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Results: 1 - 9 of 9
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
2016-06-07 10:07 [p.4107]
moved that the third report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, presented to the House on Tuesday, May 17, be concurred in.
She said: Mr. Speaker, it is a true privilege today to rise and speak about the Canadian dairy industry as the member for Fundy Royal, the dairy centre of the Maritimes. The farmers in my riding contribute to approximately half of the province of New Brunswick's milk production. I am also particularly proud to rise today as the granddaughter of a dairy farmer, Reg Tabor, who probably never imagined that I would be here in this House delivering my maiden speech in support of Canadian dairy farmers.
I am standing here today to raise an important issue in this House on behalf of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. As stated in the tabled report, the government strongly supports supply management, dairy producers, and the Canadian dairy industry. Likewise as stated in the report, we recognize the magnitude of the issue of diafiltered milk to the Canadian dairy industry, and recognize the industry is calling for a resolution of the problem. Our government is actively engaged on the issue.
On May 2, 2016, our government announced its intention to initiate discussions within 30 days to help the dairy industry adjust to CETA. The government has delivered on that commitment, and continues its important and productive conversations with the industry. While meeting with stakeholders, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the parliamentary secretary discussed CETA, the issue of diafiltered milk, and sustainable solutions to modernize Canada's dairy industry.
The government is moving forward on all points in this report. I would like to point out that the government understands very well the challenges that milk producers face on a daily basis. In fact, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the parliamentary secretary were both dairy producers. The minister's farm is in Prince Edward Island while the parliamentary secretary's farm is now in its fourth generation in Quebec.
The supply-managed Canadian dairy sector is one of the largest agriculture and food sectors in the country and is essential to a strong and prosperous Canadian economy. It supports over 12,000 farms and farm families and 200,000 Canadian jobs; and contributes nearly $20 billion to the Canadian economy. On this side of the House, support for Canadian supply management is clear. Our system is a model of stability around the world. It provides a fair price for farmers; stability for processors; and safe, high-quality products for consumers at affordable prices. Supply management preserves and sustains Canadian farmers, farm families, and rural communities across this country, including in my riding of Fundy Royal.
Recently, I have found it shameful that the Conservative leadership contestant is advocating for an end to this crucial Canadian system. That member has said that Conservative values are not in line with supply management. The Liberal Party is the party that fought for and implemented supply management. We will continue to protect and defend it for all of those who would like to see it destroyed. I would like to assure this House that Liberal values are in line with supply management and will continue to be.
The position of the member for Beauce is frankly disturbing, especially given the large number of dairy farms and farm families in his region. I can only imagine the type of feedback the hon. member will receive from the hard-working farmers and their families in his riding who depend on supply management for their future. Perhaps even more disturbing is that the Conservative deputy critic for agriculture, the member for Lévis—Lotbinière, is the co-chair for the leadership campaign calling for the end of supply management. Not only that, but the former Conservative finance minister, Joe Oliver, has also recently spoken out against supply management. That is the Conservative record and the Conservative position. However, I want to be clear that on this side of the House we support supply management and dairy farmers. Our government is committed to supporting a bright future for Canada's dynamic dairy industry.
This year, the government announced an additional federal investment of $1.75 million in the dairy research cluster. This investment will support the work of scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in two key areas: number one, increasing the energy content of Canadian forage crops to help increase milk production; and, number two, understanding the role played by dairy-fat products, including their positive impact on type 2 diabetes.
The total federal investment in the dairy cluster is $13.75 million. Our message has been clear from the beginning: the Government of Canada strongly supports Canada's supply management industries.
I want to speak about an experience I had yesterday. I was able to visit the Bühlmann dairy farm in the riding of my colleague, the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell. What I witnessed there was a family working together, embracing technology, and planning for the future because of the stability offered to them by the supply management program.
The work they are doing not only provides Canadians with world-class milk but their farm is an economic provider in the community of St. Isidore, Ontario. This farm is not unique, it is not one of a kind. In fact, innovation of our dairy farmers can be seen from coast to coast, from Scott and Sabrina Robinson's farm in Wards Creek, New Brunswick, to the Haambuckers' farm in Enderby, British Columbia.
