House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.

Topics

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Madam Speaker, I touched on it a little in my remarks. In fact, I talked briefly about how much money would be needed for investment. It is not a large sum. We are talking about $700 million that could be invested according to the Bloc Quebecois' proposal. This would create 15,000 jobs. It would allow for the development of our own technology. However, it is $700 million over five years. In my view, this is not a large amount compared to what has been invested in nuclear energy and the oil industry.

I provided the numbers earlier: $66 billion in petroleum energy and $6 billion in atomic energy, for a total of $72 billion. What we are asking for is not even 10% of what has been invested in these two energy sectors, 10% to create 15,000 jobs and to develop new technology and alternative energy. That is what we are asking for to develop a country like ours--that is pretty simple--and to give it hope for the future in terms of new technology and energy.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Before we resume, it is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Terrebonne--Blainville, Correctional Service Canada; the hon. member for Saskatoon--Humboldt, Public Service; the hon. member for Nanaimo--Alberni, Health.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise once again to take part in this debate on Bill C-4.

As I sit and listen to the debate I am amazed at how muddy the water can become on a filibuster and how irrelevant some of the arguments are to what is before us. I am amazed that the self-interest of the Bloc Quebecois does not seem to have any bounds. The development of fossil fuel energy in Canada has been one of the major reasons for our standard of living and our prosperity. Certainly Quebeckers enjoy driving their cars and moving their goods as much as anybody else in Canada. It just blows me away. However, I do not want to get carried away on that kind of debate because I want to stay more focused on what we are dealing with here today.

It is a seven word amendment to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. It seems to me that the amendment before us is clear and simple. It would remove the responsibility of liability from the lending institution, not all responsibility of liability, but liability over and above the investment that the lending institution makes in the project. It, like in any other project or any other loan that the institution would make, would be liable for the amount of the loan and the loss of that loan should the project fail. However, this particular act as it existed when we passed it back in 1997, and I will address that a little later, held the lending institution responsible for the negligence of an operator in a contamination of a site over and above the amount that institution had invested in the project. That seems ludicrous to me.

When a mine, coal-fired power plant, or a wind farm goes out and looks for financing for a project and puts together a financing package, no one would expect that the lending institution that helps to finance that project would be held liable over and above the amount of the loan for negligence on behalf of the operator of that mine, wind farm or coal-fired generating station.

So why then would anybody, the NDP, the Bloc or a few members of the Liberal Party, believe that the lending institution should be liable in the case of a nuclear facility over and above the amount of the loan that it would be writing for a project? It seems straightforward and simple, yet it has become complicated and the target of such a filibuster in the House. I find it quite amazing.

I want to hold the government responsible in some measure for what is happening with this simple bill. The government has known about this anomaly in the act for some time. It was aware of it when Parliament was recalled around the beginning of October of this year. It did nothing about it until the bill was introduced not that long ago. It expressed this concern that the refurbishing of the Bruce Power facility could not proceed until the bill was passed and so we have some urgency here.

The government could have put this into the mix and we probably could have passed it a long time ago. However it did not. The government is responsible for the fact that we only have a week and a half to go before the Christmas break and the only way it will get the bill through is to use closure once again, which is unacceptable. I feel the government is in some way responsible for this filibuster and what is going on here.

We dealt with the bill in committee where various interest groups made representations to me. Everyone I spoke to, including Bruce Power, the Canadian Nuclear Association and others, said it was a simple oversight. When we considered the bill in 1997 nobody caught that. In committee the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Canadian Nuclear Association reiterated that it was just an oversight that needed to be corrected and we could get on with it.

The director general and the legal counsel for the department were at committee deliberations. It was disturbing that the director general was less than forthcoming with his explanation of why the phrase “or any other person with a right or interest in” was in the bill. The director general did not express the same opinion that I heard before that it was simply there because it was an oversight and was missed.

When the legal counsel was asked the lady said the department was very much aware of the meaning of the phrase and its consequences. She was the legal counsel but was not prepared to offer an opinion. If it was aware of it, why was it in the bill? Why was it not removed when we debated and passed the bill back in 1997? That concerns me. The government could have helped the bill through the process by being a bit more forthcoming on that issue, but it was not.

