CONTRIBUTION · 9th October 2012
MP Frank Valeriote
In June, the Conservatives chose to make significant cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the omnibus budget bill. Liberals voted against these cuts because Canadians deserve to feel confident that their food supply is protected just as our farmers and ranchers deserve safe and stable business.
Unfortunately these cuts went ahead and undetected E. coli contamination at the XL Foods facility in Brooks, Alberta, led to the largest meat recall in Canadian history, spanning all the provinces and territories, plus 41 states. Alarmingly, the outbreak was first detected by US food inspectors, not CFIA, and it took over two weeks for the first recall to be issued. At least 10 people have fallen ill. Conservative messaging that everything is fine is cold comfort to those who are sick or were exposed to E coli.
Canadians expected the government to heed the lessons of the 2008 listeriosis crisis, which left 22 dead and 35 others gravely ill. Yet the comprehensive audit of our food safety system recommended by an independent review has yet to occur four years later.
Not only a terrible human tragedy, this may turn out to be the worst crisis in our beef industry since the discovery of BSE, or mad cow disease in 2003, which led to an immediate worldwide ban on all Canadian beef exports. Our cattlemen and food processors are at risk of another financial body blow, yet the Conservatives have just cut farm risk management programs, Agri Stability and Agri Invest.
Why are the Conservatives cutting support for farmers in crisis? Why are they supporting cuts that remove vital resources from food safety professionals and creating a space where the industry is responsible for more and more of its self-regulation?
Waiting for Canadians to get sick is not a food safety strategy. Liberals support our scientists and professionals who are on the front line of food safety and call on the Conservatives to do the same.
Frank Valeriote, MP
Liberal Party Critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food
Just for the record.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 10th October 2012
The Lt. Gov. is the Queens representative.
Comment by Terry on 10th October 2012
If that tofu eating west ender is a business owner or a fisher or a forestry worker . He or she would be far more representative of BC . The cattle industry is tiny compared to the rest of bc industry . It's just another way of Harper slapping bc in the face . We need people with a background in science as leaders . But we all know what Harper thinks of science . Also you cannot kill prions by cooking bse is a prion . This idea that you can cook out the danger is what killed the British beef industry that they are still trying to recover from . Not eating cows and pigs does not commit one to grazing or eating tofu . We don't eat tofu . We do eat lots of veg and everything else . I would love to eat beef and pork again but you can't trust it . Besides we feel healthier not eating it . And we can look cows and pigs in the eyes and not feel any guilt . It's a good feeling . Try it .
and who, pray tell
Comment by Bob Drake on 9th October 2012
Who do you suppose would represent us better that a hard working, rural rancher? Perhaps a tofu eating, low fat latte urbanite from the west end?
I'm of english stock meaning we cook the hell out everything before we eat it-no ill effects so far, but hey, if you want to graze for your dinner, good on you
Beef and pork safe???
Comment by Terry on 9th October 2012
We haven't consumed a single piece of beef or pork since the first outbreak of bse . It was so obvious that we were being lied too . So we took the safest route and that was to not consume any . This latest bacteria out break was no surprise . Just like the maple leaf foods disaster no surprise . With this government the best safety is avoidance . This puts an interesting if not bizarre light on harpers appointment of our latest lieutenant governor here in BC .a Person from the cattlemens association could not be less representative of our province but that's what we have been given .