moved that the third report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, presented to the House on Tuesday, May 17, be concurred in.
She said: Mr. Speaker, it is a true privilege today to rise and speak about the Canadian dairy industry as the member for Fundy Royal, the dairy centre of the Maritimes. The farmers in my riding contribute to approximately half of the province of New Brunswick's milk production. I am also particularly proud to rise today as the granddaughter of a dairy farmer, Reg Tabor, who probably never imagined that I would be here in this House delivering my maiden speech in support of Canadian dairy farmers.
I am standing here today to raise an important issue in this House on behalf of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. As stated in the tabled report, the government strongly supports supply management, dairy producers, and the Canadian dairy industry. Likewise as stated in the report, we recognize the magnitude of the issue of diafiltered milk to the Canadian dairy industry, and recognize the industry is calling for a resolution of the problem. Our government is actively engaged on the issue.
On May 2, 2016, our government announced its intention to initiate discussions within 30 days to help the dairy industry adjust to CETA. The government has delivered on that commitment, and continues its important and productive conversations with the industry. While meeting with stakeholders, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the parliamentary secretary discussed CETA, the issue of diafiltered milk, and sustainable solutions to modernize Canada's dairy industry.
The government is moving forward on all points in this report. I would like to point out that the government understands very well the challenges that milk producers face on a daily basis. In fact, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the parliamentary secretary were both dairy producers. The minister's farm is in Prince Edward Island while the parliamentary secretary's farm is now in its fourth generation in Quebec.
The supply-managed Canadian dairy sector is one of the largest agriculture and food sectors in the country and is essential to a strong and prosperous Canadian economy. It supports over 12,000 farms and farm families and 200,000 Canadian jobs; and contributes nearly $20 billion to the Canadian economy. On this side of the House, support for Canadian supply management is clear. Our system is a model of stability around the world. It provides a fair price for farmers; stability for processors; and safe, high-quality products for consumers at affordable prices. Supply management preserves and sustains Canadian farmers, farm families, and rural communities across this country, including in my riding of Fundy Royal.
Recently, I have found it shameful that the Conservative leadership contestant is advocating for an end to this crucial Canadian system. That member has said that Conservative values are not in line with supply management. The Liberal Party is the party that fought for and implemented supply management. We will continue to protect and defend it for all of those who would like to see it destroyed. I would like to assure this House that Liberal values are in line with supply management and will continue to be.
The position of the member for Beauce is frankly disturbing, especially given the large number of dairy farms and farm families in his region. I can only imagine the type of feedback the hon. member will receive from the hard-working farmers and their families in his riding who depend on supply management for their future. Perhaps even more disturbing is that the Conservative deputy critic for agriculture, the member for Lévis—Lotbinière, is the co-chair for the leadership campaign calling for the end of supply management. Not only that, but the former Conservative finance minister, Joe Oliver, has also recently spoken out against supply management. That is the Conservative record and the Conservative position. However, I want to be clear that on this side of the House we support supply management and dairy farmers. Our government is committed to supporting a bright future for Canada's dynamic dairy industry.
This year, the government announced an additional federal investment of $1.75 million in the dairy research cluster. This investment will support the work of scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in two key areas: number one, increasing the energy content of Canadian forage crops to help increase milk production; and, number two, understanding the role played by dairy-fat products, including their positive impact on type 2 diabetes.
The total federal investment in the dairy cluster is $13.75 million. Our message has been clear from the beginning: the Government of Canada strongly supports Canada's supply management industries.
I want to speak about an experience I had yesterday. I was able to visit the Bühlmann dairy farm in the riding of my colleague, the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell. What I witnessed there was a family working together, embracing technology, and planning for the future because of the stability offered to them by the supply management program.
The work they are doing not only provides Canadians with world-class milk but their farm is an economic provider in the community of St. Isidore, Ontario. This farm is not unique, it is not one of a kind. In fact, innovation of our dairy farmers can be seen from coast to coast, from Scott and Sabrina Robinson's farm in Wards Creek, New Brunswick, to the Haambuckers' farm in Enderby, British Columbia.
As the executive director of Dairy Farmers of Canada said yesterday, “It is important for elected officials to meet a dairy farm family and see first-hand the dedication and care that goes into operating a modern dairy farm.” This might be good advice for the hon. member across the way.