The NDP and the Bloc brought in all kinds of other issues that muddied the water in a major way. It was educational in a sense because I learned a lot about the genuine issues concerning nuclear power. The House needs to take the time to study the whole issue of nuclear power and how it fits into the mix of energy in this country and how we can best protect Canadians from the dangers of nuclear power.

All that was very interesting but it was terribly irrelevant to the whole thing. We spent a half a day in committee listening to a filibuster about the financial situation of British Power. The weak financial position and the danger of bankruptcy in British Power was enough reason for us to deny this seven word amendment in the bill. Surely, if we were to pass the bill and remove that extraordinary liability from the lending institution, that lending institution would have enough brains to look at Bruce Power, and how its financial situation related to British Power. The bank could then decide whether the liability on its money was too great to lend it. We do not need to do that as parliamentarians. It is a bit outrageous for us to go down that road and have that debate.

Another interesting issue that came forward endlessly was the issue of the Nuclear Liability Act. Issues were raised that I was not familiar with and that we need to deal with. The Nuclear Liability Act limits the level of liability in a nuclear accident to $75 million.That may not have been a big issue when the only people in the entire country who owned and operated nuclear plants were governments. Ultimately no matter what the cap was, when that cap was bypassed, the government of the day would end up being responsible. When the government was responsible from the very beginning, it was not as big an issue.

Now with the introduction of this bill and the opening up of the industry to private sector financing, the question is how liable should a private sector operator be in the case of a nuclear spill? This is a much bigger issue than just the contamination of the reactor site. This is about liabilities for off-site contamination, the health of Canadians, et cetera.

It is a really important issue. Clearly $75 million is nowhere near a high enough cap on the liability. We need to go back at some point to the Nuclear Liability Act, study it and set an appropriate cap either in the act as this is or a cap that is part of the licensing approval process by the Nuclear Safety Commission in the application for the licence to operate a plant. There needs to be a bond or something in place to ensure that the money is there, if there is contamination or an accident, to will protect Canadians, particularly those Canadians living in the vicinity of the nuclear facility.

Those are valid arguments. We need to at some point in this Parliament or in committee or somewhere go back and look at these things. They were not relevant to Bill C-4 and I was very disappointed at that. I can only imagine the frustration experienced by Bruce Power, while it waits for the bill to go through the House, having watched the filibuster which has gone on for weeks on this. It knows that until the amendment is passed, the entire project of refurbishing the reactors at Bruce Power is in jeopardy. Therefore, electrical energy in Ontario and the supply and price of that energy to the province is affected by that.

We hear talk about how we do not need nuclear power and that we should get rid of it. That is another debate for another day. However at some point Ontario Hydro made the decision to go nuclear. Arguments were made about the wisdom of that decision given the death of Ontario Hydro and other issues surrounding it, but they did it anyway.

Now nuclear power in Ontario is an integral part of the baseload power. If anyone doubts that, I would urge the nuclear operators in Ontario to simply shut down all nuclear power at six o'clock in the evening and see how much the wind power operators and the solar power operators can pick up for Ontario residents so they can cook their evening meals. I suggest it would be very dark and very cold.

To advocate those things is irresponsible. We have to do everything we can. We have a responsibility as a government and through government to the bureaucracy and the Nuclear Safety Commission to protect the interests of Canadians in terms of safe operation of the facilities. However we also have heard references to nuclear waste and what we do with that. We have a huge responsibility to look after that waste responsibly and in a safe manner. I think we can do that.

Nuclear power will continue to be part of the energy mix of the country. Undoubtedly, if the government goes ahead with the Kyoto protocol, the contribution of nuclear power will increase, particularly if AECL can come up with a new generation of a Candu reactor which is smaller, more efficient, cheaper and the lead time to construct it is cut way down. If all those things are achieved, nuclear power undoubtedly will become a more important part.

The contribution that fossil fuel energy has made to the country has been tremendous. Probably the key reason why North America has moved so far ahead of much of the rest of world in prosperity is the availability of cheap fossil fuel energy and our ability to use it and export it.

However given the environment we are in today and where Canadians are at, I do not think anybody in the fossil fuel industry would argue that it is time for us to look at cleaner energy sources that provide a baseload, which wind power, solar power and geothermal power can never do. They certainly can increase their share and their contribution, but we still need that baseload power, the one we can depend upon when everybody's lights and stoves are on in the evening.

