Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to stand up for agricultural producers who have been left behind through the insensitivity of this Conservative government—I am talking about hog and beef producers.
“The situation we are in is untenable for producers.” Those are the words of Jean-Guy Vincent, the president of the Fédération des producteurs de porcs du Québec. The article appeared in La Terre de chez nous on January 31, 2008.
The livestock industry is currently going through a crisis caused by the rising dollar and rising cost of inputs, combined with a major drop in the price of meat, in the case of pork, and additional costs for managing and disposing of specified risk materials, in the case of beef producers.
There are several reasons why an emergency debate is needed, and I am satisfied that in your great wisdom, Mr. Speaker, you will recognize this urgency. First, there is the silence of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food in response to the letters they have been sent by producers. And then there is also the unanimous first report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food recommending that transitional measures be put in place to alleviate this crisis, along with longer-term measures to improve the competitiveness of the industry.
This situation cannot go on. Some producers have handed their keys over to their financial institutions, or are about to do so, many of them having stretched their credit to the limit. That is why the Bloc Québécois is asking that an emergency debate be held on this serious crisis.