These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Detailed Plan Needed for Industry

Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, CPC): Mr. Speaker, primary producers, the devastated trucking industry, other related industries, businesses and communities are all part of the BSE crisis. However, many of these were left out at the recent photo op announcement made by the Prime Minister. The Liberals have been so busy covering up scandals and running away from real responsibilities they have once again forgotten to put together a solid plan and vision for our agricultural community.

I ask the minister, where is the detailed plan our agriculture industry will need to get through the coming year of uncertainty?

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 opposite for finally asking a question today about agriculture.

The government is totally committed to agriculture. We had three programs rolled out last year. Two weeks ago the Prime Minister announced $1 billion to the agricultural industry. As we speak, the Prime Minister is in B.C. meeting with the cattle producers of British Columbia to help them with their problems.

Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, CPC): Mr. Speaker, April 7 will mark the end of the U.S. department of agriculture comment period on the proposed rule change that will allow our live cattle under 30 months of age into the United States. With the U.S. getting closer to its requirements to allow trade in live cattle and other ruminants, what has the government done to facilitate a smooth transition to an open border? More specifically, where are the detailed regulations our industry will have to implement to facilitate year-round importation of U.S. cattle?

Hon. Mark Eyking (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Agri-Food), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for a question on the beef industry. As the member opposite knows, we are in a comment period in the United States and it is going to be over on April 7.

I have to compliment both sides of the House for meeting with congressmen in the United States about this issue. The minister is constantly talking to secretary Veneman. After April 7 all we can hope for is that the U.S. government bases its decision on science.