Thank you, Chair.
The parliamentary secretary was alluding that the opposition was being a little rough on you today. But at the end of day, people have died of listeriosis, and the Auditor General has given a report, so I think it's our obligation to ask tough questions.
My next question is going to be more about our exports, because we focus a lot on imports. It seemed to be, when I was in the vegetable business, that when I shipped cabbage to the States, they never inspected my cabbage if the supply was short. They always inspected it when there was a lot of cabbage. We see it with the potatoes from P.E.I. We even see it now with Christmas trees. When there's a big supply in an area, it seems that inspections are harder or more intense. We see it with the Koreans now with the beef. I think, at the end of the day, their inspectors are becoming a bit of a trade barrier. It's not a food safety issue, many times.
Your mandate is mostly to protect Canadian consumers, but I'm wondering if our CFIA can help our exporters more. You see what's happening in Europe now, where there are no borders between the different countries in Europe when they ship products back and forth. Can we make our border more seamless with the Americans in a way that our regulations are the same? Can you be helping our exporters more by maybe helping them at the front end?
For instance, if there's a load of potatoes in New York that somebody's rejecting down there for a frivolous reason, maybe your inspectors can come in there and say, “Okay, hold 'er, guys, this is unfair”.
I don't know if it's your mandate, but could you be doing more for our people? At the very least—and we don't want to go down that road—I'm wondering if you could say, “You guys want to play the hammer? Okay. Maybe we're going to start stopping a few loads coming in.” I know we're the good boy scouts, and we don't do it like that, but I really think that the others are doing it.
I would like just a couple of short answers, because my colleague here has a short question for you.