Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the member a question because the parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Industry tried to make it sound like other agencies, like federal development agencies, are covering off for the cuts to the CDI. I know in Atlantic Canada they are not because 10 days ago the minister in charge of ACOA cut every regional economic development organization in Atlantic Canada, though they were responsible for 130 jobs last year and one of them manages $9 billion worth of assets.
We have to look at the whole picture in terms of the government’s strategy. I believe there is a real attack by this government on rural Canada where it is cutting back on economic development agencies. It is cutting the CDI, which is important, while it is giving big business all the advantages, such as reducing corporate taxes and so forth.
Could the member tell us, in terms of the big picture, not only cooperatives but the other areas, where there is federal government involvement that in fact is undermining the ability of rural communities and cooperatives in rural Canada to survive and prosper along with the rest of the country? This is not a country that is just based on oil. It is a country that should be based on community.