David in the House

David Anderson – Hansard 175

May 11, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our subcommittee heard that the Iranian government has created a cesspool of corruption and violence: massive numbers of public executions; deliberate destruction of religious minorities such as the Baha’i; the violation of international treaties; expanded state-sponsored terrorism; a governance system that crushes dissent; and numerous departments under the direct control of President Rouhani that directly and routinely violate domestic law.

Why is the Liberal government more interested in sitting at the table with Rouhani than listening to international human rights defenders like Irwin Cotler?


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David Anderson – Hansard 174

May 10, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to speak to this bill, and look forward to my colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa speaking to it, too. He is probably one of the most knowledgeable members in the House on these issues.

I first want to point out that GMO-free labelling is allowed in this country. From the conversation we are having here today, Canadians listening might not understand that. Any company, wholesaler or retailer, can put GMO-free labelling on their products, if they choose to do that. If they think that is somehow going to impact the market in a positive way, they have the opportunity to do that, and there are people doing that across Canada.

I am from a farm, and I am very proud of my heritage. I am proud of the crops that my neighbours produce. Some constituents in my neighbourhood are watching tonight. It is good to have them here, because they understand the challenges that farmers and producers across Canada face as they feed the rest of the world.

When in government, the Conservatives always guided the agriculture and food safety policy on the principle that decisions must be based on sound science. This actually results in Canada having one of the best food safety systems in the world. The Liberal government, apparently, seems determined to leave that behind. A number of issues have gone to the agriculture committee that do not seem to be science based at all, but more politically based. If we are going to make decisions about these kinds of products, chemicals, pesticides, and those kinds of things, based on political activity, we are going to find ourselves in a very deep hole.

The agriculture committee has dealt with things like the neonicotinoid issue and animal transport regulations issues, and the government’s proposals do not deal directly with science. Much of it seems to be politically motivated. If we do that, we walk into a very deep swamp, particularly if we do that with genetically engineered products.

With respect to food safety, particularly on GMO products, the role of the government has been, and should continue to be, to regulate for the health and safety of Canadians. That is our challenge. That is the challenge governments have typically taken up, and said that their involvement, or interference, if we want to call it that, in the market needs to stop. That is why we have the food safety system that we do.

Conservatives stand for the integrity of the food system. We have a great food system, and we stand for protecting the health and safety of Canadians and farmers, so that they can continue to be competitive around the world, but the reality is that GMOs have been demonstrated time and time again to be no threat to human health or safety. This bill fails to acknowledge the safeguards already in place, as well as the labelling options, one of which I mentioned a few minutes ago, that are already available to manufacturers and producers.

There were some questions this afternoon about some of the science, but I want to point out that over 2,000 studies have been done that document that there is no threat to human health or food safety from GMOs. One of my Liberal colleagues, a little earlier, asked about studying whether animals eating GMO products should be considered to be GMO in some fashion. In the United States, animal agriculture each year produces over nine billion food producing animals, and 95% of them consume feed containing GMO ingredients.

Since the introduction of genetically engineered products, trillions of meals have been fed to animals with GMO products, and if there were an issue, it would have become obvious long ago. One study, over 29 years ago, studied 100 billion animals, livestock productivity, and health, showed there was no noticeable impact of genetically engineered products, other than in cases where there had been an improvement. There was no impact on meat, milk, or eggs. Clearly, the benefits of GMO crops greatly outweigh the health impacts.

For example, the use of GMOs on farms in my area have reduced the price of food. They have lowered the requirements for energy input, and have raised the output of crops. We have the example of something called golden rice, which could directly impact the deaths of one million children per year who suffer from a vitamin A deficiency. A number of governments have said they are not going to grow it, because it is genetically modified no matter how much it could positively impact their people.

Some people oppose this and still try to make the genetically engineered part of that the issue. That is what this bill does as well, but there is no issue.

We have mentioned the European Union here a couple of times today. It is important to note that the EU itself has funded over 130 research projects. We would expect, given the kind of requirements the Europeans have, that they would have been interested if there were any negative impacts of these products. The research projects were carried out by 500 independent teams, and not one of them found there was any special risk from GMO crops. That is from Scientific American. The objections that we find to this whole industry are not scientific, but are definitely political.

