October 13, 1983 (32nd Parliament, 1st Session)


Albert Glen Cooper

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Cooper:

I hear the Hon. Member. That is a wonderful solution, I really appreciate it. I wish he would sit down with the Minister and convince him of that. He knows as well as I that that is not a viable solution or possibility at this point. We would love it to happen. We are working toward it, but we know that in the short term we have to have some form of trucking subsidy for our farmers. This amendment will simply not allow it.
We have been fighting for the particular concerns of this area for a long time. My predecessor, Ged Baldwin, worked
Western Grain Transportation Act
for years to bring to the attention of the Government across the way the concerns of our farmers in terms of the difficulties they face in grain transportation. We worked hard to bring that to the Government's attention. When there was a change in administration in 1979, the Hon. Member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazankowski) worked very hard for our region and was making some progress. In a very short period of time we would have seen an off-line elevator concept which would have met the needs of those people. Now, because of the NDP-Leberal coalition, that has been eliminated. The NDP wants to go even further and eliminate the possibility of those farmers ever receiving any kind of help with a very expensive proposition they virtually face every day of their farming lives.
The whole purpose of looking at the Bill was to look after the concerns and difficulties of producers. Of course, Members of the New Democratic Party have pretended to be the great champions of those people, but I would like to know who they are representing with this amendment. It sounds to me as if it is the people in Regina, central Edmonton or perhaps even Winnipeg. It is certainly not the farmers, especially those in the Peace country. Those farmers need recognition for the difficulties they face because of the uniqueness of that particular region of Canada.
The region to which I refer is one of much potential and opportunity. We have literally thousands of agricultural acres which are not in production. They could be and will be brought into production when it becomes feasible to develop the land and the costs of production become a viable option. The only way we could see that happening would be if we allowed some kind of recognition of the unique difficulties faced by these people.
This particular amendment is a totally regressive motion, a backward movement rather than a forward one. I speak in the strongest possible terms against it. The present wording in the Bill is important because it recognizes the unique needs of the people of the Peace country. I will vote against this motion with the greatest of pleasure.

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