Politics on TV: Thanksgiving edition

In the news: Kevin Page, CFIA and food safety

Message of the day: “Sometimes what you don’t spend money on is just as important as what you spend it on.”

Questions not answered

  • Will deputy ministers respond to Kevin Page’s request for budget data?

Tainted meat:

On Question Period, Kevin Newman spoke to five-year-old E. Coli victim Elijah Lees and his father, Mike. The doctor confirmed contamination after blood was found in Elijah’s pull-up diaper. While the boy has recovered, Lees says he’ll join the class-action lawsuit to ensure the company is accountable for its actions.

Newman talked food safety with MPs Pierre Lemieux, Libby Davies and Frank Valeriote. Davies says it is time for the minister to resign. Valeriote said that CFIA had the authority to shut the plant sooner and didn’t. He quoted the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report which highlighted a $16-million cut to food safety.

On The West Block, Tom Clark hosted a debate on food safety featuring Senator George Baker and Carleton professor Ian Lee. Baker said that while provincial and federal money poured into the plant to increase production, the plant was hiring more temporary foreign workers who won’t whistle-blow. Lee blamed the culture at the factory.

Parliamentary Budget Officer:

On Question Period, Kevin Page defended his quest for numbers on the Strategic Operating Review against Tony Clement’s suggestion that his role is to only look at money spent — rather than money not being spent. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said he wants to establish a baseline of spending before and after the budget in order to identify how the cuts have influenced service. He said parliamentarians need the data in order to hold the government account. Page said it was not his intention to go to court, though he has sought a legal opinion to remind deputy ministers about his mandate. He said he’ll seek judicial clarification if need be.

Free Trade Agreement:

Tom Clark spoke to former NDP leader Ed Broadbent about the 25th anniversary of the free trade agreement. Broadbent conceded that while Canada did not become the 51st state as he’d once predicted, it lost autonomy in the commercial and industrial sector.

Politics on TV returns Tuesday.