The House resumed from November 17 consideration of Bill , as reported with amendments from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
Mr. Speaker, as always, it is a great honour to stand up in the House to speak on this agricultural issue, in this case Bill and the question of plant breeders' rights. It is a great honour for me as well, because I represent a very large agricultural region in the Timiskaming and Timmins—James Bay region.
What we have seen over the last number of years through the boom-bust economy of forestry and mining is a growing strength in northern agriculture. In the southern part of my riding, known as the little clay belt, extending down through Témiscaming, Quebec, and over into northern Ontario, there is now a $91 million a year direct agriculture business with another $111 million in spinoffs for support organizations, dealers, and milk organizations in our area. There are over 1,000 people now directly involved in agriculture just in the Timiskaming region. Therefore, these issues are important to them.
Moreover, a very interesting transformation in northern agriculture has been happening over the last 25 years in areas that had opened up to development back at the turn of the last century. People who had homesteaded had found out that it was very hard and brutal work, and because of the climate it was simply not possible to maintain farming over any period of time. Therefore, in the so-called upper northern clay belt, we did have an incredible number of farmlands cleared, but people just could not make a go of it and much of that land was beginning to go back to dogwood and poplar. However, we are now seeing a new move back into agricultural regions in the upper part of Timiskaming and Timmins—James Bay, Val Gagné, Black River-Matheson up toward Cochrane.
A number of factors have made this possible. Certainly a changing climate has affected the north, although I would say this past year we did have a very erratic year that was very troubling for farmers. From putting tile drainage in northern fields we have seen an increased ability to get a crop off the field more quickly and in a more sustainable way, which makes lands that were less profitable before, or less possible for farming, now able to support farms.
One of the other factors is that we have seen new breeds of plant varieties that work in the north. This is testament to research and development. There is now an ability to grow soybeans and grains, with canola in particular being a big market for producers in our region, as well as corn, something that no one had ever thought possible but in which we are now having large growth.
At the same time there has been a whole change in how people perceive agriculture in the north. Back in the day we had many small local dairies, because we could not transport food very long distances, but there has been a move toward bigger agriculture. There is a belief that big agriculture is the only way to go, but we have seen in the last number of years smaller producers starting to create niche markets, the organic producers, the people producing specialty foods that people want.
In terms of balance and what really cuts to the heart of Bill , as much as we want to have innovative farming and to make sure that we are supporting research and innovation on the new breeds and varieties that make it possible to expand agriculture in a world where we need to be able to build our food supply, we also have to take into account the fact that consumers are making very clear choices and want to be heard in the choices they are making about the food supply, food security, and the food market.
It is not good enough simply to say that big is the only way. We now see in our areas the local farmers' markets. People are wanting to buy local. They want to know where their food is from. They are willing to pay more for meats they know do not have a heavy hormone treatment. They want to know what they put on their plate. This is not the whole food market but represents a growing segment of the population. Last year in Timmins, we saw for the first time a march against Monsanto due to a concern about very large corporate interests and what role they are playing. These citizens are saying they want to be part of the decision-making, they want to have choice when they buy, and they want to know what is in GMOs.
The GMO issue is certainly very complex, and we cannot treat the public as though they should be left out of it. This is a right they have. People are raising their voices about the use of neonicotinoids as pesticides because of the clear damage that is being done to bee populations.
This bill is very important in making sure that balance is maintained, but the problem with Bill is that it is yet another omnibus bill. A whole manner of regulatory changes in agriculture were put in this bill. Some of them are long-standing and some are very much needed, but in some areas the government just did not get the mix right. The most striking example is the issue of implementing UPOV '91 and balancing the rights of the corporate breeders that are creating the new varieties. The royalties they receive will certainly be protected very well under this regime.
Coming from the artistic community, we see that the government has made no effort to ensure that artists ever get paid for their intellectual property, but very large corporate interests are being paid.
There is no problem with making sure that people are paid for their research and development. This is what drives the economy and drives development, and Canada needs to keep its own in the world. However, there is also the question of balance in terms of the small players who want to have more traditional agriculture. These are not hobby farms anymore; these are people who have a direct right to be heard, and the issue of long-standing traditions and rights that people had for saving and reusing seeds is a big question. We have seen corporate interests attempting to go after these traditional rights in India and in other jurisdictions in the third world.
