Friday, January 11, 2008

Daily Digest January 11, 2008


The DAILY DIGEST: INFORMATION and OPINION from ST. JOHN'S to VICTORIA.

EDITORIALs

ST.JOHN'S TELEGRAM - Itching to make the cal
http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=97029&sc=80

HALIFAX NEWS - Desperately seeking our new helicopters
http://www.hfxnews.ca/index.cfm?sid=97017&sc=90

HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD - Fundy's big opportunity
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Editorial/1017275.html

AMHERST DAILY NEWS -Quality soldiers, old equipment
http://www.amherstdaily.com/index.cfm?sid=97076&sc=61

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Shortening MDs' training is no panacea
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=17e70902-2eb1-4e39-a54b-df2b7a27bf84

OTTAWA CITIZEN - This snub is no surprise
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=1bc26bbf-48cd-45f6-8ee9-0d44247d2757

         Fighting school violence
         http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/editorials/story.html?id=28b3e0a0-d0b5-4d6d-adec-26ae4028afba

OTTAWA SUN - Better safe than sorry
http://www.ottawasun.com/Comment/Editorial/2008/01/11/4767064.html

BELLEVILLE INTELLIGENCER - Liberals fail to plan details for Family Day
http://www.intelligencer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=851097

TORONTO STAR - Ensure schools safe for students
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/292986

        Limit menu to one topic
         http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/292985

NATIONAL POST - Deport Laibar Singh
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=230905

TORONTO SUN - Listen to teachers on violence
http://www.torontosun.com/Comment/Commentary/2008/01/11/4767069.html

K-W RECORD - It's time to cut our carbon emissions
http://news.therecord.com/Opinions/article/293592

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Tax rightly gassed
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/editorial/story/4105277p-4703284c.html

WINNIPEG SUN - Missouri River diversion doesn't wash
http://winnipegsun.com/Comment/Editorial/2008/01/11/4767074.html

SASKATOON STARPHOENIX - Province needs to think beyond carbon credits
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/forum/story.html?id=0e3bc116-e19f-4725-bc1f-17e513f0b4b1

REGINA LEADER-POST - Time to move on
http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/viewpoints/story.html?id=7dd54803-2fa2-450e-8cb0-5385288d8af6

GRANDE PRAIRIE DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE - Border bend
Canadians must decide what we are doing with immigration/refugee rights
http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/Editorial/367751.html

EDMONTON JOURNAL - IOC too cautious on ski jumping
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/opinion/story.html?id=159a0c2d-9793-44d5-968c-a68f70f95479

LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Leaping to a hanging
http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/article_9416.php

PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN - Primary p.s.
http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=112165&Itemid=161

VANCOUVER SUN - There are no excuses for further delays in deporting Laibar Singh
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=446c53e1-a8fa-4f5e-ae34-5488b5a0c30d

        IOC's flimsy reasons for banning female ski jumpers boil down to discrimination
         http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=2b4634fd-27f5-409b-89bf-8eae0cb9d7aa

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - Let's keep on electing politicians with more substance than style
http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/editorial/story.html?id=33e6a439-40d0-4090-bf53-f994f3a9383d

VICTORIA TIMES-COLONIST - Lunn's pressure on reactor wrong
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=2db9bc9e-f6f4-4711-88a2-7a82fa8e98d5


ISSUES

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS
First Nations vow to occupy eastern Ont. site to block uranium mining
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/080111/n011176A.html


CANADIAN FORCES
[]
The mysterious Afghan warlord trusted to spread peace in a divided province
The Times (01/11/2008)
[]
Canadians unable to convince Afghan intelligence to stop shackling prisoners
The Canadian Press (01/11/2008)
[]
Bid to transform Afghan madrassas
BBC (01/11/2008)
[]
US blocks Pakistan aid
The Australian (01/11/2008)
[]
The Musa Qala Purchase: An Anglo-Afghan endeavor
Afgha (01/11/2008)
[]
Marine shooter seeks immunity in Afghan case
Los Angeles Times (01/11/2008)
[]
"US Would 'Regret' Pakistan Operation" - Musharraf
The Associated Press (01/11/2008)


CANUSA/USACAN
When you cross the line, you'd better do it right
Kit offers advice on getting 'Trade NAFTA' status to work temp jobs in the States
http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/business/story.html?id=883f020c-7b48-4205-88ad-7a88c001df16&k=36605

