Killer Listeriosis Outbreak – Government Broken Promises put us all at risk -UPDATE

The Harper government has not named the lead investigator into a Listeriosis outbreak that killed 20 people. He promised last year to “get to the bottom of what transpired”. With only 3 months left before the report was to issue findings Harper has done nothing. People are still at risk. Listeria bacteria exists in all meat processing plants…[end of excerpt – source cbc.ca]


First reported here on the Missionlog last August[ see Deadly Listeria Bacteria – Tainted Deli Meats Linked to Food Deaths – Maple Leaf Foods – Toronto ] The hope was that progress had been made in the government’s food inspection process, but the recent news reports show that the health and safety of Canadians is not a top priority with the current minority Conservative government. The company involved – Maple Leaf Foods, has done far more:  read about it here.

Our concern now, as then, is with the homeless street people that we serve. Many of them are included in the groups identified by Health Canada as being at greater risk of contracting listeriosis from the listeria bacteria found in most luncheon meats.  Project417 has always advised independent sandwich run groups not to make sandwiches with fresh deli meats due to problems with food spoilage – Many of our street friends have gotten sick in the past from eating bag lunches prepared by well meaning but uninformed church groups and other volunteers who go out on unsupervised sandwich runs. Even though in the past Public Health  nurses had advised that bologna was a good choice for sandwich runs due to preservatives, as a result of the news reports and Health Canada advisories, we updated the Project417 website with a notice to groups to avoid any sliced meats for use in sandwich runs to the homeless and stick to the tried and true PB&J or plain process cheese slices. That advisory still stands. Check back for more updates soon.

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From canayjun.blogspot.com – P.M. Harper’s Address on TV

Prime Minister Harper’s Address to the Nation on TV

Normally devoted to issues of homelessness, humanitarian aid and disaster relief – This event is so important to Canada that I re-published it here from my Canada News Commentary blog at canayjun.blogspot.com

UPDATED 12:00 Noon, Dec 4 – Parliament suspended. Gov. Gen Michaelle Jean has approved Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s request to suspend Parliament, agreeing to put the government on hold until the end of January, the legal stall tactic used by the Prime Minister is called “proroguing parliament”.

UPDATED 9:16PM, Dec 3 – Click the title above to link to the video feed of Prime Minister Harper’s address from CTV.ca or from YouTube Canada right here:

For the full text of the speech including Dion’s response click here
Harper focused his attack on the coalition by referring to “backroom deals” struck with separatists, an obvious reference to the Bloc and leader Gilles Duceppe. He did not mention that he will meet with the Governor General tomorrow at 9:30 am, nor did he say he would seek to suspend parliament. He spoke only of ongoing meetings and deliberations in advance of a full budget he wants to release in January, 2009 [Can we afford to wait?]


In a little less than two hours, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will address Canadians on a television broadcast to be carried by the major TV networks.

It is the minority Conservative Party leader’s latest attempt to stave off the impending non-confidence vote and the proposed Liberal – NDP – Bloc Coalition Accord to defeat the minority government and assume majority control of Canada’s parliament. It is expected that Mr. Harper may announce that parliament will be “prorogued” or temporarily suspended until January, a date he has mentioned as when the Conservative Finance Minister would be ready to submit a more complete budget to the Canadian people.

As one who is calling the Coalition an undemocratic bid to take control of the government, Prime Minister Harper should take a page from his own book. What could be more detrimental to the democratic process of government in Canada than suspending the house? While parliamentary rules allow parliament to be prorogued after a minimum of one sitting, this would be a most blatant attempt at minority control of the will of the people of Canada.

Prime Minister Harper and his minority Conservative Party have never won a majority in Canada, having garnered only 37 percent of the popular vote. The Coalition represents 62 percent of Canadians and holds 163 seats in parliament versus 143 seats for the Conservatives. Stay tuned to the Canayjun’s Canada News Blog here for real time feeds of Harpers address.

The following links and previous post here on the blog will give you a good background.

Canada’s PM to address nation in crisis

Text of the Coalition Accord

I’m part of the 62 percent majority

Coalition for Change – the 62 Percent Majority Petition

Deadly Listeria Bacteria – Tainted Deli Meats Linked to Food Deaths – Maple Leaf Foods – Toronto

Canada Food Inspection seals found on recalled products

Canada Food Inspection seals found on recalled products

Healthzone.ca – Listeria outbreak spurs food safety overhaul:

“Ottawa will hire more food inspectors and may allow irradiation of meat to reduce bacteria that causes food-borne diseases such as the deadly outbreak of listeria linked to ready-to-eat meats. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto believed to be the source of the listeriosis outbreak would undergo tough scrutiny when it resumes production. Federal inspectors “will hold and test 100 per cent of the product coming off the lines for four to six weeks,” he said.  Still, he echoed Maple Leaf CEO Michael McCain when he said that testing products for listeria is like looking for a “needle in a haystack.” [ End quote: sourcehealthzone.ca – Toronto Star – The Star online]

There are some important links to keep updated on the ongoing Listeria monocytogenes bacteria investigation:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Listeria Investigation: Ready-To-Eat Deli Meats

Listeria Monocytogenes – Public Health Agency of Canada

CFIA Recalled Products – MEAT PRODUCTS PRODUCED AT ESTABLISHMENT 97B MAY CONTAIN LISTERIA MONOCYTOGENES

Maple Leaf Foods Product Recall Notice

According to Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer: “For most people, the risk posed by listeria is very low”. The Public Health Agency of Canada advises healthy people who are exposed to listeria are rarely affected by the bacteria.  However, there are certain people who are at higher risk for listeriosis – the very young, the very old, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. People from these at-risk groups who may have eaten contaminated products and have experienced symptoms, such as persistent fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, should consult their health care provider. We recommend that those at greater risk take precautionary measures when preparing food by avoiding the recalled products.

