Before we get going, let’s acknowledge the obvious. We pay such little attention to Canada that we are far from experts on our neighbors to the north.
When we do pay attention to Canada its usually because of some natural or man-made disaster. Canadians tough out what mother nature sends their way, but man-made disasters are another story.
In America, we try and get both truth and justice in our Courts. If policy-makers learn any lessons along the way, we consider ourselves lucky. In Canada, it’s a different story. Up north, the man-made disaster playbook requires multiple inquires in hopes of placing some sharp-edge political blame.
There was no doubt man was responsible for the 2008 listeria outbreak that was eventually traced to the ready-to-eat meat cutters at the Maple Leaf plant in Toronto.
Maple Leaf paid out $27 million to the survivors of the 22 mostly elderly Canadians who died in the listeria outbreak. Members of Parliament have already weighed in with their own report on the tragedy.
The latest play in the inquiry game comes from independent investigator Sheila Weatherill, a public health expert and former CEO of Edmonton-based Capital Health. Her report to the government in Ottawa is a big deal.
Here’s how the Calgary Herald puts it:
A "void in leadership" within the federal government during last summer’s deadly listeriosis outbreak came after company officials and over-worked meat inspectors failed to identify a persistent listeria problem at the Maple Leaf Foods plant, according to a highly critical report by an independent investigator.
No player in the listeriosis outbreak escaped criticism from Sheila Weatherill, who released her report Tuesday.
But Weatherill zeroed in on a "vacuum in senior leadership" among government officials at the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that caused "confusion and weak decision-making.
She makes 57 specific recommendations in the report. Maple Leaf president Michael McCain said the report was "tough" on the company and "it ought to be." Ag Minister Gerry Ritz added the most worn observation, saying the outbreak was the result of a "perfect storm."