New Democrats were trying to find a balance and put forward 16 amendments to fine-tune the language. Some of this language is about protecting farmers from needless litigation, an issue that was raised by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. It wanted to make sure that producers were not going to be sued, as we have seen happening in the United States, for claims of patent infringement with respect to the natural accidental spreading of patented plant genetic materials.
Corporations cannot say that if they put genetic materials in seeds, the seeds will not propagate elsewhere. They cannot make that claim. Farmers are worried that if they use patented genetic seeds, they can then be charged with infringement if these seeds accidentally start to move elsewhere. New Democrats clarified the language on this aspect so there would be no unnecessary litigation against farmers. That was a big issue.
One of the other things that was a real concern raised by many people was the issue of protecting farmers' privilege. This bill would take decisions on the protection for farmers' traditional rights out of the legislation and put them into the hands of the minister. New Democrats do not believe that is accountable. Making sure there is some mechanism for oversight is about fairness. The fact is that the minister could simply rewrite the regulations himself and farmers would have to live with them. That is not an accountable system.
These are reasonable amendments. Unfortunately, there is a culture within the government that any attempt to improve a bill is seen as a dire threat, so it turned down the 16 amendments. It is not that the government had to accept all 16, but it could not accept one. My colleagues in the Liberal Party put forward amendments; the government would not accept any.
That is a standard practice the Conservatives have. Even when they are bullheadedly wrong, they believe that accepting amendments is somehow seen as a form of weakness. I would argue that not being able to work with one's colleagues and not being able to accept recommendations brought forward in good faith is a sign of an immature political personality.
We saw that happen with the Copyright Act. The government said there would be lots of opportunity for amendments and then struck down every single amendment. We ended up with a fundamentally flawed bill. It was so flawed that it actually struck down amendments that would have protected the right of blind people to access materials without being threatened as criminals. The government turned that down.
What happens when we do not listen to others? We end up with failed legislation and recalls. This is the problem. This is why New Democrats are raising these issues. These concerns were not respected in committee. Canadians have a right to be heard on the issues of agriculture and food security.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague has asked a couple of very important questions.
In terms of making the comparison, when we saw the copyright bill, the government was focused on its mistaken belief that if we just locked down content, we would protect corporate rights. The issue here was about protecting the revenue streams for artists so that they could continue to innovate and create. Through cutting the mechanical royalties, the Canadian industry lost about $30 million a year.
Cutting the private copying levy would amount to another $35 million that would be taken directly out of the hands of the creators themselves. Actually, Canadian entertainment in Canada and Quebec is one of the greatest exports we have. Our artists are known internationally. Without that seed money to allow them to make a go of it, people are actually having to give up.
The other issue we are seeing now is with streaming. The streaming royalties are so abysmally low that many artists are saying they cannot make a living, even though Canada was and is a leader in this area.
In terms of supporting development, we totally support it. The question is, what support would the government give to research and development to maintain it in Canada, as opposed to just paying Monsanto down in the United States? We would like to see a commitment to researching and developing new varieties right here in Canada.
Mr. Speaker, Bill , fully deserves the support of the House.
The proposed legislation is both timely and necessary so that Canada's agriculture industry will continue to produce safe and nutritious products and remain competitive in global markets. My support for Bill C-18 rests largely on the latter, on the legislation's potential impacts on the global competitiveness of Canada's agriculture and agri-food industry. This bill is designed to modernize Canada's agricultural legislation and encourage innovation in the sector.
It is fair to say that most Canadians take for granted just how globalized agriculture has become. Two generations ago, few Canadians had ever eaten a mango or an avocado or tasted international cuisines. Today, international foods are all available at neighbourhood supermarkets. Agriculture and agri-food have become a major component of international trade. Billions of dollars' worth of food products are traded around the world, and Canada is a star in the industry. Up to 85% of this country's production of some commodities is exported.
The rise of trade in agri-food products presents several challenges to countries such as Canada, with food safety leading the way. How can we ensure that products from other countries that do not necessarily have the same standards we do for food safety will not jeopardize the health of Canadians? The answer lies in international agreements and conventions, a complex set of negotiated rules based on sound science.
