These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Agricultural Policy Framework

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it has taken the agriculture minister two years to come up with a risk management program which so far is a complete disaster for producers. Canadians farmers were hopeful they would finally have long term stability in their safety net programs.

Could the Minister of Agriculture explain why he waited until the implementation date to hire private consultants to then assess the already beleaguered APF program? Just how incompetent is the minister and his department?

[Translation]

Mr. Claude Duplain (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, just recently the Canadian Federation of Agriculture came up with examples. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, showing that he has an open mind, wanted to demonstrate again the benefits of the new agricultural policy framework and agreed to prove, with this private firm, that the APF is a very good program.

[English]

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, those presentations were made back in February. This agriculture situation makes absolutely no sense. It has taken a $5 billion department two years to create a program that now needs to be assessed by a private consultant. If this is not incompetence, then this abysmal failure must have been by design.

Why has the government left farmers standing alone just as they are going back into their fields? What is the real agenda here?

[Translation]

Mr. Claude Duplain (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it has not been an abysmal failure. As the member just pointed out, we have spent two years developing a new policy framework. Everyone was consulted, including the federation. The federation recently came up with new examples to show that the APF is not good. Our response is that their numbers are wrong. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, once again, has agreed to examine them with a private consultant to prove to the federation that the APF is indeed a good program.