I am a little concerned about the NDP coming forward with this bill again. It has come forward a number of times. If anything, the New Democrats are persistent, if not accurate. There is no health issue. We should not be leaving the impression with people that there is. We also should not be leaving the impression that the United States at this time requires labelling for GM products, because that is not true. The requirement that they have down there is that if there is actually a compositional difference that results in some sort of a material change to the product, then that has to be labelled for that change. That is a far cry from what we are being asked to support here. An example of that would be if canola oil had an increased lauric acid content compared to conventional oil, it would have to be labelled as a lauric canola oil. That is not what we are talking about here. To say that the United States has GMO labelling is not accurate. I do not think the mover of the bill or others here should be leaving that impression.

The member’s bill contains no definition of GM food. In the bill, it actually leaves that to the Governor in Council. I do not think it would be responsible for us to be supporting this bill. The member just puts it forward with no definition of these terms. Once again, we need to understand what he is talking about. Why would he not just say that the New Democrats do not believe in anything specific enough here to even define it, that they are just going to throw it over to the government and let them somehow decide what the definition of this is? The member has a GM labelling bill, but he refuses to even consider defining what GM means in his mind. We do not have any clear understanding of what that might be.

As I mentioned earlier, the Canadian system has regulated by health and by safety, but not by composition. I do not think we need to change that because this has worked well in the past.

In the member’s bill, he decided to leave all regulations to the Governor in Council as well. Basically, the member is just saying that the New Democrats want a bill but they are going to leave it to the government to define what it is about and to set the regulations. It is kind of a strange presentation here. I think this is just a first step to try to get this bill in as quickly as possible.

I want to come back to something which is important because we have heard this a couple of times today. The reality is that the United States does not make the distinction between novel foods and GMO foods. Novel foods are typically new products that have been developed. The Americans’ view is that foods developed using new techniques do not differ from other foods in any meaningful way or present different or greater safety concerns than foods developed by traditional plant breeding. That is a pretty direct repudiation of what the member is saying, that there is GMO labelling required in the United States.

I want to give a bit of time for my colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa to be able to speak at length here, so I am going to wrap it up right now and let him have the extra time, hopefully later, that I was given.


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David Anderson – Hansard 174

May 10, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister broke the law. He accepted gifts worth thousands of dollars on billionaire island. He is under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner. His obligation is to be honest with Canadians. What is he covering up here? How many times has he communicated with the Ethics Commissioner?


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David Anderson – Hansard 173

May 9, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, last year the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food stood in front of a microphone to tell Canadians how important an efficient and reliable grain transportation system was. That is why the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act was put in place in the first place, to make the system work for more than just the railways.

Now the Liberals have deliberately delayed until important provisions for western Canadian grain farmers expire. Why did they not tell producers a year ago that their idea of efficient and reliable was giving the railways all the power, taking it away from the producers?


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David Anderson – Hansard 171

May 5, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
House of Commons

Madam Speaker, when the Prime Minister stumbled onto a Saskatchewan farm last week, he was surprised that they used complicated tools like GPS.

Producers have other tools that are just as important. One of the economic tools they have had for decades was the ability to defer income from cash grain tickets. Now the Liberals are moving to take that away, a move that punishes Canadian producers and rewards the government.

Why is it that every time the Liberals make a move, they rip money out of Canadian pockets and just put it in their own hands?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence SDIR 57

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Mr. Mohamed, do you have a response to that?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence SDIR 57

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Can I just interrupt you for a second on that, then? UN staff members and UN representatives have been connected on a number of occasions in the past with sexual violence. It seems to be a recurring theme. We’ve just heard an allegation this morning of another situation taking place where someone was able to escape responsibility for an attack on a young person. What’s being done to address those issues?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence SDIR 57

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Are you aware of the charges that Mr. Mohamed has made about the cost to refugees of purchasing ID cards and documents, the extraordinary fees, and the allegations of corruption that are taking place in the camp? I believe the camp’s part of your responsibility. He talked about the denial of basic human rights. What is the UNHCR’s response to those situations?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence SDIR 57

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

I guess we’re unsure about how going back to burned out, destroyed villages without health care and nutrition or a functioning economy is good for people, or how you can expect them to thrive in that situation.

