Opposition Motion—Health and safety of Canadians

That, in the opinion of the House, the government, and specifically the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the Treasury Board, has failed to learn the painful lessons from Walkerton which proved that cuts to essential government services protecting the health and safety of Canadians are reckless and can cause Canadians to lose their lives; and further, that the House condemn the government for introducing a budget that will repeat the mistakes of the past and put Canadians in danger by reducing food inspection, search and rescue operations, and slashing environmental protections, and call on the government to reverse these positions.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, the hon. parliamentary secretary’s interventions in the House are always measured and reasonable. I am hoping he can help me figure something out with respect to the budget.

In strengthening food safety, on page 168 of the budget, $51.2 million will be provided over the next two years to continue with the recommendations in the Weatherill report. That $51.2 million will be spread between CFIA, the Canadian Health Agency and Health Canada. Therefore, as I understand it, three different agencies will be getting $51 million over two years.

On page 261 of the same budget, $56 million in ongoing cuts will be made to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Overall, we do not know what that nets out for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Will it get an even one-third of the money? What kind of money comes from the Weatherill report? How will the $56 million in cuts that are only being made to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency be felt in terms of food inspection?

Colin Carrie: Mr. Speaker, I can reaffirm for my colleague that we did take the recommendations of the Weatherill report seriously. That is where we will be focusing and targeting the investments we are making.

As the member knows, Mrs. Weatherill actually made over 57 recommendations. There were issues that needed to be dealt with. We have taken those targeted investments to ensure we have looked at every one of her recommendations because, at the end of the day, it is our government’s commitment to the health and safety of Canadians that is most important and Canadians expect that.