The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill , as reported (without amendment) from the committee.
moved that Bill be read the third time and passed.
He said: Mr. Speaker, on June 13, 2022, I introduced Bill . In a month, it will be one year. On November 16, 2022, I delivered my introductory speech at first reading. On February 7, 2023, I delivered my final reply to conclude the debate at second reading and on February 8, the result of the vote was the following: 293 for, 23 against. That is what we call a resounding majority.
With that vote, parliamentarians in the House signalled to supply managed farmers that they would never again be sacrificed at the altar of free trade. The government was finally going to walk the talk. I felt confident that this bill would be passed by the end of the session. Was I being overly optimistic? Time will tell.
There was just committee work left. When a party wants to hold up a bill, it can filibuster. That is what representatives from the Conservative Party quietly did in committee.
The bill contains one clause. If we agree with the principle, the clause in question does nothing but implement its intention. Simple, accurate, concise, this bill gets straight to the point. It adds to the mandate of the Minister of Foreign Affairs the obligation to fully respect supply management by removing the minister’s ability to negotiate these principles in future international trade negotiations.
The minister will therefore be unable to sign a treaty that would have the effect of increasing the tariff rate quota applicable to products subject to supply management or reducing the applicable tariff when imports exceed the applicable tariff rate quota.
What impact will Bill C-282 have in concrete terms? The first commitment the government makes in negotiating a treaty is signing it. By signing the treaty, it indicates that it is satisfied with the text and commits, and I am using the word “commits” deliberately, to do what is necessary for it to be implemented.
By preventing the government from signing, should there be any breaches of supply management, Bill C-282 prevents it from introducing an implementation bill allowing for the treaty’s ratification and entry into force. Unless the matter returns to Parliament during the negotiations and before the treaty is signed and Parliament is requested to amend the law, supply management is completely protected.
Basically, with Bill C-282, supply management is taken off the bargaining table from the outset. It is a powerful tool to increase Canada’s bargaining power in trade negotiations. This bill does not disarm the government. On the contrary, it strengthens it.
Let us keep in mind that Bill C-282 has become necessary because the loopholes that have been created are preventing the system from working effectively by undermining the integrity of its constituent principles, namely, price, production and border controls.
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, supply management is a key strategic tool for preserving our food self-sufficiency, regional development and land use. I will get back to this later. It is also a Canada-wide risk management tool designed to protect agricultural markets against price fluctuations.
The system is based on three major principles, three pillars. I am convinced that my colleague from will talk about his three-legged stool.
The first pillar is supply management through a production quota system derived from research on consumption, that is, consumer demand for dairy products. The Canadian Dairy Commission distributes quotas to each of the provinces, which, through their marketing boards or producer associations, sell these quotas to their own producers to ensure that production is aligned with domestic demand.
The second pillar is price controls. A floor price and a ceiling price are set to ensure that each link in the supply chain gets its fair share.
The third pillar is border control, and that is where fair trade agreements and the successive breaches that producers have had to deal with come in.
Supply management is a model envied around the world, especially in countries that have abolished it. Dairy producers in countries that dropped supply management are lobbying to have it reinstated. Increasingly, American dairy producers are questioning their government's decision to abolish supply management for their sector in the early 1990s. Indeed, for almost a decade, the price of milk in the U.S. has been plummeting, and small U.S. farms are no longer able to cover their production costs. This price level is usually attributed to overproduction. Each year, millions of gallons of milk are dumped in ditches. In 2016, more than 100 million gallons were thrown away. In 2018, Wisconsin lost more than 500 farms a week.
Of course, there is another argument that could be made against Bill . Some people might think that since producers and processors have finally been compensated, sometimes after waiting more than four years, and are satisfied, concessions can be made from one agreement to another by compensating people afterwards.
Of course, no amount of compensation, no temporary one-off cheque, will cover the permanent structural damage and losses caused by the breaches in the free trade agreements. Supply management is not perfect, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, especially in allowing all links in the chain to produce and to have fair and equitable incomes for everyone in the entire production chain. That is important.
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Do we want to protect certain segments of our agricultural industry from foreign competition while abiding by the rules of the WTO agreements?
