Mr. Speaker, that is a hard question to answer. I have said that the bill looks progressive and positive at face value and that I want to see it studied at committee. However, I also said that it is pretty hard to judge a government action on a very important issue by legislation alone. If the resources, staff and policies are not in place to protect Canadians, we have a serious problem and we need to continue to address it through the course of this legislative process.
I will give a couple of examples of why I have such doubts. One of the Conservative government's first acts on taking power in 2006 was to eliminate the Public Health Agency minister and public health seat at the cabinet table. It took away the whole role at the cabinet table. It also left the Chief Medical Officer of Health responsible to the Minister of Health. According to the CMA journal, this left our country without a national independent voice to speak out on public health issues, including providing viable leadership during a crisis.
We also need to watch for cutbacks and wonder if the government is taking some shortcuts in this area. I mentioned earlier that the government decided to convert to a system of increased food industry self-inspection, which has been widely speculated to have caused some of the problems we have seen with respect to salmonella, outbreaks of E. coli and listeriosis. We also should not forget that the Conservatives cut back the avian influenza preparedness program.
I also want to mention that this area requires in-depth research and a constant injection of funds into research if we are ever going to understand the relationship between these pathogens and toxins in terms of human health. What did the government do in its last budget? It cut back on investments in health and research in the scientific communities, which is an ominous, worrisome response on the part of the government at a time when we need more investment, scientific understanding and coordination between the research communities and laboratories that work in these areas.