Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Harpers Nuclear Opportunism

The Nuclear Crisis in Canada produced an opportunity for Stephen Harper to not only engage in political opportunism but to set the AECL and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the path to privatization. His former appointed head could not get the job done, so time to replace him

Never one to miss an opportunity to make a purse out of a sows ear, Harper once again used his autocratic power as PM to supposedly solve the crisis by 'firing' the head of the AECL and demand the reactor be put back on line. Except the 'firing' was a big lie.

AECL chair tendered his resignation in November,
long before controversy was made public

The former chairman of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. lashed out Tuesday at attempts to blame him for the Chalk River nuclear reactor controversy, calling the Harper government's handling of his resignation “a clumsy piece of political opportunism.”

Michael Burns told The Globe and Mail he submitted his resignation as chair of the Crown corporation on Nov. 29, before the medical isotope crisis stemming from the Chalk River shutdown became public. His departure was announced last Friday with no explanation, but was soon linked by a key cabinet minister to the Chalk River situation.

“I was quite taken aback two weeks later when I heard my resignation had been accepted by the Prime Minister in the midst of the crisis,” Mr. Burns said.

Health Minister Tony Clement has since connected leadership changes at AECL, including the replacement of Mr. Burns, a Vancouver energy executive and onetime Tory fundraiser, as well as the appointment of a new CEO, with the need to give the organization better management.

“Well, maybe they do [need better management],” Mr. Burns shot back. “But this is a clumsy piece of political opportunism. If they're going to do it, they could do it with a little more skill.”

Mr. Burns said he submitted his resignation, which becomes effective on Dec. 31, after a little over a year in the job because of delays in getting a series of proposed reforms instituted at the Crown corporation. He would not elaborate on the nature of the reforms.

Mr. Burns also took issue with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attack on Linda Keen, chair of the Canadian Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which ordered the Chalk River reactor to extend a routine maintenance shutdown in order to install additional safety equipment, provoking the isotope shortage. Emergency legislation was passed by Parliament last week overriding the regulator and forcing the reactor to restart.

Mr. Harper labelled Ms. Keen, a career public servant, as a Liberal appointee who put the lives of Canadians in danger by cutting off the supply of isotopes.

Asked whether he thought Ms. Keen had acted in a partisan manner, Mr. Burns responded: “I think not. There's no politics in that. There may be administrative politics but there are no party politics in that dispute.”



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JimBobby said...

Whooee! GeneFeller, this ain't over, yet. The big questions have yet to be addressed by Parliament and the MSM. Underlying everything here is the Con's desire to sell AECL and marketplace manipulations aimed a affecting the sale price.

1000's of lives were put at risk. Not by CNSC. MDS Nordion failed to procure available (but expensive) alternative supplies of isotopes. The crisis was manufactured. Harper's pitch in the HoC did not mention the alternate supplies available. It was sold as a situation which could only be mitigated by restarting NRU.

All Harper did by forcing the restart is ensure MDS's bottomline did not suffer too badly. The outcome is that if AECL is sold, the price Canadian taxpayers can expect for their crown asset has gone down.

AECL is worth billions. Market place manipulations have multi-million dollar effects. People will make million dollar commissions on the sale.



good ta see ya Jimbooby er Jimbobby fella. Good points to.