House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

February 14th, 1997 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

moved that Bill C-249, an act to amend the Nuclear Liability Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, this bill would amend the Nuclear Liability Act. Members may ask: What is the Nuclear Liability Act? The Nuclear Liability Act was passed in 1970 but was only proclaimed in 1976. Its purpose was to make operators of nuclear installations absolutely liable for damages, but at the same time it limited their liability for a particular incident to $75 million.

When I say that it made them absolutely liable, I mean that it provided that victims of a nuclear accident would not have to prove negligence against the operators of a nuclear facility; they merely had to show that the damages to their person or to their property were caused by a breakdown or by an accident at the nuclear installation. Once they did that, the defendant was absolutely liable. However as I said, the liability was limited to a total of $75 million for all claimants on any one particular incident.

The Nuclear Liability Act also protects manufacturers of nuclear facilities and manufacturers of components for nuclear facilities, such as General Electric, Westinghouse and others. It protects them from any liability whatsoever. It does the same thing for the suppliers of fuel for nuclear installations. In other words, all damage claims by victims of a nuclear power accident must be channelled to the operators who are in turn limited to $75 million.

The act also provides that where the damage exceeds $75 million, the Government of Canada may decide to pay additional amounts, but that is not obligatory.

It should be noted that all operators must be licensed under the Atomic Energy Control Act by the Atomic Energy Control Board. Of course the purpose of that is to screen out unreliable operators.

Bill C-249 which is before the House today would do two things. First, it would increase the liability limit for operators from $75 million to $500 million per damage incident. Second, it would oblige the government to pay damages when they went above $500 million, subject to certain conditions.

Why is this necessary? Why am I putting forward this bill? It is necessary because the liability limit of $75 million is totally out of date and inadequate.

There are presently 23 nuclear installations in Canada situated in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

If we were simply to adjust the $75 million maximum to compensate for inflation, the adjusted maximum calculated for 1989 would be $279 million. As members know, it is now 1997 so with further inflation adjustment the maximum would be close to $500 million.

Experience has now shown us that the original maximum was woefully too low. The 1986 Chernobyl breakdown resulted in $300 billion of damages in Ukraine and Belarus. As a result of that accident 250,000 people had to be evacuated from their farms, villages and communities.

Briefs to the Ontario Hydro hearings in 1990 demonstrated that a severe accident at the Darlington, Ontario installation would result in damages of $1 trillion. In 1990 the Business Journal stated that Ontario Hydro was not adequately insured for damage from accidents of this kind.

It should be pointed out that Toronto is closer to Pickering than Kiev was to Chernobyl yet Kiev incurred approximately $100 billion in damages in 1986. That is probably why the city of Toronto with Energy Probe and Rosalie Bertell went to court in 1986 to have the Nuclear Liability Act declared unconstitutional.

Unfortunately in 1996 after 10 years of legal wrangling they were obliged to drop their action. The principal opponents in that action were Ontario Hydro and New Brunswick Power.

Some say that these changes are not necessary because Canadian installations are extremely safe. It may be correct that the Canadian safety record is a good one, and I congratulate the operators for that, but no one will argue that our system is fail safe. Not only do we have the examples of Chernobyl in 1986 and Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979, but in 1995 in this country there were 786 unusual incidents recorded for Canadian installations and 391 were formally reported to the Atomic Energy Control Board.

In 1983 there was a serious accident at the Pickering 2 installation less than 20 miles from Toronto. The two reactors were shut down for four years. A pressure tube had burst without warning in the in the very core of the reactor system. The replacement cost was $700 million.

Ontario's nuclear facilities are not built to withstand the magnitude of earthquakes now anticipated in this region. An earthquake is considered the most likely cause of a severe accident to a nuclear power facility.

The bill is also necessary because individuals in Canada cannot get personal or household insurance which will cover them for damages resulting from a nuclear facility accident. No insurance company will cover this risk for individuals. The insured has no coverage for radioactive contamination. I was shocked to learn that but that is the case. None of us can get an insurance policy which will cover us against these kinds of damages.

Consequently the only recourse for individual damage claims from victims is the operators under this law. At present the operators are only liable up to $75 million. One can imagine what this would give to the citizens of greater Toronto if there was a Chernobyl type breakdown at Pickering or Darlington. One million people would get about $75 each.

