These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Cattle Producers Denied Assistance

Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Jonquière, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has forced cattle producers into poverty by refusing to extend assistance past September 1.

What answer can the minister, who is so boastful of his agricultural policy framework, give to the Fédération des éléveurs de bovins du Québec, which points out that this does not meet the expectations of farmers here since it does not cover all losses, but only 70% of them?

How can he justify not covering the other 30%, when we know very well that businesses are being forced into bankruptcy because of lack of income?

Mr. Claude Duplain (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I do not understand the hon. member. We have a strategic policy framework. It has been signed, and makes $5.2 billion available over the next three years. Cattle producers can access those funds immediately, because the APF was signed yesterday morning.

So I do not understand the hon. member's question at all.

Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold (Jonquière, BQ): Such cynicism, Mr. Speaker.

Laurent Pellerin, the head of the UPA, has said, “This does not suit us at all”, referring to the agricultural policy framework. He went on, “Quebec has 25% of the population of Canada, and 20% of agricultural production, yet we are getting a mere 10% or 11% of the envelope”.

Thirty seconds after he has brushed aside the concerns of the cattle producers, is the minister going to step his cynicism up a notch by doing the same to those of the entire agricultural industry of Quebec?

Mr. Claude Duplain (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my colleague likes to quote people, so I will give her a quote as well. Had she read on a bit further, she would have seen that Mr. Pellerin also said, “This will be excellent news in the long run, however, because of the efforts to dovetail the federal program and the farm income stabilization insurance program”.

He went on to say, “Quebec producers should be at the same level as before, once they have access to the best of both worlds—”.

What could be better than that?