As the executive director of Dairy Farmers of Canada said yesterday, “It is important for elected officials to meet a dairy farm family and see first-hand the dedication and care that goes into operating a modern dairy farm.” This might be good advice for the hon. member across the way.
Innovation is critical to the success of Canada's dairy industry. Farmers are making great strides in productivity and sustainability. Canadian dairy farmers can now produce the same quantity of milk as they did 20 years ago, with close to half the number of cows and producing 20% less greenhouse gases. Canadian dairy farmers are among the global leaders of their industry when it comes to the environment. Our dairy farmers have a smaller footprint of carbon, water, and land than almost all leading dairy farmers around the world. Our farmers are taking action on the environment, but they need the resources to do so.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food were at McGill University to announce federal funding and an investment of $27 million over five years to help producers find ways to reduce greenhouse gases on their farms. This investment is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to support a competitive, viable, innovative, and sustainable agriculture sector, and that includes the dairy sector.
To further help farmers implement green measures on the farm, budget 2016 is investing $1.9 million in green jobs for young people. Not only will this get farmers the help that they need, but it will also inspire our young people to consider a future in agriculture.
Dairy Farmers of Canada is also showing strong leadership on the environment. DFC has launched a sustainability initiative called “proAction”. This program highlights farmers' commitment to high standards of care on their farms, from milk quality to food safety, animal care, traceability, biosecurity, and the environment. Dairy farmers clearly demonstrate responsible stewardship of their animals and the environment, sustainably producing high-quality, safe, and nutritious food for consumers.
As I said, our government is fully engaged with the industry over the concerns with respect to the use of diafiltered milk in the making of cheese. Our government is working hard on this issue, in line with this report from the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. Consultations with producers and processors from all across Canada have been very co-operative and productive, and discussions are continuing on this important issue.
The minister and government officials are in regular contact with dairy stakeholders in order to find long-term, sustainable solutions to the very serious issue. Our government also understands the importance of transition support to the dairy sector resulting from the increased access to cheese under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA.
In anticipation of Canadian ratification of CETA, we will move forward with a plan to help the industry adjust to market access concessions. Several meetings have been held with the dairy industry to obtain its views on the program and investment options for producers and processors.
Engaging with the dairy sector is crucial to developing the best options possible to help sector transition in the face of both challenges and opportunities. The result will inform our government's important work toward long-term, sustainable solutions for the Canadian dairy industry.
There are challenges that we need to address, and I appreciate the opportunity to do that here in this chamber. However, it is important to remember that the challenges also come with opportunities. The Canadian dairy industry is doing great work in growing markets through branding, collaborating with industry, and harnessing innovation.
The Canadian dairy industry is second to none. Further development of unique Canadian dairy products that meet changing consumer preferences will help sustain and strengthen demand amongst Canadian consumers. A report from Farm Credit Canada, released in April, notes that Canadian dairy consumption is projected to continue to increase by 6.8% over the coming decade. This is largely due to positive consumption trends of butter, yogourt, and specialty cheeses.
We will continue to work with the industry to help dairy farmers take full advantage of new marketing opportunities here in Canada and throughout the world.
In order to capture the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead, the government has begun to discuss with industry, the provinces, and territories a new multi-year agricultural policy framework for Canada. Innovation will be a central part of that discussion as a key to helping producers and processors keep pace with changing consumer preferences and tastes.
We are reaching out to producers and all stakeholders to develop a framework that is built for the future. The Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food has launched a website designed to seek feedback from stakeholders to help shape the development of the next agricultural policy framework. This first phase of online consultation will provide stakeholders and Canadians with the opportunity to share their views on Growing Forward 2, the current agricultural policy framework, as well as to offer input on what they would like to see included in the agricultural policy framework of the future.
Additional consultation activities will be ongoing in the coming months to gather feedback and will help form the next framework. In July, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will begin meeting with provincial and territorial colleagues to begin discussions on the direction of the new framework for agriculture. As well, our Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food will also be examining the agricultural policy framework, and I do look forward to getting started on that important study very soon.
These open and transparent consultations with Canadians will help shape the direction of future policy and programs to meet this objective. The goal is to help the agriculture and agrifood sector be more innovative, safer, and stronger.