In the United States under the 1957 Price Anderson Act recent amendments require liability coverage of $160 million per reactor. Plus, in event of claims beyond that, a fund has been established which provides total coverage of up to $7 billion. Sweden has recently increased its liability in similar circumstances from $81 million to $130 million per reactor, and Japan from $80 million to $240 million.

If you were affected by a nuclear accident, Mr. Speaker, because the winds deposited radioactive fallout over your home, business, farm or workplace making them uninhabitable for tens or perhaps hundreds of years, think of what this would mean to you, quite apart from the knowledge that you and your loved ones might contract cancer or your offspring suffer genetic damage.

Financially your means of livelihood could be wiped out and your property destroyed. You and your family could be ruined and there is no way to protect yourselves because insurance companies also fear a meltdown. Every insurance policy in Canada excludes coverage for nuclear accidents. No other industry has the freedom to destroy the health or property of innocent third parties who can neither insure themselves beforehand nor sue for compensation afterwards.

In conclusion let me summarize. The Nuclear Liability Act in its present form is not adequate to compensate victims of a nuclear facility accident. Accidents have taken place before and can take place again. The law needs to be updated and revised. The act requires other amendments as well but I am not dealing with those today. For example, in the act there is a limitation that all claims must be made within 10 years. Now they realize that such claims for such damage only come to light much later than 10 years, such as damage to offspring or cancer and so on. There have been recommendations that claims be allowed up to 30 years but I am not dealing with that. I am not dealing with that today; I am simply saying that the act requires other amendments.

I urge hon. members to send the bill to committee where witnesses could be heard and if necessary have the bill amended. I am extremely flexible on the details of the bill. If the evidence suggests that the liability should be higher than $500 million then change it. That is no problem. If the committee can find a better way of protecting citizens when the damage goes beyond $500 million I am all in favour of improvements.

On the other hand I cannot accept that this matter be ignored. Nuclear energy is too dangerous a substance. There is no perfect way to control it or its waste product. I would prefer that we stop using nuclear energy, but if that cannot or will not be done then at least let us make sure that any victims get fair and just compensation.

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce for introducing Bill C-249, an act to amend the Nuclear Liability Act.

If I am not mistaken, the purpose of this bill is to increase to $500 million the maximum level of liability for which a private sector nuclear facility operator may be required to have insurance coverage. This level is currently set at $75 million. So, the cost of a nuclear disaster exceeding $75 million would be borne by the Crown if, of course, it agrees to meet that cost.

Personally, I have no objection to increasing the insurance coverage required. I would even feel that $500 million is not enough.

We only have to consider what happened last summer in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region to realize that a figure like $500 million is not nearly enough when disaster strikes.

Another example more closely related to the nuclear industry is the Chernobyl disaster. Five hundred million dollars is not much considering the extent of a disaster such as Chernobyl. I am sure that accident cost billions of dollars, and I am not taking into account all the repercussions on the lives of the people affected.

In a country like the USSR, at a time when human rights and individual rights did not count for much, officials were able to come through all right.

Let us imagine for a moment that such a disaster should occur in Canada. Let us consider the impact on people and estimate the costs of such an accident.

I do not think Bill C-249 goes far enough. I agree that companies should have excellent insurance coverage, but is that the real problem?

Some may think an insurance coverage of $1 billion is excessive. They think so because, collectively, we do not think we could experience such a disaster here. Personally, I am convinced we could.

Since the beginning of nuclear power plants in Canada, a number of minor incidents have occurred. More recently, we have realized that certain components of our plants deteriorate faster than our engineers had expected. Moreover, those who run these plants in the public or parapublic sectors have only one goal: producing electricity at the lowest possible cost.

Some of you may agree with me, but they do not think companies would push it to the point of jeopardizing public safety. Again, I am a bit more sceptical. Collectively, when we have examined this issue in committee or when other bills have been put before the House, we have realized that if public safety is a goal, it is not necessarily assured.

In the nuclear industry, the situation is worse, because this form of energy is extremely difficult to control and a relative safety can be achieved only with the most advanced and carefully implemented technology.