The legislation that is now before us proposes to modernize the regime that governs Canada's trade in this sector.
Let us consider, for instance, the current approach for regulating farm animal feed. The current regime specifies national standards for the composition, safety, and effectiveness of end products. These standards are known as end products controls, but on their own they are not always sufficient to ensure the safety of feeds.
Along with our competitors, such as the United States and the European Union, Canada's trading partners either have already implemented or are in the process of implementing more comprehensive and effective regulatory systems for animal feeds. These systems follow an approach known as hazard analysis and critical control point, or HACCP. Rather than focus on end products, the HACCP approach involves identifying exactly where and when problems are likely to occur in production processes, taking specific actions to prevent these problems, and then carefully monitoring and documenting the results. HACCP-based systems are now standard in most Canadian food production facilities and help ensure that Canada's food supply remains among the safest in the world.
As the international standards pertaining to animal feeds evolve, so too must Canada's, particularly since this country exports so much of its production. Emerging markets such as China and Russia, for instance, have begun to adopt systems-based requirements for imports of animal feed. Under these systems, producers must obtain licences if they want their feeds to enter the country. To obtain a licence, they must register with and be certified by the appropriate government agencies. The United States released new rules for animal feed production and import. These rules require facilities to be licenced.
The agricultural growth act proposes amendments to existing legislation that would promote the safety of agricultural inputs such as animal feed through licensing or registration of feed and fertilizer manufacturers. Bill would align Canada's relevant legislation with that of our international trading partners. It would also help our feed and fertilizer industries to maintain access to feed export markets such as the United States.
The proposed legislation would enable the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to license or register the fertilizer and animal feed operators and facilities that import or sell products across provincial or international borders, but farmers who produce fertilizer and feed only for their own use on farms or to sell locally would not be subject to the new rules. This nuanced approach is just one of the ways that the proposed legislation effectively balances the interests of producers, farmers, exporters, and consumers
. Another way that Bill balances these interests is that the legislation would require the development of regulations in consultation with stakeholders. In other words, the specifics of the regulations, such as timing and certification, would be informed through a collaborative exercise with those who would be most affected.
Mr. Clyde Graham, acting president of the Canadian Fertilizer Institute, said at SCAAF:
The federal regulatory system has served the industry well for 50 years. It has ensured a science-based and consistent regulatory environment for fertilizers and supplements, which emphasizes the principles of safety and efficacy for all products....
That being said, the fertilizer and supplement industry supports new provisions in the bill that enable tools such as incorporation by reference, licensing, export certificates, and acceptance of equivalent foreign scientific data.
Bill would also address the challenges of international trade in agriculture in a way that would meet the needs of Canada's plant breeders.
In 1991, countries around the world ratified a new convention, the International Union of Protection of New Varieties of Plants, known as UPOV '91. UPOV '91 is the current international standard for plant breeders' rights. More than 70 countries, including Canada, rely on UPOV to fulfill their obligations to protect plant varieties under the World Trade Organization. However, Canada is one of only two developed countries of UPOV members whose legislation does not comply with the standard of UPOV '91.
The legislation now before us would amend the Plant Breeders' Rights Act and would bring Canada's legislation up to date. It would also better align our regulatory regime with those of many of our key trading partners, including Australia, the European Union, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
What plant breeders develop is a form of intellectual property. Plant breeding is an intensive process that requires a significant investment of time and effort. It typically takes 10 to 12 years to develop a new variety and bring it to market. Under Canada's current laws, plant breeders' rights are protected for 18 years. Bill would extend this protection to 25 years for trees, vines and a few other plant categories and to 20 years for all other crops.
The proposed amendments to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act will also benefit Canada's agriculture industry in other important ways. It will, for instance, encourage investment in plant breeding in Canada and give farmers access to more varieties of seeds developed in our country or abroad.
Our government heard from stakeholders about needing to improve the language to make it absolutely clear that storage of seed would be included in farmer's privilege. We now have an amendment to Bill that addresses this key issue.
With this in mind, I would like to address the 56 amendments that have been proposed by the NDP and the Green Party. These amendments would result in tearing out the heart of the bill, killing this great legislation. As a result, I cannot support these two motions.
I do support Bill , especially now in its revised form. We need this bill as it stands.