The answer is yes, especially since the supply management system follows those rules. Every country in the world protects its sensitive products. It is true for the U.S., with its sugar and cotton. It is true for Japanese rice. It is also true for Europe. It is not against the WTO’s rules, so let us do it.
Bill is not partisan, and neither is my approach in defending and promoting it. We simply needed to enshrine in law the good intentions repeated in Parliament for years.
During each trade negotiation, the House was unanimous in insisting that we keep the supply management system. It did so on November 22, 2005, in its negotiations with the WTO. It did so on September 26, 2017, in its renegotiation of NAFTA. It did so on February 7, 2018, this time for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the CPTPP. In every case, the House was unanimous, which means that government members, both Conservative and Liberal, agreed.
After that, things went awry. In the case of the CPTPP, CUSMA, or the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, and CETA, or the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the government ended up partioning off parts of the marker. That is why we came up with Bill C-282 after Bill died on the Order Paper.
Although the Bloc Québécois is introducing this bill, it is not ours alone. It expresses the will of most parliamentarians. It expresses the will of our farmers, especially Quebec's supply-managed farmers, but also those all across Canada who have adopted this system.
In fact, I know that they are listening to us, and I would like to say hello. This bill is theirs as much as it is ours.
Along with my colleagues from and , I went to meet our producers and consumers. We found an agriculture sector that was more mobilized and optimistic than ever, convinced that we would succeed, and determined to defend and promote supply management at all costs.
We also met people who want to keep the supply management system because it has proven to be effective in terms of food autonomy and food security, especially so during the pandemic. Consumers see that they have access to sufficient, high-quality supplies at competitive prices. They want to shorten the distance between farm and table. They want farms run by people and not megafarms that run on overproduction and waste. I repeat that 100 million gallons are thrown out in the U.S. It is inconceivable.
In fact, if U.S. producers want to return to a supply management system, it is because their model based on overproduction favours only megaproducers and they are losing farms run by actual people, meaning that quality goes out the window. Do we want milk full of hormones from megafarms?
Consumers see the beneficial impact of supply management on sustainable agriculture, land use and the regional economy. Our producers deserve not to feel threatened every time a free trade agreement is negotiated. They want predictability. They want to be able to plan for the future, ensure their succession and maintain their quality standards. Is that too much to ask?
In conclusion, Bloc Québécois members are team players. Protecting and promoting supply management and the result of the vote on third reading are not only the work of the member for Montcalm. I want to point out the remarkable work and dedication of my colleague and friend, the member for Berthier-Maskinongé. I would also like to point out the excellent work of my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. He did a remarkable job in committee as spokesperson for international trade. Let us say that he honed his patience at the Standing Committee on International Trade.
I must also mention the unconditional support of the entire Bloc Québécois caucus, who not only stand behind me, but also and especially beside all supply-managed agricultural producers. At the end of this debate at third reading, I see that the member for and the rest of the NDP support Bill . I thank the for her unequivocal support and, by extension, that of her government. This type of support is invaluable. There is still some doubt among the 23 Conservatives who voted against Bill C‑282 in principle on second reading. I take nothing for granted, but time is of the essence.
All we need is another election for Bill C‑282 to suffer the same fate as Bill . This bill needs to be studied by the Senate, and could be delayed by senators who want to imitate the Conservative members who delayed the clause-by-clause study of Bill C‑282 in committee. Let us remain optimistic and assume that, considering what a majority there is in the House, our wise Senate will make the right choice.
The time has come to act. Every country protects the key sectors of its economy before engaging in free trade negotiations.
After all the motions that have been unanimously adopted by the House and all the expressions of good faith, followed by all the broken promises by successive governments of all stripes, if we truly respect the farmers who feed us, we have to put our words into action and pass Bill C-282, to ensure that not one more government will take it upon itself to sacrifice, on the altar of free trade, supply management, our agricultural model and the men and women who feed us.
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity that the member for has provided me to once again reaffirm the government's support for Canada's supply management system and for this important bill. I want to start by thanking the member for for reporting the bill back to the House following its review at the Standing Committee on International Trade.
