These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Pork Exports

Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, the government indicates that it will pursue its efforts to open the U.S. border to Canadian beef and resolve the mad cow crisis. Far from reopening, the U.S. border is once again being closed, this time to Quebec and Canadian pork producers.

What does the government intend to do so that pork producers do not quickly find themselves in the same difficult situation as cattle producers?

[English]

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in anticipation that there may be a problem, I met with my provincial colleagues a month ago. We had some very in-depth discussions about this issue. I will be meeting again with relevant ministers on Friday to continue the discussion on the types of actions we may want to contemplate. In addition to that, I will be meeting with representatives from the industry next week and we will also be having a discussion about the appropriate measures that we ought to be taking.

[Translation]

Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is time for action, not empty rhetoric. As regards this specific issue, the Minister of International Trade cannot even rise to tell us what type of actions he can take regarding the pork issue.

Will the government admit that swift and energetic action must immediately be taken and that the Prime Minister himself should meet with the President of the United States immediately after the American election, to ask him to put an end to this protectionist attitude of our neighbours in all areas?

[English]

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the most important issue in this respect is to make sure that we assist the producers in the challenges they face. As the Minister of Agriculture, I am very much committed to ensuring that takes place. Part of the strategic approach, of course, is to deal with the issues the Americans have brought forward. We do not believe they are justified and we will certainly, within the power and purview of the federal government, take the appropriate action.