If Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz seriously thinks that the recent tainted meat scandal linked to the deaths of fifteen people from listeriosis isn’t going to be an election issue, then he’s really got another thing coming.
“That’s the nature of the politics of this type of situation and it’s unfortunate, but we’ve been focused on getting to the bottom of this and we continue to be that focused,” said Ritz, dismissing the notion that it would be a problem for the Conservatives.
Yeah, well a lot of other people aside from Ritz and Health Minister Tony “Try the Veal” Clement have been “getting to the bottom of this,” and it isn’t looking good for either the government or Maple Leaf Foods. It’s precisely the sort of wishful thinking that motivates people like Ritz and Clement to offload government responsibility for public health and safety by cutting corners on regulatory inspection and compliance enforcement in favour of industry self-regulation out of some misguided ideological principle that appears to have been one of the contributing factors involved in the listeriosis outbreak.
I was quite willing to give the government the benefit of the doubt until I read this story last week in the Globe & Mail about Team Harper opposing tougher US rules to prevent listeria, even to the point of lobbying the Bush administration in 2006 to accept Canada’s more lenient standards. Now, I ask you, what’s outrageously wrong with that picture?
Update: If you don’t think this is indicative of a trend on the part of the corner- cutting, penny-pinching, “in business we trust” Harper government, well just lookee here. “Transport Canada is eliminating many of the checks and balances it needs in order to ensure safety, at a time when the department is relying on the industry police itself…”
Putting air safety at risk — another absolutely stellar idea!