These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Year Round Access for Feeder Cattle

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the trade minister. For many years the Canadian Cattlemen's Association has repeatedly called on the government to implement the year-round access for American feeder cattle. In fact there was a key resolution at the Canadian cattlemen's convention this summer.

The minister states that he listens and takes the advice of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. Will the government immediately implement year-round access for American feeder cattle?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government works very closely with the cattlemen, indeed on any export permits that we grant. On imports we have been working with them through the summer. We have brought in far more stringent regulations precisely to help our cattlemen throughout this difficult summer. I intend to continue discussing with them any changes to our policy. We have been in close discussions with them.

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the government is always saying that disease issues are the reason we will not allow American cattle to come in here. The Canadian cattlemen have stated unequivocally that disease issues are not a threat to the Canadian cattle industry by having these feeder cattle come in. American cattlemen see the year-round access for their feeder cattle as an essential ingredient of a fair, equitable, integrated North American cattle industry.

Why does the minister not realize that fair treatment of our American neighbours will speed up the day that we have a fully open U.S. border for our cattle?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister for International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it has been a top priority for our government to maintain that integrated North American economy and industry. We have been working with the Americans very closely. We have made sure that the decisions we were making would not threaten the integrated North American industry that exists.

We are very confident that we will continue the good work of finishing the job of opening the American border. This country is the first BSE affected country to ever see an international border reopened to it and that is because of the United States.

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the acting prime minister.

Unfortunately, as many as 650,000 cattle may have to be killed because of restrictions on Canadian beef exports. Those cattle older than 30 months cannot be exported and therefore have a lower market value because of the lack of market in our country. These cattle are an acting time bomb for the industry.

Could the acting prime minister tell the House what the government has planned, to deal with a national cattle cull, and how this cull strategy will be financed?

Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the position that has just been expressed by the hon. member is not even the position of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.

I will read from its press release of September 10, 2003, in which it says that Canadians are proving their confidence in buying Canadian beef and that this support would be jeopardized if the cattle industry were to advocate a massive cull of cattle.

That is not the position of the industry at all and that is not what it has said.