Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 29, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Vanclief won’t make concessions
By Michael Tutton
HALIFAX — Federal Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief says he won’t make concessions to attract three provinces refusing to sign a $5.2-billion federal farm policy deal.
But Vanclief said yesterday that “clarifications” on the deal for farmers hit hard by U.S. protectionism and drought should help convince Saskatchewan,
Manitoba and Quebec to get on side.
“You can’t go and change an agreement and say we’ve got one agreement for nine and we’ve got a different agreement for three,” he said following three days of meetings with his provincial counterparts.
“They’ve indicated there’s some clarification. I’m confident we can do that and we can do that in the not-too-distant future.”
Saskatchewan, Manitoba and
“You can't go and change an agreement and say we've got one agreement for nine (provinces) and we've got a different agreement for three."
FEDERAL AG MINISTER LYLE VANCLIEF
Quebec, which wasn’t involved in Thursday’s signing ceremony, balked at ratifying the deal that would see them contribute millions to a broad cost-sharing accord designed to reshape the future of farming policy.
On Thursday, Manitoba Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk sat two rows back with the public and other officials as her provincial colleagues lined up
to sign the disputed agreement with Vanclief.
But as the conference ended yesterday, Wowchuk said some of her concerns had been answered and she will put the proposed assistance programs to farmers before final approval.
Saskatchewan’s Clay Serby, who also declined to sign the deal, quietly departed the meeting without commenting.
During the conference, Ottawa proposed a so-called shared bridge fund to help farmers affected by drought and other market difficulties.
The federal government would contribute $600 million a year in each of the next two years, but wants the provinces to kick in about $480 million in each year, raising the fund to a total of about $1.1 billion in both years.
Several provinces have condemned the scheme, claiming a portion of the farm-aid package is directly linked to the U.S. trade
dispute and shouldn’t be passed on to the provinces to pay.
Wowchuk was sounding less concerned about that yesterday.
Instead, she said there’s confusion over issues such as federal funding for agricultural research and whether costs of food safety inspection will be passed on to farmers.
Wowchuk also worried that the subsidy deal might not direct enough cash quickly enough to young farmers who already have made heavy use of federal programs.
Vanclief said the problems can likely be addressed and holdout provinces may soon reconsider.
“They’ve indicated to me very clearly they very much want to sign,” he said. “Matter of fact, some of them have even spoken to me asking when I might be available for a signing ceremony.”
If no deal is reached, farmers will still be able to access the federal portion of the deal.
Montreal cop suspended, facing charges
MONTREAL — A Montreal police officer will face seven criminal charges after allegedly fabricating evidence and using counterfeit documents, police said yesterday.
The officer, 25, has been suspended without pay, police spokesman Serge Gascon told a news conference.
Two of the charges are related to fabrication of evidence after an armed rob
bery at a convenience store last February.
Other charges include two of obstructing justice, two of using counterfeit documents and one of committing mischief.
Armed robbery and drug possession charges were withdrawn against the original accused. The police force’s internal affairs department began its investigation following a complaint from a fellow officer. — Canadian Press
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Sea King forced to land in U.S. after gearbox problem
HALIFAX — A Sea King helicopter was forced to land in the northern United States yesterday after experiencing a problem with a gearbox, says a Canadian military spokesman.
The chopper was en route to Shearwater, NS., from Esquimalt, B.C., when the crew decided to land in a small town in northern Michigan, said Capt. Rick Eng.
The chopper landed safely, he said.
The gearbox connects the engines with the rotor blades.
Eng did not have any details on exactly what went wrong and did not know how long the chopper would be grounded. He said he believed there were seven people on board.
Canada’s current fleet of 29 Sea Kings, dating from the 1960s, have suffered from numerous maintenance problems that have reduced their effectiveness and forced several emergency landings.
— Canadian Press
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Wildlife officials investigate rare eroeodile flown to New Brunswick
FREDERICTON — There’s nothing like a cramped flight in economy class to wipe the smile off a crocodile’s face.
Officials with the Canadian Wildlife Service are investigating how an endangered Cuban crocodile ended up being shipped air cargo to the service’s Sackville, N.B., office from Edmonton earlier this week.
Guy Lafranchise, senior enforcement officer with the wildlife service and a specialist in international animal smuggling, said yesterday the young crocodile wasn’t very happy when it was finally freed from the small, cramped crate after the cross-Canada journey.
“He was very aggressive,” Lafranchise said of the reptile, probably less than a year old.“Would you be in a good mood if you travelled across Canada in a box?”
The crocodile measures less than a metre in length and was securely packed in a box about half that length. Lafranchise said the animal didn’t suffer any injuries during the trip and was in good health.
Lafranchise said the wildlife service received a fax from a John Doe the morning the crocodile arrived on an Air Canada flight. The fax contained the crocodile’s flight number and asked the service to find the animal a good home.
The Cuban crocodile, an endangered animal found only in Cuba, can reach five metres in length. A distinctive yel-low-and-black pattern on its body has also given rise to the name “pearly” crocodile.
The young crocodile is now living in a large aquarium in a reptile zoo in Campbellton, N.B. The zoo is under construction and is expected to open to the public in September.
Marc Doiron, an employee at the zoo, said the crocodile is too small and too young to determine its sex. — CP
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