Agriculture Growth Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech by my friend from Sudbury.

We need to look at Bill C-18 in the larger context of trends. I am concerned with what we have seen happening under this administration, which is a steady trend away from publicly funded research into new seed varieties. That is how we got canola and Laird lentils. There was public investment in coming up with new varieties of seeds, which were then available to everyone. We are shifting to private breeders only and moving more toward Monsanto and less toward Agriculture Canada.

The Conservatives call it the agricultural growth act. They might as well call it the agriculture concentration of corporate ownership act. I am concerned with the specifics of the bill. I know it will go to committee, because the Conservatives have the votes; but the agricultural community is split on this, and it would help us all if we were to look at the larger question.

Since budget 2012, we have seen a reduction in available funding for public research into better seed varieties, and we see through Bill C-18 the opportunity for the Monsantos of the world to keep collecting royalties over which the farmers would have no say as to how that money is spent.

It is not an agricultural growth act; it is removing the rights of farmers.