Friday, February 29, 2008

On the Cadman controversy...

No editorial comment yet, just these posts from Kady Omalley who's all over the story today:

Conservatives behaving caddishly.

Just to be perfectly clear ...

And that is why it's all the Liberals' fault...

Clan Cadman: Family of Oddly Specific and Internally Consistent Pathological Liars?

Thank God for men like Chuck Cadman. If it weren't for folks like him, I swear a story like this would make me want to burn Ottawa to the ground. (OK, that was an editorial comment. So sue me.).

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Here's a great article on the Chalk River fiasco...

... and the Tory's work to take down a nuclear safety regulator primarily concerned with nuclear safety, and replace her with a regulator primarily concerned with doing what the industry tells him to do: Canada's Nuclear Fallout.

The most interesting bit of the article is this:

Ms. Keen's suggestion that her overstretched commission would no longer prioritize prelicensing was seen as obstructionist.

AECL's private-sector partners, including SNC-Lavalin, GE Canada and Hitachi Canada, hired some of the best-connected lobbyists in Ottawa to carry that message forward; other industry members complained directly to the Prime Minister's Office, sources said.

"We've tried to communicate however we could to whomever we could, to make this point," said Patrick Lamarre, president of SNC-Lavalin's nuclear division.

Michael Burns, the B.C.-based wind power executive who Mr. Lunn appointed as chairman of AECL, began to lobby the minister, whom he said he spoke with once a week during his chairmanship, about addressing the problems with Ms. Keen and her commission.

"I told [Mr. Lunn] then the dysfunctional relationship was going to cause serious trouble for commercial operations at the company. I told him we were going to have a train wreck. And I gave him a plan to fix it," Mr. Burns said.

The goal, he said, was to induce the government to legislate an overhaul at the CNSC, including Ms. Keen's position. (emphasis added)

I mean, wow. Just WOW.

I once again apologize for doubting those who said at the time that this whole fiasco was a "manufactured crisis" cooked up by the Tories in collusion with AECL to take down a nuclear safety regulator who stubbornly refused to compromise nuclear safety for the sake of corporate profitability (or, put another way, INSISTED ON DOING HER JOB AS ESTABLISHED IN CANADIAN LAW).

Clearly, this WAS the plan all along. Create an apparent "crisis" and use this manufactured crisis as an excuse to neuter Canada's nuclear safety regulator. I didn't believe the Tories could be so crass, but today, I stand corrected.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

What the whole Chalk River fiasco was really all about...

I admit, I originally thought that the idea that the Chalk River "emergency" was actually a "manufactured crisis" was too far of a leap. Surely the government and AECL wouldn't conspire to create a false crisis just so that they could replace a nuclear regulator who's primary concern was nuclear safety, with a nuclear regulator who's primary concern was "doing whatever big business wants you to do". Then again...

Today, I realize that I'm just not cynical enough, and that I shouldn't just assume that our government would be more concerned about nuclear safety than kowtowing to big business just because they're "honourable" or "public-minded". Turns out, before Linda Keen's body is even cold, and while her federal court challenge to her firing is still pending the new Tory-appointed (turnabout is fair play) head of CNSC is bending over backwards to do EXACTLY WHAT AECL WANTS HIM TO.

Clearly the Tory plan all along was to gut a nuclear safety regulator with a spine in order to replace her with the more traditional "Anything you want Mr. Nuclear industrialist, Sir" regulator. I apologize to everyone who tried to tell me that the Tories were this crass.

Clearly, they are.

At this point, I don't see why the Tories don't just dismantle the CNSC and make the nuclear industry self-regulating. I'd rather have NO nuclear safety regulator than one with its collective heads so far...



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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where the world stands on Kosovo's independence...

This will obviously be in the news for a while, so I thought I'd let people interested in the story of Kosovo's declaration of independence know about this Wikipedia page which is tracking international reaction and has handy tables of who's pro-independence and who's anti.

As of right now, leaving out the all of the essentially "neutral" and "wait and see" countries (including our own, for now) here's where things stand:

States recognizing Kosovo's independence or planning to (those that have already done so are in bold) :

The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Afghanistan, Austria, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Pakistan, Turkey, Japan, Hungary, Senegal, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Malaysia, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the U.A.E.

States that have declared that they will not recognize Kosovo and States that have voiced concern (those that have merely expressed concern are not in bold):

Russia, Serbia, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Cyprus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka , Venezuela, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Mexico, Phillipines, South Africa, Ukraine, New Zealand*

So there you have it. The pulse of the planet in a nutshell!

* Does not recognize unilateral moves. "It's never been the New Zealand Government's position to recognize in such circumstances. We will neither recognize nor not recognize". according to PM Helen Clark.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Wow, covering up allegations of torture by the Governor of Khandahar!

So, our wonderful government had credible evidence that the Governor of Kandahar has been personally involved in torture ("involved" as in "personally beat prisoners").

Even worse, "Despite sharing the allegations with the Afghan government and outside agencies, Ottawa kept them from a Canadian Federal Court judge hearing a case brought by Canadian rights groups".

So, the good - when we learned of the allegations we (apparently) quickly (though, secretly) told the Karzai government (yeah, I'm sure they had no idea what their hand-picked Governor was up to!) the Red Cross, and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

The bad (and ludicrous) - Despite telling a foreign government (admittedly, the directly involved foreign government) the ICRC AND the AIHRC, documents mentioning the torture were HEAVILY redacted (the words "the governor" repeatedly purged from documents (and much more)) and the government cited "security concerns" for not sharing the evidence with a federal court judge? Security concerns??? We told not one, but TWO independent human rights organizations, but we had to withhold it from a Canadian federal judge for "security concerns"??? Our government considers a federal judge a higher security risk than the Red Cross and the Karzai government???


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