Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Pushing our limits

A few morning after points on you know what...

One of the worst things about yesterday's events on the Raitt matter was the wait for the judge's ruling at 6 pm last night. With the wait came a gnawing doubt that the judge might grant the injunction prohibiting publication of that news story by the Chronicle Herald. There was no need to worry, in the end. The judge got it right and found that there was an overriding public interest that had to be protected over the private claim. But boy do those Harper Conservatives love to push the limits and test the judicial system to see if they can get lucky (like Dawg, it's hard to believe that the ex-aide to Raitt was on her own here). Why must there always be an escalating crisis around these people? Fires everywhere.

From CP, a key part of the judge's ruling:
The judge said the minister's statement on the medical isotopes is important for the public to know and outweighs any potential harm to the reputation of MacDonnell.

"The issue of the political oversight of Canada's medical isotope system is literally a matter of life and death for cancer patients. It is a matter of intense public interest," he said.

"The handling of this issue by the government and the cabinet ministers is a matter of immediate public and political interest."(emphasis added)
So, now, thanks to the Chronicle Herald fighting an incredibly strong push to suppress the story, the public has been educated on many things about the "handling" of the issue by the Harper government.
  • There is a window into the political soul of the Harper government, once again, in the form of Raitt's glee at being able to seize the file from her Health Minister colleague and take the credit.
  • There is Raitt's reference to all it taking to solve the situation being "money." Yes, lots of money apparently thrown at the Chalk River situation, as Raitt muses about - but not disclosed to the Canadian taxpayer as Greg Weston pointed out the other day. And that money has been spent to no avail on the isotope front. Throwing money at problems in futility, much like the scattered spending announcements they make across the country.
  • There are Raitt's serious doubts about the competence of her colleague, the Health Minister. To refresh our memories of what kind of boat we're in that the Health Minister is presently steering, recall Raitt's recent admission on June 2:
"There is going to be a shortage in the supply of medical isotopes and as such you can't promise something that you don't have," Raitt told the Commons committee on natural resources.
In the background to all the noise, the underlying reality. Given the December 2007 shutdown of the same isotope producing facility, the Harper government has had fair warning that such a shortage problem could occur again. Yet there was no planning. No backup plan for alternative suppliers to Chalk River. And the situation is not good: "...she's covering up the fact that there are no sufficient supplies of medical isotopes to come in from either Belgium, the Netherlands or Australia." That's really what the ministerial super duo needs to explain...

For more on this topic, see: Blog Post Index: Medical Isotope crisis & Chalk River shutdown.