Mr. Speaker, I would like to complete my remarks. I was describing the hardships borne by the people of my riding because of the fiscal mismanagement of this government.
The recent financial injection is very welcome for farmers, but it only helps those who are left in the agricultural sector. Even for most of them, it is rather ineffective.
It took the government 10 long months to finally come up with something to offer our cattle producers. However, in those 10 months ranchers have lost so much money that they have had to choose whether to feed their animals or feed their families, whether to waste fuel transporting an older cow to auction or waste a bullet to eliminate one more cull cow, and whether to trust this government will come through with some help or sell a farm that has belonged to a family for 100 years. These are some of the decisions they have to make.
Every day another auction is being held in my riding, selling off whole herds and in some cases entire farms, all because Liberal aid came too late. For some who are selling their farms, they are also selling the only home that they have known and a family heritage piece. The tragedy is not only in witnessing the loss of a livelihood, it is in knowing that the livelihood is lost because this Liberal government could not get its act together quickly enough to deal with the crisis.
Tragedy is seeing farmers sell their homes because this Liberal government made them wait for compensation just so it could have a photo opportunity to announce aid to the agriculture sector. Tragedy is seeing the resentment on the faces of those people abandoned by this Liberal government. What does the government have to offer those who already have had to leave behind 100 years of family tradition and heritage? Members can believe that the picture-perfect press conference last Monday in southern Alberta did nothing for those farmers who have already gone broke.
With the death of our farms, we are also seeing the death of our rural communities. As the population ages, more and more people are moving to the cities. My riding has seen the migration of people to the city. Farms are being abandoned and with that comes the closure of businesses and schools.
Since 1997, one school division in the Yorkton--Melville riding saw four of its eight schools close before the division amalgamated with the city division. One community fought so hard to save its school that in the end it formed its own school division in order to remain open. Another school in the division has been granted one more year before its closure. Parents are struggling to keep even elementary schools open so that children as young as five do not have to sit on a bus for an hour each morning and again each afternoon.
While cities are seeing population explosions so great infrastructure projects cannot keep up, the rural communities are fighting to survive. A half hour drive one way for a jug of milk or the mail is a common event for rural people. As our agriculture industry continues to slump under Liberal rule, rural communities will continue to disappear. That half hour drive will become 45 minutes and then it will become an hour. There is resentment toward this government and how it has abandoned our rural population.
Just like the rest of Canada, my constituents are well aware of the little surplus game that the Prime Minister likes to play. They know the Liberal way: underplay the surplus only to see the surprise and delight on the faces of the Liberal bigwigs when they reward Canadians with supposedly unexpected money. Nobody is falling for it. Canadians do not want to pay into a surplus so that the Liberals can play the role of hero and suddenly hand out money just before election time.
No matter how we look at it, the Prime Minister is not suddenly coming up with more money for health care or the cities. It is still our money, but the Liberals just hoard it and that suits their purpose. In this case, the purpose will be an early election call and an attempt to buy votes with taxpayers' money. I am sorry, Mr. Prime Minister, but my constituents and voters across the country cannot be bought off. In fact--