Canadian bureaucrats still aren’t that into me

I keep hundreds of bureaucrats occupied.

They just aren’t that into me.

Which is fine.

I know this because I used to play hockey with a bunch of them. Also, I see how many are subscribed to the listservs. And I get a lot of requests, and messages sent in error about some particular e-mail, or hooking up with a co-worker after work.

Seriously, run a listserv that goes to a few hundred thousand people, and someone’s going to hit reply to the wrong address now and then; there’s some bored bureaucrats out there.

This whole Food Safety Network thing started out of my basement back in 1993. Some folks from Health Canada, which evolved into the Public Health Agency of Canada, were there from the beginning, and we wrote a paper about early listserv experiences.

A couple of years ago, Health Canada decided to stop offering any financial support – in this case, a few grand a year. The reason: I may have made a quip about a Health Canada minister or policy and someone got huffy.

Of course, no one from Health Canada or PHAC unsubscribed from the listservs. They just complained that Doug was a “loose canon.”

Yes, science and democracy is all about sitting quietly and listening to propaganda. A similar dig at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, rumor has it, led the University of Guelph and its former vp research to cut off any contact with me. Oh, and confiscate all the money that was left. It’s pathetic that a bunch of Guelph people still walk around and proclaim, with straight faces, their excellence in food safety risk analysis, especially the communication part; on the dime that I raised.

Then I got this request last Thursday from PHAC in Guelph:

“I’ve been given the task to review keywords to search for media articles connected to our program areas (foodborne, environment and zoonotic diseases) from our agencies (sic) global media monitoring program – Global Public Health Intelligence Network.   As many of our staff find the daily FSNET emails useful, I was wondering if you could share with us your process and the keywords you use to search media headlines to ensure you are inclusive of all relevant sources for your listserv.   Please let me know if this request is feasible.”

Set up Google alerts. Use keywords like food safety and vomit. Anything else I can help you with?