Madam Speaker, it is certainly an honour to rise on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola to speak to my colleagues about Bill C-206, brought by the MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South, who has done an excellent job of finding an issue that resonates not just within his riding but right across the country. I will make a few short points about this, because I believe that Private Members' Business provides the opportunity for members, such as the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South, to bring up issues they are hearing locally to see if they are salient. The adoption of this bill through second reading to committee and now to third reading shows there is a consensus in this country. The Liberals were the only party to vote against it. Every other party recognizes that Canada's future is, in great part, due to agriculture. Many may argue that Canada's past was formulated on that, and I would say that is true, but so is the fact we can do more.
In fact, in the majority government the current ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, put forward the Barton report and said that Canada could do so much more by working with agriculture. It could expand exports and feed people not just across our country but around the globe. It seemed for a while that the report might go somewhere. Most farmers thought it was great to have a government that was focused on that. Unfortunately, the government was not. Rather, it was focused simply on ideology and not on helping to connect the dots to make it work for farmers.
As the MP who sponsored the legislation said, the Grain Farmers of Ontario stated, “there are no readily available grain drying technology replacement alternatives that are cost effective. Drying grain is essential for marketing grain.” This points out that when the input costs are too high, grain farmers will lose traction to other areas that have better prices. Unfortunately, it is a commodity market and we cannot just say, “Buy Canadian because Canada is great.” People in other countries also need to feed their families. If the rate for our grain is too high because of input costs, these people will simply go to another cost provider.
The member of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan previously mentioned the concept of carbon leakage, which is where adding extra regulations or taxation beyond that of another jurisdiction eventually makes it difficult for a place with a carbon tax, such as Canada's, to compete. I should know this. A B.C. Liberal government was the first to introduce a carbon tax in British Columbia. It found out quite quickly that the farming community would not be able to be competitive. Therefore, along with cement, it ended up having to subsidize many of those activities.
I am grateful the MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South has brought forward something that will help with that competitiveness. The bill has received broad agreement, with the exception of the Liberal government and its backbenchers. I am sure there was a whipped vote on this, so I know many Liberal members probably felt very sympathetic and wanted to vote alongside the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP to support our farmers, but unfortunately it seems many on that side do not question the government's position as much. In fact, some seem to want to carry it on all day long, but enough about the member for Kingston and the Islands.
I just have a few more things to say. The Conservatives believe we should be working with agriculture. The government has put out a clean fuel standard that is so complicated that farmers do not know what opportunities are there. They are worried about getting lost in the paperwork. It is the same government that is making it more difficult for farm operations to use small amounts of propane. The government is basically encouraging them, through red tape, to move to diesel. We know it is not as clean, as easy to store or as manageable. The current government seems to always be at odds with what farmers need and want.
I will say this. Members like the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South and our Conservative caucus will be standing up for our farmers. We will put forward solutions, and we will have a meaningful impact on our greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy, especially for our farmers.