Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Should Raitt lose her job?

Yes. Not only because she is responsible for leaving secret government documents about Canada's nuclear policies at CTV's offices (the buck is supposed to stop with her - not an "aide") but because of the information contained in those papers that she has been covering up:

The documents reveal Ottawa has poured far more money into the aging Chalk River nuclear reactor than the public has been told.


In documents headlined "Background for discussion with chair of Atomic Energy Canada," the government lists funding for the Crown corporation at $351 million for 2009-2010. That figure was in the January budget.

However, it also lists $72 million to "maintain the option of isotope production." The public 2009 budget does not specifically mention funding for isotopes.

The documents also include a hand-written note that lists total funding for Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd. since 2006 at $1.7 billion, and then a talking-point memo to characterize the spending as "cleaning up a Liberal mess."


Publicly, Ottawa has downplayed Ontario's interest in the sale of AECL's Candu division. But included in the binder is background information for a May 25 meeting with Glenna Carr, who chairs the board of directors for AECL: "The government continues to support AECL's bid in Ontario, but the announcement will probably raise questions about this support. We will have to manage this very carefully."

Other documents highlight cost increases for AECL that have not been made public. In one document headlined "Discussion with CEO Hugh MacDiarmid, CEO of Atomic Energy Canada," it lists $100 million in supplementary funding to keep it solvent.

That figure includes cost increases to refurbishing Ontario's Bruce Power reactors and cost-overruns at Candu reactors around the world, according to the documents.

And in papers headlined "Minister Raitt's Discussion with Ontario Minister of Energy George Smitherman," it appears that AECL is far behind schedule on refurbishing two of the Bruce reactors: "Bruce 1 reactor 324 days late," and "Bruce 2 reactor 433 days late."

Sidebar: Good thing the docs were left in a CTV office. If they'd been discovered at the CBC, the Cons would be claiming this affair was some sort of left-wing conspiracy to bring the government down and to expose Canada's nuclear secrets to terrorists (or something equally as stupid).

And, in other leaky nuclear news, US government posts sensitive list of nuclear sites online. Reaction from the gov't: nothing to see big deal... but, of course, it was immediately removed from the site where it had been posted to make sure there was nothing to see there.


Raitt, who was acting supine and contrite during Question Period while continually repeating her prepared talking points (I offered my resignation; the aide resigned; move along now) actually cried sexism in response to a question by the NDP's Thomas Mulcair. Whoa there, Lisa. Don't even try to pull that canard. Feeling that desperate, are you?

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