Thursday, December 20, 2007

Conservative leadership on Chalk River: blame everyone else

Tony Clement was all wide-eyed and rah-rah happy to be there in the Chalk River facility yesterday looking at the big shiny buttons and wearing his lab coat and all. He tried again to put the PMO approved spin on their handling of the shut down. And threw in a U.S. style photo op: "I feel like we're surrounded by heroes." He's the Minister of Health, and yes there's a health issue, what with the medical isotope production. But where the heck is Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn who's responsible for the nuclear sites? Is he not allowed to speak in public? Is he not even allowed to attend the re-opening of this facility that's under his ministerial bailiwick? What a strange government Harper's running up there where he doesn't seem to trust his Ministers in challenging situations. If Harper doesn't trust Lunn enough to put him out there, then why should we?

Listen to Clement actually digging a deeper hole on Lunn's competence, engaging in the question:
The two ministers moved as quickly as possible once they learned that the 50-year-old Chalk River nuclear reactor had been shut down for safety violations, Clement insisted.

Lunn has been virtually invisible in recent days as the Tories have attempted to portray the crisis as a medical concern rather than a nuclear safety issue.

But Clement told reporters who gathered just metres away from the reactor that he's been "working very closely with Gary Lunn since this situation became evident."

"I found him to be a professional individual who is doing a job under difficult circumstances. He has already changed some processes in his department to make sure that the lines of communication are tighter and quicker." (emphasis added)
Could he be any less enthusiastic about his colleague? "I found him to be a professional individual." That's what you say about someone when you have nothing good to say. And the "professional" Gary Lunn is apparently not allowed out of his room to speak for himself.

And they're still shamefully buck-passing. From the CP report:
Clement suggested someone other than he and Lunn was to blame for the problem, and he vowed to thoroughly investigate what happened.

"The prime minister was quite serious when he said we want to get to the bottom of this, and we will get to the bottom of this.

"What Canadians want to know is: can someone who needs medical isotopes for cancer therapy, for heart therapy, can they get the medical isotopes."
Yeah, trust them, they'll get to the bottom of it. Because we can trust them to do so on an objective, rational basis given their trashing of the nuclear regulator and it's Chair, Linda Keen as Liberal appointees, right? What a useless thing for Clement to be saying now. We're going to continue to finger point. But whatever. Let them have their fit of vengeance for being exposed as incompetent. It certainly seems to do wonders for their poll numbers...

And on that latter point Clement raises, that Canadians want to know they can get their medical isotopes...the answer is: apparently not on a consistent basis with you clowns in charge.