And I do mean relative safety. Also, $500 million in coverage does not seem like much for the following reason. If an accident were to occur in one of our plants in Quebec, in Ontario or in New Brunswick, it could mean massive population evacuations, and depending on the direction of the winds, it would not be surprising if our neighbours down south were affected.

We know that several countries were affected by the fallout from the Chernobyl accident. Do you think that $500 million would be enough to deal with the problem? I do not think so. We would need to evacuate the whole population of some cities and towns, the sick, the elderly, the school children. Not to mention the unavoidable damages to the environment. The fallout could affect livestock, wildlife, the flora and all the food production over quite a large area. Add to that the destruction of whole service sectors in cities located near these facilities.

Man still has much to learn about nuclear energy. An oil spill can be contained. With much effort, the environment can be restored within a few years, but following a nuclear accident, it will be thousands of years before the environment is back to normal.

For example, such an accident in Canada would have a major impact on extensive forests, agricultural lands, and vast mining areas. Would 500 million years take care of it? In Ontario, with Ontario Hydro, in Quebec, with Hydro-Québec, in New Brunswick or elsewhere in Canada, I doubt any operator could deal with a major accident.

The introduction of this bill is another opportunity for me to raise the question of the development of nuclear energy as a source of power. I really think that, in spite of the assurances they give us as taxpayers, the leaders of all the countries in the world have made decisions in too great a haste.

We started to build nuclear generating stations without being assured of their total safety.

To conclude, we support Bill C-249 but we are still sceptical that $500 million will be sufficient in the event of a major nuclear catastrophe.

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:30 p.m.

Hillsborough
P.E.I.

Liberal

George Proud Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the House on Bill C-249. I thank my colleague, the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, for bringing this important matter before the House.

The hon. member has a long and distinguished history of service to Canadians. I commend him on his commitment to issues of public safety and well-being. This member is well known across the country for the good work he has done. He is especially well known in my part of the country.

This proposed legislation is another example of my colleague's concern for Canadians and it deserves the careful attention of this House. As I understand it, Bill C-249 would achieve three objectives. First, it would increase the maximum level of a nuclear operator's liability for third party damage in the event of a nuclear accident. The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is proposing that nuclear operators be required to carry $500 million worth of liability insurance compared to the current requirement of $75 million.

By extension, Bill C-249 would increase the threshold at which the Nuclear Damage Claims Commission would be established and claims would be moved from the court system to the commission.

Finally, the bill would require the minister to make liability payments once an order is issued by the commission. This addresses what some have criticized as unwarranted discretion on the part of the minister.

I want to make it very clear that the government supports in principle the objective of increasing operator liability under the Nuclear Liability Act. We support a strengthened commitment to compensate victims of nuclear accidents. At the same time, we recognize that a number of other important changes need to be made to the act. I would like to take a few moments to explain why.

The Nuclear Liability Act, as the hon. member said, was proclaimed in 1976. It establishes a comprehensive scheme for

compensating victims of injury and damage arising from nuclear accidents. Twenty years after its proclamation, the act continues to uphold the principles that are important to a nuclear liability regime.

It is important to note that in those 20 years the Nuclear Liability Act has not changed substantially. A full six years before it was proclaimed, the act was actually passed by Parliament in 1970. It is a quarter of a century old and in that time the nuclear industry has evolved dramatically. While there is clearly a need to increase liability levels in the act, this is only one of several modernizations that need to be made for the benefit of potential victims of a nuclear accident.

In other words, the time has come for a comprehensive review of this act. Recent litigation that challenged the constitutionality of the act also highlighted the need for a comprehensive review. Although the Ontario Court, General Division, ruled in 1994 that the act is valid federal legislation, in 1996 an appeal of that decision was discontinued.

We need to update and modernize the act to more fully meet our present domestic needs and also to reflect changes in the area of international nuclear liability. In addition to revising the compensation regime, we need to correct several technical problems that have been identified within the act.

I am pleased to inform the House that such a comprehensive review is currently under way. A federal interdepartmental review committee has already developed a number of proposals to amend the act, and these proposals have been presented to key stakeholders, including operators of nuclear facilities, representatives of provincial ministries with responsibility for energy and emergency planning, and the Nuclear Insurance Association of Canada. Based on the feedback received during these preliminary discussions and on subsequent consultations, the review committee will recommend how to proceed.

