These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

GM Wheat

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Agriculture Canada is using a Saskatchewan research station to test GM wheat from Monsanto. Incredibly, conventional wheat is also grown on that experimental farm, which leads to the real fear of contamination. Canadian Wheat Board customers want no part of GM wheat or conventional wheat that has been contaminated.

Why is the government putting at risk our conventional wheat, the best in the world, by testing GM wheat on experimental farms? Second, what assurances can the government give that these GM wheat tests will be discontinued immediately?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the hon. member has given me the opportunity to clear up an erroneous report that was on a national television channel last night. The report said that the wheat was 3 metres apart. That is incorrect. It was 1,500 metres apart. Scientists say that it only has to be 30 metres apart, but it was 1.5 kilometres away from any other variety of wheat.

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture wants to impose his income stabilization program and is raising the ire of all the provinces, especially Quebec. His stubbornness is jeopardizing existing programs that have proven effective for years.

The Minister of Agriculture must negotiate in good faith with farmers. Is he prepared to put his fiscal framework on hold for one year as the Union des producteurs agricoles of Quebec is asking him to do in order to give these negotiations a chance?


Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Canadian farm income program, which was in place in Canada for a number years, ceased as of December 31 last year. Farmers do not have a disaster income program in Canada for this year.

We will continue to work with the provinces and industry to ensure that because farmers need it and they deserve it. We will ensure that every farmer in Canada in similar circumstances, no matter where they live in Canada, will be treated the same.


Mr. Louis Plamondon (Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the minister wants to force the application of his fiscal framework, but will he acknowledge that this is because he wants to get rid of provincial programs so that the federal government will have sole control over agriculture and be able, during future international negotiations, to lower requirements without having to consult?


Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there has been more consultation on this than any income program in the 40 years that I have been involved in the agriculture industry.

Provinces can continue with whatever programs they want. We are saying that in the province of Quebec for example, the province to which the hon. member is referring, out of the $1.60 to go with the 60˘ federal money that goes in there, the federal government is asking it to make some modest changes for 24˘ of that.

The other money they can use in whatever way they want, continue the programs they have and even do more if the province so desires.