U.S. trade protection expected to grow this year
American election a time for Canadians to 'duck and cover,' expert warns
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=5198c539-9dcc-43cf-ac92-2d9612ce708e


ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Loonie drops after tepid employment report
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080111/labour_report_080111/20080111?hub=Canada

Canada job losses stun market
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/080111/canada/canada_economy_col


FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Emerson opts not to 'lecture' on rights to Chinese
Reiterating last year's strong statement on the subject would have been off topic, Canadian trade minister asserts
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080111.wemerson11/BNStory/International/home

Pakistan takes a step backwards
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JA12Df01.html


JUSTICE SYSTEM
Appeals court strikes down controversial 'iPod tax'
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080111/ipod_tax_080111/20080111?hub=Canada

Where does it end?
http://www.winnipegsun.com/News/Columnists/Brodbeck_Tom/2008/01/11/4767097.html

Hardly a prince
Marc Emery peddles a dangerous drug and flouts American laws. Why should Ottawa protect him?
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=230904


MIGRATION
Ontario MPs urge Ottawa to drop visa requirements for Polish visitors
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/080111/n0111105A.html

Illness does not a refugee make
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Columnists/Jacobs_Mindelle/2008/01/11/4767099.html

'Sanctuary' means nothing in Canadian law: Day all 100 news articles »

http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=ca/2-0&fp=4788e7bc7fbe6dbb&ei=P0iIR--pCIH6-gH30-XECw&url=http%3A//www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html%3Fid%3D231725&cid=1126043363


POLITICS IN THE PROVINCES
Provincial trade barriers? What provincial trade barriers?
Far from being a boon to trade, the TILMA agreement between B.C. and Alberta has a darker motive
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080111.wcomment0111/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

Williams drops gloves, takes aim at PM
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2008/01/11/williams-harper.html

Don't stand in way of prosperity
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/forum/story.html?id=45edcc8d-7678-48ea-ac1a-bfe272b29c84


POLITICS
                          OPEN FEDERALISM IN ACTION

Premiers blast PM for linking $1-billion economic fund to passing of budget
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080111.wministers11/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

$1-billion aid will remain dependent on budget
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080111/premiers_080111/20080111?hub=Canada

VIDEO: CTV Newsnet: Premiers discuss the meeting
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/HTMLTemplate?tf=/ctv/mar/video/new_player.html&cf=ctv/mar/ctv.cfg&hub=Canada&video_link_high=mms://ctvbroadcast.ctv.ca/video/2008/01/11/ctvvideologger3_200049692_1200082347_500kbps.wmv&video_link_low=mms://ctvbroadcast.ctv.ca/video/2008/01/11/ctvvideologger3_200049691_1200080820_218kbps.wmv&clip_start=00:01:02.09&clip_end=00:14:38.87&clip_caption=CTV%20Newsnet:%20Premiers%20discuss%20the%20meeting&clip_id=ctvnews.20080111.00230000-00230064-clip1&subhub=video&no_ads=&sortdate=20080111&slug=premiers_080111&archive=CTVNews

Premiers say dinner with PM too short, too casual to address economic woes
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/080111/n0111142A.html

Take jobs out of budget: Preems
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2008/01/11/4767384-sun.html

'The more you talk, the better'
First ministers meetings worth the effort: Ex-preems
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2008/01/11/4767385-sun.html

Premiers get pledge to keep talking
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080111.wfirstminsupdate0111/BNStory/National/home

PM's not out to build any bridges
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/293106

                                   A NEW WORD: TO BE "ORCHARDED"

David Orchard: the man Ottawa loves to cheat
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/archive/2008/01/11/david-orchard-the-man-ottawa-loves-to-cheat.aspx

Stéphane Dion caught in a lie over David Orchard?
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/01/10/john-turley-ewart-st-233-phane-dion-caught-in-a-lie-over-david-orchard.aspx

Maverick Orchard finds a new party to tangle with
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/editorial/story.html?id=85baeb3c-b7aa-41ca-8199-1dc020016d04

Orchard says he was assured Liberal nomination for Sask byelection would be open
http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5g4_beckJAxZ4iZ72gulHw0pJUbdQ

