2.60 at the time of last year's harvest, and soybean prices from around $8.60 to about $6.50. Break-evens on soybeans, incidentally, are around $8.00 per bushel.

This is forcing even more farmers off the land. According to Statistics Canada, agriculture employment in my province of Ontario has dropped by 33,000, or 27%, since the Liberals first came to power in 1993. The facts clearly show that farming in Canada, and in Ontario in particular, is in crisis. It is a simple statement of fact that Canadian farmers are facing their worst income crisis since the great depression. This is made worse by the doubling of fuel costs which have driven up input costs for farmers.

Farmers need a government that is on their side. I would like to describe two of the key elements that would need to be set in place before farmers could really feel that the government believes in them and in their industry.

First, Canada claims to have a strong system of safety net programs, including emergency disaster relief, crop insurance and net income stabilization accounts for the immediate delivery of emergency compensation. Farmers need to know that these programs will be adequately funded and that the funds put into these programs will be genuinely available in a timely fashion.

Canada must launch an aggressive campaign through the WTO and through NAFTA to ensure that our trading partners reduce their subsidies for their farmers so that our farmers can compete on a level playing field. Until that happens, we have to defend fair trade, as well as free trade, and that means that we must ensure that farmers get timely compensation.

In the time I have left I want to talk a little about some of the red tape that is involved in getting access to some of these funds. A farmer in Mississippi Mills, which is a rural township in Lanark county in my riding, described the following mess to me.

Last October the farmer applied for relief under the Ontario whole farm relief program. The terms under which relief money was available was sufficiently vague that he had to acquire the services of an accountant, which of course was not free. He used these services for a full day. At the end of the day neither the accountant nor my constituent were actually sure whether he qualified. The forms were submitted anyway in October and he still does not know whether or not he is getting aid or, indeed, the amount that it would be.

I am describing a problem in an Ontario government program. However, this problem of red tape is hardly unique to provincial programs. In fact it is even worse in federal programs. I have a copy of the application forms for the year 2000 for the Canadian farm income program. There are eight spreadsheets to fill out. There are 13 pages of explanatory material as to eligibility requirements. Even the instructions on how to fill out the forms take up an additional 10 pages.

 

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Moreover, farmers are required to have further documentation in the form of the official Canadian farm income program price list. If they dispute the prices on that list, they have to append copies of receipts. Non-participants in the net income stabilization account program must append to their applications a form called a CFIP supplementary package for non-NISA applicants, and so on.

The point to be made here is simply that when these programs are produced, if they are made so hard to get at, government can forget about promising $500 million. Why not promise $500 billion? The farmers cannot get it. It does not count. That is the situation farmers are faced with.

The money is needed now. It is needed before seeding. It is needed through a non-bureaucratic mechanism. The history of the programs offered by the government over the past seven years has been that they have been exceedingly hard to get.

Mr. Larry McCormick (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am glad I will soon have the opportunity to address the debate. However, I know the very excellent and hard working member who just spoke would want me to clarify something for the people watching and listening.

It is something he may have omitted, but the fact is that the Ontario whole farm income program is administered by his colleagues at Queen's Park, the Harris government. The money is there and the cash is there to be spent between now and the end of March. I would ask my colleague to speak to those colleagues.

Mr. Scott Reid: Mr. Speaker, I guess I could have made up a story, but the farmer told me a story about this particular program so I cited it. My point was to suggest, and I think accurately, that the problem with filling out these forms and trying to apply for these forms is that they are too bureaucratic.

An hon. member: Provincial forms.

Mr. Scott Reid: That is why I cited the federal forms; they went on at great length about them. I am sorry that my colleague was not listening to that and I am sorry he cannot put a sock in it and listen now.

I do want to mention that when we look at the amount of money ostensibly available under AIDA for the years 1998 and 1999 we find that fully 38% has not yet been accessed by farmers. That has not yet been handed out to farmers, despite the fact that it was meant to be disaster aid. That forces farmers to pay more for their inputs because they are unable to function as properly operated businesses.

One of the farmers in my riding told me he expects his input costs this year to be pushed up by about 15% because he cannot take advantage of various discounts such as early payment discounts, because his aid, federal aid, is not available to him in a timely fashion.

It seems to me that the federal government is as much at fault here as any provincial government. I would think a great deal more.

Mr. Larry Spencer (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleagues on this side of the House, especially those two who are from Ontario, for joining in this agriculture debate today. Those of us from Saskatchewan sometimes feel like we are the only ones, but we know we are not. Statistics Canada actually has said that 63,000 jobs were lost last year alone because of the agricultural crisis.

The plan announced recently by the government requires the provinces to contribute 40% to the federal programs already in existence. Saskatchewan has already removed all the provincial taxes on farm fuels. I wonder what the government would think if it were forced to match that move. My question to my colleague is this: what does my colleague have to say about the requirement of the provinces being forced to put their money into the federal programs rather than being able to add it directly to their own?

 

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Mr. Scott Reid: Mr. Speaker, of course it is the standard procedure of the federal government on all issues to try to put moneys forward in the form of matching grants and then take credit for the entire amount as if it had in fact spent the entire amount. That would explain the largest proportion of what is going on here.

The original claim of the government was that it had in fact met the farmers' demands for $1 billion, with the government saying that after all, it was putting in a good chunk of that and the provinces would put in money too but only because the federal government was, so therefore the federal government really spent the money even though provincial taxpayers paid for it.

Obviously farmers have not bought that. That is in fact why they were protesting here in Ottawa and elsewhere, including Saskatchewan. Clearly proposals similar to those made by my hon. colleague would have been precisely the right direction to go in.

Mr. Grant McNally: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I know this is a very important debate in the House. The minister on many occasions has said the Alliance has not raised questions about the agriculture issue, but we have, and I think it would be incumbent upon the government to have at least one minister of the crown here to—

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): The hon. member knows very well that he cannot allude to or refer to the absence of anyone in the House.

Mr. Larry McCormick (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my hard working rural caucus colleague from the great riding of Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant.

Before I put some of the good programs before the House, I have to point out some falsehoods that were put forth by the last few members who spoke, especially those from Saskatchewan.

I want to be very careful and very accurate in my description here. They talked about the money that has not gone to the Saskatchewan producers, which we are all working for. I say to my colleague from the Alliance, I would not laugh when we see from the statistics that it is very fair to point out that Saskatchewan farmers have now received very close to $400 million from AIDA. Yes, more than 80% of that money has been delivered directly to those producers. Yes, the province has helped up to this time, but now the province is denying the money to the producers.

The last $500 million, half a billion—yes, it could have been more—will be invested. The cash will get to the producers between now and the end of March. That is how fast we want to hand out the money. I would ask my colleagues, for all the right reasons, to lobby their own minister, as we members will, so that we can get the money through to our producers.

Also, my colleagues across the way were very correct in pointing out that we must have the co-operation of the European Union and the United States in bringing down the tariffs. They are right. I want to point out that our minister of trade spoke with his counterparts in the United States in the last few days. In fact, the minister of agriculture spoke to his counterpart in the United States yesterday. Our minister spoke to his colleague yesterday in Washington, and we are working on it.

I am very pleased to join this debate, but I would ask my colleagues on the far side to clarify where they stand on this situation. Perhaps that is why only once have we heard the leader of the CA Party on his feet asking questions in the House on this very important issue. The rest of the time the CA leader never stood up on this subject. That leader never stood up to be counted.

Earlier today my colleague from the great riding of Ottawa Centre pointed out that several years ago Reform Party policy was against all subsidies. When it comes to present research, the same situation exists. Less than one year ago the policy papers—I am sure they come from the leader's office and the backroom people, and I am sure my colleagues are ashamed of them—pointed out that the party is still against subsidies for our producers and our growers. It is very unfortunate.

 

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Certainly agriculture is very important in this country and we in the government will continue to be there for our farmers. It is true that agriculture is essentially a rural industry, but rural Canada, its people and its communities are more than agricultural communities.

The federal government has resolutions and plans in place to address rural needs. Whether or not it is the main industry, whether it is agriculture or not, the government will be there for the people. In fact, rural and remote communities are a vital part of our national fabric and the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that they are able to share in and contribute to our prosperity.

Most rural communities rely on the income and the industry that agriculture generates, which is why it is essential that we support this sector beyond our farm income programs, and that is exactly what we are doing. We believe that two factors are critical to the success of our communities. First, communities must take charge of their own future. Second, the programs the government puts in place must stimulate economic development rather than just supplement it. Also, the programs must be initiated by local individuals. In other words, they have to come from the bottom up, from the grassroots.

I would like to look at what I believe are the two specific roles for government in this process. The first role is to ensure that communities have the tools to pursue their particular interests. The federal government has worked hard over the last several years to develop a series of tools that communities can access in a way that makes sense for them. I would like to take a minute to review some of them.

Canadian rural partnership is a four year, $20 million initiative that was launched in 1998. It has proven to be a great success. It includes a pilot project component that has helped fund 239 community based projects in the first three years. There is also a rural dialogue, which has given rural and remote Canadians a real voice in the decisions that affect their communities, and a rural lens, through which all government policies, programs and services are examined to make sure they respect the needs of rural and remote Canadians.

Community futures is one of the greatest programs we have had for the last decade. Our government has expanded this program by an additional $90 million in the last budget.

I am proud to say that the Secretary of State for Rural Development accompanied me to my riding this past Friday. The government invested $750,000 in the riding. The money was invested because the decisions on the money lent to small business and invested in small business and entrepreneurs will be made by the grassroots people, the great people who give their time and who are the directors of the CDC in North Hastings and Central Hastings. I would like to extend a thank you to those individuals.

In budget 2000 we announced $2.65 billion over the next five years to rebuild our national infrastructure. Work will include improvements to grain roads in the west as well as federal bridges and wharves. Most of these will be in rural Canada.

Last summer the secretary of state and the hon. minister of agriculture announced the Canadian agricultural rural communities initiative, CARCI. Funding of more than $9 million will be provided over the next three years to help agricultural rural communities adapt to change.

These are just some of the ways our government and our programs help rural communities, including farmers, achieve profitability and stability in the long term and prevent sole reliance on farm income programs. By encouraging and investing in local development, the risk of becoming one industry towns is minimized.

There is a second role for government. Community development requires more than the investment of dollars. It requires an investment in people, an investment in community leaders, not just the decision makers but all the people who have innovative ideas and all the people who make important contributions to provide the vision their communities will have in the future.

We have to foster that culture of creativity in our communities. We can have initiatives that sound great on paper, but without the individuals who have the skills and the initiative to set the economic wheels in motion, we will not succeed in achieving long term sustainable development in our communities.

 

. 1545 + -

This development can only happen when all partners are working together and everyone has common long term goals. The key to helping rural communities move away from being dependent is to be self-sufficient.

In that speech the government said:

    Canadian communities of all sizes—whether urban or rural, aboriginal or multicultural—face diverse challenges and have unique needs. The Government of Canada will strive to ensure that, whenever possible, its actions and programs are co-ordinated to help build local solutions to local challenges.

This empowering of local communities will govern our actions as we implement our campaign and our throne speech commitments. This will be evident as we carry out our commitment to our rural communities.

Specifically, the Speech from the Throne said:

    The government will help Canada's agricultural sector beyond crisis management—leading to more genuine diversification and value-added growth, new investments and employment, better land use, and high standards of environmental stewardship and food safety.

The government provides funding but to be effective it is essential that initiatives are developed by local individuals to address local needs and priorities.

The people at the grassroots are the best ones to make decisions that affect their communities. It is this bottom up approach that is absolutely essential to effective community development.

One-third of our population lives and works in rural Canada. They are a vital piece of our social fabric that makes our country. I am sure we all agree on one thing. We are very proud of the citizens of rural Canada.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, if there is a disaster in Canada, the Prime Minister usually visits the area. I personally delivered a letter of invitation to the Prime Minister but he has consistently refused to meet with farmers.

I do not believe the Prime Minister could ignore the plight of grain farmers, if he could personally witness this disaster. Why does the Prime Minister not come to Saskatchewan and personally meet with farmers?

Mr. Larry McCormick: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the invitation. I am sure he wants to include all of us.

I have visited his great riding, which includes Yorkton, in the last two years. I am glad we have an infrastructure program so we can do a little better job on the roads north of Indian Head.

However, I know my colleague will agree that I have met with many farmers from Saskatchewan in the last few weeks. Many of my colleagues, urban and rural on both sides of the House, have met with these farmers. Our Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has met with the farmers and spokespeople. We met with them here on the Hill in the last few days. As I said, our minister spoke to our U.S. colleague.

To answer my colleague, I would like to see the Prime Minister also visit his riding. However, let us put forth right now the fact that the Prime Minister has met with farmers from Saskatchewan more than once in the very last few months. The Prime Minister was very kind to extend an invitation to Nick and his combine. I did not say that the combine was on the grounds at 24 Sussex, but I was very glad that the Prime Minister met with Nick.

More important and most serious, the Prime Minister and his office met with more of these producers in the last few days, and we shall again.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I have certainly been following the words of the member for the Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington.

Today is decision day. We will be voting on the motion today to support farmers with an additional $400 million. When we look at the other issues surrounding agriculture, his stand on issues has not been in keeping with the agriculture sector. I would quickly point out that he supports a Canadian Wheat Board monopoly. Our organic farmers have voted overwhelmingly that they want to have marketing outside the wheat board, along with many other farmers of standard grains.

 

. 1550 + -

I do not see any pressure to lower the federal excise tax on fuel. This member supports grain transportation which is highly regulated and causes problems with the wheat board. The gun bill is still in place by the government.

Will the member vote for or against this motion to give farmers $400 million?

Mr. Larry McCormick: Mr. Speaker, I watched the news today on farmers from across this country. It reminded me of my colleague who does a lot of great work on our committee. I believe we still will. It is a committee that gets along probably better than any other committee on the Hill.

I was reminded of Canadian cattlemen. I would not want to include a list of which members opposite belong to this wonderful association. I admire the Canadian cattlemen, I appreciate them and support them. However they are asking, as they and their colleagues have before, that we not support giving money to our producers.

We cannot have it both ways. I am not asking my colleague to stand up and say that we will hand out a few dollars today, but we will not be there tomorrow. We will be there tomorrow for our producers.

Mr. Bob Speller (Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, first, I want to take this opportunity to thank the opposition for bringing forward a motion today on agriculture. It is a very important issue. I believe we have a crisis in agriculture today. As rural members in the House, it gives us an opportunity to speak on agriculture. It is very much appreciated.

At the same time too, I want to thank the Prime Minister, the cabinet, my colleagues in our rural caucus and some of our urban members, such as the member for Toronto—Danforth and the member for Parkdale—High Park, two downtown Toronto members who stood up and voiced the concerns that many Canadians have on the crisis in agriculture.

I also want to thank the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of National Defence who are all urban cabinet ministers but who are in the House today talking about this issue. They are concerned about this and have been listening to the concerns of all members about the crisis.

We are here today, aside from the politics of the issue, because agriculture in Canada is in crisis. We have heard from many different people who have many differing views on what the crisis is, how best we can solve it and whether or not money should be flowing into the hands of agriculture, farmers and rural Canadians.

From the bias of coming from a rural area, a small town Ontario riding which has very many similarities with the ridings of the hon. members across the floor who are from other provinces, I say there is a crisis out there and we need to further recognize that. As parliamentarians and as a government, I believe we need to move to do more in this area.

The opposition suggests that we need to put more money into it. Our rural caucus and our cabinet ministers who supported us came up with a good package that addressed many of the immediate concerns that farmers have today, particularly those concerns of getting crops into the ground this year.

In saying that, I believe we need to do more and can do more. In fact we not only need to look at the immediate crisis, but we need to look at the long term solutions. First and foremost, we need to talk to Canadians, inform them and let them know why agriculture is so important to this country and why it is in need today.

 

. 1555 + -

Agriculture is the third largest employer in the country. It accounts for 8.5% of our GDP. It is important to the future of the country that we have a healthy industry.

Why are we in crisis today? We are in crisis today for a number of different reasons. As was pointed out, our international partners are putting direct subsidies to exports. Exports are so important to the agricultural community today. We have $22 billion or $23 billion in exports across the world.

When our farmers try to export into foreign markets that use export subsidies, it lowers the price that that farmers gets for his commodity. Hon. members may not be aware that in certain areas farmers are not making back their costs of production. They are paying more out than they are taking in from their crops. I saw on television last night, I believe it was on CTV, that in some cases 75% of farmers' incomes come from the public purse.

We cannot continue to survive as a country and we cannot continue to thrive as an agricultural community, if that continues to be the case. We need to get our income out of the marketplace. As parliamentarians we need to sit down and try to find solutions to do that.

One solution being put forward is to put $100 million of new money into it and that somehow will solve the problem. It will not solve the problem that we are facing today. We need to go beyond that and look for broader solutions that involve all provinces and involve not only farmers and rural Canadians but also those who live in the urban centres who purchase the food farmers produce.

That is not being done. There has not been enough dialogue from the farm leadership, from the parliamentarians or from farmers themselves. There has not been enough done to bring in more Canadians and inform them of the problems that farmers face today.

I have been involved for a number of years in international trade. What I try to do, and what our Minister for International Trade is doing as we speak, is deal with how other countries subsidize their farmers and get these export subsidies down. If we can get those export subsidies down, if we can get the trade distorting subsidies down, our farmers will be able to compete. However that issue will take a while to resolve. It will not be resolved overnight. International trade negotiations take years. In fact I believe the last one took seven years. This one could even take more.

