Thank you, Chair.
Again, I would like to thank my colleagues for allowing me to come to the ag committee from the trade committee to present on this issue.
I know Mr. Dreeshen and Luc have been working really hard on this file in the ag committee. They are doing what they need to do to make sure this moves forward, and they are trying to do it again here today. I want to be here to support them, to make sure our farmers out west and the industries right across Canada know we have their backs.
You know, Chair, it's really frustrating. We were here before. We've made notice of the problem. Now we're seeing the problems expanding. It has now gone on to a second company. We're talking to people in the industry, and there's lots of confusion within the industry and about what's next.
When you talk about new crop canola, new crop wheat, new crop barley, new crop linseed or pulses, some people say that yes, they are going to be impacted. Some people say that no, they won't be impacted. Some people aren't sure what could be impacted. I think what they all agree on is that they really don't know, and that's the problem. Nobody knows what the future looks like, and there has been no guidance by this government to help provide or shine some light on what that looks like.
We don't know if the Prime Minister has reached out to the ambassador. We don't know if CFIA officials have been on the ground to just refute what we already know is not true, because everybody in this room will agree that we have the best canola in the world, that we have the best food products in the world, and that when we ship them abroad, we ensure they get the best of the best. We know it's not a quality issue. We know it's not an issue as far as that goes. This is a political issue. We do not have an ambassador in China right now. I need to know who is on the ground actually talking to officials in China in regard to this.
I'm also very concerned that this is going to spread to other sectors. Maple syrup could be next. Seafood could be next. We really don't know, and all of them are scared. All of a sudden, when you look at this, this could spread right across Canada. Canola is just a start.
The impact on the Canadian economy is going to be really huge all because the Prime Minister has created a bad relationship with China, all because of his actions on his first visit there, and a combination of things he has done that have not created a good working environment with our partners in China who buy our products.
We've seen this in other countries, such as India with pulses. What happened in India is really sad, but the people who pay for that are the farmers, the people who are exporting into that marketplace. In that situation, when the farmers couldn't ship to India, they managed to find a market. Guess where that market was: China. Guess what? That market is now in jeopardy too. Every time we turn around, whether it's the Prime Minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs, they are putting up hurdles for Canadian businesses to do business around the world.
Another example is that of Saudi Arabia. During this last crisis, Saudi Arabia bought a lot of canola and a lot of oil. They were actually a market for that product when China decided not to take it. We worked with Saudi Arabia. Yes, we have concerns with Saudi Arabia and human rights and women's rights. You bet we do, and we have influence with them when we trade with them. But when you have a situation in which they won't even talk to you, you have zero influence. You have zero impact. When they don't care what you have to say, that's exactly what happens. They don't care what you have to say.
Who pays? The farmers do. When we see the drop in price in the market—everybody says the canola market has dropped some $20 a tonne or $30 a tonne, or maybe $40 a tonne, and it's maybe not done yet—that's the profit the farmer gets. That's not the cut for cargo or JRI or anybody else. That's not the cut for CN. That's not the cut for the food processor. That's the farmer's margin. That's his profit. That comes right out of his wallet, so if he needs to make adjustments to his planting intentions, he needs to do that now. That's why we need to have the ministers come forward now to tell us exactly what they plan to do.
Give us that road map on how you're going to improve these relationships with these countries, particularly China right now. Tell us what you're going to do. Are you going to have a temporary ambassador in China? Are you going to appoint a special envoy? Who will be that envoy? What are they going to talk about? Have you talked to the ambassador? Have you invited him into your office? Has the Prime Minister sat down and had a heart-to-heart with them? I don't know; farmers don't know, and I can assure you nobody over there knows. It has been going on for three weeks, so why haven't you?
Has the Minister of Foreign Affairs talked to them? I don't know. She's not talking on the subject. The Minister of Agriculture two weeks ago said the Minister of Foreign Affairs has the lead on this topic, but they won't allow her to come in front of committee, which blows my mind because she's actually very good in committee. I worked with her when I was the chair of the trade committee. She was an excellent member of the committee. She could provide a lot of insight on what's going on, and farmers would appreciate that insight. Why they are putting her in the corner I don't know. I can't figure that one out.
I'm glad the Minister of International Trade Diversification and the Minister of Agriculture are in Saskatchewan today. Where have they been? You don't need a passport to go to Saskatchewan, and it shouldn't take an invite from the Premier of Saskatchewan to get them there. That's what it took. That's outrageous. This issue has been rearing its head for three weeks now going on four and they're just starting to engage. The Prime Minister is starting to consider that maybe we should send an envoy. It's very frustrating, but let's put that behind us.
What I need to know is what they're going to do now, and what they're going to do in the future. What are our trade commissioners doing on the ground? Who are they talking to? How are they talking to our customers there on the ground? What's being said there? How is that intelligence coming back to farmers here in Canada? How is it being shared with the agriculture community? Is it being shared with the agriculture community? Those are the things we need to work on. Are we going to have an envoy? Great. Who's going to be part of that envoy?
Again, seeding is around the corner. If you're going to do this, it has to happen now. Have you asked for the visit? Again, all these questions should have been asked two weeks ago, not now. The frustration's there, but we'll take what we get. The reality is that we brought the committee back, and I appreciate your doing that, Chair, but you could have come back on Wednesday or Thursday. I'm not sure why we're here on Friday. If we could have come in here on Thursday, we could have dealt with this. The ministers could have been here on Friday. If they want to come tomorrow, I'll stay here and I'll talk to them tomorrow. It it's Sunday, that's fine, because we came back on Sunday for the trade committee.
This is urgent. It needs to be dealt with now. The Conservatives are ready to deal with it now, and I know the NDP member is, too. You may notice that the NDP member flew the farthest. He was back in B.C. He hopped on a plane late last night and he's here today. Look at my colleagues from Manitoba and my colleagues from Alberta. They know that this is an important issue not only for their provinces, but for our country. That's why I really appreciate Luc standing up across the country and saying that we're going to have farmers' backs. Whether they're in the canola industry, the supply management sector, the maple syrup sector or the seafood sector, we'll have their backs.
We need to do something. Are you going to do something? You have the majority. The ball is in your court. You decide.