Thursday, September 04, 2008

Conservatives are worried about the listeriosis issue taking off

As well they should be:
Mr. Harper made a special point of announcing the planned listeriosis probe Wednesday at the end of a pre-election stop in Windsor, Ont., where he pledged $80-million to help Ford Motor Co. of Canada restart an idling engine-assembly plant. He raised the matter himself after receiving no questions on the outbreak.
Because why would he be questioned by the crack national media, after all. The reporting has only shown, for example, that the Maple Leaf plant where the outbreak occcurred had been operating under inspection regulations promulgated by the Harper government. Regulations which inspectors have decried as taking them essentially off the floor away from inspection. They're exposed and they know it. A reminder:

Under the new system, federal inspectors do random product tests only three or four times a year at any given plant. And meat packers are required to test each type of product only once a month.

Under the old system, inspectors had a more hands-on role on the plant floor, did more of the tests themselves and had more freedom to investigate, said former CFIA inspector Bob Kingston, who is national president of the Agriculture Union, a branch of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

A comical note from the Globe report must be noted:
His description of himself as a concerned father who buys luncheon meat for his family is exactly the picture the Conservatives want to paint in an election campaign expected to begin Sunday. The Tories plan to frame Mr. Harper as a minivan-driving hockey dad from the suburbs and chief rival Liberal leader St├ęphane Dion as an elitist professor who has difficulty articulating a vision, making decisions and relating to Canadians.
As for the smokescreen of feigned Daddy concern, the Harper government is well aware of what they've done in respect of their changes to food inspection. With a little more time, the voters will be too with the assistance of opposition parties who will hopefully hammer away at this issue during the election. The Conservatives deserve to be held accountable for their regulatory changes.

I'm betting Tim Horton Canadians like their luncheon meat to be inspected. And they won't like to hear about the inspection cutbacks that occurred under Mr. Harper through his Agriculture Minister's changes. I guess we'll see.