In conducting its review of the bill, the committee heard from over 40 witnesses and received 15 written briefs. The committee heard substantial evidence that Canada's supply management system is a model of stability. It provides a fair price for farmers, stability for processors and high-quality products for consumers, Canadians, and has done so for over 50 years. Numerous witnesses expressed how supply management is a pillar of rural prosperity. It sustains farming families and rural communities.
The great contribution of supply-managed sectors to our economy is undeniable. In 2021, the dairy, poultry and egg sectors generated almost $13 billion in farm-gate sales and accounted for over 100,000 direct jobs in production and processing activities.
This government has consistently reaffirmed our unwavering support for Canada's supply management system, including in the context of international trade agreements. This support was clearly demonstrated during the negotiation of the new NAFTA, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA. Canada faced significant pressure to dismantle the supply management system, and I cannot stress enough how hard we had to resist and defend it, and defend it we did. Despite this intense pressure, we succeeded in ensuring that all three pillars of the supply management system remain firmly in place: production controls, pricing mechanisms and import controls.
More recently, we demonstrated our support for Canada's supply management system during the negotiation of the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement, which did not include any new access for cheese or other supply-managed products, despite significant pressure from the United Kingdom.
Moreover, the government has publicly committed, and I stress this, to not provide any new market access for supply-managed products in future trade agreements. This policy has been clearly and publicly stated by the and the .
Looking into the future, Bill makes our commitment to continue to preserve, protect and defend all three pillars of Canada's supply management system even stronger.
Furthermore, the government believes that ensuring greater involvement of the public, stakeholders and parliamentarians in Canada's trade agenda strengthens the defence and promotion of our broader economic interests, including supply-managed sectors. As such, we have increased transparency in the conduct of trade negotiations and we have enhanced reporting obligations to Parliament for all new trade agreements. In November 2020, we updated the policy on the tabling of treaties in Parliament to provide additional opportunities for members of Parliament to review the objectives and economic merits of new trade agreements.
Furthermore, our government will continue to preserve, protect and defend our supply management system in the context of any challenge by our trading partners. We are confident that we, Canada, are fully compliant in the implementation of our trade obligations, and we will vigorously defend our interests.
Let me reiterate the government's unequivocal commitment to maintain supply management as a pillar of strong and sustainable rural prosperity into the future. This matters. It matters to Canadian farmers. It matters to Canadian farmers in my region of Windsor—Essex.
We have tens of thousands of workers who work to drive our agricultural sector. Whether it is greenhouses or on the farms, this is absolutely critical to my region and also to Canadian farmers from coast to coast to coast. It is also important to Canadians. This is the foundation, as we heard today, of Canada's food security.
Bill is aligned with our commitment. For this reason, we support it. The government is fully committed to defending the integrity of supply management, while also continuing to pursue an ambitious trade agenda.
Madam Speaker, I am happy to speak to Bill . On the Conservative side, we absolutely support supply management. We always have been.
In my riding of Dufferin—Caledon, there are many supply-managed farms, both in dairy and, of course, in eggs and poultry. I take the opportunity to visit those farms on a regular basis. The last break week, I visited dairy farms in my riding and I talked about the bill and the incredible contributions that they made not just to my riding of Dufferin—Caledon but all across Canada.
That being said, I really do have concerns with respect to the bill and a big part of it is that the bill has turned into a gigantic wedge issue with all the rest of the folks in the agriculture sector. Every agricultural sector outside of supply management has said it does not support the bill. These people are concerned about what the repercussions will be to their sector in any future trade agreement.
Why are they thinking that? When we take something off the table in a negotiation, then our negotiating partner will automatically take something off the table as well. If we are taking supply management off, and that is something our negotiating partner is interested in, it will take something off the table that Canada is interested in, and we end up with trade agreements that are less ambitious, less broad in scope and therefore have less economic prosperity for Canadians.
This is an example of who came to the committee to say they supported supply management. There are agricultural colleagues, our friends and neighbours, who are against this bill, such as the Canola Council of Canada; the Canadian Canola Growers Association; the International Cheese Council of Canada; the National Cattle Feeders' Association; the Canadian Cattle Association; CAFTA, which is the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance; Cereals Canada; just to name a few. They have all said that they think this bill will damage their opportunities to export their products around the world. They spoke very forcefully against the bill at committee.
