Harper’s policy have contributed to the steep rise in unemployment numbers. July numbers showed an unexpected loss of 139,000 full time jobs according to Statistics Canada, the department responsible for census and keeping track of vital benchmark information like job numbers. Without them how do we measure our government’s performance. With expected increase in EI claims, Harper then went on to cut the department that is expected to be busy as they process the increased EI claims. Harper cut 1,200 Service Canada jobs leading to possible delay and increased wait times not only for those claiming EI but also retiree waiting for their pensions.
There could have been more jobs created have it not for some of Harper’s policy. Part of Ontario’s stimulus plan was to build a new Nuclear plant to meet its electricity demand once our economy recover. They were set to award it to the Crown corporation AECL, which is also based in Ontario. But Harper’s campaign to sell AECL to private company put that plan on hold. Harper’s staff even went on smear campaign against AECL claiming it is a sinkhole since billions of dollars have been spent throughout AECL’s history. Perhaps Harper needs to be reminded that AECL have half a century of history and was a prominent and independent scientific institution attracting top scientist around the world. NASA have to consult AECL for assistance in figuring out the cause of the space shuttle crash. Research done at AECL goes beyond Nuclear.
While Harper whine about spending billions for scientific research, he so easily spent billions for a weekend of photo ops in Toronto’s Summit. He so readily spent billions on fighter jet that would have limited use against Afghan guerrilla, benefiting only U.S. weapon manufacturer. Meanwhile, job losses mounts as Harper pursue a lobbyist friendly policy of handing over our Crown corporation to either a foreign government owned or subsidized company, or private corporations. If there’s any failure on AECL part, it is due to constant political tinkering with the Crown corporation. Mulroney sell off all profit to be had from medical isotope production to private company MDS Nordion, leaving AECL to produce the isotope for others to profit. The contract is so lopsided you would think the government of that day was working for private company rather than taxpayers, who are the real owner of the Crown corporation. Now Harper is picking up where Mulroney left off by selling the only profitable division of AECL. All this at a time of expected nuclear renaissance when various government are heavily investing in their equivalent nuclear agency. Even Cambodia is considering building a Nuclear Plant.
All this uncertainty created by Harper has resulted in thousands of job losses in Ontario, and even more from lost job opportunities that would have helped our economy. Hydro Quebec recently delayed planned work on its nuclear reactor due to Harper’s attempt to sell AECL. This put a further chill on the job market. An audit is needed to investigate and ensure taxpayer’s are not shortchanged as Harper charge ahead on selling off our nuclear future in a very secretive process. The banker appointed by Harper to oversee AECL’s sell has close connection to French government owned Areva. An independent audit like one from Sheila Fraser might be needed to clear up any possibility of corruption and under the table deals.
A good read is an article from Montreal Gazette: Going the wrong way on isotopes, reactors.
Harper continue to manufacture crisis acting as if Canadian privacy was at risk with the mandatory census. Without census, future government would still need to gather data to get an idea about areas that needs attention. Globe and Mail have a good article about how the alternative could look like, citing European mandatory citizen registry that does not have the same strict privacy restriction that is in place on our census right now. So it is baffling that this government can say either ignorantly or lying blatantly that the current census violate Canadian privacy. This coming from a government who have no problem digging through government record to identify the Jews and sent them holiday greeting in an attempt to get their vote.
This is just one of the many crisis manufactured by Harper. First he moved to give up our energy independence by putting AECL on the block claiming millions have to be spent and the company is dysfunctional. Areva, the French company rumored to be the likely buyer of AECL have lots of cost overrun also and worse – have safety records that are being questioned. (read NY Times Special Report on U.S. government concern about Areva’s Safety). And Harper bundled watering down environmental assessment in the budget bill that also allows him to sell off AECL and Canada Post International service without scrutiny. This is the same guy who fired Linda Keen of CNSC compromising that agency’s independence and reputation when it comes to nuclear environment and safety issues. With his new power to water down environmental assessment, would he even blink an eye in pressuring CNSC to take it easy on new AECL owner to make the deal even better for them? While Harper complained about having to give millions to keep our crown company, he so easily spent billions of dollars on G20 summit for fence, fake lakes and stubbornly insisting on holding it in the heart of downtown Toronto against the wishes of Toronto’s Mayor and police. The exhibition place was touted as a more ideal location that will be less of a security nightmare. He so easily spent about $16 billions on fighting jet which have limited use in fighting insurgents in Afghanistan. So what lobbyist is involved in this deal this time? Areva’s lobbyist apparently stop all their lobbying after Harper appointed their banker to take care of AECL sell. This government obviously see fit to waste billions of dollars at a time of economic difficulty. The scared-of-election Liberal opposition just keep letting damaging Harper’s bill pass. It just makes Harper bolder and bolder acting more like a dictator than the Prime Minister of a democratic country.
