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Results: 1 - 15 of 298
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
The argument today seems to be that the system appears to be working but that there's a possibility of abuse of the system, in other words, a possibility of charges. That's what the bill is about. That's kind of what I have in my mind as far as a summary of the argument is concerned.
The existing practice, as I understand it, is that air guns with a certain velocity, the ones we're talking about, are exempt from penalties in the Criminal Code for possession of a firearm without a valid licence or registration certificate. As we discussed, they're considered under the Criminal Code if they're used to commit a crime.
I'm just not clear in my mind in that they're part of the current practice, but they're not. The possession, acquisition, and use for lawful purposes are regulated more by provincial and municipal laws, but these arms are also exempt from specific safe storage. I don't understand. I have three rifles that are registered and locked up appropriately under the existing law. Mr. Farrant, do BB guns have to have the same storage now, or not?
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
The Criminal Code requires that reasonable precautions be taken when using, carrying, handling or transporting them. The law that we have for firearms is the same law that applies to these arms in question. Is that correct? Am I right?
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Here's another question for both of you.
Apparently the Canadian Police Association has raised concerns about this bill and expressed their belief that the number of convictions resulting from transporting air guns and BB guns is currently very low, in the single digits. The occurrence is so low that they are of the belief that the proposed changes in Bill C-637 are not warranted and that often police officers find it difficult to distinguish visually between a regular firearm and an air gun.
If in fact the view of the Canadian Police Association represents police officers across the country, why would we make their jobs more difficult if they feel that it might be the case?
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Chair. It's nice to be back at ag committee. It has been a little while.
Before I start, Minister, I would like to say this is probably my last time here. I know that you and I have enjoyed a respectful working relationship over the years, and I'd like to thank you for that.
My questions probably won't be any surprise to you. We do differ on certain issues—
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
I'd like to pursue what Francine was talking about in regard to supply management. Your government has committed to protecting supply management. I thank you for that.
We have seen, however, roughly 17,000 tonnes of concessions to European cheese coming into Canada. You're saying there will be compensation, but we know that now our farmers will be competing with subsidized farmers in Europe.
The TPP is coming up. There's tremendous pressure, as we all know, from New Zealand and other countries, the United States, to not do away with supply management but maybe for more concessions. My understanding is that there would be more compensation, but I'd like to get a commitment from you that we won't be doing this, we won't be offering any more concessions, that you're committed to protecting supply management as is, that it's not costing the taxpayer anything, that we don't need to make concessions to New Zealand or other countries. They're all interested in protecting their own interests, so I'd simply like a commitment from you to do that.
The second topic is also obviously no surprise to you. We have the Arctic Apple, we have alfalfa, which have basically been approved but have not yet been released into the environment. There is concern from farmers that this could damage them economically. We know that Argentina has certain rules that look at the economic impact before introducing new GMO varieties.
Would you be willing to have, for example, a moratorium on these two commodities prior to allowing their release? We've seen concern that there could be export markets for our alfalfa pellets touched, the organic industry. We've seen some contamination already across the border, and we know that the B.C. fruit growers are very concerned, as are organic producers, about the apple.
I'd like to get your comments and some commitment from you to ensure that our farmers are protected as we move into this new GMO area.
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Sorry, Minister, could I interrupt you for a second?
Would it not be possible to say, that's it, we're not doing anything? Why work on all these different statistics and figure out compensation and all that? Just say no. That's it. Supply management exists. It has served our people well. It doesn't cost the taxpayers a cent. Look, we have lots of aces in the hole when we are negotiating. We have all sorts of commodities. We have strength. Just say, that's it, no more concessions. We are not going to do this in TPP.
Could we not do that as a government?
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Chair, and thanks to everybody for being here.
You made a statement, Mr. Lord, that wireless technology makes us safer. We've just listened to previous witnesses, and Dr. Herbert and Dr. Davis, who may not agree with you. They've done studies on child vulnerability, the stress on the brain, autism. A previous witness has talked about the fact that there have been no studies on exposure levels in schools. There's a lack of accountability. We've been told that 3% of the population is affected severely by this technology. We've touched on childhood leukemia, potential DNA damage.
