Conservatives want to talk beef in D.C

Aug. 8, 2003 at 9:51 AM

OTTAWA, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The leader of Canada's Tories says a U.S. ban on north of the border beef could be lifted faster by sending a former Conservative prime minister to Washington.

Canadian farmers are losing $5 million per day from the embargo, which began in May when a single cow was diagnosed with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

That animal in Alberta originally came from the United States, international investigators have concluded.

The Ottawa Citizen reported Friday the leader of the Conservative party Peter MacKay wrote to Prime Minister Jean Chretien suggesting former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney become involved in efforts to lift the ban. MacKay says Mulroney has ties to former President Bush and was deeply involved in crafting the North American Free Trade Agreement.

MacKay says Mulroney has agreed to join a delegation. But a spokesman for the Chretien government rejected the idea, saying the current government is on top of the situation.

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