After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Minister Lunn just proved Keen's point regarding her authority to consider isotope availability over safe reactor operations

Via Impolitical we find this article from the Globe and Mail in which Lunn says he is going specify in writing for the next CNSC head that they must ensure the production of sufficient medical isotopes and that it will explicitly state that the regulator is responsible for ensuring the supply of isotopes. The fact that Lunn must do this instead of simply showing where in the current regulations and controlling legislation this authority/requirement already exists (where he could strengthen that authority or make it more explicit) as he and his government have repeatedly claimed was the case and why Keen was not doing her job and deserved to be fired from heading the CNSC underscores the point I have been making all along, that the controlling legislation as it currently stands does not provide the regulator with the authority nor the responsibility to take isotope production/availability into consideration when making decisions about nuclear safety, despite all this government has tried to claim.

In other words Keen was right about her responsibilities and the authorities she had to consider and Lunn and his government were wrong, pure and simple, otherwise why need to write it in now? Of course the Harper/CPC defenders will say this government is just making sure/spelling it out for the next head because the current authority is too nebulous or some such (while of course not citing the specific part of the current legislation/regulations to back that assertion up with) but anyone with any capacity for logic/reason and a preference for facts over political rhetoric and spin will see that for the sham that it is.

As to the idea itself, this is very bad policy. You do not make a safety regulator also responsible for production quotas, it inherently places the regulator in conflict between safety concerns which are supposed to be their paramount responsibility (hence being called a safety regulator...duh) and making sure there is enough supply. Take as an example the regulator being forced to choose between operating a reactor she knows is leaking a slight amount of radiation exposing those that work closely where the isotopes are being made, not enough to be lethal but enough to cause sterility at the same time that reactor is the only one able to make enough of isotope "x" that is needed and cannot be stockpiled because of a short half-life that is essential to a cancer treatment that keeps people alive. Do you shut the reactor down to deal with the radiation leak even though it will severely limit if not shut down altogether the isotope supply or do you allow the radiation to keep hitting the workers because it is not fatal just sterility inducing? That is the kind of idiotic balancing concerns this notion carries inherently within it, and why it is bad policy let alone bad law. Mind you, I am not sure Lunn can actually do this without changing the legislation via an Act of Parliament (aka getting a majority vote from the HoC to do so), it will be interesting to see whether this government tries to claim such inherent authority yet again, I suspect they will as it has been a repeating pattern with them to date.

This is to continue keeping the focus on Keen and the regulator as opposed to AECL and the failure of Minister Lunn to properly oversee AECL in the first place, and it is to be seen to be "doing something", even though the something it is doing is incredibly moronic. Yet again we see that this government does everything with a political consideration topping the concerns/considerations, which is inherently unhealthy for a democracy, just look at GWB's America and what he has reduced that once shining nation of the rule of law to, that is where this kind of government will take us. Worse, not only does this government emulate the GOP/Bush43 way of operating, they care more about the opinions of the American conservatives than they do those of the vast majority of this nation. Just look at how they reacted to the civil service (foreign affairs branch) considering America as a torture nation in those documents Amnesty International got out of the government in a lawsuit. This is only acknowledging the simple reality of the post 9/11/01 America and yet this government freaks out when that becomes public knowledge because this government cares more for the opinion of the Americans than it does any voice in this country (aside from the voters whom they will nobly lie to as the last election and the subsequent actions of this government make painfully clear to all but the most blinded by partisanship minds) not already in agreement with them.


Blogger 900 ft Jesus said...

Scotian you explained this well, thanks. Much more in-depth than me, and didn't say "fuck" once! :) You're really on top of this issue.

Sat Jan 19, 08:38:00 PM 2008  
Blogger knb said...

Scotian so much thought, I should say logical thought, is rare.

Thank you and well done.

They are not difficult to understand but they are tough to explain.

You are the well of knowledge we require and by we, I only mean those of us who see Harper, etal for what he is.

Well done, well said.

Sat Jan 19, 10:42:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Scotian said...

