|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
525 Days and Counting
Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my question
is for the Minister of International Trade.
Last weekend the governments of the United States and Japan proudly
announced the deal to restart trade in beef and set aside BSE concerns.
That deal was sealed in just three days.
It has been 525 days since our border was slammed shut. A Japanese day of
negotiation is therefore worth 175 Canadian days. This does not seem
Canadian cattlemen and farmers would like to know what the Japanese and
Americans did to open their border, which the Canadian government has
failed to do.
Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the preamble of the hon. member's question is clearly
When I was in Japan two weeks ago, we received a very firm commitment from
the Japanese government that it treated us, Canada and the United States,
as an integrated North American beef marketplace.
Those arrangements that were being put in place for the United States
would also be put in place for Canada in the same timeframe. What has
taken place is good news for Canadian cattle producers.
Ms. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it
gets worse. Just hours ago Taiwan also announced it would open its border
to U.S. beef.
The BSE crisis has now reached a level of desperation in Canada. Since the
minister is unable to negotiate the opening of our border, is the minister
prepared to proceed with the chapter 20 claim under NAFTA to get the
border open once again to Canadian beef?
Hon. Jim Peterson (Minister of International Trade, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, let me start by complimenting, which is something I rarely do,
the Leader of the Opposition for the outstanding critic he has appointed
for international trade. She brings to this portfolio a wealth of
international business experience. I am very pleased that at long last the
opposition will be devoting to international trade and investment the
attention that it deserves.
I must say I look forward to working with the member for Newmarket—Aurora
to promote Canadian interests around the world.