I have a technician standing by; let me know if you need him.
The Chair: Okay. Thank you.
Ms. Kathleen Gibson: Thank you for this opportunity to testify.
My name is Kathleen Gibson. I'm a policy analyst in Victoria, British Columbia. I'm here today to represent the BC Food Systems Network.
I've spent the last seven years on contract to the BC Food Processors Association working on provincial licensing and inspection of slaughterhouses in B.C. under the meat inspection regulation of the Food Safety Act.
B.C. has four categories of provincial licence: two require a licensed, inspected abattoir facility; and two permit slaughter and sale of meat at the farm gate. The farm gate licences were developed in 2010 based on a risk assessment undertaken by the Ministry of Health. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been providing inspection in provincially licensed abattoirs on contract to the province but will be leaving that role at the end of 2013. B.C. is currently developing its own inspection service.
The BC Food Systems Network, which I'm here to represent, was formed in 1999. Its focus is sustainable food systems. It defines a food system as the resources and processes required to feed a population. The network connects hundreds of participants, indigenous and non-indigenous, and links agriculture, food, fish, health, labour, environment, and social disciplines, and about 50 community-based food security organizations in B.C. This presentation complements a brief submitted to you by the Food Systems Network in December 2011 regarding Growing Forward 2, and a presentation made to you on February 29 of this year by Anna Paskal of Food Secure Canada.
I'd like to introduce you to three fictional people who could be your constituents. I'm introducing them because I hope it will help illustrate what it's like for people who work with livestock and meat systems at the provincial level.
Al raises rare breeds of sheep on an island in the Gulf of Georgia. He has a farm gate licence to slaughter and sell his lamb. A retired electrician, he supplements the family income with meat and wool sales. He's focused on contributing to his community rather than growing a business.
Bert raises cattle on a 225-acre ranch in southwestern B.C. He sells 70 carcasses a year—30 through his farm gate store and 40 to local restaurants. He uses a provincially licensed slaughterhouse 200 kilometres away. He bought the ranch when he retired from 30 years in the gravel business. Income from quota for 10,000 egg layers helps support the red meat side of his operation.
Charlie has been managing a family-owned red meat processing business near a major urban centre for the last 10 years. The abattoir can process around 1,000 hogs a day. The business sells meat products wholesale and through its nearby store. Charlie's key concern is to develop and retain markets, since large retail won't take meat from provincially licensed processors. He doesn't want a federal licence, though, because of the staffing costs needed to manage the CFIA's food safety system. He's also frustrated that he can't have his products go through distribution facilities that handle federally registered products only.
Here are some basic facts about red meat value chains. Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb, goat, and ratites, such as ostrich. Red meat markets are conditioned by and vulnerable to international trade pressures. Livestock and meat production, processing, and retail is a world of the very few very large and the very many very small. There is virtually no middle. Profit in livestock and meat derives from value-added meat products and from by-products, such as tallow, bone meal, and hides. Beef waste by-products shifted from the income to the expense side of the ledger after BSE controls were introduced in 2007. Product that crosses a provincial border must be from a federally licensed facility. Product from a provincially licensed facility can only be sold within the province. It can cost $150,000 to set up a food safety system, and it will need several full-time staff to operate it for a federally licensed facility.
In the provincial system, it can cost a B.C. producer at least $2,000 to finish a beef animal for market, and it can cost $1 million to build a small provincially licensed red meat abattoir. B.C. specifically—to give some idea of scale—had about 260,000 beef animals from beef and dairy operations available for slaughter in 2011. The number actually slaughtered in provincially licensed abattoirs was about 24,000, about 10%. B.C. has one pork-only federally licensed and 33 provincially licensed red meat slaughterhouses. We also have 72 farm gate licences in remote rural areas.
There is strong consumer demand here for local and sustainable food, including meat. Lamb and goat meats are particularly in short supply.
There are four key areas of public policy involved in livestock and meat at federal, provincial, and municipal levels. Two operate throughout the chain—from farm through slaughter to retail. The first is public health, protection against food-borne illness. Concerns include micro-organisms that are resistant to antibiotics. New mutations such as E. coli 0157:H7 are constantly appearing.
The second is the environment, the handling and disposing of solid waste. In addition, the CFIA's enhanced feed ban requires that all specified risk materials—certain parts of beef carcasses—have to be separated from the solid waste stream and specially handled to control BSE. Disposal options in B.C. are very limited.
Two policy areas operate at the farm and slaughterhouse levels only: animal health for detection of animal-borne diseases—some of which can infect humans—and animal welfare, specifically, humane handling and euthanasia of meat animals.
