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Even Conservative appointees dont like being scapegoated.

The lack of political savvy of Harper and the Conservatives in general over this Chalk River episode has been amazing to witness. As I mentioned yesterday, after Harper accuses the Nuclear Safety Board – and specifically its head Linda Keen – as being Liberal hacks endangering the safety of Canadians, we have the Globe and Mail discovering that the former head of the AECL who submitted his resignation was a former Canadian Alliance fundraiser who was picked by the Cons as they refused to hire another candidate despite independent recommendations to do so.

Today, the Globe talks to that former AECL Chairman, who isn’t particularly thrilled he was being made the scapegoat by the Cons for their handling of the situation, as he reveals that his resignation took place before the isotope story broke and was nothing more then an attempt by the Cons. to scapegoat him for the problems at Chalk River:

Michael Burns told The Globe and Mail he submitted his resignation as chair of the Crown corporation on Nov. 29, before the medical isotope crisis stemming from the Chalk River shutdown became public. His departure was announced last Friday with no explanation, but was soon linked by a key cabinet minister to the Chalk River situation..Health Minister Tony Clement has since connected leadership changes at AECL, including the replacement of Mr. Burns, a Vancouver energy executive and onetime Tory fundraiser, as well as the appointment of a new CEO, with the need to give the organization better management. “Well, maybe they do [need better management],” Mr. Burns shot back. “But this is a clumsy piece of political opportunism. If they’re going to do it, they could do it with a little more skill.” Asked whether he felt treated unfairly, he responded: “What’s unfair in politics? I just know that the facts won’t support it. I was gone for a totally different set of reasons. They dragged this resignation out and attached it to the isotope situation … They could have taken more care.”

In otherwards, Harper and Clement and the Cons. decided to make this resignation appear as if they were taking action on the crisis and holding someone accountable for the problem, when that wasn’t the case at all. To be sure, Michael Burns does talk about some of his complaints he has had with the CNSC in this article, and he does try to claim he was picked to be the AECL head for his expertise, not his Canadian Alliance connections, but he also rejects Harper’s charge that CNSC Chairman Linda Kenn was playing partisan politics with the CNSC’s decision to shut down the Chalk River plant.

Again, as with yesterday’s story over the partisan hacks charge, I’m not sure why Harper and Clement and the Cons. assumed the media wouldn’t bother trying to get Mr. Burns’ side of the story, or that he would stay quiet and take the scapegoating lying down.

I said at the start this was a lack of political savvy on the Conservatives part on this issue. I’ve changed my mind – it shows their total ineptness on this issue, and a very clumsy attempt to cast blame elsewhere other then at themselves.

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