|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
Backlog of Livestock
James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the BSE border
closure has caused a backlog of livestock across the country, and the need
for more slaughter capacity is a must. New start-ups have been trying to
access Farm Credit Canada's venture investment fund to start their
operations. Many producers are skeptical as to whether the government's
new loan loss reserve will entice lenders to invest in slaughter plants.
If the government's loan loss program does not work to expand plants or
induce new start-ups, will the government commit to direct financing of
new and expanding plants in every region of the country to deal with our
backlog of livestock?
Hon. Wayne Easter (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the
member opposite is certainly getting into hypotheticals and taking the
negative approach, like the Conservatives often do.
The minister made a very important announcement on September 10 in which
we would maintain trying to get the U.S. border open. We would look at
getting new borders open. The minister made an announcement from China the
other day in which it would take bull semen, as well as cattle embryos.
There will be an announcement coming out of Japan in terms of the
slaughter capacity. We have the set aside program, and we are working
strenuously to get that slaughter capacity increased.
Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime
Minister met with U.S. homeland security chief Tom Ridge. The Liberals
have said that they will use all meetings with U.S. counterparts to
discuss getting the border reopened for Canadian beef. I quote the finance
minister, “We don' t want any bilateral conversation to go by without
Did the Deputy Prime Minister discuss the border closure with Secretary
Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety
and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member was
listening to the press conference that Secretary Ridge and I held
yesterday, in response to a question from the media, Secretary Ridge
indicated that I had discussed this matter with him. I will continue to
discuss the matter with him as I know all our colleagues do when they meet
their American counterparts.