These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

CAIS

Mr. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Canadian farm families are facing unnecessary hardship. They are struggling because the Liberal government's programs actually made matters worse down on the farm.

The minister is musing he is almost ready to make some sort of announcement. Here are a couple of things he could actually do today that would help. He could get out some real cash advances that are not mired down in bureaucratic red tape. He could do some loan guarantees to producers and of course he could remove, not delay, the cash deposit requirement for the CAIS program.

What is stopping him?

Hon. Bob Speller (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I had an opportunity to read the hon. member's release that he put out yesterday, obviously after hearing that the Government of Canada was working hard in terms of bringing forward a program to bridge Canadian farmers and farm families from today until the fall, when the CAIS program really kicks in.

I want to tell the hon. member that I have had an opportunity to talk to Canadian farmers and farm families. The Government of Canada is working very hard with these groups to work through what is really necessary so that the Government of Canada can help them.

Mr. Gerry Ritz (Battlefords—Lloydminster, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is great that the minister is listening, but time is of the essence here.

Agriculture, the primary production of food in the country, is going down for the count. Our safe, secure food supply is being put in jeopardy due to the Liberal government's inaction and bureaucratic programs that totally miss the mark.

We released our farm friendly program yesterday, and the minister finally got around to reading it. That is great. I would like to see him put it in play. We would be happy. That is the sincerest form of flattery to see one's project put into play.

Would he at least release the outline of his program so farmers could finally start making some plans?

Hon. Bob Speller (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said, I had an opportunity to review with my officials the plan put forward by the opposition.

I might note that after the opposition heard that the Government of Canada was in the process of bringing forward a program itself, I looked at it, and in a lot of ways it mimics what is already being done by the Government of Canada.

If we look at the numbers within it, I think they are quite off in a number of the different areas. However, I would be pleased to have officials at committee, at some time, go through it with the hon. member as to what the real numbers are.