Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bunker mentality

There's definitely something "historic" happening in Saskatchewan politics. But the story which really figures to change the province's course has nothing at all to do with the income tax levels that the Sask Party wants to highlight.

Instead, the real action is set to start behind closed doors, where the Sask Party is handing the nuclear industry $3 million to put together a wish list for nuclear development:
Saskatchewan has named the president of a company that is looking at building a nuclear power plant in the province to a panel that is to advise the government on how to develop its uranium and nuclear industry.

Duncan Hawthorne, president of Bruce Power Inc., is one of 12 people who were appointed to the Uranium Development Partnership on Monday by Crown Corporations Minister Ken Cheveldayoff and Enterprise Minister Lyle Stewart.

Bruce Power is currently conducting a feasibility study into building a nuclear power plant in Saskatchewan, the world's largest producer of uranium...

Bruce Power operates six Candu reactors at its electricity generating stations about 250 km northwest of Toronto. The Ontario-based nuclear power company is a joint venture of Saskatoon-based uranium giant Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) of Calgary and other partners.

Other members named to the partnership include Armand Laferrere, president of Areva Canada, a France-based international nuclear power corporation, Jerry Grandey, president and CEO of Cameco and Alex Pourbaix, president of energy at TransCanada Corp...

The partnership's work will not include getting input from the public about uranium or nuclear power. The government pledged it will consult with the public after the final report is released.
See the full list of participants here.

Of course, this is far from the first time the Wall government has tasked big business with the job of deciding for itself how the province should be run with no input from such fringe interests as the general public. And judging from the Sask Party's track record, it surely won't be the last.

But the radioactive partnership looks to be the first time the Sask Party has actively promoted any one sector over another rather than merely favouring corporatist ideas generally. And it surely can't be a good sign that the Wall government's first choice of industries to favour with public money is not only probably the most controversial they could have picked, but easily the one which carries the most severe potential dangers if non-industry interests are ignored.

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