Politics on TV: Sept. 28 edition - Macleans.ca

Politics on TV: Sept. 28 edition

In the news: tainted meat, Peter MacKay, Israel, CCSVI


Message of the day

“Food safety is a science, and it’s a process”

Questions not answered

  • Are the CFIA personnel at the XL plant actually doing inspections, or just checking paperwork?

Tainted meat:

Power & Politics convened an MP panel to discuss the expanded meat recall. Pierre Lemieux said that while the government has devoted more funding to the agency and increased the number of its inspectors, food safety is not 100 per cent risk-free. He clarified that when Gerry Ritz said that none of the meat made it to store shelves, he was talking about the batch that had been tested and quarantined. Wayne Easter said Ritz misled the House all the same. He wondered how the recall in 30 states will affect Canada-U.S. relations. Jean Crowder asked why the government did not take responsibility for alerting Canadians during the 12 days after the first test result.

Israel and Iran:
Hannah Thibedeau spoke with Peter MacKay by phone from Washington. The Defence Minister explained why it’s important to pursue tough sanctions against Iran. He said that while Israel is feeling more pressure than other nations, Canada is not pursuing military options. MacKay said Americans are concerned about securing any biological or chemical weapons that the Syrian regime possesses. He said the situation will be discussed at an upcoming NATO meeting in Brussels.

Bob Fife appeared on Power Play from New York where he spoke about Stephen Harper’s confab with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the meeting Netanyahu praised Canada for closing its embassy in Tehran. Reports suggest Harper was non-committal about going along with Netanyahu’s policy of setting “red lines” with regards to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. He said Americans are shying away from military intervention, believing there is still time for diplomacy and sanctions to work.

When Smith asked MPs Deepak Obhrai, John McKay and Paul Dewar about the meeting, here’s how they replied:

  • Obhrai said the government believes peace will come with dialogue (rather than unilateral action).
  • McKay said it’s regrettable that Harper didn’t get to the UN to work the floor. He said Harper’s international diplomacy is all about photo ops (rather than contact) and bull horn — shouting about principles rather than talking to people who could be persuaded.
  • Dewar expressed dismay that Harper didn’t address the UN like Netanyahu and Obama, or make himself available to the media to explain the government’s position around red lines.

Thibedeau later spoke to Toronto Star columnist Haroon Siddiqui and Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies. Siddiqui said closing the Tehran embassy was counter to the point of diplomacy. He noted that the Americans would be increasingly reluctant to support a military strike because of the optics of starting a third war with a Muslim country as they are trying to mend fences with the Muslim world. Dubowitz said Netanyahu’s red line might increase pressure for sanctions, but unless the Iranian economy is near collapse, it is unlikely the regime will negotiate, thus necessitating the use of force.

Thibedeau also spoke to Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev about the bomb graphic the Israeli PM pulled out on the podium at the UN. He allowed that there had been internal debate about its use, but that Netanyahu wanted the speech to be memorable and clear to non-experts. Regev said they don’t see a contradiction between the red line and the hope for a diplomatic solution.

MS clinical trials:

Power & Politics spoke to Leona Aglukkaq from Halifax, where she announced clinical trials for CCSVI treatments for MS have the go-ahead in B.C. and Quebec. The health minister says they hope to recruit more than 100 patients so trials can begin in November.

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