Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Western Arctic has been very instrumental in many of the energy policies in the part of the world he comes from. Having worked with him on the natural resources committee, I know he is very qualified in matters of energy and energy policy.
One of the aspects he talked about was marginal farmland. I know that our government undertook measures with respect to marginal farmland. Working with organizations like Ducks Unlimited, we wanted to promote the idea that transfers of marginal farmland to trusts or conservation agencies could be done without triggering a capital gains tax, which was inhibiting some of the breakup of farmland into more manageable pieces, so that good farmland could be managed appropriately and marginal farmland could be offloaded to other uses.
The constraint at the time was that this would trigger a capital gain and farmers did not want to face that, so measures were introduced that brought down the capital gains inclusion rate.
The member makes an excellent point with respect to biofuels and their application to marginal farmland. I hope the government is listening to that. The point the member raises with respect to the unintended consequences of promoting biofuels is very valid. We have seen the impact on the pricing of corn and products like that.
When we look at biofuels and the different sources of the materials, one could make an argument that when converting corn to biofuels or other sources like that, it is perhaps not the most energy efficient or environmentally appropriate way to proceed because on a net energy basis it takes a lot of energy to convert corn into biofuel.
While it may be good agricultural policy in a sense for the farmers, it may not be good for consumers when the price of corn rises to a certain point. The idea of moving that to marginal farmland makes some sense.
I would like the member to comment, if he could. He made a point with respect to biofuels and the forestry industry. I know the forestry industry has been promoting very heavily the need for government policies at the federal level to encourage the use of biofuels in its operations because it faces enormous energy costs. Energy used to be a comparative advantage for the forestry industry in Canada and now it is a comparative disadvantage. It would like to use these biofuels.
Are we then faced with a situation that we will support, let us say, the sawmilling sector of the forestry industry at the risk of creating problems for the pulping industry, because that is the source of a lot of their raw material? Or, do we have to make those choices? Can we deal with the question of the better use of biofuels in the forestry industry without necessarily causing problems to the pulp and paper sector?