Mar 232018

Catherine McKenna was interviewed on CBC Radio – –

2018-03-18   Environment minister Catherine McKenna on contradiction at heart of Canada’s energy policy, CBC Sunday Edition

News, three days earlier,  Justin Trudeau’s government sees nuclear energy as “an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket”and is lobbying foreign nations to include it in climate change talks – –

2018-03-15   Climate: Trudeau government is banking on nuclear power


Maybe I missed it;  I didn’t hear any mention of nuclear power in Minister McKenna’s presentation (CBC interview).   So let’s ask her.

I sent the following which also raises “follow-the-money” issue.

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My letter to the Minister

From: Sandra Finley
Sent: March 20, 2018 8:48 PM
Subject:    Do you KNOW that Natural Resources Minister Carr is pushing nuclear energy in the climate talks, Copenhagen  Bonn, in May?


Dear Minister McKenna,


QUESTION 1:   Are you aware that the Ministry of Natural Resources under Jim Carr  – – “Canada” – – is pushing to have nuclear energy included as a solution, in Climate discussions at Copenhagen  Bonn in May?

I caught most of your interview on CBC Radio, March 18th.  It was not apparent to me that you are aware.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


QUESTION 2:   Are you aware of former 4-term Liberal Cabinet Minister (under PM’s Martin & Chretien) Anne McLellan’s role on the Board of Cameco (nuclear industry)?

(Re  DSU:  Most of the deferred equity-based compensation paid to directors takes the form of deferred share units (DSUs)).

From   (at end of Dec, 2016, McLellan held almost a million dollars worth of Cameco shares)

Securities Held

As of December 31, 2016

Year Cameco Shares DSUs Total Shares & DSUs Total value of Shares & DSUs Meets share ownership targets
2016 100 38,253 38,353 $ 538,478 Yes (145%)
2015 100 33,413 33,513 $ 572,066 Yes
Change –– 4,840 4,840 $(33,588)

For share ownership compliance, Anne’s shares and DSUs held at December 31, 2016 are valued at $929,756.00

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr,

Speech to the Canadian Nuclear Association on February 22, 2018.

NOTE:  the UN meeting on Climate Change (May 6, 2018) was actually in Bonn, Germany – – not in Copenhagen as stated by Kim Rudd.

. . .meeting again in Copenhagen in May and we have ensured that nuclear energy will have its place in a broad, high-level discussion on a global transition to a low-carbon economy,”


From spokesperson for Natural Resources Canada, Jerri Southcott:

Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket and will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future.

(From   2018-03-15 Climate: Trudeau government is banking on nuclear power)


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The assertion  “nuclear . . . will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future.”   struck me as incongruent.   Why would a political party in Canada promote the nuclear industry?  Canadian provinces, moving from the West eastward:

  • British Columbia‘s policy is no-nuclear. The Crown corporation, BC Hydro “reject(s) consideration of nuclear power in implementing B.C.’s clean energy strategy.”
  • Albertans fought down nuclear reactors on the Peace River (from 2007 until 2011 when Bruce Power completely bailed out of efforts to build reactors in Alberta).
  • Saskatchewanians fought down nuclear reactors planned for the North Saskatchewan River, 2009.

(Saskatchewanians also fought down 3 separate attempts by the industry to build a deep geological Repository for high level radioactive waste disposal in northern Saskatchewan.)

  •  Manitobans gained their experience at Pinawawa (“Whiteshell”) in 1978.   “No.”

(The High Level Radioactive Waste Act was assented to in 1987.  It is illegal to import radioactive waste into Manitoba.)

  • The citizens of Ontario have had enough experience to know the high cost of nuclear energy.

(Mayors of Cities around the Great Lakes, on both the Canadian and American sides, banded together to stop the transport of radioactive waste through their water supply bound for disposal on the other side of the Atlantic.   I don’t know the number of communities in Ontario that have said “No” to the disposal of radioactive waste anywhere in their vicinity.   For fifty years the industry has been trying unsuccessfully to get rid of their waste.   Meanwhile the old reactors in Ontario have to be dealt with, as they near end-of-life.  What happens then?)

