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Results: 1 - 15 of 77
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The UN first declared this day in 2000. However, since 1981, this has been a day of remembrance for women's rights advocates as a result of the 1961 murders of the three Mirabal sisters, who were women's rights advocates in the Dominican Republic.
Governments and organizations are invited to hold events and activities on this day to raise public awareness of this problem.
Violence can take many forms: it can be psychological, verbal, physical and even economic. Some 87% of women identify themselves as having been victims of sexual harassment and 25% as victims of spousal abuse.
The Bloc Québécois condemns violence of any kind and reiterates that each and every woman has the right to live without fear and to be treated fairly and with respect.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, Salvia divinorum is a hallucinogenic plant sold legally across the country. This substance, banned in Australia, Italy, Finland and Denmark, causes hallucinations and may cause mental health problems in those who use it.
Can the Minister of Health tell us why this hallucinogenic substance is still not controlled in Canada and is freely sold and readily available in ordinary stores?
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to close the debate on this motion in what could possibly be the last hours of the 38th Parliament. Although the vote on this motion may never happen, the debate on the future of agriculture in Quebec and Canada will have begun.
In the next few minutes, I want to come back to the origins of this motion and the fundamental reasons why I moved it.
This motion is the result of a broad consultation that my colleagues from the Bloc and I had a year ago and which brought us to the La Pocatière convention. Farmers made it imperative: if we want local agriculture to continue to be part of the Quebec and Canadian landscape, if we want young people to become interested in agriculture enough to spend their lives in it, we must propose innovative measures that will get convincing results in the next few years. Time is of the essence and if the governments do not soon commit to revitalizing farm life, then the family farm will soon become a thing of the past.
During its 2004 annual convention, the UPA set a goal to keep the 32,000 farms in Quebec in operation. This historic minimum of farms still in operation is indicative of a strong trend in the current global economy, which is to create mega-farms that utterly disregard the realities of local life and land use. As far as agriculture is concerned, our autonomy to feed Quebeckers is also at stake. Standing idly by would be giving in to the brute force of a market that considers only words like profit and efficiency.
What can we do to revitalize an essential occupation in our society? At the La Pocatière convention, politicians and farmers came up with ideas for improving the increasingly difficult situation farmers are in, especially when at the end of their career they want to leave their farming business and hand it over to a new generation of farmers.
First, in order to ensure that it is more profitable for a farmer to transfer or sell his farm to the next generation, rather than dismantling it, the allowable capital gains deduction for agricultural property should be increased substantially. We are proposing to increase it from $500,000 to $1 million, this exclusively for transactions as a result of which a farm remains in operation. Since taxes paid on transactions would decrease, this measure would allow the seller to dispose of his assets at a lower price, while guaranteeing him the same amount of money and encouraging young people to go into farming.
We are also proposing that the federal government extend the application of the rules governing rollovers to transfers other than those from parents to children. These would include transfers to brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, provided they are under 40 years of age. The government would then be assured that the agricultural heritage remains in the family, and that the farm operation has long-term development potential.
Moreover, savings are often considered to be the Achilles heel of farm transfers. It will be much easier for a farmer to transfer his farm to the next generation if he has a retirement fund other than his farm as such. The sale of the farm's equipment and land is often the main source of money for a farmer's retirement fund. If we want to reduce the number of farms going out of business, we should have a mechanism that encourages selling to the next generation. We are proposing that the government make a contribution to a kind of “registered farm savings plan” that would be conditional on keeping the farm in operation at the end of the farmer's career.
Finally, the federal government should transfer an envelope to the provinces for encouraging agricultural succession. This envelope could be used for the following: extending eligibility for the start-up subsidy; improving interest rate protection and increasing eligibility ceilings; providing grants for young people who are starting up a farm; and improving local sources of information on farms available for transfer in the short and middle terms.
I want to conclude by thanking colleagues from all parties who have asked me questions and contributed to the debate. We must quickly find solutions that will allow the next generation of farmers to take over. Time is of the essence. There is no longer any reason to avoid debating this issue. We have launched that debate, and now the time has come to take action.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, people in Quebec and the sports world in general are reeling from the shock wave that hit like lightening yesterday. In his newly released biography written by Mario Leclerc, Jacques Demers admits that he is illiterate.
It is hard to imagine that he reached such heights despite his handicap. He was a professional coach in St. Louis, Detroit and Tampa Bay, where he was also general manager, before leading the Montreal Canadians, the “Glorious ones”, to their last Stanley Cup victory in 1993.
