Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why they've been hiding Tony Clement

Putting aside the whole nuclear safety thing, which is a pretty serious issue and what not, Tony Clement's explanation here for why the Conservatives decided to make the whole Chalk River reactor thing a partisan issue is rather hilarious, in a pathetic and childish grade two kind of way:

In an interview on CTV's Question Period, Mr. Clement was asked to explain why the government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, launched a personal attack on Linda Keen, the commission chair, alleging she was a Liberal appointee who was putting lives in danger by not permitting the restart of the reactor, the world's leading supplier of medical isotopes.

"At the time, we had some concerns that perhaps the Liberal opposition was toying with the idea of making this a partisan activity," Mr. Clement said. "We were concerned that we would not be able to get the legislation through in order to start up the reactor on time to deliver the isotopes."

"In politics . . . sometimes you've got to fire a couple of shots across the bow to make sure the opposition knows that you're serious about the issue," he continued.

Or, in other words, we were afraid they were going to make it a partisan issue, so we decided to make it a partisan issue before they could make it a partisan issue. Or maybe the Liberals knew the Conservatives knew we were going to make it a partisan issue, and we tricked them into making it a partisan issue first to make them look bad, because we're sneaky like that.

Bad attemped spin, Tony. It's back to the Harper minsiter relocation and hiding program for you.

Of course even better is the fact the Conservative spin was completely out to lunch, emphasized by the news today the Harper government bypassed the recommendation of an independent hiring committee to appoint a former Canadian Alliance fundraiser and party hack, Michael Burns, as president of Atomic Energy of Canada.

He's left the job though, so it would seem there's an opening. Maybe Homer Simpson is available...

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers

1 comment:

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I think most coverage of teh isotope fiasco i smissing a huge point. The shortage/crisis was entirely engineered. Alternate suppliers of isotopes were on notice of the impending shortage and were preparing to increase production to meet the demand of for-profit isotope distributor MDS Nordion (AECL's main customer).

Despite a 1996 plan for dealing with shortages and a 1997-1998 labour dispute that demonstrated the ability of offshore suppliers to meetr demand, MDS did not procure the available isotopes.

It was the failure to obtain and distribute isotopes that created the manufactured shortage. Thousands of lives were put at risk for the sake of MDS's bottom line. Harper acted as MDS's man in Parliament and sold the crisis and the one-and-only solution to all parties.

The shortage was unnecessary and manufactured. Outsourcing was not presented as an option. Nuclear ignoramuses in all parties bought into the crisis and acted in panic mode.

Underlying the entire sordid tale is the fact that Harper's government has been quietly working towards the sale of AECL. Whether you like nukes or not, AECL is a major asset owned by the taxpayers of Canada. AECLis a major player in the international nuclear energy market. It is worth billions.

The outcome of this fiasco is that AECL's asking price must be adjusted downward. Scandal, supply shortages, falsified upgrade reports, unqualified political appointees in charge, surprise resignation of the top guy, real safety concerns all add up to a reduced, devalued AECL price tag.

Who loses when a multi-billion dollar asset is sold off at an artificially low price? Who wins?

As we've seen recently, millions of dollars in commissions are up for grabs when a multi-billion dollar deal is in the works. There's a lot more dirt here.

Did I mention that thousands of lives were unnecessarily put at risk so that MDS could maintain profits?