The Budget

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, has the hon. member for Vegreville—Wainwright shared some of the conversations with farmers that I have experienced?

I was surprised to hear him say that the number one priority of farmers was expanding trade opportunities. What I hear quite often from farmers is a concern that there is redundant trade. They grow produce locally in Canada and ship it by highway to the U.S. At the same time, trucks from the states bring produce from California back to our stores, while we send good, healthy, local produce to the states.

I also quite often hear from farmers that they are concerned that local food production is being continually undermined by a lack of infrastructure, slaughterhouses and canneries. In other words, there is a lack of support for local food. There is a conflict between the increased globalization of food supply and the public demand for safe, local, healthy food and supporting family farmers in Canada. I would appreciate the member’s response.

Leon Benoit: Mr. Speaker, the member may be listening to people mostly in cities. I also heard a concern about moving organic and specialized products in particular into Canadian markets. On the other hand, I have heard success stories from an awful lot of people who had done the work with companies to have their products carried in stores. Quite frankly, many were successful.

However, in my area, I certainly did not hear the concerns she is expressing about opening up the world to more Canadian agriculture products. In fact, most of the constituents I have heard from are asking for that.