Auditor General exposes Conservative failure to ensure basic safety for Canadians, say federal Liberals

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THE Auditor General’s (AG) 2013 Fall Report clearly confirms that the Conservative government has continued to fail Canadians when it comes to ensuring basic safety measures, specifically regarding rail and food safety, said the federal Liberals on Tuesday.

“Canadians would have thought that after the recent tainted meat scandals that occurred under this government, measures would have been put in place to ensure the safety of Canadians so that such situations could be avoided,” said Liberal Health Critic, Hedy Fry. “But the Auditor General found that Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) officials do not have enough time available to deliver proper quality verification and that they have been skipping follow-up procedures after a food recall; the Conservatives’ solution to this ‘lack of time’ has been to cut $56 million from CFIA’s budget and lay off over 300 staff.”

In fact, the Auditor General’s 2013 Fall Report concludes that “even when the government identifies a problem, it takes too long to develop and implement solutions.” The AG’s global conclusions are worrying and shed light on this government’s lack of commitment when it comes to the basic safety of Canadians in communities across the country.

“Barely four months after the terrible Lac-Mégantic tragedy, this AG report clearly demonstrates that the Conservative government is failing to improve rail safety in Canada,” said Liberal Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities Critic, David McGuinty. “It is deeply worrying to read about ‘significant weaknesses’ the AG has identified in rail safety. In particular, the AG says ‘it is taking too long to resolve significant safety issues’ and we don’t know if rail safety inspectors have the necessary skills to do their job. Basic information on such important data as the sections of tracks used for transporting dangerous goods and the condition of railway bridges is missing. Canadians deserve a government that will act to protect their safety.”