Within the dairy industry itself, a constructive dialogue is under way between farmers and processors on ways to make the industry more competitive and innovative. There is no doubt that collaboration with the industry is the best way to address broader challenges facing the dairy sector.
To close, meeting challenges and capturing opportunities will take a lot of hard work and collaboration. Our government will continue to partner with the Canadian dairy farmers and food processors to grow a great future for the Canadian dairy industry.
We will continue to protect, preserve, and defend Canada's supply management system. That is why I am pleased to say that the government concurs with this, the third report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.
There is an old saying that I would like to remind the House, as well as all Canadians, about, “If you have eaten today, thank a farmer.”
View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2016-05-03 14:46 [p.2778]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform my colleague from Brome—Missisquoi that I received a notice of motion from the member for Fundy Royal, calling on the committee to adopt a report that recognizes the government's support of the dairy industry, that recognizes the impact of the importation of diafiltered milk, and that calls on the government to meet with dairy industry representatives in the next 30 days in order to find sustainable solutions to modernize the industry.
View T.J. Harvey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View T.J. Harvey Profile
2016-04-21 15:18 [p.2550]
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Saint John.
I am proud to rise today to speak on the subject of trade and agriculture, while underscoring the government's strong support for Canada's supply-managed sectors. We are all well aware of the concerns regarding the use of diafiltered milk in the making of cheese.
Our government is working with all sides of the industry to ensure that we continue engaging everyone in order to find a long-term sustainable and agreed upon solution on this issue.
Agriculture is hugely important in my riding, and it has played an enormous role in my life, having grown up on a large family-owned farm myself, producing seed potatoes, oilseeds and small grains, as well as having worked both in the primary agricultural sector, farming myself for nearly 14 years, and food manufacturing prior to my new role as member of Parliament.
As a supply-managed egg producer for the last six years, along with my wife Tanya and our four children, through the New Brunswick egg producers new entrant program, I have had an opportunity to see first-hand the tremendous benefit that supply management plays within the dairy and egg sectors, and the tremendous benefit that it affords producers, allowing them to plan strategically in their investments with respect to their own agricultural enterprises, not only for themselves but for the next future generation and the subsequent generations to follow.
Canada's agriculture and agri-food exports exceed $60 billion a year, $61.4 billion. About half of the value of Canada's agricultural production is exported, which is why our government strongly supports free trade.
The opportunities for Canada's farmers and food processors on the global stage are nothing short of breathtaking. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has projected the global demand for food is expected to increase by 60% by 2050. Much of this demand will come from the growing middle class around the world, which is on track to exceed half the planet's entire population over the next 15 years.
This is good news for farmers in my riding and across our great country. Two-thirds of the middle class will be in Asia, with a quarter of a billion people in India alone. The Chinese middle class is growing by the population of Canada every year. It is projected that by 2030, almost three-quarters, 70% of China's population could be in the middle class, consuming nearly $10 trillion in goods and services.
Canada's economic prosperity is built on open trade. Trade translates into jobs and opportunities for Canadians all across the country. Canada is the fifth-largest exporter and the sixth-largest importer of agriculture and agri-food products in the world.
With our small population and huge production capacity, Canada is the world's leading agricultural trader on a per capita basis. Trade accounts for one in every five jobs in Canada. As the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food likes to say, Canada has the responsibility and the ability to feed this world.
Our government certainly recognizes the importance of Canada's role in the supply-managed sectors and in the Canadian economy. In fact, it was our party that fought for and implemented the supply management system we see today. We will continue to work for the best interests of all Canadians and all Canadian farmers.
Canada's supply-managed sectors are a major economic force in this country, accounting for close to 300,000, 285,000, jobs and $32 billion in overall economic benefit.
We understand the importance of compensation for supply-managed producers in the context of the Canada-EU trade agreement and the TPP, should it enter into force.
We are at a time of tremendous opportunity for Canada's agriculture and agri-food sectors. Agricultural exports are at an all-time record high. Producer incomes and balance sheets are expected to remain at historic levels.