As Canadians we have to make a decision. Do we want viable farm families? Do we want to support our families in need until we can internationally negotiate these subsidies down? Those are the questions we are faced with today.

I believe we should. I believe there is a public good in having Canadian farmers produce the food we eat because we can regulate exactly what is in that food. If we did not have Canadian farmers producing the food, then we would not have control over what is in it. We would have some control, but we would have a lot more control if we were assured that Canadian farmers were producing our food.

Not only can we regulate it but we can guarantee that we will have that supply. If we start losing farmers, which is what is happening now, if we do not invest in young people getting into farming today, if we do not invest in the research and development that is needed not only to produce better crops but to produce better crops that will sell, if we do not put our emphasis on those areas, then we will not have an industry here. We will not have the guarantee that Canadians need: that the industry will grow the food we eat. In fact, we will just import it and the price will be at the whim of what is in the product, which other countries will produce and we will not. We have the cheapest food prices in the world. We have some of the most productive farmers in the world. In order to keep these things, we need to continue investing in the industry.

 

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I represent an area in southwestern Ontario that is one of the most diverse agricultural areas. The problem today is not only in grains and oilseeds, but in areas such as apples and horticulture and particularly in areas that other countries are putting a lot of emphasis on in subsidizing their producers.

We will deal with the international problems, but in the meantime as parliamentarians and as a country we need to take seriously the problems that farmers face today and deal with them in a non-partisan way. I have tried—and I will wait for the questions from the opposition—to deal with the issue in a non-partisan way because I believe that is how Canadians will listen to us.

I thank the Prime Minister, cabinet, my rural colleagues and members of the opposition who have raised this very important issue. I believe we can and should do more. On behalf of my constituents, I guarantee that I will stand to speak at every occasion on behalf of my constituents and farmers in southwestern Ontario.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, certainly in a non-partisan way I intend to stand here on behalf of Selkirk—Interlake constituents and vote yes to support farmers with an additional $400 million. I think that opportunity is open to everyone in the House.

I ask the member if he does not believe that in fact there are many ways to help farmers through non-direct subsidies. Would the member support a voluntary Canadian Wheat Board? Would he support a lowering of the federal excise tax on diesel fuel to zero from four cents, where it is today? Would he look at supporting grain transportation, so that it is not the highly regulated system it is today, and putting it on a commercial contract based system? All those things would add up to close to $400 million for farmers.

Mr. Bob Speller: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the hon. member that I have only been here for 13 years or so. I used to chair the agriculture committee and have probably spoken on agriculture as much as most people in the House. Even though I come from southwestern Ontario, I have always stood up for western grain farmers.

I have been out there and have talked to farmers in the west. I have looked into the whole issue. The member talks about the wheat board. I want to assure him that I and members on this side will stand up for the wheat board and for those farmers in the west, who are the majority, who support farmers having a say in the sale of their wheat. There is no question that if we ever got rid of the wheat board, as the hon. member would like, the farmers would be at the whim of foreign nations and foreign multinational companies. They would not have a voice in the marketing of their products.

I have always believed, as I have in terms of marketing boards, that the best way we can market our products, the best way farmers can have a say in their livelihoods, is to do it through a marketing system. I disagree with the hon. member. I believe that the best way we can support farmers is through marketing boards, to make sure they have a say in the way their products are marketed and to make sure they have a say in the House. That is why I feel it is important that farmers have an opportunity to have debates like this, and I appreciate the fact that the debate was brought forward by the opposition.

 

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Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the member who just spoke has no real understanding of the Canadian Wheat Board and he has clearly demonstrated that by his comments.

Does he know that if a farmer wants to take his durum wheat, process it into pasta and add value to it he has to first of all sell it to the wheat board? He does not own the grain. He has to sell it to the wheat board. He has to buy it back at a price considerably higher because he is charged for transportation to a seaport whether he uses that transportation or not. He has to go through all kinds of hoops and hurdles which discourage him and cost him a huge amount of money before he can add value to it. Is that right?

We do not have property rights in Canada and that is one of our key problems. A farmer who challenges this will be found by the courts to have no basis for it. That is absolutely wrong. There is no way the Liberal government should be hamstringing our farmers this way.

The member could change this entire debate. If 50 or 60 Liberal MPs with rural components stood up and let their voices be heard, they could break the power of the Prime Minister's Office and we could get on with some meaningful assistance. I wonder if the member would support that.

Mr. Bob Speller: Mr. Speaker, I assure the hon. member that I will not be drawn into his political debate because I believe this should not be politicized.

I know that a lot of hon. members say that the Prime Minister's Office somehow has a grip on hon. members. I talked with a lot of my Liberal members yesterday and they see through the tricks that the Alliance Party is putting on. They do not buy what it is trying to do with this holier than thou sudden coming forward to ask for funds. In fact, now I learn that it is not money Alliance members are asking for. They just want us to somehow change the wheat board.

I can assure the hon. member that members on this side of the House will continue to stand up and speak for farmers in this country, and in all parts of Canada, not just in the west. We in this party represent all parts of the country and we represent the farming community in all parts of Canada. We will continue to stand up and fight on behalf of farmers.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is really frustrating to see how Liberal MPs are twisting the entire meaning of this debate. We have an opportunity today to tell the agricultural producers of the country that we are not only concerned about their plight, but we are willing to do something about it. This motion to provide added financial support to our struggling farmers is not about politics or party policy. This motion is about ensuring that the primary producers of Canada are given the same opportunities as other sectors of the economy.

Last night on our government funded public broadcaster, there was a report about the amount of subsidies Canadian farmers receive. The CBC reported that in 1999 this country's producers received 57% of their income from the government. They project that by the end of this year a farmer will have received 75% of his income from the government. The CBC is crediting these numbers to Statistics Canada. Common sense would tell us that if these numbers are true then our farmers are in bigger trouble because their incomes are so low. The reason we are really in a crisis today is that the government puts so little into agriculture in Canada compared to what other nations do.

The tone of the report gives a completely false picture and it only serves to make the government look good. The figure the CBC is using is not an accurate portrayal of farm subsidies in Canada. The Organization for Economic and Co-operative Development, known as the OECD, which is the authority in determining agriculture subsidy levels, stated that in 1999 only 20% of a Canadian farmer's income came from government. That is quite a difference from the 57% reported by the CBC. Why is there that difference?

The OECD is actually taking into account the entire farm receipts received. Statistics Canada figures use the net farm numbers. When we use the net farm numbers it appears as though our producers are receiving some great subsidies, because a farmer's expenses will have been removed from the figure. If we use the net farm numbers, we are in effect counting the government subsidy level twice. If we count the government subsidy level once on the gross farm numbers and then when we eliminate the farm expenses and compare the subsidy level again, we come up with the preposterous figures that were delivered on the CBC last night.

 

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Inaccurate reports from our publicly funded broadcaster are inexcusable and hurt the very people forced to pay for them. This irresponsible reporting is one of the main reasons we are here today. This type of misinformation gives the impression to our city cousins that farmers are receiving some type of huge payout from the government. However, that is far from the truth. If farmers were receiving 75% of their income from the government, does anyone think we would even be here today?

I hope that after hearing today's debate our national broadcaster will correct last night's report and accurately reflect the level of farm income support in the country.

Our minister of agriculture was on a CBC show this weekend. He made the comment that farmers should be treated like any other business. I could not agree with him more. Unfortunately, the minister and the government do not treat farmers like other businesses.

Let us look at how they are not treated fairly. The most obvious difference is the treatment at the international bargaining table. In 1986, Canadian wheat producers received about 45% of their income from the government. Since that time, support for our primary wheat producers has been reduced to the point where it is only about 11% from government. This would be fine if our competitors would have reduced their subsidy levels, but that did not happen.

In fact, the United States in 1986 had its wheat farmers receiving about 49% of their income from government. In 1999, a U.S. wheat producer received 46% of his income from the government. In the last year, that level of support has gone higher.

The inequality in subsidization is the reason we are here today. Subsidies distort the marketplace and have resulted in overproduction of grains, which in turn has forced the price for these commodities downward.

Our farmers in many cases are growing these crops below the cost of production. By doing that, they continue to subsidize consumers in our cities and keep food prices low. People shopping in our supermarkets today should understand that one of the main reasons a loaf of bread is not $4 is that our farmers continue to produce this product cheaply and efficiently.

When our food prices start to rise substantially, then there is going to be a public outcry. Will the government then realize it should have supported our agricultural sector? Unfortunately, then our family farms will be gone and it will be too late.

There are many examples of government preparing for problems within different sectors, but when it comes to agriculture, the planning is not there.

Back in the mid 1990s, when the government was balancing its books on the backs of farmers, it removed the Crow rate subsidy. At that time Reformers told the government that eliminating this program did not remove government from having to support farmers. We explained that even though times were good then, commodity markets would come down and the government had better be prepared to help when it happened.

In fact, we told the Liberals to take 80% of the money in the Crow and put it into a trade distortion adjustment program to be used when farmers needed it. Did the government listen? No. We would not be here today making this motion if it had done what we asked. If the government had listened to our suggestion, by 1998, when this crisis started to become apparent, there would have been over $4 billion to help farmers.

The fact the government was not willing to plan for the future relates to my main theme, in that government does not treat agriculture like other sectors of the economy. The government will plan for the future when looking at other sectors and industries, but when it comes to agriculture there is no long term agriculture policy.

Let us look at the Bombardier issue. This is a company that made $700 million in profits last year. It was competing with a Brazilian company for a $3 billion contract to build airplanes. The Brazilian company was receiving subsidies from its national government to give it a competitive advantage. Canada's response to this was an industry minister who said Canada could no longer afford to be the Boy Scout of the international trade world. This statement was also combined with a $1.5 billion loan guaranteed to help Bombardier compete against Brazil for a contract.

Here we have the government supporting a business that is being forced to compete against unfair foreign subsidies. Does this not sound familiar?

For the last four years we have been explaining to the government how our farmers are competing against unfair foreign subsidies, yet we do not have an industry minister or an agriculture minister who is willing to back up our farmers by making the same commitment that was made to Bombardier.

This is why I am saying agriculture is not being treated like other businesses or industries by the government. There are two sets of standards here and it has to stop.

 

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Another example of the government preparing other sectors for problems down the road is our Canada infrastructure program. The government has committed $2.65 billion to deal with the need to replace aging infrastructure in communities. This is a prime example of how government can provide support to a sector by looking ahead, determining a need and addressing that need.

I cannot understand why the agriculture department is not doing the same thing. It has used ad hoc programs to address the current crisis. The programs are not working and the department still has not prepared long term solutions to help support agriculture. This is not treating agriculture like other sectors.

Let us look at grain transportation. It is not treated like other industries. The government promised $178 million in savings when it rammed its new transportation bill through the House of Commons last spring. After talking to grassroots producers, I can tell members that there have been little or no savings in transportation. Without implementing a commercial and competitive grain handling system, the savings will never be achieved. By government overregulating and not ensuring competition among the railways and grain companies, farmers continue to lose out.

The MP for Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington said farmers should be allowed to be entrepreneurs and I agree, yet when I talk to backbench Liberals they have no idea of how the wheat board works.

There is one glaring difference between prairie grain producers and other businesses: farmers cannot sell their wheat and barley to whomever they want. Producers are forced to sell their wheat and barley to the Canadian Wheat Board. They cannot process their own product and sell it to consumers without going to the CWB.

Other sectors of the economy are not treated like this. I do not know of any other industry that has to sell its product to a government controlled bureaucracy and then buy it back at a higher price before it can reap additional profits through processing. If another profession or industry would not stand for this, why should our farmers be forced to accept this type of approach? The government once again does not treat agriculture like other businesses.

Here we are, asking the government to approve an additional $400 million in support for our agriculture producers. This is not some cap in hand payment. This is treating our farmers like any other business in the country. When other businesses are sold out at the international bargaining table, there is an obligation to stand behind them. Why not agriculture? We have to put our political ideologies to the side and look at what is needed for our agricultural sector.

Members from all political parties in the House have expressed concern for the primary producers of the country. Now is our chance to not only talk the talk but walk the walk. This action would provide some immediate relief to producers to help them through this cropping season.

Mr. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned in closing that maybe we need to put ideologies aside. He is far from doing that. We have had the usual rant against the Canadian Wheat Board, and the Canadian Wheat Board is one of the vehicles that is there to maximize returns back to producers from the international marketplace. We have had that kind of rant from the Canadian Alliance before.

He wants to set the ideology aside when it comes to paying subsidies, which the Alliance Party is opposed to doing, although they are talking about it now, but when it comes to the wheat board he wants to keep his old ideology. Does he want the government in or out? He cannot have it both ways.

I want to correct for the record what the member said about government controlled bureaucracy or something along those lines in terms of the Canadian Wheat Board. The fact of the matter is that he was in the House when we passed a new act in terms of the Canadian Wheat Board, in which the Canadian Wheat Board, after much debate, was turned over to the control of the farm community through an elected board of directors.

The member cannot have it both ways. For Pete's sake, he should give the real facts to the House instead of the malign ones he is producing.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz: Mr. Speaker, I wish we could get the real facts into the House. I agree with the member on that last point. The members across the way are the ones who are distorting the predicament farmers are in right now. Not defending them or the motion is not looking at the facts.

Yes, philosophically we are opposed to subsidies, but clearly if other countries are engaged in subsidizing their farmers and we have hung our farmers out to dry at the international bargaining table, we have to stand behind them. We have a clear obligation to do that and we have said since 1994 that this is what has to happen. That is why we proposed that 80% of the Crow subsidy be put into a trade distortion adjustment program.

 

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Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member made the point that there is a double standard, that agriculture is treated differently, and he is exactly right. It is the Alliance that is treating agriculture differently, wanting to offer subsidies only to agriculture.

We have already offered $500 million to agriculture, but we have also offered subsidies for exports. We offer subsidies in Quebec through FEDQ, in northern Ontario through FedNor, in eastern Canada through ACOA, and in western Canada through western diversification, to the aerospace industry, to the technology industries, to the sustainable development industries and to communications.

I have four quick questions for the hon. member. Did he support the rural pilot projects that help projects in rural Canada? A number of them are related to farming and people living in farming communities.

Was he incredulous when the previous Alliance member criticized the Liberals for their subsidize, tax and regulate philosophy when the hon. member is proposing a motion on subsidy that causes more taxes and when the member had just spoken against regulation?

Did the member find it strange when the member from Pembroke said she is the spokesperson for her province when there are 50 times more Liberals in her province?

Finally, did you find it strange when the hon. member said this is fighting export subsidies while the leader of the official opposition, in his response to the Speech from the Throne, spoke against export subsidies?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): I know the hon. member is new to the House and I remind him to address his comments to the Chair, please.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz: Mr. Speaker, that was more like a little rant. In this debate we are trying to indicate clearly that the subsidies the government should be engaged in are those where we can clearly demonstrate that a sector is being hurt by another foreign subsidy. It is absolutely clear.

In regard to some of the programs he was listing, the businesses in competition with those being subsidized would have to pay those subsidies. That is blatantly unfair. We would not support that because that is within Canada.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we are talking about this being a non-confidence vote. The member for Malpeque has said that the department seemed unable to come up with a solution in terms of an assistance package. He said that there were always 16 reasons why the bureaucracy could not do something and never one why it could. He also said that this country had to support the farm community to nearly equivalent levels with the United States and Europe.

I would ask the hon. member if he does in fact believe that a confidence motion should not be held on this and that members should be able to vote according to their constituents' wishes.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz: Mr. Speaker, I was hoping that this would provide an opportunity for the 50 or 60 rural MPs on the government side of the House to represent their constituents. I was hoping that would be what would take place today. We wanted to make this a non-partisan debate and suddenly we are shouting at each other, and those members are going to use it as an excuse not to support the farmers in their ridings.

Ms. Carol Skelton (Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, farming is the heart of this country. It always has been and hopefully it always will be.

Today we are debating the Alliance motion calling on the government to inject the additional emergency funding necessary to keep Canadian farming alive through the coming year.

It sometimes seems like we are speaking to a brick wall over there. As a farm partner myself and one of the hundreds of producers in my riding, I know firsthand how serious this crisis is. The magnitude of the emergency cannot be overstated. We need the money, period.

The minister's announcement a couple of weeks ago was clearly inadequate. He said so himself. Here is a quick rundown. All farm groups are asking for at least $900 million. Five provincial governments are calling for at least $900 million. The Canadian Alliance is calling for at least $500 million. The Liberals knew about this crisis at least three years ago.

Rather than continuing to point out the obvious to the government and the minister, I thought it would be beneficial for you, Mr. Speaker, and your colleagues to hear from farmers in their own words. Before I entered the political arena, through the media I put out a plea to farm people to tell me their stories. These are some of the letters I received. I was overwhelmed by the response from these people, and there were heartbreaking ones from all of them, but especially from the men.

 

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I would like all hon. members in the Chamber to pay careful attention to the letters I am about to read, particularly my colleagues opposite, some of whom clearly need to learn a thing or two about farming and farmers. The first letter states:

    This year we didn't put a crop in—we are finished farming. That sounds so simple “didn't put a crop in”. How do I put into words the despair, the tears of anger, frustration, the heartbreak. My husband is so defeated. He used to be up for a challenge. If something didn't work the first time, he kept on trying. He'd find a way.

    My husband feels that he is a failure—no amount of me telling him that it's not his fault changes the way he feels. Something is gone inside.