So, how does this play out for folks in the business at the provincial level? The very big and the very small differ in size, but also in approach. The very big seek economies of scale. The very small tend to be place-based, more holistic, and more diversified. For the last 50 to 60 years, the very small have increasingly been operating in a world framed by government policies and programs designed for the very large. Regulators tend to introduce global-level standards without considering whether or not they are workable. The trouble with this is that the very small find policy requirements, at best, a poor fit, and at worst, functionally unworkable. If they can't make it work, these businesses go broke, or they go underground.
Some of you may be thinking that the big players should simply take over and forget the very small as too insignificant or too much trouble to support or regulate. We don't agree. We believe that ignoring or abandoning our subnational livestock and meat businesses—and Al, Bert, and Charlie—is unwise. There are seven reasons why. One, diversity is key to resilience, and thus to sustainability. Two, consumers want choice. Three, chefs long for a variety of meat products and cuts that they can't get from the big suppliers. Four, community-based meat producer and processor businesses are key participants in community economies. One provincially licensed processor can serve over 100 producers and 10 or more butcher shops as well as restaurants and retailers. Five, the provincial system can be an incubator for businesses that may choose to scale up. Six, smaller, decentralized facilities can rapidly be isolated in case of disease outbreaks. They also have a relatively small environmental footprint and low fossil fuel requirements. Seven, B.C. geography means that if you try to centralize too much, the activity becomes economically unviable, goes underground, and becomes untraceable, with negative implications for public interests.
We have three high-level recommendations for the federal government, as well as some specifics. First, put food back on social policy radar. Food systems are not only about profit. That's why we have the example of Al in the Gulf Islands. They are about society-wide health and well-being, which are the responsibility of governments. We echo the request of Food Secure Canada and the recommendations to Canada of Olivier De Schutter, United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, for a national food strategy.
Second, acknowledge, support, and help promote subnational food production, processing, and retailing businesses in meat. This includes five things. It includes policy frameworks and tools that are appropriately scaled—that is, based on an assessment of risks to the public. In B.C. we have examples of that. It includes extension, networking, training, case studies, and pilots for market and value chain development. Some of the tools that the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute has developed could come in here. Third is to define “local” at several levels. Don't just say local means Canada. Fourth is research and development support and prototypes for small-scale, efficient, clean technologies for handling slaughter waste; and finally it includes a solution for the distributor cross-docking problem.
Third, our last recommendation is to undertake a formal and thorough review of the four following matters. First, review hazard analysis critical control points as the framework for food safety and meat processing and the approach used by the CFIA in federally licensed facilities, so that our friend Charlie can manage under a federal licence. Does this effectively address food safety priorities?
Second, review CFIA practices. Interactions with industry are often dysfunctional, resulting in poor relationships and costly delays. Implementation of the appeal mechanism is a good step.
Third, the assumption that every bovine carcass is contaminated with BSE needs to be re-examined.
Fourth is supply management, not just the pros and cons of the existing system, but of the potential alternatives. Red meat may offer a picture of what chicken and turkey could become without supply management. Is that good for Canada? Bert's layers, for instance, form a key part of his farm financial plan and support his beef operation.
We look forward to your response on these recommendations and to any questions you may have.
Thank you for this opportunity to come. It's my first time. My wife and I are organic farmers north of Toronto in Ontario. We've been asked to come and speak a bit to the organic and natural side of the supply chain. So, more specifically, I'll talk with regard to beef. That's what we know best and we raise a cattle herd at home.
Our business has evolved into covering all the meat species, but primarily beef, which has taken us right across the country. Our supply chain involves four provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. We raise beef under two brands, Beretta Organic, which is a certified organic brand of beef, as well as Beretta Ranch, which is a natural version of the organic.
I'll give a little background history. The natural beef is raised without the use of antibiotics, hormone implants, or steroids. It's vegetable and grain fed, and all our cattle are born and raised in Canada. Our business has evolved over the years. We're in our twentieth year now and what started out as a home delivery business has evolved to the degree where we now supply large retailers such as Loblaws, American companies like Whole Foods, Longo's, and the Chipotle restaurant chain.
Both our organic and natural meat sales, as I said, began with home delivery and have evolved into a much larger scale. So most of the challenges we're facing now are around how we ramp up that scale and try to put a supply chain together that's sustainable both from a profitable standpoint and also from a logistical one.
