March 31, 2010 15:54 ET

Sale of AECL by stealth sells out Canadian taxpayer interests

Society of Professional Engineers and Associates slam Conservative government attempt to hide AECL sale in federal budget documents

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - March 31, 2010) - The attempt by the Harper government to use the federal budget to hide language making it easier to sell off pieces of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) was met by anger from employees represented by the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA). "This is an outright attempt to pull a fast one on the Canadian taxpayer," said Dr. Michael Ivanco, Vice President of SPEA. "There is currently a process in place with bidders placing proposals for review under an earlier edict from the government. Now with this change the Cabinet can decide to split off and sell parts of the company effectively killing it, risking the loss of a successful high-tech industry and leaving taxpayers no return for their investment. While government officials have assured us that this is not their intention the proposed legislation gives them carte blanche to do so."

The clause found in Bill C 9 Article 2138, states that: The purpose of this Part is to authorize a number of measures for the reorganization and divestiture of all or any part of AECL's business. This article gives Cabinet the authority to sell all of AECL without being subject to the Investment Canada Act, meaning the government can unilaterally sell all of AECL to foreign interests and it would not, as per the Act, require a national security test. "Canadians have every right to be outraged by the stealth techniques employed by the Conservatives," Ivanco said. "We have developed a successful and important industry that has created over 60,000 jobs that employs Canadians across the country and is a major export industry with tremendous potential. We cannot allow this process to be hidden and exempted from a national interest test."

"SPEA has been vocal in its opposition to the sale of AECL to foreign interests or its breakup," said Ivanco. "We fully support a reinvigorated restructuring with the assistance of the private sector to help manage and market AECL to the world. It is however in Canada's interest that the company remains in Canadian control."

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SPEA represents the engineers, scientists, technologists and technicians who design, build and maintain CANDU reactors in Canada and internationally.
/For further information: Michelle Duncan

Contact Information

  • Michelle Duncan, External Relations, Society of Professional Engineers and Associates
    Primary Phone: 416-427-3525
    E-mail: duncanm@spea.ca