We salute his courage and we hope that he will serve as an example to the millions of illiterate Quebeckers. Hats off to Mr. Demers. The Bloc Québécois salutes your unparalleled honesty and courage.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to pay tribute to one of my most renowned constituents, Mr. Philippe Bonneau, who celebrated his 75th birthday on October 1.
Alderman and mayor of Châteauguay from 1962 to 1983, Mr. Bonneau founded the municipal housing bureau in 1978. He was an influential member of the board of the local community health centre in Châteauguay during the 1980s and 1990s, and received the Agnès-C.-Higgins award in 1997 as the founder and president of Rencontre châteaugoise, an organization dedicated to helping the most vulnerable members of our society.
In 2000, he created an eponymous foundation to assist organizations fighting poverty and helping those in need. That same year, he received the municipal merit award for his outstanding commitment to his community.
Congratulations, Mr. Bonneau. Your career dedicated to serving the people of our community is an example to us all.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should take action to promote the intergenerational transfer of farms by implementing the following measures: (a) increasing the allowable capital gains deduction for agricultural property from $500,000 to $1 million, exclusively for transactions as a result of which a farm remains in operation; (b) extending application of the rules governing rollovers to all members of the immediate family under 40 years of age; (c) setting up a farm transfer savings plan that would enable farmers to accumulate a tax-sheltered retirement fund; (d) make the rules governing property ownership more flexible so that young farmers can obtain a larger share of a residence held by a company and use their registered retirement savings plan to acquire an agricultural enterprise; and (e) transfer a recurring envelope to the government of Quebec and the other provinces for encouraging young people to go into farming
She said: Mr. Speaker, as hon. members are no doubt aware, the population of Quebec, like that of Canada and the rest of the western world, is rapidly aging. The generation that built modern Quebec, from the Quiet Revolution until the present day, is fast approaching retirement age. It is therefore our collective duty, and I am sure we agree on this, to pass the torch to those come after us, so that Quebec may continue to develop its potential at least as much as it has over the past 40 years, if not more.
If that philosophy of passing the torch to future generations is valid for all spheres of economic, social, cultural and intellectual activity in modern Quebec, it is all the more so for agriculture.
In 2005 do we still need to prove how important agriculture and feeding the country's people are to all of the countries of the world? There is a close connection between the regions of Quebec and its major urban centres; while the latter represent industrial, commercial and cultural productivity, the former represent food self-sufficiency and the source of life. Most human beings today lead materialistic and urban lives, but they still need to eat three times a day, and always will.
It is in that perspective of continuity of working the land that we must look today at the question of the future of agriculture in Quebec and Canada.
I myself am a farmer. I have worked in this field for the last 25 years, apart from the last two which I have had the privilege of spending in the company of my colleagues here. It is primarily as a person involved in the field of agriculture that I decided to actively enter politics under the banner of the Bloc Québécois. Our 2004 election platform was and still is relevant to the major challenges that Quebec will have to face in agriculture. It is this important challenge and this questioning concerning the next generation of farmers that I come to present in the House of Commons, in the hope that we can find some solutions and societal choices that demonstrate intergenerational solidarity, for the love of our farming community.
When the economy is bad, the first to be discouraged are the job seekers just starting their careers. They are what is commonly called “the next generation”. This phenomenon is even more pronounced in agriculture. Whereas the economic cycles of recession and expansion follow each other almost naturally, farming has had difficult times for too long. Market globalization has enabled farms on the other side of the planet to compete directly with our local producers. Of course, this globalization trend has had certain advantages. It must be acknowledged, however, that the world of agriculture is not as flexible as the electronics or automobile industries. You need land and heavy machinery to produce a harvest. Furthermore, there is no question that this is the only field of production that is dependent with such uncertainty on climatic conditions. With one thing affecting another, the next generation of farmers is not knocking down the door.
The key word has been uttered: “uncertainty”. Our ancestors saw farming as a safe investment marked by stability, but can the same be seriously said today?.Unfortunately, the vocation of agriculture is demanding more and more financial, physical and human resources in order to face growing uncertainty. It is our duty as elected representatives of the people to find solutions that will permit the farming industry of Quebec and Canada to continue to work for the years to come.
The next generation, these young people to whom we have handed down a love of agriculture, needs help. In order for their ambitions to become tangible reality, they need some clear proposals and real solutions to real problems. I shall start, therefore, by drawing as accurate a picture as possible of the agricultural realities.
