These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Prices at Rock Bottom

Hon. Don Boudria (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

It has now been one year since our country was struck by mad cow disease. One of my constituents recently told me that he had sent 13 cows to the abattoir and received $882 for them, instead of the $10,000 he would have got a year ago, and, in one very tragic instance, a cheque of $2.01 for 2 animals.

What is the government prepared to do to help farmers in my riding and elsewhere?

Hon. Mark Eyking (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell for asking that important question. Being a big promoter of the dairy industry in the House, he knows the effect BSE has had on farms and farm families.

We are taking many approaches. One is to get the border open. The other one is to roll out financial programs. One of those financial programs is the cull cow program, a $120 million program. We also recently removed the slaughter requirement from that program to get more money to producers and in their hands more quickly.

Hon. David Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Yesterday I spoke to packers in the United States who told me that they are laying off 100 employees soon because they do not have access to live cattle from Canada.

Thousands and thousands of families on both sides of the border depend on that border being opened. Does he have any words of encouragement for Canadians on that?

Hon. Mark Eyking (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Edmonton Southeast for his question.

I had the pleasure meeting with some of his farmers last month and they told me their concerns. One of the things that they want to see is the border opened. The Prime Minister and the government is working to open that border.

I would like to commend members on this side of the House and across the floor who will be going to Washington next week to talk to the Americans about opening the border. It would be good for both countries if the border were open.