Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tony Clement must apologize or Stephen Harper must fire him

Some 15 deaths have been linked to the listeria outbreak and the Maple Leaf Foods recall, and more are likely to come. It’s a public health crisis.

And where is Tony Clement, the minister of health in Canada’s Conservative government? Is he working on the issue? No. He’s down in Denver, making jokes at their expense: (H/T Pogge)

The Canadian government sponsored a swish lunch reception at its consul-general's Denver residence.

The food included bite-sized bits of beef, shrimp, tortellini and potatoes gratin. Health Minister Tony Clement, whose absence from Canada during the tainted meat crisis has not gone unnoticed, was there and introduced himself:

"I'm Health Minister Tony Clement, and I have to say I approved this food."

No one is laughing, Mr. Clement. There’s nothing funny about the death of 15 Canadians. This is not a joking matter.

Tony Clement needs to apologize to the people of Canada immediately, and especially to the families of the 15 Canadians who have died because of this outbreak. And if he doesn’t, Stephen Harper needs to fire him.

We’re waiting Tony.

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Gayle said...

What an idiot.

And that is why Harper will not fire him.

penlan said...

How Clement, or anyone for that matter, can make a joke like that is telling. He really doesn't have a clue as to how we are impacted by this food nightmare. As you said, people have died & more might too, as well as people being sick, & that the incubation period for Listeria can be as long as 3 months.

There is some panic about this among Canadians - it's a major crisis & he's joking at an elite event at the DNC.

Walkerton, obviously, didn't even graze his conscience. What a sick bunch of goons.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Maybe ol' Tony'll make a heartfelt apology like Lukiwski did. Maybe Tony'll pledge to spend the rest of his life tryin' to make amends like Lukiwski promised. Maybe Tony'll fergit all about that promise like Lukiwski done.

There's pretty much nothing a Con cabmin can do that'll get 'em canned. Harper's known all along they're a buncha incompetent nincompoops. He can't fire 'em fer bein' themselves. Can he?


James Bow said...

Respectfully, I think it's a stretch to connect Tony's comments to the tainted meat outbreak. The joke itself makes no mention of the problems, and pokes more fun at the nature of political ads in the United States -- a timely topic given that Clement is attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

We can criticize Clement for not being back in Ottawa, on the job, while the investigation continues, but that's bound to be a one-day story as well. After all, a similar thing happened with Toronto mayor David Miller when he left the city in the aftermath of the propane depot explosion to attend his daughter's 13th birthday.

My advice would be to stay focused on the details of the changes to the inspection process, and not to get hung up on incidentals like this.

Frank Frink said...

I would respectfully disagree on one point, James. Now on earth could Clement not think these comments would not be reported back here in Canada?

It's either quite cavalier or incredibly ignorant. Neither speaks well to his sense of discretion or appropriate speech.

Red Tory said...

I too have to disagree with you on this one James. It was tastelessly glib.

Frank Frink said...

Sorry for the double negative.

I meant to say, of course...

Now on earth could Clement think that these comments would not be reported back here in Canada?

Jeff said...

James, I find it stretching belief that Clement could possibly be simply making an election-ad joke, given his job, given the situation in Canada right now, given his ministerial responsibility, and given the criticism he has been taking for being missing in action during this crisis. Either he was unaware and stupid, or aware and a jerk. Neither is palatable for a minister of the crown.