When Stephane Dion addressed the national media recently demanding the resignation of federal Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn, he was all fire and motherfuckin' brimstone.
“This government has difficulties to understand when partisanship must stop and what [it] means [to be] an independent administrative tribunal,” Dion announced. He accused the government of "threatening democracy" by recommending that Linda Keen, a Liberal appointee to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, be fired.
Naturally, Liberals thought they had hit a home run with this particular scandal, which even precipitated various blogsophere dumbfucks into saying dumbfuckish things.
Then Greg Weston's most recent opinion article went to press, and holy shit! As it turns out, the problems at Chalk River turn out to be yet another Liberal party mess that continually percolated during the entirety of the previous Liberal government, despite very similar warnings (read: identical) directed toward then-Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal. Despite being given various warnings about the state of the Chalk River reactor and various invitations to meet with Auditor General Sheila Frasier to discuss the matter, Daliwal shrugged it all off, writing, "As your report was quite clear and acceptable to me, I felt no need for us to meet at this time. I was particularly pleased that you saw evidence of strong leadership ... and found that good systems and practices existed in several key areas."
Which, as Weston discovered when he examined the actual memo from Frasier, wasn't what it said at all. In fact, the memo said (among other things):
"-Health and safety hazards were "likely to become significant in time."
-A "reduction of environmental risk is necessary to reduce the significant probability of increased environmental contamination."
-"Regulatory, safety review committee or executive concern has been expressed about AECL inactivity, and there is a risk of a public outcry."
Worse yet, Frasier added, "Some members of the (expert) panel concluded that the risks to ... health, safety and the environment were substantially more severe than these descriptions indicate."
Naturally, there's only one place these revelations can lead to: yet another Liberal flip-flop on the entire Chalk River matter. One remembers that first it was a travesty, according to the Liberals, that the Chalk River reactor was being shut down, leading to this press release. Then the Conservatives ordered Chalk River to be started up again, and it was still a travesty.
Of course, Dion is right about one thing: Gary Lunn should be fired (or resign), just as Herb Dhaliwal should have been fired (or resigned) before him. Nuclear Safety is no laughing matter, even if the most partisan Liberals are absolutely creaming their pants at the prospect of a nuclear disaster they can blame the Conservatives for.
All the same, the stage for Lunn's incredibly incompetent and irresponsible mismanagement of the Chalk River fiasco was set by the Liberal party and its 13 years of deliberate inaction in regards to the matter.
But the possible firing of Linda Keen isn't the reason why Lunn should resign. Keen was appointed in 2001, and somehow six years managed to pass, under Liberal party inaction, until she could finally be bothered to step in and deal with the Chalk River situation.
She should have done that bright and early in 2001. For her (quite possibly politically-motivated) inaction, she too has earned a pink slip. She simply didn't do the job she was paid to do.
She, and the Liberal party, are no less responsible for Chalk River than the Conservatives. Actually, they're a good deal more responsible for it.