These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Based on Science

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, last evening I attended a meeting of area farmers in St-Albert, Ontario, who are concerned over the ongoing ban of beef that is keeping their product from the market. The border is still not open and farmers' lives are at stake. Their livelihoods are being lost because they cannot move their cattle. Their entire lives and way of life is at threat.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to be in New York for a meeting at the UN. Will he request, will he intelligently and intensely make the case on behalf of Canadian farmers to open the border to Canadian cattle?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have always done that with the President and other people at the White House with whom I have had the occasion to meet. I think that I will have occasion to meet with President Bush. Whenever I talked with him he had always said and agreed with me that this had to be based on a scientific basis.

I wish to report that the only country that has managed to go back into the American market after having a case of mad cow is Canada. The beef has started to move but not fast enough and we are keeping the pressure on the American government.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, the beef is moving at a trickle across the border. That answer is not good enough.

I challenge the Prime Minister to give that type of drivel to the farmers who are going to gather on the lawn here tomorrow. The Prime Minister has to get active on this file. If he is not going to get active, maybe he should back to 24 Sussex and start packing. There are people in this country who need his government's help, need his leadership.

When is he going to actively engage in this file and help Canadian farm families?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have been extremely active with this file. We have put in more than half a billion dollars to help the farmers who are affected by this ban of the export of beef and we are doing our best with the American government. Ministers raise that all the time. I did that all the time.

I talked with the ambassador here about it many times. The Canadian ambassador in Washington raises this matter all the time. Ambassador Cellucci has said, “The relationship is in very good shape. We are working each and every day. We are making progress”. When the ambassador says that we are working well with them on all the files, I think that this--

The Speaker: The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.