House of Commons Debates, 41st Parl, 2nd Sess, No 199 (23 April 2015) at 12948.
Mr. Speaker, it is nothing new for the Conservatives to say one thing and then to do another, as they have done in the case of Quebec producers.
The Minister of State for Agriculture gave his word to Quebec producers: the mandate of Canadian negotiators in discussions on the trans-Pacific partnership is “to preserve and promote supply management”.
Can the Minister of International Trade confirm that the Conservatives will keep their promise and protect supply management?
Mr. Speaker, we have made it very clear for many years that we will continue to support farmers, including those in the supply managed sector. At the same time, supply management has never prevented our government from concluding trade agreements.
This government understands that trade and investment are the twin engines of economic growth for our country. We are going to continue to seek out opportunities to expand Canada’s trade opportunities all around the world to give Canadian businesses, exporters, and investors new opportunities.
Mr. Speaker, the minister may say that, but what the Prime Minister actually said was that negotiations on the trans-Pacific partnership will involve difficult decisions. Then, in the budget, what do they do? They start implementing the changes the other countries actually want. They do not even wait for negotiations to be concluded. They simply start making the changes, giving stuff away.
Are these the kinds of difficult decisions the Prime Minister talked about? Are we going to actually see supply management offered up by this Conservative government, or is it finally going to stand up for farmers in this country and make sure that it protects supply management?
Mr. Speaker, I would caution that member about prejudging the outcome of these negotiations. I just explained that this government has, since its election in 2006, always promoted and defended the interests of our supply management sector. In fact, there is no government that has ever done as much for farmers as this Conservative government.
As we continue to negotiate at the trans-Pacific partnership table, we will be promoting Canada’s interests. We have always made it clear that the standard we will set and achieve is that we will only sign a trade agreement that is in Canada’s best interests.
How ironic, Mr. Speaker. The minister says the Conservatives protect farmers across this country, but when it came time to sell the Wheat Board, did they sell it to farmers? Not at all. They did not sell it to farmers. I guess they like the Saudis, because that is who they sold it to. They sold the Wheat Board to the Saudis, even though Canadian farmers wanted to buy it. Canadian farmers said that they would give them more money for it. The Conservatives said, “No thanks, we will just give it to the Saudis”, and so they did.
At the end of the day, if you really stand up for farmers, then you should have let farmers buy the Wheat Board.
I am sure the hon. member for Welland was directing his question at a member of the government not at the Speaker, but I will recognize the Hon. Parliamentary Secretary.
Mr. Speaker, for the hon. member’s benefit, a fully commercialized Canadian Wheat Board increases competition in the sector by giving farmers another buyer competing for their grain.
I know the hon. member does not want to hear the answer, but I really would like to deliver the answer. The investors are injecting $250 million into the company and have plans to develop a coast to coast grain handling and shipping network.
Growing infrastructure and new delivery points means lower delivery costs for who else? Farmers. The new Canadian Wheat Board includes a farmer’s trust, which offers farmers an opportunity to build equity simply through their deliveries of–
The hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.