Rick Mercer

XL Too Big for Food Safety – Rick Mercer Rant Nails It


The tainted meat scandal that continues to dominate Canadian news headlines has provoked harsh criticism of XL Foods – the company at the centre of the nation’s largest ever meat recall – regulator the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Federal Conservative Government. Yet, as humourist and political commentator Rick Mercer astutely underscores in a recent video rant (see below), the most important question the crisis raises relates to the whether it is safe for up to 40% of the country’s beef to be processed by a single plant.

The XL scandal is but the latest and most dramatic wake-up call for Canadians as to the direction successive federal and provincial governments have pushed the Canadian food system – legislating smaller, locally run farms and processors out of business in favour of monolithic, centralized corporate food producers.

In the aftermath of this tainted meat debacle, as our politicians point fingers, attempt to derive lessons and develop policy changes to help prevent this situation from repeating itself, the primary focus needs to be on addressing this overblown corporate food system run amok. We are frequently told small operators can’t safely produce and process our agricultural products, yet the system our governments have imposed on us in their place is clearly proving the opposite is true.

Check out Rick Mercer’s prescient rant on the subject below.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

4 thoughts on “XL Too Big for Food Safety – Rick Mercer Rant Nails It

  1. If you are dumb enough to eat meat, dairy and eggs considering how disgusting the conditions are in the manufacture and processing of these products then you deserve everything you get.
    It has been proved conclusively that humans do not need these products to survive and any propaganda which tries to convince you differently is just propaganda.

    You reap what you sow.

  2. The federal ministry of agriculture, with one stroke of the pen, decided that Canadians were to be protected from possible contamination of tainted meats purchased from a neighbour or some local small time meat producer.

    Less than two weeks later we had the listeria outbreak at Maple Leaf Foods that killed how many people?

    And now we have another outbreak of disease in another meat processing plant that serves almost half the population of the country.

    These corporate producers will become the masters of their own demise. The entire population of the country is fast becoming leery of the food supply chain and many like ourselves are abandoning the corporate food suppliers completely.

    I would wager that beef sales all across Canada have taken a steep dive in recent weeks.

    In my home we do not purchase any meat, eggs, or milk from the mainstream producers. We have spent time searching out small time local producers both here in the Vancouver area and on the gulf islands. The most interesting development of that is I had long forgotten what real meat, eggs and milk actually tasted and looked like.

  3. It is a physical principle that highly ordered, high energy systems are prone to rapid destabilization or failure. (A function of entropy and high-gain feedback systems.) Our policy makers don’t have the scientific knowledge, compassion, and common sense to make stable systems that actually work in their main, visible capacity (providing food, energy, medicine, security, education, etc.) because they’re too busy pandering to the private interests of the influential and optimizing their actual purpose, to make money.

    The answer to most of the issues with providing for society is a return to distributed, local production of goods and services for their immediate markets. The powers that be need to set aside their short term self interests (they’re gonna get burned by this insanity like the rest of us eventually, so their long term interests are probably more in line with the proles than they’d like to think) and actively change. Not sure how we get them on side with reducing their influence, though.

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