BTC: Silly questions (II)


Granted, this business of the Liberal plane is terribly fascinating, the stock market is a mess and it’s important we know how much the mission in Afghanistan is costing us… but shouldn’t this bit about the Canadian Medical Association Journal’s accusing the government of endangering the lives of average, unsuspecting citizens be near the top of the day’s news?

Highlights from the relevant editorial.

“In August Canada experienced the worst epidemic of listeriosis in the world … Already the death toll is more than double that of the notorious Escherichia coli outbreak in Walkerton, Ontario. And since Listeria monocytogenescan remain latent for 2 to 3 months, the deaths, illnesses and other effects such as spontaneous abortions may not be over yet…”

“What went wrong? As in the Walkerton and SARS epidemics, an outbreak of this size may point to systemic failures across multiple levels…”

“In practice, the new policy meant that CFIA inspectors would rarely enter meat plants to test for bacteria and testing was left mostly to companies. Self-inspection came largely to substitute for, and not just to supplement, government inspection. Self-inspection mechanisms have worked effectively in other countries, but in Canada something went very wrong…”

“Canada’s government also left national standards for Listeria lower than in many other countries…”

“Confronted with the reality of its lax Listeria standards Canada’s government did not raise them, but instead lobbied to have America’s standards lowered…”

“Government policy errors helped bring about this epidemic. Yet surprisingly, government has taken no remedial steps beyond issuing a food recall…”

“The listeriosis epidemic is a timely reminder that the Harper government has reversed much of the progress that previous governments made on governing for public health…”

“And listeriosis may be the least of it. The same November 2007 Cabinet decision that handed self-inspection to the owners of meat plants did the same for operators of animal feed mills and cut back the avian influenza preparedness program…”

“To address the increasingly serious public health problem, just 1 day before heading into an election, Prime Minister Harper called for an ‘independent investigation’ of the listeriosis epidemic. But the structure of the proposed investigation is deeply disappointing…”

“Prime Minister Harper has said he is ‘very troubled’ by the Listeriaoutbreak. So are we: Listeriais a ubiquitous soil bacterium. Future food-borne epidemics of listeriosis are certain. A full-scale public inquiry into the major failings of Canada’s food inspection system is necessary to protect Canadians from future epidemic threats, and the Canadian public should settle for nothing less than that…”

Suffice it to say, the reviews aren’t much better in a separate three-page commentary.


BTC: Silly questions (II)

  1. But.. but.. but.. my sandwich costs a few cents less. Surely that makes up for it!

  2. Thank you Aaron! I can’t believe how this issue has died away since the start of the campaign.

    The CMAJ – not a partisan journal by any means – makes it clear that the federal government’s food inspection policy change is responsible for the listeriosis deaths and illnesses. They also point out that this is “the worst epidemic of listeriosis in the world.”

    We need to hear a lot more about this and other serious issues in the media and a lot less about the “horserace” aspect of the election.

    Hey media (and I’m not talking about our ultra-responsible Maclean’s bloggers here), this may just be fun and games for you but this election really matters for the people of Canada, so can we notch up the quality of reporting now please?

    Thank you, end of rant.

  3. In Welland the prime minister responded to a question on this editorial by saying that it is “not the opinion of the CMA” but rather of “an author.” There are, in fact, seven signatories. Here’s a story about the lead signatory, who has caused some difficulty for this government in the past and is, therefore, a lying Lieberal leftard:


  4. “In August Canada experienced the worst epidemic of listeriosis in the world …”

    Yes! This is great news! We are on the world stage!

    Canada is back, baby.

  5. The signatories include the editor-in-chief and several other editor-types; and the piece is headed “Editorial” rather than “Letter.”
    So I think the CMAJ was taking it pretty seriously. (Note I said CMAJ, not CMA.)

    But of course Harper will try to discredit the signatories just like he has environmentalists who don’t agree with his “Turning the corner” plan. And Linda Keen.

  6. Who cares what the CMAJ says? They have no ethics, remember? I mean, Tony Clement said so, it must be true.

  7. In Welland the prime minister responded to a question on this editorial by saying that it is “not the opinion of the CMA” but rather of “an author.”

    Yum. That’s good parsing, Mr. Prime Minister.

    Stephen Harper’s just the best…the absolute best!

  8. If Conservatives win a majority I’ll unleash a highly communicable pandemic. If minority, I’ll release it but not in Canada.

    Stupid to see Conservatives messing with AGW and pandemic files. Not sure the best game-theoric way to come ahead in the pandemic file. Consider weaponized anthrax. The USA’a late-60s and/or early-70s cold war strategy was to bankrupt USSR (it worked but they themselves still haven’t figured out how to stand down). They had counter-spies suggest to USSR the USA had made a breakthrough. In fact, the USA hit a brick wall and figured they could induce USSR to waste money. What happened was the USSR built small cities of Vektor researchers and succeeded!! Later, a USSR town was wiped out by a lab ventilation mishap. More recently, a crazy employee mailed anthrax to prominent Americans.
    I was thinking biosensor and civil defense protocol investments could wait a decade, but maybe the sensors might have to be cheap to be effective in tandem with martial law. The idea of a “Germ Tax Shift” paid by active social networks/transports (airports especially) to be spent on biosensor R+D. But if our federal government is giving jet fuel breaks (2-4x as malignant as ground emissions) and attacking Green Shift…
    There is a U of T $600 prototype ceiling handwash reminder sensor and a Canadian company called medonyx (Sprixx and other clones too) that makes portable alcohol rub dispensors (costs $2 a nurse shift and pays back twice as much in reduced staph infections just like a 7% green mortgage saves 24% in annual electricity bills), that are the first logical federal (or unanimous provincial) investments for hospitals…

  9. Hmmmm….no posts from our regular Tory loyalists? Could it be that this one is so utterly obvious and indefensable that even they will not attempt to spin it as a great victory for the Cons or another dasterdly lie by the ranks of pro Liberal subversionists???? I mean really, they haven’t even bothered to complain about Aaron being a pro Liberal something or other who always fails to mention all the deadly bacteria outbreaks Dion is responsable for. Then again there are only a few responses so far, maybe I have jumped the gun, maybe the quality of Tory “lackying” (it isn’t a word but I like it anyhow) hasn’t dropped as much as I thought.

  10. Apparently they are too busy regurgitating their cheaper sandwiches to regurgitate Harper’s hot list of talking points…

  11. Tory slogan:
    We don’t need no stinkin experts!

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