Hon. members should know that the stakeholders involved in these discussions have expressed strong support for a comprehensive review of the Nuclear Liability Act, one that will encompass all of the issues that need to be addressed. The outcome will be a package of amendments that will update, modernize and clarify the entire act.

I want to assure the House that the improvements to the compensation regime as proposed in Bill C-249 are a key element of the review. This is the most important objective of the revision process. I agree with the hon. member that we need to review the current liability limit of $75 million. We must arrive at a liability level that reflects current realities. I think the limits should be raised, but I do not know whether that amount should be $500 million or some other amount. We should approach the matter in a thoughtful way, assessing what funds might be available from whom, and in what form.

The interdepartmental review committee is currently exploring options for securing higher levels of insurance from private insurers. This would increase funding for victims. The review committee is prepared to consider other forms of security, such as self-insurance, pooling arrangements and government compensation. If we examine all these sources, we may well come up with a $500 million fund. However, I am told that this is not an easy matter and certainly it is not clear that the private insurers can come up with these funds.

Another issue we need to consider is the impact Bill C-249 will have on the federal government's liability under the reinsurance agreement that was signed with the Nuclear Insurance Association of Canada in 1976. Reinsurance enables insurance companies to undertake business that their limited capacity would not normally allow them to touch.

This arrangement between the federal government and the NIAC provides for both additional insurance capacity and additional types of risk. Basically it ensures that the federal government will provide coverage for all the risks contemplated in the Nuclear Liability Act that are not covered by the operator's insurance up to that limit of $75 million.

For example, some small reactors may be required by the Atomic Energy Control Board to carry only $500,000 in liability insurance. In that case, the remaining $74.5 million is guaranteed by the federal government through the reinsurance agreement. Increasing the maximum liability to $500 million would mean that the federal government could become liable for as much as $499.5 million under this scenario. Any amendment to the liability limit clearly should be accompanied by changes to the reinsurance agreement.

The interdepartmental review committee is addressing another issue, the limitation periods for claims arising from nuclear accidents. Under the current act, claims must be brought within 10 years of the accident. However, some arguments favour extending the limitation period for claims related to personal injury or death.

Other arguments favour relying more heavily on administrative systems, rather than the courts to deal with compensation. This could be achieved by amending the act to explicitly lower the threshold at which the Nuclear Damage Claims Commission is established. The result would be a more effective compensation scheme that minimizes hardships for victims of nuclear accidents.

A number of other provisions of the Nuclear Liability Act need to be clarified or updated. For example, the definition of compensable nuclear damages should be reviewed. The current definition does not make explicit reference to environmental damage, preventive measures or economic losses. This is not consistent with evolving international trends, nor with the growing public concern for the environment or with principles of fairness. The review will

address the need to revise the definition of nuclear damage to reflect these matters.

As well, the rules and regulations governing the Nuclear Damage Claims Commission need to be elaborated. The criteria for the commission's membership could be broadened to permit people with a range of experience to participate.

Another concern is that under the current act, the rules governing the commission's procedures can only be developed after the commission is established. It would seem to make sense to have this operating framework in place before an accident occurs, rather than after an accident when the development process may be rushed and may not be well thought out.

As mentioned earlier, there are also a number of technical problems with the act. For example, the act lacks a preamble that would explain its purpose and objectives and describe a constitutional basis for the legislation. It has also been suggested that compensation amounts be included in regulations rather than in the act itself, since it is easier to amend regulations to take account of inflation or increased insurance capacity than it is to amend the act.

There is also a perceived need to clarify and strengthen the relationship between the federal government and the Nuclear Insurance Association of Canada.

In conclusion, I can offer my qualified support for Bill C-249. I acknowledge and agree with the objective of increasing liability limits under the Nuclear Liability Act. However, we need to establish a solid rationale for a new liability limit. As well, we need to identify where these funds come from and how this proposed change will affect the federal government's liability.

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Hamilton-Wentworth. A senior colleague has given his place to him because he has to catch a plane.

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in support of Bill C-249 because it gives me an opportunity to share with you an historic anecdote pertaining to Canada and Canada's role in nuclear energy that I do not think is very well known.