First, a general comment: there are fewer and fewer farms in Quebec. Between 1996 and 2001, which was a time of economic growth, the number of farms in Quebec fell by 10% to 32,000. In some traditionally agricultural regions, such as the Lower St. Lawrence, the number of farms decreased by as much as 50%. At its annual convention in 2004, the Union des producteurs agricoles adopted the objective of not falling below this historic floor of 32,000 farms in Quebec.
In addition, farmers' incomes are far from increasing at the same rate as the size and value of their farms. According to some studies, the value of one acre of arable land rose from $606 in 1981 to $1,600 in 2001.
The average assets of Quebec farms rose from just under $700,000 in 1997 to $1.12 million in 2002. But net average income of farmers rose only from $34,000 to $39,000 in this same period. That is a considerable concern to the generation that will replace them over the next few years.
In view of the fact that the average age of Canadian farmers is 50, that 35% of Quebec farmers are over 55, and that about 12% of farmers intend to retire next year but 26% of those have no one to take over, there is an urgent need to take action in order to ensure the survival of the agricultural way of life in Quebec and Canada.
As we know, youth is not necessarily synonymous with wealth. One of the basic problems highlighted by the three facts I just outlined is that it is difficult if not impossible for our young people with agricultural ambitions to acquire the basic tools of the modern farmer unless substantial help is forthcoming. Government inaction, reinforced by market forces, will have no other effect than to concentrate agricultural wealth in just a few hands, that is to say, to create “mega-businesses” and “super-farms” that will only discourage small farmers and lock them into a vicious circle leading to the loss of their agricultural heritage and the inevitable end of any possibility of renewal.
That would be the end of a middle class of farmers, the end of family-owned farms on a human scale. That is what we have to avoid for the sake of the future of farming in Quebec and Canada. In order to increase the chances that farmers will be successful, we have to prevent extreme market forces from encouraging only the mammoth operations with their tendency to monoculture at the expense of small farmers and the healthy diversity of their crops.
The Government of Quebec understands the problem. La Financière agricole du Québec has a financial support program for aspiring farmers that provides several different kinds of assistance, including establishment capital grants between $30,000 and $40,000 for students with a degree in agriculture, secure rate establishment loans, in which La Financière caps the interest rates on the first $500,000 that a start-up farming operation borrows, and many advisory services.
For its part, the federal government provides preferential loans, advisory services and a few tax measures that can facilitate the transfer of the family farm from one generation to the next through Farm Credit Canada. But this is not enough. In contrast to the United States, Great Britain and even Quebec, the federal government does not provide any direct, unconditional grants, such as the establishment grants for example.
It is mainly in regard to the federal measures that my party and I wish to elaborate and further enrich the discussion today in order to analyze how we could contribute to the objective established by Quebec farmers, namely preserving 32,000 farms on all the agricultural land. The federal government must do its fair share.
In order for this ambitious objective to be achieved, an additional 400 young people will have to set themselves up in agriculture in order to create 900 to 1,100 new farms a year, according to figures provided by the UPA. In order to do this, there are three critical areas on which we will have to focus: taxation, savings and cooperation.
The tax problem is related to the problem of selling and buying a farm. When farmers are ready to retire, the financial problem is not as much that taxes are due on the sale of their property as the difficulty of finding a purchaser whose offer is close to the market value of the farm. Since the market value of farms has increased substantially—as we just pointed out—and there are not very many purchasers in the next generation because of a lack of resources and financial supports, farmers have to dismantle their farms, more often than not, which forces them to pay more taxes and does nothing to help transfer the farm to future generations.
In order to increase the benefit of transferring a farm as opposed to dismantling it, would it not be advisable—and this is the Bloc Québécois's first proposal regarding taxation—to increase the allowable capital gains deduction for agricultural property from $500,000 to $1 million for the sale of a farm operation to another farmer?
This would allow farmers who sell their property to avoid having to pay too much in taxes because of a lack of potential buyers, and it would also encourage hesitant young people to go into farming.
In other words, since taxes paid on transactions would decrease, this measure would allow the seller to dispose of his assets at a lower price while guaranteeing him the same amount of money and encouraging young people to go into farming. Basically, if we want to encourage, from a taxation point of view, the transferring rather than the dismantling of agricultural property, we have to increase the gap between the rates that apply to transfers and dismantling respectively. Some conditions could be set. For example, the proposal in the case of a farm that remains in operation could be set at 75%. This would have the effect of preventing speculators from taking advantage of the system.
