These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Flawed Program

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food knows that most of the 500,000 government and taxpayer dollars resulting from one mad cow went to Alberta feedlot operators. It helps explain why farmers in other provinces are beginning to liquidate a portion of their herd. In fact, a former agricultural economist and current leader of the Alberta Liberal Party said:

This program has to be the worst thought-out support program of all of the ag support programs I have studied in 35 years of ag policy work.

Why did the minister sign on to such a flawed, inequitable program that benefits a fortunate few at the expense of so many cattle producers?

Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it was certainly not the opinion of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and representatives of all provinces.

The program was put in place in cooperation with the provinces and with the encouragement of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association in order to move fat cattle to market. Immediately after the May announcement, we were slaughtering about 25,000 cattle a week. By the end of the program, we were slaughtering 73,000 animals a week, which were more animals than we were slaughtering per week before we announced that we had an unfortunate case of one animal with BSE.