Stephan Dion on Nuclear

Stephan Dion, Canada’s new leader of the Liberal party called a spade a spade.  He said that so long as he can’t look Canadians in the eye, and tell them we have a solution to the problem of nuclear waste, he cannot recommend its further use.

What a breath of fresh air.   The Liberals and Conservatives have supported Federal subsidies for nuclear power for over 50 years.  The NDP has been conficted about nuclear, as the Power Workers Union has some sway over them, and nuclear is a big employer of union labour.

It is almost as if there has been a conspiracy of silence among our major political parties on the nuclear issue.

Its funny.  We live in a society today where we question everything.  We question Doctors, and flock to alternative therapies.  People use therapuetic touch, all manner of herbal remedies, accupuncture, colonics, vitamins, oxygen bars, and organic food, even when all the “experts” say these are a waste.  We rail against pesticides, smog, water pollution, and  trace chemicals in the bodies of our political leaders.  We drink bottled water like our lives depend on it.  We don’t trust “them” anymore.

When I was growing up, we trusted “them”.  We trusted authority figures.  As children, we were forced to knuckle under to authority.  In grade 7, I had a social studies teacher who I disliked enormously.  She was irritible, and prone to outbursts in the classroom.  What I especially hated was how she marked maps that we had to colour.  We had to colour the fringe of the land green, and the water blue.  I would know the name of every river, every city, every mountain range, every country, their major products, and their capital city.  But I couldn’t colour very well.  So I would get 6 or 7 out of 10 on every map.  Meanwhile, there were students in the class (usually girls), who didn’t know the name of the continent, let alone the country.  But they could sure colour well.  They got 10 out of 10.

I know I complained to my parents about this teacher.  But at the time, a parent’s role was to support the teacher.  And so they did.  They didn’t complain.  They left me to deal with the situation, which of course I did.  It was an era of blind acceptance of authority.  But it was about to change.  The sixties saw to that.  The sixties, like everything else, arrived about 5 years late in my home town.

Today, parents complain to teachers and principals constantly.  We question science.  We question religion.  We challenge authority.  George Bush had a long run of unquestioned support for his war on terror and in Iraq in the US, but that is crumbling.  We are getting back to our usual selves.

That is why the long silence by the public on the issue of nuclear waste has been puzzling.  This isn’t the 1950’s.  It is time we question “them” on this issue.

Thank you Mr. Dion.  You have at least allowed us to begin a dialogue.

Leave a Reply