Question Period: China—Canola Exports

By: The Hon. Peter Harder

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Ottawa River, Gatineau and the Library of the Canadian Parliament, Ottawa

Hon. Peter Harder: My question, Minister Bibeau, is a bit of a follow-up to Senator Boisvenu’s question. I seem to be following up everyone else’s questions. It is with respect to canola and the export market in China. First of all, congratulations to you and the officials who have worked for so many years now on this issue. My concern is that as the market in China now opens, we take advantage of the enhanced value that production facilities that have been added since the market closed, and that we export an upgraded product and not low-grade, unprocessed canola to China.

Are you working with the Canola Council of Canada to ensure that while the market opens, we not revert to a low end of the market but persist at the high end?

Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, P.C., M.P., Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food: Thank you. Sometimes it is when we face adversity that we become more innovative. I am so proud that the industry has risen to the challenge and invested in important processing facilities. I would say at the end of the day, it is the industry and the business people who will make the decision. I am quite confident that they see their interest in value-added.

Actually, last week, once again in Saskatchewan, I was visiting oil seed processing facilities, let’s say, and it gives a lot of hope in the development of this sector — one senator was talking about the vegetable proteins. I think there is a lot of potential out of this, investing through the Innovation Superclusters Initiative. This initiative is allowing innovation to take place, and we are at a stage of commercializing some of these innovations.

It is a sector in which we see a lot of potential. I would say that Canada is a leader in the protein industry right now.

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