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Results: 1 - 15 of 87
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you for your excellent statements. Those were really informative statements, and they aligned nicely with what we heard at our last meeting. You have some really positive messages.
One of them, I think, is that farmers have a vested interest in the welfare of their animals. This is not always apparent in some of the articles we read, where the farmer is sometimes pitted against his or her own animals. That's just not the reality.
The other thing that was particularly interesting, Tina, was your presentation on science, and that science very much has a role to play here; that is, providing scientific data and feedback into the system to establish these standards.
You did raise a point about changes to the department in terms of government scientists, and it's true that the changes in the department will affect some government scientists, but what I can say is that we have tried to focus those changes in areas where industry can take a much stronger leadership role.
I will just give an example, regarding what Mike had said and what we heard from the Egg Farmers of Canada at our last meeting. There are very strong sectors here in Canada. They are part of clusters, or have cluster applications. There's a matching of 50-50 funding. We're still involved, of course, in the funding, but that industry takes the lead is quite appropriate, I think, and that they match government funding is quite appropriate too. Of course, we have other funding initiatives, like NFACC, as well.
So while it's true that government scientists are affected or will be affected by some of these changes, as I say, we have tried to focus them in areas where industry is well equipped to take on a stronger leadership role.
Let me just ask my first question about that.
Mike, I think you said animal welfare is in the top three priorities, for example, of what a cluster might do. Could you perhaps enlighten us on a few of the initiatives that the cluster would see as high priorities in terms of animal welfare?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay.
Let me follow that up with a question for Tina, I guess, who's involved in the science and research aspect of it.
You spoke a bit about outputs. In other words, scientists study from a scientific approach, and they provide data to, for example, a codes of practice organization who would develop codes of practice. But do you also get inputs from the industry?
In other words, would you have an interface with the cluster that would say, well, this is important to us, that is important to us, we'd like to know more about this, and we'd like to more about that, which then has some sort of input over where you and your fellow scientists would orient your research?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
I'll answer them. As my colleagues know, Chair, I have all the answers.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Pierre Lemieux: First of all, thanks for being here.
I'm very glad that there was some discussion about the vested interest farmers have in the care of their animals. That's really important because sometimes this discussion gets polarized immediately, that somehow farmers are against animal welfare when in fact the animals, their livestock, particularly when it comes to birds, are their living. They very much have a vested interest in caring for their birds and livestock.
I do have a question about how your three organizations communicate with the public. For example, I know that the National Farm Animal Care Council exists, but I would bet that the average Canadian doesn't know that. I know many of the details that are contained in the table. For example, moving the birds off the ground reduces the incidence of mites and bone breakage. It removes feces because it just falls through the cage and is taken away for further processing.
When there are organizations or people who are very concerned about animal welfare, they may pick some isolated examples, but they move right into the public realm and they interface with the public on a very emotional level. You've got very well organized groups, and you definitely have communication tools at your disposal. Do you see value in your organizations also communicating directly with the public to counteract some of this?
I think there are two scenarios being painted for the public. One is being painted that somehow farmers aren't caring for their animals properly, and on the other side, there's not much.
Could you comment on that?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
There is, of course, messaging that you have to decide you want to communicate to the consumer.
Activist groups are talking to the consumer. The consumer is talking to the retailer but not necessarily with you. The retailer then makes a huge policy change that actually impacts your farmers, when in fact animal welfare is at the core of what you do, but it's just that it wasn't known, it wasn't defended, and now a big policy change has been driven through by your retailers.
I think plugging into retailers is good, but I'm concerned that the public is not hearing the good animal welfare story we have to tell, particularly here in Canada. Instead, they are hearing activist groups which are using isolated examples.
I think if we juxtaposed a number in terms of how many birds lay eggs in Canada every year against an isolated incident that is perhaps used by a group to promote what it is they want to get across, it would be way out of whack.
We have a good animal welfare story to tell, but I think it has to get out to the public because it's the public that they're targeting. Working with retailers is good, but I'm also encouraging working with the public.
Robin, could I quickly hear from you on that?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Thanks very much, Chair.
Thank you to our witnesses for being here today.
I would like to discuss some of the issues in regard to the movement of alcohol between provinces. Certainly, this agriculture committee travelled across Canada a few years ago, and we met with the wine industry. There was great frustration, in that our Canadian wine industry is very competitive, but it's easier for them to sell their product internationally than it is to sell it interprovincially to other Canadians.
In the course of this study, we've had the same types of challenges raised, a little less so by the wine industry now, because Dan Albas had his private member's bill, which was supported by the grape industry and the wine industry in terms of being able to sell their product more easily through the removal of barriers to interprovincial trade.
We've had representatives from the beer industry, for example, and representatives from the spirits industry, who also made reference to the fact that there are barriers—and some of them are federal barriers—to the movement of spirits and beer between provinces. I have an example in my own riding, where a very successful microbrewery is penetrating the U.S. before it will penetrate a neighbouring province. Because of all the hurdles in penetrating the neighbouring provinces, it's actually easier and probably more cost-effective for them to go into the States.
Brian, I'd like to ask you this, because I think some of these things are overseen by the Revenue Canada. Can you tell us what regulations of a federal nature there are right now that inhibit the transfer or sale of spirits and beer among provinces? Why don't we start with that?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Right. I think witnesses who came before this committee would greatly appreciate that.
Both on the reg side and on the Revenue Canada side, what impact do you think that would have on the spirits industry and on the liquor industry? Would there be a positive outcome from those types of changes?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
From a tax perspective, I would imagine an open market is a good thing in that if companies have that greater latitude to sell their products into a wider marketplace, their sales go up and our tax revenues go up.
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
How about on the agriculture side, in the interaction with the industry and what you're hearing from them?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
I just wanted to ask, on the spirits side, about interprovincial regulations. Are there things that inhibit the transfer of spirits back and forth between provinces, or not really?
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
My question has a provincial flavour to it because we're talking about the LCBO, but on the supply chain I guess I'm looking at it more from the angle of consumer access to your product.
Right now consumers know that if you want to buy spirits, you have to go to the LCBO. If there were another type of distribution chain outside the LCBO, would you expect consumption to go up, or would you simply expect the consumer to say, “Boy, I'm really glad I can go to any store now within a 500-metre distance and not drive two kilometres to the LCBO”?
Do you find that the distribution chain in effect right now is actually inhibiting sales, or are there other factors at play that might be taking sales away? It might be price points. It might be all sorts of things.
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
So that adds to the price. You're basically saying if there were a more efficient, more effective distribution system, the cost of your product would go down, which means that it would easier for consumers to buy more of it.
A voice: Margins.
View Pierre Lemieux Profile
CPC (ON)
In my remaining minute here, could you tell me about how you would exploit an export market? Can you give me an example of an export market and how you would export your product into that market to take full advantage of it?
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