Mr. Speaker, for much of my life—nearly 50 years—I worked in agriculture. When I was a student, I would spend my summers and even the fall working on farms. I then studied agriculture at Université Laval so that I could work in this industry—in various areas, but particularly in ornamental horticulture.
The riding of , which I represent, is made up of three very distinct regions. In the west, you have the rich plains of the St. Lawrence, where you can find the big farms. There are even private research centres where they are cultivating corn, soy and various grains. This area has the richest soil in the region.
Towards the centre of the eastern region, you will find fruit tree nurseries and a very big nursery for growing trees and shrubs. This bill will have a significant impact on this type of production.
More towards the centre, you will find the city and its industries. However, in the east, you will find traditional agriculture—hay fields and smaller farms, including producers of milk, veal calves, slaughter cattle, sheep, goats and chickens. There is a lot of diversity.
Pork production, which is very important in my area, is located in the eastern region because it is tied to grain production. Large-scale producers farm the land, grow grain and have mills to mix the grain and feed their animals.
I am curious. Will these major agriculture producers, who are used to sellling their seed every year, be able to keep using their own seed as they have been doing for years without being harassed by multinational grain corporations? I wonder. We are talking about producers who have thousands of acres and who are among the top three or four pork producers in Quebec. Will they be able to use their seeds?
I cannot support this bill because it does not explicitly protect farmers and the public and because it puts too much discretionary power in the hands of the minister. Speaking of his discretionary powers, the minister has been involved with the Air Canada file since 2011 because the bosses are hands off and that suits his purposes.
The minister also uses these powers to make decisions on employment insurance. This bill will benefit big corporations. The government will pocket the profits and leave as little income as possible to the unemployed.
The minister's discretionary powers also extend to copyright. I myself am an author, and I have written several books on horticulture. I know that authors do not make any money. That law protects the publishers. Will that be the case with this bill too?
The Conservatives' philosophy is to protect the establishment, not the little guy. Some market gardeners in my riding have been planting the same varieties of garlic for decades, year after year. If you plant garlic from the store, it will not work out because that garlic is not adapted to the region. There is a garlic grower in my region who has been working on adapting one variety for several decades. Will his variety of garlic be stolen from him? Will he be forced to buy it back from someone else? If a multinational orders a hundred garlic bulbs and plants them, then five or ten years later that corporation can say that the garlic is its variety. Will we be able to protect the little guys against this sort of thing?
We have a lot of greenhouse farmers. Some grow organic products and heirloom varieties. Is the greenhouse farmer going to be harassed by the inspector from some company and end up having to pay a fine? The large companies are given rights, but what is being done to protect the little guys from being abused by big business? Do not tell me that such abuse does not exist. In France, the law protects multinationals so much so that companies that sell seed to individuals no longer have the right to do so and people are going after them on the Internet. Kokopelli, a seed producer for third world countries, is constantly in court with major seed companies. Is that what we want? Do we want to cause even more problems for the so-called “little guy”?
I know a seed producer who collected heirloom varieties in the northern regions of the St. Lawrence. He uses the Internet and catalogues to sell seed he produces himself for fine herbs and vegetables. Will these heirloom varieties be protected under this bill? If a company finds an heirloom tomato and it improves that tomato slightly, it can then say that the original tomato, which has been an heirloom variety for a long time, is too similar to its own tomato.
I am familiar with these kinds of things. I have had a website since about 1996. Someone came to me and said that I had copied his pages. I had made a copy of my pages on a diskette, which I sent to myself by registered mail, without opening it. I had proof that I had written those pages five years before him. In the horticultural field, will people be able to prevent these kinds of abuses by others who want to steal varieties? These ancient varieties belong to everyone. These companies want to steal them.
What I find difficult about all this is that big breeders are being protected. How are individuals going to be protected? For instance, if I plant 10 varieties of tomato plants, someone could show up in my yard with big boxes and ask if I purchased the seeds for the various varieties. Individuals also need to be protected.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and pleasure for me to illustrate to this House my party's support for Bill the agricultural growth act.
First, I wish to express not only my appreciation but that of the farmers in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, and I believe the large majority of farmers across Canada, to the for his foresight and action in bringing this bill forward and the work that the parliamentary secretary has done to get the bill to committee. I also want to thank the committee, which has worked hard to get the bill to the form it is in today, so that we can move the industry of agriculture forward.
