Madam Speaker, it gives me pleasure to be here in the House to speak about a crucial sector of the Canadian economy, namely our agriculture industry.
On December 8, 2017, I asked the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food a question, and it was answered by the parliamentary secretary. By way of background, my perfectly simple question asked why the Liberals were abandoning farmers.
The parliamentary secretary's answer was about supply management. He reminded us of the Liberals' traditional position of supporting supply management. I strongly suspect it is the same answer we are going to get tonight. However, my question, which the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food did not answer, had other elements. I talked about how the Liberals had abandoned farmers by calling them tax cheats during the tax reforms, trying to take away their deferred cash tickets, and refusing to split Bill C-59 at the time.
Members will recall that back in December 2017, we predicted a crisis in grain transportation. We anticipated that grain transporters in western Canada would have trouble exporting their grain and that a crisis would erupt in the transportation system. We called on the Liberals to take action. Unfortunately, our calls fell on deaf ears, as did the calls of farmers and the industry. A serious crisis did develop, and grain farmers are still suffering the consequences today. That is the reality.
I asked why the Liberals were abandoning farmers. Sadly, not much has happened since. Actually, to be precise, a lot has happened, but to no effect. We have been presented with a budget that made absolutely no mention of agriculture. That is a fact. Now we have proof: since December 8, 2017, in regard to agriculture, the Liberals have abandoned Canadian farmers. What has happened since then? The grain crisis.
The Senate sent amendments to Bill C-59 back to the House. Those amendments could make Bill C-59 acceptable if we manage to adopt them. The Senate sent its amendments to the House over two weeks ago. We have not heard a thing. That is the government response to the amendments to Bill C-59. No news, and the crisis is ongoing. The Liberals refused to pass an order in council to resolve the crisis.
Now, once again, we have a very serious problem before us. What happened in the meantime? Oh, right, the NAFTA negotiations. Something did happen. The parliamentary secretary can give us all the reassurances he wants about supply management, but I have just one little thing to say to him. Despite his and his government's reassuring words, the Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec and its president are demanding that the government get tougher and stand firm. They want the Canadian government to say, loudly and clearly, that supply managed sectors will not be opened up to American producers any more than they already are and that we will not sit back and let them impose tariffs on other products.
My question this evening is this: will the parliamentary secretary pledge to the president of the Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec and us that supply management will not be opened up any more than it already is? The president is not asking for protection; he is just asking the government not to open up supply management any more.