Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Chalk River situation gets worse for the Conservatives

See? There's always more, not less, to a Harper government story:
The Conservative government rejected the findings of independent headhunters last year on the hiring of a new chair for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., picking instead a partisan fundraiser who abruptly left last week during the isotope crisis.

Jean-Pierre Soublière, who was the acting chair of AECL in late 2005, said in an interview Monday he was certain he was twice selected by the independent panel to become the permanent chairman of the board.

The first selection process was launched under the Liberal government of Paul Martin, but the nomination did not proceed because of the 2006 election. The incoming Harper government did not like the results of that process and launched a second one, which also recommended Mr. Soublière, an Ottawa consultant who was linked to the Liberal Party of Canada.

But the Tories refused to appoint Mr. Soublière. Instead, they nominated Michael Burns, a former executive vice-president at B.C. Gas and onetime fundraiser for the Canadian Alliance, a precursor to the Conservative Party.

Mr. Burns left his position late Friday, and Health Minister Tony Clement said in a television interview Monday the departure was related to the shutdown of an AECL reactor that created a worldwide shortage of medical isotopes.

“I think it's fair to say it confirmed our impression that there has to be new management, there has to be better management, at AECL,” Mr. Clement said.
(emphasis added)
So Clement's statements of Sunday to the effect that Burns' departure was just an "interesting coincidence" seem to be no longer operative. Today it's scapegoat time.

The Harpie government's motto...what have you done for me lately? If you're bringin' Harpie down, you're toast, pal...:)

Linda Keen? A little harder to get rid of:
A nuclear industry insider said Monday the government was faced with a difficult dilemma when the prolonged shutdown led to a shortage of medical isotopes, but at no time did he sense Ms. Keen took a partisan approach.

“Ms. Keen was doing only strictly what she had to do under the law,” the insider said. “She applied the law to the letter. She should not be flexible in that job. I was surprised that they attacked her personally.”
Weren't we all. Still waiting on Harper's apology to Ms. Keen.

Not to mention, of course, what this report today says about the partisan politics at play here where the Harper government has apparently prioritized an applicant's partisan record over competence. Particularly when it comes to an appointment to a nuclear entity. It's unacceptable.

And by the way, I think I've seen this movie before...and it never ends well.