Walkerton mayor calls for public inquiry on listeria outbreak
Mayor Charlie Bagnato released a statement today decrying the current outbreak as “outrageous” and noting that some of the cabinet ministers who were in the Ontario government in 2000 are now in the federal cabinet.
“There are currently three federal Conservative cabinet ministers shaping policy for the [Stephen] Harper government who also sat around the Mike Harris cabinet table when decisions were made to cut programs, privatize and regulate,” the statement reads.
Those three federal ministers are Health minister Tony Clement, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Environment minister John Baird.
“Governments should have learned from the mistakes that led to the tragedy in Walkerton. I am completely shocked that Mr. Harper has opted to make the same mistakes nationally that led to our disaster. Food security should never be placed on the chopping block in the name of cost cutting.”
Reached at his office, Mr. Bagnato said local Conservatives have called accusing him of playing politics with the upcoming federal election.
I take the reaction from local Conservatives as indicative of just how politically toxic this issue could become in Ontario. Any reminder of Mike Harris, particularly one on as critical a topic as public safety, will cost the Conservatives in Ontario. Reminding Ontarians that the Harper team is quite similar to the Harris team is an easy attack, most notably because it's TRUE. The added kicker, it isn't just political, you can weave a coherent comparison, based on political philosophy, the idea of cutting or privatizing vs ensuring public safety. We've seen this story before, the Conservatives will be hurt if voters sense a repeat. Period.