|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
Low Commodity Prices
Mr. Russ Powers (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the corn producers of my riding are economically threatened by the extremely low commodity prices in Ontario as compared to prices paid for U.S. imports and to other Canadian producers. They are in fact being paid less than their production costs.
Will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food advise me as to what action may be taken to assist the corn producers of my riding so that they can realistically continue to grow their produce for all Canadians?
Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, corn producers are facing challenges in Ontario, which is why we have provided over $82 million through the CAIS program to producers in Ontario and why we have made changes in the program to cover negative margins to increase the cap.
That is why I am working with my provincial colleagues to contemplate additional changes. That is why the parliamentary secretary is taking a close look at structural changes within the various commodity sectors to deal with long term declines in income. That is why we are working within the WTO to make sure that our producers are able to compete on a level playing field. That is why collectively in 2003 we provided $4.8 billion of assistance to producers.