These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Agricultural Policy Framework

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I do not think bringing in the Rolling Stones is going to solve that problem.

It is estimated that by next week, losses to the livestock industry will be over $1 billion due to the BSE scare. The beef industry has rejected the government's latest proposal, saying loans simply are not the answer. As they say, “You cannot borrow yourself out of trouble”.

Now it appears the government is using this disaster to blackmail the provinces into signing its agricultural policy framework. I ask the minister, will the government introduce a comprehensive compensation package outside of the APF?

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, once again the opposition does not have the facts. There has been no proposal put on the table because the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is meeting with his counterparts in Vancouver today to discuss this very issue and what can be done.

Certainly ministers on this side of the House have been working on this particular matter under the leadership of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for the last number of days. I am certain that the discussions in Vancouver will help the situation and help deal with the very terrible crisis that is faced by producers and others in the country.

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, that is part of the problem. No proposal will be put on the table. It has been almost a month since this scare started to affect beef producers and it is an economic loss to the livestock industry.

The president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association says the minister's BSE compensation plan for loan guarantees is like throwing a rock to a drowning man. The industry needs cash, not more debt.

I ask again, will the government commit to an immediate cash injection for the feedlot industry that is losing millions of dollars a day?

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I have said, all of these issues are under discussion today in Vancouver.

The hon. member should recognize that the preoccupation of the Government of Canada and the provincial governments and especially my colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is to deal with the science in this case to ensure that people are well aware that there is no hazard from other animals being infected. The science is now conclusive and is now being analyzed by our friends in the United States. This leads us to some optimism that the border will be opened in the near future.

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, farmers are exasperated by the federal government's inability to defend their interests. Tomorrow, in Saint-Hyacinthe, farmers will be meeting with the Liberal Party leadership candidates to remind them that they are still waiting for support measures for the cattle industry, which has been hard hit by the U.S. embargo.

While the crisis continues and the investigation is at a standstill, can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food assure us that he will not use this crisis to shove his policy framework down the throats of Quebec farmers?

Mr. Claude Duplain (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have been saying this for a long time. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food would never want to use this case to get the policy framework signed.

I would like to thank the hon. member for his question because I would like to reiterate what the Minister of Transport said earlier. Currently, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is in discussion with his provincial counterparts in Vancouver in order to address the whole cattle crisis.