May 31, 1976

PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ken Hurlburt (Lethbridge):

Mr. Speaker, I begin my remarks this evening by quoting from pages 92:30 and 92:31 of issue No. 2, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Standing Committee on Agriculture of Wednesday, May 26, 1976. I do this to show beyond any shadow of doubt that the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan) acted too hastily on the blue tongue issue. The following exchange appears in the committee proceedings. I quote:

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hurlburt:

. . . Mr. Chairman. The first question I would like to ask is on blue tongue. Mainly, what type of blue tongue do we have? How many cattles have been destroyed to date? How much money has been paid out? And what are the results of the tests in the other provinces?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Whelan:

Dr. Reid has been doing most of the work. He has given me a report here that is quite detailed and shows the wonderful job that the CDA is doing to eradicate this horrible disease from the nation.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hurlburt:

Mr. Chairman, I would just as soon take that to my office to read it rather than have you take up the time.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Whelan:

We can make all this available to you. It is not confidential; it is factual. While we are talking about blue tongue I want to put it on the record that it was stated here the last time we talked about blue tongue that they had never had blue tongue in Europe. Mr. Chairman, they did have blue tongue in Europe; it was in Spain. I could remember that they had it but I could not remember what country and I did not want to say it. But Spain had blue tongue in the late fifties and they had to slaughter sheep. They used inoculation for their sheep.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hurlburt:

They could not have had any effect, though.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Whelan:

They still cannot export cattle.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hurlburt:

Was it the same type?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Whelan:

They still cannot export cattle into the other parts of Europe unless they have a certificate indicating that they are free of blue tongue.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hurlburt:

Was that the same type, Mr. Chairman?

May 31, 1976

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Whelan:

You know as well as I do, Mr. Hurlburt; there are several different types of blue tongue.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hurlburt:

Yes, well that is what I am saying. You could be telling us that the type they had in Europe was altogether a different type than we had in the Okanagan.

MR. Whelan: Which type do you want to know about?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hurlburt:

I want to know if the type we had in the Okanagan is the type they had in Europe.

MR. Whelan: I will let Dr. Reid or Dr. McGowan comment.

Dr. Reid said:

Mr. Chairman, we have not as yet recovered any virus from the animals we have slaughtered from the Okanagan Valley. The diagnosis has been based solely on the results of the Kaufmann fixation tests carried out on blood samples collected from the cattle. So we cannot answer your question yet; we have the virus but we have not been able to type it.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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PC

Kenneth Earl Hurlburt

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hurlburt:

So what we are saying is that we jumped the gun and we announced an eradication program and went against the B.C. cattlemen's recommendations before we even knew what we had.

Dr. Reid: We do not know the type of virus we have. We know that we have exposure to blue tongue virus based on serological results from tests that have been carried out, and we are confident that they are accurate to the best of our ability.

As I pointed out at the beginning of my remarks, the minister stated, and I quote:

We can make all this available to you. It is not confidential; it is factual.

As of four o'clock this afternoon I had received absolutely no information from the minister's office. However, I found out on my own that 524 head of cattle have been destroyed in British Columbia, that $269,654 has been paid out for herds that have been destroyed, that 49 herds are infected in British Columbia, plus eight deer that are positive reactors.

After talking to my colleague, the hon. member for Okanagan Boundary (Mr. Whittaker), I am convinced the following questions are uppermost in the minds of all ranchers in southern British Columbia: what is going to happen to our herds this fall after roundup-isolation, quarantine or eradication? How can we plan if wild game are affected? Why are our armed forces in Europe eating American beef if the disease is so terrible? What enabled the United States to pioneer the Japanese market if the disease is that serious?

In my remarks this evening I have proved that the Minister of Agriculture implemented a program of eradication before he had proof of the most important point: what type of blue tongue do we have? If the type is altogether different and much more serious than the type now prevalent in the United States, the minister has gambled and won. However, if the minister has gambled and lost, we all know who the loser will be; not the Minister of Agriculture but the B.C. rancher.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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LIB

Ralph Goodale (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Ralph E. Goodale (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to

Adjournment Debate

respond to the hon. gentlemen this evening and as I begin may I express the regret of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan) and of his parliamentary secretary for their inability to be present tonight to answer personally.

The hon. member, on May 17, asked how many cattle and sheep have had to be slaughtered under the blue tongue eradication program and how the program related to wild game. Before I answer those questions in detail I would first want to state for the record the minister's firm and well-founded view that Canada has the most disease-free animal population in the world, and we intend to maintain that enviable record.

As of May 17 the numbers were as follows: Cattle; herds tested, 65; positive herds, 49; negative herds, 16; cattle tested, 7,908; positive cattle, 875; negative cattle, 7,033. Sheep; flocks tested, 2; sheep tested, 140 (two sheep were being re-bled as the first samples were unsatisfactory for test); positive sheep, 0; negative sheep, 138. Wild game; deer tested, eight, positive deer, four, (two of which were on the Elkink Ranch); negative deer, four; bighorn sheep tested, four; positive bighorn sheep, zero; negative bighorn sheep, four; mountain goats tested, three; positive mountain goats, zero; negative mountain goats, three.

A permit to shoot 30 deer for testing purposes has been obtained from the provincial authorities. The bighorn sheep and mountain goats are being taken by capture gun and as many as possible will be tested.

At this point there is no indication that blue tongue is widespread in the game in the area and it should be noted that two of the deer which reacted positively were in close association with the heavily infected herd initially uncovered. Deer are not usually any threat to livestock as carriers of the disease. Researchers working in endemic areas have found that blue tongue usually kills deer; any that survive are considered to be immune, non-carriers.

The staff of the Health of Animals Branch is now involved in the process of tracing and testing cattle which have moved from the infected area to other parts of British Columbia. Cattle which moved into Alberta from the infected area have already been slaughtered in the normal course of events with feeder cattle. Movements from the area to Ontario are now being traced and submitted to test.

Officials are now arranging to collect at least 1,000 blood samples from Canadian cattle bordering on the United States in Alberta. This sampling procedure will be extended along the U.S. border into Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

It is apparent that the officials of the Health of Animals Branch are making every effort to rid Canada of this foreign disease as soon as possible. With the full co-operation of everyone, hopefully the success of this program will be as great as that which has been evidenced by this country on previous occasions in the complete eradication of foreign animal diseases.

Motion agreed to and the House adjourned at 10.33 p.m.

Tuesday, June 1, 1976

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE-NUMBER OF CATTLE AND SHEEP DESTROYED UNDER BLUE TONGUE CONTROL PROGRAM
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May 31, 1976