Mr. Speaker, perhaps people will wonder why somebody from Newfoundland, mainly known as a fishing area, would want to enter into a debate on agriculture.
There are two reasons. One is the similarity between what is happening now in the agricultural industry and what happened in Newfoundland a few years ago when we had a total collapse of the fishery. Earlier tonight one of the members mentioned that comparison. We once saw a resource where people made a reasonable living, giving and taking over the years. Then, perhaps because of mismanagement, perhaps because of overfishing, perhaps because of climate conditions or migration patterns, or perhaps more realistically because of a combination of all of them, we had a total collapse of the ground fishery.
The government at the time, being a good Tory government, stepped in immediately and helped out in that crisis. Now we see a similar crisis in the west. In comparison, besides the crisis and besides the need for help, there is the effect afterwards. Once the present government moved in and realized the magnitude of the problems, it seemed it was easier to turn control over to the larger corporations, which is what we see happening now in the fishery. The smaller, independent fisherperson is being frozen out of the industry. More and more control is being taken by the bigger players.
What we fail to see sometimes when we look at rural Canada, whether it be a farming area or a fishing area, is that it is the work, the product and the income generated in the rural areas that make our urban areas a success.
Why have our major towns and cities grown so fast? Is it because of the office work, because of the stores that are built there? Yes, but these offices and stores only exist because they serve the needs of many of the people in the rural areas who come into the larger areas for all their needs and services. Consequently, one is dependent on the other.
We also forget quite often to look at the spinoff from the primary industries, from the fishery or the farming industry, not realizing that when a farm goes out of business and the farm family is affected and has to go into bankruptcy or move away, a number of other people are also affected by that move.
Listening to the members on the government side speak tonight reminds me of Nero, who fiddled as Rome burned. Each one stood up, many with prepared texts, and talked about all the good things government is doing to assist the agricultural industry.