Canadian lawmakers to grill Toyota officials

Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:26pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will call Toyota executives to testify before a parliamentary committee on the safety of the company's vehicles, a federal legislator said on Friday.

"During these hearings we'll expect to hear from senior officials from Toyota and pose very serious questions to them," said Pierre Poilievre, a member of Parliament for the governing Conservative Party.

Toyota Canada Inc. immediately agreed to the request, calling it a "natural next step" in its strategy to explain its safety recalls.

"Toyota looks forward to the opportunity to participate in the formal hearings to ensure issues are on the record for all Canadians to understand," the company said in a statement.

Toyota Motor Corp.'s president apologized to U.S. lawmakers during Congressional hearings in Washington this week. His testimony marked a dramatic point in the company's safety crisis, which broke a month ago with a series of recalls over unintended acceleration and braking problems that now include more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide.

"We know that Americans have been learning about some of the gut-wrenching stories that have come out in the aftermath of these revelations," said Poilievre. "We think Canadians are entitled to the same answers."

Parliament is due to reconvene next Wednesday and Poilievre said the Conservative government would co-operate with opposition parties, which have been calling for the hearings, to reconstitute a House of Commons transport committee as quickly as possible.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Toyota Motor Corp's logo on a car is seen in Tokyo February 24, 2010. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon</p>