Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments.
In my riding, there is an agri-food processing firm, a slaughterhouse, that employs 1,200 people. Many of these employees had to leave the production line due to the public health measures. These measures ought to be respected, to be sure, but as a result the plant's processing capacity has been significantly reduced.
I can tell you that there are more than 100,000 hogs in Quebec farmers' hog barns. In Canada, there is a processing backlog of more than 140,000 hogs.
Pork production is unique and quite unlike other types of production. When piglets enter the pork barn, older hogs are taken away to be slaughtered. We currently have a problem that is only going to get worse with time and, unfortunately, we will have no other choice but to resort to euthanasia. Although this is being put off for now, we will never be able to deal with the backlog at these slaughterhouses. The summer holidays are not far off and it will be very difficult to achieve.
Since this government took so long to take action, animals will have to be euthanized in the cattle industry, not to mention the poultry sector, where hatching eggs have already had to be thrown out, on top of the 200,000 chicks that have been destroyed in Canada.
The saddest part of it all is that this food will not make it to our dinner tables. There is a certain degree of lag time in farming. It is inconceivable to think we can shut down the system today and turn it back on tomorrow and all the meat, dairy and farm products will be on store shelves the next morning.
That is the challenge facing the sector. If we want to maintain our food sovereignty, we are running out of time.