Moreover, as we know, unlike other taxpayers, a person who operates a farm can, without paying taxes, transfer directly to his children and to the children of his children some of his agricultural property. In order to encourage a larger number of young people to go into farming, why not extend the application of the rules governing rollovers to other members of the immediate family under 40 years of age? If we did that, some brother, sister, niece, nephew or cousin would very likely be interested in taking over the family heritage.
Two simple measures that could provide a win-win situation for both the purchaser and the vendor.
The second problem, as we see it, after taxation, is savings for farmers. If we want to attract newcomers to farming, we have to be able to encourage them to plan for their retirement, despite the numerous investments and expenses they will run into for starting up and running their business. Since a farmer's income fluctuates and they are not all able to contribute to an RRSP, why not set up a farm transfer savings plan to allow farmers to build up a tax-sheltered retirement fund? The governments could make a contribution, like they do for registered education savings plans. Such contributions could be conditional on maintaining the farm.
In that same vein, we could also amend the rules of the Home Buyer's Plan so that a young farmer could use his existing RRSP to acquire the farm, which would usually come with a home. This fourth measure would be feasible only if the maximum HBP withdrawal were increased.
Finally, after the taxation and savings that will help young farmers socially and economically, we feel that it is important to set an objective right away in regard to cooperation between farm organizations and government stakeholders. The effect would be to channel their activities in a more coherent way toward the renewal of the farming generations.
Since Quebec and the provinces are the levels of government closest to the farming world in regard to funding and services that promote the renewal of agriculture, it seems reasonable to suggest that the federal government should transfer a recurring envelope to the Government of Quebec and the other provinces to help the next generation of farmers.
The Government of Quebec could use this envelope for a number of next-generation-related purposes: extending the availability of the start-up subsidy; improving interest rate protection and increasing eligibility ceilings; providing more generous grants for young people who are starting up a farm; and setting up some sort of structure such as a single window providing information on farms without a next generation and young farmers without a farm.
It is possible to have a voice, to ensure that there will a next generation of farmers. But to ensure a future for farming and our youth, it is imperative for government to take action. We cannot just let things slide. The people have given us not just a mandate to represent them but also the power. And the power means the opportunity to use the means at our disposal to take action and influence the course of events. It is up to us, as the political stakeholders, to do what is necessary to ensure that the path from the farm to the fork is not closed to future generations.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his very relevant question in the context of this debate on agriculture. For us Quebeckers, this is an asset and a legacy that we do not want to lose.
I will now answer the hon. member's question. I referred to nephews and nieces. Quite often, those who are around us are not necessarily the family's children, that is the children of the mother and father. Therefore, we could extend the application of the rule governing rollovers to include nephews, nieces and cousins, because they are not included right now. That is an option which could help young people who want to go into farming.
As we know, the issue of young people in agriculture is a very important one right now. I will not go back to the problems experienced by agricultural producers in recent years, including with the mad cow crisis and so forth. This situation has had somewhat of a deterring effect on our young people. For all these reasons, we could extend the application of the rule governing rollovers to include nephews and nieces, as I mentioned earlier.
Let us also not forget that our young people in the farming industry have extraordinary ideas. They have a love, a passion for agriculture that is similar to ours, but also different. Indeed, our future producers are involved in a different and diversified type of agriculture. They have added values. These values make their farms accessible for ordinary people to come and visit. This creates jobs and generates economic spinoffs.
In Quebec, we have an open house day organized by the UPA, the farmers' union organization. There is extraordinary interest. So, this is one example. There is room for young people who want to go into farming, but we must take action and we must provide money to help these passionate future farmers.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.
Earlier, we were talking about not decreasing by 32,000 the number of farms in Quebec. If there currently are 32,000 farms in Quebec, there could be enough people to take them over and continue operating them. We see the relevance of such a measure.
There is no need to think our farms will stop operations and be bought and turned into big businesses, like Wal-Mart style farms. It is truly very important to pay particular attention to the next generation of farmers.
To answer the hon. member's question, again, there are 32,000 farms in Quebec and they all could be taken over by the next generation.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce to the House that the Quebec Order of Architects has named the Châteauguay Municipal Library and its architects as the winners of its award of excellence in architecture.
The official presentation of the award will take place at Châteauguay on October 11. This past August 30, the Quebec Order of Architects also ranked the Châteauguay Municipal Library among the top three finalists in the cultural project category.