Liberals at odds over candidate
Dion is urged to allow open nomination in riding where he picked the contender
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080111.LIBERALS11/TPStory/National

Dion toldme candidate wouldnot bepicked, Orchard says
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=230871


                 EXPLODING TOPIC


2 earthquakes didn't impact isotope reactor: AECL
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/01/09/cnsc-meeting.html?ref=rss

Maybe it's Lunn who should go
Minister's approach made Chalk River worse
http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=a53ff080-d853-4a75-a85e-563c2b7e3a0f&k=10607

Isotope dopes
http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Columnists/Weston_Greg/2008/01/11/4767094.html

Harper takes new swipe at nuclear watchdog
PM defends decision to restart Chalk River reactor to provide medical isotopes, saying shutdown should never have happened
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080111.wnuke11/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

Prime Minister's Defence of Minister Lunn 'Ludicrous': Alghabra
http://www.liberal.ca/story_13478_e.aspx

Conservative Ploy To Neuter Canada's Nuclear Regulatory Agency
http://www.waterkeeper.ca/content/drink/conservative_ploy_to_neuter_ca.php


PM calls inquiry into Mulroney-Schreiber affair
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080111/mulroney_report_080111/20080111?hub=Canada

THIS AND OTHER MIKE DUFFY VIDEOS ON PAGE /\
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/HTMLTemplate?tf=/ctv/mar/video/new_player.html&cf=ctv/mar/ctv.cfg&hub=Canada&video_link_high=mms://ctvbroadcast.ctv.ca/video/2008/01/11/ctvvideologger2_500kbps_2008_01_11_1200089181.wmv&video_link_low=mms://ctvbroadcast.ctv.ca/video/2008/01/11/ctvvideologger2_218kbps_2008_01_11_1200086982.wmv&clip_start=00:10:21.58&clip_end=00:05:51.35&clip_caption=Mike%20Duffy%20Live:%20William%20Kaplan,%20author,%20lawyer&clip_id=ctvnews.20080111.00230000-00230031-clip1&subhub=video&no_ads=&sortdate=20080111&slug=mulroney_report_080111&archive=CTVNews

Canada to Investigate Ex-Prime Minister
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iIa_34IPi2ywYMTBrEgcC7V9AXpAD8U3VE380

PM calls for public inquiry into Mulroney-Schreiber affair
Announcement comes after release of Johnston report
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/01/11/harper-inquiry.html

Harper announces Mulroney inquiry; opposition demands full probe
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/080111/n0111121A.html

Harper 'trying to stall for time' with Mulroney-Schreiber hearings
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/01/11/opposition-inquiry.html

Harper announces public inquiry into Mulroney
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2008/01/11/4768297.html

Mulroney-Schreiber inquiry called
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080111.winquirydecision0111/BNStory/National/home


PROGRAMMES
Report of the Independant Advisor into the Allegations Respecting Financial Dealings Between Mr. Karlheinz Schreiber and the Right Honorable Brian Mulroney http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/default.asp?Language=E&Page=informationresources&Sub=publications&Doc=ria-rci/table_e.htm

PM extends $1b helping hand to foresty towns
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=dfa054b2-875a-4925-b6b5-d4d7384609c9&k=70032

Government of Canada Delivers on the Promise of the Softwood Lumber Agreement
$467 million in export charges paid to 6 provinces
http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=809531

Minister says he'll review gripes about tax agency
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=809a91e8-33ea-4747-ad0b-dc7b7ec8c7fa&k=38512

Sub Support Contract Creating Canadian Controversy
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/sub-support-contract-creating-canadian-controversy-04563/

Additional Readings & Sources: The Victoria Class also on this link /\

Federal fisheries envoy criticized over seal hunt
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080111/seal_hunt_080111/20080111?hub=Canada

Be less secretive, internal report urges Canada's spy agency
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/080111/n011193A.html


PRESSURE POINTS
All things to all people
Pundits of all stripes are pointing to carbon taxes as a policy panacea. Terence Corcoran isn't buying it
http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=22a09bd2-1bdf-4cfe-ab17-df96a29c8001&k=91786

THE TAXING ISSUE OF CARBON
http://www.vueweekly.com/articles/default.aspx?i=7815

Britain backs nuclear power as 'answer to climate change' -
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/171826.html


