House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was work.

Topics

Carbon Tax
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, let me take a few moments to set the facts right and remind all Canadians what the NDP members opposite have said about their plans with respect to a job-killing carbon tax.

The NDP leader said, of course, that he has “a cap-and-trade system that...will produce billions”; the member for Edmonton—Strathcona said, “We've taken the stance that the most important thing is to put the right price on carbon”; and the NDP House leader remarked, “...the point of the exercise is putting a price on carbon”. Of course, we have all seen the NDP platform, where they clearly outlined their plan to raise $21 billion in revenue with their job-killing carbon tax. When it comes to their support for a job-killing carbon tax, the NDP members opposite can run from it, but they cannot hide from it.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the tainted meat issue, the Minister of Agriculture told the House that no tainted products had made it to store shelves. Yet people are sick because of this tainted meat.

The minister also said that no cuts were made to food inspection, but his own documents reveal that cuts were made to funding and staff.

Why did the Conservatives not take the tainted meat issue seriously?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canadian consumers are still the top priority when it comes to food safety.

The Minister of Agriculture will continue to hold those responsible for food safety accountable in order to ensure that the CFIA responds quickly and effectively.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, how could the minister claim that tainted meat had not made it to grocery store shelves? That is the question.

How could he put Canadians in danger by telling the opposite of the truth?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's 2012-13 report on plans and priorities is clear: $46.6 million in cuts were made over two years and 314 employees were laid off.

The minister must stop claiming that no cuts were made. There have been cuts.

Does the minister not realize what a serious impact his cuts will have on the health of Canadian consumers?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I repeat: the Minister of Agriculture will continue to hold those responsible for food safety accountable in order to ensure that the CFIA responds quickly and effectively.

Let us be clear. Under this government we have actually seen an increase in inspectors. We have actually seen 700 food inspectors added to the roll since 2006, including 170 particular to the subject of meat inspection.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, why are the Conservatives continuing to claim there are no cuts when their own financial documents say just the opposite? Are their financial documents not accurate?

This is the same minister who mishandled the listeriosis outbreak in 2008, and joked about “death by a thousand....cold cuts”. It was not funny then, and it is not funny now. Is this the best they have to offer Canadians who are worried whether the food they are giving their kids is safe?

The minister stands in the House and keeps making misleading statements. Will there be no accountability for this new tainted meat scandal?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House the Minister of Agriculture is working very hard and is working sincerely to ensure that this issue is dealt with appropriately, including ensuring we have more food inspectors, more meat inspectors.

It goes further than that. We have new legislation that has been introduced, safe food for Canadians, to help CFIA respond to food safety situations quickly.

What has happened? When we have tried to do this, made new investments, brought new legislation forward to improve safety for Canadians, that leader and that party have opposed it all the way.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is simple. Canadians want safe food for their families, and it is the Minister of Agriculture's job to make sure they protect it.

September 3 was the first positive test for E. coli, yet it was not until September 26 that the XL plant in question had its licence suspended. Here we are, with 12 beef recall notices encompassing 1.9 million pounds of suspect E. coli-contaminated beef.

Why did the Conservatives' new regulations not work to protect Canadians? Will the Conservatives now admit that self-regulation does not work?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I must point out that this member has no credibility on this issue.

Earlier last week, this member said that there were no CFIA inspectors in the plant. This was untrue; there were 46 CFIA inspectors at the XL plant. That is a 20% increase over what there was three years ago.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. It is the government's cuts and policies of self-regulation that have failed.

In this case, XL failed to protect food safety. By the time the CFIA inspectors got involved, the contamination had spun out of control.

Yesterday, CFIA's director of meat programs division called this “an unprecedented situation”. He is right.

When will the Conservative government start taking responsibility for its failed policies?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, I want to reinforce that Canadian consumers are always a top priority for this government when it comes to food safety. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is very much on top of this file, and he is holding CFIA's feet to the fire to ensure that it responds quickly and effectively.

The truth of the matter is that our party, our government, has put forward legislation to increase funding to the CFIA by $150 million over the last two budgets. That party has voted against it. We have hired an additional 700 net new inspectors.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, perhaps one could ask the question: When was the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food informed of the problems at the XL plant?

If the Canadian consumer is so much at the forefront of the government's concern, can the government please explain why it was that the Canadian consumer in Alberta and elsewhere was not informed for a full two weeks by the Government of Canada with respect to the problems at XL?

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party was in the House and he knows that the minister has held officials accountable with respect to this issue. The minister has been working throughout this process to ensure that we have more food safety capacity.

We have more legislation now. We have more investment directly into the issue of having more inspectors. We have increased the CFIA's budget by $156 million during our time in government. There are more front-line workers and more safety for Canadians.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

October 1st, 2012 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Also there are at least nine people who have been infected by E. coli, including a young girl who had an operation because her kidneys stopped working. That is the issue that the government has to come to terms with.

We had this long body of explanation from CFIA; we have the protestations by ministers; but we still have two hard realities. For a long period of time, a long period of silence, Canadian consumers were not informed; and the minister has not told us when he knew about the problem at XL. Those are the facts.

Agriculture and Agri-Food
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our thoughts are certainly with anyone affected by this issue, and I know that is where the minister is concerned first and foremost. That is why we have continued to put consumers first when it comes to the priority of food safety. That is why we have invested more money when it comes to the subject of food safety—more money, more inspectors and more attention to detail.

I know that the minister will continue to have his attention on this file.