Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ignatieff will talk isotopes during Nova Scotia visit today

This week Michael Ignatieff's Hiding in Plain Sight Summer Tourpaolloza 2009 takes him to the Maritimes.

Today he's in Cape Breton, where events are scheduled to include a visit to the wharf at Port Morien with MPs Roger Cuzner and Mark Eyking to talk with local fisherman, a bbq at noon at the Big Fiddle in Sydney and then a meeting with local officials and tour of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital’s cancer centre.

He’s expected to speak to reporters there on the need to produce more medical isotopes for early cancer diagnoses.

Medical isotopes are used to diagnose heart disease and some cancers, but earlier this year the world’s supply began to decline. So far, Nova Scotians haven’t been denied tests because of the growing shortage, according to a Canadian Press report.

Its a timely visit, given the continued incompetence Lisa Raitt and the Harper Conservatives have demonstrated on the isotope crisis as more and more Canadians have their medical testing delayed or postponed and costs for hospitals increase.

And we saw yesterday that one of the sources Raitt has continually been holding up as a Chalk River alternative, Australia, is falling apart. As the Liberals have been saying all along, Australia was never a viable alternative given their own internal issues. And now that has been sadly confirmed:

A fledgling Australian nuclear reactor isn't yet making enough isotopes to cover for a downed Canadian reactor that used to produce a third of the world's supply.

Doctors say Australia's OPAL reactor could still be a few months away from running at full speed.

"I've been told unofficially about two months, two-to-three months," said Dr. Christopher O'Brien, head of the Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine.

"So, some time mid-fall."

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ridenrain said...

Maybe he can find some excuses where the replacement reactors are. A good investigation would find another Liberal boondoggle and criminal mismanagement of taxpayers funds.

Jeff said...

How long have the Conservatives been in power now? But really, yes, let's blame the Liberal for everything.

Let's blame the Liberals for the Conservative decision to mothball the replacement reactors, which according to scientists could more than meet the need. Let's blame the Conservative decision to can Linda Keen. Let's blame the Liberals for the Conservative decision to do nothing after the last Chalk River shutdown. Let's blame the Liberals for Linda Keen's continued incompetence in finding credible alternative isotope plans. Heck, let's blame the Liberals too for leaving a binder of secret documents at a television studio.

If there's anything that's criminal here it's the stupidity of that comment.

ridenrain said...

You need to stop the spin that this was all perfect and under control when Martin lost the election.
Harper took over in 2006 and the replacements were already 650% over the original contract price and just as unlikely to have produced the isotopes that were promised.

The Maple reactors were one of the biggest boondoggles the Libs had.

Jeff said...

I said all was perfect in Liberal land? Who is spinning now, if you need to create straw men to light ablaze, unable to stick to the merits.

BTW, if the project was beyond redemption, why'd the Cons keep it going a few more years?

And, moreover, where is there alternative?

just as unlikely to have produced the isotopes that were promised

But as for isotopes, who should I believe: the multiple experts and scientists who say it could produce isotopes, or random unnamed commenter?


ridenrain said...

Your painting this as if the Harper government could have recognized the problems, redesigned and rebuilt these reactors in that 3 years when the replacements were going on 17 years and still a long and very expensive way away. Two years into their reign they finally dove a stake through that vampires heart:

"The Government of Canada accepts the decision of the Board of Directors of Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) to terminate the MAPLE reactors project which was initiated in 1996 to produce medical isotopes. After 12 years, these reactors have never worked and never produced medical isotopes.

That only left the 1957 Chalk reactor which was already well beyond it's lifespan. The alternative was already botched before Harper even took over.