TRACYVILLE, N.B. — Prime Minister Stephen Harper is standing behind his embattled natural resources minister, dismissing calls for Gary Lunn's resignation after the minister threatened to fire the head of Canada's arm's-length nuclear regulator.
Mr. Harper, in New Brunswick for a funding announcement, says Mr. Lunn “acted beyond the call of duty” when he took action to deal with the shutdown of a 50-year-old research reactor that led to a critical, worldwide shortage of isotopes used in medical imaging.
The prime minister took aim at the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission — Linda Keen — saying her decision to shut down the reactor could have “needlessly endangered” the Canadian medical system.
Mr. Harper stressed that members of Parliament overturned Ms. Keen's decision in less than 48 hours and he remains “troubled” by Ms. Keen's recent actions.