OPINION AND INFORMATION
First ministers' meeting loses lustre under Harper's decentralized federalism
http://www.recorder.ca/cp/National/080111/n0111110A.html

How will Harper handle adversity?
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/292987

Why Arabs suffer
What lies at the root of the Middle East's culture of violence? Philip Carl Salzman explains how Bedouin politics became embedded in modern Islamic sociology http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=230972

In defence of a big, juicy steak
http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=230907

Eliminating poverty makes economic sense
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/292990

Taxpayers deserve better from their national network
CBC reporter, Liberal MP need Ethics 101 refresher
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=2e29e60f-f6d7-428b-9922-7728360e1325

Divorce-harms-planet theory latest eco-absurdity
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=ca53e4e3-79e8-45ca-ae1a-a69510b37af9

Equalization typifies squalid politics
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/forum/story.html?id=2a9496da-591b-4706-9cda-397491dbdf08

Elitism is best appreciated when earned
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/editorial/story.html?id=27551523-e0be-4162-b6af-a80432c69597

Politicians' desire to show their human side could backfire
People don't want laughing, joking people. They want to elect leaders
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=99564ef6-ece9-4ce0-9227-a6d75bdc5b4a


INFOS

Laissés sur leur appétit
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/2008/01/11/002-Rencontre-PM-Ottawa.shtml

Harper veut des réponses
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/National/2008/01/11/004-enquete-mulroney-schreiber.shtml

Un problème complexe
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/societe/2008/01/11/001-don-organe-gais.shtml

Pas pour les Français
http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/environnement/2008/01/11/001-Mais-ong.shtml

Volée de bois vert pour Harper
Le milliard que promet Ottawa aux provinces est décrié de partout comme étant insuffisant et mal réparti

Stephen Harper décide d'une enquête publique sur Mulroney-Schreiber
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/080111/N0111116AU.html

L'impasse persiste entre Ottawa et les provinces après une réunion informelle
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/080111/N0111145AU.html

L'aide aux secteurs forestier et manufacturier est accueillie froidement
http://info.branchez-vous.com/Nationales/080110/N0110156AU.html

Harper reçoit ses homologues des provinces
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080111/CPACTUALITES/80111086/1025/CPACTUALITES

Charest et McGuinty prêts à exprimer leur insatisfaction
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080111/CPACTUALITES/80111124/1025/CPACTUALITES

Harper défend son ministre des Ressources naturelles
http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080111/CPACTUALITES/801110905/1025/CPACTUALITES

BELOW(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)30)30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)(30)

Deux questions ce soir

        Is it appropriate to use the Governor General in her office and in her person and the Speech from the Throne for premeditated partisan purposes as most certainly       is the situation when the title given to the October 16th Speech from the Throne delivered by the representative of Canada's Head of State, Queen Elizabeth     now appears with her picture and the Speech title on the Conservative Party of Canada website and on franked householders?

        Is the Lethbridge Herald correct in stating "Lunn would have done well to leave such a jury to its work."?
        

Lèse majesté?

Received the following in this morning's mail, franked.

CANADA: THE HARPER GOVERNMENT. Strong Leadership. A better Canada.

Speech from the Throne October 16, 2007.
Emacs!

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:87OIoXZnJFAJ:www.conservative.ca/EN/2459/90667+conservative+party+Strong+Leadership.+A+better+Canada.&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ca


Strong Leadership. A Better Canada.
October 16, 2007

Twenty months ago, Canadians elected a Conservative Government that would set clear goals and deliver concrete results. A Government that would be accountable. A Government that would put Canadians and their families first. A Government that would make life better.

Our Government has worked hard to deliver on these expectations.

And Canadians now have more money in their pockets because taxes have been cut. Families now have real choice in childcare through the Universal Child Care Benefit. Canadians now have a Government committed to helping them get the medical care they need more quickly. A Government that is tackling crime and making neighbourhoods safer.

The results are clear: Canada's economy is strong, the Government is clean and the country is united.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada has shone as an example of what people working together, joined in a common purpose, can achieve. And our Government will continue to deliver that strong leadership as we move forward and build a better Canada.