It is time to look at where that might shift to, simply because fossil fuel energy is a finite resource which will run out one day and which gets more and more expensive. It is pure common sense that we look for alternatives. To think that tomorrow we can erect wind farms and solar panels so we can shut down either the fossil fuel industry or the nuclear industry but still keep the lights on and keep our homes warm is irresponsible and ludicrous.

I would urge all members in the House, in the interests of fairness and reasonableness, to get on with the issue of passing the bill and sending it off to the other place so that Bruce Power can get on with the job of refurbishing the its facility and get it back on line. This would allow Ontario hydro to shut down more of the extremely polluting coal fired plants, which are importing some of the dirtiest coal in the world from the U.S. This would then allow us to have clean non-polluting power, which the Bruce Power facility is capable of providing to us.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, could my hon. colleague explain how the passage of Bill C-4 will help the Alberta oil sands recovery project to afford lower carbon emissions in the overall extraction and production?

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting question because we have had discussions with industry on that over the last while. The proposal is preliminary and only theoretical at this time.

For those who do not understand the size and the scope of the resources of the tar sands of northern Alberta, they are immense. They are larger than the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. Until we embarked on this Kyoto fiasco, the Prime Minister assured President George W. Bush and the Americans that the tar sands of northern Alberta were their reliable, safe source of energy for the future. The Prime Minister supported the development of those energy reserves as quickly as possible so as to supply that energy to the U.S.

However, because they are so huge, it takes a tremendous amount of energy, heat for steam as well as electrical, for the extraction process. If the government allows the tar sands to become fully developed, a huge amount of energy, equivalent to the entire capacity of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline from the Mackenzie Delta to go to Fort McMurray and no further, would be required.

You were with me, Mr. Speaker, and saw what was going on there. That is pretty small compared to what it will be in the future. I know there are others looking at it but it seems to me that we would not send that volume of clean burning natural gas to the Fort McMurray region to develop the tar sands when that clean burning natural gas fuel could be better used in other ways such as heating our homes, producing plastics and medical materials.

A proposal has been put forward that a new generation Candu would be appropriately put somewhere in the northern Alberta, northern Saskatchewan area because it is close to the mining facilities. The fuel for the reactors exists in northern Saskatchewan, and the former natural resources would know that. It is a natural fit. The small new generation Candu reactor would have the capability of providing the electrical energy the industry in the area would need plus huge amounts of heat that would be required to produce the steam in the extraction process.

There may be a future for this new generation Candu arm in arm with the fossil fuel industry, to which I know some of my colleagues would very much object. However the idea certainly has merit if the costs and the construction time and other things can work.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will take the little time remaining after the remarks made by the hon. member for the Canadian Alliance.

It is quite simple. This is an opportunity for us to ask questions, when faced with a bill like this one, which takes responsibility away from those who would invest in a seemingly complex and dangerous energy source. And it is—let us not pretend otherwise.

I have a simple question for the hon. member. He said “I hope that all the hon. members will be reasonable”. Does he think it reasonable—and I would ask all the hon. members present the same question—to talk about the Government of Canada investing $66 billion in fossil energies, as well as another $6 billion in nuclear energy? That is a total of $72 billion in pollution-creating energy sources, the kinds of energy that are dangerous and that pollute.

Why has Quebec not received an investment comparable to the $72 billion that the rest of Canada received to develop those energy sources? At the same time, Quebec has been developing a very environmentally friendly source of energy—hydroelectricity—and Quebec is also interested in developing wind power.

Today, can he also say “Let us be reasonable so that Quebec can develop those kinds of energy sources and so that the Canadian government will help Quebec and Quebeckers develop their own energy sources”?

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, again, the self-interest of the Bloc is amazing. Quite frankly, what the member says is not true. We had this debate in the House the other night. I know that the federal government itself invested many millions of dollars in the negotiation and settlement with the Cree of northern Quebec as a result of Quebec hydro development. Certainly a lot of money went in there.

I know for a fact that Alberta, through its heritage trust fund, loaned Quebec many millions of dollars at below market rates for development of hydroelectricity. That came from the royalty profits of the fossil fuel industry in Alberta. I do not accept the whole premise that Quebec was somehow shafted on where the money went. I think Quebec is doing very well.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I know that my colleague from the Alliance is probably aware that between 1982 and 1998 Canada's nuclear waste increased by about 76%. We are actually still below that of the U.S. but by 2010 we will have more nuclear waste than the U.S.