At one time or another, all of us have read the sign “If you ate today, thank a farmer.” In fact, I have a few of those in my office. I have one around the licence plate of one of my vehicles. It is an important sign as a consumer, farmer, dairy farmer and cash cropper. It raises the importance of not only what agriculture is but the importance of food.
As parliamentarians we need to do more than talk. We need to express more than just saying thanks. I need to ensure that farmers, and the industry as a whole, have the support of this effective legislation that is before us.
Before I focus on the main element of the bill, I would like to address the amendments that have been proposed by opposition members. If members can imagine, there are 56 amendments on the order paper, which would meet their objective to gut the bill and take away its effectiveness.
I will not, and my party will not, support those of types of motions. In fact, I urge everyone with a level head on their shoulders not to support the amendments, and move forward and adopt this great bill. Should we start to approve the gutting of the bill, it would turn the clock back in agriculture about 25 years. We are not prepared for that and I do not believe the country is prepared for that.
Bill proposes broad controls to ensure the safety of Canada's agriculture inputs. It would allow the licence and registration of fertilizer and animal feed operators, and facilities that import and sell products across provincial and international borders. That is in addition to the current system, which registers feed and fertilizer individually, product by product. However, licencing and registering facilities and operators is a more effective and timely method to verify that agriculture products meet, and surpass in many cases, Canada's stringent safety rules and other standards.
The bill is also important because we need to ensure that we align ourselves with our major trading partners and help our feed, seed and fertilizer industries maintain access to those markets, especially with our closest neighbour, the United States.
For the information of members, exports in the agriculture industry range up to 85% of what we grow. That is an incredibly high number. It means that one in eight jobs in this country is related to the agriculture industry. The agricultural growth act proposes to keep these jobs safe and secure, but that can only be done through modernizing our current antiquated legislation and by improving Canadian access to the latest farming technology.
Exports are part of the solution, but what we grow here is the other part. Members may recall that during the last Parliament, Motion No. 460 was debated. It read:
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should ensure that production management tools available to Canadian farmers are similar to those of other national jurisdictions by considering equivalent scientific research and agricultural regulatory approval processes by Health Canada, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
I was glad that the motion was adopted by the House, but I did not get help from the NDP, which I find strange. It is clear that it does not support the idea, but do members know who does support it? Farmers. Who is fulfilling the promise to farmers? Our Conservative government.
During the 2011 federal election, the Conservative Party platform said:
Like other businesspeople, Canadian farmers want access to the latest innovations, to succeed in the global economy. Unfortunately, long and burdensome approval processes imposed by the federal government are preventing Canadian farmers from obtaining the best fertilizers, pesticides, and veterinary drugs available on the market. We will revise current approval processes to allow for international equivalencies in such products. We will eliminate needless duplication, while protecting our national sovereignty and maintaining the highest safety standards.
What did the stakeholders tell us about this at committee? The president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, for example, said in October 2014:
...allowing the CFIA the opportunity to use data that is sourced externally to Canada, not having to be reproduced, and to use data that is from a country that is considered to be equivalent to the standards in Canada is, I think, a significant improvement in terms of allowing the CFIA the freedom to operate, and reducing that administrative burden of recreating data that would be already acceptable in terms of identifying the safety and the ability to use that product in Canada.
Our bill would do this. Indeed, we have such a strong belief in this idea that clauses 56, 67, 77, and 96 of Bill , the agricultural growth act, would implement this idea. The amendments proposed in Bill would provide the CFIA with stronger tools to fulfill its mandate to protect Canada's plant and animal resource base. The changes would provide additional reassurance that imported agricultural products meet Canadian requirements. Those are strict requirements. Bill would be part of our government's strong agricultural agenda—and I am not alone in seeing Bill as a key milestone for Canada's agriculture sector.
The Grain Growers of Canada, the Canadian Seed Trade Association, and the Canadian Horticultural Council are only a few of the many agricultural organizations anxiously waiting for the proposed legislation.
New, stronger border controls for agricultural products are urgently needed. Bill would respond to that. It would give inspectors from the CFIA the authority to have important shipments of feeds, fertilizers, or seeds that do not meet legal requirements to be ordered out of Canada. That would be similar to the current treatment of imported plants and animals that do not meet those requirements now.
