Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express the concern of farmers across Ontario about the recent BSE outbreak and the effect it will have on this vital industry. Canada is the world's third largest exporter of beef and beef cattle, and the beef industry is an important part of Ontario agriculture.
In eastern Ontario alone, beef added $700 million to the provincial economy last year. That is why we in the Canadian Alliance are committed to ensuring that the confidence of both Canadian and foreign consumers of Canadian beef is restored through effective action from both the federal and provincial governments.
Ontario's farmers and Ontario's minister of agriculture stand ready to do all that is necessary to avoid the potential devastation that could result from a protracted ban on imports to the United States. Although there has been no hint of BSE in Ontario, the provincial government will assist in any way that it can to re-establish Canada's international reputation as the producer of the world's best beef.