Saturday, August 30, 2008

Daily Digest August 30, 2008



Performance artists

Travel for health an emerging issue

Get ready for an ugly campaign

Economy needs a boost

Harper's rush to the ballot box

Canadians need better assurance on food security

No need for election

Who'll stand on guard in Canada's Arctic?

Killing abortion debate unhealthy

Harper's Arctic vision bold and risky

Hidden apartheid or hidden apathy

The madness on our streets


Army told to switch its Afghan tactics
Un warns Nato-led coalition forces rules need to be revised after rise in civilian casualties

US to back Afghan air raid probe

Karzai fast losing his popularity
IANS (08/30/2008)
McCain failed to qualify statement about "success" in Afghanistan (08/30/2008)
Misleading tip faulted for deadly Afghan strike
The Associated Press (08/30/2008)
Afghan Civilians Killed at Checkpoint, Germany Says
Bloomberg (08/30/2008)
Pentagon Reports U.S. Airstrike Killed 5 Afghan Civilians, Not 90
The Washington Post (08/30/2008)

U.S. to help out in Kandahar's 'Wild West'
Canadian troops in Kandahar are getting a boost as 800 American soldiers move in to assume operations in Maywand district.

Enbridge, BP ink Alberta-Texas Gulf pipeline dealComment

Maple Leaf Foods' problems hard to digest

New meds aren't always 'safe and effective'

Exploited foreign workers Canada's new 'slave trade'

Green party announces its first federal member of Parliament

Harper sees no common ground with the opposition, Layton says after meeting

Canada fall election more likely, government says

Polls show Liberals, Tories tied

MP joins Greens; May now in leaders' debates?

Harper plans to go steady
PM will stress risk of Dion when he seeks electoral love

Why fix what ain't broke?

An illegal election?

Canada fails to track food illnesses, expert says

Worker says meat plant filthy
Employee at Maple Leaf factory linked to deadly outbreak claims machines improperly scrubbed

Ottawa slashes grants for new media


Harper ne montre aucune flexibilité pour travailler avec l'opposition, dit Layton

Dix décès sont maintenant attribués à l'éclosion de listériose

Le Parti vert recrute un premier député fédéral siégeant aux Communes

Alfonso Gagliano a pris possession de son vignoble en Estrie

L'aide du voisin du Sud

Patrimoine canadien
Un autre programme aboli?

L'équipe au secours du chef

Un nouveau sondage donne Harper en tête

Économie et leadership, les thèmes de la campagne conservatrice

Harper intent on triggering an election: Layton

 PM's plan for Oct. 14 vote hits snag
Canadian Jewish Congress warns Harper against calling election that would conflict with Jewish holiday.

An illegal election?

Can the G-G deny Harper his election?

Alberta confirms new Listeriosis-related death

Meat plant cut corners: Employee

Report: Gagliano purchases Quebec vineyard with federal loan

Alfonso Gagliano receives $500,000 federal loan

Liberals, Conservatives 'basically tied' in support
[] Poll shows wide swings in regional popularity

PM key to Tory strategy
Public's perception of him as decisive leader could lead to majority government: Pollster

Harper plans to go steady
PM will stress risk of Dion when he seeks electoral love

Ottawa slashes grants for new media
Telefilm loses $14.5-million fund

Pakistani lawmaker defends honor killings
Tribesmen bury five women alive for wanting to choose their own husbands

Liberals using crisis for political gain -Clement
..exploiting tragedy for political gain by linking Canada's listeriosis outbreak to the E. coli water crisis in Walkerton.

Walkerton mayor calls for public inquiry on listeria outbreak
..current outbreak  "outrageous"  noting that some of the cabinet ministers who were in the Ontario government in 2000 are now in the federal cabinet.

Man under fire
The tainted-meat crisis has put the spotlight on Michael McCain, the CEO of Maple Leaf Foods..

Five players to watch in the runup to the election

Candidates already in race suspicious of PM
..alleging he is derailing the process because his party will lose in their ridings.