What the bill has accomplished, to a large extent, is to pit one farmer against another, and that is truly unfortunate.
Government officials have also spoken against the legislation. When the bill was before the previous parliament it was Bill , and there were several questions that were asked with respect to it. I will quote one section.
Mr. Doug Forsyth said:
If we were to end up with this bill as it is written, I think very much that we would start with a much smaller scope of negotiations with various partners. It wouldn't be unusual for them to say “That's fine. Canada has taken these issues right out of play. We will take issues that are of interest to Canada right out of play.” Then you're talking about negotiating from a smaller pie...
That is exactly the concern I have raised. Canada is a free-trading nation. We rely on free trade, as 60% to 70% of our GDP comes from trade. We are a trading and exporting nation, and agricultural products are a huge bedrock of our exports. When every other agricultural sector is saying that it is concerned about what this is going to do with respect to its ability to export its products around the world and in negotiations for other free trade agreements, we should listen.
One of the things I tried to accomplish at committee was to have extra meetings to have trade experts come to say what they thought the impact of the bill would be with respect to negotiating future trade agreements, and the committee received letters from trade experts.
This is a snippet from a letter from Robert de Valk, who said:
Remember what Canada had to pay in 1989 to keep supply management off the table when the Canada-US Trade Agreement (CUSTA) was completed – increased access. Now all our trading partners can rightfully ask for compensation. The bill, unfortunately, may have the unintended consequence of putting the supply management sector in focus early in any future negotiations.
When we talk about future negotiations, our free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico, CUSMA, is under review at six years. We are three years away from that. With this bill passing, what happens if the United States says that it wants some additional access in supply managed industries? Under this bill it would be absolutely impossible. Then what happens? Are we going to blow up our entire free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico because of this legislation? These are the unintended potential consequences of the legislation.
At committee, I also asked government officials if we would have been able to successfully renegotiate NAFTA, which became CUSMA, if supply management was off the table? This was the answer, “Madam Chair, I was not a part of the negotiating teams for either of those negotiations. However, the stated policy of the Canadian government during both of those negotiations was that“ supply management was off the table and that they would “make no concessions. Therefore, having ultimately determined that such concessions were necessary, I can only conclude that failing to do so would have put the deal at jeopardy.”
This is what we would be looking at if we pass legislation like this. We are potentially putting other trade deals at jeopardy with respect to one sector of the Canadian economy. I find this absolutely troubling.
However, if we take away the challenges with future deals and if we take away the challenges with the review of CUSMA, or USMCA, whatever we want to call it, those are big, extraordinary challenges as a result of this.
Let us look at it in a broader context. Our largest trading partner is the United States, with 70% of our trade going to the United States. We have two major trade irritants with the United States right now.
First, on softwood lumber, $8 billion worth of duties have been collected as a result of the softwood lumber dispute. This has been going on for eight years, with no progress at all on resolving it.
Second, country of origin labelling for beef is percolating in the United States again. It would have devastating impacts for Canadian cattle.
If we go to the United States and say that we want to try to resolve these things, I think it will say, especially with beef, that we have just protected an entire swath of our agricultural sector and it will want to know why the United States can not go forward with its country of origin labelling.
The bill would give the United States a hammer to hit us with in negotiations, to try to resolve the trade irritants that we have now. These are the unintended consequences of passing this legislation.
We can support supply management without the legislation. Our country has done it. In all the free trade agreements we have around the world, there is only a couple where access has been granted on supply management. When that access was granted, Canadian producers were compensated financially.
When we look at the statistics on farm gate proceeds, for example, with respect to dairy, actual production of milk has gone up despite access that has been granted. Therefore, farm gate receipts have gone up despite access being granted.
If access is granted, we could compensate those who are affected. Also, because the Canadian population is growing, the Canadian economy is growing, so they still produce more, sell more and make more money. The system as it is exists very well. It is not, as we keep hearing, the first thing on the negotiating table in a free trade agreement. It is the absolute last thing. It is the only thing that would get done, because if we did not, we could not get a deal.
Imagine, if this bill was in place when we were trying to renegotiate NAFTA with the United States and the United States demanded more access in supply management. It is very interested in it, because we have disputes under USMCA with respect to how it applies tariff-reduced quota in the dairy sector. We know it is important to the United States. We would not have a deal, and government officials very clearly said that.