  • The Province of Quebec put an end to nuclear reactors.

(The Quebec Legislature prohibited import of radioactive waste for storage in Quebec.)

  • Point LePreau has been a financial sinkhole for the people of New Brunswick.


What are the Liberals thinking?!    . . . Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket and will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future?      I kind of have to laugh.   It’s getting politically expensive to keep backing that which citizens have fought against.  Except that . . .  there’s a reason.   Always is.

WHY  are Canadians so opposed to nuclear energy?   . . .  It’s because the economics don’t make sense.    Most Ontarians, Quebecers, and New Brunswickers, provinces that have had nuclear energy, understand that.  And the rest of us learn from their experience.  (UPDATE:  a large issue in the Ontario Provincial Election, June 7, 2018, is the high cost of electricity in Ontario, which is to say,  the high cost of nuclear.)

Citizens become the paupers.


The question then, is, who wins?   Not in general terms, but SPECIFICALLY.  That is the role of investigative journalists to discover – – there ARE beneficiaries.   WHO are they?   . . .  follow the money.   I will get to that after this comment:

When a population fights a reactor because it will enslave them to very expensive electricity, at the cost of investing in alternatives, and

then turns around to fight the transportation of (the industry’s estimate in 2009, more now) 20,000 truckloads of accumulated high level radioactive waste, you may, as I did, come to view the nuclear industry as a Ponzi scheme.  Someone gets left holding the bag, at the end.   “Someone” is the good old, not-yet-angry-enough citizen.

It’s pretty simple:   a business needs a revenue stream to cover its costs.  The industry has old reactors in Ontario;  billions of dollars are being spent to extend their lives.   Costs go onto electricity bills.  The last “new” reactor began construction in July 1985,  more than three decades ago.

No new reactors means no new revenue streams to replace the old ones.

BUT,  simultaneously, the industry has (by its own estimates in 2009, more now) upwards of $24 billion for the cost of building a Repository for its accumulated waste.  That estimate does not include the cost of transporting all the waste to the site. (Some years ago, the industry was required to start putting money into a fund to address those eventual costs.  It has so far collected a small portion of the necessary money.)

There’s the Ponzi:

Without new reactors they don’t have a replacement revenue stream.  So, dwindling cash in-flow.  Large out-flows.  How are they going to pay the cost of accumulated waste disposal, an estimated $30 billion dollars?   I have no idea what their existing debt-loads are.  There are contaminated sites to be cleaned up, at large expense.  There isn’t one insurance company willing to sell insurance to them.    A new reactor requires capital investment.  But investors don’t line up when the potential for returns looks lousy.

No new reactors?  . . . in a Ponzi, the last guy to buy in (Ontario?) ends up footing the bill.   Most of the other provinces have said. “It’s not going to be us.”

UNLESS  . . .  unless the industry has access to the public purse to foot the bills, they’re hooped.  Seems to me.

The Liberals appear to be gambling that they can use spin doctors and count on ignorant voters.  I don’t think we are that gullible.


So WHY the big push, by the Trudeau Government, to commit Canada to nuclear reactors and to have other countries adopt them as a (false) answer to climate change?   . . .   follow the money.

When I read the words of Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr’s parliamentary secretary,  we have ensured that nuclear energy will have its placeI went to Cameco’s website.  (If you don’t know Cameco, see

Who are the current Executive and Board members? 

 No longer:  Nancy Hopkins, Saskatoon corporate lawyer who had been on the Cameco Board since 1992, had Cameco shares and options worth $1,001,871 in 2008;  $1,843,273 in 2009.

The fight over the North Sask River reactor was in 2009.  As mentioned, the reactor was defeated.  Not good news for Cameco’s share value.

