Last week, Harper warned that opposition refusal to approve creation of the fund would constitute defeat of his minority government. “These are confidence measures. We are not messing around with this,” the prime minister said. “If the opposition doesn’t like it, they will find themselves in an election.” Ignatieff scoffed at Harper’s threat, calling his sudden return to “aggressive partisanship” in the midst of an economic crisis “ridiculous.” Ignatieff reminded Harper that his ruthless partisanship nearly “drove this Parliament off the cliff” last December, when the three opposition parties forged an agreement to replace the government with a coalition. The prime minister staved off certain defeat only by suspending Parliament. “We’re now in an economic crisis in which he’s got to walk back down the hill and talk to me. I am not writing a blank cheque on $3 billion. No Canadian would respect me if I did,” Ignatieff said.
The Canadian Press OTTAWA – Contrary to earlier claims, the subject of Listeria was broached by federal officials and Maple Leaf Foods prior to a deadly outbreak last summer that was linked to tainted meat products, documents show. Handwritten notes from a July 24, 2008, meeting indicate officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Maple Leaf discussed “food safety in relation to Listeria,” although no details about the substance of the talks were available. The discussion took place roughly two weeks before tests linked the company’s luncheon meats to the outbreak. Both sides had previously denied that the subject of Listeria came up at the meeting. On Tuesday, they acknowledged that it did come up, but said earlier denials were made in reference to discussion of the listeriosis outbreak itself. Initially, they said CFIA executive vice-president Brian Evans and Maple Leaf executive Rory McAlpine discussed only the company’s hog and pork operations and trade issues. But notes from the July meeting, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, show that while Evans and McAlpine did talk about hog and pork operations, they also discussed “food safety in relation to Listeria.” Further information is blanked out in the documents released by the CFIA.