The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is this year’s winner of the Code of Silence award.
The tongue-in-cheek award is given away annually by the Canadian Association of Journalists to a secretive government body.
Among this year’s contenders was the Yukon government, for refusing to disclose the actual salaries paid to deputy ministers, who effectively run government departments. Such information is routinely disclosed by almost every provincial government.
But the Yukon government faced stiff competition for the dubious honour. After all, it isn’t connected to the deaths of 22 Canadians by food poisoning. The winner is.
And it took the food inspection agency nine months to release inspection records of the Toronto-area Maple Leaf plant responsible for the listeria outbreak.
Other nominees include the RCMP, for refusing to release information about Taser use, and the Harper government, which the CAJ says muzzles civil servants and cabinet ministers and blackballs critical reporters.
The award winner was announced during the CAJ’s annual meeting on Saturday. It was accepted by a director of the CAJ on behalf of the food inspection agency, which sent no one to collect it.