The intention of the bill is good. We should protect supply management. I understand why farmers are nervous and frustrated, because the government has not negotiated good deals, like CPTPP. The original TPP granted less access in supply management. The Liberal government came along and gave up so much more in CPTPP. However, the bill would have unintended consequences that would not be good for Canada and the Canadian economy.
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise, not only as the NDP's agriculture critic but also as the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford and for all of the supply-managed farms in my beautiful riding to offer my full-throated support of Bill . Just as a quick review for people to catch up, this bill is seeking to amend the existing statute, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act.
A quick reminder is that the act, in one of its important sections, spells out the powers, duties and functions of the . For example, the act specifies that the minister conduct all diplomatic and consular relations on behalf of Canada and foster the expansion of Canada's international trade and commerce, etc. Bill C-282 would add a new clause into that act to specify that the minister must not make any commitment on behalf of the Government of Canada that would have the effect of increasing the tariff rate quota or reducing the tariff that is applicable to goods in that category, which are two very important aspects. I will lay out reasons why.
First of all, I want to say that I am proud to be a member of a party that has long stood by our supply-managed farmers and continues to do so up to this day. We absolutely recognize that supply management as a system protects our family farms and our rural communities and protects and promotes hundreds of thousands of jobs. Its economic impact in communities like mine is huge. It rests on three pillars; I have heard the expression “the three-legged stool”. Of course, we know that with a three-legged stool, if one is to affect any one of the legs the whole system collapses and they are all necessary to stand up and maintain the system.
Those three pillars are production control, pricing mechanisms and import control. Under supply management, we have a national marketing agency that determines the production amounts for each commodity and sets production quotas for each of our provinces. We also know that our supply-managed producers are guaranteed a minimum price for their products. Those provincial marketing boards allow them to negotiate the minimum farm gate prices with the processors of their products.
The third pillar, which is the key theme of today's discussion, is import control. The way we regulate import control is through tariffs on foreign imports. Tariffs are applied whenever foreign imports in a supply-managed sector exceed the allowable quantity and then they are subject to a massive tariff that essentially makes them uncompetitive. For each of our main products, whether in dairy, eggs, poultry or turkey, successive trade deals have whittled away at that important pillar and now we do allow import of some foreign products in each of those categories up to a certain amount, after which they are subjected to a high tariff.
The system has proven itself time and time again over decades of use. It offers important stability for producers, processors, service providers and retailers. It allows our federal and provincial governments to avoid subsidizing those sectors directly. That is in strict contrast to our competitors both in the United States and in the European Union.
I need to underline this point: Supply management protects the taxpayer because we avoid subsidizing the industry. It allows farmers in those sectors to actually make a good income and to innovate and invest in their respective farms. That is in stark contrast to the wild price fluctuations we have seen south of the border in the United States, in particular, where overproduction has led to dire economic circumstances for many of the farms, particularly in the dairy sector. The same goes for the European Union. That is where taxpayer funds are used to directly subsidize those industries. That is in stark contrast to the system that we have here in Canada whereby supply management allows the system to survive without that direct intervention.
I know some of the criticisms out there. We have heard it time and time again, particularly from the OECD, which has said that supply management stifles innovation. However, we know that is not true.
In many of the farms I have visited in my own riding, particularly the dairy operations, the technology in use in those operations is state of the art. It is that way because the farmers who operate those systems have had the guaranteed income and they know they can make the investment by betting against future incomes. They have been able to innovate, they have been able to invest; they have been able to make their operations world class and the envy of many nations around the world.
I talked about the economic impacts. I referenced the economic impacts in my own riding. If we look country-wide, for example, in 2021, Canada had 9,403 dairy farms. Production and processing of dairy products contributes to 221,000 jobs and nearly $20 billion to Canada's GDP every single year. The same year for poultry and egg farms, we had 5,296 farms. Production and processing of poultry and eggs contributes more than 100,000 jobs and over $8.5 billion to Canada's GDP. Therefore, the economic impact of this sector is significant and it matters to many communities.
