Any Other Government Would Have Sent Gerry Ritz Packing

Gerry the Ritz Cracker
I got an e-mail yesterday from the official opposition saying that that a leaked memo confirms that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered meat inspectors to not enforce health standards to the same standards for meat going to Canadian consumers as they would for meet was destined for export.

The memo says in part:

“Our number 1 priority is to ensure this standard is met with Japan-eligible carcasses. Ensure that non-Japan-eligible carcasses are not inspected for spinal cord/dura-mater, OCD (other carcass defects) and minor ingesta … Ignore them.”

This double-standard directive was issued in 2008, and then again in 2010 and 2011.

What it seems to say is that the Canada Food Inspection Agency, Gerry Ritz and the rest of the Harper Conservatives have been mismanaging food safety for years, endangering the safety of food that Canadians put on their dinner table every day.

Today the spin doctors at the Food Inspection Agency were hard at work trying to assure Canadians that despite other problems at XL Foods, they have always made sure that Canadian beef bound for domestic markets was fully inspected.

Our old friend Gerry Ritz also issues a release saying "The CIFA continues to ensure that meat processed in Canada meets our high food safety standards."

Sure Gerry Sure. We know we can depend on you.



How well do you sleep at night Tom?
My Member of Parliament Tom Lukiwski, has once again let his constituents down. Yesterday all except for seven members of the Harper Conservative Government,  Tom included, voted to defeat private member's bill C-398.

The only Saskatchewan MP who votes "yes" was Maurice Vellacott.

The bill, brought to the House by New Democrat Helene Laverdiere who said in part as she introduced her bill,  "Mr. Speaker, today, I am proud to introduce my bill entitled An Act to amend the Patent Act.

This bill will modify the provisions of the current access to medicines regime, which allows Canada to export generic versions of drugs for HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other illnesses to developing countries, and it will make the regime easier to use.

This will enable Canadian manufacturers to send potentially life-saving medicines to those who desperately need them.

This bill is an improved version of Bill C-393, which the House passed by a comfortable margin last March but which, unfortunately, died on the order paper in the Senate.

When drafting this bill, I worked closely with the Grandmothers Advocacy Network and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network"

The bill was championed by the Grandmothers Advocacy Network and thousands of Canadians signed petitions in support of this bill.

When the original bill passed the big drug manufacturers opposed it. This time around withdrew any opposition to the bill being passed.

In advance of the vote former Member of Parliament Gerald Caplin said “If you had the opportunity to save hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of AIDS sufferers in Africa and other poor countries, what would you do? A complete no-brainer, right? Why in the world is it even a question?” 

Why indeed. 

Why did the Conservatives change their minds and defeat this bill?

Why did the Harper Government mount a campaign of misinformation in a push to assure the bill was defeated?

Why won't any predominant cabinet ministers comment on the decision to defeat the bill?

Disappointment in the Harper Government was expressed widely by those working on the front lines internationally was widespread.

UNICEF for example released a statement saying in part "We are highly disappointed with the result of tonight's vote. This Bill would have helped get life-saving medicine to the world's most vulnerable children without any additional costs to the government or Canadians. This is a missed opportunity and it is children who will suffer most," says UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley.

Currently only 42 per cent of the estimated 1.5 million infants born worldwide to mothers with HIV receive the antiretroviral (ARV) treatments needed to prevent transmission of the disease.

If passed, Bill C-398 would have strengthened Canada's position as a true global leader on newborn, child and maternal health. The Bill proposed critical amendments to CAMR removing the unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles that have made the process impossible to use.

How many children will die before a bill like this is finally passed?

Stephen Harper should be ashamed