I can already see a BP disaster in the making with the passing of Harper’s unprecedentedly humongous budget bill that aims to sidetrack the democratic role reserved for Parliament. By putting in provision that would allow him to water down environmental assessment and sale off part of AECL and Canada post without the necessary check and balances, Harper will be able to do what he wants without scrutiny and his actions will be irreversible.
It was less stringent environmental assessment and regulation that lead to the BP disaster in U.S. Gulf coast. Now Harper’s attempt at watering down the important government role of environmental assessment could lead to another Walkerton, BP or even Nuclear concerns if we are not careful. Canada have one of the toughest nuclear regulation through CNSC. With the sale of AECL to private firms almost a certainty, we need to maintain current level of regulation not reduce them to appease private investors. Any environmental disaster brought on by this bill in the future is not only Harper’s fault but also Iggy, for intentionally letting this bill pass in the Parliament through choreographed absenteeism.
Government announcement that the most profitable section of AECL will be sold to private firm is deja vu all over again. They are either stupid or corrupt in helping the private firm. This is like the Mulroney medical isotope fiasco all over again. Mulroney gave a lopsided contract award to MDS Nordion to profit from medical isotope produced by AECL. AECL aside from having to provide the capital and produce the isotope end up gaining nothing which lead to the current medical isotope crisis. Now the only profitable section of AECL will be sold off again to a private firm at a time of nuclear renaissance where China have been in talk with AECL to work on CANDU that uses Thorium, something China have more of than Uranium. But guess where the profit from China’s tens of new reactor will go to once CANDU have been privatized. To the lucky private firm Harper decide to award the sale to of course.
Are they really this short sighted and stupid or simply corrupt? One excuse being used was it will save the taxpayer money. That’s full of stinky S__T! The isotope and research division of AECL still have to be shouldered by taxpayer. But now the profitable division is taken away which means they’ll be solely relying on taxpayers money now with no possible source of income.
Thanks Harper for giving CANDU to a private firm. Worse than Mulroney who gave medical isotope profit to MDS Nordion and the privatization of Petro Canada. As the nuclear power sale is set to skyrocket and enormous profit to be made due to pressure on government worldwide to cut pollutant and greenhouse emission. We then rush to sale a promising technology to a private firm. China already have CANDU (built on time and on budget) and with their joint research with AECL, it won’t be surprising if they chose CANDU for the bulk of their new Nuclear plant. I find it hard to believe that Harper can’t see something that is already at work. China have signed agreement with AECL. Are they really stupid or just corrupt?
The big story today seems to be a leaked document that was going to be passed as the new climate change treaty. The document was alleged to have been put together by a few rich nation including host country Denmark and seems to reduce the emission cut obligations of the rich nations. It also hands power for future negotiation to the rich countries (ABC News Australia reported). Poor countries are threatening to walk out.
The noise generated by pro and anti Climate change advocate is a bit tiring. As far as I am concern, oil are controlled by few Texan and Middle Eastern Royalty cartel artificially making it expensive. In some countries, price fixing is illegal. Then why is oil cartel tolerated? It is also a pollutant. No question about it. Not even taking into account the global warming equation, it’s a no brainer that we should move toward renewable energy. Hong Kong already have electric car. And China are actively investing in infrastructure and research to help promote electric car (China’s BYD cheap electric car beat GM, Nissan and Toyota -CNN). Unfortunately the one spearheading this new technology is not the usual developed countries but developing country like China. It is not a question of science, the facts and technology is there, it is a question of commitment by the rich countries. Unfortunately, a lot of the rich countries have stake in oil and would keep on dragging their feet as long as they can. The wave of change is coming, either we get on board or get left behind.