Harper defends minister

Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood unapologetic Tuesday, defended his embattled natural resources minister and dismissed the storm of opposition and public criticism of Lisa Raitt as “cheap politics.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Tuesday.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood unapologetic Tuesday, defended his embattled natural resources minister and dismissed the storm of opposition and public criticism of Lisa Raitt as “cheap politics.”

The opposition parties attacked the Conservatives in the Commons with demands for Raitt’s resignation over her description in a taped private conversation of the shortage of isotopes used in cancer tests as a “sexy” issue from which she could benefit politically.

“This minister has been working around the clock to make sure we get a greater supply of isotopes and make sure we have alternative options for our health-care patients in this country,” Harper said.

Raitt, whose brother died of cancer at age 36, said she empathizes with the plight of cancer patients and their families who struggle to support loved ones, but offered no apology for her remarks made to an aide in January. The comments were inadvertently caught on tape.

She even joined the political counter-attack saying when it comes to the isotope crisis “the only people interested in political opportunism is the opposition.”

The absence of any clear remorse outraged Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who fired back: “The cheapest politics there is is to call a crisis a career opportunity.”

Cancer survivors and their supporters said they were astounded Raitt would describe anything to do with cancer tests as “sexy.”

They were demanding she either resign or be fired for making what they described as a cold, selfish, political calculation that involves people who are suffering.

“How could she?” asked Geraldine Owen, 67, of Moncton, N.B., who daughter-in-law has just entered a breast-cancer treatment.

Regardless of whether it was a private conversation, Owen said it’s clear Raitt was putting her “own power and ego above her compassion and humanity.”

Just Posted

Climate change’s impact on outdoor hockey discussed in Red Deer

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held a forum Friday at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Collision between Red Deer transit bus and truck investigated by RCMP

No one on bus was hurt, truck driver had minor injuries

Eckville man facing about 80 child sexual exploitation charges in court

More than half a million photos and videos found on electronic devices

Good-bye ice and snow, hello potholes on Red Deer roads

City workers will be spending 20 hours a day on various road repairs

Red Deer woman wins $1 million in lottery

A Red Deer woman spent $5 on a lottery ticket and became… Continue reading

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Puddle splashing: A rite of spring

Is there anything more fun than driving through water-filled potholes in the… Continue reading

Special evaluations can help seniors cope with cancer care

Before she could start breast cancer treatment, Nancy Simpson had to walk… Continue reading

Home renovator Mike Holmes oversees reno for paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player

AIRDRIE, Alta. — One of Canada’s most recognizable home renovators has acted… Continue reading

The endless war against invasive species

Group looks to protect native ecological environments in Alberta

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Flyers, Blackhawks, Sabres and Lightning to Europe in ‘19-20

Jakub Voracek was psyched at the mere suggestion the Philadelphia Flyers might… Continue reading

Danish receiver Nielsen looking to defy the odds again, this time at CFL combine

TORONTO — He’s coming to the CFL’s national combine as a definite… Continue reading

Mom with kids on YouTube channel suspected of child abuse

MARICOPA, Ariz. — A woman who operated a popular YouTube channel featuring… Continue reading

Most Read