Innovation is critical to the success of Canada's dairy industry. Farmers are making great strides in productivity and sustainability. Canadian dairy farmers can now produce the same quantity of milk as they did 20 years ago, with close to half the number of cows and producing 20% less greenhouse gases. Canadian dairy farmers are among the global leaders of their industry when it comes to the environment. Our dairy farmers have a smaller footprint of carbon, water, and land than almost all leading dairy farmers around the world. Our farmers are taking action on the environment, but they need the resources to do so.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food were at McGill University to announce federal funding and an investment of $27 million over five years to help producers find ways to reduce greenhouse gases on their farms. This investment is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to support a competitive, viable, innovative, and sustainable agriculture sector, and that includes the dairy sector.
To further help farmers implement green measures on the farm, budget 2016 is investing $1.9 million in green jobs for young people. Not only will this get farmers the help that they need, but it will also inspire our young people to consider a future in agriculture.
Dairy Farmers of Canada is also showing strong leadership on the environment. DFC has launched a sustainability initiative called “proAction”. This program highlights farmers' commitment to high standards of care on their farms, from milk quality to food safety, animal care, traceability, biosecurity, and the environment. Dairy farmers clearly demonstrate responsible stewardship of their animals and the environment, sustainably producing high-quality, safe, and nutritious food for consumers.
As I said, our government is fully engaged with the industry over the concerns with respect to the use of diafiltered milk in the making of cheese. Our government is working hard on this issue, in line with this report from the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. Consultations with producers and processors from all across Canada have been very co-operative and productive, and discussions are continuing on this important issue.
The minister and government officials are in regular contact with dairy stakeholders in order to find long-term, sustainable solutions to the very serious issue. Our government also understands the importance of transition support to the dairy sector resulting from the increased access to cheese under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA.
In anticipation of Canadian ratification of CETA, we will move forward with a plan to help the industry adjust to market access concessions. Several meetings have been held with the dairy industry to obtain its views on the program and investment options for producers and processors.
Engaging with the dairy sector is crucial to developing the best options possible to help sector transition in the face of both challenges and opportunities. The result will inform our government's important work toward long-term, sustainable solutions for the Canadian dairy industry.
There are challenges that we need to address, and I appreciate the opportunity to do that here in this chamber. However, it is important to remember that the challenges also come with opportunities. The Canadian dairy industry is doing great work in growing markets through branding, collaborating with industry, and harnessing innovation.
The Canadian dairy industry is second to none. Further development of unique Canadian dairy products that meet changing consumer preferences will help sustain and strengthen demand amongst Canadian consumers. A report from Farm Credit Canada, released in April, notes that Canadian dairy consumption is projected to continue to increase by 6.8% over the coming decade. This is largely due to positive consumption trends of butter, yogourt, and specialty cheeses.
We will continue to work with the industry to help dairy farmers take full advantage of new marketing opportunities here in Canada and throughout the world.
In order to capture the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead, the government has begun to discuss with industry, the provinces, and territories a new multi-year agricultural policy framework for Canada. Innovation will be a central part of that discussion as a key to helping producers and processors keep pace with changing consumer preferences and tastes.
We are reaching out to producers and all stakeholders to develop a framework that is built for the future. The Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food has launched a website designed to seek feedback from stakeholders to help shape the development of the next agricultural policy framework. This first phase of online consultation will provide stakeholders and Canadians with the opportunity to share their views on Growing Forward 2, the current agricultural policy framework, as well as to offer input on what they would like to see included in the agricultural policy framework of the future.
Additional consultation activities will be ongoing in the coming months to gather feedback and will help form the next framework. In July, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will begin meeting with provincial and territorial colleagues to begin discussions on the direction of the new framework for agriculture. As well, our Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food will also be examining the agricultural policy framework, and I do look forward to getting started on that important study very soon.
These open and transparent consultations with Canadians will help shape the direction of future policy and programs to meet this objective. The goal is to help the agriculture and agrifood sector be more innovative, safer, and stronger.
Within the dairy industry itself, a constructive dialogue is under way between farmers and processors on ways to make the industry more competitive and innovative. There is no doubt that collaboration with the industry is the best way to address broader challenges facing the dairy sector.
To close, meeting challenges and capturing opportunities will take a lot of hard work and collaboration. Our government will continue to partner with the Canadian dairy farmers and food processors to grow a great future for the Canadian dairy industry.
We will continue to protect, preserve, and defend Canada's supply management system. That is why I am pleased to say that the government concurs with this, the third report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.
There is an old saying that I would like to remind the House, as well as all Canadians, about, “If you have eaten today, thank a farmer.”