A 5% saving, you say. Well that definitely seems sufficient cause to dump the CFIA mandate and adopt the U.S. industry-based approach to food safety instead.
Luc Pomerleau, a 20 year public service employee and shop steward, found the info on a shared CFIA computer last May. The union contends that Pomerleau was fired not for "breaching security" but because of what he found.
Michèle Demers, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada : "It is not industry's role to protect the health of safety of Canadians, it's the agency's role."
While the document - a November 2007 Treasury Board meeting at which ministers approved the proposed cuts - is once again secret, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) Report on Plans and Priorities for 2007-2008 webpage displays an emphasis on profit you would not normally expect from a government department whose primary purpose is ensuring food safety for Canadians :
"Canada is working with the United States and Mexico on the regulatory aspects of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America to eliminate redundant testing and certification requirements when it is beneficial to Canada. The CFIA co-leads with Health Canada, Canada's participation in the SPP initiatives for food and agriculture regulation and protection. Through the SPP, the CFIA is pursuing common approaches to better protect North America from offshore and domestic risks to food safety and animal and plant health."Only in North America, you say? Pity.
"Working to achieve a better life for Canadians is the highest priority of the government. Long-term prosperity requires increased productivity and competitiveness which means making sure Canadians can compete in a global economy by creating a stronger economic union, reducing red tape and making sure borders stay open for business."Yes, because when I think about food safety, my thoughts immediately turn to the main preoccupation and slogan of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives : "making sure borders stay open for business".
A side note : the "leaked" document also mentions spending cuts on equipment for the Avian Influenza Preparedness Program - you know, bird flu, supposedly one of the three big concerns on the Montebello agenda. I thought the bird flu scare was the major rationale for that NorthCom "Defending Our Homelands" pact which allows troops from Canada and the U.S. to operate in each other's countries now.
Cross-posted at Creekside