Greg Weston focusses on the numbers that have been kept from the public. What indeed should be done about this:
...taxpayers learn for the first time that the Harper government has pumped a staggering $1.7 billion into Atomic Energy just in the past three years -- most of it up in smoke if the Chalk River reactor remains beyond repair.The PM did himself no favours yesterday by scapegoating the young staffer from Nova Scotia:
Even if the reactor had remained working, Raitt's briefing documents say Canadian taxpayers would have had to shell out $72 million this year to produce medical isotopes, 90% of which go to U.S. hospitals.
The documents openly admit the financial truth about Chalk River was deliberately hidden in the last federal budget.
In Quebec City for a funding announcement, Mr. Harper put the blame squarely on Ms. MacDonnell’s shoulders.Not sensing from that report that they liked that move down there. That was a transparent and rather cowardly sideshow from Harper and Raitt.
Ms. Raitt "was undertaking ministerial activity in the company of her staff," he said. "They were responsible for these documents, certainly for accounting for these documents later. Certainly I think she had a reasonable expectation that that would be done. This is a serious matter and there will have to be changes. This kind of thing cannot reoccur."
Earlier, Mr. Harper’s spokesman pointed out that nobody noticed the documents were missing.
In the background, there are the big stories like this one. They may be able to stickhandle their way out of misplaced documents, but this isotope shortage isn't going to get any easier. The government is trying to lull us into believing it's all A-OK through careful p.r. stage management of the issue, in stark contrast to their prior arm waving partisan performance last time there was a shutdown ("Either the Harper government lied to Canadians 16 months ago, or it is lying today.") Facts in the form of cascading medical diagnostic tests going undone, however, are going to speak for themselves quite loudly through it all. As will the lack of any planning from the Harper crew after the last shutdown.
So we're left with a government that's hiding numbers, hiding behind staffers and trying to hide the truth about the isotope shortage. Par for the course:
Conservatives now are but a rough facsimile of the party that in 2006 came to power, and Canadians have precious few reasons to be confused about the ruling party's tactics, character or purpose.
For more on this topic, see: Blog Post Index: Medical Isotope crisis & Chalk River shutdown.