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Nuclear industry lacks leadership, says Liberal candidate Christine Tabbert

LAURENTIAN VALLEY -Federal Liberal candidate Christine Tabbert said today that the lack of leadership shown by the current government concerning Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. has failed the residents of Renfrew-Nipissing- Pembroke.

"What I believe is required, and what is missing," said Tabbert, "is a strong voice in Ottawa that is advocating for the residents of this riding and the stake that all Canadians have in AECL."

The Harper government was expected to make an announcement this month on who would be taking over the CANDU business, after announcing in May 2009 that it was putting the crown jewel of AECL and the Canadian nuclear industry up for sale. Reports began circulating that the only two companies rumoured to be in the running to purchase the business, Bruce Power and SNC Lavalin, had both withdrawn their bids.

"The Conservative government's proposed sale process has gone nowhere for over a year and a half, and it is apparent that they have no plan for the future of AECL or the nuclear industry in Canada," said Ms. Tabbert. "No industry can survive and thrive in this atmosphere of uncertainty."

The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA), which represents scientists and engineers at AECL, issued a bulletin about the rumoured end to the Bruce Power and SNC Lavalin bids, saying that it is "extremely concerned" by the failure of the bids.

"I share SPEA's deep concern that the current government may now simply allow AECL to die a 'death by a thousand cuts' or be sold off piecemeal, which would amount to the same thing," said Ms. Tabbert.

"What is needed, and what is sorely lacking, is leadership."

"Over the past dozen years, our local representatives in Ottawa should have been working to ensure that the federal government of the day, regardless of political stripe, was developing a long term plan for the nuclear industry in this country," Ms. Tabbert added.