Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Harper government silent on their push to build uranium enrichment plants

Truly shocking news today: "Harper Tories refuse to discuss international push to have Canada enrich uranium." Not so shocking on the disclosure of information front. But this is a big story that deserves some attention.

Harper has been leading the charge behind the scenes internationally to change Canada's nuclear policy and have us become a leading enricher of uranium. As the Canadian Press article notes, no one in Harper's government, from the PM on down the line of mute ministers - Lunn and Bernier - are talking to the Canadian people, however, about these plans. Begging the question, one more time (how many times do we indeed have to say this?), as to why Canadians don't rate as deserving answers from their government on significant issues like this. If the plan is harmless, why has Harper brought down the cone of silence over his government? What are they so afraid of, once again?

The details from CP:
Does Stephen Harper's Conservative government have a hidden nuclear agenda?

Not if you happen to live outside Canada. The Canadian government has been campaigning internationally for months to add this country to the small, tightly circumscribed club of nuclear enrichment states.

But the diplomatic arm-twisting only came to light less than three weeks ago, when the United States announced it was dropping its insistence on a ban on uranium enrichment technology to non-nuclear states.

Anonymous negotiators at the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Vienna emerged to say the American demand had been shelved primarily at the insistence of Canada, which wants to build uranium enrichment plants.

Who knew?

As it turns out, a great many people - but few in Canada and certainly not the news media whose job is to inform the public about federal policy. (emphasis added)
Because how would anyone, really, learn much from the Conservative government. Information is doled out on a need to know basis, based on the political priorities of the government. Transparent government? Not so much.

What are the implications? As the report points out:
Canada's interest in uranium enrichment is controversial because enrichment is the critical step needed in bomb building.

Nobody's accusing Canada of having atomic arsenal aspirations, but Iran's enrichment program is being challenged for just this reason. Some observers have suggested Canada's lobbying undermines the international non-proliferation effort.
Why are we moving in this direction? Hmmm? Maybe Minister Lunn, if he's briefed for three full days, might be let out of his cage to tell the Canadian population why...