    We took a crushing debt load with us, as we try to start a new business. Our little community is in jeopardy. The rail line has been removed and our elevator closed. In the past five years, many families have left the community. Approximately 18 school-age children have left. In a small school with a population of 97—those numbers are devastating. We're fighting to keep our school open. Everything is a fight—and there is little fight left in anyone.

The second letter states:

    The sad thing is, if it happened suddenly like a lot of disasters, we would have gotten noticed. But the grey depression that has settled over southwest Saskatchewan where we live has been coming for a long time.

    There have been so many marriage breakups, alcoholism, depression, cancer and farmers leaving the land. The whole stressful household is worn out.

    All our neighbours are in the same position. It just seems there is no joy in farming anymore. We are puppets with big corporations pulling the strings. I see sadness and depression everywhere I look.

The third letter states:

    I farm with my husband and I know the crisis we're in. I need not say more. When the government took away the “Crow”, that was their first mistake. It was to be here as long as the grass grows and the rivers flow.

    The government is putting millions of dollars into other countries and have a deaf ear to their own farmers.

The fourth letter states:

    In the mid-eighties when grain prices started to fall, my husband became really stressed out and was ready to sell out and quit. This is where our problem arises. Our older son has always wanted to farm. He saved enough to buy a quarter of land so we sold him one. He tried renting some land from a neighbour but found he only had a profit one year of the four he rented.

    He had worked off the farm for about ten years and was ready to take over more land and responsibility so we are gradually selling everything to him. We didn't want him to borrow from the FCC or a bank to pay us as the yearly interest alone would be move than the profit from farming. He has no money to pay us even though he does off farm work. He is always busy and if anyone deserves to make a living farming, he does.

    At 31, he is still single, which probably is just as well as the stress would be too much for a lot of young women who haven't lived on a farm...He really needs a break but can't afford a holiday even though he has enough air miles to fly almost anywhere. It really bothers him that he owes us so much money and it bothers us too now that we are retired, we are so limited in what we can do. Everything we put into the farm as “the farm is our retirement” is still tied up in the farm.

The fifth letter states:

    The farm crisis in Saskatchewan is real—it is happening, it is a tragedy, it is preventable. It is impossible to make a living on a farm of any size with the present world situation.

    What will it take for the Canadian federal government to take a long hard look at an industry that feeds millions and yet the principal players cannot make an honest living through no fault of their own? How can a democratic country like Canada stand and watch the death of the western Canadian grain industry? The break basket of the world is being destroyed by an eastern Canadian government that refuses to accept responsibility for its demise. And a demise it is as every other grain producing country subsidizes their grain growers because they value their product, they value the farming industry as an integral part of their country's business world and they recognize the importance of the farmer and his family to their way of life. But not here in Canada—the very country that should be supporting farmers is destroying them.

 

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Finally, the sixth letter, written by Nicole Stenerson of Sonningdale, Saskatchewan, a University of Regina first year student, states:

    A very sad situation has evolved in our prairies. A morbid cloud has rolled onto its beautiful sky. Hopelessness is in the air and you stop for just a moment, you can almost hear the land weeping in mourning for what used to be. The death of a family farm is upon us. The tradition that this country was founded on is dying along with the spirit and the pride of the farmers that are left to preserve the land. Today, every family farm on the prairies is in danger and many of them are indeed dying. This story is the truth and it is happening today.

    Canada's farming economy affects everyone. This is a fact that is most misunderstood. Most Canadians think the farming crisis does not involve them, and approach the issue with great apathy. In truth, this crisis affects every Canadian. If sympathy for the struggling farmers cannot cause you to surrender your support, perhaps fear for this country's economy can. Canada's economic base was originally farming, with the prairies considered the “bread basket of the world” and today they still are. Unfortunately, this is a fact that has become forgotten.

    As Canada loses its farmers, it begins to suffer economically. The disappearance of the farmer would affect the economy in a very direct way. Farmers with less money spend less money. This would mean the demise of both small businesses and large corporations. Without farmers, there would be no need for farm equipment dealerships, fertilizer and chemical companies and many other large businesses that base themselves solely on farming. This is not a prairie crisis; this is a Canadian crisis.

    As Canadians, we need to stand up for our fellow countrymen. We need to show the farmers empathy for their plight. Unfortunately, if this government continues to do nothing to stop the extinction of the family farm, we will soon be in mourning for a culture that has disappeared completely. We cannot stand idly by as a culture of the country is in such great suffering and not even offer our heartfelt sympathy and support.

What more can we offer the government? What more can we say? How can we convince the backbenchers of the government that cannot see what kind of a plight agriculture is in? How can we convince government members to stand up and vote tonight on the Canadian Alliance motion?

Mr. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there has been some firing of derricks from the other side in terms of how we might vote on this issue tonight. Let me make it clear off the top where I stand on this resolution today by the Canadian Alliance. I will vote against it. I will outline the reasons why I will vote against this resolution.

Yes, I believe that we must do more. We must do much more to encourage the minister of agriculture and cabinet in terms of assisting the farm community. However, I do not want to see that decision handcuffed by this narrow motion by the Canadian Alliance.

The party across the way, the Canadian Alliance, was the party that came to Ottawa and said it was going to do politics differently.

I will be sharing my time, Mr. Speaker.

Here it is today basically saying what it has said all along and that is get government out of agriculture, get rid of the Canadian Wheat Board or dual marketing, and it attacks supply management.

What the Alliance is really doing with this motion is violating its own principles. It is asking for government subsidies when it has said all along it does not believe in subsidies.

The Alliance cannot have it both ways. Its position, and I have fought against it, has been to get the government out of the farmers' lives. That is why it attacks the Canadian Wheat Board. That is why it attacks supply management.

 

. 1635 + -

I have always believed there is a role for government in farm policy and I continue to believe so. I advocate a much stronger role in terms of farm policy by government than we currently have in the country.

Contrary to my party on this issue of support, I believe we must support at levels close to that of the United States so that we are not a poor country. I believe we are a very strong industrial nation. We have good fundamentals in our economy. We should be there for our farm community when our farm community needs help. However, we should be there in a number of ways, not just by subsidies.

I found the discussions over the last number of weeks very interesting in terms of some of the people who came to us looking for government subsidy support. I spent 17 years in the farm movement and many of the people today who are calling for government subsidies are the very people who said “Get government out of the business of farming. Do not allow it to subsidize things. We can survive in the marketplace”. We cannot have it both ways. We either believe in the farm market, live by the sword and die by the sword or we do not believe that that market is the absolutely determining factor.

Farmers, governments and political parties have to think this through. What is the best way? Is the marketplace really the answer? If the marketplace is really the answer, and the farmers and the parties believe that, then they should not be in the House asking for government subsidies. I believe in them, but I come from a different philosophical base because I believe there is a role for government in farming, to assist the farm community.

Tonight I am not going to align myself with a party that says one thing and does another. I stand by my principles. If it is willing to rethink its position, I am willing to work with it in order to try to find a long term solution.

To comment on the remarks of the hon. member for Lethbridge, we see where the Alliance Party stands through its attack on the Canadian Wheat Board again. The fact is, as bad as prices are in the grain industry as a result of international subsidies and the export enhancement program in the United States forcing prices down, the Canadian Wheat Board is able to protect the interests of farmers and producers somewhat.

The Canadian Wheat Board is able to at least maximize the returns that are in the marketplace back to the primary producer. As well, through single desk selling, the Canadian Wheat Board in selling into that competitive international market has created a situation where farmers are not competing against themselves and are maximizing the price that is in that marketplace.

This is not the first crisis that farmers have faced since we became a nation. In the 1930s, under emergency measures, the Canadian Wheat Board was brought in partly to challenge the unbridled power of the grain companies and the railways at that time. It remains today, and we have made improvements to the wheat board in the interests of farmers.

In the sixties and seventies, dairy, poultry and egg producers were in much the same situation as grain producers find themselves today. The buying power of who they sold to was so concentrated that they could basically drive prices down. There was not too much product in the marketplace but product was manipulated, the market was manipulated and farmers were being driven out of business. What did farmers do? They got together and came to the government. We had a minister, a department and a party that was willing to go out and say that the market was not working. They were willing to challenge that market. They implemented the supply management systems which remain in place today and which that party attacks.

We do not hear supply management producers in here today. Those farmers went out and changed the system that was not working, with the support of government. I maintain that is what we have to do in this area as well.

 

. 1640 + -

I think Elbert van Donkersgoed perhaps said it best, certainly better than I can say it. He was talking about the minister of agriculture's $500 million in federal funding and the total of over $2.6 billion. He said “The commitment is timely and welcome. Rural Canada will breath a small sigh of relief”.

He went on to say that the minister of agriculture said “With this funding in place we must now focus on our ability to compete over the long term”.

He further said:

    We've been there and done that! If Canadian agriculture has done anything well over past decades, it is focusing on our ability to compete—almost to the exclusion of all else...reinvested assets, latest technology, faster machines—

We are still producing more for less. The answer is not to just go that route.

Let me conclude by saying the current crisis will require short term assistance. The Alliance Party resolution is not going to do it. Yes, in my view there should be more on the table, but it will require long term, global solutions and changing how that marketplace operates. We have to change the marketplace so it operates for farmers rather than against farmers.

The member for Selkirk—Interlake mentioned something I said earlier in a past debate in the House relating to the department, and I stand by that view. I believe that the people within the department do not really understand the practicality on the farm, and we have to change that too. That does not mean those people are not good people. They are just in the wrong department at this point in time. We are going to have to change this thing from stem to stern.

The departmental level and the farm community are going to have to come together and analyze this from the total perspective, not just a subsidy or a dollar here and a dollar there, but in terms of putting in place the kinds of marketing programs and transportation policies that will assist the farm community so that it can be the best in the world in agricultural development.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz (Yorkton—Melville, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am dismayed and disappointed by the comments made by the member. I am not sure why the member who just spoke wants to twist what we are doing today or why he wants to twist our policies. The attacks he made are false. People watching television may not realize they are false. We have not opposed supply management.

Then he made the point that somehow the Canadian Wheat Board was an indication of supply management. People watching television might not realize that there is no relation between supply management and the Canadian Wheat Board. The two are completely different concepts.

Then he said that the Alliance was opposed to subsidies and now it was coming forward with this. We have made it abundantly clear that we need to support our farmers because of the subsidies that are put in place by governments in other countries that stand behind their farming sectors. That is very different from subsidies within a country that have nothing to do with trade distorting programs in other countries. Those are two completely different concepts. To mix them is totally inappropriate.

We are correcting the record here today. Back in 1994 we were calling for 80% of that Crow money to immediately be put in a trade distortion adjustment program.

What we really are opposing is our tax money being used to subsidize projects in the Prime Minister's riding that cost more than all three prairie provinces get in similar programs.

Mr. Wayne Easter: Mr. Speaker, if I had the policy statement of the Alliance Party here, I guess I could get into a discussion on those points and what they really mean in terms of supply management, the Canadian Wheat Board, et cetera. However, I will not take the time of the House. I can give the member a copy of his party's policy, if he wishes, so he can understand it.

 

. 1645 + -

The member mentioned that the Canadian Wheat Board is not supply management. Of course it is not. Supply management is a system that came into place where producers of certain commodities, dairy, poultry, eggs and turkeys, decided that under legislation they would produce to meet effective market demands. In other words, they were not producing surpluses. A 5% surplus can drive down the whole price by 105%. They manage the supply. That is what supply management is all about.

In return for doing that, consumers are assured of a high quality product at reasonable prices. That is a very good system. However, it will not work for every commodity and I recognize that. It certainly will not work for commodities where the major amount is exported.

What will work and can work in that area, if we have the right international environment, is orderly marketing. The Canadian Wheat Board is orderly marketing. It sells through a single desk and tries to maximize what is in that marketplace back to primary producers. That is what the Canadian Wheat Board is doing, given the rough prices internationally. In other words, with the orderly marketing system within our country, we are not competing against ourselves to drive prices down.

The members opposite talk about subsidies. That is the party that says, and there are other farm groups out there that will agree with it on that point, let the market decide all things. As I said earlier, if that is its position, to let the marketplace decide all things, then let it live by the sword and die by the sword.

However, if we are ready now, after facing this crisis and seeing that the system does not work, then let us come to the table. Let us discuss it and decide where we will go as a country on the recognition that the marketplace does not work in its entirety. There is a need for government involvement in terms of farm policy, be it through assistance, through marketing programs or through whatever, but let us have that kind of discussion. The resolution on the floor today does not lead us to that kind of discussion.

Mr. Steve Mahoney (Mississauga West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have reflected on this, and the member opposite is already chirping that I am a resident agricultural expert before I have even started.

The point I want to make, if the member is at all interested, is that this is the first time I have seen an issue that has galvanized rural and urban members on all sides of the House, and certainly in this caucus.

As the chair of the Ontario caucus, I have to present the views of my colleagues from Ontario before the Prime Minister, cabinet and national caucus. I had to really study this issue, get to understand the significance of the problem and what some of the solutions might be. I arrived at a couple of conclusions.

First, a farmer from Saskatchewan called me and asked me if I realized that the $500 million that the federal government was giving to farmers would not solve the problem. That is a lot of money. It is curious how we can give out $500 million and still not solve the problem. The catch phrase from the opposition would be hard earned tax dollars.

Let me say to the urban members in my riding that they should understand the extent of the problem. That $500 million to a 1,000 acre farmer in western Canada means about $1,800 in subsidy. Let us think about this. A 1,000 acre farm is a serious business. The amount of subsidy that farm will receive is $1,800. What happens if we basically double it, which in essence is close to what the opposition motion is calling for? It is almost $400 million which will generate about $3,000 in subsidy.

 

. 1650 + -

Will that particular farmer be satisfied with $3,000? Will the farmer's problem be solved so that he or she will not be knocking on the door again? Will the farmer go away and say that it is wonderful, that the $3,000 has turned life around? We know that is not true.

Of course members on this side of the House would have liked to have given more. However, we also have much greater responsibility than some people in this place. We have to take a look at all aspects of society and prioritize the issues for all Canadians. A responsible motion would have called on the government to establish a policy platform to develop some long term sustainable solutions to the agricultural crisis.

I find it amazingly entertaining to sit here and see members of the Canadian Alliance back-pedalling. They are trying to defend policies that their predecessor, the Reform Party and their former leader, talked about and had in place, policies that they have ratified since becoming the Canadian Alliance.

I will share them with the House. The member could say that people watching might not understand what the members on this side are saying. Do not even ask them to try. Let them try to understand this.

At that party's last convention, it adopted a new policy book which called for the government to force “a self-reliant agricultural sector”. It was a policy declaration from the Canadian Alliance adopted in January 2000. Let us put that on the record. What does that mean? Words are very important in this business. Words are supposed to tell people what one is saying.

It went on to say “We will support and will advocate the phased reduction and elimination of all subsidies”. These are not my words. They are policy words from the Canadian Alliance convention adopted in January 2000. It said “the elimination of all subsidies, support programs and trade restrictions”. This is where they hide behind the words, when it said “in conjunction with other countries”.

Just so the folks at home understand, I guess what Alliance members are saying is that they are going to call their buddy, George W. and say that we have a problem in Canada and that they want him to stop handing out money to his farmers so that we do not have to hand out any to ours. George W. is going to ask who is calling and then wish them a nice day.

The Alliance should talk straight to farmers. It should tell them whether or not it is prepared to support them. On one hand it wants to eliminate all subsidies. The predecessor party went dramatically further than even this policy book does when it called for the elimination of support to the agricultural sector.

The member for Calgary Southwest said in this place, “Spending more taxpayers' money is not the answer to any industry's problem”. He went on to say, “Reformers continue to call for reduced federal expenditures. Reformers on the other hand call for a phased clear cut reduction of the dependence of the agricultural sector on both levels of government”. Let us not play games.

That party actually ran election after election advocating the elimination of support to the agricultural sector. It has the unmitigated gall to stand here in front of the nation, in front of the House of Commons, and try to pretend that somehow were it on this side of the House, it would have written a cheque for $900 million. We just know it would have done that.

Actions in this case speak louder than words. The actions that have been shown by that party are despicable in the area of support. Did it raise the issue in this place? It did not raise the issue in this place.

 

. 1655 + -

Did it raise the issue in interviews and on talk shows? On an ongoing stead, it sustains an attack on the Prime Minister rather than sustaining the issue of support to the agricultural sector. That is what Alliance members have done over the past several weeks in this place.

Did the media raise this issue? Were there screaming headlines that farmers need help? I read all the papers every day and I did not see it anywhere. The media did not raise it.

One of the members in opposition during question period today said that they asked questions but that we did not answer them. I wonder who they asked? They must have asked each other because they sure as heck did not ask them in this place. The proceedings in this place are recorded. We know who has been fighting for farmers.

The people who have been fighting to get the $500 million, which is a lot of money, to support farmers and convince the government that they need help are members of the rural caucus, supported by people from urban Ontario and the rest of Canada.

People such as my friend from Toronto—Danforth held a rally in the Air Canada Centre, in that wonderful agricultural metropolis called Toronto, where thousands of people attended to celebrate and support the family farm. I was there.

It is not just about farming, it is about security of food. It is about knowing that our children will have food to sustain them as they grow. It is about building great communities. It is about restaurants and grocery stores. It is about jobs and business. It is extremely important and is all encompassing.

In closing, it would be a wonderful opportunity for any government to simply say yes every time someone came to it with a particular problem. We did say yes, with a $500 million contribution.