'Shared concern' on economy: Flaherty
Federal finance minister tones down rhetoric about Ontario's manufacturing sector woes

Will Hargrove run against Flaherty?

Death penalty stance a likely election issue
Court review of Tories' refusal to fight for Canadians on death row scheduled for end of September

MacKay: Supply ships coming
MacKay is promising a Canadian-made solution to replace two aging navy supply ships after Ottawa sunk a $2.9 billion replacement program last week.

Tories braced for Stoffer's criticism of coast guard job

A cold calculation of prime ministerial proportions
Canadians know, after watching Stephen Harper in office for three years, that he's a control freak. He controls all his ministers, all the important files, all major communications, and all the circumstances in which he makes public.. MORE...

Why Harper decided to take control of election timing
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and several of his most powerful cabinet ministers met last week at historic Willson House, on a promontory overlooking Meech Lake in Quebec's Gatineau Park, and decided they must call a federal election before.. MORE...

Tories ignore moral issues
"Okay, it was mentioned, but I think we got away with it. Everybody discuss something else now." Which may not be precisely what the Tories said when the abortion issue came up this week, but is pretty close to the mark. Stephen Harper.. MORE...

Harper trampling all over Constitution
It looks increasingly as if Stephen Harper is taking advice from Robert Mugabe in attempting to reset the Canadian agenda. The self-declared president-for-life of Zimbabwe says he intends to form a.. MORE...

Gentlemen, start your coffins. This election's a snore ... or is it?
A forced election - "a con job," cry the critics - is upon us. A feeling of yet more disillusionment among a citizenry known for its sense of fair play accumulates because of the manipulative manner in which the government is calling it. MORE...

Dion tries to change his hue by jumping on culture bandwagon
Liberal leader is unpopular in Quebec so he's trying to recast his image. Stéphane Dion, defender of Quebec's culture and identity? It's not how French-speaking Quebecers are used to seeing the former letter-writing scourge of the.. MORE...

A flood of flyers stirs pre-election emotions
We should have known an election was in the cards. Conservatives lately have been mailing a blizzard of political flyers across the country. MORE...

Conservative ideology is in decline
Canada's next election, the one the Prime Minister plans for fall, will ask Canadians a question Americans have already answered. The arch-conservatism that came late to Ottawa in January 2006 is in spiral decline here after.. MORE...

Tough on crime can be pretty tough on children
How would Canada's criminal justice system look if conservatives fully transformed it? And more importantly, what would those changes do to Canadian society? With the Harper government pushing more tough-on-crime.. MORE...

Canada's current food-safety crisis

La Teoria Conspiratoria


From: David Bell

This headline "Food inspection agency expands self-policing Vets to assume 'oversight' role at abattoirs" coming when the full effects of the LISTERIA breakdown of quality control is at least to me a negative.  Read the article posted below.  Do you feel comfortable in supporting the policies in process or not?

Re: Listeria

The challenge for us (globally) in "regulation" extends far beyond food. It includes health, disease control, telecommunications, banking, finance, transportation etc.

Our technological/commercial capacity far outstrips our regulatory capacity. A Health Canada official said to me that if we stopped all pharmaceutical development for the next five years, the FDA (never mind Health Canada)  would be unable to catch up. Most senior regulatory officials will tell you that we would need a 10-20X increase in regulatory budgets and it will not happen.

Brave New World?


From: "Jacob Rempel"
Subject: Google Blogs Alert for: David Orchard

Is Harper Crazy?

From: "Rubie Britton"

Subject: CARP Article: Building An Emergency Plan That Works For You

From: "Rebecca Gingrich"
Subject:  Free Trade anyone?

What have we come to if the US is ''better at inspection' than we are? We
have all read horror stories coming out of the US re food safety. Now this.
Is this what is meant by free trade? We all sink to the lowest common
denominator re food safety?


