These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Date Requested

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the current price for live beef cattle is below the cost of production. This problem can be corrected by getting the U.S. border opened up right away.

The agriculture minister has been working on this issue since May 20, so surely by now he must have been able to negotiate a date to open the border.

Would the minister tell us on what date we will be able to export live cattle?

[Translation]

Mr. Claude Duplain (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, opening up the border is based on science and we are in the process of proving that it can and must be opened. Negotiations with the United States continue daily.

[English]

Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, ministers come into the House and admit failure when tens of thousands of our farm families are running into financial problems on the basis of almost losing their farms.

I would like to ask the minister, has he been briefed by the agriculture minister as to the rules that will be coming into place in order for us to export live cattle, and what are those rules?

[Translation]

Mr. Claude Duplain (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, these rules are being negotiated with the United States. The border is not open yet, but we are working very hard; the minister knows full well that the problem will be resolved when the border is fully open. In the meantime, we are taking various measures to help the farmers, such as the policy framework that they can take advantage of to sign agreements and get a little money.

Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon—Souris, PC): Mr. Speaker, today I received a self-serving communications package from the Minister of Agriculture telling us how wonderfully he has been handling the BSE file, but hello? The border is still closed to live cattle. It is not open.

The agriculture committee was making arrangements to go to Washington. Unfortunately, the minister decided to cancel that trip. He made the chairman cancel the trip to Washington. I want to ask the minister, why is that? Is he threatened or is it the fact that he just does not like a proactive initiative?

[Translation]

Mr. Claude Duplain (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the committee cannot go; however, I will ask the hon. member to check whether the Canadian Cattlemen's Association could have requested that the committee not travel to the United States.