Madam Speaker, back in June, I asked the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food why the Liberal government has backed away from its commitments to Canadian farmers. There are three specific commitments that I would like to focus my comments on during tonight's debate.
The first one is compensation to farmers and fishers under CETA and the TPP. Today, we heard a hint from the government that there would be some type of compensation package, but, largely, farmers and the fishing community have been left to wonder whether the previous Conservative commitment would be honoured. In fact, when the budget was presented this year, they were quite concerned when it was not part of the actual budget.
We would like to know whether these commitments will be made. The TPP and CETA chip away at supply management, and farmers deserve an answer as to whether this compensation will be available to them.
The second issue I would like to address is the inaction on diafiltered milk. The fix to this problem is simple and quick. The trade committee and the agriculture committee have heard this. The trade committee held an emergency meeting this summer, on August 3. I joined my colleagues and opposition members in pushing for this meeting, because it is critically important that the dairy sector receives some understanding on where the government is at on diafiltered milk. It needs action.
When the Minister of Agriculture appeared before the trade committee on September 20, he refused to give specifics on how this issue would be fixed. The minister actually asked for more time of the dairy farmers and the supply management. This is so incredibly concerning because Canadian dairy has lost $220 million because of diafiltered milk alone.
We want an answer on the inaction of diafiltered milk for farmers in our country.
The third thing I would like to focus on is why the inaction on PACA? This is the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
Earlier this year, I tabled a motion in the House calling upon the government to implement a payment protection program similar to PACA in the U.S., so that Canadian fruit and vegetable growers could export their products south while knowing they have legal recourse if they do not receive payment.
This was a Liberal campaign promise, so it is really quite shocking to see a lack of action on this particular file. It would help the produce and vegetable growers, certainly, in my region in southwestern Ontario. My riding of Essex has many of these producers and being able to have PACA as a way to ensure that they would receive payment for goods that are crossing the border is incredibly important. However, after a year in government, we hear complete silence on PACA.
Farmers really deserve an answer on these very important issues. They have been largely left behind by the government, and the government has been silent on these very important issues.
The questions that I have focus on the compensation. Where is it? When will it be coming, so that farmers can be certain that they will have some type of protection? Why inaction on diafiltered milk, when there already is clearly a path and an understanding of the way to fix this problem that is costing dairy farmers? Why the inaction on PACA, something that was a campaign promise?
Canadian farmers are tired of the silence from the government. We have seen them here protesting on the Hill in anger over the silence that they have heard from the Liberal government. It made many campaign promises to them but has yet to follow through with them.
Why are Liberals backing away from their commitments to Canadian farmers?