Gary Lunn is now officially the new Gordon O'Connor. Yesterday's story that Lunn knew back in September about the Chalk River problems easily puts him next in line to lose his job. He had the nerve to pen an attack letter to Linda Keen (President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) that she effortlessly refuted in full and now the Auditor General has said that he hasn't been truthful about what he knew when. I'm sure that's the last we will hear from Gary for a long time to come.
While Harper may say now that Lunn went "above and beyond the call of duty", he stood behind O'Connor at one time too before he was eventually shown the door. Harper will most likely make sure to do so before any election. The opposition certainly has every right to call for as much in the meantime though.
But this story has been absolutely shameful just like the Afghan detainee torture scandal that this government fumbled so horribly. Just like the Afghan detainee mess, the isotopes story has been rife with attempts by the Harper government to shamelessly point the blame elsewhere, misleading statements and changing stories, and hiding from the opposition of what it knew when. Does anyone still believe that this is the accountable and open style of government Canadians elected? Again, Canada has been embarrassed while lives were at stake.
Canadians should not forget this fiasco and that it could have been prevented by this government. It was not the fault of the civil service (or gasp "Liberal appointees") but this government alone who knew about the problems for months but did nothing. They can attack all they want, but now the Auditor General and Linda Keen have clearly refuted their main talking points.
However, what the media can't lose sight of is that hardly anything goes on in the Conservative government without it being known to the Prime Minister's Office. So while Harper may quietly shuffle out or demote Lunn in a few months (if he is still in power) as punishment for his poor handling of this file, Canadians have to remember that every misstep, every attack and every misleading statement by Gary Lunn was very likely done with the knowledge and perhaps even blessing of Harper's office.
Thus, all the blame should really be pointed exactly where it belongs: the Prime Minister himself.
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