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article imageAnother Conservative Minister Leaves Secret Nuclear Files Behind

By Mark Kersten     Jun 3, 2009 in Politics
It has been revealed that Conservative Minister for Natural Resources, Lisa Raitt, left a series of secret documents regarding financial aspects of the Canadian nuclear industry at the Ottawa offices of CTV network.
The blunder comes amidst much controversy around the Conservative government's decision to privatize the Canadian nuclear industry, currently run by the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). Canadian facilities provide about half of the world's medical isotopes, critical in medical imaging and diagnostic procedures.
Further complicating the matter are worries about the connection between the Conservative government and the CTV network and that this is becoming a pattern. The revelation marks the second time in two years that a senior Conservative cabinet minister has misplaced confidential documents.
According to the CTV, which broke the story last night, the "documents reveal Ottawa has poured far more money into the aging Chalk River nuclear reactor than the public has been told." CTV's Graham Richardson added that the documents have "been here in the bureau for six days and we hadn't heard from Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt or her office looking for them." It is not clear why the papers were left at CTV's offices without any attempt to retrieve them for almost a week.
The papers reveal the extent of funding and financing given to the Chalk River nuclear research facility. They indicate that since assuming power in 2006, the Conservative government has poured more than $1.7 billion into the facility and that AECL has had a cost overrun of some $100 million this year alone.
Just a year ago, Conservative Maxime Bernier resigned his position as Foreign Affairs minister after it was revealed that he left secret documents regarding a NATO meeting at the house of his then-girlfriend, Julie Couillard, who had previous associations with members of the Hells Angels.
CTV itself has been criticized for being too close to the government. Last week the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council found that the broadcasting of an election-time CTV interview of Stephane Dion in which the then-Liberal leader restarted the interview three times because of a confusing interview question was "discourteous and inconsiderate". It also ruled that Mike Duffy, then a host with CTV, had gone too far and was not balanced or fair his coverage of the interview. Just months after the election, Duffy was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
At this time, no comment has been made by either Raitt or Harper. The Globe and Mail reported that neither calls to Harper's spokesman nor to the director of communications for Raitt have been returned.
More about Lisa raitt, Conservative party, Canadian Politics
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