MPs hold emergency meeting to discuss blocked canola shipments

Over the weekend, Members of Parliament held an emergency meeting to discuss the restriction of canola shipments from Richardson International to China. The news of the blocked shipments broke about two weeks ago, and China import officials say the revoked cargo was due to ‘hazardous pests’.

Brandon-Souris MP, Larry Maguire says other MPs wanted this emergency meeting to go through the agricultural committee; however, it was shut down by a vote from the New Democrats. In order for an emergency meeting to take place, there must be four members of the opposition vote in favour for the meeting.

Instead, MPs went through the international trade committee, which Maguire isn’t a part of, but got to take his colleagues, Dean Allison’s, seat so he could stress how critical the situation is, and how it needs to be resolved in a timely manner. (Story continues below)

“We wanted to make sure that we knew that the government knows a couple of things. For one, that farmers are being put between a rock and hard place on this because they’re the ones that have canola in the bins and in about six weeks, they’re looking at going to the fields to plant a new crop … we wanted to make sure that the committee members on the Liberal side and the public know that we have the safest food in the world,” Maguire says.

He adds the Canadian Food Inspection Agency goes through every shipment being exported, and having spent years on the standards committee, Maguire is confident that there isn’t anything out of the ordinary with the shipments by Richardson. Maguire confirmed wild oats were detected among other things, but that isn’t a prohibited pest so people are left puzzled as to why China would block the shipment.

“We want to make sure that China knows that we’re inspecting these (shipments) as well and we need the Canadian government to sit down and deal with this.”

Going forward, MP’s involved in the emergency meeting this past Sunday, will have another meeting this week to discuss the issue further. Then, in the first week of April, Maguire says they will be able to take their message to the minister of international trade, and the agriculture and agri-food minister.

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