Mr. Speaker, today I would like to give a short history lesson for the benefit of Canadians and the government.
On May 20, 2003, a beef cow in Alberta tested positive for BSE, ultimately closing the border to the export of Canadian beef. Farmers went bankrupt.
After furious pressure from opposition parties, the government finally made a limp attempt to assist cash-starved producers by issuing cheques for a so-called advance payment. This was advertised by the government as an advance on BSE assistance, leaving producers with the definite impression that there was more to come.
More did come, a little in 2004, but in recent weeks Ontario producers have been notified that the money would be clawed back and taken off any future assistance for which they may be eligible. In many cases they are being told to pay the money back immediately.
I have to wonder if the government is using these clawbacks to finance the long overdue release of CAIS deposits. If this was a movie, it would be a bad one and it would be called “The Great Deception”.