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Minutes of Proceedings

43rd Parliament, 1st Session
Meeting 3
Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 3:31 p.m. to 5:05 p.m.
Presiding
Pat Finnigan, Chair (Liberal)

Library of Parliament
• Corentin Bialais, Analyst
• Natacha Kramski, Analyst
• Joanne Markle Lamontagne, Analyst
The committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to Committee business.

ORDERED, — That the Chair send a letter to the Chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade, informing her that the committee has studied the subject matter of clauses 44, 46, 53 and 59 of Bill C-4, An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States, that the committee heard from officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and from the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food as well as stakeholders, and that the committee conveys their testimony to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

It was agreed, — That the committee proceed to sit in public.

At 3:42 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 3:43 p.m., the sitting resumed in public.

Motion

John Barlow moved, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee, in light of the Agriculture Minister’s public comments on needing more evidence of how the federal carbon tax is affecting farmers, and given the current fuel charge exemption under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act does not include all fuels used on farms; that the Committee undertake a comprehensive study of the cumulative impact the federal carbon tax has on farming operations across Canada; that the study include an assessment of current agricultural practices and innovation already in place to improve conservation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve management of the carbon cycle; that the study consist of at least 8 meetings; that the committee at minimum hear from the Minister of Agriculture and department officials, producers, farm groups, commodity groups, provincial Agriculture Ministers and the Parliamentary Budget Officer; that the committee report its findings, including its recommendations, to the House and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Debate arose thereon.

Amendment

Kody Blois moved, — That the motion be amended by replacing all the words after “108(2), the committee” with the following: “recognizing that in order for the Government of Canada to meet its Paris Climate Accord, investments in rural communities, particularly the agricultural sector will be key: therefore, the committee shall study ways in which the Government of Canada can partner, support and/or invest directly on farms to help farmers and producers to reduce energy costs and adopt new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; that the committee shall also study existing sustainability, carbon capture, and greenhouse gas reduction initiatives already being used in practice by farmers and explore whether these could be expanded; that the committee shall allocate at least 8 meetings towards this study, unless a majority of its members agree otherwise; that the committee shall allow, but are not limited to, industry stakeholders, experts, and farmers to provide testimony on best practices, and take into consideration the opportunities for investment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across many different agricultural sectors; that the Standing Committee prepare a report of its findings, including recommendations, to be tabled to the House”.

Debate arose thereon.

At 3:52 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 4:02 p.m., the sitting resumed.

RULING BY THE CHAIR

The Chair ruled the proposed amendment inadmissible, as it was outside the scope of the main motion.

By unanimous consent, the motion was withdrawn.

Motion

John Barlow moved, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee, recognizing in order for the Government of Canada to meet its Paris Climate Accord, and investments in rural communities, and given the current fuel charge exemption under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act does not include all fuels used on farms; the committee undertake a comprehensive study of the cumulative impact of the carbon tax on farming operations in Canada: therefore, the committee shall study ways to reduce energy costs and adopt new technology on farms and rural communities; that the study consist of at least 8 meetings; that the committee, at minimum, hear from the Minister of Agriculture and department officials, producers, farm groups, commodity groups, provincial Agriculture Ministers and the Parliamentary Budget Officer; that the committee report its findings, including its recommendations, to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Debate arose thereon.

Amendment

Kody Blois moved, — That the motion be amended by adding after the words “rural communities,” the following: “particularly the agricultural sector will be key,”; by replacing the words “to reduce energy costs and adopt new technology on farms and rural communities” with the following: “in which the Government of Canada can partner, support and/or invest directly on farms to help farmers and producers reduce energy costs and adopt new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Kody Blois and it was agreed to.

The Committee resumed consideration of the motion, as amended, of John Barlow, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee, recognizing in order for the Government of Canada to meet its Paris Climate Accord, and investments in rural communities, particularly the agricultural sector will be key, and given the current fuel charge exemption under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act does not include all fuels used on farms; the committee undertake a comprehensive study of the cumulative impact of the carbon tax on farming operations in Canada: therefore, the committee shall study ways in which the Government of Canada can partner, support and/or invest directly on farms to help farmers and producers reduce energy costs and adopt new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; that the study consist of at least 8 meetings; that the committee, at minimum, hear from the Minister of Agriculture and department officials, producers, farm groups, commodity groups, provincial Agriculture Ministers and the Parliamentary Budget Officer; that the committee report its findings, including its recommendations, to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

The debate continued.

Amendment

Yves Perron moved, — That the motion be amended by adding after the words “greenhouse gas emissions;” the following: “that the study include assessment of current agriculture practices and innovations already in place to improve conservation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve management of the carbon cycle;”.

Debate arose thereon.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Yves Perron and it was agreed to.

The Committee resumed consideration of the motion, as amended, of John Barlow, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee, recognizing in order for the Government of Canada to meet its Paris Climate Accord, and investments in rural communities, particularly the agricultural sector will be key, and given the current fuel charge exemption under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act does not include all fuels used on farms; the committee undertake a comprehensive study of the cumulative impact of the carbon tax on farming operations in Canada: therefore, the committee shall study ways in which the Government of Canada can partner, support and/or invest directly on farms to help farmers and producers reduce energy costs and adopt new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; that the study include assessment of current agriculture practices and innovations already in place to improve conservation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve management of the carbon cycle; that the study consist of at least 8 meetings; that the committee, at minimum, hear from the Minister of Agriculture and department officials, producers, farm groups, commodity groups, provincial Agriculture Ministers and the Parliamentary Budget Officer; that the committee report its findings, including its recommendations, to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

The debate continued.