I'll try to pinpoint a few of the challenges I thought would be most relevant to a group like this. Growing the cattle supply presently is the most challenging. The intricacies of the cattle industry are such that there's a long timeframe involved, and most of the supply chain is broken up into three key areas, which are cow-calf, backgrounding, and feedlot. Those three segments of the industry tend to be somewhat disjointed and are very rarely shared by the same farmer.
Growing the cattle supply tends to be our number one issue, and closely linked to this is the funding of that supply. So on a branded program such as ours, which involves both the organic certification and the natural, we're challenged with having to fund cattle right through that pipeline, because more and more of the smaller farmers are not able to maintain their inventory longer than they need and they tend to have to sell to maintain their cash flow. So we've been put into a situation now where we're trying to build a supply chain on a larger level and finding that the funding tends to be one of the most critical components.
Third would be the Canadian geography. The way the cattle industry is set up, the markets are here in Ontario and Quebec, and most of the cattle are out west. So trying to figure that out, especially when we're competing against a lot of American companies that are moving up here, is quite challenging.
The last one in terms of a challenge, which I do see as an opportunity, is that most of the larger retailers we deal with do their buying based on USDA cutouts, which is a formula based on packer sales in the U.S.. By law, they all have to be entered in and then the USDA publishes a daily cutout. So the Canadian retailers continually put pressure on us to build our pricing models on a USDA-based one, which is not relevant at all to our costs of production or the Canadian beef industry.
In terms of opportunities—and you probably hear this day in and day out—the marketplace needs to be more balanced. I think Canada has an opportunity to develop a USDA equivalent that's relative to our cost of production in Canada and that takes into consideration things like Canadian geography and our costs. I think there needs to be some incentives to support more of the smaller Canadian farmers, something such as a loan guarantee, that would allow them to retain ownership longer in the cattle supply side.
I think there needs to be some incentives to help more of the cattle supply move east. In our situation, we tend to purchase young cattle from out west and then gradually move them across the country until they're finished in Ontario. One of the reasons we've done that on a more gradual scale is to take into consideration animal welfare. It's a huge country and a two- to three-day truck ride with cattle is not something consumers are going to want to hear about in terms of animal welfare.
I think there also needs to be an incentive for Canadian retailers to look at buying more Canadian. I think because of the constant pressures put on by U.S. meat companies and the supply up here, they're very reluctant to celebrate the fact that we do have great Canadian beef. And it should be celebrated, and it should be marketed as such.
Finally, on more of a personal note, I think there's a difficult but not insurmountable challenge, and it has to do with the average age of the Canadian beef farmer. I attend beef meetings—Ontario Cattlemen's, Canadian Cattlemen's—and the average age, as you probably read recently, is well into the fifties. I'd say that's very conservative. I don't recall the last beef meeting that wasn't all grey hairs. We need to try to generate some kind of incentive that will capture the interest of younger people to get into this industry. That's an opportunity as much as it is a challenge.
Thank you for your time.
I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to express the views of the rendering industry to this committee.
My name is Graham Clarke. I am an independent consultant who represents the Canadian Renderers Association in Ottawa.
The membership of the Canadian Renderers Association is composed of the three major independent renderers in Canada. They are Sanimax, which has operations in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, the United States, and Mexico; Rothsay, which is part of Maple Leaf Foods and has operations in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba; and West Coast Reduction, which is based in Vancouver and has operations in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Other companies that have large rendering operations in Canada are Cargill, in High River, Alberta; XL Foods, in Brooks, Alberta; and Maple Lodge Farms. These are all sizeable businesses. Rothsay, for example, employs over 500 people in its six plants across the country.
Every year the Canadian rendering industry recycles approximately three billion kilograms of perishable material generated by the livestock and poultry slaughter and processing industry; some fish processing companies; and the food processing, supermarket, and restaurant industries.
The industry produces protein meals, fats, and oils through this recycling process. These are valuable ingredients or raw materials for the animal feed and pet food industry and for the oleochemical industry, where they are used in the manufacture of soap, paint, varnish, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, leather goods, textiles, lubricants, and many other commodities, including renewable fuels, such as biodiesel.
From an environmental perspective, you should note that biodiesel derived from recycled materials, such as used cooking oil and rendered fats, has a greenhouse gas reduction, versus conventional diesel, of greater than 90%.
The industry is also a major exporter to Asian countries as well as to the U.S., Africa, and Central and South America.
Ultimately, the rendering industry is a service industry. The major customers are the livestock producers and the packing industry. But the industry also collects and recycles material from restaurants, supermarkets, and other food production facilities.
