Federal NDP agriculture critic Malcolm Allen
Credits: DAVE HANUSCHUK/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - Charges by the NDP that unsafe street meat could end up on the dinner tables of the nation could harm Canada's reputation and close export markets, Agriculture Minister Gary Ritz said.
The Conservatives were still reeling Wednesday over NDP charges that if meat inspection rules are changed, Canadians could be served a steady diet of roadkill.
"Given that Canadian farmers bring $44 billion to the economy by exporting their world-class products, the NDP should support the industry instead of tearing it down," Ritz said in an e-mail.
"The NDP has been wildly irresponsible with their comments and are threatening the viability of Canada's largest manufacturing sector."
Malcolm Allen, the NDP agriculture critic, said there's still time for the government to stand down.
He said the NDP considered the implications of a Tuesday news release that used the headline: "Conservative changes will allow roadkill on your table."
That conjured up images of splattered raccoons, squirrels and groundhogs.
Allen said the government wouldn't have to worry about trade implications if it left the rules alone.
"If our trading partners don't like the new regulations they will simply stop trading with us. It's their regulation and they have an opportunity to take it down."
At issue is a regulation that would allow animals to be euthanized under veterinary supervision on farms before being transported to federally regulated slaughter houses - a proposal endorsed by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.