Saturday, September 20, 2008


Christie Blatchford wishes everyone would just shut the hell up about AgMin Gerry Ritz's appalling remarks about the listeriosis deaths:
"He wasn't speaking publicly. He was at work ... He was having what he assumed was a private discussion."
"It was perfectly normal human behaviour", she explains, just like the newsroom she once worked in that "had a pool guessing the date Terry [Fox] would die."
Well, she's Blatchford, isn't she?

RossK at The Gazetteer has his own concerns about all this concentration on Ritz's "death jokes".
In "Are The Media Dropping The Ball To Follow The Shiny Ritz?" , he notes that media attention on the jokes and who leaked them obscures the more important original question of

"who was involved in crafting changes to CFIA policy that led to the removal of government inspectors from meat processing plants after Nov 2007?"
"It is the identity of the person or persons who made that public health policy decision regarding self-regulation, not the identity of the person or persons who squealed on a Minister"
that is important here, says Ross.

Well, exactly.
Ross put the question to hard-working Hill reporter David Akin, whose response raises a whole load of other important issues about the difficulty reporters face in posing any questions to Harper at all.
Or to anyone else the PMO doesn't want them to talk to.

Akin writes : "Harper himself seems relatively unfazed by the disclosure of Ritz's comments."
I'll bet he is. Disclosure of Ritz's comments have been a positive boon.
Now we're no longer demanding to know who is responsible for the Decision of the Treasury Board Meeting, November 13, 2007 to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:
"Inspection of Meat and Meat Products - shift from full-time CFIA meat inspection presence to an oversight role, allowing industry to implement food safety control programs and to manage key risks."

My take on the unfortunate media focus on the "jokes" goes like this : People like Blatchford will remember some off-colour remark they once made at work and how they didn't get fired for it so why should Ritz?
End of listeriosis issue. End of accountability for 18 deaths. Next.
Till the next case of Ritzeriosis privatization disaster.

Crossposted at Creekside

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