BTC: Harper’s response


David Akin has the full transcript. Including this bit. “The real question during that whole period of time was making sure everybody was doing their job. Not just the company that took full responsibility for the listeriosis crisis but all government officials in all departments were working round the clock to make sure they were fixing the problem. Certainly, I would like to know that that, and that alone, was the priority of officials and I think it was the priority of the vast number of government officials. I’m obviously disappointed that some have some other priorities.”


BTC: Harper’s response

  1. Translation:

    “Whistle-blowers are okay, except when it is directed towards us, then they are just partisan hacks.”

    What is it with these people and their victimization schtick?


  2. Typical Tory logic. Who says the public good wasn’t this person’s priority? You put your priorities in order, thus, once they had performed their duties (and I say no reason to think that the person who leaked this didn’t) they moved on to do other important things such as letting the public know about the poor judgement and humour of one of our cabinet ministers. Who says they can’t do both things?

  3. “Certainly, I would like to know that that, and that alone, was the priority of officials and I think it was the priority of the vast number of government officials.”

    Apparently the priority of the Agriculture Minister was to make stupid, tasteless jokes during a meeting to deal with a life-and-death crisis. Blame the messenger, Steve.

  4. Whistleblower? Wow, we’ve really expanded the definition of that word if it now applies to someone tattling about a bad joke. I’m sure Allan Cutler would be proud.

  5. Redefining the definition. If you’re not with me, you are on the dark side.
    Anonymous trolls don’t get to define whistleblowers — but i’m sure you’d applaud anyone who laughed at Ritz’ punchline. Apparently he had time to toss off lame one-liners in between doing ‘his duty’…

  6. Anon: Funny you should say that! It seems you aren’t aware that Allan Cutler’s new group, Canadians for Accountability, has condemned the firing of Luc Pomerleau in a letter sent to the Globe and Mail last month:

    Ottawa — Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz praised an unnamed person for reporting Canadian Food Inspection Agency scientist Luc Pomerleau (Which Public Servant Is The Whistleblower? – Aug. 23). Mr. Pomerleau has been fired for passing on to his union an evidently embarrassing document about food inspections that he believed to be unclassified or declassified. The Minister argued that it was the person who reported Mr. Pomerleau who was the whistleblower, not Mr. Pomerleau himself.

    We at Canadians for Accountability, a group founded to promote accountability and support whistleblowers, were shocked and offended. Many of us are whistleblowers ourselves.

    Mr. Ritz needs to better acquaint himself with the concept of whistleblowing. Whistleblowing was defined by Ralph Nader as an act of a man or a woman who, believing in the public interest overrides the interest of the organization he serves, publicly blows the whistle if the organization is involved in corrupt, illegal, fraudulent or harmful activity. They risk, and often lose, their jobs, their marriages, their health and occasionally, even their lives.

    Even if acting in good faith, the person who reported Mr. Pomerleau does not even remotely fit this definition. An informant is not a whistleblower, and we don’t care to be grouped with them.

  7. Hey reporters – quit worrying about stupid jokes and ask Harper AGAIN about the CMAJ editorial…
    and nag away with some solid follow up questions when he brushes off yet another group of experts.

    Based on this issue, nuclear safety, GST, wheat board, carbon tax etc … Harper’s slogan is
    “Experts? we don’t need no stinkin’ experts”

  8. Just saw a local news segment which asked folks what issues they’d like our politicians to address.

    They varied from healthcare, to employment, to the economy.

    Funny, no one was concerned with three week old inappropriate jokes.

    The public must be wrong.

    Surely they must know (as the media tells us) that an off the cuff comment at a meeting far, far exceeds the importance of say, a mother’s concern for her children’s welfare, or an elderly man’s concern for his wife’s care or all the other myriad concerns voters have.

    sarc off

    A handful of political insiders (on the left of the political spectrum) are eating this up like ice cream on a Sunday afternoon. Gotcha!!!

    But to the vast majority of Canadians who desperately want to be informed about what the political parties stand for, and how those issues will affect them,

    the media has become a laughingstock.

  9. Aaron it’s a shame you cherry picked only that quote. Harper’s response was that of a statesman.

    The Liberals are trying to claim that Harper blamed the bureaucracy. That is a stretch from the snippet you posted. Here was his answer when asked directly if it was because of a Liberal stacked bureaucracy.

    “I think public servants have generally worked very well with this government. I’m very pleased with the assistance I’ve received from the senior public service. It’s not to say we haven’t always agreed, it’s not say we haven’t in fact butted heads from to time. I don’t think this government has suffered from leaks anymore frequently than any other government. There’s always people in the bureaucracy who do leak for whatever reason but I think it you look back at the Martin government in particularly, I don’t think you’ll see any greater frequency in this government than in that government. So I don’t think that’s a fair accusation.
    I think the Minister has to and has taken full responsibility. The most important thing when we’re in this kind of crisis is that we act to get it resolved.”

