Mr. Maurice Foster (Algoma):
Mr. Speaker, as if Canadian farmers are not worried enough about increasing farm costs, they now have an additional worry, the announcement by the Conservative Government that ad hoc disaster relief agreements with the provinces will end.
Instead of special disaster relief funds involving the federal Government and provincial Governments, farmers will be forced to absorb extraordinary disaster relief through higher crop insurance premiums.
While disaster could strike any part of Canada, the impact of this new Conservative Government approach, which amounts to disaster relief for the provinces, not farmers, will have its greatest impact in western Canada.
Presently, crop insurance programs are not comprehensive. Although efforts are being made to extend crop insurance programs to all crops, the special needs of feed producers and of livestock producers have yet to be met.
More than just damage to crops, disasters such as drought or floods damage the land itself through erosion and other problems which affect not just crops in the ground but crops yet to be planted.
Major disasters such as spring flooding in Manitoba, drought in Saskatchewan, and late flooding in northern Saskatchewan, have required extraordinary relief needs, which were provided in conjunction with the provinces by previous Liberal administrations.
This amounts to disaster relief for the mostly Tory provincial Governments and higher costs for farmers, particularly farmers in western Canada. It is unacceptable. The Government is abandoning the farmers of this country.
Sub-subtopic: DISASTER RELIEF FUNDS