February 18, 2004 (37th Parliament, 3rd Session)

CA

Dale Johnston

Canadian Alliance

Mr. Dale Johnston (Wetaskiwin, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, since BSE was detected in one Alberta cow nearly a year ago, life for everyone connected with the cattle industry has been turned upside down in Canada.
While the government has been bogged down with scandals, tax paying cattle producers are struggling to stave off bankruptcy. This crisis is having a devastating effect in communities across the country.
In my constituency the loss of revenue from cattle sales has dealt a crippling blow to local businesses. Sales of farm machinery are off by 50% or more, and retail outlets, from grocery stores to record shops, are reeling from staggering losses of revenue.
After 87 years, the Ponoka Co-op was forced to close its doors two weeks ago and lay off its 40 employees.
The players across the way may have changed, but it is the same old approach. Why would they ignore a $30 billion industry that provides nearly a quarter of a million jobs in this country.
If the government continues to neglect the people whose livelihoods are dependent upon agriculture, it will do so at its peril.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Agriculture
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