The Conservatives have gotten a lot of mileage out of using the term 'global' as it relates to the recession. Not that saying it in that context isn't true. It is of course, but they have been quite adept at hiding their own deficiencies behind that term.
Well, MP Rick Dykstra, this morning on QP, seemed to be previewing that term in another context. Chalk River or more specifically, the potential catastrophe concerning the lack of isotope production.
There was a panel discussion with Jane Taber and David McGuinty, Thomas Mulcair and Rick Dykstra. While Mulcair focused on the Minister, McGuinty wisely focused on the real issue and that is the shut down and the complete mismanagement of this file by the Conservatives. This is when Dykstra popped up with what I'm betting is their new strategy on this file and hey, who knows how many others?
What's happening at Chalk River is a global issue apparently. The fact that the government is being sued 1.6B by MDS Nordion, or the fact that we are down to 10% of our supply needed in Ontario, or that 3 unscheduled shut downs have occurred, or that there have been 4 radio active leaks, that's somehow a global issue?
Now to be clear, this shut down is affecting the globe in terms of us not being able to supply isotopes, but that is not how the term is being used by either Dykstra or Raitt. They throw it around as if every other reactor in the world is going through the same thing and there is nothing we can do. It somehow seems to be lost on them what our role in global terms is here. Isotopes are used in over 30 million medical procedures every year, and the NRU at Chalk River is the main supplier at about 40%.
Raitt keeps throwing around numbers suggesting that the rest of the world is going to make up our shortfall. That's just not the case. The reactor in the Netherlands is often cited by Raitt (and by Dykstra today), who says that they are increasing their production by 50%. Sounds impressive doesn't it? Trouble is, they only produce 30% of what's required, so an additional 15% certainly isn't going to cover our shortfall. The Dutch reactor is scheduled to shut down in July for 4 weeks and then for 6 months beginning in January. If those pesky facts are brought up, the government cites Australia. Sadly, Australia only produces for national consumption and does no exporting whatsoever. What? Do the Conservatives think that no one will check the garbage they spew?
Anyway, watch for the new buzz word designed to take responsibility off of their shoulders. 'Global Issue or Crisis'. It's remarkable that after 3 years in power, they still need to find someone else to blame for their mismanagement.