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Results: 61 - 75 of 75
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2012-02-07 17:36 [p.4987]
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to speak to this bill and actually close debate before we vote on the report stage motions.
Seventeen years ago, when the Liberal Party first brought in Bill C-68, they promised that the gun registry would cost Canadians $2 million. Here we are 17 years later and the cost is estimated to be around $2 billion. That is a horrendous difference in cost.
Bill C-19, on which we will be voting very soon, is a piece of legislation that is as hot in my riding and as aggressively debated against in this country as any piece of legislation that we have before this House, and this is after 17 years. I would suggest it is aggressively argued against because of the wrong direction in which the original bill, Bill C-68, was going and it has not changed course.
I am from a rural area. I understand full well the importance of farmers looking after their livestock and being able to use a rifle to protect their property from predatory animals. A gun is a very important tool on a farm.
However, the registry has targeted law-abiding citizens. If they are not prepared to register a gun, they become criminals in this country. It is long overdue for change. We will have an opportunity in a few minutes to actually make the changes that are needed, to redirect a wrong-headed idea on where this country should be going with regard to keeping our streets safe.
We have listened to the opponents on the other side, the NDP in particular, for the best part of those 17 years. The members were on the side of getting rid of the long gun registry until it came to a vote. Then they said they were just kidding. They went even one step further and disciplined a couple of members in their party who had decided to follow the will of their constituents. That is inappropriate when it comes to a piece of legislation like this because of the impact it has on law-abiding citizens in rural Canada.
I can understand someone living in downtown Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, or any of the large centres in this country, looking at this piece of legislation and asking why anyone should have a handgun or rifle because they have no need for them and some of the violent crimes happening on the streets in our cities would lead one to the idea that these guns should not be there.
A long gun registry does not have anything to do with handguns. Handguns and restricted weapons have been included in a registry since the 1930s. Nothing will change there. In fact, going one step further, we believe that the individuals should be licensed and not the guns.
The country will remember an incident which happened in my riding which lends itself to this argument. It has to do with the “fallen four”. A man by the name of James Roszko, when he was 12 years old, was into drugs and was up on drug charges. When he was 17 years old, he was stealing ammunition and firearms from Canadian Tire stores. By the time he was 44, he was killing RCMP officers. The gun he used in that terrible incident was registered. The long gun registry does not save anyone's life. It does not protect any RCMP officers. It does not keep our streets one bit safer. The proof is in that it is the individual who has to be targeted.
I mention this incident because that individual was before a judge 44 times and was convicted 12 times in a catch and release system that has permeated the criminal justice system and put people on the streets who should not be there and who cause harm to law-abiding citizens of this country.
The argument from many of my colleagues in the House is that the long gun registry keeps our streets safer and that the chiefs of police say that we should keep it. I have asked the constables in my riding who supposedly work with the long gun registry all the time if they are for or against the gun registry, if it helps them keep the streets safe, and if it is something they use on a continual basis, as has been alleged by the opposition. They said there is nothing that makes their job more difficult, more compromised than the long gun registry because of how clumsy it is and the paperwork that is involved. They spend more time in the office doing paperwork than out on the streets keeping people safe.
Those are not my words; those are the words of constables with whom I have spoken directly, who deal with keeping our streets safe on a day-to-day basis.
When I look at the long gun registry, I ask if it has helped at all. I would say it has hindered a lot of things. I would say it is targeting the wrong people. It is not because we do not want to keep our streets safe, because we do, but we do not want to use this vehicle to do it. We have to target the crime and deal with the problem that is at hand to ensure that Canadians are safe. That is the obligation of a federal government. We are compelled to do that.
How do we do that? We put more law enforcement officers on the streets. We make certain that we change the laws to stop this catch and release system that seems to have permeated our criminal justice system over the last number of years.
We bring in legislation and what do opposition members do? They criticize it and vote against it, similar to what they did with the long gun registry. Even though they said they were against it for 15 years or more, when it came to a vote, they bailed and decided that they were just kidding and just playing games with their constituents.
We are not playing games with our constituents tonight. I would encourage everyone in the House to consider soberly who they represent when they sit in their seats in the House of Commons. The seats should have the names of whom we represent, because it is their seats we are actually sitting in. They are saying loud and clear to me that this long gun registry is attacking them and it has to go.