During the second world war, Canada was very active in research in chemical and biological warfare weaponry at Suffield in Alberta near Medicine Hat. At that time the Canadians experimented with the dispersal of biological and chemical dust with the expectation that this would be the kind of weapon that would be used during the second world war by the Germans or possibly the Japanese. So the research was primarily directed at the developing countermeasures.

However, by the end of the second world war because this research took place out in the prairies Canada became the number one nation with an expertise in the dispersal of small particulate matter over very large areas.

What we are really talking about in Bill C-249, which is an act to amend the Nuclear Liability Act, is nuclear fallout. In the event of an accident occurring at a nuclear reactor there is the possibility of radioactive dust escaping into the atmosphere, polluting and irradiating large regions and causing serious consequences to the health of humans and animals.

This is the same problem that existed in the late 1940s when at the onset of the cold war it was realized that the Soviet Union had developed an atomic bomb. My historic anecdote is for those of that generation who remember the early years of the cold war and the nuclear fallout scare. I think people in their fifties and sixties will remember that their parents were installing fallout shelters in their basements. They will remember that there were all kinds of maps and diagrams showing the effects of nuclear fallout.

These maps and diagrams were produced mainly by the Americans and by the British showing the impact of a nuclear explosion on a city in the United States or in Europe were entirely the product of Canadian research in chemical and biological weapon dispersal.

It is an interesting anecdote because as Canada was the second country in the world to develop nuclear capability, we have always had a responsibility to lead the world in issues pertaining to nuclear energy and certainly issues pertaining to nuclear safety.

The Nuclear Liability Act addresses the possibility that a peacetime nuclear reactor will have a catastrophic accident and will pollute the atmosphere with down wind fallout in the same sense as a nuclear explosion. There is no doubt that in the event of such a catastrophe the provision for $75 million in damages is inadequate in every way for the kind of damage that would actually occur.

Canadians studies done during the second world war and the immediate post-war period indicated that in the event of a nuclear bombing or a nuclear accident at a reactor the fallout could go down wind for as much as 30 miles on a widening, fan shape that could be a couple of miles wide at the outset to very wide at the 30 mile limit.

Since then as a result of the accidents that have occurred, in particular at Chernobyl, we have come to appreciate that when there is a nuclear fallout emergency, it very long term and long range. In fact the radioactivity from the Chernobyl accident has been detected all away around the world, so the fallout has come down.

Therefore, it is high time, after 26 years, to upgrade Canada's nuclear liability legislation.

Of the G-7 nations, Canada has the lowest at $75 million of nuclear liability in the event of an accident. In Great Britain and Germany the liability in the event of an accident is $550 million. In other countries in Europe there is an unlimited liability. In the United States the liability runs up to $13 billion.

Therefore it seems clear that Canada needs at least to come up to the minimum level of liability as expressed by our European colleagues.

It is certainly true there is a different situation occurring in Europe in the sense that the countries are small and there has been a need for international conventions in the event of an accident in one country that contaminates the territory of another country. There are conventions that provide for compensation across borders.

Because of the vast spaces in Canada and the vast spaces in the United States, in the event of an accident of less than 1,000 kilotons only Canada and possibly the United States will be affected. It is not likely to affect other countries of the world. We do have an arrangement with the United States in the event of an accident in Canada or in the United States. Crossing the border there is a provision for liability payments if the lives and properties of citizens of our neighbouring country are affected.

In the final analysis Bill C-249 addresses only one aspect of the Nuclear Liability Act. Obviously the act has to be upgraded and modernized in many aspects. Other colleagues have suggested some ways in which this can be done.

By raising the liability threshold from $75 million to $500 million at the very least we say to the operators of nuclear facilities, who in some instances are private operators, that they have a very high responsibility to ensure every level of safeguard is implemented in the operation of their nuclear establishments. This is the very least we can expect of both nuclear institutions that are privately run and those that are publicly run.

It is with great pleasure that I support in principle and to the letter the intent of Bill C-249. The member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has done a great service to his country and to the House bringing the bill forward.

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Len Hopkins Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to address the House regarding Bill C-249, an act to amend the Nuclear Liability Act. The issues raised by the proposed legislation are important to all Canadians. It adds to our international standing as a responsible nuclear nation.

It comes as no surprise to any of us that the bill was sponsored by the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. He has consistently shown foresight and wisdom in bringing matters of national concern before the House. I commend my hon. colleague for his commitment to his principles and to the parliamentary process.