900 ft Jesus:

I tend to avoid profanities for the most part, although I will on rare occasion use one or two as extra emphasis, but generally that is a well too many people go to too easily and often and so it makes for an easy dismissal basis of one's work. I figure I give more than enough reason to my critics to want to be able to discredit me so I figure why given them that one? Even when I need to call something "bullshit" I am far more likely to say male bovine excrement instead. It also helps I suppose that I am quite capable of sharp pointed commentary without profanity to underscore my irritation/anger/contempt when necessary.

As for being on top of this issue, I stand on the work of others, as we all do. I simply do my best to confirm fact from fiction and apply basic logic/reasoning skills. Besides, as a child of the Cold War knowing I lived in a first strike target left me a bit on the aware side of nuclear issues, so I have some appreciation for the severity and the gravity of what this government was trying to get Keen to do and how dangerously arrogant it was of them to declare this reactor safe to operate when it is never really fully safe even when all protocols are followed, let alone with a 50 year old reactor with a prior history of problems even if they were decades back sitting on a known fault line.

Thanks for your kind words though here and in the prior thread. I try to bring quality to my work, especially since my speed/posting history is so scattershot. I was always more comfortable joining in conversations than writing the first comment, at least in the online world, I don't have that problem verbally...go figure.


I don't know if I would go that far...a well of knowledge? Maybe someone that is good at pattern recognition who has also watched this man for many years, long before anyone ever thought he could make it to the PMO even as a deputy/Minister to a PM let alone as the PM himself. I always saw something about him that made me incredibly nervous, and that he had the potential to play a large role in our political culture, be it from the back or front. So I paid attention, and by the time he became a real threat to gaining power I basically knew who and what he was chapter and verse and simply shared what I knew with others to consider and see whether they reached the same conclusions I did.

Unlike what some of my critics have claimed I am not someone that thinks he is some sort of fount of wisdom or some sort of super genius when it comes to politics, but I do think I have a reasonable grasp of them in no small part because I was raised around them and was interested even then. I have found that things we (humans) were good at and liked/loved as children tend to stick with us throughout life, especially if one never fully abandons it (while I drifted away from direct involvement for a time I did not stop paying attention) in one's life. Still though that is a very flattering thing for you to say, and I do appreciate the sentiment behind it and the compliment even if I protest the intensity of it.

As to logical thought being rare, that I am forced to agree with you tends to be more true than not, especially in political commentary. So I try to do what I can to change that in my own small way. It is nice to know that it is appreciated by people, I first learned that a few years back in the American political blogosphere and have since found a similar reception in the Canadian one much to my surprise. I always figured my long winded style would tend to cause people to skip over me, while I may be interesting I am not quick/simple, or necessarily straight to the point in how I think and write.

So because of that it still surprises me at times that so many people whose work I have respected appear to hold my own work in high esteem, as well as my preference to stick to real discussions and not simple rants/anger fests. Honestly, I think that latter may account for a lot of why people will take the time/effort to read me through; at least they don't have to face more unfocused blind anger/contempt/hatred in all of that verbiage. At least my anger will be tightly focused and on point, and while I have not had much good to say about Harper, that is mainly because I haven't seen much good to say about him which in and of itself is unusual for me with political leaders, I have never known a PM in my lifetime that I could not find fundamental issues/policies I liked/respected, even Mulroney had Apartheid and Acid Rain. This guy though is something else and not only does the logic/reason side of my nature find him dangerous and unnerving my intuitive side screams even louder about the dangers this man and his political philosophy represents to this country.

My family long ago started calling me Cassandra when it came to political matters, I not only tended to call things right about things and people long before most others, I also tended to be laughed at initially as being overly dramatic or imagining things. Then when a few years later something would be exposed about that politician that explained why he had set off my alarms they would look at me and tell others that I always thought something was off about the person even when they didn't. The last time anyone questioned my judgment in my circle was when the Plame outing happened, I recognized it immediately as a truly major deal both on the security side and the political side. At the time my family thought I was overreacting but they forgave it because they knew of my family connection growing up to the intelligence world and how much it has my respect for what it did because of it. Then as things started to pick up on the Plame outing I was apologized to and told that would be the last time my ability to recognize early significance of something even if I didn't immediately know what/why it was significant would be dismissed. Anyhow it is getting late here, I'm clearly rambling now and so I am off to bed very soon. Take care.

Sun Jan 20, 01:18:00 AM 2008  

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