The rendering industry does what it can to service these industries in the best way possible, and it takes very seriously its responsibility to provide a timely and efficient means for its customers to dispose of their waste products. I don't need to explain the impact on stakeholders in the entire red meat value chain that a cessation of service for a couple of days would have.
There are a number of challenges currently being faced by the industry. The first one is in the category of raw material supply. The rendering industry, of course, relies heavily on the domestic slaughtering industry for its raw material. It is very vulnerable to downturns in the domestic livestock and meat processing industry in that the supply becomes reduced when these downturns occur.
Deadstock is another source of raw material. But the increasing cost of pickup, as a side effect of the BSE situation, as you have already heard, has a negative effect on the livestock producers' ability to pay. Consequently, they tend to dispose of the carcasses themselves. This further reduces the raw material supply.
Just for clarification purposes, bovine deadstock, by definition, contains specified risk material. The amount of deadstock being collected has dropped by 30% to 60%, depending on the part of the country we're talking about, from pre-BSE times, meaning prior to 2003.
This raw material, the deadstock, is now being buried on the farm, composted, incinerated, or in some cases, left to decompose in the environment, which is clearly not a satisfactory situation. Economically, it's very unfortunate that the farmers are no longer able to pay for collection.
The other environmental impact of this applies to all deadstock, because when you lose the volume of bovine deadstock, which constitutes a very large volume, it is no longer economical to run trucks along the trucking routes to pick up the material. Consequently, it has an impact on small stock, such as hogs, sheep, and so on.
Another major concern right now is the theft of raw material, in particular grease, which is generated by the restaurant industry. This has become a very serious issue in the past 24 months. In fact, the industry is meeting about this next week to look at anything further that can be done to prevent it. The high market value of fats and oils has led to an increase in the theft of this material, which is now calculated to be in the millions of dollars annually. It's very costly for the industry due to the loss of raw material and damage to containers. They need to supply more expensive and secure ones, along with other preventative measures.
I just need to tell you that an unregulated market in grease poses potential threats of contamination to the whole animal feed chain due to the potential for mixing this material with fats from other sources. This could be extremely costly and would be a threat to animal and public health, and it could generate enormous negative publicity for the entire livestock value chain.
Four major incidents have occurred in Europe in the past 13 years. Two were in Germany, the last one in January 2011, one was in Belgium, and one was in Ireland. Each time fat destined for industrial use ended up in animal feed. The May 1999 incident in Belgium resulted in costs estimated at $1.5 billion, and the Irish problem with pork, in 2008, cost the industry 100 million pounds.
There's also increasing competition from alternate disposal methods. I personally believe that rendering is still the most efficient and effective recycling process for animal by-products. The industry continues to try to improve efficiency in order to reduce the costs.
Other means of animal by-product disposal, such as biogas, hydrolysis, and composting, are being researched and promoted, which may create competition for raw material. To date, these alternate methods have not seriously impacted the rendering industry, but they might have the ability to do so in the long term.
Another trade issue is the continuing negative impact of BSE on exports. Since Canada had its first case of BSE, some countries have banned the importation of certain rendered products from Canada. Many of these countries banned the importation of not only meat and bone meal but also tallow—a ban which is unscientific and not in compliance with OIE regulations. It has taken many years to negotiate the reopening of markets for tallow, but progress is being made and finally a reopening of the export market to China is hopefully close.
Canada, as you know, is classified as a “controlled risk” country by the OIE. The OIE recommends that importing nations not allow the import of ruminant meat and bone meals from controlled risk countries, which is a major barrier to the export of ruminant protein meals from Canada.
Canada does export ruminant meat and bone meal to Indonesia and the Philippines under bilateral agreements, but would like to have access to additional markets to ensure export stability. Recent problems with the trade to Indonesia have highlighted this as a major issue.
There are a few other issues I'd like to mention in passing, mainly three of them. One is perception, and the others are environmental regulations and energy costs.
The major market for rendered products is the domestic animal feed market. Certain livestock and food companies market their products to the consumer as not being fed animal by-products. This puts some restriction on sales to some feed companies.
As far as the environment goes, increasingly costly environmental standards are being imposed on the industry, which can restrict its ability to build new infrastructure in convenient locations and which raises both the operating and development costs. Rothsay, for example, has invested more than $50 million in environmental upgrades during the past seven years.
Lastly, there are the energy costs. Rendering is a very cost-effective recycling process, but it is a high user of energy, so increasing energy costs for raw material, collection, operation, the rendering, and transportation all negatively impact the process and may negatively impact overall profitability.