The jury was won over by its warm and welcoming atmosphere and described the building has having achieved a wonderful balance of distinctiveness and civility.
The library also drew attention for its unique geothermal heating system, which extracts heat from the ground to heat the entire building.
The Bloc Québécois congratulates all those who had a hand in this splendid success. Long may this jewel in Châteauguay's crown continue to sparkle.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, from July 3 to 30, some 30 young francophones, anglophones and Mohawks from the region near Châteauguay will take part in an extraordinary athletic and cultural experience.
On the heels of the Jeux de l'Amitié in May, which sought to promote exchanges among these young people so they could learn more about each other, sports will once again bring together the various communities in my region.
For almost an entire month, these 30 amateur cyclists will travel almost 1,500 km across Quebec, from Kahnawake to Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.
This athletic and cultural event will strengthen their organizational, leadership, listening and sharing skills. I will be eagerly watching them bike together to build a future in their style: fair, mutually supportive and Québécois.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, last April, Sarah Gault was named the women's swim team rookie of the year at Rutgers University in the United States. This is the first time in the history of the 94-year-old institution that a foreigner has won this title.
This woman from Châteauguay gave a remarkable performance in the 100 metre breaststroke, the 50 metre freestyle and the 400 metre relay at the Big East Championships in January 2005. Thanks to her performance, Rutgers finished third in the competition.
Sarah Gault's academic performance is also brilliant. As a student in television and radio journalism, she has maintained a 3.5 average, earning a certificate and making the dean's list as a result.
The Bloc Québécois pays tribute to the achievements of this extraordinary athlete and hopes that success may long accompany her in her professional and athletic careers.
Congratulations, Sarah.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Speaker, all too often, unfortunately, we hear that many of our young people are not finishing high school. Dropping out is a social issue as well as an educational one.
Well, in Saint-Constant, in my riding, there is a school called “Le Tournant“. As its name suggests, it marks a turning point for young dropouts between 14 and 18 and is devoted to them alone.
On May 30, several hundred people were invited to a gala organized by and for the students to mark their efforts and to showcase their many talents. It provided an excellent opportunity to show that success, although not always easily achieved, in the end rewards those who go after it. This is all the more true when it applies to young people, the future of our society.
I congratulate the school's principal, Lucie Legault, and her hard-working staff, who have given back to our youth a belief in their abilities and their future.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Chair, a little over a month ago, the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec launched a widespread campaign to raise awareness with MPs from Quebec about the importation of subsidized artificial milk ingredients. One after the other, federal MPs from Quebec were visited by local dairy producers, asking them to press the government to staunch the hemorrhage affecting their industry.
But what is the problem exactly? Why are dairy producers calling for firm action by the federal government at this time?
The dairy producers of Quebec and Canada want to raise public awareness of the fact that milk ingredients subsidized by foreign governments are coming through our borders. These ingredients are increasingly replacing milk in producing dairy products such as cheese and yogourt.
These modified milk ingredients, including casein, caseinates and butter oil with sugar, circumvent supply management regulations to compete with locally produced milk. In fact, this is loophole in the free trade agreement that foreign producers take advantage of to invade our market in Quebec and Canada, which is supposedly supported by a supply management system.
What are the three gold standards for supply management? First is production planning, whereby production must be limited to what can be absorbed by the demand, ensuring that dairy producers produce 100% of what will be used, nothing more, nothing less.
Second is a pricing mechanism that ensures a fair market income, so that producers do not have to rely on government subsidies, as they still do in many countries, despite the free trade agreements.
Third is import control, not the closure of borders but control, so that the industry can know how much is imported and that local production can be planned accordingly.
In a nutshell, these three standards, these three pillars are interdependent, and should one fall, the entire supply management system would collapse.
It should be noted right off that the system of supply management provides a number of benefits. By correcting the imbalance in the forces of a market without subsidies, supply management enables producers to earn a fair income from a market that has the unfortunate tendency to treat producers unfavourably. Supply management thus saves taxpayers' money, since producers do not enjoy generous government subsidies. It also benefits consumers, who can find Quebec and Canadian dairy products on grocery shelves at some of the world's lowest prices.
It can therefore safely be said that a market operating under a supply management system is the model promoting healthy and responsible farming in which all participants, producers and consumers, come out ahead. It is a win-win situation.
