Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Letters to the editor on the isotope crisis

Let's see how things are going out there these days, shall we? First, some fan mail for Lisa Raitt down there in the Hamilton region in the wake of her talking points letter to the Hamilton Spectator on August 22nd, in response to their editorial slamming the Conservatives. Here we go, two letters that express frustration with the government's lack of response:
Re: 'Government is making isotopes a priority' (Letters, Aug. 22)

There is nothing in Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt's letter to suggest the government has any intention of doing anything at all to improve the supply of medical isotopes.

The general tone of the letter is that things are just fine as they are, and that the government has no responsibility to help in the production of these much-needed medical supplies.

One wonders if perhaps the problems with Chalk River have been welcomed as a preliminary to officially divesting the government of all such responsibility. If that is their intent, it would be better if they were to be clear and open about that.

On the other hand, if they do intend to actually do something to improve/increase the production of isotopes, such as enlisting the McMaster University reactor, for example, it would be reassuring to hear about it.

Market responsiveness and transparency can do little to achieve better, more predictable supply.

Throughout her letter, Raitt implies the problem is one of marketing and distribution, rather than production.

Perhaps she just does not understand the nature of the problem.

Lorne S. Henwood
(Aug 25, 2009)
The second:
Re: 'Government is making isotopes a priority' (Letters, Aug. 22)

Would everyone reading this letter please stop breathing?

Now, how would you like it if I said that the private sector is to determine when you are to take another breath? (And even the availability of the actual air you're going to breathe.)

Furthermore, how do you feel if I assure you that the private sector is in large part coping to meet the demands of air breathers?

Of course, "large part" is not the same as 100 per cent, so you may be left out of the next round of breathing.

Getting a little concerned, are we?

Well, that's how the "what, me worry" Minister of Natural Resources Lisa Raitt rationalizes the medical isotope crises.

Douglas L. Martin
(Aug 25, 2009)
Here's another Raitt fan, different city. Letter to the editor, Ottawa Sun, Aug. 21, 2009 in response to a form letter from Lisa Raitt, very similar to the one sent to the Hamilton paper:
The insipid isotope letter from Minister of Natural Resources Lisa Raitt is simply more insulting words in an attempt to appease the populace from our ineffectual Harper government.

The memo only demonstrates again that a master-plumber would be in awe of this movement in a purely toxic/septic bureaucratic system.

The government seems to have money for everything from Afghanistan to the Arctic, but accomplishes little in securing the much-needed isotopes for those in need.

Sinclair Campbell
And finally, letter to the London Free Press:
Family members and friends have cancer. My mother and mother-in-law both need medical-isotopes for scans. While sitting with a friend after Victoria's dragon boat races for breast cancer, the reality of Prime Minister Harper's cancellation of Canada's medical isotope program hit home hard.

After a parliamentary order to re-open and to keep the existing isotope reactor running, the Harper government did nothing and ran the reactor into the ground.

Further, the Harper government cancelled the only alternative in the world (the Maple Reactors), despite expert advice that these reactor can be brought on line with adequate funding.

Most offensively, the Harper political spin machine has merely offered the odious excuse that "Mr. Harper is not responsible" - despite his direct action to end this public medical program.

The medical program's cancellation is guaranteed to result in excessive suffering and premature deaths - guaranteeing that Mr. Harper's legacy is, a careless indifference to life.

Eugene Parks, Victoria BC
September 1, 2009
A little temperature check, that's what's out there, it's hard going to find any positive sentiment on this issue.

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