Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lisa Raitt's Apology is as Empty as Her Head. WARNING: RANT IN PROGRESS!

I listened to a few seconds of Lisa Raitt's apology and
it didn't take long to realize that she really was sorry.... SORRY SHE GOT CAUGHT!!!

Her defense is that it was a 'private' conversation that was 'inadvertently' taped, but there is no defense.

Canadians have a right to know the 'private' thoughts of a politician who sees the isotope shortage as a boost to her career and the fact that it involves radioactive waste and cancer, as sexy.

In her position, responsible for that radioactive waste and cancer (tests), this is simply not good enough. In fact, it's abysmal.

Just yesterday she refused to say she was sorry, so I suspect the tears are a result of a chewing out by her boss, that really hurt her feelings, assuming she has any.

The fact that Harper is keeping her in her job, is further proof that he has no clue. Or maybe it's simply that he has no one else willing or able to step up. Either way, she's got to go.

Michael Ignatieff says isotope comments show insensitivity; Harper accuses Liberals of 'playing cheap politics'
Jun 10, 2009
Tonda MacCharles

OTTAWA – Lisa Raitt has lost a grandmother, grandfather, father and brother to cancer.

But, under fire for privately calling the medical isotope shortage a "sexy" story and a chance to shine in the political limelight, the federal minister at the centre of a cancer treatment storm offered no apology to the Commons.
(What a little twit. Everyone has lost someone to cancer, and yet our first thought was not that it was sexy or would advance our career) And Prime Minister Stephen Harper made clear he doesn't expect her to.

Instead, Harper defended his natural resources minister against criticism from Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

Harper said Raitt, the minister in charge of the reactor shutdown that has triggered a looming shortage of isotopes critical to heart and cancer tests, has been "working around the clock" to manage the crisis.
(ha, ha, ha)

He accused the Liberals of "playing cheap politics" with the issue. (Not just the Liberals moron. All opposition parties and the majority of Canadians. Remember those Canadians that you hated in 1997 but claim to love now? The ones who pay your salary and expect that you do you damn job!)

In a conversation inadvertently recorded in January by a then-aide and made public yesterday by a Halifax newspaper, Raitt also says she looks forward to getting credit for fixing the isotope crisis and expresses doubts about the skill of Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

Yesterday, many cancer patients and their families said Raitt should apologize for her remarks.

"I find it offensive that she would play with people's lives in such an offhanded manner," said an Ottawa mother who didn't want to be named, but whose daughter survived Hodgkin's lymphoma. "I absolutely think she should apologize."

Meredith Marks, an Ottawa physician in the midst of her own cancer battle, said Raitt showed "selfishness" in some of her comments.

"What she should be doing is trying to solve an issue to help the public, not to pad her resumé and take credit for something ... and downplaying a colleague."

Ignatieff said Raitt's comments are evidence of an insensitive minister and the government's "deep cynicism about the issues facing our country."

When Harper accused him of political opportunism, Ignatieff said: "The cheapest politics there is, is to call a crisis a career opportunity."

Raitt's office said the minister apologized by phone to Aglukkaq.

But in the Commons, Raitt resisted calls to apologize to cancer victims.

"There is nothing sexy about thousands of suffering Canadians on waiting lists for cancer treatment," said NDP Leader Jack Layton. (In case Harper is even thicker than I thought, Jack Layton is not a Liberal. This is not a partisan issue. This is an incompetent minister issue) "There is nothing sexy about radiation. There is nothing sexy about losing a family member to cancer. Why will the minister not resign and the Prime Minister accept it?"

Raitt said it was "ludicrous" to question the Tories' compassion. "Every member on this side of the House has unfortunately been touched by illness, sickness and, indeed, by cancer. That is what motivates us here in doing and caring for the health and safety of Canadians."

She went on to slam Layton for peddling "rhetoric, conspiracy theories and personal smears."

Harper's communications director, Kory Teneycke, said later that Raitt lost her father to colon cancer when she was 11 and her 36-year-old brother to lung cancer. (And yet in her twisted mind she thinks cancer is sexy?)

Meanwhile, The Canadian Press reports that sources familiar with the five hours of audiotape obtained by the Halifax Chronicle Herald say Raitt suggests Environment Minister Jim Prentice is pandering to Alberta's oil sands.

Two sources say Raitt is heard speaking dismissively about Prentice and one says she refers specifically to policy that favours oil companies.

