Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Lévis—Lotbinière for raising this important issue.
I am disturbed by the fact that the question comes from an opposition member who co-chairs a leadership campaign that is in favour of abolishing supply management.
Supply management provides a degree of stability that guarantees a fair market and income security for thousands of families. How can the member say he wants to protect dairy producers while at the same time being in favour of abolishing the system that provides them with income security? That is completely unacceptable.
Unlike the opposition member, our government believes that the Canadian supply-managed sector is critical to ensuring a strong agricultural sector and a prosperous economy in Canada.
Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and I held productive meetings with dairy producers from across the country. We will continue to meet with the industry as promised as we work together to come up with a sustainable, long-term plan that will help the industry adjust to market concessions in the Canada-Europe free trade agreement.
In February, at the Dairy Farmers of Canada annual meeting, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced an investment of $1.75 million in research for the dairy sector. This investment will support research by our scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in two key areas. The first is in increasing the quality of Canadian forages to help increase milk production, and the second is in understanding the role of dairy fat products, including their impact on type 2 diabetes.
That brings the total federal investment in the dairy sector to $13.75 million over five years. Last month, we brought down the federal budget, which includes important measures to support Canada's agricultural sector, including sectors under supply management.
The budget includes investments of $30 million over six years to support advanced research in agricultural genomics to mitigate the biological threats to agriculture associated with climate change. It also includes investments of $41.5 million to support the rehabilitation and modernization of agriculture and agri-food research stations and laboratories in British Columbia, Albert, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec.
The government is also working on developing an approach for additional investments in agricultural science and research, informed by the review of federal support for fundamental science. These are all excellent ways to measure the prosperity of Canada's agriculture industry.
The budget also mentions Canada's commitment to swiftly ratify the Canada-European Union economic agreement. This agreement will open access to markets in the European Union for key Canadian agricultural exports, such as maple syrup, beef, pork, grains, fruits and vegetables, and processed foods.
As I said earlier, we are developing a plan to help the sector adjust to the market-access commitments, in preparation for Canada's ratification of the Canada-European Union economic agreement.
We strongly support free trade and and support implementing the Canada-European Union trade economic agreement.
On this side of the House, we support the supply management system. We support the farm families who benefit from this system, and unlike members in the opposition, we defend this system.