Mr. Speaker, on February 4, I rose in the House to ask why the Minister of International Trade was signing the trans-Pacific partnership agreement.
The Conservatives secretly negotiated the TPP. During the election campaign, the Liberals promised to make changes. Instead, they moved forward with the Conservatives' agreement as is. Ratifying this agreement would be harmful for many sectors and could seriously damage our economy. In Canada 60,000 good jobs are at risk.
In Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Hundreds of farmers make a living from this economy, and these people are worried because the TPP also jeopardizes the supply management system in Quebec. I am also concerned because we are already feeling the detrimental effects of this agreement.
The detrimental effects of this agreement and the uncertainty associated with its ratification have already had an impact. Last year, 257 dairy farms in Quebec shut down their operations because of this uncertainty and the breach in our supply management system. We are talking about men and women who work hard to provide high quality products.
I would remind the House that supply management guarantees Canadians access to high-quality, locally produced food at a reasonable price. It also guarantees a decent income for our dairy, egg, and poultry producers, and it generates thousands of jobs here in Canada. However, this agreement puts all of that in jeopardy.
I am calling on the government to stand in the House this evening and reassure our farmers, to commit to putting an end to the demise of family farms and to protecting supply management in its entirety. It is not enough that the government say the words; it needs to take concrete action to do so.
Since I was elected, hundreds of concerned citizens and farmers have reached out to me, whether by email, by telephone, or at my constituency office to have their say. Unfortunately, this government appears to be ignoring those people and turning its back on farmers.
Despite the fact that the TPP is being widely criticized in numerous forums, the Liberals signed it anyway. However, we have been saying for quite some time that the trans-Pacific partnership negotiated by the Conservatives and signed by the Liberals is not good for Canada. This agreement could jeopardize many of our most important industries, lower decent wages, and put the interests of large corporations ahead of everything else.
We are not alone in saying it and repeating it. People from all TPP signatory countries, and especially from Canada, are speaking out against this treaty.
At the beginning of the month, American Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner in economics, warned the Minister of International Trade that Canada should reject the TPP. He told her that it was the worst deal ever and that it would only benefit large corporations.
Not only do the Liberals insist on moving forward, but they are also reconsidering compensation for the dairy industry. There is nothing on this matter in the latest budget. This is yet another broken promise.
This government has a duty to fulfill its commitments and to fully protect supply management.
When will the Liberals listen to people's concerns and stand up for workers, employees here in Canada, and producers?