The Canadian Alliance is simply playing politics in an attempt to embarrass the government. It will not work. We are going to support farmers, as we have, and will continue to do just that.

Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I notice that once again the hon. member across the way is long on rhetoric and good at throwing words around, such as despicable. Then he says in his intervention, let us not play games here. He says that words are very important in his business. I would submit that is very true. They are very important.

The fact of the matter is that our party and the one that preceded it, the Reform Party of Canada, raised this issue time and time again over the last seven years.

One of the most frustrating things for myself and a lot of my colleagues is the number of bona fide farmers who exist in the Canadian Alliance caucus. These are people who have been raised on farms. Their families are trying to earn a living on farms all across western Canada. I was raised on a farm. I farmed actively for 20 years in western Canada. My brother still endeavours to operate the family farm in the Peace country.

The reality is that there is a lot of knowledge on this side of the House, not just in our party but in the other opposition parties. It is continually ignored, to our frustration, by hon. members like the one who just spoke and who thinks he has all the answers.

He had the unmitigated gall to suggest that we should be advocating long term solutions. We have been doing that for seven bloody years in this place. The government has done very little, other than come up with ad hoc programs that do not work and do not address the needs.

I would ask the member to give it some more thought. If he wants to truly fight for farmers, then he should go back and ask the government why it has not instituted some long term solutions.

 

. 1700 + -

Mr. Steve Mahoney: Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. I certainly would not purport to have all the answers to the farming crisis or, frankly, to just about anything else around here.

This is a collective in the sense that we all have input. However for the member to suggest that because he was raised on a farm he knows more about the issue than other members in this place is just nonsense.

I have never worked in a mine but I believe the importance of the mining industry is significant in my province and my community. I may have never worked in a steel plant or a car plant but does that mean I do not have a right to stand in this place and defend the workers in those places and talk about how we can support those industries?

Let us understand that farming is a business. I heard a member opposite refer to it as a culture. The member should get over it. Maybe he would like it to be a culture but it is a business. To survive as a business it must have new markets.

I absolutely agree, at least with the premise that the member puts forward, that we must work together, as a government and as opposition members, to bring ideas forward so we can develop long term sustainable solutions to this crisis that happens year after year after year.

Just for once I would be delighted to see opposition members put a motion for debate in this place that would lead us in that direction, but they do not. They continually play politics, trying to create problems that do not work toward solving the crisis. At least we are trying with an infusion of $500 million.

The caucus will stand strong to help farmers survive in the country so it will be a sustainable business for years to come.

Mr. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it was just over three years ago, as a rookie MP with a farming background from a rural riding in western Canada, I stood here with a certain amount of pride and dignity to talk about farming issues.

Three years ago agriculture in western Canada was on a slippery slope. We started to realize that farming out west was 90% politics and 10% producing the product.

We have seen agriculture over the last three years decline to the point that we have an industry in crisis. Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the country when we consider the inputs that go into the ground, the processing that applies to everything we produce and the jobs created on the in and the out.

The agriculture minister stood in this place and said to western Canadians and Ontario producers that crop insurance and NISA were the answers to global subsidization problems. What a ridiculous statement.

Later the Prime Minister stood in his place and we heard him say that there could not be an agricultural crisis because he did not read about it in the National Post or the Globe and Mail.

Those newspapers do not represent the problems we have in western Canada or in rural Ontario, let alone in Quebec or the maritimes. An editorial writer from the Globe and Mail who is based in Winnipeg decried the whole situation. What a joke. Those people should get outside the city, have a look around and talk to producers who cannot afford to put bread on their own table let alone put a crop in the ground this year.

There is a lot of talk about the $500 million that has been allocated. There are a couple of problems with that number. When we look at the budget that the government handles, close to $160 billion this year, $500 million is not a lot of money in that context. It is a lot of money when compared to other industries that receive money from the government, but we are talking about the third largest contributor to the GDP.

The problem has gone way past the farm gate. As I alluded to, a tremendous number of service industries feed into the agricultural sector. Input costs have gone up 50%, 100%, or 200% in some cases, for fuel, fertilizer, chemicals, land taxes, machinery costs and so on.

The member who spoke before talked about a 1,000 acre western farm. That would be a hobby farm out there. The average farm in the west approaches 3,000 to 4,000 acres. There are all kinds of large farms in my riding with 10,000, 12,000 and 15,000 acres that try and make a go of it. The average cost of machinery is in excess of $1 million to $2 million on each farm.

 

. 1705 + -

The problem with all those inputs, the parts and everything else that keeps them running, is our low dollar. All the input costs are based on American money. We are starting out 37 to 40 cents behind, and those costs are rising.

The Prime Minister says that the low dollar is great for everybody because it helps with our exports. Well it has not seemed to help with my export prices on commodities that the wheat board handles but it certainly has cost me a lot in the pocketbook on the input side.

The freight system in western Canada is now based on conflict and animosity rather than being commercially based and properly tendered. Rising transportation inputs are probably the highest costs on my farm. Transportation costs me at least one-third off the top, which is absolutely ridiculous.

The answer to rising transportation costs on the prairies is to go higher up the food chain. Let us value add to the grain, durum, barley and so on. Let us run the flour mills and pasta plants, which have been tried and shut down because of regulations controlling the way we must buy and re-buy our own products. It is absolutely ludicrous. We are forced to pay freight and elevation charges on a product that never leaves the farm. How smart is that?

When that is explained to backbenchers on the other side they say that it is ridiculous. They ask why durum growers cannot build their own pasta plants and grind their durum into flour and recoup the extra $3 a bushel. The Canadian Wheat Board says that we cannot do that.

Ministers, like the one from Prince Edward Island who stood here and said that the wheat board is a great thing, do not live on the prairies. The people who come from these opposition benches do live there and we all got elected in 1993, 1997 and 2000 campaigning on an open and accountable optional marketing system. We need that.

The wheat board does not export out into the global market as it used to. Everything it buys and sells now goes through a line company, hence the transportation, freight and elevation charges to tidewater. There are no terminals on the west or east coasts. It is run back through one of the line companies. Who is making the money? It is not coming back to the producer at the farm gate.

Where do we go? The debate today is on subsidies, safety nets and the role of government. The role of government in this institution is to play catch up. The farm is in crisis. We must have a cash injection before spring. Farm groups and provincial governments are lobbying for a minimum of $900 million from the federal government and the balance of 40 cents on the dollar from the provinces. They thought that would get the crop in the ground and that hopefully the European and American subsidies would start tailing off. We have seen crop problems in the rest of the world that may bring the price back up.

We need those options. We must be able to do that. We must be able to value add, as I said. We need the government to look at the tax component of our input costs and the huge freight problem in the west.

There are answers. We need a safety net system. There is talk about short and long term situations. In the short term we need cash to get the crop in the ground. There is no doubt about it because we are playing catch up.

In the long term we need a NISA account that will allow us to level the playing field for good and bad years. Even the agriculture minister now realizes his previous position was wrong. We must be able to use the NISA account to level out the bad years. We must change the fundamental way NISA is handled so young farmers can get a start. The average age of farmers in Saskatchewan is 60. We have lost two generations of young producers because they cannot afford to get into the industry. We need a NISA account that will allow that type of thing to happen.

We need crop insurance that is user friendly so we can insure crops that are not covered properly now. When there is a claim we need results to be specific to one farm and not calculated as a general average, as is done with the costs.

We need a long term trade type of cushioning mechanism. It can be the trade distortion thing we talked about with the Crow money or a system like GRIP or MRI in Ontario, but it must be able to soften the blow of offshore improper trade subsidies. That is the long term requirement, but we need cash today to be able to keep on farming.

I am sharing my time with the member for Crowfoot who I know has some great points to put on the record today.

Mr. Dennis Mills (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, one of the farmers in my region, Mr. John Downer, brought to my attention a comment made on CBC last night that $2.6 billion in government support will be 75% of net farm income.

 

. 1710 + -

It is very important that Canadians hear that with 270,000 farms in Canada, the net farm income this year would be $12,800. That would be about $4.30 an hour based on a 60 hour week. That is without benefits, and with wives and children adding their labour for free.

In my city a policeman is paid $26 or $27 an hour. A nurse gets $25 or $26 an hour. Even though the CBC statement was factually correct, it was terribly misleading to all Canadians because it took out of context what really happens. I am appreciative of the opportunity to put it on the record.

Most Canadians would be ashamed if they realized that based on a 60 hour week the average hourly rate was $4.30.

Mr. Gerry Ritz: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his intervention. He is quite right that the net income on a farm is a very elusive target if there is any at all.

Seventy-five per cent of the farms in western Canada are viable only because of off farm income, that is husband and/or wife both working off farm to keep the cows in the barn.

The problem with the AIDA money, and he is talking about the $2.6 billion that was in the global budget, is that less than 60% of it ever left the cabinet table and got on to the kitchen tables. That includes 1998 and 1999.

Distraught farmers in my riding have been phoning me. Less than two-thirds of what they applied for in 1998 ever came to them. Now they are getting clawback notices from the minister of agriculture and his friends asking them to send back two-thirds of it because they were overpaid. Can we imagine being on the bankrupt rolls and being asked to send money back?

The government has rejigged the formula to include things that were not in the original formula. That would be fine if it triggers more money when the government could not get it all out in the first place, but it will now claw back the two-thirds it sent out.

The payments for 1999 are finally coming out. Guess what year it is? It is 2001. Is it a bankable program? My sweet aunt Fanny, it never got out there. It is sending out only two-thirds of the 1999 money because it is scared it will run out of money. What an absolutely ludicrous reason. The government never sent out more than 60% to begin with and it just put another $500 million in the same clogged pipe.

That pipe must be clogged with Liberal logic because we never saw any of the money out west. The Saskatchewan grains and oilseed sector is hardest hit in the country. How can the government sit across there and vote against any more money being topped in? It would not matter if we were asking for $10 billion today. Nobody would qualify.

Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that today, as we brought this debate to the House, the House leader on the other side stood and for an hour we questioned the agricultural difficulties and the problem here. We lost an hour of debate. There are now six people from my party, many on the other opposition sides and a few on the government side who would love to speak to the agricultural crisis. However we spent an hour on a technicality when the country is in a disaster and a crisis.

This is the fourth time I have stood in the House on behalf of the many farmers in my predominantly rural riding and pleaded their case for assistance. Today is the first day of spring, the day most farmers look forward to getting on the land and putting a crop in the ground, a time when calves are being born and equipment is being fixed. Many farmers in my riding are not looking forward to much.

Every farm group across Canada has asked for a minimum of $900 million. The government says it can give $500 million and that should do. That will not do. It will not help the plight of our farmers.

 

. 1715 + -

Last week farmers across the country took to the streets in tractors and combines to protest the meagre aid that was given. In Ontario convoys pulled on to the highways, even highway 401, the busiest highway in the country, to protest. They also protested in Saskatoon.

I realize that my time is pretty well up. I should like to ask for an extension of the time for debate on the motion.

The Deputy Speaker: The House has heard the request of the hon. member for Crowfoot. Is there unanimous consent?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

Mr. Garry Breitkreuz: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are simply asking for the hour the government took up this morning. Perhaps we could have an extension of the debate by an hour because a few people on our side of the House would still like to speak to it.

The Deputy Speaker: If the member for Yorkton—Melville wishes me to ask for the unanimous consent of the House, I will do so. The House has heard the terms of the request of the member for Yorkton—Melville. Is there unanimous consent?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: It being 5.15 p.m. it is my duty to put forth every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the amendment will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:  

The Deputy Speaker: The recorded division stands deferred until after the deferred recorded division relating to the opposition motion of Thursday, March 15.

[Translation]

ALLOTTED DAY—LUMBER

The House resumed from March 15 consideration of the motion and of the amendment.

The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to order made Thursday, March 15, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred division on the amendment to the opposition motion standing in the name of the hon. member for Joliette.

Call in the members.

 

. 1750 + -

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

Division No. 18

YEAS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Adams Alcock
Allard Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Anderson (Victoria) Assad
Assadourian Asselin Augustine Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska)
Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Baker Bakopanos
Barnes Bélair Bélanger Bellehumeur
Bellemare Bennett Benoit Bergeron
Bertrand Bevilacqua Bigras Binet
Blondin - Andrew Bonin Bonwick Borotsik
Boudria Bourgeois Bradshaw Breitkreuz
Brien Brison Brown Bryden
Bulte Burton Byrne Caccia
Cadman Calder Caplan Cardin
Carignan Carroll Casey Casson
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chatters Chrétien Clark Coderre
Collenette Comuzzi Copps Cotler
Crête Cullen Cuzner Dalphond - Guiral
Day Desrochers DeVillers Dhaliwal
Dion Doyle Dromisky Drouin
Dubé Duhamel Duncan Duplain
Easter Eggleton Elley Epp
Eyking Farrah Finlay Fitzpatrick
Fontana Fournier Fry Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godfrey Goldring
Goodale Gouk Graham Gray (Windsor West)
Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Grose Guarnieri
Guay Guimond Hanger Harb
Harris Harvard Harvey Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jackson Jaffer Jennings
Johnston Jordan Karetak - Lindell Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast)
Knutson Kraft Sloan Laframboise Laliberte
Lalonde Lanctôt Lastewka Lebel
LeBlanc Lee Leung Longfield
Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacAulay
MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Macklin Mahoney Malhi
Maloney Manning Marceau Marcil
Mark Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews
Mayfield McCallum McCormick McGuire
McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McNally McTeague
Ménard Meredith Merrifield Mills (Toronto – Danforth)
Minna Mitchell Moore Murphy
Myers Nault Neville Normand
O'Reilly Obhrai Owen Pagtakhan
Pallister Paquette Paradis Parrish
Penson Peric Perron Peterson
Pettigrew Phinney Picard (Drummond) Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex)
Pillitteri Plamondon Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Rajotte Redman
Reed (Halton) Regan Reid (Lanark – Carleton) Reynolds
Richardson Ritz Robillard Rocheleau
Roy Saada Sauvageau Scherrer
Schmidt Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Skelton Sorenson Speller
Spencer St. Denis St - Hilaire St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Stinson
Strahl Szabo Telegdi Thibault (West Nova)
Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Thompson (Wild Rose) Tirabassi Tobin
Toews Tonks Torsney Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay)
Tremblay (Rimouski - Neigette - et - la Mitis) Vanclief Vellacott Venne
Volpe Wayne Whelan White (Langley – Abbotsford)
White (North Vancouver) Wilfert Williams Wood
Yelich – 253


NAYS

Members

Blaikie Comartin Davies Desjarlais
Godin Hubbard Lill Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
McDonough Nystrom O'Brien (Labrador) Proctor
Robinson Stoffer Wasylycia - Leis  – 15


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare the amendment carried.

The next question is on the main motion, as amended.

[English]

Ms. Marlene Catterall: Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find unanimous consent to apply the results of the vote just taken on the amendment to the main motion now before the House.

[Translation]

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent of the House to apply the vote on the motion, as indicated?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

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

Division No. 19

YEAS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Adams Alcock
Allard Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Anderson (Victoria) Assad
Assadourian Asselin Augustine Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska)
Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Baker Bakopanos
Barnes Bélair Bélanger Bellehumeur
Bellemare Bennett Benoit Bergeron
Bertrand Bevilacqua Bigras Binet
Blondin - Andrew Bonin Bonwick Borotsik
Boudria Bourgeois Bradshaw Breitkreuz
Brien Brison Brown Bryden
Bulte Burton Byrne Caccia
Cadman Calder Caplan Cardin
Carignan Carroll Casey Casson
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chatters Chrétien Clark Coderre
Collenette Comuzzi Copps Cotler
Crête Cullen Cuzner Dalphond - Guiral
Day Desrochers DeVillers Dhaliwal
Dion Doyle Dromisky Drouin
Dubé Duhamel Duncan Duplain
Easter Eggleton Elley Epp
Eyking Farrah Finlay Fitzpatrick
Fontana Fournier Fry Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godfrey Goldring
Goodale Gouk Graham Gray (Windsor West)
Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Grose Guarnieri
Guay Guimond Hanger Harb
Harris Harvard Harvey Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jackson Jaffer Jennings
Johnston Jordan Karetak - Lindell Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast)
Knutson Kraft Sloan Laframboise Laliberte
Lalonde Lanctôt Lastewka Lebel
LeBlanc Lee Leung Longfield
Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacAulay
MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Macklin Mahoney Malhi
Maloney Manning Marceau Marcil
Mark Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews
Mayfield McCallum McCormick McGuire
McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McNally McTeague
Ménard Meredith Merrifield Mills (Toronto – Danforth)
Minna Mitchell Moore Murphy
Myers Nault Neville Normand
O'Reilly Obhrai Owen Pagtakhan
Pallister Paquette Paradis Parrish
Penson Peric Perron Peterson
Pettigrew Phinney Picard (Drummond) Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex)
Pillitteri Plamondon Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Rajotte Redman
Reed (Halton) Regan Reid (Lanark – Carleton) Reynolds
Richardson Ritz Robillard Rocheleau
Roy Saada Sauvageau Scherrer
Schmidt Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Skelton Sorenson Speller
Spencer St. Denis St - Hilaire St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Stinson
Strahl Szabo Telegdi Thibault (West Nova)
Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Thompson (Wild Rose) Tirabassi Tobin
Toews Tonks Torsney Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay)
Tremblay (Rimouski - Neigette - et - la Mitis) Vanclief Vellacott Venne
Volpe Wayne Whelan White (Langley – Abbotsford)
White (North Vancouver) Wilfert Williams Wood
Yelich – 253


NAYS

Members

Blaikie Comartin Davies Desjarlais
Godin Hubbard Lill Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
McDonough Nystrom O'Brien (Labrador) Proctor
Robinson Stoffer Wasylycia - Leis  – 15


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare the motion, as amended, carried.