He did indicate that there are ways of getting rid of it and we have to look at that. I would just like to ask him exactly what are those ways. Where are we going to get rid of the nuclear waste? Where are we going to put it?

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is a very straightforward question but unfortunately it is a question that should be directed to the government.

The former natural resources minister who is sitting here introduced a bill in the House, and it was passed through the system, saying that the producers of nuclear waste would become responsible for the disposal of that waste and responsible for coming up with a plan and a method of disposing of it. I have to assume under the timelines of that bill that the industry will in fact do that.

Again, as we have talked about in regard to the need to invest in new technologies, there is technology out there. Some say it is a pipe dream. It may or may not be, but soon the technology will exist to decontaminate or neutralize nuclear waste and put it back into the environment in a safe manner rather than storing it somewhere for the next thousand years. Again, I think technology is the key and we will solve that problem.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, after that answer I cannot help but say that for years and years we have heard that there is going to be a cure for cancer. We have numerous ways of addressing certain types of cancer, but we still do not have a cure for cancer. That does not mean we think it is okay to go out there and have everybody get cancer because somewhere along the way there will be technology to cure it. That is just not a good answer when we are talking about nuclear waste.

That type of answer is a real indication that no one should be listening to what comes out of the mouths of the Alliance.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not think that is really a valid argument, simply because the I think that strides in technology, particularly in nuclear medicine, nuclear power and the development of safer, smaller, more powerful reactors, have been quite amazing.

Certainly we have been looking for cures for all kinds of diseases for many years. We also have been looking for a clean and cheap way to produce hydrogen power for many years. We will get there and we will produce it.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
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5:15 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a good time to get up and talk on this very important issue. Since we have been on debate for some time today, I am going to emphasize for those who might be joining in late to this wonderful debate today that Bill C-4 amends the Nuclear Safety and Control Act to limit the current liability provisions related to the cost of cleanup stemming from an incident impacting the environment.

As currently defined in subsection 46(3), any person with an interest in the affected land or facility is potentially liable for the cost of cleaning up any contamination resulting from incident. This includes not only the owner and operators but also the mortgage lender or holder of a security interest in the land. The proposed amendment would narrow the scope of potential liability to include only the owners and operators.

Some who have spoken here today have indicated that it just seems unfair somehow that we would hold the lender liable for lending a company money and that if there is a huge disaster the lender should not have to pay.

I would suggest that part of the reason this type of wording was put in the act initially is that there was an understanding, a recognition, that any type of nuclear disaster is far more detrimental than just the ordinary realm of liability that we might have in an investment in a clothing store down the street or, for that matter, a mine, even though I fully recognize, as my colleague from the Alliance has indicated, that after a mine closes down residue and tailings often are left, which affect the environment and the lives of those around the mine. I would suggest that absolutely there should be greater liability for the cleanup and who is responsible.

Under this act, though, I believe it was recognized that there was greater risk and that as a result there was greater need for anyone even thinking of being part of that type of operation to recognize that there was a really strong liability.

I would suggest that lenders to a nuclear facility are going to make a profit off the interest on that loan and as a result profit from whatever that business does, in this case the nuclear business. Whatever it does, the lenders are going to profit from it. Quite frankly, after the fact, after an accident happens, the people in a large area around the plant are affected. Usually in a nuclear accident it not just that little spot where the plant is located that is affected. Huge areas all around it, if not throughout the world, are affected. As a result, there is greater liability. For that reason, I believe, there was an intent, and a good intent, to see this as being more serious and to have a greater risk of liability.

I believe there is no question that the $75 million maximum liability that can be charged to the owner or operator of the nuclear plant at this point would hardly come close to being able to address some of the costs that would probably be there as the result of an accident.

The Chernobyl reactor incident a number of years ago in the Ukraine seems so far away. Somehow we cannot imagine anything like that ever happening here in Canada, but let us face it, the cost of the Chernobyl accident was beyond anything we can imagine. Certainly there was the cost to the environment, the land itself, the cost to businesses and other industries in that area, the cost of the numerous lives that were lost, and the cost of the medical treatment that has resulted for years and years afterwards as a result of the Chernobyl accident. These are not just some little business operations going bad and affecting their own little 40 acres. These incidents will affect a huge area and the whole country, if not the world and they cannot be seen in the same way.

Quite frankly, I believe the government would have everyone believe that this is just a little housekeeping incident, that we have to get this out of there, that it was never intended to be there.

