Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lisa Raitt and the AECL isotope “business”

Christie Blatchford has the right take on Industry Minister Lisa Raitt’s accidentally recorded ( deliberately exposed by the media) private remarks about the on-going Atomic Energy Canada Ltd medical isotopes crisis:

MPs and various opposition leaders were calling Ms. Raitt's remarks "disparaging" and "irresponsible" and demanding she apologize and/or be fired.

...and Liberal pundit Warren Kinsella ... was describing the minister's comments as "disgusting" and "deplorable."

I was ready to beg for mercy before 9 a.m., but by late afternoon ... I wanted to slit my wrists.

[At CTV] Ms. Rinaldo was asking Ms. Taber about the propriety of what Ms. Raitt had said on the tape ... and Ms. Taber replied, "I would hope, even in private conversation, we wouldn't hear … ministers talking about other portfolios in such a cavalier way."

Even in private? Are you bloody kidding me? ... You should hear what women say in private – about friends they love, about colleagues they admire, let alone about men they might like to shag, strangers, or say, bosses. You should hear what editors say at news meetings

... The Canadian media made of the proverbial molehill this sad little mountain,

... What a nation of ninnies we have become.

In other words it’s a non-issue so, politicians, press and pundits please stop being such hypocritical twits and just shut your pie-holes.

Meanwhile, at the Financial Post Terence Corcoran pegs the real issue, AECL’s inability to reliably produce medical isotopes, as yet another example of ‘government enterprise’ gone south:

... Money has never solved AECL's problems, and never will. The present value of all federal cash thrown at AECL over the decades exceeds $30-billion.

... numbers are hard to find thanks to opaque federal reporting standards.

... AECL's isotope business ... is a giant money loser, with Ottawa subsidizing isotopes that are used by medical service providers in the United States and elsewhere.

... the political storm in Ottawa over isotopes as a great health-care issue does nothing to help Canadians understand the quagmire surrounding AECL and the isotope industry.

... The global isotope market, especially the North American branch of it, is a tangled mess of health-care regulations, drug-approval bottlenecks, price controls and politically driven decision making.

... Drug approval processes in Canada and the United States -- requiring hundreds of millions of dollars per approval--discourage new products.

... Once drugs are approved, government agencies that set prices for use of isotope-based treatments and scans set prices low to keep costs to governments down.

... when Mr. Layton and Mr. Ignatieff decry the shortages of isotopes, they might want to ask what role government policy has had creating the shortage, first by controlling and limiting the market for isotope use, which in turns sends the wrong signal to isotope producers.

... So now the world is facing a global isotope shortage, brought on by a series of government-installed barriers to their adoption, production and sale.

As for most ‘government enterprise’, it’s situation normal - all f**ked up.

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