These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Border Retaliation

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food.

There has been one case of BSE in Canada, one cow out of some 15 million. As we know, the Americans closed its border to the import of live Canadian cattle. On the other hand, there has been one case of BSE in the United States and for some strange reason we continue to import American cattle into eastern Canada.

I know that not even a Liberal sponsorship program could help our farmers, but what I want to know is whether or not the minister will create a level playing field and tell the Americans that if they do not open their border for Canadians, we will close our border in terms of their beef imports and will start shipping western Canadian beef to eastern Canada. Will he do that?

Hon. Bob Speller (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the approach taken by the Government of Canada was an approach that was first developed by sitting down and talking with the industry, talking with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, talking with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and all the provinces. They told us that they want us to get out there to market Canadian beef around the world, to show consumers around the world that in fact Canadian beef is some of the safest beef in the world.