I do not agree. I think there was an absolute intent for it to be there and it should stay as is. The government would have us fast track this and keep the public debate down as much as possible, and as a result, I believe,would put the Canadian taxpayers at risk for a huge cost. As I have indicated, should there be an accident, should there be liability and $75 million will not cover the cost, who would end up covering it? If it is a private, independent operation, the plant would go bankrupt. If it goes bankrupt, who pays? The operators could not pay any more. They could go off somewhere else under another name and keep operating or doing whatever. We often see that happening with businesses that get into trouble. Those who would pay are the Canadian taxpayers.

I am extremely disappointed that members from the Alliance would not wholeheartedly say that there is no way the Canadian taxpayers should be stuck with that kind of cost, that we must have something in place to ensure that the Canadian taxpayers do not end up bearing the brunt. I have not heard that from them, which is disappointing, because quite frankly every one of us here should be ensuring that the Canadian taxpayers do not have to pay for those kinds of disasters.

I feel the same way about mines or any kind of operation that will leave environmental devastation behind. We have seen a situation with a mine in the Yukon, I believe, where the owner claimed bankruptcy and left. The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs took on the responsibility and the government ultimately ended up cleaning up the mess at taxpayers' expense after a whole bunch of shareholders made money over a period of years. The operator of the mine was probably proclaimed a wonderful person because he or she did such a great business job, but ultimately the taxpayers of Canada bore the brunt.

That says nothing about the numerous times when there is no environmental cleanup. It sits there because there is not enough money to clean it up, because there is not a fund in place to ensure that there is a cleanup after different operations are in place. Yes, there are plans, so that an operator has to close things up to make sure that if people walk by they will not fall down a hole. Those types of rules are in place, but as far as the long term environmental consequences of some of those mines, there is no cleanup.

I think we need to change that. In the shipping of oil there is a process in place whereby each company puts so much money into a sort of insurance plan. We will call it that for lack of the exact name. If there is an accident, those funds can be accessed to clean it up. Why we do not have that in place for numerous other businesses is beyond me, but it is not there. I think it will come as people become more and more conscious of the need to protect the environment, as they have as a result of climate change and as a result of our wonderful debate on the Kyoto accord. People are becoming more conscious of it and as a result want to do whatever they can to ensure that the environment is sustained for years to come.

Numerous colleagues of mine today have also commented on the alternatives to nuclear power plants. Certainly there are numerous alternatives now. Yes, we can pooh-pooh them all the way, but I remember the first time I ever heard about wind energy. I wondered how the heck we could ever put it in place. Then I started reading more about it. We get a lot of information as members of Parliament and numerous pieces of information on wind energy began coming in. I started thinking about it. It is not as if this is something new. We have had operating windmills in place for years, not with the magnitude of operations that we need in some areas, but there is real potential for wind energy. It is being utilized in a number of places. Certainly we should expand on those types of operations whenever we possibly can. Whatever method of clean energy we can put in place is where we should be directing our efforts.

I recognize that not all of them will have 100% perfect results. What we do know is that a number of sources of energy are not good to be using. I am not suggesting for one moment that we should say to heck with the whole fossil fuel industry. Quite frankly, as my colleague from the Canadian Alliance indicated, our fossil fuels will run out. By reducing, adapting and readapting our usage, we are not necessarily saying to heck with our fossil fuel industry, we are extending the life of that industry and, through that process, working on cleaner forms of energy and ensuring that we are doing what is best for our country and ultimately for the world.

Why we would want to bring forth a change to a bill that would risk Canadian taxpayers having to offset the cost is beyond me. If a financial institution decides not to invest in an operation because it is concerned about the liability, I think that is a good thing. If it decides to invest because it is a good operation, it makes sure that its investment dollars are protected and that those types of accidents do not happen. It also ensures that an agreement is in place and that it keeps tabs on that operation so no consequences could ultimately hit the institution. I think that is a good, sound way of doing things. That is being responsible. It has been in place for a few years now and it has not been a problem but somehow it has become a problem now in the push to privatize the nuclear industry.

I know there are those who believe that private industry is best and that the capital way and the market economy are the way to go, and in some instances we may have had some success, but in a lot instances we have not had success. We know that with cuts here and there proper safety methods are used.

