Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia for presenting this important bill and for all of his hard work on preparing this bill on agriculture and promoting local food. So far, we have had a great debate. It is around suppertime right now, and a lot of us are getting hungry thinking about all the amazing food that is produced in Canada.
This is an important bill that all parliamentarians can get behind. We know that everybody eats. Sometimes there are situations even in Canada, a rich country, when families and kids do not have the opportunity to eat, for multiple reasons.
This is an important bill to talk about local food and to encourage other people to buy local food, and also to thank farmers for the work that they do to feed us. We know that farmers work 365 days a year. They do not often have a vacation. They are very hard-working people, so this is an important bill to give thanks to primary producers, who do amazing work.
Canada is considered as the breadbasket of the world. A lot of countries and people across the world are very envious of the food that we produce here in Canada. Therefore, I would like to speak a bit about where this bill comes from.
There has been a lot of talk about local food here in the House. There have been a lot of movements across Canada. A lot more people are trying to buy locally and encourage the local food movement, so making this bill a reality and to have a national food day the Friday before Thanksgiving is a great step in the right direction.
I had the pleasure of sitting on the agriculture committee beginning in 2012. As of recently, I am no longer on the committee because I have new responsibilities, but I used to work with Malcolm Allen from Welland, who was a great source of inspiration for me. We were kind of the tag team for agriculture. He brought forward the idea of a national food day, and we also had the honour to work together to prepare a national food strategy. That was the first time a political party had put forward a vision for agriculture, not just for farmers but for Canadians. We put that forward in 2014. I know that the government is consulting on a food strategy, so supporting local farmers and local food here in Canada kind of fits into its priorities.
I want to talk about Berthier—Maskinongé. Since 2011, I have had the honour of representing the people of Berthier—Maskinongé, a riding located between Montreal and Trois-Rivières. It is a rural area, so I represent many farmers. The riding is home to many dairy, poultry, and organic farms. It is home to value-added businesses.
I love summer. Yes, the weather is warmer, but we can also buy more local products at our farmers' markets. Berthier—Maskinongé is home to all kinds of farmers' markets and many organizations that work to promote local food. Every summer, I take part in the Yamachiche farmers' market. I work with a cook there. He is the expert because, although I have some talents, cooking is not always my strong suit. We buy a number of local products and then cook them and have people try them. It is really important to make people aware of new products. In my riding, there is also the Saint-Élie-de-Caxton farmers' market, the Saint-Norbert farmers' market, and the Lanoraie farmers' market. I would also be remiss if I failed to mention the Marché de solidarité régionale de Brandon. This farmers' market has been working to promote local products for years. It is an initiative of the AmiEs de la Terre de Brandon. They do a lot of work to promote food self-sufficiency with high-quality products in Brandon and the surrounding areas. They promote local and green agrifood.
They also talk a lot about protecting the environment. Buying local requires less transportation. It is a great way of reducing our environmental footprint. Fewer greenhouse gas emissions are produced because less transportation is required. The Marché de solidarité régionale de Brandon also does a lot of work for soil preservation by reducing the use of chemicals. That is why I often shop at that market.
I can say that we have amazing producers in Berthier—Maskinongé. I could talk about them all night long.
D'Autray, in the Lanaudière region, has an organization called Goûtez Lanaudière, which promotes foods from Lanaudière producers.
There is also a tourist route for discovering Lanaudière and its wineries. Former tobacco plantations have been turned into vineyards that make fantastic wine. They include the Vent maudit vineyard, the Carone vineyard, the Aux pieds des noyers vineyard, and the Saint-Gabriel vineyard in Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, which is an organic vineyard. There are not many organic vineyards in Quebec.
The Mauricie region has the Miam designation, which is placed on products that represent the best of the Mauricie's agrifood industry. It serves as a kind of certification for local producers that sell their own products, such as turkey, beef, cheese, and beer. The Miam designation showcases the products of the Mauricie region. In the grocery store and at farmers' markets, the Miam label shows that the food is produced locally.
To quote Jean-Marie Giguère, president of the Mauricie UPA or agricultural producers' union:
If every person in Quebec spent $20 a week on local products, we could create 100,000 jobs in Quebec. For the Mauricie, the proportion is the same, amounting to about 10,000 jobs.
That is why it is so important to support buying local everywhere. Buying local is not just restricted to the regions. Many local products are sold in urban areas as well. Produce is being grown on rooftops, and plenty of products are available in farmers' markets. It is tremendously important to support buying local and support local food. Buying local reduces our environmental impact. Local food contains fewer preservatives and is fresh. Farmers' markets are crucial.
I think the government can also support the bill introduced by my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia. It could be promoted to raise public awareness, as my Conservative colleague just said in his speech. The government needs to encourage people to buy local and promote local food.
There is one other thing I want to talk about. We are talking about local food but we should also be talking about traditional food for first nations.
We have a great opportunity here to thank farmers for the wonderful work they do. Going forward with this local food day would be a step in the right direction. All members of the House can talk about food systems in their ridings and how proud they are of the food that is produced in Canada.
The debate so far has been very positive. We hope that the bill will go to committee and that next year, we will celebrate national local food day on the Friday before Thanksgiving.
It is really important to work with and educate kids too, both in my riding and across Quebec.
The Union des producteurs agricoles organizes an open house. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and my Conservative colleague know what I am talking about. Quebec producers, like pork, poultry, or organic farmers, open their doors for the day so the public can visit and learn about where milk comes from and how food is produced, for example.
It is important to promote buying local and to raise public awareness, because working in agriculture, being a farmer, is the best job in the world. I think we should thank all farmers for their work, and a good way to do so is for everyone in the House to vote in favour of this bill.