We know there are criminal elements out there. The crime and violence committed by gang members in an urban setting will not be mitigated by the long gun registry. Handguns, illegal guns are the weapons being used to commit crimes and compromise the safety of our streets in urban settings. I say to anyone who thinks the long gun registry will save them and make their streets safer in an urban setting, that would not be the case. We do not have to convince people in a rural setting, because they know exactly what is involved with the long gun registry and how it absolutely does not make their lives safer. In fact, it targets them as criminals.
As we have this debate on the long gun registry, it is very important that we think soberly about the people we represent in this country. For 17 years they have been victimized by the long gun registry. It is time we got rid of the long gun registry. It is time to treat our rural people with the respect they deserve. We must do the right thing, which is to vote against the long gun registry so it will no longer be there. This legislation will correct once and for all an injustice that was done to the rural people of this country.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2012-02-06 14:03 [p.4883]
Mr. Speaker, today the Prime Minister is on his way to China to promote alternative markets for Canada's commodities.
Much has been said about the northern gateway pipeline, which would move energy from Canada to the Asian markets. Those who oppose this pipeline claim environmental concerns but these are not justified.
Farmers and residents in my riding are quite knowledgeable about the latest technology in pipeline construction. In fact, this line would come within a kilometre of my own home and would run right through our family farm, and we have no environmental concerns.
A pipeline to Asia would not only be safe but it would also create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth. Not only would it create opportunities and new technologies that would keep our air, water and land clean, but also create wealth to establish our social programs for generations to come.
The official opposition in the House wants to shut down both the pipeline and the entire oil sands industry in Alberta. This is driven by ideology, not logic; by fear-mongering, not science. This is just an example of how really out of touch it is.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2012-02-01 14:52 [p.4707]
Mr. Speaker, our hard-working Minister of International Trade just finished a successful trade mission to Libya.
When Canadian companies build business partnerships with Libya, stability and prosperity follows and it only contributes to Libya's rebuilding.
We also know that the Prime Minister's commitment to helping Libya transition into a peaceful democracy based on rule of law and respect of human rights will also be accomplished.
Could the minister tell this House why this trade mission is so absolutely important to Libya and Canada at this important junction in history?
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-11-23 16:04 [p.3474]
Madam Speaker, the questions from my hon. colleagues across the way concern debate on the closure motion. That is what we are debating right now.
For the information of members, I had the privilege of serving on the legislative committee on the Wheat Board. Time was allocated to the committee. There were 64 clauses. If opposition members wished to debate any of the amendments that were put forward, they were allowed to debate them. The time was allocated and we did not use up all of the time. Why not? Because there were not enough amendments to utilize all of the time. That drives right to the question.
This legislation is important to farmers. It is not about destroying the Wheat Board; it about allowing farmers an option. They would have the pool option or an alternative option. We will not throw them in jail just because they move their product to an alternative source. I wonder if the—
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-11-23 17:26 [p.3481]
Madam Speaker, I listened to the comments of my colleague and absolutely nothing could be further from the truth.
She asked why we were not listening to farmers. We are absolutely listening to farmers. We are not throwing farmers in jail anymore the way that previous governments have because they took their grain, their product, and tried to get the best value they possibly could for it.
In recent years, since that incident took place, farmers have been speaking with their seed drills every spring. They seed a crop for which they get world price. That world price is paid for Canola, mainly on the prairies, which has now outstripped wheat as the number one commodity of choice. Why? It is because they are getting world price for it. Why? It is because it is outside the Wheat Board's mandate.
The study, on which we heard testimony in committee, and my hon. colleague was there and heard it, too, showed that farmers today are subsidizing the Wheat Board and the single desk by somewhere between $400 million to $600 million a year.
My hon. colleague asked why we as government are moving this along. It is because farmers need that freedom of choice.
How can my hon. colleague stand in her place and advocate for farmers when she really does not have many farmers in her riding, not like the rest of the prairies. She should respect what happened on May 2, which is--
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-11-22 14:59 [p.3411]
Mr. Speaker, our government is defending Canada's interests around the world, and why would we not? That is what we were elected to do and that is what Canadians expect us to do. Meanwhile, the NDP consistently tries to undermine Canada's interests, whether that is in Europe or whether that is in the United States.
