These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

No Application Forms for Aid Package

Mrs. Diane Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk, CPC): Mr. Speaker, on September 10, 2004, after finally giving in to farmers' demands for action on the BSE crisis, the agriculture minister announced an inadequate aid package.

Today, there are still no application forms for farmers to apply for this desperately needed money. Cash strapped livestock farmers are going out of business. Why are there no application forms available, a full month after the announcement?

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me begin by congratulating my critic on her appointment.

The reality is, over the last 16 months the government along with our provincial governments have put forward initiatives totalling $1.9 billion to assist the beef industry. On September 10, we announced another round of funding, one quite frankly that we developed with the industry, that we developed with our provincial counterparts, and a program which is seen that will be of great of assistance to our beef producers in Canada.

Mrs. Diane Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk, CPC): Mr. Speaker, administering farmers' BSE relief through the CAIS program is a proven recipe for disaster. To quote the president of the Ontario Cattlemen's Association, “CAIS is a mess. It's all part of the mess of BSE”.

Many farmers are still waiting for the CAIS cash advances for 2003.If that is the government's definition of an advance payment, how long will it take to get a delayed payment for 2004?

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, working with the industry this past month and with the provinces for this latest round of BSE support, we have been doing a number of things: first, continue to work to open the US border; second, initiatives to expand our marketplace beyond the US and around the world; and most important, bring some rationality back to the marketplace by balancing supply and demand by both investing in new slaughter capacity on the one side and helping with set aside programs on the other.

This is what the industry indicated to us was a priority and this is what we are proceeding with.