Mr. Speaker, more than a month ago I drew the attention of the minister of agriculture to a restrictive trade practice by the Farm Credit Corporation. He has not yet responded.
Farm Credit makes feed loans to cattle producers. However, it appears that these are all channelled through Heartland Livestock Services, which then handles all the sales. This puts private auction markets at a severe disadvantage since they are, in effect, forced to compete against federal government money.
Independent dealers have been cautioned that the FCC has first call on sale proceeds from any cattle that they receive bearing a Heartland brand. Thus, besides being subject to unfair competition, the independents must also act as Heartland's collection agency if a producer attempts to default.
Independent dealers' tax dollars are being used to favour a huge competitor. When will the minister get off his duff and investigate this complaint?