The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

July 21, 2009

Conservatives & Listeriosis investigator report


  OTTAWA – An investigator’s report into a deadly bacterial outbreak won’t be tinkered with before it’s released to the public on Tuesday, says the Prime Minister’s Office.  Sheila Weatherill, who headed a probe into the listeriosis crisis, has handed in her report to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. She was expected to hold a news conference Tuesday in Ottawa to discuss her findings.  A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the document won’t be edited or altered in any way before it is released.  “We’re looking at the report right now and she’ll present it to the public tomorrow,” Kory Teneycke said Monday.  Liberal MP Wayne Easter, the party’s agriculture critic, demanded Weatherill’s report and all accompanying documents be made public immediately.  “We have concerns about this because of the way this government has handled this matter since Day 1,” he said in a statement.  “The report from the government’s hand-picked investigator, with a limited mandate conducted in private, is not sufficient. They have road-blocked any attempts to provide more transparency about the events of last summer.”  Weatherill denied any interference with her probe.  “I have been able to conduct my investigation independently and impartially,” she said in a statement.  “There has been no interference from any party whatsoever.”  That statement was later stricken from a revised statement issued to news media outlets.  National Public Relations, which is handling media duties for the listeriosis investigation, said the quote came from an earlier draft and nothing should be read into its removal.  “It’s true, it’s just that we took it out for brevity,” spokesman David Rodier said.  “It’s just a mistake. We sent out the wrong (statement).”  Weatherill’s report will assess how the federal government responded to the crisis in which 22 people died and hundreds more fell ill after eating contaminated deli meats linked to a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto.  The report will not express findings of criminal or civil liability, but it will make recommendations on how to prevent similar outbreaks.  Weatherill and her team conducted more than 100 interviews and amassed some five million pages of information during their six-month probe.  The investigators held closed-door meetings with cabinet ministers and their top aides, senior bureaucrats, various experts, and industry and consumer groups.  Secrecy shrouded their work. Weatherill only once spoke publicly when she appeared in April before MPs on a special panel studying food safety.  Afterward, reporters had to chase her through the corridors of Parliament’s Hill’s West Block to get her to clarify that she had not yet questioned Ritz.  She has refused to grant interviews.  So far only dribs and drabs have trickled out. Michael Doyle, a Listeria expert who advised Weatherill during the investigation, said the report looks at both the outbreak itself and more generally at food safety in Canada.  “What I’ve seen, I think, is a pretty good, balanced report,” he said.  “I think it does a pretty good job of addressing the issue of the day, which is listeriosis and Maple Leaf product.”  Rick Holley, a food-safety expert at the University of Manitoba, met Weatherill this spring in her office at Ottawa’s Experimental Farm.  “I still have the impression she’s being very conscientious in exploring issues that are somewhat broader than just the specific listeriosis event,” he said.  Weatherill is delivering her report four months past the original March 15 deadline set when Harper promised an “arm’s-length” investigation on Sept. 6, a day before last year’s election was called.  Since then, a half-dozen listeriosis reports have been released.  Reports by Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada have suggested poor co-ordination among governments and agencies over food safety has been putting Canadians’ health at risk.  The Ontario government released its own post-mortem rapping the knuckles of federal and provincial health authorities for failing to work together during the outbreak.  A House of Commons subcommittee studying food safety couldn’t reach a consensus after hearing from dozens of witnesses this spring, so it released two dissenting reports.  Opposition MPs called for a public inquiry into the outbreak, while the smaller number of Conservative MPs on the panel made no mention of an inquiry in their report and pledged to await Weatherill’s findings.



A report into last summer’s listeriosis outbreak has found a series of problems behind the crisis that claimed 22 lives, including a poor response by the federal government.  Investigator Sheila Weatherill’s found a confluence of events contributed to what was one of Canada’s worst food-borne illness outbreaks.  Among the findings: 
-Federal meat inspectors assigned to the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto where the outbreak started were “stressed” over having to oversee several other meat-processing plants.
-Government officials were also slow off the mark in responding to the outbreak after it started last July.
-The team that assesses health risks within Health Canada was short-staffed over the summer, “leaving gaps in coverage during the response to the emergency.”
-The federal government was slow to communicate with the public and didn’t keep up those communications long enough.
-There wasn’t a single point person to deliver the government’s message, leading to “a fragmented approach and seemingly inconsistent message.”
The report makes 57 recommendations to help prevent another outbreak.  It says Canada’s chief public health officer should be given a greater role during outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.  Meat companies should also be required to tip the federal government to any suspected health threats. And plants that routinely test positive for bacteria or represent a higher risk should be tested more frequently than others.  The report also recommends that manufacturers design easy-to-clean meat-processing equipment that limits the spread of bacteria.  The report does not express findings of criminal or civil liability.