A day after steadfastly refusing to say she was sorry, tearful Natural Resources Minister expresses ‘deep regret' for describing issue as ‘sexy'
Gloria Galloway
Ottawa — The Globe and Mail,
June 10, 2009

Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt choked back tears Wednesday as she apologized for remarks she made that suggest she thinks cancer is sexy.

“Today I personally want to communicate my deep regret for wording I used in a private discussion earlier this year, which was inadvertently recorded,” Ms. Raitt told a hastily arranged news conference on Parliament Hill.

“As somebody who has been in their personal life deeply affected by cancer, the intent was certainly not to show and disrespect for cancer victims, survivors, or their families.”

Ms. Raitt was recorded in January during a conversation with her aide, Jasmine MacDonnell, in which she said the medical isotope issue is “sexy” because it involves cancer and radioactivity.

Ms. MacDonnell subsequently lost the tape recorder containing that discussion and it ended up in the hands of a reporter.

Taking deep breaths, Ms. Raitt said it is clear her remarks have been interpreted as callous. Cancer patients have widely been quoted in the news media as denouncing her words.

“I want to offer a clear apology to anyone who has been affected by what I have said,” she told reporters.

Ms. Raitt said that, when she was 11 years old, she watched her father die from colon cancer over a period of 18 months.

“And 20 years later, I was in the room with my brother when he died of lung cancer,” she said, adding that it's a personal issue and one she does not take lightly.

Opposition members have been calling for her resignation since it was reported last week that a binder of documents was left at a CTV studio after she was interviewed about the current shortage of medical isotopes.

Liberal Health critic Carolyn Bennett said Wednesday she appreciated the minister's apology.

“I think it's very important that this apology has been made to the people in Canada who are facing cancer or who have ever faced cancer,” Ms. Bennett told reporters after Ms. Raitt had left the room.

“It obviously is a personal issue that the minister feels profoundly and personally as so many of us [do].”

Ms. Bennett said she hope the apology means that the minister will be able to assure the people of Canada that there will be a plan for securing a supply of medical isotopes.

Ms. Raitt has told the House of Commons that international producers of medical isotopes in the Netherlands, Australia and South Africa will be able to increase their supply to compensate for the amount no longer coming out of Chalk River.

But the Liberals have pointed out that extended shutdowns are planned for the Dutch reactor, the Australian reactor is not yet in operation and was not built to supply the international market, and the South African reactor is not large enough to make up the shortfall.

Ms. Bennett said her party wants the government to appoint a medical director who can deal with the isotope shortage in Canada and map the situation across the country. “This is a crisis, it should be treated as a crisis,” he said.

The amount of available isotopes has dwindled to critical levels following the shutdown of an aging nuclear reactor at Chalk River, Ont. that produces a third of the world's supply.

Addressing another facet of her recorded remarks – her criticism of Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq – Ms. Raitt concluded Wednesday's news conference: “With respect to the medical isotopes issue, however, I will continue to work with Minister Aglukkaq and the international community to address the isotope shortage in Canada and around the world. Thank you.”

A day earlier, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood by her, saying “has confidence” in Ms. Raitt and dismissing the furor surrounding the Natural Resources Minister as political opportunism.

In Question Period, he dismissed opposition attacks, saying Ms. Raitt “has been working around the clock to make sure that we get a greater supply of isotopes and to make sure we have alternative options for our health care patients in this country. That is what the minister is doing, and that is what this government is doing, not playing cheap politics.”

The recording was made public Monday night, adding new difficulties for a minister who is also accused of racking up big expense bills in a former job and who lost a staff member over the mishandling of secret documents.

Lawyers for the 26-year-old former staffer argued Monday to keep the material secret, but Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Gerald Moir refused to extend an injunction which prevented the Halifax Chronicle Herald from revealing the recording on the weekend.

On the tape, the Minister called into question the competence Ms. Aglukkaq, who was also working to resolve the crisis caused by a shortage of medical isotopes after the recent shutdown of an aging Canadian reactor.

“I'm so disappointed,” Ms. Raitt said in the recording posted at the Herald's site. “... She's such a capable woman, but it's hard for her to come out of a co-operative government into this rough-and-tumble. She had a question in the House Monday, or two days ago ... that planked. I really hope she never gets anything hot.” (hot like sexy cancer)

Reminds me of another phony apology from a Conservative MP. I wonder if they keep a list of them in their handbook. 1. Peel an onion. 2. Say you're sorry. 3. Blame it on the opposition.

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