I presented at a hearing in British Columbia sponsored by the utilities commission on smart meters, and I also found industry dismissive, and that was Fortis. When we presented cases of some of the things I just outlined, they basically said if you can't handle it, that's too bad.
I'm just wondering why industry has taken this approach. Why there hasn't been more detailed study on behalf of industry, and why are you not applying the precautionary principle to ensure that there's safety for Canadians? Many studies have been done—and my colleague wanted to mention this—about the cumulative effects when we talk about smart meters, cellphones, wireless, and routers.
Have you been looking at any of these studies and why are you not concerned about the potential and/or the current impact to the health of Canadians? I'd like to have some answers from you.
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Okay, I'm just going to interrupt you. I'm sorry, we don't have much time. We understand that, and that's why we're here because we're trying to review Safety Code 6.
There are other studies. We've just had Dr. Davis talk about studies. We've had other people who have appeared, and research that I've been through over the past couple of years, yet you're saying, about the studies that you are relying on and Safety Code 6, that everything's fine. I don't quite understand that.
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
In your opinion, the fact that Belgium, France, and Taiwan have regulated cellphones for children, is this not a red flag that maybe we should be doing that for your children and others here in Canada?
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Chair.
My first question is for you, Terry, over in Saskatoon.
By the way, thanks to all of you for being here. It's always a pleasure to be back on the ag committee with my honourable colleagues.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Alex Atamanenko: So much for the mushy stuff. We'll get down to business now.
One of my reasons for existence around this place, as most of you know, has been to look at things through the lens of food sovereignty and the ability for us to control our food supply. I've often spoken out against the erosion I perceive of this, whether it's through trade agreements or other factors.
I want to zero in and look at that, Terry. I and a number of people posed a question to the minister two days ago in regard to saving seeds. We were given the assurance that there would be tweaking of the agreement to ensure that farmers would have the right to save seeds. Is it my understanding that regardless of what we do here, the language of UPOV 91 would supersede this, and that even though we would have that guarantee there still would be that control that could be taken away from farmers? That's my first question.
You folks have done an extensive amount of research on this. I understand that your position would be to retain UPOV 78, as have other major countries, and increase public research. Yet we have a number of other farming organizations, many of which are represented here, that believe it's okay, and that this is the way to go. I'm not convinced either way right now. I would like to get some specific clarification, first of all from you, Terry, and, if time permits, from others.
Thank you.
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
It's just like old times, Minister. It's good to see you here.
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks for being here.
Many have a concern about this bill. Certainly, as you're aware, the National Farmers Union is one of them. They've done extensive research and have flagged certain areas. I'd like you to comment on some of their concerns, because obviously, all of us here want to ensure that the interests of farmers prevail when we introduce legislation.
There's a concern not only from them, but from many across the country, that for example, trade deals in this bill may have negative implications on our sovereignty, on our ability to produce food for ourselves; that they could bring in an unprecedented level of corporate control of agriculture; that changes to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act would give vast new rights to multinational agribusiness companies to dominate the private breeding sector; that CETA's intellectual property rights measures would give them access to powerful new tools to enforce these rights.
Apparently, there are some leaked versions of the CETA text that show Canada has agreed to empower the courts to apply provisional and precautionary measures, which include seizure of assets, destruction of equipment, and freezing of bank accounts against someone suspected of intellectual property rights infringement. That's before a trial takes place. Plant breeders' rights are included among the intellectual property rights covered by these measures.
What measures in Bill C-18 were promised to the EU during the secret negotiations that we held with them? Can you reassure Canadian farmers that they shouldn't be concerned about the issues that I just raised?
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks, Minister.
You talked about the farmer's ability to save seed. I'm still not clear, so I'd just like some clarification. For example, when storing the saved seed, does the farmer need the permission of the holder of the plant breeders' rights?
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Does the breeder have the right to charge royalties as well? Obviously, he does.
View Alex Atamanenko Profile
NDP (BC)
Would this bill also empower the government to remove, restrict, or limit the farmer's seed-saving privilege by passing regulations, something that can happen quickly and without public debate? I think this is one concern that some people have.
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