The original headline “Ex-AECL boss’ firm landed $10M grant” was from the Ottawa Citizen, the story was removed from their website.
Turns out that the Ottawa Citizen may have jumped the gun with the numbers.
According to Ray Castelli, president and CEO of NaiKun Wind Development Inc,
NaiKun Wind Energy Group is one of more than 100 companies that has registered under the federal government’s ecoEnergy for Renewable Power Program in order to be eligible for an incentive of one cent per kilowatt-hour for up to 10 years for eligible low-impact, renewable electricity projects constructed between April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2011.
According to Ray Castelli, president and CEO of NaiKun Wind Development Inc, the company has not yet received funding under the ecoEnergy program, nor has it received any other government grant of a similar nature. Incorrect information appeared in a story and headline on page A3 of the Ottawa Citizen yesterday, Dec 22 2007
Ray Castelli says “the company has not yet received funding under the ecoEnergy program”, suggesting that they will receive funding. He goes on to say “nor has it received any other government grant of a similar nature”. He doesn’t say they won’t receive any grant money, so that door is left open for funding as well. How much funding could they receive? Could it be $10 million, I don’t know but this story needs to be followed. The word “grant” seems to be the problem, so it has been removed from the story.
Tory insider’s involvement in project ‘doesn’t pass the smell test’:
Michael Burns, the B.C. businessman and backroom Conservative who recently resigned as chairman of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., is also chairman of a Vancouver wind power firm the federal government approved for up to $10 million in alternate energy funding while Mr. Burns was AECL chairman. The offshore wind power company, NaiKun Wind Energy Group, has two former assistants to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as senior officers and also has other well-connected Conservatives on its board of directors. NaiKun received approval for wind energy incentives — which could eventually be worth at least $1 million a year for electricity from its proposed offshore windmills at the north end of the Queen Charlotte Islands — after the Harper government announced the incentives in January 2007. The federal cabinet approved Mr. Burns’ appointment as chairman of AECL in October, 2006. The same month the government unveiled its Clean Air Act, which included first mention of new Conservative environmental initiatives to replace the previous Liberal government’s proposals. Mr. Burns, who resigned as AECL chairman only a few days before the Crown corporation had to shut down a medical isotope-producing nuclear reactor during a confrontation with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, plays down the significance of Conservative connections inside his company and on its governing board. NaiKun won approval for the government’s ecoEnergy wind power incentives from the natural resources department while Mr. Burns was answering to Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn as chairman of AECL. Mr. Lunn is also responsible for the Nuclear Safety Commission. Opposition politicians say the presence of several Conservatives in the company, including the two former assistants to Mr. Harper, raises questions about a level playing field in the alternate energy industry and also puts Mr. Harper’s allegations of political partisanship within the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in a different light. NaiKun’s president, Ray Castelli, is a former chief of staff to one-time Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell, who was once MP for Vancouver Centre. Tony Fogarassy, NaiKun’s director of corporate projects and general legal counsel, was a Conservative candidate in Vancouver Centre in the 2006 election, losing to Liberal Hedy Fry.
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Michael Burns, the man who was running AECL is not a nuclear scientist, nor does he have more than a passing familiarity with the nuclear industry. He is a wind power expert and wonder of wonders, a former fundraiser for the Canadian Alliance. He was appointed by Harper himself, over the advice of a professional headhunter who had recommended a former chair of the AECL for the chief executive’s job. In spite of those connections, Burns claims that he resigned some time before the isotope crisis over operational issues, implying the government wouldn’t let him fix the problems.
That ought to be embarrassment enough, but no. Eight days before he launched his attack on Keen, Harper made one of his own appointments to the nuclear regulator. He didn’t choose a radiation expert or geologist as you might expect, but a medical doctor named Ronald Barriault, who just happens to be a failed provincial Conservative candidate in New Brunswick.