Opinion Letters

Sharing our story

By Pembroke Daily Observer

I would like to express my sincere gratitude, that of my old chums at Chalk River, to you, Daily Observer reporter Stephen Uhler, to Martin Habraken for the excellent article AECL retirees still waiting, that appeared in the Pembroke Daily Observer on Saturday, Nov. 4.

It is a wonderful feeling for a blind man to see light at the end of a long dark tunnel. From the calls we are receiving, Julie Ireton from the CBC has left no stone unturned in her quest for justice for the real Atomic Veterans. In her visit to my home, Tom Egan, George Kiely, Martin and I provided her with the sad truth about the Atomic Veterans Recognition Program, where many of the 12-minute military personnel were paid $2,000 dollars per minute. We, the AECL workers who put our health at risk for months – even years – were told by Defence Minister Peter MacKay that we didn’t qualify.

I worked for two years on staff with Foundation Company of Canada, building the NRU Reactor, two more years with AECL in purchasing, and nine years as a process operator in both reactors. I think I left a few footprints at Chalk River, and some that I would like to erase.

One of my proud moments was my work in establishing Union Local 1601, giving process operators a seat in the Allied Council. The proudest moment was chairing a Saturday morning meeting in Ottawa with Claude Jodoin, president of the Canadian Labour Council, one of the most respected union leaders, not only in Canada but wherever unions operate. Al Dawson, Reg Parkhouse and I must have presented our request in an acceptable manner. Less than a month later, we had our charter.

Al Donohue


Olympic cheats

The news that the Russians doped their athletes is not surprising, although the fact that the country has been banned from the Winter Olympics is. The banning of Russia from the Summer Olympics would be extraordinary as this is the real event. The Olympics are realistically seen as the summer events — running, jumping and swimming — although the image is clouded by inclusion of events such as BMX bike riding. Allowing “clean” competitors to compete is a complex issue as they surely must have been aware of the doping program, and silence really is support and allows the wrongdoing to continue. The puzzling thing about doping and cheating in general is — why? People and countries cannot feel any pride in a tarnished medal. Let’s remember the emphasis on sport should be participation and enjoyment rather than a desperate need for a win.

Dennis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia 

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