He and I were elected on the same day to the House. On many occasions we have been seatmates over the years. He has been consistent in his feelings and principles toward various issues that he has promoted.

As my colleagues before me have indicated, the government supports in principle the need to increase operator liability under the Nuclear Liability Act. However, we also bring to the attention of hon. members the need for a comprehensive review of the act to address a number of other concerns as well.

I will take a few minutes to outline the rationale for the Nuclear Liability Act and the principles upon which it is based to underscore the importance of the act and the need to establish some broad based consensus on amendments.

Canada is recognized as a pioneer and world leader in the development and use of nuclear power. I am pleased to note that we were among the first world nations to establish a liability regime geared specifically to the special circumstances of the nuclear energy sector. A distinct regime is needed for a number of reasons.

As hon. members know, a strong nuclear industry brings tremendous economic and environmental benefits to Canada in spite of what we hear from the other side of the story almost constantly.

If it had not been for the Candu reactors in Canada we would have had to purchase coal from Pennsylvania on a large scale to have coal burning furnaces to generate hydro electric power in industrialized Canada, and our environment would have suffered terribly as a result. The Candu reactor is one of the most clean, environmental sources of energy we could have. In particular Ontario would never have been industrialized to the extent it has if it had not been for the Candu reactors perfected in Canada.

In order to encourage investment in nuclear facilities, however, it is necessary to limit operator liability in the unlikely event of an accident. Otherwise the financial risks are simply too great. This is as true today as it was 30 years ago when the Nuclear Liability Act was first presented. At the same time it is important to ensure that Canadians have access to compensation should they suffer injury or damages as a result of a nuclear accident.

Canada's nuclear safety record is second to none in the world. The Atomic Energy Control Act and the Nuclear Liability Act provide a solid legislative framework for regulating the industry and have done so since day one. The former seeks to prevent and minimize nuclear accidents while the latter applies should an accident occur. However, unlikely as it may be, we must be

prepared for the possibility of a serious nuclear accident that could result in significant third party damages.

Candu reactors are the safest in the world because they have built in backup systems in the event that something goes wrong. It is because of the expense of building those safe reactors with those backup systems that they have sometimes been difficult to market in the world. Today countries are beginning to realize that the Candu reactor is not only safe but also very efficient.

I mentioned before about the safety record in Canada being one of the best in the world.

I want to make the point that AECL workers at Chalk River have a lower rate of cancer than the national average and across the country where there are no nuclear reactors or processors. It is because of the safety features built into the system. The employees are well protected. They are checked on a daily basis. If other industries in Canada put as much emphasis on safety factors in their industries as our nuclear industry has done, we would have a better record right across the board in industrialized Canada.

The cobalt therapy unit for the treatment of cancer was brought in by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. Research and development produced that product. We have now sold it in dozens of countries all over the world.

Radioisotopes are produced in Canadian reactors. They are used to sterilize medical instruments. They are used in all kinds of health checks, in checking patients out for various types of injuries and blood conditions. The result is that Canada has a very good nuclear health system.

The results of the non-use of nuclear energy would have had a tremendous negative effect on the health of Canadians because of the environmental fallout of coal dust and fumes.

Canada's involvement in the nuclear industry and in research and development has been for peaceful purposes. Every time people mention nuclear they think of war. They think of explosions and all kinds of other things. However, our work in the nuclear industry in Canada has been to produce energy to drive industry and promote jobs across the country. It has promoted a good environment and cheap energy. It has also been a tremendous asset to Canada's medical industry.

It always bothers me when Chernobyl is thrown into these arguments. The Russian reactor is totally different from the Canadian reactor. The Russians built their reactors with no built-in systems to protect people. We did the very opposite here in Canada by building the Candu reactor. It is the safest reactor in the world and has all kinds of built-in systems to serve workers and Canadians at large.

This is an industry we should positively promote. I totally agree with the hon. member that with this safety record we should be looking at greater insurance for the people in the areas of these developments.

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, this bill is referred to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee.)

Nuclear Liability Act
Private Members' Business

2:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It being three o'clock, this House stands adjourned until Monday at 11 a.m.

(The House adjourned at 2.59 p.m.)