Canadian farmers would benefit because they would be competing on a level playing field with their international counterparts. That is so important because Canadian consumers would benefit from a strengthened food safety regime.
To be clear, the CFIA already takes action to seize illegal animal feeds, seeds, fertilizers, and related products. Bill , however, would propose to update that as we do this.
In some cases, under the current process, seizure of illegal products is followed by lengthy and costly court proceedings and, at that time, Canada must pay to dispose of those illegal products. Members can see that being able to order the products out of the country becomes a much more efficient and a much more practical procedure.
At the same time, Bill would give CFIA inspectors the ability to allow the importer to fix the problem at the border, if there are no safety concerns and if the inspector can be certain that the issue would be addressed.
It has been an honour and privilege for me to make this presentation on Bill on behalf of our government and I look forward to addressing any of the questions or comments that may come forward.
Mr. Speaker, I suspect that if I asked to have the debate continue, it would probably be denied, so I will not ask.
However, I will pick up on the point the member just made reference to. Canada is a vast land. Our population is around 35 million, but land-wise we produce the best food in the world. If we look at our agricultural production as a whole, it is estimated that around 80% of all the food we produce here in Canada goes to foreign markets. Canada is very much the bread basket of the world, and our potential is so great.
When we look forward to the many Liberal Party policies, one of the ones I often refer to is the area of trade. We recognize the value of trade. For me, being from the Prairies, the bread basket of Canada, at least in good part, when we look at our agricultural communities, it is through trade that we will be able to increase opportunities and generate jobs in the future and provide good quality food and consumable products, not only here in Canada but also around the world.
The Liberal Party's agriculture critic has done a wonderful job in taking the bill from its origins, bringing it to committee, and even bringing forward amendments to the legislation, recognizing that we believe that our farmers, in particular our small farmers, need to have a strong advocate here in the House. The critic has done that. Even the chair of the agriculture committee just put on the record the point of about his consistency in being there for our small farmers. That is something I know he takes to heart.
We had him in Manitoba, where we had a wonderful tour of a chicken processing plant. There were thousands of birds being processed every day and then being distributed all over Canada, far beyond our Manitoba borders. This is a realization of jobs and economic activity and some of the best product in the world.
Our leader has asked us to go out and communicate with Canadians. A big part of that for me personally is to go out and meet other farmers. I have referred in the past to the dairy farm. We know how important supply management is to Canada and our economy in ensuring that we have good quality dairy products and many other products. I had taken the opportunity to tour a dairy farm just to get a better sense of supply management and the positive impact it has in Canada in providing protection for good quality product, protection for our farmers and so forth.
Bill is all about markets. One of the Conservative speakers mentioned international markets. In order to achieve success in our international markets, we have to make sure that our industry is going in the right direction. We have to have regulations to ensure quality. If a product has a maple leaf associated with it, consumers, no matter where they live in the world, can count on it being of world-class quality. Consumers all around the world will pay even that much more knowing it is coming from Canada.
Nowhere is that more significant than with wheat. I have had the opportunity, in different capacities, to witness its success. Driving on Highway 2, or Highway 1, one can see rows of combines harvesting tonnes of wheat in the fall. Here I could talk a little about the government's inability to get that product to the Pacific to get on to those empty ships, but that is for another day.
However, our farmers have a great sense of pride in the production of food. Many of us take this for granted. We go to a grocery store and we buy the consumer products we need, but it is our farmers who put those products on our tables. I do not think we give them enough recognition or the recognition they deserve. We, in the Liberal Party, believe we should acknowledge the important role of our farmers and stakeholders, those many industry representatives who came before the agriculture committee to make presentations and who wanted to improve the bill.
The Liberal critic brought forward several amendments. Unfortunately, they did not pass because the government was not open amendments. The New Democratic Party also attempted to make changes. However, the government does not recognize that overall this is a good bill, but it could have been better. Had the Conservatives listened to what the different stakeholders, including opposition critics, were saying, we would be debating and ultimately passing a better bill.
With the leadership that has been demonstrated from our critic, we will support Bill when it comes to a vote. On that note, the government could have done better.