January 9, 1998
To the Producer, CBC "Ideas":
Regarding the series on Nuclear Power this week (98/01/05
to 98/01/08), IDEAS seems to have retreated from its goal of
exploring the "road less trodden", and marched proudly down
the centre lane of public perception. Furthermore, it was
used as a vehicle for special-interest propaganda, since the
interviews with Norm Rubin of Energy Probe, of which IDEAS
producer is a Director, were essentially a case of that
well-known anti-nuclear group interviewing itself.
The show ignored the most basic tenet of rational thought
by only giving time to one side of this important issue.
In Episode three (98/01/08), for instance, the show
asserts with impunity that CANDU reactors, having corporate
links to a war-time bomb-producing reactor design, is
capable of supporting a national nuclear weapons programme.
Since the links are historical and not technical, this
assertion is patently false, but the show did not stop
to probe this damning accusation any further.
Instead, it left the listener with the biased remarks of
Norm Rubin, a full-time employee of one of this country's
largest anti-nuclear groups (Energy Probe), and accorded him
undue credibility by introducing him simply as a member of
a "national energy think tank". Energy Probe is no closer
to an energy think tank than Ontario Hydro or AECL is.
In fact, the quote from an "AECL president", regarding
Canada's lack of involvement with nuclear weapons, was
quite true. The show's subsequent reference to Canada's
plutonium-producing activities in the 1950's are made
irrelevant by the later policy decision of the
Canadian government to disassociate with nuclear weapons.
IDEAS did not mention this important explanatory point,
nor, I would guess, would they even be aware of it if the
producers hadn't explored the point further in their
It was disappointing to see a forum normally dedicated to
eclectic thought, act so narrow-mindedly and -- because of
the producer's ulterior motives -- self-servingly. Shame
on the CBC.