Libby questions the Conservative government’s commitment to food safety

House of Commons


October 19, 2012

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, conditions at the XL plant in Brooks are shocking: fecal matter found on carcasses, raw blood dripping on meat and duct tape holding parts of the plant together.

What is so troubling though is this information is coming from American audits, not Canadian authorities.

When pressed, CFIA called these reports, quote: “a snapshot in time”, nothing for Canadians to be worried about.

Well, Canadians are worried. When will the Conservatives take responsibility for these real concerns that Canadians have?

Hon. Gerry Ritz (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, of course we take consumer confidence seriously. That is why with the integrated nature of the North American beef market and process market, as trading partners, Canada and the U.S. regularly audit each other’s food safety systems. The next U.S. audit will be in Canada coming up at the end of this month. The U.S. audit she is talking about clearly stated that upon finding food safety issues, and I quote: “The CFIA and the establishment took immediate and appropriate corrective actions”. They did the right thing.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, why are we leaving it to the Americans to tell us what is wrong at the plant? The fact is, the only documentation we are getting on the XL operation is from the Americans, and it paints a bleak picture.

Canadians are concerned about the integrity of the food safety system and they are concerned about the health and safety of their families. However, the minister dismisses these concerns and ignores safety failures.

When will he start telling the truth about what is going on at the XL plant?