|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
Experimental Farm Closure
Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I received a package of information on the Nappan Experimental Farm through access to information the day before yesterday. On the same page where it states that the Nappan Experimental Farm is going to be closed, the second part of the story is given, that a second farm in Nova Scotia is going to be closed.
Every Nova Scotian should listen to these words. The document states that the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre at Kentville will be phased out; the food quality safety program will be moved to Prince Edward Island; the horticulture research program will be moved to Quebec; and the plant breeding programs will be phased out.
At a time when farmers need all the help they can, why are these experimental farms being closed?
Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, exactly the same process is going on in my province.
The minister in this particular case has made a commitment that there will be no diminishment of the research capacity in the province. What there is is a sincere attempt by a group of stakeholders to reorganize the research infrastructure to get the best possible value out of it. That is what is going on. It is an attempt to improve things, not make them worse. Unfortunately, the opposition never takes enough time to try to understand that.
Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, CPC): Mr. Speaker, this paper is labelled as secret for some reason, but this is scary. The Minister of Public Works represents the riding where the Kentville research centre is located and it is now depending on the public works minister, whose main purpose in life is to divest of government facilities. The centres have to depend on him to defend them.
The President of the Treasury Board says it is a great thing to do. Agriculture in Nova Scotia cannot afford this and the government has to change it. We want the government to stop the closures in Nappan and Kentville, and to do it now.
Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there are simply none so blind as those who will not see. The reality is that the minister has made some commitments. He has committed that research capacity in the province will be maintained. He has provincial stakeholders involved in it. They are looking at this. They are working to get to the best possible solution they can on behalf of farmers.
That is what the minister is committed to. That is what he has always been committed to. That is what the government and the Prime Minister are committed to.