A Canada that is proud of its place in the world and its economic future. A Canada built on a strong federation and a robust economy. A Canada that is safe for our families and healthy for our children. A Canada of principled, focused and effective leadership in return for all that its citizens give to their country.

In the next session of Parliament, our Government will continue to pursue an agenda of clear goals and real results, focusing on five priorities:

Rigorously defending Canada's sovereignty and place in the world including through the realization of our strong Arctic vision and a responsible, effective path forward in Afghanistan.

Strengthening the federation and modernizing its democratic institutions through measures including formal limits on federal spending power and long overdue reform of the Senate.

Providing effective economic leadership and a prosperous future by aggressively moving forward with broad tax relief that includes a further promised reduction in the GST.

Tackling crime and strengthening the security of Canadians by reintroducing important crime legislation with the new Tackling Violent Crime Act, and by turning a strong focus to safe communities and youth and property crime.

Improving the environment and health of Canadians by continuing to deliver realistic and achievable results in areas such as environmental enforcement and product and food safety.

Canadians can be proud of their country and its achievements. Working together, we have built a nation that is prosperous and safe; a country where what matters is who you are and what you do – not who you know or where you're from; a place where people from around the world can live in harmony; a federation that is more united at home and respected abroad than it has been for decades.

The Conservative Government Canadians elected to improve life for themselves and their families continues to deliver. And under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper we are building a better Canada.

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From: "Phyllis Wagg"
Subject:Priorities
The Pitfalls of Priority Setting

           While I may not agree with Stephane Dion on many issues, I do agree with him on one:  in politics setting priorities is not easy.  The major error that Stephane Harper and his new Conservatives have made is their belief that it is easy to set the correct priorities.  If you don't get the priorities right then, down the road, you may find yourself heading for trouble.  That is exactly what is happening to the Harper government.
 
          Stephen Harper's thesis advisor once suggested that Harper's main ability was to apply the simplest theory to a set of facts.  That is exactly what he has been doing as a Prime Minister but sometimes the simple theory is not the best theory or the one that works.
 
          Harper won the last election on the basis of five relatively simply priorities and added a sixth one for Quebec, fixing the fiscal imbalance.  In case you have forgotten those priorities were: the family allowance for families with pre-school children, an accountability act, reduction in health care wait times, cracking down on crime, and cutting the GST.  While the promises on the family allowance and cutting the GST have been fulfilled, the success has yet to be determined of the measures directed at the other priorities.
 
          These may have been easy priorities to decide upon as an election strategy, but were they really priorities designed to achieve good government?  There have been major obstacles in putting three of the main priorities into practice.  There is certainly a great deal of disagreement as to whether the other two priorities were the best choices.  In other words, it may be easy to set priorities but it is far more difficult to set priorities for good government.
 
          When you set priorities from the perspective of winning an election it is much easier than recognizing where your priorities should lie when you become responsible for governing.  Two recent issues have become a mine field for the current government and should draw attention to how this government sets priorities.
 
          When taking office ministers are briefed on central issues in their departments.  An issue such as the problems emerging with the safe production of medical isotopes would be the kind of issues that would be highlighted in any briefing.  Even if the minister was not briefed or failed to consider this a priority, by September 5, 2007 the Auditor General had made it clear to the minister that there was a serious problem emerging.  However, the safe production of medical isotopes was not a priority for the Harper government any more than it had been a priority for his predecessor.  The situation was ignored until it became too hot an issue to ignore.
 
          The government then tried to force the agency monitoring the safe production of medical isotopes to take responsibility for compromising safety.  When that agency refused to violate its mandate, the government was forced to put the priority for production above the priority for safety.  Instead of taking full responsibility for their own errors they have tried to deflect blame by targeting the chair of the regulatory agency with a smear campaign.  It does not take a great deal of wisdom to understand that the chair of the regulatory body was doing the job for which she was hired.  She was correct in forcing the government to take full responsibility for its decision through the enactment of special legislation.
 
          When setting its priorities the Harper government did not make the health of the economy a priority.  In fact, ideologically a belief in the "free market" system is based on the theory that the economy should be left in the hands of whoever controls it through the marketplace and should not be a concern of government.  As an economist, Stephen Harper should have been quite aware that our economy was heading for a rocky patch.  What is evident is that he had no interest in taking pro-active action to deal with the situation.  Instead, he concentrated on those priorities that he believed would provide him with an immediate political advantage.
 
