These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Disappointment with New BSE Package

Mr. Gary Schellenberger (Perth—Middlesex, CPC): Mr. Speaker, in the strongest possible terms I want to express my disappointment in the new BSE package offered in the budget. It appears as though dairy producers have been either forgotten or abandoned. The guaranteed figure of $56 per dairy heifer is absolutely unsatisfactory. Tomorrow I will be meeting in my riding with area stakeholders concerning agriculture.

How would the government suggest I go about explaining to dairy farmers in Perth—Middlesex that they are being ignored?

Hon. Bob Speller (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, that is just simply not the case. In the fall we brought in a $200 million cull cow program that certainly helped the dairy sector. In fact 10% of the dollars that will go out, will go into the dairy sector, close to $100 million. The member can tell his dairy producers that the Government of Canada is fully committed, and we are fully committed behind supply management.

He might want to try to argue that point with his dairy producers.

Mr. Gary Schellenberger (Perth—Middlesex, CPC): Mr. Speaker, let us not give our farmers false hope. We all want to see the border open as soon as possible. Domestic aid programs, while needed at this time, do nothing to address the real issue, opening the U.S. border to Canadian livestock.

Last week we saw the Prime Minister totally interested in a campaign style photo op. Why is he not more interested in meeting one on one with the American president? At least then he would get his photo op in the rose garden.

Hon. Bob Speller (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would think that would be more appropriate for the hon. member's leader. What my leader is doing is sitting down and working with the industry.

I was in Washington yesterday. I met with Secretary Veneman. We are working through, very well, the process with regard to opening up the border. Once their legal process is done on April 7, we believe very strongly that there is absolutely no reason why that border should not open.

The Prime Minister has said that directly to the President, and he will continue to work through the Prime Minister's Office.