This concludes my presentation. I appreciate the time you've given me. I'll be happy to answer any questions.
I want to thank you all for your presentations today. They're extremely helpful toward the advancement of the investigation we're undertaking here at the committee.
Around this table we're all advocates for farmers, but at the same time we're advocates for consumers, as you know, as well as everyone in between. Yesterday, an issue came to the foreground that I think needs some consideration, specifically the amendments to the meat inspection regulations. I had somebody write me about this yesterday.
Mike, I'm going to ask you first, and then Kathleen, if you could respond.
It says that the proposal to amend the meat inspection regulations, the home-farm slaughtered animals to be processed in federally inspected plants, is misguided. One worry is that international markets will be imperilled by a regulation that diminishes the quality of inspection.
This is according to this letter and I want your opinions on this. It says to consider the conflict of interest the “on-farm veterinarian” is confronting in such situations. As you know, there has to be an ante-mortem prior to the killing of the farm animal. It also says to consider the implications of euthanasia on the farm vis-à-vis what is really going to happen.
There's a suggestion, of course, that the animal wouldn't be properly euthanized. I guess process and protocol is very important here.
The letter goes on to say that someone will have to shoot the animal and cut its throat to achieve the bleed out, and that's best left to plant operators and staff. So they realize that farmers have a unique interest, especially the small farmers who are more likely to have to make use of this.
Could you shed some light on your perception of the impact on trade and the real impact on food safety?
If Michael could go first, and then Kathleen, please.
I know that Francis' question kind of touches on the supply chain, and it kind of doesn't. I don't want to use up all my time commenting on it, but I will just make a very brief comment on the changes to the regulations.
Kathleen said.... It's actually the same federally. It's going to be very rare that we would have an animal euthanized on a farm and then have it transported to a federal facility for further processing. This is not going to become a main occurrence. It's under very rare circumstances.
To address Mike's point about when you might have an injured steer three miles in, if that's not safe, it's not going to happen. If he's at the farm gate, he has a broken leg, and you say, listen, why do I have to dispose of this animal when in fact everything is fine if we could just get it to a meat processing plant...?
So the idea is to help you with your business, but the underlying criteria is that it is safe for human consumption. If it's not, it's simply not going to happen. So for your case, where it's off in the distance or you're not able to bleed it out properly, it's just not going to happen. It just will not happen. If it's safe for human consumption, there's an option. That's basically what the regulations are talking about.
But let me move on to the supply chain for a moment.
Graham, I'm really glad you're here, because rendering is something that I think the public really knows very little about, yet it's an important part of the supply chain. Because there are all of these animals that are rendered, it provides a service to the farmer, and it is its own industry that is supported by the farmer.
Let me ask you, first of all, where you source your material from. I know that a very basic answer will be that it's primarily from the farm, but I'd like to know whether you also get animals that need to be rendered from places other than the farm, from a dead animal on the farm.
Sure. I'll also send a website to all of you that will be helpful, because there's a handy diagram.
British Columbia introduced the meat inspection regulation in 2004. At that time the only option was to upgrade or build a class A or B facility. It involved an actual abattoir-type building. Class A does slaughter and further processing. Class B does slaughter only. They both come from an abattoir facility, but the end product of B is a bird in a bag, or a carcass, where in A you get further cutting, wrapping, processing, and other such things, in one facility.
In the period from 2004 to 2010, it became evident that there were producers, especially in remote parts of British Columbia, such as Haida Gwaii, that had no options. They didn't have the volume of animals or the money, because it costs easily hundreds of thousands, if not a million dollars to put together a red meat facility. They didn't have the resources to build an abattoir and that problem wasn't going away.
In 2010, after doing a consultation in three remote sites, the province introduced two new categories of farm gate licence. For those, you don't have to build a facility. You do have to take a training program. The training program teaches you how to develop a food safety plan. The program is taught and the food safety plan is monitored by an environmental health officer from the health authorities. That's distinct from the A and B classes, which are monitored and operated by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
For an extra layer of complication, the inspectors used in the A and B facilities are CFIA personnel on contract to the province. The A and B facilities have one system, and the D and E farm gate licences have another. The distinction between the D and the E is that for the E you're limited to 10 animal units a year. An animal unit is 1,000 pounds of live weight. You can translate that into a lot of chickens, a few lambs, and one steer. That's an E licence. A D licence allows you to slaughter and sell other people's animals at the farm gate, as well as your own, up to 25 animal units. You may sell them to local retail and restaurants, but only within your regional district. The Ds and Es are largely restricted to regional districts that do not have an A or B. There are some exceptions, but I think that's enough detail. That change was made in 2010.