          The priority of the Harper government was to gain absolute power.  This is not the place to go into an in depth discussion as to why Harper might want to have power during a period of economic uncertainty but there is some evidence that it was part of his plan to radically change Canada based, once again, on one of his simplistic theories. 
 
          Setting priorities might be easy for a party seeking power but once in power it becomes a far more difficult and hazardous process because it is far easier to set priorities than to set good priorities.  That was something Stephane Dion's years in the government taught him and something that Stephen Harper did not have the experience to understand.
 
         Setting priorities are easy for a party seeking power but once obtained the task of implementation becomes far more difficult and hazardous.  Those priorities selected must not only be seen as good in theory they must be possible to implement. Stating that in politics setting priorities is not easy flows from Stephane Dion's years in government.  It is this kind of experience that Stephen Harper and his new Conservatives lack.

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Leaping to a hanging
By LETHBRIDGE HERALD
Jan 11, 2008, 22:17
http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/article_9416.php

The federal Conservatives will be the first to point to a two-year track record of making and keeping promises. But here's one they made and really should have kept.

In the heat of the nuclear medical isotope crisis, both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Health Minister Tony Clement vowed to get to the bottom of the processes and decision-making that led to an extended shutdown of a 50-year-old nuclear reactor in Chalk River that produces half the world's supply of radioisotopes used in cancer and cardiology tests.

At issue isn't just whether the shutdown that left patients around the globe waiting for potentially lifesaving medical tests was avoidable, but how the federal government was left appearing in the dark as the crisis built over the previous weeks.

Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. shut down the reactor for regular maintenance Nov. 19. A few days later AECL notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission of its decision to extend the shutdown to install safety upgrades the operator had originally said were completed in December 2005.
Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn has said he wasn't notified of the shutdown until Dec. 3; Clement was brought into the loop a couple days later.
But this week it became clear that instead of a thorough review of how this situation might have been better handled, Lunn has opted to play judge, jury and executioner, convicting and suggested he's ready to hang Linda Keen, president of the of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

In a letter from Lunn to Keen, leaked to the Ottawa Citizen this week, the minister suggests Keen lacks "the fundamental good judgment required" to do her job. He gives the head of the independent regulator a matter of days to essentially plead for her job.

But Keen's response, an eight-page letter and more than two dozen pages of supporting documentation, suggests the wrong person is facing the dangling noose.

She blasts holes in Lunn's assertions that the regulator failed to facilitate getting the reactor back in operation and failed take action once the government issued a directive, Dec. 10, pressuring it to reopen the reactor. (She says the commission wasn't even sent the directive until after emergency legislation overriding the regulator was placed on the order paper, giving it no time to demonstrate the change of heart Lunn says he was looking for.)

And she quotes a number of sources, from Lunn himself to federal law and international convention, on the expectation and necessity of the regulator to be independent of political interference — the very interference apparent in communications Lunn initiated demanding the regulator to alter its process of licensing to help restart the reactor, regardless the lack of safety upgrades.

Keen also clarifies the regulator's role in the shutdown, saying it was the AECL's decision — a voluntary one, at that — to extend its shutdown at Chalk River. When AECL extended the shutdown, the commission notified Lunn's staff Nov. 29, days before the minister was informed, suggesting a communication breakdown occurred within Lunn's own staff.

Far from being oblivious to the impact a prolonged shutdown would have on medical patients around the world, Keen says the regulator was working with hospital licensees to help them find other sources of medical isotopes.

Finally, Keen throws down a challenge to Lunn to order a full, independent investigation of the matter, including her own track record of service.
"I fervently believe that such a public process would benefit not only the CNSC, but also the Government of Canada, affected stakeholders, the Canadian nuclear industry and, most of all, the people of Canada," she writes. "Canadians deserve and demand excellence in both nuclear safety and nuclear regulation."

Given that Lunn's office has done its best to undercut the very body charged with protecting health, safety, security and the environment from the disasters that could come from an aged nuclear facility that knowingly failed to install one of seven safety upgrades the AECL admitted were necessary, Canadians should, indeed, welcome such an investigation, already promised by Harper and Clement.

Lunn would have done well to leave such a jury to its work.

© Copyright by Lethbridge Herald.com

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