OTTAWA – As the Harper Conservatives spend today awarding themselves a gold star for three years of their Universal Child Care Benefit, parents across the country are still struggling to find child care spaces, let alone affordable ones, Liberal Human Resources and Skills Development Critic Mike Savage said today. “In three years, this Conservative government has done absolutely nothing to address the real problem facing Canadian families – a nationwide shortage of affordable child care spaces,” said Mr. Savage. “The Conservatives are using today, the third anniversary of this benefit, as a forum to try and mislead Canadians about the state of child care in Canada. But parents know better – they’ve living this crisis every day. They are only too aware of the Conservatives’ broken 2006 election promise of 250,000 new child care spaces.” Conservative MPs were in Quebec and Winnipeg today specifically to take part in “celebrations” of the third anniversary of the Universal Child Care Benefit. But parents across the country see little to celebrate. Federal investment in early childhood development and the percentage of children in regulated spaces is one of the lowest amongst Canada’s counterparts in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As waiting lists for spaces in communities across the country continue to grow, reports have concluded that the number of new spaces created under this Conservative government has dropped significantly. “For some families this situation has become a financial nightmare,” said Mr. Savage. “Some parents are not able to go to work because spaces simply do not exist in their communities, while other families have to pay beyond their means so their children will have a place to go. “Study after study tells us that early learning and child-care programs benefit our children’s learning and development, helping them excel later on. These children are the future of our country; they deserve the best possible start. Why does Stephen Harper not want the best for Canadian children?”

Calls erupt for Clement’s resignation  on Industry Minister Tony Clement  misleading — and disparaging — remarks about the Nickel Capital.

The city’s mayor is livid about what he says are “intemperate” comments made by the minister and Parry Sound-   On Friday, Clement said  Inco would “not exist, it would have been closed down, it would have been liquidated if there wasn’t a buyer,” when asked if Sudbury was experiencing a net benefit from the foreign takeover of the nickel giant more than two-and-a-half years ago. “There was going to be no buyer, there were going to be no jobs, there weren’t going to be any capital investments, there was going to be no employer,” said Clement. “That was the Valley of Death that Sudbury faced.”  Clement should resign.  “It’s tremendously embarrassing. We have lost ministers for (less),”  Clement’s comments show Clement is acting in a “hostile” way to Sudbury and Northern Ontario. “I despair, as somebody who’s very interested in regional development and industrial policy … to see this evidence of ignorance” and the lack of a coherent strategy for economic development for Northern Ontario.  Sudbury is home to one of the richest mineral deposits in the world “and has a highly skilled mining workforce second to none.” Sudbury is also a “virtual think tank of innovative mining practices,”  Clement should resign. “He’s just not competent.”   Tony Sottile, a self-described “longtime Conservative supporter,” wrote a letter to The Star saying he resents Clement for bad-mouthing Sudbury “only because we have a history of not electing Conservatives to represent this city.” Sottile said Clement owes Sudbury an apology “for his blatant, derisive comments.”

and who can trust the Conservatives anymore?

Almost since my first job after graduating from university I had learned that people are not to be trusted, need to be supervised, and corruption still exists in construction, universities, municipalities, governments, corporations, amongst professionals and politicians as well.
Here still  is what I cannot understand about the federal job creation programs carried out under both the liberal and conservative governments, is the necessity it seems to give money firstly to the municipalities, as though they have a direct effect on voters.. Nothing can be farther from the truth for  neither the police themselves, nor the municipalities have a significant vote as to how the citizens will vote on election days. The only group  that can likely have any effect on the voters are pastors, and priests in fact.
 Here is what I know for sure in Canada proper policing, management ,  supervision  human rights commissions are a real fact of life, society, in schools, life,  in churches, governments, commerce, institutions, civil and public services, professional services too,  and elsewhere, even on the net,  for you will always have those 30 percent at least of the persons who will try to cheat, lie  , steal, bend the rules, falsely believe they are above the laws, Self  regulation alone is too often pretentious, farcical, often not applied as well. That applies especially to the professionals, civil and public services, police, municipalities, politicians now as well..

Now as I was reflecting about my many past posts on the net  in the last few years I was really saddened to note that too many of them were about bad , greedy people trying to steal , trying to get other people’s money for themselves, stealing the money, or getting  it under false pretences. The love of more money is still the basis of what many of the wrong doings is, was all about..(Eccl 8:11 KJV)  Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.


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