Mr. Speaker, the word is out: Federal goodies are on their way to Western Canada. Cheques for a total amount of $1.6 billion are being or will be sent directly to grain producers in the Prairies. This compensation for the loss of western grain transportation subsidies gives and will give western producers an unfair edge over farmers in Eastern Canada, especially in Quebec.
Many grain producers are taking advantage of this windfall to diversify production and flood Quebec with their products. Since part of the compensation is paid for through taxes they pay to Ottawa, Quebecers may be doubly penalized. Here is an example. Quebec's subsidies for industrial milk are being cut by 30 per cent, with no compensation for dairy producers in that province: clearly a double standard.
Last Friday I was in Princeville at an auction of slaughter calves. I met a producer from my riding, Gérald Turcotte, who explained in his own words how Quebec was being used by the rest of Canada. I will repeat what he said. Canada is so anxious to keep us because we pay well and do not take much money out. Imagine, he said, a farmer with ten Holsteins. Three are very good milkers: Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. One of these cows eats little, is not a picky eater, requires little attention from its owner, is rarely sick, does not go outside the fence, is very docile, returns to the barn in time for morning and evening milking. In short, this cow is the best of the herd.
You will understand, Mr. Speaker, that the farmer would not let this famous and profitable cow go for all the gold in the world. Quebec too is very profitable for Ottawa and the rest of Canada. However, it is the victim of injustice: National Defence contracts, research and development funding, expenditures by the department of agriculture in Quebec that are lower than the economic activity generated by the sector. Quebec is therefore not getting its fair share of federal investment. Since 1984, its share has been only 15.9 per cent, despite the fact that the population of Quebec represents 25 per cent of Canada's population and that Quebec provides 23 per cent of federal revenues.
Quebec has never received more than 19.1 per cent of the federal government's expenditures on goods and services. In 1992, for example, the federal government spent a total of $31.2 billion with only $5.9 billion in Quebec, which represents 18.9 per cent. This figure is 6 per cent less than our demographic load. I have tonnes of such examples.
Yes, my friends, Quebec is very profitable for the rest of Canada. For the rest of Canada as it stands today. Quebec, as Gérald Turcotte put it so well, is a fine cash cow for Canada.
This is why we are not being allowed to have a tool box of our own so that one day we in Quebec can build our future as we ought, pass our own legislation, sign treaties and collect our own taxes.