The Fukishima nuclear reactor disaster was in March 2011, seven years ago.  Cameco shares fell, but had been falling.  The high was in mid-June, 2007,  $59.46 per share.  The next high, mid-Feb 2011, $41.34.   Down to $18.41 by the end of 2011;  no recovery – – trading around $12.00  in mid-March, 2018.   Today’s share value is down by 80% over its June 2007 high.

If Nancy did not unload her shares, the value of her portfolio investment in Cameco has plummeted.  The same is true for other Executive members of Cameco.  But investment in Cameco shares is only part of the money.

What does the compensation look like for Cameco Executives?  What’s at stake for them, or for the aspiring executives to succeed them, if the industry can’t bring new reactors on-stream?  It will be compensation + perks + share value + intangibles of being on the Board (influence, connections).


(Ref, chart from:


Key Executive Compensation












Timothy S. Gitzel/President and Chief Executive Officer 4,772,534 4,720,325 5,099,097 5,917,347 5,924,134


Grant E. Isaac/Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer 1,818,511 1,760,075 2,791,418 2,076,531 2,558,113


Robert Steane/Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer 2,396,780 2,223,135 2,591,850 3,370,965 2,624,740


Alice Wong/Senior Vice-President and Chief Corporate Officer 1,246,179 1,172,529 2,198,320 1,552,552 1,679,768


Sean Quinn/Senior Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary 621,360 2,381,550 1,700,442 1,660,150


These people are in the 1%, having been given access to a public resource, once owned by a Crown Corporation.   From 2013 to 2014 Key Executive Compensation rose by 43% (from $10 million to $15 million), at a time when their share value had been in uninterrupted decline since February, 2011.   And just after the CRA – – –

Grant Isaac was into his fourth year with Cameco (Chief Financial Officer), Nancy Hopkins, corporate lawyer, her 21st year on the Board, when the CRA went after Cameco, over offshore shell companies:

The uranium producer estimates it has avoided declaring $4.9-billion in Canadian income, saving it $1.4-billion in taxes, over the last 10 years.

2013-05-01   Cameco’s $800-million tax battle, Globe & Mail  

(Update:  2017-08-17 Cameco wins PROCEDURAL victory in offshore ‘transfer pricing’ tax battle, (not the end of the case)  Financial Post)


Citizens were pretty pissed.  We pay taxes, they don’t.  That’s not all.  Intolerable conflicts-of-interest:

Nancy served as a Director on the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan from 2005-2013, serving as the Chair of the Board in the last three years. Nancy also sat on the Board of Cameco Corporation (CCO on the TSX; CCJ on the NYSE) for 24 years, and, in that time, chaired the Compensation Committee, the Audit Committee, and the Governance Committee. (

During Nancy’s time as Chair of the University Board of Governors, the Provincial Government of Brad Wall transferred (2011) between $30 and $47 million to the University EAR-MARKED for the nuclear industry.  (  Nancy did not protect University autonomy by insisting that public funding of the University has to be “no strings attached”.  Further:

Grant Isaac was Dean of the Edwards School of Business at the U of S.   In July, 2009, Cameco Corp hired him; in 2011 he became Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer.   In January 2013, Grant was appointed by the Government to the Board of Governors of the University.

(I met with Grant when he was still Dean of the Business School, to understand whether what is taught in Economics classes is still the same as it was when I was a student there, (1967-71).   Grossly deficient economic indicators, GDP, the ability of corporations to offload costs to the public to pay, etc..   The answer was “yes”.   Grant put it this way:   “If there was a way to change it, it would have been done by now.”   So, no problem teaching junk to students.   That was in 2008 when the faculty was still on strike (  Grant went to Cameco in summer 2009.  Would he have been selected if he had been active in seeking changes to a flawed economic system that is taking the planet to the brink?

(INSERT, UPDATE:  OTHER universities ARE doing something:   2018-03-21     Hallelujah! GDAE Textbooks for Economics Courses (Tufts University))

There are no laws in Saskatchewan to prohibit corporate (or union) donations to political parties.


