Mr. Speaker, I am happy to do that.
The hon. member would be right to call the Fraser valley area one of the more pastoral scenes in all of Canada but we will not get into that so much as we will to the comments that I hear from farmers in the Fraser valley.
I may have more milk producers in my riding than probably anywhere west of Ontario. There is a huge concentration of supply managed industries. Both poultry and dairy products are concentrated in the lower Fraser Valley for good reason, because of the weather and proximity to markets.
However, there are two or three things that farmers keep raising as major concerns as they head into the next century and try to plan their lives and plan for handing off the farm to the next generation.
First, they say they are willing to go head to head with the Americans or with anyone else as long as it is on a level playing field. Farmers keeping telling me: "If you make sure the Americans do not subsidize their product, if you make sure we have anti-combines legislation in place, if you can make sure the health standards are the same and so on, then we will compete with the Americans. But you have to help us in a couple of ways. The help we need is not just from the federal government but all levels of government, to make sure governments get their own houses in order. They have to get taxes down. They have to get regulation of bureaucracy in hand so that we do not have to fight both with the federal and provincial fisheries and the federal and the provincial environment offices as we go about our business".
They need to know that the changes coming are not just dumped on them overnight. They are willing to change. If they have to go bigger, they will go bigger. If they have to bring in new technology, they are happy to do that. However they cannot handle sudden cataclysmic change where they will wake up one morning and find sudden change, as the Canadian wheat farmers found that the Crow rate was gone. Government should have warned them.
If we do not warn the Canadian farmers and help them plan over the next few years during the reduction in tariffication they will come back and curse this Parliament and the government for not having raised the warning flags to show where they must inevitably go.
There is no sense saying that things will stay the same. Farmers want to change. They are, first of all, good business people. They use technology. They are using computers and innovative feed rations. They are using market analysis and playing to the consumer's choices. They can do all of that. Government must not pull the rug out from under them suddenly down the road and tell them they should have been told that something was coming.
The change that Bill C-86 proposes is good. It points the way to something that is GATT friendly. But the government must be honest with the farmers and say: This is the change and we must move this way.
There are also other changes. Let us be honest. The changes are here. Be forthright. The farmers just ask for the rules to the game and they will play. Do not change the rules suddenly 10 years from now.