|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
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
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.