The Kenyan Supreme Court made its decision to intervene. What has been the Kenyan government’s response to that? Has it actually been supporting the refugees? Has it re-established the refugee affairs department? I think it was instructed to by the Supreme Court. Has that been done, and has that been an effective re-establishment?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence SDIR 57

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to thank our witnesses for all testifying before us this morning.

To the UNHCR, I have some questions about the repatriation program you’ve been participating in. The Kenyan government obviously wants to shut the camp down, and they’ve done everything they can to do that. The Supreme Court has intervened in that decision. But on repatriation, there’s been some suggestion…. I’m just going to lay out three points that have been made about the UNHCR.

The first point is that the participation in the tripartite agreement was basically a violation of the UN mandate requiring an adequate level of protection for returning refugees, which you did not provide. The second is that you did not provide adequate resources, either protection or resources, to returning refugees, which is another part of your mandate. The third point is that this was hardly voluntary, that coercion by both the Kenyan government and the UNHCR has basically forced people to go back to Somalia. The question is, how can there be voluntary repatriation when there is continuing war and conflict, when there are ration cuts in the camps and quotas and deadlines set, and cash payments to get people to leave the camp and go back in the midst of a situation where there was not only war but also a developing drought?

I’m just wondering if you can give a response to that question, please.


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence AGRI 54

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food

I wonder how you see that productivity improving in the future. Do you see that kind of percentage being achievable in the future?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence AGRI 54

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food

You talked about a 45% increase in worker productivity.


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence AGRI 54

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food

We just have a short period of time here.

You talked about the importance of being able to own the land. I think there was testimony at the last meeting that 40% of land is currently rented in Saskatchewan and other places. Leased land and those kinds of things are available.

I’m just wondering about your perspective. Do you feel it’s critical that the producers own the land? I’d throw that over to Ryan as well, because he is a producer as well. If the folks in the middle want to answer that, that’s fine, but I’m just interested in hearing from producers. Is it essential that we own that land as producers or not?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence AGRI 54

May 2, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food

I want to thank the witnesses for being here with us today.

We had a private member’s bill come before the House that would have made it easier for family transfers, and I’m sure it pained our colleagues across the way to vote it down.

I have a very short time here, but I’m interested in any suggestions you might make on taxation changes that would assist transfers. I’m speaking to the two farm groups primarily. Do you have something to suggest specifically about taxation issues? You mentioned deep discounts to interest rates. That would be one suggestion. I’m wondering if you have any other suggestions about taxation changes we could recommend to the government that would help with those kinds of matters.


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence FAAE 57

April 13, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Thank you.


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence FAAE 57

April 13, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

How do you see Turkey playing into this relationship? Obviously there is the whole Kurdish issue played out through the Daesh activity. We’ve spent quite a bit of time at the subcommittee on human rights talking about the Yazidi situation and the problems faced in the Nineveh plains, but how do you see Turkish relations with the United States playing into this relationship you are talking about as well?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence FAAE 57

April 13, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

I think we’ve seen the best and the worst of that. Some governors have come out saying they don’t need these border adjustment taxes, but COOL came out of some of the border states, and beef moves back and forth all the time. They should have had more sense, but there were some special interests that really played that issue well.

The U.S. has basically decided that they want to become energy-dominant. They’ve made a big change, I think, in their commitment to climate change and some of those things. What do you think their relationship with Saudi Arabia and some of the other oil-producing countries will be over the next while? Will there be at any point an addressing of the funding of extremism that has taken place out of a couple of the countries, and particularly Saudi Arabia, over the years? Will that play into the energy conversation, do you think?


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David Anderson – Committee Evidence FAAE 57

April 13, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It’s a pleasure to be here at committee today. There are a number of directions I’d like to go in during my short amount of time, but Professor, I’d like to ask you what you see as the role of state legislatures in protecting our trade relationship. We have, I think, more than three dozen states whose main trading partner is Canada.

Could you comment on that?


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David Anderson – Hansard 163

April 10, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for the opportunity to speak to this legislation this morning.

