Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Chalk River fiasco's REALLY starting to fall apart now for the Tories...

So, not only did they appoint a party loyalist to head up AECL, they hired him against the advice of not one, but TWO independent hiring panels!!!

Apparently, under Paul Martin, an independent panel recommended that the AECL's acting Chair (Jean-Pierre Soublière) be given the position permanently (well, not PERMANENTLY, but on a non-interim basis... you know what I mean). However, it never went through because of the 2006 election. Now, once the Tories were in power they didn't want to take the advice of Martin's independent panel (and for the sake of full disclosure Soublière does have connections to the Liberals, and worked on John Manley's leadership campaign). So, fair enough, the Tories launched a SECOND independent head-hunting process (which, again, is TOTALLY their perogative, so I don't have a big problem with that). The SECOND independent panel (set up by the Tories) recommended the position be given to... acting Chair Jean-Pierre Soublière.

So, who did the Tories give the appointment to?

Former Canadian Alliance fundraiser Michael Burns.

At this point, I choose to believe that the Tories appointed Burns to head up AECL simply because they thought it would be a hoot for AECL to be headed up by "Mr. Burns". I know by doing so I'm ignoring the blatant hypocrisy of the Tories' move (given their baseless attacks on CNSC Chair Linda Keen for no sin greater than being "Liberal-appointed", and doing her job) and I'm turning a blind eye to reality.

But frankly, reality makes me throw up in my mouth a little, so I'll stick with the Simpsons angle.

Update: Accidental Deliberations points out Tony Clement's sudden reversal in his explanation of the reasons for Burns' resignation. On Sunday, Clement claimed it was just coincidence that Burns quit right in the middle of a major scandal in which a 50 year old AECL reactor was found to be operating for 17 months without all of the safety features required by their license (and which they had told nuclear regulators that they had installed).
"Some times coincidences happen in politics," Clement said. "There was some indication that this might be coming up down the road." On Monday (a whole day later!) Clement claimed in a T.V. interview that the resignation was related to the Chalk River shutdown. “I think it's fair to say it confirmed our impression that there has to be new management, there has to be better management, at AECL.”


Day one:
"Nothing to see here, total coincidence!"
Day Two: "Look at us, fixing these terrible mistakes!" (of the guy we appointed against the advise of two independent panels).

I understand why he needed to change his tune, as the "it's totally a coincidence that he resigned in the middle of a well-publicized crisis" line was so laughable one could barely be moved to laugh! That he changed his tune so quickly though, on such an important issue, needs to get a lot more attention, imho. 'Cause to me, it's an important question. Are they incompetent, or just stupid?

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1 comment:

Greg said...

On Newman's show, Clement called it a "happy coincidence", which Newman remarked was "an interesting choice of words".