Amendment

Yves Perron moved, — That the motion be amended by adding after the words “carbon cycle” the following: “as well as other industry efforts to reduce environmental impacts, such as reductions in plastic use and alternative farming methods”.

Debate arose thereon.

By unanimous consent, the amendment was withdrawn.

After debate, the question was put on the motion, as amended, and it was agreed to.

The motion, as amended, read as follows:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee, recognizing in order for the Government of Canada to meet its Paris Climate Accord, and investments in rural communities, particularly the agricultural sector will be key, and given the current fuel charge exemption under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act does not include all fuels used on farms; the committee undertake a comprehensive study of the cumulative impact of the carbon tax on farming operations in Canada: therefore, the committee shall study ways in which the Government of Canada can partner, support or invest directly on farms to help farmers and producers to reduce energy costs and adopt new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; that the study include assessment of current agriculture practices and innovations already in place to improve conservation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve management of the carbon cycle; that the study consist of at least 8 meetings; that the committee, at minimum, hear from the Minister of Agriculture and department officials, producers, farm groups, commodity groups, provincial Agriculture Ministers and the Parliamentary Budget Officer; that the committee report its findings, including its recommendations, to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Motion

Alistair MacGregor moved, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee conduct a comprehensive study into the Business Risk Management (BRM) suite of programs to ensure that they are adequately meeting the challenges of farming in the 21st century; that this study include hearing from witnesses with specific knowledge of how the BRM suite of programs are or are not currently meeting the needs of farmers; that no fewer than three meetings be held to hear from witnesses; and that the committee report its findings with recommendations back to the House of Commons.

Debate arose thereon.

On motion of Yves Perron, it was agreed, — That the motion be amended by adding after the words “House of Commons” the following: “and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report”.

The Committee resumed consideration of the motion, as amended, of Alistair MacGregor, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee conduct a comprehensive study into the Business Risk Management (BRM) suite of programs to ensure that they are adequately meeting the challenges of farming in the 21st century; that this study include hearing from witnesses with specific knowledge of how the BRM suite of programs are or are not currently meeting the needs of farmers; that no fewer than three meetings be held to hear from witnesses; and that the committee report its findings with recommendations back to the House of Commons; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

The debate continued.

Amendment

Francis Drouin moved, — That the motion be amended by adding after the words “Business risk Management (BRM) suite of programs” the following: “to do a gap analysis, identify improvements,”.

Debate arose thereon.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Francis Drouin and it was agreed to.

The Committee resumed consideration of the motion, as amended, of Alistair MacGregor, — That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee conduct a comprehensive study into the Business Risk Management (BRM) suite of programs to do a gap analysis, identify improvements, to ensure that they are adequately meeting the challenges of farming in the 21st century; that this study include hearing from witnesses with specific knowledge of how the BRM suite of programs are or are not currently meeting the needs of farmers; that no fewer than three meetings be held to hear from witnesses; and that the committee report its findings with recommendations back to the House of Commons and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

The debate continued.

Amendment

Yves Perron moved, — That the motion be amended by replacing the word “three” with the word “six”.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Yves Perron and it was agreed to.

After debate, the question was put on the motion, as amended, and it was agreed to.

The motion, as amended, read as follows:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee conduct a comprehensive study into the Business Risk Management (BRM) suite of programs to do a gap analysis, identify improvements, to ensure that they are adequately meeting the challenges of farming in the 21st century; that this study include hearing from witnesses with specific knowledge of how the BRM suite of programs are or are not currently meeting the needs of farmers; that no fewer than six meetings be held to hear from witnesses; that the committee report its findings with recommendations back to the House of Commons; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Motion

Yves Perron moved, — That the committee undertake a study of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for agricultural and agri-food workers, identifying the irritants and administrative constraints, and make recommendations on updating the program to make it more flexible; that the committee report its recommendations to the House and that it ask the government to table a response in accordance with Standing Order 109.

Debate arose thereon.

Amendment

Alistair MacGregor moved, — That the motion be amended by adding after the word “flexible” the following: “that no fewer than six meetings be held to hear from witnesses;”.

After debate, the question was put on the amendment of Alistair MacGregor and it was negatived.

Debate resumed on the main motion

On motion of Lianne Rood, it was agreed, — That the debate be now adjourned.

On motion of Lianne Rood, it was agreed, — That the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food be invited to appear before the committee on the subject of Supplementary Estimates (B) 2019-20.

Motion

Lianne Rood moved, — That the study of the cumulative impact of the carbon tax on farming operations in Canada be the first study undertaken by the committee.

Debate arose thereon.

The question was put on the motion and it was negatived.

Motion

Neil R. Ellis moved, — That the study of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs be the first study undertaken by the committee.

Debate arose thereon.

After debate, the question was put on the motion and it was agreed to.

It was agreed, — That members would submit ranked witness lists to the clerk for the study on Business Risk Management programs, and the study of the cumulative impact of the carbon tax on farming operations in Canada, by Friday, February 28, 2020.

Motion

Neil R. Ellis moved, — That the committee do now adjourn.

At 5:05 p.m., the committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.



Aimée Belmore
Clerk of the Committee