These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

$50 Million Ad Campaign

Ms. Denise Poirier-Rivard (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, BQ): Mr. Speaker, with the reopening of the U.S. border put off yet again and Quebec farmers facing mounting financial problems, the federal government can come up with nothing better than a $50 million ad campaign to promote beef.

Quebec farmers have already lost more than $240 million. How does the minister explain that he is still unable to find the $12 million needed to guarantee the farmers a floor price of 42¢ a pound at the abattoir for cull?


Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased yesterday when the Government of Canada announced $50 million to assist in the marketing of beef. This is in addition to some $2 billion we have already invested.

As the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister have said, there is significant additional work to do and we intend to do it.


Ms. Denise Poirier-Rivard (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, BQ): Mr. Speaker, will the federal minister, who says he has been negotiating for three months with Quebec farmers in the Colbex case, admit that his loan loss reserve program for abattoir construction and expansion is designed to get around Quebec's plan, which would require financial help in ensuring a floor price for cull?


Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, that transaction has nothing to do with increasing slaughter capacity. It is simply about changing from one ownership to the other. Obviously if we are trying to increase slaughter capacity that is not the way we are going to invest public dollars.

I have indicated quite clearly that it is important to assist producers. It was great to see the Canadian Dairy Commission put up new money through the price supported milk to assist specifically with cull animals. We will continue to assist. That is an absolute commitment of the government.