Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Peterborough for his question, which is a very important one. We are discussing it at this time because it is of great concern to the government as well as to dairy producers; in fact, all supply-managed products are affected.
The hon. member spoke of maintaining supply management, of how important supply management is to producers. Yes, supply management in Canada is very important for many agricultural producers. Many times, ministers have supported supply management. Many times, they have said how important it is for Canada. I can assure the hon. member that this is an issue the ministers care deeply about and which they are going to defend; that is what they are doing at negotiating tables everywhere.
But these are controversial and difficult points. We know that. The ministers are in discussions with leaders of the WTO as to future amendments and future conditions. We know that the Harbinson report was put on the table, and that the minsters did not like it at all.
Discussing the report presented by Mr. Harbinson is out of the question, because we are not backing off on supply management. This also includes the three pillars of supply management. They are extremely important to the ministers too, and the government does not intend to alter its course.
Of these three pillars, one specifically relates to a problem frequently raised by dairy producers. I am talking about imports of products such as butter oils. After dairy producers raised this issue, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister for International Trade attended a tripartite meeting. In August 2002, a committee was struck to address this problem and find a solution.
We would liked the final report to have been tabled and the ministers to have reached a decision in this regard. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for the response. It is not a matter of ill will. This is an extremely complex situation. That is why the ministers are taking the time they need to fully understand this issue.
I want to reassure the public about supply management and its pillars. This is something that is being respected and that must remain in place. All the members on this side of the House support supply management and its pillars.