Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak in the House today to this important issue. My colleagues from Quebec raised the subject of government accountability. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about this subject that truly matters to Canadians.
During this past summer's federal election campaign I was greeted at doorsteps with an unprecedented level of cynicism. People told me that they did not respect politicians any more. Their trust had been violated one too many times. They had heard the Liberal promises, put their faith in the government over and over again and waited for action, only to see the Liberals continue to break promises, ignore Canadians and further demean elected office in the eyes of the Canadian taxpayer.
The arrogance of the government has grown to such heights that it has forgotten that government, minority or otherwise, brings not only the privilege of the fancy seats on the other side of this chamber but also the responsibility of governing on behalf of Canadians.
I am proud to join with the members of the Bloc to call on the Liberal government to do its job, to honour commitments made to Canadian producers and to negotiate in good faith with the WTO.
Canadian producers from all sectors of agriculture were snookered into thinking that they knew what to expect from their negotiators at the World Trade Organization. Prior to the launch of the Doha round of negotiations in 1999, the Liberal government and the then agriculture minister, Lyle Vanclief, made the following statement on August 19, 1999:
Over the past two years the Federal Government has been consulting closely with the industry and the provinces to determine how Canada's initial negotiating position could best reflect the interests of the entire Canadian agri-food sector.
The statement went on to say:
Another theme raised by many stakeholders is the need to maintain Canada's ability to continue orderly marketing systems, such as, supply management and the Canadian Wheat Board. The Federal Government is committed to preserving the ability of Canadians to operate the orderly marketing systems necessary for stability and profitability. Decisions regarding marketing system choices will continue to be made in Canada.
Why are we here today? The negotiations continue and producers in all sectors should feel secure that their concerns and priorities are being kept in mind by their government.
The Liberals claim to have sought consensus of the industries through stakeholder consultations, convincing producers that they had input into creating the trade negotiations mandate. However the Liberals have violated their trust. They have leaked their willingness to make concessions and deals, and even sacrifice one sector for another. The government has abdicated its responsibility to live up to its own negotiating mandate.
It is clear that the Liberals have just tried to distract Canadians and producers from what is really going on in Geneva. For years the Liberals have pursued a divide and conquer strategy with Canadian agriculture. They have pitted producer against producer and region against region.
The Liberals have been very good at this. The issue of supply management, in particular, is often used by the Liberals to redirect producer anger over uncertainty at the WTO. This is a devious ploy that falls flat in the face of reality.
During the federal election campaign this past summer, our leader, the member for Calgary Southwest, expressed his strong support for supply management by signing a declaration in support of this system. Our party is on the record supporting supply management and also in support of the three pillars of supply management as expressed in the declaration which reads:
--the Canadian supply management system, which is based on planning production to match demand, on producer pricing that reflects production costs, as well as on control of imports--
The Conservative Party will continue to stand by dairy, poultry and egg producers. We have been clear that a new Conservative government will ensure that industries under supply management remain viable.
We will support supply management and we will work to protect it in international trade discussions. Mr. Harper said this in speeches from Regina to Belleville during the election campaign, and I am proud to repeat it in the House of Commons today.