|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
Injunction Against Border Opening
Ms. Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora, CPC): Mr. Speaker, when a protectionist American cattle group filed an injunction to keep the U.S. border closed to Canadian beef, Canada only filed in a limited way as a friend of the court which the U.S. judge turned down the very next day and to which Canada has not even appealed.
The Canadian food safety system is on trial and the Government of Canada has not even requested the opportunity to defend it.
Why has Canada not applied for intervenor status to be present in the Montana courtroom to directly defend Canada's interests?
Hon. Wayne Easter (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the fact is that Canada has been defending Canadian beef producers' interests. We have taken strong action with the Americans. We have taken strong action in the defence of producers in terms of helping them in their financial trouble as a result of the border closure. We have listened to the expert advice of Canadian lawyers and American lawyers and we put forward an amicus brief to the court.
We have been taking action, not playing politics as members are trying to do on that side.
Ms. Diane Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk, CPC): Mr. Speaker, an amicus brief status these days is like issuing a news release and is just as effective.
It has been 701 days since the U.S. border was closed to Canadian livestock. Since then the Liberal government has failed to apply for intervenor status, not amicus status, in the courtroom where a Montana judge has put the Canadian food safety system on trial.
Why is the government leaving it to the U.S. protectionist lobbies to explain our food safety system to a U.S. judge?
Hon. Wayne Easter (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is clearly our position to get the border open as soon as possible and not play legal games like the party opposite wants to do.
We have taken the best advice available in the best interests of Canadian producers and we have acted on it. On top of that, we have assisted producers in their time of difficult financial trouble. The government is acting, not playing legal games like members on that side want to do.