[English]

ALLOTTED DAY—AGRICULTURE

 

The House resumed consideration of the motion and of the amendment.

The Speaker: The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment relating to the opposition motion of earlier today, standing in the name of the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.

Ms. Marlene Catterall: Mr. Speaker, if the House agrees I propose that you seek unanimous consent that the members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as voting on the amendment now before the House, with Liberal members voting no.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to proceed in such a fashion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Mr. John Reynolds: Mr. Speaker, Canadian Alliance members present vote yes.

[Translation]

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron: Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois will vote in favour of this amendment.

Mr. Yvon Godin: Mr. Speaker, members of the New Democratic Party vote yes to this amendment.

[English]

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Mr. Speaker, members of the Progressive Conservative Party vote yes to the amendment.

Mr. Lawrence O'Brien: Mr. Speaker, I would like to be recorded as voting no.

Mr. Charles Hubbard: Mr. Speaker, I would like to be recorded as voting no.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)

Division No. 20

YEAS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Fournier Gagnon (Champlain) Gallant
Gauthier Godin Goldring Gouk
Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay Guimond
Hanger Harris Hearn Herron
Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom Hinton
Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt Lebel
Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni)
MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau Mark
Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough McNally
Ménard Meredith Merrifield Moore
Nystrom Obhrai Pallister Paquette
Penson Perron Picard (Drummond) Plamondon
Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton) Reynolds
Ritz Robinson Rocheleau Roy
Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton Sorenson
Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson Stoffer
Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay)
Tremblay (Rimouski - Neigette - et - la Mitis) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


NAYS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Baker
Bakopanos Barnes Bélair Bélanger
Bellemare Bennett Bertrand Bevilacqua
Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin Bonwick
Boudria Bradshaw Brown Bryden
Bulte Byrne Caccia Calder
Caplan Carignan Carroll Castonguay
Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau Chrétien
Coderre Collenette Comuzzi Copps
Cotler Cullen Cuzner DeVillers
Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky Drouin
Duhamel Duplain Easter Eggleton
Eyking Farrah Finlay Fontana
Fry Godfrey Goodale Graham
Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri Harb
Harvard Harvey Hubbard Jackson
Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell Karygiannis
Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson Kraft Sloan
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Peric
Peterson Pettigrew Phinney Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex)
Pillitteri Pratt Price Proulx
Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton) Regan
Richardson Robillard Saada Scherrer
Scott Serré Sgro Shepherd
Speller St. Denis St - Jacques St - Julien
Steckle Stewart Szabo Telegdi
Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi Tobin
Tonks Torsney Vanclief Volpe
Whelan Wilfert Wood – 151


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare the amendment lost. The next question is on the main motion.

 

. 1805 + -

[Translation]

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

Division No. 21

YEAS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur Benoit
Bergeron Bigras Blaikie Borotsik
Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien Brison
Burton Cadman Cardin Casey
Casson Chatters Clark Comartin
Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies Day
Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle Dubé
Duncan Elley Epp Fitzpatrick
Fournier Gagnon (Champlain) Gallant Gauthier
Godin Goldring Gouk Grewal
Grey (Edmonton North) Guay Guimond Hanger
Harris Hearn Herron Hill (Macleod)
Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom Hinton Jaffer
Johnston Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise
Lalonde Lanctôt Lebel Lill
Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough)
Manning Marceau Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
Mayfield McDonough McNally Ménard
Meredith Merrifield Moore Nystrom
Obhrai Pallister Paquette Penson
Perron Picard (Drummond) Plamondon Proctor
Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton) Reynolds Ritz
Robinson Rocheleau Roy Sauvageau
Schmidt Skelton Sorenson Spencer
St - Hilaire Stinson Stoffer Strahl
Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Tremblay (Rimouski - Neigette - et - la Mitis)
Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis Wayne
White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams Yelich – 116


NAYS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Baker
Bakopanos Barnes Bélair Bélanger
Bellemare Bennett Bertrand Bevilacqua
Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin Bonwick
Boudria Bradshaw Brown Bryden
Bulte Byrne Caccia Calder
Caplan Carignan Carroll Castonguay
Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau Chrétien
Coderre Collenette Comuzzi Copps
Cotler Cullen Cuzner DeVillers
Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky Drouin
Duhamel Duplain Easter Eggleton
Eyking Farrah Finlay Fontana
Fry Godfrey Goodale Graham
Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri Harb
Harvard Harvey Hubbard Jackson
Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell Karygiannis
Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson Laliberte
Lastewka LeBlanc Lee Leung
Longfield MacAulay Macklin Mahoney
Malhi Maloney Marcil Marleau
Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum McCormick
McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McTeague
Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell Murphy
Myers Nault Neville Normand
O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen Pagtakhan
Paradis Parrish Peric Peterson
Pettigrew Phinney Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri
Pratt Price Proulx Provenzano
Redman Reed (Halton) Regan Richardson
Robillard Saada Scherrer Scott
Serré Sgro Shepherd Speller
St. Denis St - Jacques St - Julien Steckle
Stewart Szabo Telegdi Thibault (West Nova)
Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi Tobin Tonks
Torsney Vanclief Volpe Whelan
Wilfert Wood – 151


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost.

[English]

The House will now proceed to the consideration of the motions necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

*  *  *

SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES (A)

CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 15A—PUBLIC WORKS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 15a, in the amount of $31,682,000, under PUBLIC WORKS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES—Canada Information Office—Program expenditures, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

Ms. Marlene Catterall: Mr. Speaker, I propose you seek unanimous consent of the House that the members present who voted on the previous motion be recorded as voting on the motion now before the House, with Liberal members voting yes.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this fashion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Mr. John Reynolds: Mr. Speaker, Canadian Alliance members present vote no.

[Translation]

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron: Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois will oppose this motion.

[English]

Mr. Yvon Godin: Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP present vote no to this motion.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Mr. Speaker, Progressive Conservatives vote no to this motion, and I would like it noted that the member for Richmond—Arthabaska is now in the House.

(The House divided on Motion No. 1, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 22

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre .Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Phinney
Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Saada
Scherrer Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Vanclief
Volpe Whelan Wood – 151


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godin Goldring
Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt
Lebel Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare Motion No. 1 carried.

Ms. Marlene Catterall: Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find unanimous consent to apply the votes just taken on Motion No. 1 to Motions Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 1A—FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 1a, in the amount of $33,321,927, under FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE—Department—Operating expenditures, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

(The House divided on Motion No. 6, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 27

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Phinney
Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Saada
Scherrer Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Vanclief
Volpe Whelan Wood – 151


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godin Goldring
Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt
Lebel Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 5A—FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 5a, in the amount of $93,600, under FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE—Department—Capital expenditures, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

(The House divided on Motion No. 7, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 28

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Phinney
Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Saada
Scherrer Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Vanclief
Volpe Whelan Wood – 151


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godin Goldring
Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt
Lebel Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 10A—FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 10a, in the amount of $1,199,838, under FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE—Department—The grants listed in the Estimates, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

The House divided on Motion No. 8, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 29

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Phinney
Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Saada
Scherrer Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Vanclief
Volpe Whelan Wood – 151


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godin Goldring
Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt
Lebel Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 1A—CANADIAN HERITAGE

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 1a, in the amount of $27,275,645, under CANADIAN HERITAGE — Department—Operating expenditures, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

(The House divided on Motion No. 9, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 30

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Phinney
Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Saada
Scherrer Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Vanclief
Volpe Whelan Wood – 151


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godin Goldring
Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt
Lebel Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 5A—CANADIAN HERITAGE

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 5a, in the amount of $652,969, under CANADIAN HERITAGE. — Department—The grants listed in the Estimates, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

(The House divided on Motion No. 10, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 31

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Phinney
Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Saada
Scherrer Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Vanclief
Volpe Whelan Wood – 151


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godin Goldring
Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt
Lebel Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 1A—PRIVY COUNCIL

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 1a, in the amount of $2,181,906, under PRIVY COUNCIL—Department—Program expenditures, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

(The House divided on Motion No. 11, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 32

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Phinney
Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Saada
Scherrer Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Vanclief
Volpe Whelan Wood – 151


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godin Goldring
Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt
Lebel Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare Motions Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 carried.

CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 1A—JUSTICE

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 1a, in the amount of $55,938,696, under JUSTICE—Department—Operating expenditures, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

Ms. Marlene Catterall: Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find consent that the members who voted on the preceding motion be recorded as voting on Motions Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5, with Liberal members voting yes.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Mr. John Reynolds: Mr. Speaker, Canadian Alliance members present vote no.

[Translation]

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron: Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois support these motions.

Mr. Yvon Godin: Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP will vote nay.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Mr. Speaker, members of the Progressive Conservative Party vote nay.

[English]

(The House divided on Motion No. 2, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 23

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Asselin Augustine
Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bagnell Baker Bakopanos
Barnes Bélair Bélanger Bellehumeur
Bellemare Bennett Bergeron Bertrand
Bevilacqua Bigras Binet Blondin - Andrew
Bonin Bonwick Boudria Bourgeois
Bradshaw Brien Brown Bryden
Bulte Byrne Caccia Calder
Caplan Cardin Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Crête Cullen
Cuzner Dalphond - Guiral Desrochers DeVillers
Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky Drouin
Dubé Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fournier Fry Gagnon (Champlain)
Gauthier Godfrey Goodale Graham
Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri Guay
Guimond Harb Harvard Harvey
Hubbard Jackson Jennings Jordan
Karetak - Lindell Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast)
Knutson Laframboise Laliberte Lalonde
Lanctôt Lastewka Lebel LeBlanc
Lee Leung Longfield Loubier
MacAulay Macklin Mahoney Malhi
Maloney Marceau Marcil Marleau
Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum McCormick
McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McTeague
Ménard Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paquette Paradis Parrish
Patry Peric Perron Peterson
Pettigrew Phinney Picard (Drummond) Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex)
Pillitteri Plamondon Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Rocheleau
Roy Saada Sauvageau Scherrer
Scott Serré Sgro Shepherd
Speller St. Denis St - Hilaire St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay)
Vanclief Venne Volpe Whelan
Wood – 185


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska)
Bailey Benoit Blaikie Borotsik
Breitkreuz Brison Burton Cadman
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Davies Day Desjarlais
Doyle Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Gallant Godin
Goldring Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North)
Hanger Harris Hearn Herron
Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom Hinton
Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Lill Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough)
Manning Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield
McDonough McNally Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Penson Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Schmidt
Skelton Sorenson Spencer Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Vellacott Wasylycia - Leis Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford)
White (North Vancouver) Williams Yelich  – 83


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 5A—JUSTICE

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 5a, in the amount of $48,217,868, under JUSTICE—Department— Grants and contributions, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

(The House divided on Motion No. 3, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 24

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Asselin Augustine
Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bagnell Baker Bakopanos
Barnes Bélair Bélanger Bellehumeur
Bellemare Bennett Bergeron Bertrand
Bevilacqua Bigras Binet Blondin - Andrew
Bonin Bonwick Boudria Bourgeois
Bradshaw Brien Brown Bryden
Bulte Byrne Caccia Calder
Caplan Cardin Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Crête Cullen
Cuzner Dalphond - Guiral Desrochers DeVillers
Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky Drouin
Dubé Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fournier Fry Gagnon (Champlain)
Gauthier Godfrey Goodale Graham
Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri Guay
Guimond Harb Harvard Harvey
Hubbard Jackson Jennings Jordan
Karetak - Lindell Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast)
Knutson Laframboise Laliberte Lalonde
Lanctôt Lastewka Lebel LeBlanc
Lee Leung Longfield Loubier
MacAulay Macklin Mahoney Malhi
Maloney Marceau Marcil Marleau
Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum McCormick
McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McTeague
Ménard Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paquette Paradis Parrish
Patry Peric Perron Peterson
Pettigrew Phinney Picard (Drummond) Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex)
Pillitteri Plamondon Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Rocheleau
Roy Saada Sauvageau Scherrer
Scott Serré Sgro Shepherd
Speller St. Denis St - Hilaire St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay)
Vanclief Venne Volpe Whelan
Wood – 185


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska)
Bailey Benoit Blaikie Borotsik
Breitkreuz Brison Burton Cadman
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Davies Day Desjarlais
Doyle Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Gallant Godin
Goldring Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North)
Hanger Harris Hearn Herron
Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom Hinton
Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Lill Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough)
Manning Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield
McDonough McNally Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Penson Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Schmidt
Skelton Sorenson Spencer Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Vellacott Wasylycia - Leis Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford)
White (North Vancouver) Williams Yelich  – 83


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 5A—INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 5a, in the amount of $89,129,304, under INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT—Department—Indian and Inuit Affairs Program, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

(The House divided on Motion No. 4, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 25

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Asselin Augustine
Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bagnell Baker Bakopanos
Barnes Bélair Bélanger Bellehumeur
Bellemare Bennett Bergeron Bertrand
Bevilacqua Bigras Binet Blondin - Andrew
Bonin Bonwick Boudria Bourgeois
Bradshaw Brien Brown Bryden
Bulte Byrne Caccia Calder
Caplan Cardin Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Crête Cullen
Cuzner Dalphond - Guiral Desrochers DeVillers
Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky Drouin
Dubé Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fournier Fry Gagnon (Champlain)
Gauthier Godfrey Goodale Graham
Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri Guay
Guimond Harb Harvard Harvey
Hubbard Jackson Jennings Jordan
Karetak - Lindell Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast)
Knutson Laframboise Laliberte Lalonde
Lanctôt Lastewka Lebel LeBlanc
Lee Leung Longfield Loubier
MacAulay Macklin Mahoney Malhi
Maloney Marceau Marcil Marleau
Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum McCormick
McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McTeague
Ménard Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paquette Paradis Parrish
Patry Peric Perron Peterson
Pettigrew Phinney Picard (Drummond) Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex)
Pillitteri Plamondon Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Rocheleau
Roy Saada Sauvageau Scherrer
Scott Serré Sgro Shepherd
Speller St. Denis St - Hilaire St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay)
Vanclief Venne Volpe Whelan
Wood – 185


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska)
Bailey Benoit Blaikie Borotsik
Breitkreuz Brison Burton Cadman
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Davies Day Desjarlais
Doyle Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Gallant Godin
Goldring Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North)
Hanger Harris Hearn Herron
Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom Hinton
Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Lill Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough)
Manning Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield
McDonough McNally Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Penson Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Schmidt
Skelton Sorenson Spencer Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Vellacott Wasylycia - Leis Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford)
White (North Vancouver) Williams Yelich  – 83


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


CONCURRENCE IN VOTE 15A—INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Vote 15a, in the amount of $81,974,246, under INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT—Department—Indian and Inuit Affairs Program, in the Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, be concurred in.

(The House divided on Motion No. 5, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 26

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Asselin Augustine
Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bagnell Baker Bakopanos
Barnes Bélair Bélanger Bellehumeur
Bellemare Bennett Bergeron Bertrand
Bevilacqua Bigras Binet Blondin - Andrew
Bonin Bonwick Boudria Bourgeois
Bradshaw Brien Brown Bryden
Bulte Byrne Caccia Calder
Caplan Cardin Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Crête Cullen
Cuzner Dalphond - Guiral Desrochers DeVillers
Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky Drouin
Dubé Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fournier Fry Gagnon (Champlain)
Gauthier Godfrey Goodale Graham
Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri Guay
Guimond Harb Harvard Harvey
Hubbard Jackson Jennings Jordan
Karetak - Lindell Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast)
Knutson Laframboise Laliberte Lalonde
Lanctôt Lastewka Lebel LeBlanc
Lee Leung Longfield Loubier
MacAulay Macklin Mahoney Malhi
Maloney Marceau Marcil Marleau
Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum McCormick
McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McTeague
Ménard Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paquette Paradis Parrish
Patry Peric Perron Peterson
Pettigrew Phinney Picard (Drummond) Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex)
Pillitteri Plamondon Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Rocheleau
Roy Saada Sauvageau Scherrer
Scott Serré Sgro Shepherd
Speller St. Denis St - Hilaire St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay)
Vanclief Venne Volpe Whelan
Wood – 185


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska)
Bailey Benoit Blaikie Borotsik
Breitkreuz Brison Burton Cadman
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Davies Day Desjarlais
Doyle Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Gallant Godin
Goldring Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North)
Hanger Harris Hearn Herron
Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom Hinton
Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Lill Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough)
Manning Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield
McDonough McNally Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Penson Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Schmidt
Skelton Sorenson Spencer Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Vellacott Wasylycia - Leis Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford)
White (North Vancouver) Williams Yelich  – 83


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare Motions Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 carried.

[Translation]

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That Supplementary Estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2001, except any vote disposed of earlier today, be concurred in.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

[English]

Ms. Marlene Catterall: Mr. Speaker, I think you would find unanimous consent that members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as voting on the motion now before the House, with Liberal members voting yes.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Mr. John Reynolds: Mr. Speaker, Canadian Alliance members present vote no.

[Translation]

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron: Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois oppose this motion.

 

. 1810 + -

[English]

Mr. Yvon Godin: Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP vote no to this motion.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Mr. Speaker, members of the PC Party vote no.

