Mr. Speaker, we know that the rising dollar has aggravated the crisis in the manufacturing sectors, but it is also affecting hog producers and exporters. From the start of 2000, the situation of farmers has been disastrous. Almost half of Quebec's hog producers can no longer make their loan payments.
In Canada, imports of American meat rose from 88 million tonnes in 2001 to 138 million tonnes in 2006, an increase of 36%. In addition, the Conservative government has stricter standards for our producers. At the same time, the Americans are imposing stricter regulations. The government's attitude is hurting hog producers.
The crisis highlights the shortcomings of Canadian assistance programs. It is high time that the Conservative government assume its responsibilities and harmonize standards for hog production. In these times, it cannot look out for the interests of oil companies alone.