Thank you, both.
To close, Minister, I have a question, or perhaps more of a comment.
We've had Dominic Barton and some other representatives from the Advisory Committee on Economic Growth before the committee. We really appreciate their work, though we are not expecting that the government will agree with everything they recommend, for sure. However, as one who comes from the farming sector, I can tell you that that sector is very pleased with that committee's emphasis on the agrifood industry's potential.
My concern is that that the potential is there, but when a whole-of-government approach—and this is not a criticism of Finance—is taken to increase economic growth in one area, another department can hamper that economic growth by new regulations or more paperwork, or whatever.
I'll give you an example. It comes to mind because an individual emailed me about it last night. This is a fairly small farming family of four sons and a mom and dad. On the good agriculture practices, which make a whole lot of sense, as we want to ensure that our food is safe, this is what he said:
When GAP started
—meaning good agriculture practice—
—who is his wife—
and I did it ourselves for years. Then they started demanding more and more, so I just said to my sons, “If you want to farm you have to do this yourselves.” I just could not do it any more. Now my son can't do it alone, so he had to hire someone to help him. It is costing us a fortune. The end result is that we know we can't keep up with all these new rules.
There is a different reality on the farm, and farmers do a pretty darned good job of providing safe food. The reality is, whether it's the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or the Canada Revenue Agency, or any other agency in this town, they don't realize the cost and the time that it takes people on the farm to do paperwork. They're farmers. Yes, you can hire accountants or others to fill it in, but that costs money.
I can give you another example. To fill out an application for environmental protection, where you maybe get $25,000, it will take a volunteer 30 hours to fill out that one application—28 pages. It just makes no sense. Why can't we simplify stuff to keep it down to a page or something like that?
It's not a criticism of you, but it's a whole-of-government thing. We somehow have to create efficiencies on some of these rules that are not taking away from the ability of a farmer, or a recreational stream group, or whatever, to do their jobs. It sits on a desk here in Ottawa for a week or two. I often say that Ottawa is a bubble without reality, and I firmly believe that.
Anyway, my point is that I think the cabinet, you as minister, on these good proposals you may have to attain economic growth, we have to ensure that on the other side of the equation, another department or another agency from the federal government or provincial government is not hampering the ability to achieve that economic growth that you, through your programming, are trying to attain.
That's my point.
Okay, thank you all for your questions. Thank you, Minister and Deputy, for your appearance.
We will suspend for a few minutes and then come back with the officials.
The meeting is suspended.