My wife and I began as certified organic. We didn't make a transition. When we took up farming we jumped right into certified organic and didn't know any better, so we never went through a conversion piece.
What we ended up doing was adding natural afterwards, which is not the logical thing, but we found that with certified organic, because it's at the highest price point, there was a dedicated and loyal following but the growth would be much slower. So that was one challenge, the price point and not being able to grow it.
The second thing was that with certified organic there is a three-year transition for a farm to fall under that. So for three years the land and the animals and the livestock, everything, has to go through that period.
The challenge for us in growing our supply for organic was how do you convince a farmer to convert to organic and follow the organic methodology of farming without any kind of premium? The opportunity lay there to offer something as a premium for what would be considered the natural, which would fall right underneath the organic. We did that with one larger account that we had, thinking that the natural would bridge the gap as we grew our organic supply chain.
What happened instead was that we found there was a large group of consumers who wanted to take one step healthier in terms of their food choices but weren't prepared to go all the way to organic. That's where the natural has met that void.
One of the biggest challenges we've had, then, is that because there isn't a strict third-party control of natural—at least at a government level—we, as a brand and as a company, have said, we'll take ownership of that. We'll put in all the steps that we believe need to be in place, we'll advertise that to the customer, and we'll perform our own self-audits where needed to make sure that natural follows that strict protocol.
That's how we've been able to bridge that gap.
The danger of course is that natural becomes a grey area and can be abused and can create some lack of confidence in the marketplace. That's really where the challenge is with natural, which doesn't exist with organic.
So if you're looking at comparing it to an automobile, you'd have your Ferrari, you'd have your Toyota, and then you'd have your Lada. I don't know if that's politically correct, but that would be the way to distinguish between organic, natural, and what's considered commodity.
The only thing I would point out is that if it's an hour there and an hour back, we would probably have to arrange with our whips, because we would have to miss question period. If we happen to hit a day when there are no votes, that's fine—when we get back is probably irrelevant, unless somebody has a previous commitment. I just remind you of that.
If the committee has a will that you would like me to look into this, I will bring back the details and a possible date. It sounds as though there's a willingness to do it.
There's one other thing concerning the committee itself. Including the trip to Guelph, the return of the three witnesses who were here last week, and one other meeting with the pork producers, the cattle producers, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and what have you, we could have the red meat portion of this study done on June 4 and be ready to move into the poultry section.
Is that where we want to go? Is that enough meetings? I think, looking at the witness list, that it's a very good cross-section. I don't think we've really missed any part of it. I'd like some input so that we can plan.
Are there any comments?
Does that seem good?
I have talked to our analyst Frédéric. If we had our last meeting on the red meat on June 4, we would go into the poultry part of it on June 6. Whether that was the day we went to visit an egg barn or we actually had a meeting here, what we would do is probably have two or three meetings on that.
By that time, Frédéric and his staff would be able to have the report ready to consider. If we kept recommendations out of that portion of it and dealt with recommendations at the end, when we've added together the whole food chain and the red meat sector, the poultry, and whatever else we want to consider, it should be very easy and simple to have the report done and tabled in the House before we break in June.
Chair, thank you very much.
First, let me say that I think all MPs—certainly those of us on the government side—understand the issues facing the honeybee and those people who depend on the honeybee for their livelihood. I think it's important to note that the committee has passed a motion similar to this and reported it to the House. I think we did that in the last Parliament. It's still valid.
The second thing, though, is that Alex and I have had a number of conversations on how best to proceed with a national day of either the honeybee or anything else. The accepted protocol, Chair, is not for it to pass through committee and then somehow be reported to the House, and then the House does something with a kind of unanimous consent. The accepted practice is that a member of Parliament, if this is really important to them, use their private member's bill opportunity to advance a national day and that this be debated and voted on properly in the House.
To be fair, today I think we're voting on one from , a Liberal MP, concerning a national day recognizing philanthropists. He has done exactly that. It's tabled in the House as a private member's bill, it is debated in the House, and it is voted on in the House.
In the last Parliament, or it might have been in this Parliament, , one of our MPs, proposed a national tree day. It was exactly the same process.
It's important to respect these processes. For this reason, I would say that's the process my colleague should follow, rather than trying to move it through the agriculture committee and into the House, when we know it really isn't going to go anywhere in the House because it's not following the accepted process.