In the case, I believe, of the Bruce plants, we see that there needs to be literally millions of dollars invested to bring them up to snuff, so to speak, to make them safe. One has to wonder how they were allowed to reach that point and how much a private company will continue putting in. I just do not have the faith that it will be done in a safe manner unless there is a strong demand from their loaning institution to make sure they do that. Usually they just walk away from it.

I would rather not get into the whole privatization-public argument, even though all we have to do is talk about Manitoba Telephone System, a public institution that was sold. I make no bones about this when I say that we certainly do not have as good a service as we had before it was sold, bar none. We would find very few people in Manitoba, who had service under the old MTS and now have it under the new company, who would say that it is better today, because it is not. It just is not. It just wants to make money where money can be made. It does not want to invest in the province as a whole. It does not want to look at the benefits for all the people. It just wants to make a quick buck and to heck with everybody else.

I do not think that is the way certain operations should be put in place. Certain things should be done for the benefit of everyone, which is how this country was formed. People recognized that they were here to support each other, province by province by province, in different areas when it was needed. The people in a unified country support each other.

I think we have lost sight of that. We have little areas where people want to protect their 40 acres and do not care what anyone else does. We have lost track of what is important, and that is building a country and supporting each other.

No one is suggesting that we totally wipe out any industry when it comes to fossil fuels. It is just a matter of balancing and putting things in practice so that we have long term sustainability, we have a country for which we can be proud, and we have a country where the environment is safe for numerous generations to come.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
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5:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is very genuine in her position and certainly in line with her party's policies and positions. Its distrust of big industry and big banks is certainly well known. I do not think there is any question about that.

Just before the hon. member finished her speech she said that there was this mentality in Canada about, “protect my 40 acres and to heck with yours”, and that we have to get over that.

The government of Alberta and the government of Saskatchewan share Lake Athabasca. Actually, it straddles the border there. The government of Saskatchewan, through a crown corporation, owns the uranium mines in Uranium City that have been abandoned and are polluting the lakes, killing fish and causing all kinds of havoc in the environment in northern Saskatchewan. The damage of course is migrating to my 40 acres across the border.

I would like to ask the member why the NDP government in Saskatchewan is not cleaning up its own mess, and yet this NDP member is blaming the negligence of the mining industry and others for those kinds of situations.

Finally, if the member bought a car and the bank loaned her the money, should the bank be liable if she were negligent and killed someone with the car? If so, I suggest she would never get that car.

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5:30 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will just follow up on his last point first. I made it perfectly clear that I do not think every instance is the same. I would not expect the bank to be liable for that. What I said was that in something as serious as a nuclear accident, yes, there should be a greater onus. That was the point I was making.

If my Alliance colleague is suggesting that the liability from a car accident is equivalent to the liability related to a nuclear accident, then we have a real problem with how his party perceives the consequences and what is really serious. We need to have a greater understanding of the effects of a nuclear accident.

In response to the Saskatchewan government dealing with the mines in Uranium City, and without really knowing exactly what is happening, I would expect the Saskatchewan government to do whatever it could to clean it up. I am not going to sit here and say that it is okay because it is an NDP government. Of course it is not okay. Of course it should be cleaned up and it should be doing whatever it can to clean it up.

However I do know for a fact that it had to clean up one heck of a mess after Grant Devine left Saskatchewan. It has been plugging away at it and trying to build up its surplus in order to clean up a good number of those messes. That is all I can say to that.

Nuclear Safety and Control Act
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the debate has turned a bit political. I did not find the discussion particularly useful.

As my hon. colleague said, the bill absolves the private sector of any responsibility. I want to come back to what she said, because I totally agree with her.

One of the reasons, and there are many, why we are not going to support this bill is that we hope the government will invest more in alternate energies.

I understand the member for Athabasca's reaction. They were given billions of dollars to develop the tar sands. Since 1970, the federal government has invested $66 billion dollars in the oil industry, but not one penny in Quebec for hydroelectricity, needless to say. The federal government put $6 billion into nuclear energy.

I would like to know if my hon. colleague agrees with the Minister of Finance's suggestion to invest $15 million a year over 15 years to develop the wind energy sector. That is not even enough to set up five imported wind generators, not to mention developing new technology. That is what the government is proposing in terms of wind energy development.

Does she agree with the Minister of Finance's suggestion to toss us a mere $15 million a year over 15 years to develop clean energy sources.