Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday odds and ends: NHL funding, jets and isotopes

1. A new poll suggests Canadians don't like the prospect of providing funds to help bring new NHL teams to Canada. Presumably, that would include federal funds being disbursed for arenas to entice the NHL to consider relocating teams to those interested Canadian cities. It's just an indicator but it does confirm the blow back we've seen. It's a losing issue.

2. David Pugliese gives a heads up that there will be yet another p.r. push from the government - aka the PMO - to bolster its sole-sourced F-35 purchase, this time involving the Aerospace Industries Association:
"Sources say that aerospace firms, some with contracts on the F-35, others who might have contracts on the aircraft, had received calls from the Prime Minister’s Office “inviting” them to the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada event, although one industry executive and myself had a chuckle over the term invite since receiving one of those from the PMO is akin to receiving an “invite” from Don Corleone - No one turns down as “invite” from the PMO, the industry representative laughingly told Defence Watch.

However, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada now says the event will not be happening today. But it will be rescheduled for a later date."
The big push continues, with the hint of the heavy hand of the PMO driving the public relations. Not that we wouldn't have guessed that this would be handled out of the PMO.

3. There is also news that one of the principal Canadian companies involved in Canada's supply of medical isotopes is contracting with Russia to get back-up supply in the event of another shutdown at Chalk River or other disruption. Distance matters with these isotopes, having a short shelf life and all. Whether this development is cause for any concern in this government, probably not, judging by the way this issue has been treated, basically as something to be swept under the rug and not spoken about much at all.

There's a reminder in the report too about Chalk River's licence shelf life being until 2016 and that the back-up the government has chosen is experimental technology, cyclotrons and such. A new reactor is a proven choice, that's what the Dutch are doing. It would cost about $1 billion. Much less costly than the haul of $9-$16 billion in fighter jets we're getting to replace the present CF-18s. That CF-18 hardware will also be expiring but later this decade, beyond Chalk River's date.

So to sum up here, on the isotope front, a fairly important health matter, it's experimental technology and back-ups from Russia. It's another interesting comparison in terms of the choices this government is making.