Mr. Speaker, I know that initially, at the beginning of the summer, I had hundreds of farmers coming to me over the cash ticket deferral system. That is how the summer started out. It deteriorated from there, in terms of the outrage over the tax system, particularly when it came to farmers who were looking to sell their farm to their son or daughter. That came out loud and clear.
Then in the last week that I was in the riding, just before I left for Ottawa, we actually had the Slave Lake and District Chamber of Commerce put together an emergency meeting with me to outline their concerns with the new proposed tax changes. There were nearly 100 people in the room, and they were very concerned about where we were going. The number one question was, “Can the government do this? Can it just come in, without listening, and do this?”
It was a very disheartening place to be, in terms of the fact that the government can just come in and do this without listening to what people have to say, changing our lives in northern Alberta significantly, when it comes to tax changes. Farming is probably about a third of the economy where we live. There is a lot of concern right now as what their future looks like.
Farmers have spent a lot of money on their succession planning, which is a big deal. Anyone who comes from northern Alberta knows exactly what succession planning means. They have spent money on it. They have hired consultants to see how to transfer their farm to their children. Basically that entire plan is now up in the air as we go forward with the new tax proposals that have been put forward. There is deep concern in my riding as to where this is going to go. A lot of people feel the carpet has been pulled out from under them.