TORONTO—In an effort to woo the immigrant vote, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion met with ethnic media in Toronto on Wednesday.
Dion criticized the Conservatives for not doing enough to strengthen ties with China, an issue the Liberals are campaigning on.
The Liberals have taken a pro-China stance and key party members, including Bob Rae and former Prime Minster Jean Chretien, have attacked criticism of China’s human rights record.
At the press conference Dion side-stepped a sensitive issue by ignoring a question about how to handle the Canada-China relationship with regard to the safety of Chinese food imports.
Melamine-tainted milk from China has been found in several products in Canada including Sherwood Brands Pirate's Gold Milk Chocolate Coins and OK OK Kaiser Pretzels.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 54,000 infants and young children in China have sought treatment for urinary problems, possible renal tube blockages and possible kidney stones related to melamine-tainted infant formula and related dairy products.
Over 14,000 infants have been hospitalized and four have died.
Some Chinese producers add melamine to diluted milk products to boost the apparent levels of protein measured in nutritional tests.
Chinese officials were alerted to the contamination by Fonterra, a New Zealand company with investments in milk-related businesses in China, but ignored them until New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark contacted Beijing officials directly.
In a scenario similar to the SARS infections that spread around the world in 2003 and killed 43 people in Toronto, officials in China denied there were any problems well after being alerted to the severity of the issue.
Dion did not suggest any fault on the Chinese regime’s part but said the food safety system in Canada will need to be strengthened and blamed the current government for not doing enough.