Now, let us look at how Bill fared at the international trade committee. I do want to take time to recognize my fellow NDP colleague, the member for , who helped shepherd that bill through committee on my behalf. That was some great work on his part to get the bill to this stage. That committee had six meetings. About 45 witnesses came forward and testified. As a result of that testimony there were a number of amendments proposed to the bill. None were successful, so ultimately the version of the bill that we see before us today is the same that the House gave voice to at second reading.
I want to outline some of the testimony that we heard at committee because I have heard other members reference this.
One of the important testimonies that we heard was from Mr. Tom Rosser, who is the assistant deputy minister of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food. He said:
The Government of Canada is working hard to ensure that the supply management system remains strong and that producers and processors operating in the system remain productive and sustainable.
Bill C-282 would protect these sectors from additional market access concessions in the context of future trade negotiations, and as such is fully consistent with existing policy.
We had Mr. Keith Currie, someone I have become very familiar with and worked with over the years. He is now, of course, the president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. He said:
Canada's three most recent trade agreements have had a considerable impact on supply-managed farm families and the system that supports them. It's our hope this new legislation will encourage Canada's negotiators to look to other negotiating strategies that do not place one agriculture sector against another, and instead focus our energy on issues that unite us, such as reducing non-tariff trade barriers.
The interesting thing about this bill as I wrap up here, is that the vote on sending the bill back to the House was an interesting one because both the Liberal and Conservative caucuses were split. We had the Liberal member for Nepean vote against sending this bill back to the House and we had a Conservative member from Oshawa and a Conservative member from Dufferin—Caledon also vote against sending this bill back to the House. It is interesting to see the splits that exist in both the Liberal and Conservative caucuses. I am very curious to see the final vote on this bill when we come to third reading.
I understand, of course, that there were a number of objections raised to the bill about this being a non-tariff trade barrier, that it constrains Canada's ability to negotiate the best possible deal, but I will again say this. We have been let down successively three times back in the 42nd Parliament. I was there. Despite the government's promises that it was fully in support of supply management, threes successive trade deals undermined that important pillar of import control. I see this bill as just pretty much a legislative guarantee that, despite a government's best intentions and words, this bill is going to insert a legislative guarantee in an important act to ensure that our supply management sectors enjoy that solid protection.
With that I will conclude and again reiterate that New Democrats will support this bill. I would like to thank the member for for bringing it forward. I look forward to seeing its successful passage to the other place.
Madam Speaker, I was saying that I was going to take a deep breath before I spoke, to try to curb my emotions, and that I was going to start my speech from the end. I am sick and tired of hearing members claim that they support supply-managed farmers, that they think they are important, that they want to protect them and that they are committed to looking after them, but then refuse to actually protect them. They are talking out of both sides of their mouth. They cannot say they are going to protect farmers and not do it.
Then they wonder why the public is cynical about politicians. I am so sick of this. Last time, the House voted overwhelmingly in favour of this bill. We cannot expect the same result this time because perhaps not as many members of a certain political party, by which I mean the Conservative Party, will vote for it. However, I know there are some Conservative members who believe in supply management, so I would ask them to stick with us and vote with us. I know they understand that this is a good bill.
The government needs to stop sending farmers mixed messages by saying it will protect them and then not doing it. Neither farmers nor voters believe that anymore. I have some news for everyone: That strategy is not going to work anymore. It worked for decades, but not anymore. People want action. Supply management means the three pillars and a bunch of other things, but it is mostly about the vitality of our regions. This protects small businesses.
I believe it was the member for who said in his speech that other farmers wanted to export and did not support supply management. We in the Bloc Québécois support all farmers, and we support their choice of marketing model. We do this out of respect for the people who get up every morning to feed us.
The government cannot tell these people that it is spoiling them and that it respects them and at the same time say that it is afraid that if it has to renegotiate CUSMA and this bill has passed, it will not be able to give them any more. That is the pretext it uses for not voting in favour of the bill while still saying it will protect farmers. Come on. Does the government really think anyone is going to fall for that?
Seriously, I do not know how those people opposite sleep at night. Maybe it is by ignoring others and repeating their own talking points over and over in their heads. This bill is essential. It is important and extremely simple. It will exclude agricultural products that are subject to supply management.