People with weakened immune systems reports say include people with HIV /AIDS, and alcoholics. Here at Project417, our concern is with the homeless street people that we serve. Many of them are included in the groups identified by Health Canada as being at greater risk. Project417 has always advised independent sandwich run groups not to make sandwiches with fresh deli meats like ham, corned beef, roast beef and condiments like mayonnaise, mustartd, butter etc due to problems with food spoilage, Many of our street friends have gotten sick in the past from eating bag lunches prepared by well meaning but un-informed church groups and other volunteers who go out on unsupervised sandwich runs.

Even though in the past Public Health street nurses had advised that bologna was a good choice for sandwich runs due to preservatives, as a result of the news reports and Health Canada advisories, we updated the Project417 website with a notice to groups to avoid any sliced meats for use in sandwich runs to the homeless and stick to the tried and true PB&J or plain process cheese slices.

The real tragedy is the number of deaths of unsuspecting Canadian consumer, concentrated in Toronto and Ontario who have died of the listeriosis outbreak. And our homeless friends are some of the most vulnerable reduced to living on handouts and dumpster diving just to survive.  Check back often for more updates.

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|| Visit Project417 – Help the Homeless ||

Toronto Streets to Homes Program Just U.S. Homeless Czar’s Mistake

Gentrification of Jarvis & Shuter

Gentrification of Jarvis & Shuter

From Street Nurse Activist Cathy Crowe Newsletter #48 Summer 2008 – by Beric German:

Philip Mangano, often referred to as Bush’s homelessness czar, promotes a “housing first” policy. The Bush administration, and the Harper government, are concentrating on “street homelessness” (those people visibly living on the street), instead of funding sustainable affordable housing programs.”

The program is really about hiding the homeless! Many of my volunteers on the Project417 sandwich runs already have heard me, and our friends on the streets, tell of the appalling condition of the housing offered to the street homeless through the Streets to Homes programs: Small, cramped rooms and tiny basement apartments, crumbling walls and ceilings, old lead paint, asbestos insulation, parasites like bed bugs and lice, broken plumbing, and little choice in the tenants with whom you have to share. I wish there were statistics on how many Streets to Homes rooms were located in known crack houses.

Streets to Homes has had some success, but it is only dumb luck and the perseverance of the homeless themselves in choosing acceptable accomodation. By far the majority of “homes” offered are sub-standard and actually lead to tenants turning to homelessness on the streets again in a short time. Their choice is really a lack of choice. Tell our governemnt, at all levels that homelessness is not to be solved by hiding the problem, but by providing safe, accessible, affordable hosuing where banyone would choose to live with pride and dignity.

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Text Message Cash Grab Hurts Ordinary Folk

First they charge us for non-existent “system access fees”, now they want to up the ante and charge for incoming text messages…



Canada’s Injustice to First Nations

Canada votes against UN declaration on aboriginal rights

From Yahoo! Canada News & CP

By Steve Lambert

(CP) – Aboriginal leaders, human rights groups and the opposition blasted the Conservative government Thursday after Canada voted against a United Nations declaration on aboriginal rights.

They accused the government of trying to sweep aside an important show of support for aboriginals that took 20 years of negotiations among UN countries.

“By opposing this declaration the Conservative government has signalled to aboriginal Canadians that their rights aren’t worth defending,” Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said in a statement.

“This is a stain on the country’s international reputation,” said Phil Fontaine, head of the Assembly of First Nations.

“It is disappointing to see this government vote against recognizing the basic rights of Canada’s First Peoples.”

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples passed easily Thursday, 143-4. Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States voted against and 11 countries abstained.

Canada said it could not support the document because its broad wording appeared to give native communities sweeping powers that could contravene existing law.

“It’s inconsistent with the Canadian Constitution, with Supreme Court decisions and with our own treaty negotiations and obligations,” Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said from Ottawa.

Among the many problems with the document, Strahl said, are sections that say laws that affect aboriginals should only be passed with the prior consent of First Nations.

“We’d have to consult with 650 First Nations to do that. I mean, it’s simply not doable,” he said.

Another section of the UN declaration says aboriginals “have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions.”

That is also unworkable, according to Strahl.

“Some people … say that means we can have our own legislatures, our own council in our own language,” Strahl said.

“But no one’s quite sure, and that’s the trouble with language like that.”

Critics argued the UN declaration is not binding on any country, and is more of a symbolic commitment to aboriginal rights.

“It’s an aspirational document…it wouldn’t contravene laws that are in place,” NDP Indian affairs critic Jean Crowder said from Nanaimo, B.C.

“I think (Canada’s vote) is a very cowardly and, I would say, un-Canadian approach to human rights.”

Aboriginal leaders, however, felt the document was more than just a vague expression of support.

“It recognizes who we are, that we have these fundamental rights,” said John Paul, executive director of the Atlantic Policy Congress, which represents 35 aboriginal communities

“To us it’s like the U.S. Declaration of Independence, because it lays out a number of inalienable truths about us as aboriginal people in the world.”

Visit Project417 to help

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