The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

January 12, 2009

Conservative Myths

    
 
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s inaction on a promised investigation of the death confirms that that the government is not particularly interested in identifying the problems that led to the listeriosis outbreak. Harper ruled out a public inquiry into the outbreak, which was traced to a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto. Days before the last election, he did promise an “arms-length investigation” to establish whether there were problems with the food inspection system. The day before the vote was called, Harper announced the terms of reference and set a reporting deadline of March 15. But four months later, Harper has still not named a lead investigator to conduct the investigation. The March reporting deadline will not be met; at the current rate of progress, it’s reasonable to wonder if there will ever be an investigation of any kind. The government’s inaction will raise concerns — that it has something to hide, or simply doesn’t believe in the importance of appropriate regulation, even in such a critical area. That is especially true given the large number of questions about the government’s general handling of food inspection and this specific case. Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors, for example, say a system introduced last year left them overloaded with paperwork, responsible for too many different facilities and unable to ensure safety. The government has also moved toward shifting responsibility for inspections to industry, arguing companies have an interest in safety. The outbreak is estimated to have cost Maple Leaf Foods about $75 million. Questions remain about the response to the problem between June, when Ontario public health units began to notice an unusual number of listeriosis cases, and eventual product recalls in mid-August. Similarly, Health Canada had warned in 2005 about the risk of listeriosis from sliced lunch meats and advised that pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems should not eat the products. Yet hospitals and seniors’ care facilities in B.C. and other provinces were serving the deli meats to patients at the time of this outbreak. And a Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial charged that “government policy errors” contributed to disaster and called for a full public inquiry into Canada’s food inspection system. Those are among the serious, credible questions about Canada’s food safety that Harper appears uninterested in seeing answered.”
 
I remember hearing about that great Conservative myth on promised full accountability, governmental transparency, a better form of governing, and the Harper- Conservative government  lies go on and on, fooling only the Conservatives as to who they really are still, liars..
 
 

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