Mr. Speaker, I would ask members to imagine a runner. He takes his place and is about to run the biggest race of his lifetime, but before the whistle blows, he leans down and ties his shoelaces together so that one shoe is securely fastened to the other shoe.
Then the runner deliberately turns around so that his back faces the finish line and sits down. Meanwhile, all his opponents stand at the ready. Their shoes are fastened properly and they face forward. These runners are prepared to race.
That is a good way for us to picture the different position the Prime Minister is putting Canada in when there is a looming global food shortage that we are not prepared for.
Other countries around the world are ready. They are not punishing producers and they have a plan to tackle the looming crisis. Agriculture is our superpower. It is this hidden economic driver that can not only solve world hunger but could also bring a great deal of prosperity to this nation. However, our producers cannot do this alone. They need the government to work alongside them, not against them, but the Prime Minister fails to recognize this. Not only that, but he has belittled and disrespected this industry by tying its hands behind its back and kicking it aside, all the while expecting it to solve our problems.
It started with applying the carbon tax to on-farm fuels, followed by poor trade deals and then a threat of a 30% reduction in fertilizer usage. Now our producers are dealing with sky-high input costs and the new threat of front-of-pack labelling for single-ingredient ground beef. At the very least, all our producers are asking for from the government is clarity. Unlike everyone else, our farmers only get one shot at success every year, and they cannot go into this blindly.
In my question, I asked the minister for clarity around the retroactive tariff on Russian fertilizer purchased before March 2. In her answer, she refused to give specifics. Now we are here on June 20, and our farmers are still somewhat in the dark. Fertilizer prices have more than doubled over the winter, and when these are coupled with sky-high input costs, our producers simply cannot afford an extra tariff that was applied on a product purchased before the war even started.
Despite what the minister thinks, fertilizer is not some optional add-on; rather, it is a critical tool that is used to boost crop yields and maximize output. Farmers really have no choice but to use it in order to meet the global demand and to make a profit on the crops that they grow.
As we look at what is happening across the globe with the war in Ukraine, India placing a ban on the export of wheat and poor yields as a result of the drought in western Canada, it is safe to say that we are on the brink of a global food crisis. If we want to solve this problem with a made-in-Canada solution, the government should work to make inputs less expensive so we can increase crop yields. The minister can do this today by cancelling the tariff on Russian fertilizer.
Tonight I will ask again: Will the government do the right thing and remove the retroactive tariff on fertilizer purchased before March 2?