Maple Leaf criticized in 2007 audit

August 30, 2008

OTTAWA -- A mousetrap plugged with discarded pieces of meat and animal fat
turned up in a May, 2007, inspection of Maple Leaf's meat plant in Brandon.

The observation wasn't made by Canadian officials, but by Alam Khan, a
senior auditor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mr. Khan said in a
report that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspector accompanying him
on the tour scooped the obstruction out of the trap.

Pest-control devices must be working properly to be approved by U.S.
auditors. The official who cited the clogged mousetrap gave the facility a
failing grade in pest control, and told his U.S. colleagues it wasn't an
isolated problem.

The auditor's report notes that Maple Leaf had been warned multiple times
about problems with the kind of trap it was using "and yet no action was
taken by the establishment to correct the problem."

Although several Canadian plants have lost the approval of the USDA to ship
to the United States because of these audits, Maple Leaf plants have not
received that sanction. Maple Leaf spokeswoman Linda Smith noted that all of
the company's plants remain in good standing with the USDA.

"They have passed their recent inspections," she said. "Minor findings are
part of the audit process and are not uncommon."

The mousetrap incident is just one of a litany of failings outlined in the
latest USDA audit of Canada's meat, poultry and egg inspection system.

All Canadian plants that are approved for exporting to the United States
must allow U.S. officials to audit their facilities.

More than two dozen on-site audits done between May 1 and June 6, 2007, were
compiled into a final report on Canada's meat, poultry and egg products
inspection system.

The report says that 19 out of 20 audited plants were not complying with
sanitation standards, while Canadian inspectors were not always aware of
their duties, "and were not well trained in the performance of their
inspection tasks."

With Canada's decision this year to stop making facility reports and
rankings by Canadian inspectors, the USDA website may be the only place
where consumers can read detailed reports of what is happening in this
country's plants.

The Globe and Mail reported this week that Canada ended its ranking system
on March 31 after the industry complained the reports were leading to
negative media coverage.

The CFIA's response to the USDA's 2007 audit report - which included the
assessment of Maple Leaf's Brandon facility - shows that Canada urged the
Americans to soften their critical language.

Dr. Bill Anderson, the CFIA's director of meat programs, wrote last year to
the head of the USDA's international audit team. In the letter posted with
the report, Dr. Anderson noted that while none of the CFIA inspectors who
accompanied USDA officials on their audits challenged the U.S. findings,
Canada didn't like their tone.

"I would however like to voice my concern over the tone of general
statements made in the draft final report," wrote Dr. Anderson, singling out
the finding that: "Nineteen of 20 slaughter and/or processing establishments
(including cold storage) had deficiencies in [sanitation performance

"We found that this statement is unnecessarily severe," Dr. Anderson
continued. He suggests that the line be changed to: "In addition, some of
the SPS requirements were not being enforced adequately in 19 of 20

Jim Laws, the executive director of the Canadian Meat Council, confirmed
this week that industry representatives had asked for the Canadian rankings
to be terminated because they were "archaic" and causing council members
grief when they became public.

A review of the U.S. audit illustrates why such information might be

While the Maple Leaf plant in Toronto identified as the source of the
current listeria outbreak was not audited in 2007, the report says that
Maple Leaf plants in Brandon and Moncton were in "non-compliance" regarding
sanitary operations. The Brandon plant also received a non-compliance
ranking for pest control.

The problems were not exclusive to large companies like Maple Leaf. A
Charlottetown company called Natural Organic Food Group received a
particularly damaging report. Among the observations was a lack of floor
drainage in an employee's work area.

"Even though this employee had a slightly raised area to stand on, he was
surrounded by water with blood in it," states one of the auditor's

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said yesterday that Canadian's facility
rankings had become "antiquated" and needed to be replaced. Paul Mayers of
the CFIA said new compliance reports will be introduced.

"We have a commitment to transparency," he said.

(Yup. Fired an inspector who released plans Ritz denied that were in place since March. Wasn't there something about accountability too back in 05-06?)