Mr. Speaker, to start off, I will take it upon myself to remind some of my colleagues what supply management is and what benefits it has.
The dairy sector, as well as the poultry and egg sectors, operate under this system. Supply management is based on a number of basic principles that prevent overproduction and shortages thanks to a production quota system designed to fully supply the domestic market without creating surpluses.
This system allows producers to cover all production costs and earn a decent income. With supply management, governments do not have to subsidize the industry. That is not the case for the U.S. My colleague from Beauce will like that. I understand that he supports cutting the size of government. However, I think that he is having difficulty understanding what is at stake because he wants to abolish the current system. I would advise him to go back to doing what he does best, which is election campaign jingles.
On May 16, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food adopted a motion urging the government to do four things: recognize the problem and recognize that the industry is calling for the problem to be resolved, meet with stakeholders in the dairy industry, propose a sustainable solution, and present a plan to the committee.
The government has been telling us for a year that it has a plan. I hope it will tell us what that plan is, because we cannot wait to hear it.
The Liberal members on the committee felt the need to adopt the motion, to encourage the government to recognize that there is a problem. That is a start. Since they have a habit of saying nothing, this meaningless position is already an improvement. At this rate, they may get the job done in 40 or 50 years.
Incidentally, 40 or 50 years is about how much time has passed since the Liberal government expropriated 97,000 acres of agricultural land in my riding for an airport that is now being demolished. Parliamentarians who live in Quebec see this historical fiasco every time they take highway 50 to get here, to Parliament.
The diafiltered milk problem could have been a major issue for the thousands of families that were kicked off their land, but since the government stole this land from them nearly 50 years ago, the only issue for these families is the return of the expropriated land.
Let us come back to the committee. The report is really weak, toothless, and ineffective. Rather than calling on the government to recognize the problem and continue to discuss it, the committee should have called on the government to enforce its own regulations. That is what likely would have happened if the Bloc Québécois had been a part of the committee, because we are not in the habit of kowtowing to the government like the Liberal members from Quebec sitting on the other side of the House. All they do is repeat the government's talking points.
It is important to remember that an MP from a pan-Canadian party is not very reliable when it comes time to stand up on a major issue for Quebec. The energy east pipeline and the oil sands make for a good example, but that is not what we are talking about here, even though that remains a major issue.
What we are talking about here is supply management. Most of Canada's agricultural production occurs in the western part of the country on farms that produce one crop for export. That is the opposite of what we do in Quebec with our food sovereignty model. The federal government wants to open the borders to make western Canadians happy. It opens them a little from time to time: 5% under the WTO, 7% under CETA, and another 4% to come under the TPP.
Every time negotiations are held, western exporters gain foreign market shares and Quebec loses domestic market shares.
Pan-Canadian MPs are torn between supporting western Canada and supporting Quebec, and they go through the motions of signing this type of agreement even if they are not truly convinced that it is a good idea.
That is why we have such a weak report before us today. I do not see any other reason for such a weak report when the regions came to Parliament Hill last week to express their outrage and were ignored by the government and by a minister and his parliamentary secretary who have clearly chosen to forget where they came from in order to further their careers.
Earlier, the parliamentary secretary gave a lovely speech. I liked the way he spoke about himself in the third person when he talked about meetings with dairy industry representatives.
There are three theories here. One, the parliamentary secretary has become really full of himself. Two, he is not the parliamentary secretary and did not attend these meetings. Three, he is only reading the lines his party gives him. I will not ask him to choose among these three options, but none of them is very positive.
I would have liked to see the Liberals march with us in the rain last Thursday, with my colleague from Joliette and my many colleagues who were there on the Hill. I would have liked to see them trade in their dress shoes for work boots and stand up for their people, like I do every day when I come to Parliament. I would have liked that, but that is not what happened, because they were too busy taking limo rides.
Power corrupts, and since the Liberal Party did not change its corporate culture during its 10 years in opposition purgatory, the minister and the parliamentary secretary have let power go to their heads.
The Bloc will support today’s motion because one cannot be against the right thing. However the motion remains totally trivial and void of value because the government has not the courage to enforce its own regulations and follows the whims of the American market, which decides what it does. At this time, the government is thus nothing but the puppet of the American government.
The Liberals have no interest in defending the agricultural industry as a whole. All they do is neglect the families that feed us and bring them to bankruptcy. That way they will not have to buy back the quotas before abolishing supply management. This is in fact what will come of their economic liberalism. With this sort of Liberal colonialist policy, Canada simply proves once again, as it did in numerous files, that Quebec and its agriculture would be much better served if Quebec controlled its own laws, taxes, and treaties itself. Canada is simply proving, once again, that Quebec would be better off free and independent.