Like my colleague, when I was asked to speak to the bill, I decided I needed to go to our policy and see whether this is something I can support, and I actually came to the opposite conclusion of that of my colleague.

I will read again the part he read, that we believe that the “CBC-SRC is an important part of the broadcasting system in Canada”. That is true. It plays a major role in Canada across the country. It says that “[i]t must be a true public service broadcaster”. When I read that, I wondered what this is specifically talking about. The bill says “public service broadcaster”. It does not say publicly owned broadcaster. We heard some comment earlier about what this would imply. Does it mean the CBC should be covering emergency services? Should it be covering cultural events, as my colleague just spoke about? Is it about public information? I do not know that it says that the CBC has to be a publicly owned, taxpayer-funded regular broadcaster. That is not how I read that.

It says that the CBC needs to be “relevant to Canadians”. As we have heard in the debate in the House, both from the Liberal side and our side, there is some concern about whether the CBC is relevant to Canadians and how relevant it really is.

What could show public support for a broadcaster more than having private shares issued and having the public decide if it wants to support it? Those Canadians who want to step forward could then put their money where they want it to be. It would be a test of whether the CBC has the support of the public if the bill successfully passes.

I am here to speak to Bill C-308, a bill brought forward by my colleague from Saskatoon—University. I was going to discuss the CBC and its potential future, but I want to talk a bit about the history of the CBC as well, which has been covered a bit here.

During the 1920s in Canada, a number of private media outlets were being set up, particularly radio stations across Canada. It is my understanding that the Canadian National Railways was one of those companies that was establishing media outlets across Canada. It had stations in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Moncton, and Vancouver and covered things like concerts and comic opera, school broadcasts, and historical drama, the kinds of things my colleague just talked about. At that time, no full national program had been developed, but it was coming along.

A Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting, under the chairmanship of John Aird, was appointed by Mackenzie King in 1928. The concern was that some of the private Canadian stations were falling into U.S. hands. The BBC was also being held up as an example. There were those who felt that private broadcasting in Canada could not provide an adequate Canadian alternative to the United States. It is interesting to note that almost 100 years later, we are still hearing some of those same arguments.

The private CNR radio stations and other private broadcasting stations were seen to be not enough to stop the idea that public ownership of the media was important. There was a feeling among some that the taxpayer needed to contribute to this media as well.

The moving force within the Aird commission was Charles Bowman, who was the editor of The Ottawa Citizen at the time. He argued that public ownership of broadcasting was necessary to protect Canadians against American penetration. It would be interesting to understand a bit more about the politics that would have been revolving around those decisions at that time as well.

In 1929, just before the stock market crash, the Aird commission presented its report. It recommended the creation of a national broadcasting company. The commission saw it being set up as a public utility but funded by the taxpayer. It would have a responsibility for “fostering a national spirit and interpreting national citizenship”.

Specifically, the report called for the elimination of private media stations. The commission did not want any private stations at all. It thought they should be compensated but removed from the networks. Obviously, when the stock market crashed, that changed a number of things.

It took a while for CBC/Radio-Canada to be set up, but it was established as a crown corporation in 1936. While it may have had a mandate to foster national spirit right from the start, it has always been controversial. My colleague just talked about some of the early controversy even about that.

The question Canadians asked then and are asking now is whether Canadians need a taxpayer-funded broadcaster. For many years it was argued that the CBC was necessary because Canadians did not have direct media service. I come from probably one of the least populated areas of the country, but I think that argument only holds true as new technology is introduced and as it takes time to spread across the country.

I would like to use a couple of examples. There was radio service across Canada in the twenties, thirties, and forties. As TV developed, obviously it took a while longer for TV to get into the rural areas. Would it not have been a better argument at the time to actually spend taxpayers’ money to provide the hard infrastructure, the things like the towers, so that people in rural communities actually had the infrastructure to carry those signals, rather than having control of the content, which is what the argument was about the CBC?

Our first TV station was the CBC, in the early 1960s. CTV followed a few years later, and, it was interesting, so did stations from Montana. We were served by five national broadcasters in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan in what many would have considered the back of beyond.

