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Parliamentary probe launched into listeriosis outbreak

Opposition parties demand to know what's going on behind closed doors.

Sheila Weatherill is the single investigator of the outbreak which has killed 20 people so far.OTTAWA, February 10, 2009 — A parliamentary probe is being launched into the listeriosis outbreak that killed 20 Canadians after the opposition parties complained Tuesday the government-appointed investigator is hamstrung by a flawed process.

The New Democrat's agriculture critic Alex Atamanenko on Tuesday won the backing of Liberal and Bloc Quebecois MPs on the House of Commons agriculture committee to move forward with a plan to conduct a Parliamentary investigation on food safety.

The three opposition parties left the committee meeting unsatisfied with the government's investigation, and vowed to table a plan on Thursday to form a special parliamentary committee to conduct a probe in full public view.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper last month announced the appointment of Sheila Weatherill, former head of Edmonton's regional health system, to conduct an independent investigation into the August outbreak linked to processed meat products from a Maple Leaf Foods Inc. plant in Toronto.

But the opposition say Weatherill does not have the power to subpoena witnesses or compel testimony, and her work is being carried out behind closed doors.

"We have to do this because Ms. Weatherill's inquiry is not a real inquiry and it's certainly not public," said Andre Bellavance, the Bloc's agricultural critic and a vice-chair of the agriculture committee. . .

To read further. . .

Links and sources
  Parallel listeriosis investigation pushed by NDP, by Sarah Shmidt, Canwest News Service, February 10, 2009

Posted: February 17, 2009

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