2005-01-12-Emanuel- U.S. imports from Canada
U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel
(D-Ill.) today (Wednesday, Jan. 12) questioned the consistency of the U.S.
Agriculture and Health departments' apparent readiness to readmit Canadian beef to the United States while continuing to prohibit the importation of prescription drugs from that country.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, Rahm said "despite three Canadian cows infected with mad cow disease, the Department of Agriculture appears ready to reopen American markets to Canadian cattle in March."
Rahm's letter continued:
Curiously, three known cases of mad cow disease are insufficient evidence to halt the opening of the U.S. market to Canadian cattle. But the fact that none of the millions of Americans who purchase prescription drugs from Canada have been harmed is not enough evidence for the Administration to support the importation of prescription drugs.
If this is an issue of safety, why are we allowing tainted beef into the country while at the same
time prohibiting Americans’ access to the same safe prescription drugs available here in the United
States at reduced prices? How can we justify opening our markets to a beef supply that we know is
contaminated with mad cow disease while simultaneously insisting, without any evidence, that
Canadian drugs are unsafe? These decisions indicate that the policy of this Administration is that
the importation of tainted beef is acceptable while the importation of safe drugs is not.
Finally, the timing of the recent announcements on Canadian imports also raises questions.
According to Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, President Bush and Prime Minister Martin spoke
privately about drug imports during Bush’s visit to Canada on November 30. The U.S. announced that
they would end the beef ban one month later, on December 29, the very same day that the possibility
of Canada banning drug exports was widely reported.
I am interested in hearing from you on how the Administration can simultaneously maintain policies
opposing Canadian drug imports and allowing the importation of Canadian cattle.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
—Donald H. Harrison