Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beyond Bad "Jokes"

The real story here, isn't Ritz necessarily, it's the issue of how the Conservatives have handled food safety. While I'm glad that the media is taking another look at the issue, it only comes as a sideline to the salacious. What should be on the frontpage, what Canadians have the right to know, when deciding what approach to governance they want:
Conservatives to kill meat inspection in Manitoba-Source: Canada NewsWireSep 18, 2008 12:30 News release via Canada NewsWire, Toronto 416-863-9350 Attention News Editors WINNIPEG, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ -

If elected, a federal Conservativegovernment plans to stop delivering provincial meat inspection programs in Manitoba leaving local consumers exposed to the risk of unsafe meat. The plan is revealed in a secret Treasury Board of Canada decision record, dated May 6, 2008, documenting the acceptance of a proposal concerning "Provincial Meat Slaughter Establishments (Manitoba,Saskatchewan, British Columbia)" which calls for the "elimination of federal delivery of provincial meat inspection programs." "Meat produced in provincially registered facilities in Manitoba would not be inspected by anyone under this plan," says Bob Kingston,President of the Agriculture Union.

The Treasury Board decision record says that following approval of a detailed implementation plan, "including risk mitigation and communications strategies," the cuts will come into force. In Manitoba, the federal government delivers provincial meat inspection programs ensuring provincially registered slaughter facilities meet sanitation and other safety regulations. There are more than 30 provincially registered meat establishments in Manitoba that produce everything from beef to bison, ostrich to turkey and whose products cannot be shipped outside the province. "As we've seen during recent weeks, the federal government should be increasing food inspection, not cutting it," Kingston says.

When Harper takes to the mic, and defends Ritz, saying he is doing a good job on the file, and that's all that matters, the follow up question should ask about that JOB. Why are you putting the onus on companies to self-police, when their chief concern is profit, sometimes at the expense of public safety? Why are you CUTTING inspection? Canadians need to understand that this government is putting public health at risk because of ideological considerations. The Conservative policies are the bad joke here.


Anonymous said...

They kill meat and food inspection and they go up another point at Nanos??????????????

Oxford County Liberals said...

The poll was done yesterday.. too early to take into account this latest controversy.. a better poll to gauge the reaction (if any) is the polls for the next couple of days.

RossK said...


According to the CMAJ, even amongst federal meat inspection programs, it was pretty much a hands off policy starting in Nov 2007.

My take on that, specifically, here.



Steve V said...

Hey Ross, I posted on that too yesterday. Harper dismissed it as not "credible", you know, like all experts, on every file, apparently.


What Scott said, plus it's just statistical noise, the regionals are still the same, except the Cons in Quebec, that is a worrying trend.

Anonymous said...

More proof for us, that this is essentially a party of big business, masquerading as "free market" conservatives.

Letting big business regulate itself, especially when it comes to public health and safety, can not be regarded as responsible government.

Steve V said...


It's a fundamental issue, on why you need government regulation over the private sector. If there is one thing your average Canadian understands, it's that you can't trust business to "do the right thing" on it's own.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Nanos poll results from today means we lost a point because they were fronting BOB RAE on economy...his face would certainly turn off a few in Ontario.

Steve V said...


Nope, Ontario numbers are really unchanged.

Jeff said...

Nanos is a three-day rolling poll, so the impact of any event happening now, if any, wouldn't be readily apparent for a few days.

Gayle said...

On Newman today Rob Russo suggested they were still looking into this story, as were other media outlets, and there may be more to come.

Hopefully they are looking at the food safety angle.

That came up today on Duffy, though I do not think he expected it.

RossK said...

Apologies, Steve.

You did indeed - will add to mine.

Dave at the The Galloping Beaver has gone that extra mile, as only he can.....

Steve V said...


Russo had a curious smirk on his face when he said that.

The former inspector on Duffy really put those cuts into perspective. For once today, that show actually seemed balanced, which just speaks to the fact that this Ritz angle is different. Oliver was pretty much ballistic, as was Fife last night- no where to hide!


No, no, I just meant that I heard of this report yesterday. Nice to see it getting some play with the media, although its still background noise.

Gayle said...

I did not see much of Duffy as I switched during commercials, but it did seem like he was trying to draw parallels between this and other parties' candidate mis-steps.

I am not sure how you compare a candidate to a cabinet minister, but I guess he had to try.

Steve V said...


Duffy even brought up this graphic, showing all the parties and their candidates troubles, saying "look at the Liberals here". The good news, nobody else was having any of it, Duffy eventually just cowered, because he knew that it was too obvious.

I only watch the commericals too, but today it was very interesting listening to Richardson and Oliver, it was almost like real journalism for a few moments, the TOMATO aside(get a new makeup person, good grief)

Northern PoV said...

"Harper dismissed it as not "credible", you know, like all experts, on every file, apparently."

Experts? We don't need no stinkin' experts!

Steve V said...


There is nothing more dangerous that a bunch of ideologues that resist input from people in the know. On every file, the Cons do what they want, ignoring outside advice, whether it be economists, scientists, doctors, environmentalists, statistical analysis, it's real a war on reason.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for taking the Conservatives to task on this, and comparing it to Walkerton under Mike Harris, BUT I haven't heard anyone point out that health is under provincial jurisdiction. Pulling back on federal health services (like meat inspection) is just part of the Conservatives' appeal to Quebec, Alberta, BC and all who want more autonomy for their province, isn't it? Tragedy and insensitivity aside, can anyone who knows the constitution better than I do comment on this?

Northern PoV said...

"it's real a war on reason"

yup - and some 38%+ of those being polled today are saying that's alright - and the left-wing-MSM is enabling it all

god save us

Jeff: What the BNA act says and what the reality of shared responsibility is today are very different

we need federal infrastructure cause - well the Toronto meat plant shipped bad meat all over the country - not the case in 1867

(and in the same CMAJ editorial they warn about the animal feed inspection process being privatized .... hello more mad-cow-disease)

Gayle said...

jeff - the provinces have jurisdiction over administration of hospitals, but I believe the responsibility for health care falls under peace order and good government which is a federal responsibility.