In fairness, I think we probably have two years, from what I'm hearing, before we really become disadvantaged.
Two questions, one on the temporary foreign workers program you mentioned. We're extremely concerned about that in the cash crop industry—whether producers have enough time to bring in foreign workers because the application period has to start in December. Changes to EI may impact that. I've been in both the Maple Leaf plant in Brandon and the Cargill plant. How could changes in that program affect that part of the value chain, the processing sector?
Secondly, there's something I'd like you all to think about, the value chain, all three—lamb, beef, and pork. Are you looking at the structural discrepancies in the production base across the country? We've seen that in Atlantic Canada, in the beef industry more than any other. But we were really disappointed that we could not get another year on the hardship loan in Prince Edward Island, because we were a year behind catching up to the pricing, but the government wouldn't come through on giving it a year. In fairness to them, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association wouldn't agree. As a result, we have had some more producers go out of business.
We're to the point in the production base in my province where we're down about 40% of what we were five years ago. The federally inspected small beef plant that we'd like to keep in business is having a supply problem. If we lose that plant, then we have to ship to Ontario. For us, the livestock industry is the core, whether it's potatoes, cash crop, or whatever, in terms of rotation of crops, land use, and so on. So it's not just that industry itself, it's important for the total industry.