Agriculture and food is one of the top five fastest-growing export sectors in Canada. It is estimated that up to 50,000 new jobs in agriculture across the country will be created in the next five years, both on and off farm, on top of vacancies that already exist. Some estimate those vacancies to be in excess of 25,000 jobs.
With our small population and huge production capacity, Canada is the world's leading agricultural trader on a per capita basis, as I mentioned earlier. Meanwhile, global demand for food is projected to increase by 60% by 2050. For farmers and food processors this is tremendous news. The future is bright for Canadian farmers and food processors, with growing demand for the products we grow in Canada.
Our government will work hard to open new markets for them, while doing the right thing, consulting with Canadians and farmers on the TPP. The government's message is clear, we fully support trade and we fully support our supply-managed sectors. That is why we are committed to continuing to engage the entire sector on this issue to ensure we achieve a long-term, sustainable solution.
Once again, I would like to thank my hon. colleague, the member for Berthier—Maskinongé, for bringing this vital matter before this House and recognize her for her tremendous work on behalf of agricultural producers from coast to coast to coast.
View T.J. Harvey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View T.J. Harvey Profile
2016-04-21 15:24 [p.2551]
Madam Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. colleague that it was our party that fought hard for and implemented the supply management sector that we see today. We continue to work hard for Canadian farmers because we, as a party and as a government, recognize that rural economies depend upon a strong agricultural sector. If we are going to see agriculture producers and the rural economy grow, it is going to be through our farmers. Our farmers are the backbone of this country.
View T.J. Harvey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View T.J. Harvey Profile
2016-04-21 15:25 [p.2551]
Madam Speaker, as we all know, this is an issue we inherited from the former government. If it were a simple issue, it would have already been settled.
We are working hard to resolve this issue. It is not simply an issue of two departments that cannot agree upon the same issue. There are greater factors that figure into this entire complex issue, and we are working hard on behalf of all Canadian farmers to resolve it as expediently as possible.
View T.J. Harvey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View T.J. Harvey Profile
2016-04-21 15:27 [p.2551]
Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is absolutely 100% right. I did campaign on a strong agricultural sector and on building the sector within Canada.
I grew up in agriculture and my friends are from agriculture. I have travelled all over this country over the past years with various boards, working on behalf of the New Brunswick Federation of Agriculture, working with the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum, representing the views of young people in agriculture, and I am committed to working with this government, with members just like the one who just asked me the question, to try to grow the economy in the rural sector.
The best way, the strongest way, and the most efficient way to grow the economy in rural Canada is through agriculture, and it needs to be in a sustainable manner that represents the needs of all agricultural producers—not just supply-managed producers, but all agricultural producers from across this country from coast to coast to coast.
View T.J. Harvey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View T.J. Harvey Profile
2016-04-21 15:28 [p.2552]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his question, but I disagree with him on that point. I do not think it is a simple issue. I do agree that there are two agencies, as he said, but I do not agree that it is a simple issue. It does not involve just one sector, but the whole of agriculture, and, as a party, we are committed to representing the views and best interests of all members of agriculture from across this country in all the different pillars of the agricultural sector.
View T.J. Harvey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View T.J. Harvey Profile
2016-04-21 15:40 [p.2553]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his impassioned speech on the subject matter here today. I share his passion. I think everyone who is currently sitting here shares a passion for agriculture, rural Canada, and seeing the rural economy grow.
I am wondering if my colleague could share how he thinks this government could support agriculture and help grow the rural economy.
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Alaina Lockhart Profile
2016-04-21 16:22 [p.2559]
Madam Speaker, I am listening to the debate with interest today and I thank the member for bringing the matter forward to the House of Commons so that we have the opportunity to debate it today.
I represent the riding of Fundy Royal, which is considered the dairy centre of the Maritimes. I have talked to farmers and I understand this is a very significant issue, as does our government.
I would like to ask the member opposite if he could explain something to me.
I also sit on the agriculture committee, and yesterday we had witnesses there from the Dairy Farmers of Canada as well as from the Canadian Young Farmers' Forum. They were there to testify. However, because of the conversation that was dragged on by both the Conservative and NDP members of the committee, we did not get to hear from those witnesses.
I would like to hear if he has an explanation as to why we are not able to talk to them when they are there.
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