|These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Mr. Barry Devolin (HaliburtonóKawartha LakesóBrock, CPC): Mr. Speaker, farmers across Canada are burdened by increasing government interference in their lives. They are concerned about the way the Canadian Food Inspection Agency goes about its business.
Bill C-27 should be focused on reorganizing the CFIA to make it more accountable and responsive to producers. Bill C-27 does not include any significant appeals process for producers. Can the minister tell us why?
Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I need to point out to the hon. member that Bill C-27 was referred to committee before second reading. That provided members of the House, government members and indeed opposition members as well, the opportunity to shape the legislation in the way they felt was best. If there are specific recommendations that he would like to see in that legislation, I suggest that the hon. member come to committee and lay on the table amendments to achieve that.
Mr. Barry Devolin (HaliburtonóKawartha LakesóBrock, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the minister does not have any problem with improving the appeals process as it is currently included in the flawed bill.
Is the minister prepared to stand in the House today and make his commitment to the farmers of Canada that he will urge government members on that committee to make sure there is a real and meaningful appeals process for the farmers so they do not have to be dragged through the courts when they disagree with a CFIA decision?
Hon. Andy Mitchell (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the hon. member fundamentally misunderstands how the process works. When a bill is referred to committee before second reading, a process which the opposition has encouraged the government to do on an ongoing basis and which the government did in this case, it gives the committee the opportunity to shape the legislation.
The committee is in the process of doing that work. I look forward to the committee completing that work in the near future.