The leader of the Opposition on Tuesday urged the Conservative government and its agriculture minister to take responsibility for Canada’s burgeoning tainted meat scandal, one that’s prompted the recall of 1.5 million pounds of beef that may be contaminated with E. coli.
“On the 25th of September, the minister of agriculture said the contaminated meat did not make its way onto grocery store shelves but it was on the shelves,” Thomas Mulcair said in Question Period.
“Yesterday, the Conservatives tried to blame officials. The minister of agriculture is holding the [Canadian Food Inspection Agency's] feet to the fire. Does the Prime Minister think that food safety is the responsibility of the minister of agriculture — yes or no?”
The CFIA is a “specialized agency” equipped to deal with the crisis, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, emphasizing that his government has increased the number of food safety inspectors by 700 since 2006.
“Food safety is the number one priority of our system and we have a specialized agency to deal with this,” Harper said in the House of Commons.
“We have to say the truth once again, which is since 2006, we have hired a great number of many new inspectors. It is important for us, Mr. Speaker, that we prioritize their work.”