Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prairie Pools reported: “In 1997 total net farm income in the prairies has dropped by 35% in Alberta, 40% in Manitoba, and 84% in Saskatchewan. Farm cash receipts for the first six months of 1998 are significantly lower than last year”.
The minister of agriculture says that current government programs are sufficient to address this looming economic crisis on the prairies. The minister is burying his head in a stubble field. Using off-farm income figures to hide from this western crisis will not protect the minister for long.
He knows the average NISA account will not adequately cover the needs of most western producers. Some farmers had to withdraw cash from their NISA accounts this year just to buy seed to plant their crops. Next year will be worse.
Is the minister going to let prairie farmers blow in the cruel winds caused in large part by almost three decades of mismanagement by Liberal governments? Do something now.