Would the Minister of Natural Resources give the House an update on the latest ridiculous NDP anti-trade mission?
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-11-01 14:12 [p.2798]
Mr. Speaker, it is hard to address all the glaring factual inaccuracies that the NDP has been spewing recently in the Toronto Star, but let me try.
The NDP has claimed that we are delisting and declassifying firearms. This is completely false. Bill C-19 does not address the process in which firearms are classified as non-restricted.
The process in which firearms are determined to be non-registered was laid out by the previous Liberal government of 1995. Our government has made no changes to that process since coming into office.
Let me be clear: the ending of the long gun registry act does exactly what that title suggests. We are putting an end to the wasteful, ineffective system that has not prevented one single crime. We promised to end the long gun registry, and rather than flip-flopping like the NDP, we are keeping our promise to Canadians.
I would like to call on the NDP to stop its false and misleading statements, get on board and support Bill C-19 when it comes to a vote right here in just a few short hours.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-10-20 13:54 [p.2274]
Mr. Speaker, I could not agree with my colleague more when it comes to the Wheat Board.
At home we farm about 3,000 acres. I have a son who is looking after it at the present time. He is still combining and trying to get the crop off, but he asks me why he is getting a world price for canola outside the board but not getting a world price for wheat, which is in the board.
I would like to know what my colleague would say to my son and I would like to ask that question to the opposition. Obviously none of those members actually farms wheat or canola and understands exactly what is happening at the farm gate. The real question should be how much the Wheat Board is costing at the farm gate today, because it is very significant.
Could my colleague come up with an answer that would satisfy my son?
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-10-20 14:17 [p.2279]
Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on what really matters to Canadians which is, creating jobs and economic growth.
Instead of working with us, the NDP caucus members have become so disunited that they are contradicting each other on important issues that are important to Canada, and particularly western Canada.
Yesterday, the NDP leader tried to argue, wrongly, that Parliament could not amend legislation that would give farmers marketing freedom.
One of her own colleagues, the member for Winnipeg Centre, said that he actually did not buy her argument.
Now, I seldom agree with him, but on this one I do. In fact, he recognized that our legislation can give farmers the freedom that they are asking for. Unfortunately, his leader does not agree with him.
This contradictory position from the NDP is just yet another worrying example of how weak and disunited the NDP is and that it is nowhere even close to being fit to govern.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-10-20 15:44 [p.2293]
Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague intently. In response to the kind of issues he put forward with regard to the Wheat Board I would use a term that he has used many times in the House, “total horse feathers”.
As a farmer I understand full well exactly what he is talking about. I was the minister in charge of railways and I am aware of the issues regarding rail and the rail service review. It has been announced that legislation is coming with regard to the protection of railways. However, that is not the gist of my question.
My hon. colleague said that the Wheat Board is actually capitalizing on a better price for wheat for farmers in western Canada. If there was a shred of evidence of that being true, then farmers in Saskatchewan and Alberta would not be loading their grain cars and trying to run the border to get across to the other side to get a better price for their product, especially when they will be thrown in jail by that government for that act. The opposite would be happening. Americans would be loading their grain cars trying to rush the northern border to capitalize on a better rate through the Wheat Board. That is just the logic of it.
The real question is how much it is costing farmers in western Canada at the farm gate to support and subsidize the Wheat Board because that is what is happening.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-10-20 15:54 [p.2295]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to split my time with the hon. member for Medicine Hat.
This is an important issue that is near and dear to my heart, and the comments I am going to make this afternoon are biased, I admit. I am going to fess up right off the bat that I am a farmer. My son is actually the fourth generation on our farm so agriculture goes back a long way in our family. I have produced wheat and barley every year for the last 30 to 40 years, and my comments are biased because I will do and say anything I possibly can to support the farm family and agriculture in western Canada.
When my son wanted to take over the family farm, I tried to discourage him because I knew how difficult agriculture is. It is a very demanding occupation. So I told him to go and get a business education and I would teach him how to farm. So he got a business education and now he is teaching me how to farm. It is amazing what our young entrepreneurs in agriculture are doing and can accomplish. It is phenomenal to see how the industry has developed and is unbelievably engaging.
It is interesting to look at the trumped-up survey from this summer that the opposition members refer to so often. Believe me, farmers have been voting loud and clear and not just because of the 52 out of 56 seats that were won in the May election. They were voting with their seed drills and they have been doing it for a decade or more every spring when they grow products such as canola that are outside the Wheat Board.
