Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to this group of amendments.
I come from a province where $250,000 is a lot of money and $250,000 in risk capital would do a whole lot for my constituency and for industry at this time.
Let us take a look at the maximum of $250,000 and what it would do for my constituency which grows the world's best durum to produce the world's best pasta. That industry could not get a loan because the government would not allow it. I challenge members opposite the next time they or their spouses go shopping to see if they can find a pasta product in any mall in Canada that is packaged in Canada.
This $250,000 strikes home. I had some producers who wanted to borrow money to produce organic grain. They could not get a loan because the government said that grain could not be handled in that way. It is making quarter of a million dollar loans to people in some areas of Canada, but raw material producers cannot even get a loan for the grain and meat packaging that should be done in my constituency and in western Canada because it violates some government bill.
I want members to think for a moment about where I live. We have the largest inland terminals. We handle more grain in one town than in any other place in Canada. No one is allowed as a private individual to turn that grain into flour, let alone borrow the money from the government to do so. While the ceiling is being raised from $100,000 to $250,000 it is not going to produce raw materials in our province, particularly in grains.
There is hardly a butchering plant left in western Canada. Most of them have closed out. At one time the city of Winnipeg had four plants. The policies of the government removed the ability of wheat and meat producers to sell finished product.
It is against the law for individuals to obtain a loan of $250,000 to build a plant to sell organic flour. As a result, the people in my area of the province are not interested in increasing the ceiling of the loan or in increasing the risk of a business to the tune of $250,000.
Again I challenge members to go to a mall to see if they can find pasta produced and packaged in Canada. We do not do it. We do not allow for that. We ship it to Minneapolis by train load and buy it back, but it must never be produced in Saskatchewan because it is a crime.
At the present time prairie pasta producers have the biggest project going. Would they be able to get a loan? Not on their life. The government would deny them a loan because they are violating some antique policy in the Canadian Wheat Board. The government is telling the people in the west that they are hewers of wood and drawers of water and will stay that way. That is the policy of the government.
The state of North Dakota which borders my constituency is to put up millions of dollars to build a pasta plant near the U.S. border within a few miles of my constituency. Should I come to the House to congratulate the Liberals for moving the loan level up to $250,000 when they deny western Canada the right to produce its raw products and make a sale? I will not support it for the simple reason that most of this money would be denied entrepreneurs in my province.
For that reason and until the government recognizes that we in the west have a right to produce products from our natural resources—and I am talking about grain, flour and the packaging of meat and so on—I cannot support it. When it comes to raising the amount of money that we will be put at risk I will not support it, and the people of Canada should not support it either.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said $100,000 is plenty. If $100,000 will not get a small business going, $250,000 certainly will not either. I will not support it.