July 26, 2017

Near miss of Israeli wine purge shows danger of “product of origin” politics

David MenziesMission Specialist

Ottawa bureaucrats at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, recently sent a directive to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario demanding the removal of a pair of wines. Not for safety reasons but for political ones. 

The two wines in question are from Israel, and the CFIA, or more accurately, a junior bureaucrat at the CFIA, had a problem with that.

The CFIA notified the LCBO that it was unacceptable to declare Israel as the country of origin for the two wines because they’re not produced within Israel’s formal borders.

As such, product of Israel on the labels would be misleading and that would mean that the wines could not be sold in Canada.

Watch as I share the cowardly reactions from the higher-ups and the highly political memo that was sent out.

Not surprisingly, the directive created a furor and within a few days the CFIA was rescinding its Israeli wine purge.

The CFIA now correctly states those wines “adhere to the (Free Trade) Agreement” and the products from those two wineries “can be sold as currently labelled”, but I wanted to get an idea how this fiasco got into gear in the first place.

Alas, CFIA spokeswoman Anna Matos is hunkered down in her Ottawa bunker and isn’t returning calls so I couldn't ask why this anonymous CFIA bureaucrat was embracing an anti-Israel mandate championed by the nuts behind the BDS movement and I also wanted the CFIA to confirm or deny the rumour that this junior bureaucrat is a member of the Green Party.

Guess we’ll never know.

If the CFIA is going to play politics with product of origin rules, the bureaucracy will soon discover the definition of “slippery slope.”

And when I asked the LCBO for comment regarding why they were so gung-ho to remove the wines, their explanation essentially boiled down to: the anti-Israel strategy was a CFIA directive and we were just following orders.

Now, where have we heard that line before?

Comments
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commented 2017-07-26 19:08:55 -0400
Of course not likely to be any consequences for the CFIA junior bureaucrat who made a political decision, outstepping his/her authority. I am sure if the bureaucrat had black-listed wine from a Muslim country (like Kenya), there would at least have been sensitivity training.
commented 2017-07-26 19:04:10 -0400
Fake jobs. That start at $65,000 a year.
commented 2017-07-26 18:55:18 -0400
I e-mailed both CFIA and LCBO after this was first reported, I demanded that the anti-Israel campaign cease immediately. I further added they could expect protesters if this situation wasn’t remedied. No one replied to my letter; I imagine they were inundated with similar complaints and calls to fix this now.
A few days later, I read the decision was reversed.
commented 2017-07-26 18:30:37 -0400
Isn’t it the CFIA that claims something is safe, then backtracks based on social media, or claims something is unsafe, then backtracks based on social media?

I think I will use them to determine what is best for me by doing the opposite of what they recommend.