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

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

McDavid, Draisaitl with three points each to lead Oiles over Flyers

Oilers 4, Flyers 1 EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had two goals and… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

RCMP offer tips for crime-free holiday ’Tis the season for joy and… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Most Read