Madam Speaker, 60% of Quebec's agricultural production operates under supply management. Supply management is absolutely crucial to 6,900 dairy, egg and poultry producers who could not work or make a living without it. My riding, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, is home to many of these farmers.
From an economic standpoint, I have to wonder how the government can unscrupulously turn its back on our local farmers in favour of American megafarms or European or Asian farmers.
The deal with the U.S., the one with the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership combined cede close to 10% of Canada's agricultural market, especially in the dairy sector.
The Prime Minister was in my riding on January 18 and he himself told concerned farmers that he is going to compensate them 100%. I must say, I am very skeptical.
I would remind the House that when it comes to market access, the concessions from those agreements represent losses in milk sales worth $450 million, or about $41,000 per farm.
Faced with all this uncertainty, many farmers have put off investments they wanted to make to update their equipment. Young farmers, especially, are telling me that they would rather produce than be compensated for not producing.
With what we gave up to the European Union, we are letting 17,000 tonnes of fine cheese onto the Canadian market. That is 25% of our market. While the government allows European producers to fatten their wallets, our farmers are taking to the streets in frustration. Our farmers are still seething.
Since they do not feel like their voices are being heard, I will relay their comments. Jacinthe Guilbert, a farmer from my neck of the woods who was recently named female farmer of the year, told me that these bad deals will cost her more than a month's wages every year. She said that on top of the losses caused by the Liberals' NAFTA 2.0, the bills keep coming in, and it is tough going. She told me that 6,000 farms in Canada could disappear. They will surely include farms in my riding, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. We are hearing this message all over the country.
From a public health perspective, I have to wonder how the government can turn its back on Canadians by letting quality standards fall so far. By failing to demand reciprocity of standards, it is letting in products that do not meet our domestic standards.
For example, the Union des producteurs agricoles identified issues related to growth hormones allowed in the United States, hormones that may lead to serious illness in cows. Given that not all states, let alone all farms, use the same products, how can the government ensure that milk with hormones will not reach the Canadian market? Simply put, it cannot. That is just one example of animal health and welfare standards, and I have not even talked about the environment.
From a social and regional development perspective, I would like to know how the government can fail rural regions so badly. As everyone knows, supply management supports greater land use. It is vital to our regions. Opening up our market means that only a few Quebec farms will be resilient enough to survive. Will the government act to prevent socioeconomic decline in some of our regions?
When the member for Laurentides—Labelle says that there is always a chance we could lose agricultural land and farmers, I do not get the impression the government intends to act. So that's it? We resign ourselves to giving up part of our market to the Americans? I look forward to hearing what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has to say.