This summer has possibly been the most morbidly depressing span of time in recent memory. From constant war in the Israel, Iraq, Ukraine, and Syria, to ebola hemorrhagic fever plaguing Africa, and the recent earthquake that devastated Northern California, I’m finding myself more and more often yelling at my TV and rolling up into a ball to rock back and forth in the corner. Unfortunately, Ontarians may be next to make the headlines as the potential for nuclear disaster affecting us rises. No, I’m not talking about the type of nuclear disaster that put our tax dollars in a state of fallout a few years ago, nor has the likelihood of a nuclear threat risen, but our chances of getting the proper protection in the chance of one ever happening is only getting thinner, and once again, we have our politicians to thank.
Ontario is the only province in which potassium iodide pills aren’t distributed within a range around its nuclear generating stations. Ontario has three plants, two of which are very close to Toronto. Now Torontonians know how it feels to be not cared about to the extent the rest of Ontarians are all the time. Canada’s two other plants are in Quebec and New Brunswick and both provinces distribute the pills every five years within an eight- and 20-km radius respectively. This is standard policy in many countries. These pills protect the thyroid glands from absorbing radiation, helping alleviate the affects 0f nuclear radiation poisoning. It’s important here to note that despite popular conceptions, nuclear radiation does not result in superpowers, only cancer.
The nuclear safety commission has drafted a regulation to see to the pre-distribution of radiation-blocking pills, one which the Ontario government has thrown in it’s support behind…sort of. Oh, as if anything involving the government was that easy. Ontarians won’t be seeing there pills anytime soon as provincial bureaucrats squabble with the feds over who will actually do the distribution. The regulation puts the onus of distributing pills on the operators of nuclear plants but the provincial government says this regulations contravenes the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan that gives the Ontario Government jurisdiction over the pills. This brings the phrase “acting like a bunch of whiny children” to whole a new level, going to show that the only difference between government disputes and two kids arguing over whose turn it was to play with a Spiderman action figure is the number of legal documents. Though the kids probably have more sense than the people running Queens Park, at least they know they wont be needlessly endangering the lives of millions of people.
This delay has sparked outrage in Commission President Michael Binder who publicly blasted Ontario Officials on Thursday, saying, “Our preferred outcome is that the Ontario government would be the lead in this… but we will not accept a forever paralysis by analysis.” Binder told the Star, “You don’t need much legal authority to put pills in the mail, and mail them.”
Lucky for Ontarians, we already basically live a nuclear winter for five months out of the year, so it wont be too crucial of an issue if one ever happens. What’s most important is if among the rubble you find Justin Trudeau’s hair, one of the few things resilient to a nuclear disaster, not to go mad with power. A nuclear fall out will afford an opportunity to build an accountable government from scratch. We can get it right this time.