Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that any government could mishandle a $30 billion industry that creates 225,000 jobs in this country, but that is exactly what the government has done in response to the crisis in our cattle industry.
Canadian ranchers have lost $2 billion due to the BSE crisis and the government is still quibbling with the province about who should help. Some provinces have already paid compensation to their beef producers, but this national issue begs a national response.
Matters are even worse for ranchers in and around my riding of Kamloops, Thompson and Highland Valleys, who are still waiting for federal assistance to re-seed and re-fence land ravaged by fire last summer. Again, our legitimate pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
After the challenges they have faced, it is a shame that Canada's cattlemen must now suffer the consequences of this government's dithering.