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

Division No. 33

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Karygiannis Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield MacAulay Macklin
Mahoney Malhi Maloney Marcil
Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum
McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan
McTeague Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell
Murphy Myers Nault Neville
Normand O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen
Pagtakhan Paradis Parrish Patry
Peric Peterson Pettigrew Phinney
Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri Pratt Price
Proulx Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton)
Regan Richardson Robillard Saada
Scherrer Scott Serré Sgro
Shepherd Speller St. Denis St - Jacques
St - Julien Steckle Stewart Szabo
Telegdi Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi
Tobin Tonks Torsney Vanclief
Volpe Whelan Wood – 151


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Forseth Fournier Gagnon (Champlain)
Gallant Gauthier Godin Goldring
Gouk Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay
Guimond Hanger Harris Hearn
Herron Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom
Hinton Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt
Lebel Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands)
Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau
Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough
McNally Ménard Meredith Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 117


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]  

Hon. Lucienne Robillard moved that Bill C-20, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2001, be read the first time.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)

[English]  

Hon. Lucienne Robillard moved that the bill be read the second time and referred to committee of the whole.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the second time and the House went into committee thereon, Mr. Kilger in the chair)

The Chairman: The House is in committee of the whole on Bill C-20.

(On clause 2)

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Chairman, could the President of the Treasury Board confirm that the bill is in the usual form for an appropriation bill?

[Translation]

Hon. Lucienne Robillard: Mr. Chairman, the presentation of this bill is essentially identical to that used during the previous supply period.

[English]

The Chairman: Shall clause 2 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 2 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 3 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 3 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 4 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 4 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 5 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 5 agreed to)

[Translation]

The Chairman: Shall clause 6 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 6 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 7 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 7 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 8 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 8 agreed to)

[English]

The Chairman: Shall clause 9 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 9 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall schedule 1 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Schedule 1 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall schedule 2 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Schedule 2 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 1 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 1 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall the preamble carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Preamble agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall the title carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Title agreed to)

(Bill reported)

[Translation]  

Hon. Lucienne Robillard moved that the bill be concurred in at report stage.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

(Motion agreed to)

[English]

The Speaker: When shall the bill be read a third time? By leave, now?

Some hon. members: Agreed.  

Hon. Lucienne Robillard moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.  

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

*  *  *

[Translation]

INTERIM SUPPLY

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved:  

    That a sum not exceeding $16,343,875,327.99 being composed of:

    (1) three twelfths ($7,984,390,230.25) of the total of the amounts of the items set forth in Schedule 1 of the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002, which were laid upon the Table Tuesday, February 27, 2001, and except for those items below:

    (2) eleven twelfths of the total of the amount of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Votes 15 and L35, National Defence Vote 10, Privy Council Vote 55 and Treasury Board Vote 5 (Schedule 1.1) of the said Estimates, $1,072,174,369.75;

    (3) ten twelfths of the total of the amount of Privy Council Votes 30 and 35 (Schedule 1.2) of the said Estimates, $21,794,166.67;

    (4) nine twelfths of the total of the amount of Industry Vote 70 and Parliament Vote 10 (Schedule 1.3) of the said Estimates, $42,884,250.00;

    (5) eight twelfths of the total of the amount of Agriculture and Agri-Food Vote 10 (Schedule 1.4) of the said Estimates, $539,631,333.33;

    (6) seven twelfths of the total of the amount of Canadian Heritage Vote 65, Fisheries and Oceans Vote 10, and Human Resources Development Vote 20 (Schedule 1.5) of the said Estimates, $52,309,308.34;

    (7) six twelfths of the total of the amount of Canadian Heritage Vote 15, Indian Affairs and Northern Development Vote 5, and Natural Resources Vote 25 (Schedule 1.6) of the said Estimates, $213,990,500.00;

    (8) five twelfths of the total of the amount of Canadian Heritage Vote 60, Finance Vote 15, Health Vote 5, Indian Affairs and Northern Development Vote 15, Industry Votes 105 and 115, Justice Vote 1, Solicitor General Vote 5, and Transport Votes 1 and 20 (Schedule 1.7) of the said Estimates, $3,338,571,333.33;

    (9) four twelfths of the total of the amount of Agriculture and Agri-Food Vote 25, Canadian Heritage Votes 20, 35 and 45, Citizenship and Immigration Vote 10, Finance Vote 30, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Votes 25 and 45, Health Vote 1, Human Resources Development Vote 5, Indian Affairs and Northern Development Votes 35 and 40, Industry Vote 40, Public Works and Government Services Votes 1, 10 and 15, and Treasury Board Vote 2 (Schedule 1.8) of the said Estimates, $2,431,740,586.32;

    (10) three twelfths ($646,389,250.00) of the total of the amounts of the items set forth in Schedule 2 of the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002, which were laid upon the Table Tuesday, February 27, 2001;

      be granted to Her Majesty on account of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002.

 

. 1815 + -

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Chairman: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Chairman: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Chairman: In my opinion the yeas have it.

(Motion agreed to)

[English]  

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Lib.) moved that Bill C-21, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the Public Service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2002, be read the first time.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)  

Hon. Lucienne Robillard moved that the bill be read the second time and referred to committee of the whole.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.  

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and the House went into committee thereon, Mr. Kilger in the chair)

The Chairman: The House is in committee of the whole on Bill C-21.

Mr. Ken Epp: Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out, for the benefit of the Liberals, that we expedited the voting by having voice votes. Several times when we were in committee of the whole previously there were no yeas yet there were nays. I simply want them to wake up and vote. They can do at least that today.

The Chairman: I give the hon. member and the committee the benefit of my position at this table. I have heard both yeas and nays and concluded that it was carried on division.

(On clause 2)

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Chairman, I ask the President of the Treasury Board to confirm that this bill is in its usual format for an appropriation bill.

[Translation]

Hon. Lucienne Robillard: Mr. Chairman, the presentation of this bill is essentially identical to that used for the previous supply period.

The Chairman: Shall clause 2 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 2 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 3 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 3 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 4 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 4 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 5 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 5 agreed to)

[English]

The Chairman: Shall clause 6 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 6 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 7 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 7 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall schedule 1 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Schedule 1 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall schedule 2 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Schedule 2 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall clause 1 carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Clause 1 agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall the preamble carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Preamble agreed to)

The Chairman: Shall the title carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

(Title agreed to)

Mr. Randy White: Mr. Chairman, I would just like to point out that in committee of the whole we are about to approve approximately $16 billion, but the government does not have the wherewithal to give additional money to farmers.

It surprises me how it can spend so little time approving $16 billion and give nothing to farmers.

The Chairman: This is debate, so I will conclude.

[Translation]

(Bill reported)  

Hon. Lucienne Robillard moved that the bill be concurred in at report stage.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

(Motion agreed to)

 

. 1820 + -

[English]  

Hon. Lucienne Robillard moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Some hon. members: Yea.

The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. members: Nay.

The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

*  *  *

SPECIES AT RISK ACT

 

The House resumed from March 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C-5, an act respecting the protection of wildlife species at risk in Canada, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

The Speaker: Pursuant to order made on Friday, March 16, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at the second reading stage of Bill C-5.

 

. 1830 + -

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

Division No. 34

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Barnes Bélair Bélanger
Bellemare Bennett Bertrand Bevilacqua
Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin Bonwick
Boudria Bradshaw Brown Bryden
Bulte Byrne Caccia Cadman
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Coderre Collenette Comuzzi
Copps Cotler Cullen Cuzner
DeVillers Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky
Drouin Duhamel Duplain Easter
Eggleton Eyking Farrah Finlay
Fontana Fry Godfrey Goodale
Graham Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri
Harb Harvard Harvey Hubbard
Jackson Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell
Keyes Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson Kraft Sloan
Laliberte Lastewka LeBlanc Lee
Leung Longfield Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) MacAulay
Macklin Mahoney Malhi Maloney
Marcil Marleau Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews
McCallum McCormick McGuire McKay (Scarborough East)
McLellan McTeague Meredith Mills (Toronto – Danforth)
Minna Mitchell Murphy Myers
Nault Neville Normand O'Brien (Labrador)
O'Reilly Owen Pagtakhan Paradis
Parrish Patry Peric Peterson
Pettigrew Phinney Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex) Pillitteri
Pratt Price Proulx Provenzano
Redman Reed (Halton) Regan Richardson
Robillard Saada Scherrer Scott
Serré Sgro Shepherd Speller
St. Denis St - Jacques St - Julien Steckle
Stewart Szabo Telegdi Thibault (West Nova)
Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi Tobin Tonks
Torsney Vanclief Volpe Whelan
Wilfert Wood – 154


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cardin Casey
Casson Chatters Clark Comartin
Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies Day
Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle Dubé
Duncan Elley Epp Fitzpatrick
Fournier Gagnon (Champlain) Gallant Gauthier
Godin Goldring Gouk Grewal
Grey (Edmonton North) Guay Guimond Hanger
Harris Hearn Herron Hill (Macleod)
Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom Hinton Jaffer
Johnston Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast) Laframboise
Lalonde Lanctôt Lebel Lill
Loubier Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni) MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning
Marceau Mark Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield
McDonough McNally Ménard Merrifield
Moore Nystrom Obhrai Pallister
Paquette Penson Perron Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton)
Reynolds Ritz Robinson Rocheleau
Roy Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton
Sorenson Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson
Stoffer Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews
Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay) Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis
Wayne White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams
Yelich – 113


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


The Speaker: I declare the motion carried. Accordingly the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.  

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

Hon. Brian Tobin: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if I may take the time of the House for a moment prior to the conclusion of the vote to draw attention to a matter which has been very much the subject of discussion in this place, and a matter to which I could now quickly respond by tabling a letter. There have been many inquiries.—

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: The minister can table a document at any time. Perhaps we could wait until after the vote. We will now proceed with the recorded division on Ways and Means Motion No. 3.

*  *  *

WAYS AND MEANS

INCOME TAX ACT

 

The House resumed from March 16 consideration of the motion.

The Speaker: Pursuant to order made earlier this day the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Ways and Means Motion No. 3.

Ms. Marlene Catterall: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe you would find unanimous consent in the House that members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as voting on the motion now under consideration, with Liberal members voting yes.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to proceed in such a fashion?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Mr. John Reynolds: Mr. Speaker, Canadian Alliance members present vote no.

[Translation]

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron: Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois are opposed to this motion.

Mr. Yvon Godin: Mr. Speaker, members of the NDP who are present vote no on this motion.

[English]

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Mr. Speaker, members of the Progressive Conservative party vote no.

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

Division No. 35

YEAS

Members

Adams Alcock Allard Anderson (Victoria)
Assad Assadourian Augustine Bagnell
Baker Bakopanos Barnes Bélair
Bélanger Bellemare Bennett Bertrand
Bevilacqua Binet Blondin - Andrew Bonin
Bonwick Boudria Bradshaw Brown
Bryden Bulte Byrne Caccia
Calder Caplan Carignan Carroll
Castonguay Catterall Chamberlain Charbonneau
Chrétien Collenette Comuzzi Copps
Cotler Cullen Cuzner DeVillers
Dhaliwal Dion Dromisky Drouin
Duhamel Duplain Easter Eggleton
Eyking Farrah Finlay Fontana
Fry Godfrey Goodale Graham
Gray (Windsor West) Grose Guarnieri Harb
Harvard Harvey Hubbard Jackson
Jennings Jordan Karetak - Lindell Keyes
Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast) Knutson Kraft Sloan Laliberte
Lastewka LeBlanc Lee Leung
Longfield MacAulay Macklin Mahoney
Malhi Maloney Marcil Marleau
Martin (LaSalle – Émard) Matthews McCallum McCormick
McGuire McKay (Scarborough East) McLellan McTeague
Mills (Toronto – Danforth) Minna Mitchell Murphy
Myers Nault Neville Normand
O'Brien (Labrador) O'Reilly Owen Pagtakhan
Paradis Parrish Patry Peric
Peterson Pettigrew Phinney Pickard (Chatham – Kent Essex)
Pillitteri Pratt Price Proulx
Provenzano Redman Reed (Halton) Regan
Richardson Robillard Saada Scherrer
Scott Serré Sgro Shepherd
Speller St. Denis St - Jacques St - Julien
Steckle Stewart Szabo Telegdi
Thibault (West Nova) Thibeault (Saint - Lambert) Tirabassi Tobin
Tonks Torsney Vanclief Volpe
Whelan Wilfert Wood – 150


NAYS

Members

Abbott Ablonczy Anderson (Cypress Hills – Grasslands) Asselin
Bachand (Richmond – Arthabaska) Bachand (Saint - Jean) Bailey Bellehumeur
Benoit Bergeron Bigras Blaikie
Borotsik Bourgeois Breitkreuz Brien
Brison Burton Cadman Cardin
Casey Casson Chatters Clark
Comartin Crête Dalphond - Guiral Davies
Day Desjarlais Desrochers Doyle
Dubé Duncan Elley Epp
Fitzpatrick Fournier Gagnon (Champlain) Gallant
Gauthier Godin Goldring Gouk
Grewal Grey (Edmonton North) Guay Guimond
Hanger Harris Hearn Herron
Hill (Macleod) Hill (Prince George – Peace River) Hilstrom Hinton
Jaffer Johnston Keddy (South Shore) Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Laframboise Lalonde Lanctôt Lebel
Lill Loubier Lunn (Saanich – Gulf Islands) Lunney (Nanaimo – Alberni)
MacKay (Pictou – Antigonish – Guysborough) Manning Marceau Mark
Martin (Winnipeg Centre) Mayfield McDonough McNally
Ménard Meredith Merrifield Moore
Nystrom Obhrai Pallister Paquette
Penson Perron Picard (Drummond) Plamondon
Proctor Rajotte Reid (Lanark – Carleton) Reynolds
Ritz Robinson Rocheleau Roy
Sauvageau Schmidt Skelton Sorenson
Spencer St - Hilaire Stinson Stoffer
Strahl Thompson (Wild Rose) Toews Tremblay (Lac - Saint - Jean – Saguenay)
Vellacott Venne Wasylycia - Leis Wayne
White (Langley – Abbotsford) White (North Vancouver) Williams Yelich – 116


PAIRED

Members

Duceppe Gagnon (Québec) Girard - Bujold Rock
Savoy Ur


 

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

*  *  *

POINTS OF ORDER

TABLING OF DOCUMENT

Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, today the Department of Industry received a communication through its communications directorate from the owners of the Grand-Mère Golf Club in response to questions which have been raised regarding the shareholders list of the golf course.

The letter in question is being released and made public with the consent of the shareholders as is required by law. It was dealt with earlier today before the standing committee on industry. The letter makes clear that since 1993 the Prime Minister has not been a shareholder in that golf course.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

 

. 1835 + -

The Speaker: Order, please. This is not a statement by ministers. We are ready to move to private members' business and while it is always in order for a minister to table a document, I must say in this case the minister seems to have stretched the sense of tabling by making a bit of a statement. Clearly it is creating difficulty in the House.

Tabling of documents is one thing and ministers making statements that cannot be replied to is another and we are getting into the statement category here. I really think it is not appropriate to carry on with this at this time.

Mr. Chuck Strahl: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Not only is it inappropriate that the minister is trying to table the document now, but furthermore I think inquiring minds want to know why the ethics commissioner did not have the information in his hand, but it was withheld from him as a contempt—

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: Order, please. I remind hon. members that question period happens at two o'clock. It does not happen at 6.30 p.m. I suggest we draw this to a conclusion.

There are two things to remember. The government does not require consent to table a document in the House. A minister may do that at any time. What does require consent are statements by ministers. We are not getting into that now and that is why I have tried to draw this to a conclusion.

Right Hon. Joe Clark: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think that the Minister of Industry and the Prime Minister would find unanimous consent if they would agree to lay upon the table the document of an option for purchase between Mr. Jonas Prince and Akimbo Developments and—

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: Order, please. As I pointed out, this is not question period. It is time to move to private members' hour and I respectfully suggest we do that now.

It being 6.37 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.


PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[English]

BLOOD SAMPLES ACT

 

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, Canadian Alliance) moved that Bill C-217, an act to provide for the taking of samples of blood for the benefit of persons administering and enforcing the law and good Samaritans and to amend the criminal code, be read the second time and referred to committee.

He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to stand here today and speak in favour of Bill C-217, the blood samples act. Before I discuss the pith and substance of this legislation and give three excellent reasons why members should support the bill, I would like to tell the story of how this legislation came into being and how it developed to the stage it is at now.

On April 12, 1999, I received a letter from a father who lives in my riding. I will quote from his correspondence:

    My eldest son was involved in an incident at work (Canadian Tire in Abbotsford) a few weeks ago which has raised a large question for me. He helped apprehend a would-be shoplifter and in the scuffle some blood from the accused came to be on my son. My son is now on medication from the Aids Prevention Society (St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver). We won't be able to test him to see if he has contracted any disease until after three months (because the HIV antibody does not show up until then). However, all it would take is for the accused to take a blood test to see if he has any such disease (he's a known heroin addict to the RCMP in Abbotsford). The accused refuses to take such a blood test and the law, I've been told, supports him in his refusal. Here again, is a case where the victim is being punished and the accused's rights take precedence over the victim's rights. What can we as a family do? What, as our MP, can you do to help us, to help my son?

 

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I took this father's plea to help seriously and I started researching his very deep and legitimate concerns. What I found was that this father's assertions were correct. When a good Samaritan, a police officer, a health care worker, a doctor, a nurse, a paramedic, a prison worker, a security guard, a firefighter or an emergency personnel worker of any kind is exposed to someone else's bodily fluids in the course of their duties, antibodies for HIV, AIDS or hepatitis may not appear for weeks or months in their bodies after the initial infection.

