Mr. Mel Gass (Malpeque):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote a statement made by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan) in which he assured us that he would cap interest rates at 12 per cent should he become the next Prime Minister. He said:
You have to have more stability in the interest rates to build the kind of confidence necessary for people to take the bold step into new ventures that they have on the drafting board ready to go.
In light of that statement, I am very upset and anxious to know why the Minister of Agriculture, who is responsible for the Farm Credit Corporation, has allowed the interest rate charged by the Farm Credit Corporation to rise from 12.75 per cent in April, 1983, to 14 per cent on April 9 of this year. Why will the Minister not honour his word, and cap interest rates at 12 per cent?
Not only are the interest rates set at 14 per cent but the Farm Credit Corporation has seen fit to change the method it uses to commute loan payments. It is now calculating the compound interest semi-annually rather than annually, which once again robs more money from the already struggling farmers. For example, on a $100,000 mortgage with interest calculated annually, interest payments amount to $15,098. The same interest payment calculated semi-annually, as is being done by the Farm Credit Corporation, amounts to $15,526. The additional cost to the farmer calculated over a 20-year period is $8,500 in interest.
The Minister of Agriculture is condoning this sneaky, underhanded method of squeezing even more money from the already distressed farmers. This terrible treatment of farmers is coming from a man who claims to be such a great benefactor of the farming community. This is just another example of how the present federal Government has treated the farmers of Canada, and really shows us just how much the Minister of Agriculture cares about Canadian farmers.
Subtopic: FARM CREDIT CORPORATION
Sub-subtopic: INTEREST RATE CHARGES