Canola has outstripped wheat as the number one commodity in Canada and that is not an accident but it is because the farmers are getting the world price for their canola. They are not getting the world price for their wheat. Because of canola being outside the Wheat Board, farmers have the flexibility to manage and market and get those dollars into their pocket to handle the farm income in a way that enables them to handle the risks of their business. This is important.
The other thing about the survey and why I say it is trumped up is I have been farming for 40-plus years, all my life, growing barley or wheat every year and I never got a survey. I never had a chance to vote in this trumped-up survey. If farmers are missed like me in this survey and then those numbers are used to wail about what farmers really think, then the opposition has to soberly consider what it is doing and who it is representing.
It is not by accident that in the May election only four out of the fifty six seats in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, provinces controlled by the Wheat Board, did not go to the Conservative government. Where were those four seats? Two of them were in downtown Winnipeg, one in downtown Regina and one in downtown Edmonton. I have not seen a combine or a kernel of wheat or barley in any one of those ridings ever.
So when members look at this piece of legislation, they should put aside ideology and do the right thing for agriculture and for farmers. Let us just for a second assume that the monopoly of the Wheat Board, if it is dual-marketed, is going to compromise the value at the farm gate. Then they would never have to worry about it because every farmer is astute enough to market their grain where they will get the best value for it. If that is the Wheat Board, that is where they will go. If that happens, nothing will change.
However, all this bill would do is allow farmers the opportunity to market their grain where they feel they can get better value for that dollar. If they can get a better value for the bushel of wheat or barley in an independent way by another avenue, then the question has to be asked how that can possibly be when the Wheat Board has a monopoly and has the inside track on getting the best value for farmers.
As I said a few minutes ago, if it were true that farmers were getting the best value for their wheat and barley, American farmers would be bringing their wheat here to capitalize on that marketing opportunity. That is not the case. The opposite is the case and there is a reason for it and it is that farmers are astute enough to understand their business plan and understand what is in their best interests as they move forward.
It is very important to say that this has to happen in conjunction with what was announced by our government on rail freight and transportation. The success of our country is really going to depend upon how well we can access international markets, how well and how fast we can get our canolas, wheats and barleys, our products and commodities to markets overseas. That is really where the growth lies.
As a government we put $3.6 billion-plus into the Asia-Pacific gateway so that we can streamline that transportation system. We have seen in our a government a change in the way that railways have actually treated agriculture. Their on-car deliveries this last year was up to over 90% compared to the year before, where it was down to about 50%.
Why is that changing? It is because of the rail freight service review. We have actually forced the railways to have a service agreement with those industries and farmers who have producer cars and so on, and who are shipping their products.
It has to go hand in glove because the railways win when shippers win, and when shippers and railways both win then Canada wins. It is very important that we make certain to streamline that system, so that the system will be able to handle the kinds of demands and opportunities that are there.
It is interesting, when we look at agriculture, just how big it is. It has changed so much. Since the 1950s it has gone up 300%, the productivity level in agriculture. That is what we are actually doing on the farm.
Seventy six per cent of those young farmers, in this survey that is being referred to, said that they wanted to break the monopoly. They wanted to have the opportunity to capitalize on markets other than the monopoly of the Wheat Board. Even using this survey, when we start looking into the future of where we are going to go, that is really the question, where do we go from here? What is it going to look like after we have dual marketing?
We have lost productivity or opportunity for our world share in wheat. It has fallen 42% in the last 50 years. We have lost 42% in the ability to capture those markets. When it comes to barley, the numbers are even worse. It is two-thirds, 66% since the 1980s that we have lost in the ability to capitalize on those international markets.
Where does the future lie? The population of the world right now is about 6.9 billion, 7 billion. What is it going to be in 2020? It is expected to be 7.6 billion. That is 68 million more people to feed, every year in this world. Where is agriculture going to be? It is not the same today as it was in the 1930s, when the Wheat Board was first brought in by a Conservative government, and it was voluntary, not forced, not a monopoly.
We are saying we should break the monopoly and allow the opportunity to see if the Wheat Board actually can do the job for the farmers or not.