I heard the member say that he was afraid that supply-managed agricultural products would be excluded during negotiations. That is exactly what this bill will do. He should not be afraid: That is the whole point of the bill.
We will adopt this bill because we are in the majority, and I expect the same thing to happen in the Senate. We will collaborate with our colleagues in the Senate to explain the merits of this bill to the other members and explain how badly farmers need it.
If the government continues to say that it is going to protect supply management and help farmers, but that it can hang onto them to use as a bargaining chip, that means that it is going to put them on the table during future negotiations. It already lopped an arm off our farmers, but next time, it will be a leg. How can they keep farming after that?
A supply-managed market is a balanced market in which the quantity produced and the price are controlled. According to carefully targeted market studies, in order to obtain a stable, reasonable price and a high-quality product, it is essential to control what comes in from outside. That is the third pillar, the third leg of the stool that the member from was talking about earlier. The government needs to stop cutting off this third leg, because the stool will fall over. It will not work anymore.
What I am hearing from the Conservatives this morning is that they clearly intend to eliminate the supply management system, but little by little. They want to do it by lying to agricultural producers, saying that they love them and want to protect them, but they will lay them on the sacrificial altar as soon as they get the chance. I suspect the Conservatives' plan is to take away the system that our farmers put in place, to steal the value of their quotas. Do members know how much quotas are worth?
What the member for told supply-managed farmers across Canada, including those in his riding, is not to worry because they will quietly disappear. They will become pro-free trade and pro-big businesses converts.
What he does not understand, so I will explain it to him, is that all the small family farms come together to form one big company. That big company is created through solidarity, through joint marketing. This way, small businesses are assured of a stable, recurring income that they can use to innovate and make constant investments.
It is often falsely claimed that this encourages inefficiency, but that is not true in the least. Our farmers have lowered their greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. They have done amazingly well. They are still investing. However, by continuing to take market share away from them, the government is telling them that maybe they should stop making investments. It has the opposite effect. Basically, the government is telling them the same thing the member for was telling supply-managed farmers earlier. It is telling them to hurry up and sell their quotas while they are still worth something.
I apologize for not being as calm and collected as usual this morning, but when I hear things like this, I am outraged. It is baloney, it is pure nonsense. Members say one true thing and the opposite. It is preposterous. Farmers and the public are fed up with all this bullshit. We need the truth.
Oh, I cannot say that word. It just slipped out. I apologize.
Madam Speaker, farmers and the public are sick and tired of getting messed around, to put it more politely and, I think, more acceptably.
I have said it again and again, but promises have to be backed up by action. This has happened more than once. How many motions have been adopted here? How many motions have been adopted in Quebec's National Assembly? They were always unanimous. In subsequent negotiations, however, market share was lost.
The member for talked about other agricultural sectors. This morning, I would like to speak to all farmers and let them know that I will protect all agricultural sectors. I hope they know it. If they are not convinced, they are welcome to contact me so that we can discuss the matter. As far as future negotiations and market developments go, I will respect their decision on export-oriented marketing. I believe in it.
I recently went on a trade mission with the to two different places to talk about international trade. I was there to represent farmers who want to export. However, this does not mean I have to work against the interests of my supply-managed farmers. Quite the contrary. I think both realities can coexist. In fact, they have done so very well since the 1970s. The problem is that the existing system is under attack.
It is time to get serious. I look forward to the vote. If anyone has an issue with my speech, I invite them to respond. I am willing to take feedback and even chat to anyone who wants to contact me. I would be glad to. It is vital to walk the talk. That is key. Some members are accusing us of being divisive, but nothing could be further from the truth. I just proved it. They are the ones who are being divisive by claiming that the bill will hurt other sectors. I do not believe that.
The WTO rules allow each state to protect certain key sectors. The United States does it, and so does Japan. Many countries do it, and we have the right to do it.
Some people have mentioned softwood lumber and things like that. Rolling over is not going to get us more respect. We need to stand up for ourselves.
Speaking of softwood lumber, I would like to remind this House that Quebec changed its public forest management system and it should not be affected by its American partner. Maybe the rest of the country needs to follow suit. Maybe Canada needs to take a stand.
I am asking members to support the bill. I am also asking members to stop using doublespeak. If they are against the bill, they should own that and say so.