Therefore, the best way for these individuals to know if they have been exposed to a particular virus at the moment of initial contact is to acquire a blood sample from the person who infected them and then have that sample tested.

The information from the blood test allows frontline workers and good Samaritans to make properly informed decisions about post-exposure treatment and lifestyle activities. It also helps reduce severe anxiety levels for them and their families.

For example, let me read to the House just the known side effects of post-exposure treatment for HIV: potential harm to reproductive capacity; hair loss; coughing; abdominal pain; kidney stones; higher risk of contracting diabetes; total exhaustion; severe headaches; and perpetual nausea. The Canadian Police Association is also tracking one case involving a police officer who is gradually losing his eyesight since taking the treatment.

If frontline workers can discover through a blood test that they have not been exposed to someone who has HIV or hepatitis, they do not have to take the drug treatment that causes these symptoms, symptoms that can last for several months.

Oftentimes blood samples are given voluntarily and people should be praised when they do so. The crux of the debate here today, however, is what should the government do and what should public policy say when someone refuses to give a blood sample to hurt someone else and has the legal right to do so, even when the information being held is extremely valuable to society?

To answer that question, I tabled Bill C-244 in the House of Commons on October 19, 1999. Bill C-217 is exactly the same legislation.

In a nutshell, Bill C-217 allows a judge to order the taking of a blood sample from someone who accidentally or deliberately exposes a good Samaritan, a health professional, an emergency professional or a security professional with his or her blood or other bodily fluids. The blood would be tested for HIV and hepatitis.

The legislation would only be applied on rare occasions when someone refuses to give a blood sample for testing. The information would only be shared with the medical staff and affected individuals. The blood test analysis would only be used for medical purposes, with the highest levels of confidentiality.

At this point, I do want to mention my deepest sympathy for HIV-AIDS and hepatitis sufferers in Canada. The trauma and pain they feel is great. I want to reassure all of them that this legislation does not single out any individual or group who may suffer from a disease in Canada. It will not make life more difficult for people who find themselves in such trying circumstances. Rather, it is designed for those rare occasions when someone refuses to give a blood sample, which will in turn damage someone else.

Bill C-217 is about helping others. It is about compassion.

After Bill C-244 was deemed votable, it received enormous support from thousands of individuals and organizations across the country, including the Canadian Police Association, whose members have been on the Hill today on their annual lobbying day.

Also on the Hill today is a lady by the name of Detective Isobel Anderson, who was exposed to a suspect's bodily fluids a few years ago. She has played an instrumental role in supporting and promoting this legislation.

Let me read to the House part of her story, which was published on November 15, 1999, in the Ottawa Citizen:

    Isobel Anderson's nightmarish experience began when she arrested a man for armed robbery in October 1997. While searching for weapons, she reached into his pocket and felt a stab of pain. She pulled her hand out to find a bloody needle stuck in her palm. My first thought was “God, I have AIDS”, recalls Constable Anderson, a mother of three.

    As she feared, doctors told her that the needle may have infected her with HIV. She was advised that if she started treatment with the anti-HIV medication AZT within two hours of being jabbed, she might not contract the virus. Then she learned that the robbery suspect refused to take the HIV test and could not be compelled by law to give a blood sample.

 

. 1845 + -

In this case, hours later the man agreed to be tested, but only after another police officer—and I hate to say this, but it is the truth—offered the man a hamburger. The man said for a hamburger he would provide a blood sample. Thankfully he tested negative for HIV, although he was positive for hepatitis C. Upon hearing this news, Isobel discontinued taking the drug cocktail that was causing her severe physical harm.

It is because of excellent and supportive people like Isobel Anderson and groups like the CPA, the paramedic association of Canada, hospitals, doctors and emergency workers of all kinds that Bill C-244 received unanimous consent to proceed to committee on March 21 last year. The legislation then went on to receive two days of committee hearings and died on the order paper October 22, 2000 due to the election call. I reintroduced it as Bill C-217 in the 37th parliament and that is the legislation before the House today.

Presently the questions before parliament are the following. Will we continue to support a system that allows those who help others to become helpless? Will we continue to support a system that allows those who sacrifice to become sacrificed? Will we still support a system that allows the heroes to become the victims? Or will we today, in the debate that follows, support cautious, moderate and balanced change in the form of Bill C-217 which will protect frontline workers and good Samaritans? For their sake, we need to send the bill to committee where experts can make suggestions, propose amendments, strengthen the bill and make sure that it is acceptable to the charter.

There are those who would oppose protecting frontline workers and good Samaritans by placing roadblocks in front of the legislation. Let me review some of these hindrances and why they can easily be overcome. I will then describe the three reasons why the House must support the legislation and send it to committee.

First, people will say that Bill C-217 does not meet the criteria for federal criminal law power, but that is not true. Let me explain why. For a law to form criminal law, it must meet three criteria. The first step is to consider whether the law has a valid criminal law purpose. Valid purposes include public peace, order, security, health and morality. Bill C-217 meets these criteria because it is aimed at providing security and protecting the health of those who help and protect society. It also attempts to contribute to public peace by protecting those who enforce the criminal code.

Second, in determining whether the purpose of a law constitutes a valid criminal law purpose, courts look at whether laws of this type have traditionally been held to be criminal law. Bill C-217 meets this criteria because the criminal code already contains two provisions that deal with the non-voluntary taking of bodily fluids: section 487.05, the DNA provisions, and paragraph 254(3)(b), the impaired driving provisions.

Third, the purpose of the law must also be connected to a prohibition backed by a penalty. The bill also meets this standard because it uses a penalty to prohibit the act of harming someone by refusing to give a blood sample. I have heard testimony from many police officers and prison guards who say that they have been confronted by a blood wielding opponent with a needle full of blood or bodily fluid who exposes them to it and then says they have AIDS or hepatitis. The bill tries to eliminate or reduce this harm by letting those officers know whether that is true or not.

Bill C-217 also places a criminal penalty on someone for failure to take a certain step. The supreme court, for instance, upheld the gun registry as criminal law because it penalizes someone for not doing something. In other words, it is not just a commission of a crime, it is also the omission, not doing something, which in that case, of course, was registering their firearm.

The second hindrance that people will put forward is that Bill C-217 would offend charter rights. There is no question that section 7 of the charter, security of the person, and section 8 of the charter, unreasonable search and seizure, are engaged by the legislation. Some argue that the bill should not become law because it would violate the charter in those respects. However, again I beg to differ, for the following reasons.

Bill C-217 provides a fair and proper balance between the charter rights of the sick, injured and perpetrators of crime, and the rights of those in the service of helping others. It is a balancing act. Under the present system, emergency and law enforcement professionals and good Samaritans have no right to the security of their own persons.

 

. 1850 + -

Bill C-217 would not violate the charter because it can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. A constitutional expert who appeared before the justice committee last June asserted that the Diment decision established a standard by which compulsory blood testing would be allowed under the charter.

He said the following about the decision:

    The Justice writing for the Court said, and he made it very clear, that the invasion of privacy such as compulsory blood testing will only be sanctioned by the charter where societal claims outweigh the privacy interests and where clear rules exist setting forth the conditions under which the privacy right can be violated. Such rules would of course also be subject to charter scrutiny.

To summarize this point, for a case to be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society the societal claims must outweigh the privacy claims, and clear rules must exist setting forth the conditions under which a blood sample could be taken.

Does Bill C-217 meet this standard? Absolutely, yes. Emergency workers and police officers, the very people who help and protect us, receive protection under Bill C-217 and thereby society as a whole benefits.

There is some argument that emergency personnel do not receive any valuable information from the blood tests of those who expose them. I will rebut that argument in a moment, but I also want to say that in regard to clear rules, this legislation is only activated with the approval of a judge and with the utmost sensitivity to people's basic human rights and privacy. It is done in rare cases that warrant this kind of action.

The third hindrance that you will hear from people, Mr. Speaker, is that a blood sample does not offer societal value.

I would like to quote Dr. Shafran. He is an infectious disease expert from the University of Alberta who appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice last year on the bill. He said:

    I think there are a number of benefits to the proposed legislation. The specific benefit of the legislation is that since the prevalence of infection with all three blood-borne viruses in Canada is low, the majority of individuals, if the source individuals are tested, will test negative and very quickly the anxiety level will be reduced in the exposed individual. Secondly, in the event that transmission does occur, there will be documentation as to how it occurred and this is relevant in terms of issues of occupational exposure.

Third, he stated further that:

    The prompt identification of infected source patients will allow the most appropriate and judicious use of post-exposure prophylaxis. In the voluntary testing that happens in the hospital patients, if they test negative, we do not offer post-exposure prophylaxis. It very much influences the way we practice.

However, the best response to this question of societal value is the personal testimonies of the people themselves. Ask those that have been exposed if this has value. Ask Isobel Anderson and the hundreds of police officers who have been on Parliament Hill today. Ask the thousands of groups and people who support this legislation. Ask my young constituent and his father. Ask the police officer who is losing his eyesight. Ask the justice official who represented the Department of Justice before the committee last year when he said:

    Don't get me wrong. If I were the one who had been involved in an incident like this, I would be very much interested in getting as much information as I could as to whether or not I had been infected.

In short, it is quite obvious that mandatory blood testing in rare cases would meet the societal benefit standard of the charter.

To sum up, there are three reasons why the House should support this bill. I hope all members will be able to do so.

Bill C-217 is about positive change to the legal system, change that would provide fairness, a better balance between differing rights and assistance for those who are in the service of others.

First, the blood samples act is about fairness. Presently emergency workers and good Samaritans do not have the right to know what blood-borne virus may have invaded their bodies from another person. We need a sensitive, balanced procedure to help those people make an informed choice about their health. Bill C-217 will do that for them. It is a balanced approach, it is fair, and it treats privacy conditions properly.

Second, the blood samples act is about balancing rights. Under the present system, only the perpetrator of a crime or the injured or sick person has the right to the security of their person. However, I believe the same security should also apply to the protector and the caregiver. Bill C-217 will do that. It will balance the rights so that charter rights are protected for both groups of people.

Third, the blood samples act is about compassion and helping those who help others in our society. If people put themselves in harm's way trying to help or trying to arrest someone, there should be some safeguards for them when they are exposed to risk. Let us be compassionate with this legislation and help those who are helping others. Bill C-217 will do that.

 

. 1855 + -

In conclusion, this legislation has also been called the good Samaritan act after my young constituent who was covered in blood during his good Samaritan act. Some would say it is also called the good Samaritan act because the bill would benefit the health and peace of mind of thousands of emergency, health and security and paramedic workers who give of themselves every day so that we can enjoy a better life.

I would also argue that Bill C-217 is also called the good Samaritan act because it provides an opportunity for members of parliament to act like good Samaritans. The choice before us today is clear. We can refuse to support the bill and in so doing deny frontline and emergency workers their health and their peace of mind, or we can in, the spirit of good Samaritanism, provide health, compassion and assistance to those who are hurt, needy and give of themselves in the service of others.

We must allow privacy sensitive, human rights sensitive and balanced mandatory blood testing in rare cases to build a system that allows those who help others to be helped and allows our heroes to stay heroes instead of becoming victims. Let us pass Bill C-217 to help those in the service of others.

Mr. John Maloney (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the bill proposed by the member for Fraser Valley raises a number of important issues that must be thoroughly examined. There is no question that he speaks with passion on this issue and I commend him for that.

Bill C-217 provides that a justice may issue a warrant authorizing a peace officer to require a qualified medical practitioner to take or cause to be taken by a qualified technician samples of blood from a person in order to determine whether the person carries hepatitis B virus or the hepatitis C virus or the human autoimmune deficiency virus, which is commonly known as HIV, if the justice is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to do so. These reasonable grounds are subsequently enumerated in the proposed bill.

At first blush, the bill appeals to our desire to help those on the front lines, those individuals who in their daily work confront the possibility of putting their health at risk. We are speaking here of medical practitioners, health care professionals, firefighters and police officers to name a few.

The Minister of Health appreciates the work that has been done by emergency responders in Canada, as we all do. They are an essential component of the Canadian health care system. Health Canada has collaborated with emergency responders on many occasions, leading to the development of a national consensus on guidelines for the establishment of a post-exposure notification protocol for emergency responders.

Those who work on the front lines as emergency responders can be exposed to blood and other bodily fluids in the course of their work. Of concern in this proposed piece of legislation are those injuries that could result in exposure to blood-borne pathogens, namely HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. It must be pointed out that exposure to the blood or bodily fluids of a person infected with HIV, HBV or HCV does not necessarily result in transmission of the virus.

In order to properly prevent these exposures and to respond appropriately when exposure does occur, emergency response organizations need an overall occupational health protocol that includes immunization against hepatitis B, personal protective equipment such as gloves, and safe work practices. If possible exposure does occur, emergency responders need to be educated because of the protocols on how to obtain immediate assessment and follow-up.

Bill C-217, the blood samples act, would authorize the drawing of blood samples from individuals who may have been accidentally or intentionally exposed—frontline service emergency providers or a good Samaritan—to hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV.

After a suspected exposure, an emergency service provider would be permitted to apply to a justice for a warrant. This warrant would authorize a medical practitioner or technician to take a blood sample from the patient in question, test for the aforementioned diseases and provide test results to the patient and to the emergency service provider.

Refusal to submit to a blood test could result in a prison term of up to six months. While we recognize that emergency service providers must act promptly to counteract the negative effects of exposure to serious diseases, it is important to note that previous requests for such testing have been rejected by the courts.

Preventive measures should be taken within hours of exposure. According to Health Canada guidelines published in the Canada communicable diseases report, the option to administer post-exposure prophylaxis should be established within a few hours. It is unlikely that the legal and medical procedures necessary to draw an authorized blood sample, to test it and distribute its results could be accomplished within this brief time frame.

 

. 1900 + -

While mandatory blood testing of sources in cases of genuine exposure might assist in making more informed decisions regarding the use of post-exposure medications, there would also be the potential for endangering the health, especially the mental health, of the victim by breaking the rules of patient confidentiality.

The guidelines referred to above and established by Health Canada, in conjunction with firefighters, police and ambulance workers in 1995, demonstrate the concrete actions taken to address the risks, and by consequence have already anticipated the objectives of the bill. These guidelines, which ensure that emergency responders will be notified quickly regarding exposures obtained in their line of work, have been implemented by a number of parliaments, specifically Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, and in other regions and hospitals in other jurisdictions.

In 1997 a second protocol outlining assessment, testing and treatment procedures to be used to promote the well-being of health care workers, including firefighters, police and ambulance workers, was released by Health Canada. By following the second protocol, emergency responders will receive up to date care directed toward reducing the effects of an exposure.

The guidelines recommended by Health Canada for emergency responders reflect the same standard of care given to all other health care workers, including nurses and physicians. The guidelines recommend testing the source in such cases but always with consent. By following Health Canada's notification protocols, emergency responders can be assured of timely, rational and effective assessment and treatment.

The issue of blood testing has been the subject of extensive study in the criminal field in the context of sexual assault. Medical experts advise that the only way a victim of sexual assault can be sure that he or she has not been infected is by undergoing hepatitis B or C or HIV antibody testing, according to recommended procedures. A random test is simply not determinative of the health of an individual.

On its face the bill does not apply solely in cases where an offence is alleged to have been committed, but rather in any case where there has been an exchange of bodily fluids. Thus a warrant to obtain a bodily sample is sought without any offence being committed. There is therefore no nexus for criminal law. This is most troubling.

The bill also raises important concerns relating to privacy, searches and seizures and human rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The taking of bodily substances always raises significant constitutional issues and charter issues. The taking of bodily substances without any charges being laid or before conviction raises considerable constitutional questions under section 7, life, liberty and security of the person, and section 8, unreasonable search and seizure.

The issue of blood testing clearly belongs in the domain of health. The Department of Justice is actively working with other departments, in particular Health Canada, to ensure that there is more done to provide support and assistance to those who may be concerned about the risk of hepatitis B or C or HIV infection.

In conclusion, I support measures to protect our emergency workers, firefighters, police officers and good Samaritans. However, it is questionable whether Bill C-217 does this.

[Translation]

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, BQ): Mr. Speaker, first I wish to congratulate the spokesperson and sponsor of the bill. I know that he is acting in good faith. I know how much he cares about this issue because this is the third time he has introduced a bill such as the one before us today.

I also want to say that today is a special day in that several members of parliament met with police officers on this national day of lobbying for police officers. I personally met three of them, including a very dedicated police officer who has been in the public life for a number of years and who is himself a brilliant spokesperson for his union. I am referring of course to Mr. Prud'homme.

This is not an easy topic for me as a parliamentarian. My oldest brother has been a police officer for eight years and I would not like to see him risk being contaminated by the AIDS virus or any other harmful substance. Moreover, I shared my life with a person who died of AIDS.

The hon. member's bill raises the question of how to protect the confidentiality of those who do not readily want to disclose their serologic status. How are we going to comply with the state of law? I will get back to this later on.

 

. 1905 + -

How are we going to guarantee to police officers that, as parliamentarians, we will give them the most modern and useful tools for their work? For police officers who come onto a scene, there is a risk factor that does not exist for other professionals.

Of course, the bill does not concern only police officers but also medical practitioners and firefighters.

I am going to tell members right now that I hope—and I discussed this earlier with the parliamentary secretary—the bill will be referred to committee, where we may responsibly analyze it and hear again from the Canadian Police Association, the Association of Chiefs of Police, representatives from the field of health care and representatives of those affected.