  10. “the media has become a laughingstock”

    Two questions. First, on what do you base that assertion? (It might hold true for you, but probably not for most folks). Second, why on earth do you waste your precious keystrokes on this blog site if you think journalists are such buffoons? (Feel free to address the irony that your opinions get full airing here too, which kinda undermines your conspiracy theories.)

  11. Sean,

    it’s called common sense.

    I realize highly partisan liberals in a panic about the prospect of a Conservative majority,

    may not realize that a single comment made three weeks ago is not the most important issue of the average voter, with bills to pay and children to care for a jobs to worry about.

    As for my comments,

    they do not occupy limited space on the front pages of Newspapers, they do not occupy headlines, they do not take up the precious forty second newsflashes in between radio spots, that busy people must rely on to get their news.

    Today’s disgraceful media has decided that of all the pressing things facing our society today,

    topics that should be at the forefront of a discussion where we decide what party will set the agenda and rule our government,

    that a single bad joke, told at a meeting three weeks ago is what we need to be thinking about.

    The gotcha (particularly of the anti-conservative variety) is like Heroin to the journo: they can’t resist, but the hangover is going to be a doozy.

  12. Kady,

    “Funny you should say that! It seems you aren’t aware that Allan Cutler’s new group, Canadians for Accountability, has condemned the firing of Luc Pomerleau”

    No, they didn’t. They condemned the praising of the person who reported Pomerleau – more precisely they said that that person should not be considered a whistleblower. They make no comment on whether Mr. Pomerleau should be considered a whistleblower, or whether he should have been fired. Rather than describing his actions as passing on information about illegal, harmful etc. activity, they describe it as passing on “an apparently embarrassing report” that he thought was declassified.

  13. While I don’t disagree that the most important thing in such a crisis is to get it resolved, how does that make Ritz’ comments any better?

    And, with the Conservatives announcing that they’re going to stop inspecting Manitoba meat, and with the proposed investigation being told specifically that they “will not express any conclusion or recommendation about civil or criminal liability of individuals or organizations”, to think that this crisis is “resolved” is ludicrous.

    How many body bags will it take Mr. Ritz, Mr. Harper? How many people have to die before you admit that saving people a few cents on their sandwiches probably isn’t worth the sandwiches killing them.

  14. Kody- your boy Steve made the campaign about image over substance because he thought he could win that way. He released ads that said he like his family and liked vetrans and Dion is a loser who “isn’t worth the risk.” To date I have seen no notable discussion of Tory policy in their ads. Harper believed (rightly I think) that his strength was on the image side of the campaign, not on the policy side so he went with that. Now he has created a campaign that is all about image and soundbites (ex. the ones the Tories use completely out of context to attack Dion) because Harper and his strategists thought that favors them. If that style of campaig no longer suitsthe Tories too bad! It was their idea to do it this way whining when they get hoisted on their own patard is pathetic! The elction was supposed to be all about leadership and now that Harper’s people aren’t following the leader so well it should suddenly be about policy? I wish it was but it is far too late and frankly hypocritical beyond comprehension for any Tory supporter to be crying about it now! You did this now live with it!
    On the bright side you have stopped using your rediculous “left wing media” line and moved on to the more plausable “left wing political insiders.” To think they let such people (those dangerous “lefties”)walk the streets in this day and age!

  15. You know I wrote that whole long comment and I just realized it would have been much more efficient if I had done this:

    Kody- Suck it up princess!!!

  16. Ryan,

    have you seen the Leger poll out of Quebec today?

    The public is much, much smarter than the media gives them credit for.

    Those who desperately want to believe this will have an effect on the election (presumably yourself included) will have to suck it up – on election night, that is.

  17. Kody-
    1. I notice you don’t have any response to any of my other points (other than “suck it up”).
    2. I’m not sure what you know about polls (I mean that genuuinely and not sarcastically) but they are virtually useless these days. If you consider the margin of error and put the two polls I saw today side by side the Liberals are anywhere from 21-33%….hmmm very telling….
    3. I won’t really be surprised if the Tories win another majority (people really are that dum in my experience) so I wont shed a tear on election night. On the other hand there is lots of campaigning left and the Tories are trying real hard to self destruct…
    4. You are right that “The public is much, much smarter than the media gives them credit for.” That is why a solid majority of Canadians still will not be voting for the Tories who have cynically fed us attack ads and nonsense since before this campaign began.

  18. “Now you’re learning, Willie. You don’t support your captain because you like him; you support him because he’s got the job or you’re no good!”

  19. As a former provincial civil servant (who served both Liberal and Tory gov’ts) I have to say I’m appalled by this.

    Whether he/she (my guess is he) understand this or not, this genius just set the work of the Public Service Commission back fifteen years or so. If ministers have to look over their shoulders when dealing with staff, the flow of important information will grind to a snail’s pace.

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