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Appalling.

After reading this, I wonder if Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt still thinks the lack of nuclear isotopes being produced up at Chalk River is “sexy”:

The Chalk River nuclear reactor could be out of service for the rest of the year, leaving nuclear medicine specialists across Canada scrambling to find isotopes for life-saving diagnostic procedures…Fixing the reactor’s heavy water leak – a job first expected to be completed by the end of summer – will now likely stretch well into the fall, a source said. The source said the delay is consistent with what AECL has been telegraphing for some time, much to the frustration of Natural Resources Minister […]

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Medical Isotopes Shortage Tracker

I’ve noticed a couple of blogs carrying a symbol at their blog that links to a site called the “Isotope Shortage Tracker”. When you click on this symbol, it takes you to a Google Map that lists places in Canada that have reported delays in tests for cancer patients due to the continuing shortage of medical isotopes in Canada. There are a couple of other things on the map (where the H1N1 virus has been reported for example), but the primary goal of this map is to show where the isotope shortage in Canada has affected hospitals, doctors, and people.

I will be introducing that symbol to my sidebar as […]

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Magna 2 and Raitt-gate’s effect on polling.

I call this little staged presentation being done today Magna 2:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to present a rosy picture of his Conservative government’s handling of the recession Thursday in a slick made-for-TV presentation designed to forestall a quick summer election…The presentation will be moderated by Senator Mike Duffy, a former television journalist, and feature Harper, flanked by Human Resources Minister Diane Finley and Gary Goodyear, the local MP and Minister of State for Science. It will include a staged interview segment between Harper and Duffy.

I call it Magna 2 because it’s very eerily similar to what the Ontario Conservative government did in 2003 when it […]

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Conservative overnight polling must have been lousy on “sexy isotopes” (Raitt apologizes).

A day after refusing to give an apology in the House during Question Period to cancer patients and groups for her saying that the isotope shortage for cancer patients was “sexy”, suddenly we get an apology from a contrite looking Raitt today:

“Today I personally want to communicate my deep regret for wording I used in a private discussion earlier this year, which was inadvertently recorded,” Ms. Raitt told a hastily arranged news conference on Parliament Hill…Cancer patients have widely been quoted in the news media as denouncing her words. “I want to offer a clear apology to anyone who has been affected by what I have said,” she […]

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Apparently, pointing out a minister’s inappropriate statements is “cheap politics”.

That’s what Stephen Harper wants you all to know of what he thinks about Lisa Raitt’s “the isotope crisis, cancer, etc.. is sexy” remarks. Ignatieff comes back with the appropriate retort that the only cheap politics at play is a minister viewing a health crisis as an opportunity for career advancement.

Meanwhile, if we see more of this getting into newspapers detailing outraged cancer survivors and patients, Harper won’t be able to defend his gaffe-prone Natural Resources Minister for long – she herself will become too radioactive even for him:

Cancer survivors and their supporters say they’re astounded Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt would describe the shortage of isotopes […]

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Focus on the real scandal.

The Toronto Star came up with a cute name for the Chalk River/missing documents scandal that has engulfed Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt and caused the Conservatives to scapegoat her aide; they’re calling it Raitt-Gate. Very cute, if not exactly original.

In the very same paper, the Toronto Star editorial thinks the opposition should move on from calling on Raitt to resign. I’ll agree to a point, and say what I’ve said on here before; the Opposition parties should be focusing on the actual details that were leaked in that binder. The Toronto Star editorial failed to mention that part of this scandal, and seems to have failed to realize […]

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Somewhere out there, Garth Turner is smiling.

Lisa Raitt was a candidate hand-picked by Prime Minister Harper in the Halton riding that defeated Garth Turner (she was a parachuted candidate, remember – the local Conservative association was not allowed to vote on a candidate for MP there). She was no doubt given a cabinet minister position partially because she helped remove a thorn out of Harper and the Conservatives side. She also had been in a prominent bureaucratic position in Toronto as well, so one would think she’d have some level of competence required to be a minister.

Unfortunately for her, however, she has shown she’s no better at handling secret Cabinet documents then Maxime Bernier […]

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More problems at Chalk River nuclear site..

I wonder who the Conservative government is going to blame this time for this shutdown, since they can’t kick Linda Keen around (or off the job, which she was doing properly as the regulator should be doing):

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) announced Monday that its Chalk River reactor, located about 185 kilometres northwest of Ottawa, will remain out of service for more than a month due to a leak at the base of the reactor vessel. The agency noticed the heavy water leak on Friday, a day after the reactor was shut down due to a power outage in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. The leak, which also […]

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Who gets fired this time over Chalk River’s shutdown/isotope shortage

Courtesy of Runesmith, we find that Chalk River is having more trouble:

Isotope shortage to delay medical tests across Canada

OTTAWA – Canada’s doctors have been told to rush patients into clinics this weekend if they need tests or treatments requiring the use of medical isotopes, Canwest News Service has learned. More than half the world’s medical isotopes are produced by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., at its Chalk River, Ont., facility. That Chalk River reactor, known as the NRU, was shut down for more than a month last November, sparking a global medical crisis and a domestic political crisis. Production at the NRU has been interrupted again this month […]

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Elizabeth May guestblogs on the Linda Keen/Gary Lunn nuclear fiasco at Scott’s Diatribes.

(Foreword: There have been many comments on the blogs over the firing of Linda Keen in the middle of the night and the circumstances surrounding it. One of those was from Chris Tindal, Green Party blogger and candidate who I met at the Progressive Blogger BBQ in Toronto last August. I casually asked Chris out of the blue if Green Party leader Elizabeth May would like to express an opinion on the Keen firing and how Gary Lunn and Harper have handled the situation in an op-ed on a blog. A day later, Ms. May contacted me and was pleased to do so, so my thanks to Chris for arranging […]

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