That said, since we must be clear, I must say that in its current form, I would not recommend the bill to the Bloc Quebecois caucus for its support, although—and I say this for those watching—we have a tradition in the Bloc Quebecois that when private members' bills are involved of giving free voice to members to vote either way.

I want to make the following three comments.

First, there is a risk in using search warrants issued by a justice of the peace in situations in which—and I think the member for Fraser Valley will recognize this—it is possible to be objective in a situation where a justice is asked to issue a search warrant where there has been no offence.

That is very troubling because it is recognized under our system of law, rightly or wrongly—but this is the law in force at the moment—that a search warrant is closely linked to the finding of an offence and gives considerable powers to those who wish to use them, although these powers are not described as extraordinary.

Second, we know that since the early 1990s—and this is what I told the police officers I met with earlier—there has been a national AIDS strategy with an annual budget of $45 million. The entire strategy is based on respect for the confidentiality of serologic status.

A few months ago, when we listened to the witnesses who appeared before us to talk about the member's previous bill, there were two distinctly different camps. The police officers will see that their fellow officers were among those who supported the bill. Of course we can understand why. As I said, I have an older brother, aged 39, who is a policeman. I would certainly not want to learn that in the course of his duties he had been exposed to contamination factors such as hepatitis B or C or to the AIDS virus.

However, those appearing before the committee fell into two camps. One consisted of police officers who were in favour; the other consisted of Health Canada, which was opposed; the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which was also opposed; the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, which was opposed; and the Canadian coalition of organizations representing persons with AIDS, which was also opposed.

The problem with the bill is that once it is passed it will change a fundamental approach in the criminal code. A situation could arise where someone who did not wish to reveal his serologic status would be required to do so. Not only would it be possible to oblige someone to allow a sample of their blood to be taken but, in addition, the bill would provide that the person must be told the result of this blood test.

This is where some caution is in order. What is the solution? I make no claim to have found it. Reflection in a parliamentary committee is needed and it is important for the bill to go before a committee.

What I want to tell the police, those who are infected, and our colleague is that we are going to work very seriously in committee. I wish to remind him, however, that Health Canada has indicated to us that, when a health professional, police officer or firefighter has reason to think that he or she has been infected, it is urgent to seek prophylaxis.

 

. 1910 + -

People must not believe that the blood tests that are available are the be-all and end-all. What the Health Canada professionals have reminded us of is that in two-thirds of cases, because of the serologic window—that twenty or so days before an infected person develops antibodies even if infected—blood tests cannot necessarily give a proper indication.

For this reason, Health Canada told us that the most up-to-date solution, reflecting the progress made by the medical profession and what was available for those who wish to avoid developing the disease, was for people to seek prophylaxis right away. We must keep this possibility in mind.

Also, I do not share the analysis made by the sponsor of the bill because the supreme court clearly indicated that we cannot force a person to disclose his serologic status since this would contravene section 7 of the charter. I would like to quote from that ruling. The supreme court ruled that:

    The use of a person's body without his consent to obtain information on that person is a violation of a part of his private life that is essential to the preservation of his human dignity, and the Canadian charter prevents a police officer or an agent of government from collecting a substance as intimately personal as a blood sample.

I will conclude by saying three things. Let us support the hon. member's initiative and let us work seriously in committee. However, it is not obvious that in its present form the bill should get the consent of our colleagues and of all House members because it opens a breach in the provisions of the charter that could lead to abuse.

Again, the Bloc Quebecois is determined to work seriously in parliamentary committees because we owe it to police officers, health professionals and firefighters.

[English]

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, I begin my remarks by commending the hon. member for Fraser Valley for bringing the issue forward and for pursuing it with great vigour and sincerity. By virtue of his remarks and the wisdom behind the particular legislative initiative, it is quite clear.

Bill C-217, referred to as the blood samples act, is for with a very practical purpose. It is for the taking of blood samples for the benefit of persons administering or enforcing the law and good Samaritans. There is a need to protect those individuals and it clearly encourages selfless acts of courage. It is clearly there to safeguard persons who quite often because of their profession or because of their own good will find themselves in harm's way.

Police, firefighters, ambulance attendants, nurses and many other professionals are clearly those who are most vulnerable and most affected by the ill that can come from being subjected to a potentially deadly or lifelong disease, if they find themselves in that circumstance. However, it also goes further than that.

It would also affect and encourage good Samaritans and individuals who find themselves in a situation where they may be called upon to aid someone who has a heart attack, for example, or is drowning. It encourages these selfless acts of courage that many in other professions, like police, routinely perform or routinely find themselves facing.

When an individual comes in contact with another individual's bodily fluids, whether it be by accident or by deliberate contamination, their professional duties, their emergency skills and first aid response is often required. It is demanded of them. It makes good sense to me, and I think to members present, that they should be afforded some protection. Where they are required to act, should we not do everything we can to enhance their safety? The bill goes a long way to achieve that.

 

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There are many people in the constituency of Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough who routinely put themselves in harm's way. I take this opportunity to thank them and tell them that members in this Chamber fully appreciate what they do. We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who perform these acts daily and routinely around the country.

I have already mentioned the broad nature of the bill, where it refers to good Samaritans who might be performing CPR in circumstances where an individual is afflicted by a sudden illness in a public place. The legislation is there to enhance the protection of those who put their own safety second, when trying to administer help to another.

I know there are doctors present who probably have faced that situation on numerous occasions. Police officers, ambulance attendance and others very often have to get a blood sample from an individual who is receiving some kind of emergency service. In the performance of their professional duty, they can get stuck by a needle or they might, by virtue of having a wound themselves, receive a transfer of some deadly disease.

They are very much in a high risk category, just by virtue of their job description, and they may then face the serious prospect of not knowing whether they have in fact been infected by a communicable disease. Intravenous drug users quite frequently are carriers of HIV. They are carriers of hepatitis.

Anyone who might come into contact with this faces a lifelong illness or death. The consequences could not be more grave, which puts greater emphasis on the importance of the bill before us. A high risk person is well within their rights to refuse to give a sample of their blood. On many occasions, as we have seen in the example that the hon. member from Fraser Valley illustrated, individuals currently have the right to refuse to give a sample of their blood.

Blood can be analyzed for communicable diseases. HIV and hepatitis are two that have been referred to. The analysis is to establish a course of treatment for that individual who may have been exposed, that good Samaritan or police officer. This is a basic right that any person would want. Even if the news is horrible, they would want to know rather than be inflicted with this lengthy period of waiting before knowing whether the illness has in fact been transferred.

Without consent, the victim can undergo a series of chemical cocktails within the first six hours of the incident in an attempt to stop it. We know that sometimes the side affects of the treatment are horrific as well. Even with this treatment, this emergency effort to prevent the spread of disease, they may have to wait for years. There are powerful drugs that can produce these terrible side effects, but there are powerful drugs now, at the very least, that can give an individual a chance to fend off this transfer of illness. However, there is still very much an element of a gamble that is involved.

In January 2001, a Calgary police officer was bitten by an HIV positive suspect during an arrest for hit and run. The suspect proclaimed “Welcome to the world of AIDS”. This veteran police office is married and will now have to undergo a year of painful tests, taking the AZT cocktail, which makes a person violently ill and physically weak for months at a time, to ensure that he did not contract this virus. An incredible, debilitating experience, both physically and mentally, for the officer and his family.

There are hundreds of examples that also illustrate this point. An individual rightly has concerns, as do many good Samaritans across the country.

I will give another example. Colonel L.R. Johns, a commandant and CEO of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires in Nova Scotia, has expressed his concern on behalf of individuals in the private sector industry, who are often working in hospitals, in situations where they are called upon to act for the betterment of others and are in harm's way.

Many people have expressed support for this legislation, including many police officers from the Canadian Police Association, who have gathered here in Ottawa today to make their point on this and other important bills, and the following people from the province of Nova Scotia: Kevin Scott, Gary Thibadeau, Brian MacDougall and Bruce from Kentville.

 

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Those officers and others are here to make the important point that there is a duty upon parliamentarians to listen, to be informed and to change legislation, where possible, for the betterment of all Canadians.

A person who has blood taken from them, their rights are already protected to a large extent. Police officers must obtain warrants and they must go before a justice before a blood sample can be taken. In most instances there are exceptions.

Blood is taken by qualified medical practitioners in most instances where it involves an accident. Blood cannot be analyzed for anything other than the purpose specified in the warrant, which is punishable on summary conviction. This is not just a guideline. There are sufficient safeguards there.

Technology is advancing in the methodology in which blood, DNA, hair and other types of samples can be extracted. This is very much a humanitarian idea. It goes beyond partisanship. It goes very much to the heart of helping individuals who, but for the grace of God, could very much find themselves in this situation: professionals, good Samaritans, or anyone.

The bill protects Samaritans and professionals. It is something that may very well be tested by the courts. This is why the suggestion that it be examined at a committee is certainly another way to safeguard the charter protections that currently exist to vet any problems that may exist from a legal basis.

It is important to note that there are some deterrent effects. Some enforcement provisions are already built into the bill that could be examined in further detail at committee. For example:

    No qualified medical practitioner or qualified technician is guilty of an offence only by reason of a refusal to take a blood sample from a person for the purposes of this Act.

There is no criminal or civil liability for anything necessarily done with reasonable care and skill in the taking of such blood samples. That has been contemplated in the legislation. It is fair to say that judges would exercise discretion on the merit of the individual case as to whether or not it was appropriate. All of this is done with the reasonable test to be applied.

Bill C-217 is an important bill that has received the support of many groups which have been listed already, many groups who I know are most susceptible. I hope the government is listening because we are often left wondering.

Bill C-217 has been carefully drafted so as not to go too far afield into breaching a person's human rights. Current sections of the criminal code would also apply to compel those who would use the particular section not to go outside a person's human rights. There are current sections that apply to impaired driving, sexual assault and the new DNA databank that would come under similar scrutiny in the judicial chambers.

It is an important step toward protection and enhancement of safety for everyone. I again commend the hon. member for Fraser Valley for this initiative. It is a tremendous, common sense initiative, one that the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada wholeheartedly endorses and I would encourage all members to do likewise.

Mr. Grant Hill (Macleod, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address this bill which has significant merit. I should like to give an example from my own life of what the bill would mean.

I had an opportunity to hear a story which troubled me so greatly that I told it to probably 1,500 high school students over my time in parliament. The reaction of the kids in high schools when I tell them this story is dismay.

A young woman was attacked, traumatized and hurt by a sexual predator, a rapist. Luckily her assailant was captured fairly quickly. That capture resulted in his being in custody. The young woman had some medical background and knew she was at risk for infection. She asked the officers who had made the arrest what provisions would be made for the individual to be tested for the diseases that she could be infected by.

 

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The officer said that if the individual agreed, they were fine. The individual did not agree. She said that her rights as a citizen who had been attacked were impacted upon by the individual's rights as a perpetrator.

I have told that story to young people in and outside my riding. I asked them this question. When the rights of the victim and the rights of the rapist collide, whose rights should take precedence? I have yet heard one single youth say that the rights of the rapist should be equal to the rights of the poor victim.

I take that as an endorsement from young people who are not sophisticated in legal matters. They are not lawyers but they have common sense. That common sense is one that I recommend to my colleagues across the way who say they support the concept of looking after the good Samaritan but follow that with a but. That but means the support for firefighters, paramedics, police officers and good Samaritans. It is not going to cut it in the groups I speak with.

I wish to give a more personal example. For those watching television, I have been a practising physician for 25 years. I came to parliament with very specific goals. One evening I was coming home from the hospital on a slippery road and I came across a severe motor vehicle accident.

Prior to my reaching the accident, a young RCMP officer had arrived on the scene. I knew him and I enjoyed his company. We played sports together. The victim of the accident was trapped in the vehicle. He did what he could to get her out. In order to successfully pull her from the vehicle, he cut himself on the broken window. In doing so, his blood came in contact with an open wound on the accident victim's forehead. He told me that he was in trouble because he thought that he could be infected.

Under normal circumstances, we would ask the poor victim to give a blood sample and everything would be fine. There is a period of time when the antibodies are not evident if someone was recently infected. However, somebody like that would never be recently infected. This victim refused. This took me aback. I could not imagine why that would happen.

She happened to confide in me the reason why she refused. She said that when she was young she had done some things with illegal drugs that may have infected her. She said she could not have that known because it would affect her ability to work. It would affect her ability in the community. It would also affect some of the things she did. The victim left the police officer exposed. In my mind, at that instance she completely forgot about a good Samaritan.

Would the bill have an impact on many individuals? It would not. It would have an impact on those individuals who for whatever reason would not willing to be forthcoming with their medical histories. Usually these individuals would be criminals or people with vindictive attitudes. Surely my colleague across the way with his but would not want those individuals when their rights collide to take precedence over the victim.

The bill is such common sense that it should be supported by everyone, even those individuals who say that it is an invasion of privacy for the individual who is the victim. In a case where it is an individual who benefits from the good Samaritan activity, there is an invasion of privacy. Is it an invasion that is too great? In my view it is reasonable, constrained and balanced.

 

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I have watched private members' business since 1993 when I came here. I have watched which proposals from private members that get voted on freely. For those watching in the gallery, the bill will be voted on freely in the House when it finally gets to voting time. Occasionally the government will support a private member's bill that comes from across the way or from its own members, then send it to committee and have it die in committee.

Very seldom does a private member's bill get passed in this place. Perhaps I understand when it is for partisan reasons, but surely there cannot be a partisan reason in terms of this bill. The member and two other members said that the proposals could be improved upon in committee if there are overriding reasons.

This makes such good sense that surely we could set aside those partisan considerations and consider it in committee. For that reason, at this point in time I suggest that we have unanimous consent of the House to send the bill to committee. It is something that happened in the last parliament. The sky did not fall. The bill went to committee and there was some discussion.

I ask for unanimous consent to send Bill C-217 to the justice committee to have it reviewed and for members opposite to improve it if that was necessary.

The Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to send the bill to the justice committee?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: No.

Mr. Steve Mahoney (Mississauga West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would just like to add a few comments. I thought the attempt to have the bill sent to committee after less than one hour of debate was an honest attempt to take it back to where the bill was in the last parliament. I do not have a big objection to that, except I do think there should be full opportunity for due process.

We know there are three hours of debate. Having looked at the bill, the chances of it going to committee are probably pretty good. We should not take the procedural wrangling which has occurred in a negative way, without having the full opportunity for debate in the House.

I too commend the member for Fraser Valley for bringing forward this concept. I was interested in the story of the previous speaker about the individual refusing the blood test. One would wonder why. Interestingly enough, though, not only do certain rights collide here but certain responsibilities collide that we need to hash out in committee. I hate this because it is bureaucracy but it is also the reality that there is potential for the justice ministry to collide with the responsibility of the ministry of health.

That needs to be discussed. I am sure the member, being a medical doctor, would appreciate that health issues are involved in addition to justice issues. If the individual who refused the blood test did so out of spite, ignorance, fear or not understanding the outcome of it, maybe there is some justification for being concerned.

What about if the person were concerned about finding out something related to her past that would then preclude her from making certain declarations for insurance or for whatever purpose? That might be a stretch, but perhaps it is something that needs to be discussed in committee and that needs to be reported on by committee staff. Perhaps it could even hear from witnesses.

This seems to be an hour of storytelling. I too have an interesting story which the bill brought to mind. My oldest son works in management for Home Depot. He is not an emergency worker or a frontline worker, but one of the big problems in the store he works in is that there is an awful lot of theft.

 

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There are an awful lot of people who walk out the door with something off the shelf. My son observed a person putting something in his clothing and walking out the door, so he confronted him. I found it bizarre that all of a sudden the person pulled out not a gun or a knife, but a syringe. He threatened my son with the syringe and all of a sudden everyone in the store panicked. People were screaming and falling down. It turned into the potential for an incredible tragedy.

The good news is that the management at Home Depot train their people. I cannot believe they go to that extent, but it shows the society we live in. They tell their employees about the possibility of being confronted with a syringe or being put in danger of coming in contact with a customer's bodily fluids. They tell them that they should avoid a situation like that at all costs because of safety concerns.

My son started to run back but he tripped and fell over. All of a sudden the guy was on top of him with a syringe and everybody was quite excited. They managed to disarm him. It is an interesting use of the word, but there was no question this was a weapon. They managed to disarm the individual and no damage was done.

It is an interesting perspective. This was not an ambulance worker, a policeman, a firefighter or someone like that. It was simply a manager in a store being confronted by someone who could have caused very serious problems.

I would like to be sure. From what I have read so far, it does cover people other than emergency and front line workers. I think of sports injuries and the potential problems that could occur there. I would want to be sure that was covered as well.

Referring it to committee makes sense. I would add, by the way, that I understand the treatment. When someone is confronted with that kind of situation, whether a front line worker or a store clerk, they can be forced to take what is referred to as a cocktail in a hospital emergency room under examination. I heard a story today from some of the police officers who visited me. They said they knew of an individual who went blind from the side effects of the cocktail.

There are a lot of questions. There are health questions, justice questions, rights questions and, as the former speaker said, there is the collision of human rights and the responsibilities of various ministries. When the time comes I think it will go to committee. It has merit, but we should take time to answer the questions properly.

The Deputy Speaker: The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

[Translation]

It being 7.37 p.m., the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24.

(The House adjourned at 7.37 p.m.)