Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise and pose a question to my hon. NDP colleague from Palliser.
I listened very carefully to the speeches of all hon. members. I was a full time farmer for about 20 years on a family farm which eventually grew, through good management and a lot of hard work on the part of my family and myself, to the size of 3,000 acres in the Peace River country of British Columbia. In fact, my brother still farms the farm.
Having that background, one of the things that concerns me with Bill C-25 is what I see as a return to equity financing. Farms across Canada, particularly in western Canada, got into a lot of trouble back in the eighties when I was actively farming. One big problem was rather than base financing on cash flow, in other words whether the farmer could actually service the debt that he or she was carrying, the Farm Credit Corporation at that time and banks pushed financing to the farmers based on an inflated value for their land. When land values plummeted, farmers could not maintain their loans and the land was eventually repossessed by the lending institutions, including the Farm Credit Corporation, which ended up owning vast amounts of land in western Canada.
If we return to equity financing, what concerns me is we could see a similar situation develop in the future. The reality is the value of the land is of no consequence to a farmer if he stays in the business of farming. It is only what the land can produce and the money that can be turned over in order to service the farmer's debt on a yearly basis.
Is that concern echoed by the NDP and by the member for Palliser? I know he has been the agricultural critic for his party for quite some time and has a lot of background in this industry. It certainly concerns me when I hear these things.