These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Prime Minister Insults US

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, the beef industry is losing $11 million a day. That is over a total of $1 billion since it closed 124 days ago. Unbelievably, the Prime Minister today at the United Nations turned an occasion to build goodwill and trust into another insult to our biggest trading partner, the United States.

Has the Prime Minister requested a specific meeting with the President of the United States to address this ongoing crisis in the cattle industry? Has he made that request and if not, why not?

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has answered that question before. He has raised this issue with President Bush, and as my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture has said, every effort is being made to bring some normalcy to the situation.

However the Prime Minister did in his speech today talk about the inclusiveness, the democracy, the openness and shared opportunities for prosperity and how we can work together to fight terrorism. I would have hoped the hon. member would have focused on the positive aspects and the Canadian values the Prime Minister outlined in his speech rather than ask once again about the Prime Minister's conversations with the President, which he has already answered.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Mr. Speaker, with his usual tact and impeccable timing, the Prime Minister has turned an occasion to address this situation head on into another insult to our biggest trading partner; a slight on our biggest trading partner; a stick in the eye. This type of diplomacy will not help the Canadian cattle industry.

I ask this again. Has he taken the occasion to set up a specific meeting to speak with the U.S. President about opening the border or will he continue to slough this off and wait for it to resolve itself?

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is hardly a slight to the United States when the Prime Minister goes to the United Nations and talks about expanding opportunities, sharing prosperity, reducing the growing disparity between rich and poor and promoting and encouraging economic security as a means of promoting global security.

All these things the Prime Minister said in his speech. These are noble sentiments that express the true worth of Canadians and they were expressed at the United Nations.

Ms. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this morning the Quebec agriculture minister met with her federal counterpart concerning the addition of a second phase to the financial assistance program for companies affected by the mad cow crisis.

Can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell us whether the federal government intends to add a second phase to the existing plan, as his Quebec counterpart is demanding?


Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have made it very clear that we have hundreds of millions of dollars available to assist farmers across the country, including beef farmers. We need to move that money and use that money first.


Ms. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ): Mr. Speaker, although there was not a single case of mad cow disease in Quebec, Quebec farmers have been victims of the problems experienced in Alberta. Quebec beef farmers have also been hit.

Will the minister acknowledge that they deserve assistance?


Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I hope it is not the policy of this House to start pointing fingers at specific provinces where something happens. We are a country and the country is called Canada. In this case, the animal was in one province of this country.

The OIE, and no other country, has regionalized countries. When a reportable disease takes place in a country, unfortunately the whole country is recognized as having that. We have worked on that, but so has the whole country been recognized and, for the first time ever, had our markets opened up to us even though we did have one case.