In  2009, the President of the University, Peter McKinnon, was hosted at Cameco’s fly-in fishing lodge,  Yalowega Lake, in northern Saskatchewan.   The Lodge has its own gourmet chef.

McKinnon (who was dean of the Law School, before becoming President of the U) attacked those who challenged Nancy Hopkins’ conflict-of-interest (heavily invested in Cameco, Chair of the U Board of Governors, involved in decisions re allocation of university priorities and Government funding for the nuclear industry).  He angrily declared that there was no conflict-of-interest.

So,  WHO ELSE is on the Board?  And does it have any bearing on my question:

WHY the big push, by the Trudeau Government, to commit Canada to nuclear reactors?  It doesn’t make sense – – the level of resistance right across the country is high, and known.   The last “new” reactor began construction 30+ years ago.   To go into international negotiations and try to foist nuclear energy on other countries, when your own citizens won’t tolerate it, only undermines the integrity of Canadian business.    What’s up?


Anne McLellan?   She was brought onto the Cameco Board in 2006.  You may recall Anne – – for years, the only federal Liberal elected in the West (Edmonton).   Served 4 terms.  She was Federal Minister of Justice, of Health, of Natural Resources, Deputy Prime Minister, , ,  under Paul Martin and Jean Chretien.

A Liberal of influence.  Was awarded an Order of Canada.   After politics she went on corporate boards.   She earns more than a million dollars a year from her board work.  I assume there’s a reason why she was called to the Board of Cameco.


On February 11, 2016, as Natural Resources Minister, Carr purchased seven tickets to a NHL game featuring the Winnipeg Jets versus the Boston Bruins. His guests included the energy ministers . . . .

Carr represents the riding of Winnipeg South Centre,

Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, from Cobourg, represents the Ontario riding of  Northumberland—Peterborough South

Her speech to the Canadian Nuclear Association on February 22, 2018:

. . .meeting again in Copenhagen in May and we have ensured that nuclear energy will have its place in a broad, high-level discussion on a global transition to a low-carbon economy,”

Jerri Rudd,  “spokesperson for Natural Resources Canada”,  Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s current clean energy basket and will continue to play a key role in achieving the country’s low-carbon future.”

who is she?  see    


Anyhow, there you go.   When I followed the money, on the thing that didn’t make sense to me – – if I know the list of provinces that have fought against nuclear and won – – the extent of the dedicated “no to nuclear“, surely the Liberal Party knows the same.   I conclude it is not the interests of Canadians that are being served.   Yet again.   Corruption trumps.


For your consideration, Minister McKenna.

For your sake, for the sake of  Tax-payers’ wallets, for the sake of democracy and integrity, I wish it was otherwise.

Best regards,

Sandra Finley


UPDATE:  2018-06-04   Election – The people of Ontario don’t like the high cost of nuclear energy. The Federal Govt, the 1%, and the spin doctors think nuclear is great

UPDATE:  2018-07-25   Commentary & Updates. Cameco lays off hundreds of Saskatchewan employees, extends site shutdowns, CBC News.


  5 Responses to “2018-03-19 Does Environment Minister McKenna KNOW that Natural Resources Minister Carr is pushing nuclear energy in the UN climate talks, Bonn Germany, May 2018? My letter to the Minister. Follow-the-money.”

  1. Hi Sandra.
    I am looking forward to seeing what kind of reply you get back from McKenna on this.

  2. Reaction to Ms McKenna’s reply to your March 20, 2018 letter – written by Paola Mellow, Acting Director General: disgusting!!

    “You can’t wake up someone who is pretending to be asleep . . . .” – don’t know who said this but it’s true. . . . . people keep their government jobs and salaries as long as they remember to parrot the scripted replies and remain ignorant!

  3. Hi Sandra,

    It looks like their responses is a cut and paste of points you gave them and they essentially don’t care about tax payers or high electricity rates. I think you nailed the reason for their big push for nuclear. It is time to ramp it up a notch.

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