Mr. Speaker, agricultural subsidies have been reduced as part of a broad government effort to reduce the deficit. However the government has taken great care to ensure that all regions and sectors of the industry have been treated as fairly and equitably as possible.
The western grain transition payment program and the western grain transportation adjustment fund will be used to partially offset the potential disruption that may result from the removal of the western grain transportation subsidy. The removal of the feed freight assistance program in eastern Canada and parts of British Columbia is being accompanied by a $62 million adjustment program.
The impact of the repeal of both the Atlantic Region Freight Assistance Act and the Maritime Freight Rates Act in eastern Quebec and Atlantic Canada is being eased by a transition assistance program of $326 million.
An adaptation fund of $60 million per year on average will be used to help meet future adaptation requirements. The government has set aside $17 million a year for the next four years from the adaptation fund to address concerns regarding the impacts of the reform of transportation subsidies in eastern Canada.
The answer to the hon. member's question is yes, there are funds available to address eastern Canadian farmers' concerns about transportation reform. The government is reducing the dairy subsidy by 15 per cent for each of the next two years. Thus at the end of two years the subsidy will still be at 70 per cent of the levy, where it is today. The continuation of the subsidy provides producers with a source of funds that can be used to ease the transition into a more market oriented system.
The government has ensured that all farmers, in fact all Canadians, are sharing equally in the responsibility for deficit reduction. The package of subsidy reform is fair and balanced with respect to different situations, different regions and different sectors within the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry.