Monday, August 2, 2010

Ignatieff and Wedge Politics

People often criticize Harper for excessive partisanship, and while that may be true, I'm unwilling to accept that as a criticism from Liberals and Ignatieff supporters. Principally because the Liberals have attempted to turn every issue into an attack on Harper in one way or another.

His criticism of Harper and the nuclear industry illustrate this more clearly than most:

Michael Ignatieff says the Conservative government has "walked away" from Canada's nuclear sector, leading to problems such as the delays and cost overruns with the refurbishment project at the Point Lepreau nuclear plant.

This logic is beyond my understanding. How Harper is responsible for poor management and the technical problems surrounding the Point Lepreau refurbishment is not clearly explained in the article but I'd be really curious to see a reporter press him on how exactly that is.

He tries to argue that "we need to make sure that we have nuclear technologies and capabilities and the capacity to repair our nuclear stations", but this is irrelevant to the situation. The technical problems surrounding the Chalk River shutdown and repairs nor the Point Lepreau refurbishment were not a result of the lack of government monies. Repairing the Chalk River reactor required using techniques that AECL has never used before and that required extensive training and preparation. Point Lepreau's scheduling disaster was a failure management-wise to properly project overall costs and scheduling and to account for technical problems that arose.

Ignatieff goes on to say that "if we're having problems with that refurbishment, the ultimate responsibility for that is not with AECL, it's ultimately with the Conservative government."

First of all, was anyone accusing Chretien of being responsible for the Pickering A refurbishment when it went late and far over budget? If they did, then the accusations were as much baloney then as they are now.

He's right about one thing however, the government is the shareholder of AECL and does have some responsibility for its failures. And as the shareholder, the government has decided to absolve its responsibility for AECL by selling it. For the government, its not hard to see why this is an attractive option.


wilson said...

LOL, I guess Iffy's message makers dont read newspapers. PMSH is 2 days ahead of the magical bus tour.

Harper takes responsibility for Lepreau
July 28th, 2010

Calgary Junkie said...

Gawd this man is insuferably boring. I think the media have just given up on pressing him on the specifics of ANYTHING. Donolo has pretty well got a boilerplate response prepared for every policy file, and Iggy has got them all memorized.

Outside of broken down buses, we won't get much in the way of entertainment out of this tour. We'll have to wait until the House resumes, and Lib MPs pass our bills, thus negating all the over-the-top rhetoric from their front-man.

Eric said...

I noticed that too, but mostly Harper is just taking financial responsibility. The issue of who was going to pay for the cost overruns is purely political and has no bearing on who is actually `responsible`.

I think Harper was trying to make AECL more attractive for sale by removing the threat of the lawsuit from AECL. But that`s just my opinion.

Eric said...

Calgary Junkie:

Its too bad the media isn`t willing to push him harder on these things. But I think generally most of them are too afraid to touch any `science` issue with a ten foot pole because of their own lack of knowledge of the topics.

Its one reason I think people with real scientific backgrounds should go into politics more.

wilson said...

Iffy goes on about nuclear technologies etc, as where Harper has failed.

So let me then go back a full 3 YEARS to prove my point that Iffy and his magical bus tour is a joke:

Harper embraces the nuclear future
JOHN GEDDES | May 7, 2007

bullpup said...

I think Ignatiev should stop drinking beer on tv, he might be getting a call from M.A.D.D.

wilson said...

and Jan 2009
Budget investment of $351 million for nuclear power through Atomic Energy

Next Iffy will be preaching that Harper has ignored Arctic sovereignty,
when PMSH first brought it up in 2006 and Bill Graham laughed at the suggestion.

Eric said...


I wouldn't put it past Ignatieff to do that. What I would like to hear is what Ignatieff plans to do differently than Harper regarding AECL. "Supporting" nuclear technology is pretty vague.

wilson said...

Iffy has been nothing but vague,
that way he can 'clarify' his position a few days later, when the polls are in.

Calgary Junkie said...

Wilson is going to be pleased to hear what Norman Spector had to say just now on CKNW:

We're going to have an election at some point. Harper has been absent for a few weeks. We saw this in the summer of 2005. He is doing a lot of thinking. All his pollsters, and advisors are coming in.

I'd put the odds of a fall election a bit higher than a few weeks ago. The gov't would want an election before spending cuts in the spring budget. The conference board came out
with their prediction of eliminating the defecit one year early.

This didn't get much coverage in the media. Strange how the ppg didnt go after the parliamentary budget officer [kevin page] who had been beatified by them for being so good at predicting things.

An election is possible, but more unlikely than likely.

It's in the audio vault now @ 10:37 AM

Other topics: census, wiki-leaks, Iggy tour

Eric said...

Calgary Junkie:

I doubt we'll have an election. Harper is sitting pretty good right now and he'd have to be pretty sure he could pick up more seats in order to call an election, which I can't see anyone saying.

Harper can take full control of the Senate if he survives past this December. So why risk it when you're that close?

wilson said...

CJ, just read too that there are 3 CPC caucus meetings Tues, Wed and Thursday.... is that typical, 3 days of meetings?

I don't remember the 2005 pre-election period, but this definitely feels like the post 2008 election, just before the coalition of losers told PMSH his time was up.
Something is up.

Judging by Iffy's practice-tour,
and the almost parallel Dipper policies,
I'm thinkin' LibDips have an agreement.

Calgary Junkie said...

Eric, if I extrapolate from what Spector is saying, I'd say there's about a 40 % chance of an election. I'd guess that, of that 40 %, there's a 15 % chance Harper visits the GG on his own, and 25 % chance he introduces an extremely painful omnibus bill, say with a repeat of the elimination of the $1.95 per vote subsidy.

Wilson, yes three caucus meetings sounds unusual, they must want to discuss something important--like an election maybe ?

We need to pay very close attention to the kind of rhetoric Harper uses, compare that to what he was saying in Aug, 2008. He might want to keep the coalition off-balance, guessing as to his true intentions too.

As to any Lib-Dip agreement, I have no idea. We will smoke them out during a campaign.

wilson said...

Found the article, it read cabinet meetings Tues and Wed, followed Thursday by a caucus meeting.

Premiers meeting this week?
haha , long form census not on the formal agenda.

Trying to think of bold moves without a huge price tag,
-get rid of the Indian Act
-reform Healthcare, (evil Firewalls Letter, which I like very much)

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