Friday, January 11, 2008

Harper ignores the first rule of holes

Our Prime Minister is still digging.

As reported in today's Ottawa Citizen and elsewhere, he is publicly defending the hapless Gary Lunn, shrugging off a damning report on AECL, and continuing his attacks on the head of our Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Linda Keen. Does the man have no shame? Or is he simply such a narrow, driven partisan that he feels duty-bound to argue that black is white for The Cause?

"Frankly, it troubles me greatly if the regulator still believes jeopardizing the health of Canadians needlessly was a wise course of action," he said. I had to read that bit of barefaced prevarication two or three times. Jeopardizing the health of Canadians? By insisting that the aging Chalk River nuclear facility, which had not met the terms of its licencing agreement with respect to safety, should be up to par? A facility that experienced a serious nuclear accident in 1958 (yes, it's that old)? The place where four workers were sprayed with radioactive dust in 1999? A facility that is situated in an active earthquake zone? Where two earthquakes were recorded last month alone? (Hey, don't worry. Be happy.)

Is our Maximum Leader out of his mind? Does he imagine that the rest of us are?

Here is what happens when nuclear oversight is nonexistent or insufficient. And here. And here.

Jeopardizing the health of Canadians needlessly? Look in the mirror, sir.

As for Minister Lunn,
he acted "beyond the call of duty," Harper tells us. Indeed he did, by illegally improperly* attempting to interfere with the operations of an independent agency. But Harper "absolutely" stands behind his Minister, and perhaps that's the safest place to be at the moment, come to think of it. If someone will only pry the shovel from his hands.

*Commenter Deaner has a point. The Minister's conduct, in my view, was clearly improper, but I did not establish a case for calling it "illegal." Mea culpa.

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