Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that because of closure or time allocation we have only a couple of minutes left and I cannot raise many more issues. I am going to go quickly through a couple of things.
First I want to reply to the previous Liberal member who spoke. I think he has a great misunderstanding of the issue or has no comprehension at all of what this legislation has the potential to do and how it will affect many farmers, especially in my riding. He used the example that there is a lot of pressure coming from people on the front lawn of parliament and from e-mails and phone calls pressuring him to pass the bill, to invoke closure to get it through the House.
He has no idea how strapped farmers are for money. They cannot afford to travel 2,000 miles to stand on the front lawn here and lobby the government. Instead they go through their members of parliament and tell those members what they think about this. That is why the vast amount of mail that we get is in opposition to this.
If the government understood the farm crisis and the fact that farmers cannot stand here on the front lawn and lobby the government, it would know why there are not a lot of farmers in their faces here. That is the reality of the situation. That is a very poor excuse for pushing the bill through parliament.
I want to zero in on something that I raised this morning with the minister and did not get an answer to. The minister said that there is nothing to fear in this legislation. I immediately asked him, if there is nothing to fear, would he commit to funding the legal defence of farmers, ranchers, hunters, trappers and others who have used traditional practices for years and years. I asked him if he would commit to defending them when they are hauled into court by these huge international lobby groups that have the big bucks to charge these people and use this legislation to go after people who cannot afford to defend themselves.
The minister refused to commit any funds to help defend poor farmers who cannot afford to come here or go to court and defend themselves. They are afraid of this legislation. When the minister says there is nothing to fear he does not put his money where his mouth is and make this fair. That is a huge concern to me and that is one reason why we should stop this legislation right now.
We need the minister to publicly state that the normal traditional practices will be defended, that farmers who are very apprehensive and cannot afford to take on these multinational lobby groups will be helped in their defence of traditional practices. The minister did not do that and that is one reason why this legislation should not see the light of day.
I also want to point out that the member from the Liberal Party who just spoke talked a lot about how when this goes to court and so on this will all be decided. That is the real fear that I and many farmers have: that when this legislation is passed and lobby groups begin to abuse their privileges with the amount of funding that they have, those people who legitimately use animals in pursuit of their normal activities will not be able to defend themselves.
The Liberals have divided society into groups. They pit one group against the other, urban against rural, as we pointed out in a previous debate, and there will be a lot of problems in the country. The Liberals will say when it comes to the courts “We passed the legislation and we are sure that the courts will make the right decision. It is in the hands of the courts. We have no control over this any more”. That is what they have done with many previous pieces of legislation and that is what they are going to do again.
I need a lot more time to go through the notes that I have here. It is unfortunate that I cannot because of time allocation. I wanted to deal with the Firearms Act with which there are a lot of problems. I have 15 pages of notes that I need to share with this esteemed assembly right now and I cannot do that. The Liberals have invoked closure. They do not even want to examine the Firearms Act and what a boondoggle it is. It is going to waste a billion dollars. The bill does nothing to correct any of the problems with the Firearms Act. It is what is not in the bill that is really the problem, which is that the Firearms Act as it presently stands ought to be to scrapped.