We are saying that we have grown in opportunity for agricultural exports, but not because of the Wheat Board. It is in spite of the Wheat Board. It was $39 billion that was traded in 2010. We are in the top five agricultural exporters in the world. That is something to be proud of. It is because of the quality of the product that it is in such demand around the world.
The price is not realized. We are not getting world prices for wheat. We are here to protect our farmers. We have to actually ensure we have the farmers' interests in mind as we stand and speak on this piece of legislation. This is a very important piece of legislation that we are committed to for our electorate.
Speaking of that, I get this all the time. The opposition is saying that farmers think this and farmers think that. Well, I happen to be one of those farmers. So I have to ask, is it just me or do I represent my riding? I have yet to have a piece of mail or a phone call from anyone in my riding, although I am sure there are some people out there, that supports the monopoly.
I have yet to have one of those people call my office and say, “Can you phone me back and explain why you are doing what you are doing?” All of them are saying, “We want freedom. We want choice”.
That is where we need to go with this piece of legislation. It is an unbelievable opportunity that we have before us for agriculture in this country, for the family farm in this country, but more than that as we grow this country and capitalize on those international markets that are ripe for the taking.
We look forward to this bill passing. We encourage everyone in this House to consider their support as we come down to the vote on this.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-10-20 16:05 [p.2296]
Mr. Speaker, I would love to answer that one.
We have had a number. We had one in May, which was an election for 56 potential seats. There was a platform before them to breaking the monopoly and 52 of the 56 voted expected the government to follow through on the obligation in that platform. From one perspective, that is a very strong mandate to ensure that we do the right thing for agriculture and for the prairie farmer.
More than that, just look at what the farmers themselves have been doing. Every spring they go out and decide what to grow, whether it be wheat, canola, lentils or peas. That is what those who are outside the board are growing. Why are they growing this? Because the opportunities to capitalize on world prices is there. If they were getting the best price in the world, they would be growing more wheat and barley, but they are not.
It is unfortunate that we do not have the same opportunity in the prairies that they do in the rest of the country. All we are saying is that there should be an opportunity for a fair and open system. We look forward to that opportunity for western farmers, the same as Ontario farmers and east of Ontario.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-10-20 16:07 [p.2297]
Mr. Speaker, what we want to do is respect the farmer in western Canada. When it comes to that independent survey, as a farmer for 40 years who did not even get an opportunity to vote or take part in it, that tells us a bit about the credibility of that survey.
Nonetheless, it is absolutely critical that we move forward on this. Farmers are speaking loud and clear with their seed drills and voting patterns to make certain that happens.
To answer the member's question in a more direct way, right now it is absolutely imperative that we get this legislation through as fast as we can to have certainty for farmers so they can determine what kind of chemicals and fertilizers to use this fall based on the kind of products they will grow come spring seeding.
This is all about planning and being an entrepreneur on the farm. There is no way the House should hold that up for anything more than what we already know is in the best interests of farmers. We look forward to the legislation passing very soon.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
View Rob Merrifield Profile
2011-09-29 14:07 [p.1643]
Mr. Speaker, in the beautiful riding of Yellowhead, something exceptional is going to happen in the month of October. This exceptional thing is the first annual dark sky festival.
In March, Jasper National Park became the world's largest dark sky preserve.
One might ask: what is a dark sky preserve? A dark sky preserve is an area established by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada to promote the visibility of night skies.
The federal government has invested a significant amount of money in our parks, which has created a significant number of jobs as well as an increase in tourism. A record number of Canadians and international tourists enjoyed beautiful Jasper this summer. This is significant to our economy, because tourism adds more to our GDP than agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting all combined. Jasper is an exceptionally beautiful place during the day, but in the evening the skies are breathtakingly beautiful.
Every Canadian should come out to Jasper. All Canadians should experience the beauty for themselves as we celebrate the very first dark sky festival.
View Rob Merrifield Profile
Madam Speaker, Canada Post is actually a great corporation and the employees great people.
It is unfortunate to see the kind of debate that has been going on over the last number of days. We have to ask the question, why is the NDP adamantly opposed to even putting the issue before an arbitrator?
When one side or the other is so opposed to going to arbitration like the NDP, which would just involve someone coming in to make a ruling that would be just for both sides, maybe they are on the wrong side of this issue.
Would my hon. colleague agree with that?
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