|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
Mr. Rick Casson (Lethbridge, CPC): Mr. Speaker, in an unprecedented decision, Conservative members of Parliament and senators have been given the right to represent Canadians in a foreign court.
Conservative Party members are being granted the right to present a brief supporting the Canadian cattle industry in the U.S. district court in Billings, Montana on July 27. The official opposition will be in the courtroom fighting for Canadians but the government will not.
Why is the government so incompetent that it has been left to the official opposition to stand up and fight for our ranchers and farmers?
Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is sad to have to disappoint the hon. member, but whereas he may be waiting for July 27 to go into court, Canada will be represented on July 13 at the appeals court which is being heard first.
We want the temporary injunction overturned. We filed an amicus brief and that was accepted. While those members may have been here cackling with one another and throwing insults across the aisle, I was in Washington on Friday working with the USDA to in fact get the border open.
Ms. Diane Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I think the minister needs to figure out which hearing is for which because on July 27 the security of Canada's beef safety system will be on trial in a Montana court. Thankfully, Conservative Party parliamentarians will have a voice at that hearing. Shamefully the Liberal government will not.
Could the Minister of Agriculture please explain to Canadian cattle and livestock producers why he has left it to the official opposition to do the government's job of defending Canada's farmers in international courts?
Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will repeat again that we have standing at the appeals court and the issue at hand is to have the temporary injunction quashed. We have been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have that take place.
We have also engaged with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on an ongoing basis to bring into force its particular rule that would see the re-establishment of trade in live animals between our two countries. We have been committed to doing that for the last two years. We have seen more than $2 billion invested to support our industry and we will continue to do that in the weeks ahead.