Saturday, February 28, 2009

Checking in on the Ritz

Somebody's showing his "support" for cash strapped cattle farmers in his own special way:
Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud announced $71 million in aid for livestock producers Thursday, while continuing to urge Ottawa to chip in additional cash.

“If the auto industry is going to receive federal support, the federal government must also provide support to our cattle and hog sector,” said Bjornerud.

But as provincial farm leaders praised the one-time money, it drew criticism from federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. The Conservative government has no intention of topping up provincial funding, and doing so would likely cause Canada’s trade partners to retaliate, said the Battlefords-Lloydminster MP.

“I’m disappointed that Saskatchewan has decided to go this way,” he said.

“I don’t like the way that they throw the gauntlet down when they already knew what the answer was.”
As a Saskatchewan reader suggests, this is not exactly empathetic stuff and in fact it sounds like the Ritz is taking his voting public for granted out there, banking that they have nowhere to turn on voting day.

In other Ritz related news, the minister of listeria's agency is improving listeria testing due to what they learned from "recent events," aka the listeriosis outbreak that killed 20 people:

"Our interest is providing the very best level of assurance we can to consumers," said Paul Mayers, associate vice-president for programs.

"And so what we're doing here in terms of these enhancements is to take advantage of the lessons we learned through recent events and to continue the spirit of continuous improvement that we have always applied in terms of the meat inspection system."

See? Spirit of continuous improvement at the CFIA...too bad it wasn't in play when Ritz came up with the old inspection regime that took inspectors off the floor!

Thanks to P in Saskatchewan as usual for the keen eye on the livestock front...:)

Update: More of Ritz rankling the federal-provincial relationship in Saskatchewan, here.