These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Supply Management

Mr. Carmen Provenzano (Sault Ste. Marie, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. In light of the release of the Harbinson report, will the minister please inform the House what Canada's position is with respect to supply management?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government has always been very clear in that we are strong supporters and full supporters of the supply management system in Canada for the benefit of the producers and the benefit of the consumers of dairy, egg and poultry products in Canada.

Unfortunately, the second draft of the Harbinson report was as fundamentally flawed as the first draft report. Our negotiators, along with industry representatives, are in Geneva this week and we will push in order to ensure that domestic marketing decisions for those products are made in Canada.

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we know the Americans are going to require country of origin labelling for imported beef and pork products. The cost of compliance will be staggering.

We wanted to work with the Americans to have this law amended or repealed, but not only has the Liberal government done nothing to address the situation, it has made it far worse. U.S. consumers are now beginning to boycott Canadian products, while the reckless and irresponsible comments by cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister are destroying our trade relationship.

Does the Minister of Agriculture understand the negative consequences for agriculture brought about by foolish, asinine comments such as the one by the member who sits beside him, the Minister of Natural Resources?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are all very concerned about the country of origin labelling requirement in the United States, but the hon. member needs to recognize that the first two years of that is voluntary. He needs to recognize, and he knows, that we are working with the industry in the United States. We are working through our embassy in the United States.

There is a growing feeling in the United States as well that the law is flawed. It is hoped by all of us that if the law does not get struck down or changed by the United States, it will at least just keep it to the voluntary system which is not working now and will not work for anybody's benefit, U.S. or--

The Speaker: The hon. member for Champlain.

[Translation]

Mr. Marcel Gagnon (Champlain, BQ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said that April 1 was no longer the deadline, as he had suggested previously.

Will the minister confirm that this statement applies to the entire agricultural policy framework, which includes the net income stabilization account program, the new risk management program and the agriculture income disaster assistance program?

[English]

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I said right from the start that there was not a strict deadline of April 1. The hon. member has heard me say that a number of times. We have time to continue to develop the business risk management aspect of the agricultural policy framework. As the ministers agreed in the last federal-provincial ministers meeting, when that is completed, any federal-provincial agreement that needs to be signed, because they do cease on March 31 of this year, will be retroactive to April 1 of 2003.