Mr. Speaker, we are certainly glad to talk about Bill C-474. We need to put it in some context, and that is the context of success for farmers.
Obviously we cannot talk about farmers being successful in western Canada without talking about the freedom to sell their own products, the freedom to market their own products and the freedom to run their own businesses. Bill C-474 interferes with that almost as much as the Canadian Wheat Board interferes with that.
Mr. Speaker, you know how dead against Bill C-474 I am, so I am sure you have an idea of how important I think it is that our western Canadian farmers get freedom to market their own products, to go around the world to sell those products, to take those top-notch Canadian products across this globe so that people can understand far more than they do now how successful and how tremendous the farming sector in Canada can actually be. We would ask the other parties to join with us of course in providing that freedom for our farmers.
I will come directly back to Bill C-474 and to Motion No. 6, which is another one of the amendments that the mover himself has had to make in order to make this bill remotely palatable to even the people who want to support it.
In this motion, they want to add another new clause, which says:
The analysis referred to in section 2 shall take into account the economic impact on Canadian farmers and exporters whose established markets for registered seed or for the crops and products derived from that seed would be harmed as a result of the introduction of the new variety of genetically engineered seed.
There is a whole host of problems with this. We are reminded of canola. As the parliamentary secretary mentioned so well earlier, when canola was developed in western Canada, it gradually took off. People did not know what the impact of canola was going to be when it was introduced.
The NDP is saying, through this bill and through this amendment, that we have to stop these things. We cannot let them come on to the marketplace. We cannot see what potential they might have. We need to look at the negative side of the equation but not at the positive side.
Canola has developed from a very small beginning, with rapeseed. Then they improved the seed varieties and brought in canola, and I believe it is accurate to say that a $14 billion a year industry has developed from canola. The NDP would stand against that. If its bill were in place, if it had its way, the canola industry in western Canada would be wiped out.
I can tell members that if it did that, there would be virtually nothing left of the grains and oilseeds sector in western Canada because canola is a critical crop for many producers, especially those who do not want to be forced to market their product through a central marketer. Those folks, who have chosen to grow canola, grow it because not only can we grow good canola and we can grow lots of canola but we also have the freedom to market it as we choose.
There is a whole host of reasons why we should not be supporting this bill. I am thankful and western Canadian farmers and farmers across this country are thankful that the Liberals have come to their senses and have said that they will be supporting us in our opposition to this bill, because it is critical for the future of Canadian agriculture that we make sure this bill is defeated.
It is too bad that the NDP itself does not see this, that the member himself would not voluntarily withdraw this bill, because it would be much better for Canadians generally. It would probably be better, even in the House here, for those of us who know agriculture to be able to say that we have joined together, all of us have joined together here and we are going to do something that is good for farmers, rather than having one group or a couple of the parties here making the decision, once again, that they are going to oppose Canadian agriculture and not give it the chance to be the best it can be.
I could certainly talk a little more about the methodology that is involved in this bill. It is just flawed from beginning to end. The member who brought it forward wants to talk about the negative economic impact that the changes might have. He does not address the fact that there might be positive impacts from new technology, and it is once again a backwards way of looking at agriculture. It shows a disconnect from the future of agriculture.
We go out on the farm these days and there are new varieties. There is new technology. For example, people now have GPS in their tractors, they have it in their sprayers and they have it in their combines. They know down to the inch what it is they are doing, what they are putting onto their farmland, and it is certainly the same with so many other areas of technology.
This bill goes against all of that. We need to oppose it and we are thankful that the other parties across the way have decided to join with us on that. We ask the NDP to do that as well.