I remember CBC in those days. Hockey Night in Canada was one of the first programs I remember watching on a black and white TV. We had to get fairly close to it. We could not see the puck. We could just see these grainy figures moving around. In those days, I was actually a Montreal Canadiens fan. Over the years there was a whole pile of other teams and it kind of got diluted, but obviously, the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins were what we watched on Hockey Night in Canada.

There were other things like Bonanza and Red Skelton that came up from the States, and we thought they were great entertainment. Front Page Challenge was another one people watched. I think it was Sunday night when people sat in front of the TV and watched Front Page Challenge.

However, times changed, and other networks were developing with private money. The CBC lost its uniqueness long before Front Page Challenge went off the air, I would argue, as other commercial alternatives developed. Even in our remote part of the world, as I mentioned, we had three U.S. networks, CBC, and CTV, and certainly there was nothing we saw that was unique about CBC. It was mostly the same types of shows, the same types of news, just maybe at different times. Hockey Night in Canada stood out as one thing that was unique, as I mentioned, but even a new CTV without the subsidy was able to develop and go head to head with CBC with its taxpayer assistance.

From my Conservative viewpoint, I think what a shame it was that a company, trying to develop, would have to compete directly with taxpayers’ money, and on the flip side of it, that taxpayers were stuck paying for the development of a structure that was being duplicated commercially. It was just, from my perspective, a lot of wasted money. The opportunity for change came and went without adaptation, guaranteeing that CBC would become more and more irrelevant.

CBC and its supporters have always tried to convince Canadians that it is some sort of national institution, but practically, it never has been. The only thing that has made it national is that taxpayers across this country have been stuck paying the bill. The notion that it provides some sort of unbiased Canadian content has not been proven, even as recently as last week, when two provinces were already taking great exception to the latest history project that is going on.

A second example of this failure, I would think, was evident yesterday. I went on the online website, and among dozens of headlines on there, I could not find one, not one, that was critical in any way of the present government. That seems to be quite a change from a couple of years ago. There was not a single critical headline on its website, in spite of the fact that we have a government that is mired in corruption, following a budget that has been universally panned, and in the midst of an attempt to unilaterally change the rules of the national legislature . I do not know where all of their investigative reporters went to. Perhaps they have left, but I doubt it. I think it is just that they actually cannot find anything to criticize.

A constituent called me a couple of weeks ago disgusted by some of the content he saw on TV early in the evening. It was 8 o’clock at night, and his seven-year-old son was with him, and he said it was completely inappropriate content for young people. He contacted the CBC. They told him that he did not actually watch it and that it was not shown at that time of night, so what he thought he saw, he did not see. That was their way of dealing with his complaint about content. I do not think the CBC is actually listening to Canadians at all.

The establishment of the CBC meant that right from the beginning, the taxpayers were paying the bill. Right from the beginning, I would argue, the cost was just too high to be justified. It still is in this day of media expansion.

Let us talk about the taxpayers. We sit here with 100 or 200 TV channels on most of our televisions. We have 1,000 or 2,000 internet channels. We have instant news from all over the world. We have movies and videos from dozens of sources. We have cable TV that has the capacity to charge for what people use but that is burdened with having to carry unpopular subsidized channels, and we have private companies delivering professional production and news services that are paying their own way.

In the middle of all this, there is a $1-billion-plus annual bill to the taxpayer for a provider that no longer provides anything that is unique, and a provider that many Canadians believe fails to provide a balanced and comprehensive view of the issues.

If we look at the mandate, it is not successfully addressing that. It is unnecessary that the CBC be supported by governmental intervention in order for it to continue to exist. It should have been done decades ago. Taxpayers have borne the burden for many years longer than they should have. It is time to make this a commercial entity and let it compete directly with its competitors.


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David Anderson – Hansard 161

April 6, 2017
David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Conservative
House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government never misses an opportunity to rip money out of the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

For decades Canadian farmers have been able to defer cash grain income from one year to the next. Now the Liberals want to take that away without proper consultation, and apparently without even knowing what they are doing. This bad decision will affect farmers from across the country.

Why is it that the only new agricultural initiative in budget 2017 is a Liberal rip-off of hard-working Canadian farmers?


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