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, I would like all hon. members to maintain a critical and open mind on the subject of the superiority of Summerland as a centre for plant virology. Very good science is being done there. The Centre for Plant Health in Sidney and, of course, it is in Saanich—Gulf Islands, but it was placed on Vancouver Island in 1965. I have an email here from one of the virologists who was involved at the time confirming that it was specific to the importation of plant material that represented threats, such as the plum pox virus, which is the kind of thing we do not want in the centre of a fruit growing area. Ideally, we want it on an island so if there is an accident we are not contaminating an economic region of significance and importance in terms of fruit growing as we know in terms of vineyards and other fruit.

Now I am not saying that we cannot do good science in many places but I am hoping that members will look at letters from scientists, as I am able to present them to this House.

Bob Zimmer: Mr. Speaker, I would like to respect the hon. member’s comments and the fact that it is moving from her home riding. I understand there are some concerns she has. It is our responsibility as government, though, to look for efficiencies and to make a program work at a better price, essentially, to save taxpayer money. That is the bottom line. The same rigorous standards will be there whether they are in Sidney or in Summerland, so we look at efficiencies that way.