Members know, as I do, that there is no stopping scientific advances. In recent years, new technologies have made it possible to fractionate milk, as milk producers themselves say, into a number of elements and milk proteins. The problem lies in the fact that the Liberal government in Ottawa did not include this modern technological development in the application of the law.
Indeed, while real milk imports were monitored, new milk proteins appeared and were not considered to be in the same category as real milk. The law was therefore unable to stop modified milk products from entering the Quebec and Canadian markets, which, it will be remembered, operate under the supply management system.
Milk processors, those who take milk and turn it into cheese and yogurt, for example, are no fools. In the face of these new proteins even less expensive than local milk, because they are subsidized outside the country, processors have no qualms about using them in the manufacture of their cheese and yogurt.
Where does this lead? In the dairy products everyone eats daily, there are fewer and fewer real dairy products and more and more artificial dairy substances subsidized by foreign countries.
In addition, the entry of the modified milk products into the Quebec and Canadian markets has lowered the demand by processors for real dairy products from Quebec and Canada.
Since domestic demand dropped, dairy producers either have to cut production or sell their milk at a loss. Either way, the supply management system is completely off kilter and has been jeopardized as a whole.
As a result, dairy producers have lost nearly 50% of the ice cream market due to butter oil-sugar blends, which the Liberal government decided not to include in the list of imported ingredients subject to supply management. Ice cream is just one of many examples. As a result of these imports violating the principle of supply management, actual annual losses are set at $175 million for producers in Canada and nearly $70 million for producers in Quebec. This does not take into account the $100 million that dairy producers lost in 2004 alone due to fallout from the mad cow crisis. At that rate, given the many ingredients that slip through the overly generous loopholes, dairy producers estimate that their industry could lose up to 30% of the combined market share for all dairy ingredients. This is the real disaster they tried to warn us about by dumping no less than two tonnes of skim milk powder in the offices of 75 Quebec MPs to condemn the unacceptable inaction of this government.
The worst part is that, at the end of the day, the imported modified milk products subsidized abroad do not even benefit consumers here. In some cases, cheese and yogurt made of modified milk products are more expensive. We are robbing Peter to pay Paul and benefiting the processors at the expense of the farmers, while ensuring that the foreign dairy substitute products is prospering at the expense of our industry.
Imports without restriction and unlimited dairy ingredients, including milk proteins, prevents the dairy industry in Quebec and Canada from predicting with certainty the demand for milk proteins, which contributes to knocking down the three pillars of supply management that I was talking about earlier.
There is an urgent need for the government to put an end to this quiet demolition of the supply management system. Some farmers I met with at my office in Châteauguay made a very good point. They said that the losses caused by the imports will never be recovered and can no longer be minimized. The only thing the Canadian government can do is prevent further losses. For that, the government has to set new tariff quotas on certain dairy ingredients in order to protect the balance needed in a system like ours that operates under supply management.
I do not understand, nor do the farmers, the Liberal government's stubborn refusal to do anything about this. It is completely legal, within the framework of the WTO rules, to invoke article XXVIII to stop the foreign influx that threatens a system like supply management, which does not contravene world trade rules.
The use of article XXVIII of the GATT would just allow one very beneficial thing to happen to the dairy industry, and that is to update our tariff quotas list by using the techniques developed over the past decade. It would only be fair to fix the cracks in the foundation of our supply management system.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague opposite for his question.
In fact, the Bloc Québécois cannot oppose negotiations on article XXVIII of the GATT, because we have always supported our producers and we are in favour of supply management.
Earlier, I had talked about this supply management. Are products subject to quotas subsidized? My answer is not one bit.
The market, not the government, provides milk, eggs and turkey. The United States and the European Union continue to hand out billions of dollars for their products. The consumer price index for poultry products continues to rise, while the farmers' share shrinks.
I want to give a few examples of the farmers' share of food products. We all go to restaurants on occasion for a meal. We do not often consider the producers who produce what we eat. Here are some typical prices. We pay $14 for eggs Benedict, the producer gets 31¢. A medium-sized pizza costs $13.50; the dairy producer gets 60¢. Grilled chicken on a bed of rice costs $8.40, the chicken farmer gets 19¢. I could go on and on.
When it comes to supply management, I cannot oppose an overture by the government to help our producers in Quebec.
View Denise Poirier-Rivard Profile
Mr. Chair, I thank the hon. member. I too would like to understand. Indeed, I do not understand the question. However, I can talk about agriculture, as I am a farmer myself. Of course, the Bloc Québécois and I will always protect the interests of Quebec producers as regards supply management.
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