Minster of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

August 18, 2008 14:45 ET

Statement by the Minister of Agriculture on Food Safety

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 18, 2008) - Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Gerry Ritz issued the following statement today:

"The Liberals are playing a dangerous game by making false accusations that undermine confidence in Canadian food products, all for the sake of trying to distract attention away from Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's tax scheme that will hike the cost of these products and hit farmers hard. The Liberal tax grab would increase farmers' costs for diesel fuel, chemicals and fertilizers.

"Irresponsible political rhetoric by the Liberal Party is an insult to Canada's agri-food business and our internationally recognized food safety system.

"The health and safety of Canadians is, and will always be, the highest priority of the Stephen Harper Conservative Government. Today, we have 200 more inspectors than when we formed the government two years ago, and our Government has invested $113 million dollars in our Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan so that Canadians will be better protected by the enhanced safety and reliability of consumer, food and health products.

"Working cooperatively with agri-business, our Government is continuing to ensure Canada has one of the world's most stringent food safety systems that meets or exceeds the standards of our trading partners.

"Liberal Agriculture Critic Wayne Easter and his colleagues have launched a frivolous and baseless attack on the reputation of Canada's top-quality food safety system. Their unfounded accusations and fear-mongering will threaten the well-placed confidence Canadians have in the safety of Canadian products, and it will also have negative consequences on exports from our agri-business if their falsehoods and rumours are believed.

"I would hope the Liberals exercise greater responsibility in their political rhetoric. But their selfish motivation is transparent. The Liberal Agriculture critic has admitted his leader's tax grab scheme will deal a hard blow to farmers in this country and the Liberals 'know there are problems with this,' but rather than abandon their ill-conceived tax-grab scheme they are instead trying to scare the public with baseless rumours. This is politics at its worst.

"I am pleased the Liberals have asked Parliament's Agriculture Committee for a hearing on Canada's food safety system so the Liberals will have no excuse to continue spreading their misinformation.

"I also look forward to the Committee proceeding with its study of the impact of a carbon tax on farming, as was agreed to by the Liberal Agriculture critic and two of his colleagues in a recorded vote."

Contact Information

  • The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Alan Sakach
    Director of Communications