Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Give the government credit this time. After their miserable performance during the Mulroney-Schreiber committee hearings, where they appeared to be befuddled and often out-manoevered, today's performance (and I guess a few days earlier, too) showed what some coordinating and cahooting do for a gang that tries to paint the whole world blue.
First, they ensured that their hidden minister was first on the agenda. And Harper timed the news release of the firing of Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission head Linda Keen at about midnight Ottawa time. It resulted in Keen's disappearance from the scene -- perhaps while seeking legal counsel? Then minister Lunn's appearance came off as slick and pit-bullish -- and for the best coverage of that, go to the always awesome Kady O'Malley blog. The Harperesque chess game (still playing the 'partisan' home version) forestalled a conflicting he-said, she-said battle of headlines in back-to-back days.
Lunn's appearance made headlines alright. I'm not sure how his performance will go over, but as long as the gov't continues to play the 'Lives were at Stake' card, while fuzzying over the risk involved of running a reactor without emergency back-up power, there appears to be a dangerous trend here. If they are successful in convincing popular opinion of their motive, then the independence and stability of Canada's quasi-judicial agencies is now on shaky ground -- CONservative revolution is on the Air!
The slippery and seemingly dastardly nature of Stephen Harper's government continues to peel another layer off its self, while the whole nation is watching American Idol.
But let's get this straight. The role of the CNSC was and is to ensure that the nuclear reactors in Canada are operated safely. That is its first and only duty.
Whether there was a pissing match between the CNSC and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd or a lack of forsight on government and industry's part seems to have fogged the issue. As it is defined, and as has been noted by the likes of Dr. Reg Whitaker of York University
At least we can rest assured that privatization is not in the cards. What's that you say?
And yes, wasn't it Almost-Done-Lunn making a lot of sales pitches last year about nuclear as a cleaner generator of power, not long after grousing about whether "Ottawa [can} properly regulate a company it also owns"? Does he have his lobbiest credentials already? Harper has already promoted the idea of nuclear reactors to answer that 'so-called global warming' thing. And you know what CONs think of gov't-owned industries. Wouldn't it be interesting if AECL was one of the first out of the gate after that Diefenbacker-like wave of approval washed over Canada?
Moving uranium, pitching nuclear energy. Maybe Harper will next help sell more asbestos.