These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

Progress in Cuba

Mr. Paul Steckle (HuronóBruce, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The livestock industry has been devastated since the discovery of BSE in Canada in May 2003 when many countries around the world closed their borders to the Canadian beef and other ruminant industry.

Could the Minister of Agriculture today tell the House what progress he may have made when he was in Cuba last week?

Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that we were successful in entering into an agreement with Cuba, one based on science that will allow its borders to be reopened to live Canadian cattle, sheep and goats as well as to a range or beef products from cattle of any age.

This builds on success in many other countries and is part of our repositioning strategy for the cattle and beef industry so it can increase its capacity on one side and have additional markets on the other side, ensuring that it can be profitable with or without the U.S. border opening.