House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

June 19th, 2008 / 3:25 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the cut and thrust of question period, as you have pointed out, the Minister of Industry used very unparliamentary language. He used the street vernacular that referred to questions I asked to be of little more than animal excrement. I understand that perhaps he was a bit frazzled or thrown off his game, but it certainly lessens the tone of Parliament.

The reason I am asking this personally, Mr. Speaker, because I know you did raise it, but you will remember well the case when over the issue of Kashechewan, when he was the Indian affairs minister, I challenged him and I used that exact term. He demanded a personal apology in the House because he said that it cheapened his work. At the time, I felt what I said was totally correct. However, I did think about it, I spoke with you, I came back and I apologize to the House. I do believe we have a role, as parliamentarians, to maintain a certain decorum.

I would like the Minister of Industry to do the same thing, to come back and make a personal apology because we cannot have this kind of cheapening of debate and this kind of language.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am sure, when the minister reappears, he will have something to say on the subject. I hope he will listen to the very sage advice from the hon. member on this subject. He noted that I raised the issue and I am sure it was the right thing to do.

House of Commons
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I have an item that I would have liked to address in the Thursday question, but did not have an opportunity to do so.

We are nearing the end of the session before the summer break. At this opportunity, I want to take the time to thank the staff of the House of Commons, the Journals Branch and all others who work very hard to make things work well.

I particularly want to thank those who were involved in the aboriginal schools apology and other special things that happened in the past year, for example, the demands that were put on the House staff in accommodating committee of the whole in the fall when we dealt with our isotopes issue.

Mr. Speaker, you and your staff and also the staff of the House of Commons have gone above and beyond in accommodating these things. We want to thank them.

I also particularly want thank the pages, many of whom are here for their last time today. They do outstanding work. I know it is a wonderful and positive experience for them. My wife was a page back in 1987 and still recalls it as the best year of her life. I have taken the opportunity to take several former pages on to my staff. They have also performed in an outstanding fashion, having obviously learned a great deal from the program.

We all appreciate the great work the pages do. At this time, before they depart for the summer, I want to let them know that I think each and every member of Parliament appreciates their efforts.

House of Commons
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the House leader for the NDP, I would like to thank the government House leader for his very pleasing remarks.

We certainly would like to echo them and say thank you to yourself, as the Speaker, and all of your staff, the table officers and the pages who serve us so well.

We get pretty frazzled in the House and we have a lot of debate. Sometimes things go a bit crazy, but it is very good that we take a moment as well to be cooperative and to thank those who make this place work and allow us to do our job.

On behalf of the NDP, I would add our voice and wish everybody a very good summer break. Again, thanks to all the employees and workers in the House of Commons who serve us so well so we can do our job.

House of Commons
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I, too, on behalf of my Liberal colleagues, would like to commend the table officers, the pages and yourself, being our referee in the House, to ensure we get the business of Canadians done.

From time to time, all of us have members from our communities who come to Ottawa and tour Parliament. I always think it bears as a very good reminder for me personally of what an historic place this is and how very important this institution of democracy is in defining who we have been historically, who we are today, the rules and the legislation we deal with and who we will be in the future.

It is a distinct honour to be part of this assemblage. I wish everyone a rest and a good summer. I know most of us will be back working in our ridings, as you will be, Mr. Speaker. It has been terrific having the pages ensure that things go forward. I again commend the table officers and the Clerk for doing such an outstanding job of interpreting the rules for us.

House of Commons
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would also like to join the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons in thanking the pages, clerks and all those who help ensure the House runs smoothly. I would also like to wish you, Mr. Speaker, a good summer.

House of Commons
Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I thank all the hon. members who rose on these points of order. On behalf of all the employees of the House who help us here, I thank them for their kind words.

I assure them that I wish the same for all our employees, a very pleasant summer and I hope they get some relaxation. I hope hon. members do too, and maybe we will start sooner than later. However, in any event, I guess it is orders of the day now.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-5, An Act respecting civil liability and compensation for damage in case of a nuclear incident, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Before question period the hon. member for British Columbia Southern Interior had the floor and there are seven and a half minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks.

I therefore call upon the hon. member for British Columbia Southern Interior.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am a little disappointed that there are not more members here when they knew that I would be making this speech. In any case, I will do my best. I know that the members who stayed are very interested in what I have to say.

In the first part of my speech, I was trying to give an overview of our environmental plan. I was talking about how we can avoid the nuclear industry by creating green jobs. Before going on, I would like to put all of this in the context of what I call political will.

Anything that comes from the government, such as bills and so on, can sometimes diminish the government's power and give more powers to large, multinational companies. What I am seeing is a struggle between big business and the will of the people. Bill C-5 is an example, because it sets a limit of $650 million, instead of truly protecting people and society.

I would also like to point out that this is all going on in the context of what I call the Friedman philosophy, which talks of privatization, deregulation and a government that is pulling out of programs for which it is responsible.

Before I continue, I would like to share with my colleagues a book, which no doubt some of them have read and if they have not, I am sure it would be good, depressing bedtime reading. The book is entitled The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein, in which she outlines exactly what I have been trying to get at, the role of the corporate sector in dismantling our societies, not only in our country but in the rest of the world.

In case I do not have time to continue in outlining our plan for the environment, I would like to give a few examples of what has happened in other countries of the world with regard to the nuclear industry.

For example, on April 10, 2003, in Hungary, partially spent fuel rods undergoing cleaning in a tank of heavy water ruptured and spilled fuel pellets at Paks Nuclear Power Plant. It is expected that inadequate cooling of the rods during the cleaning process, combined with a sudden influx of cold water, thermally shocked the fuel rods, causing them to split. Boric acid was added to the tank to prevent the loose fuel pellets from achieving criticality. Ammonia and hydrazine were also added to absorb iodine.

On April 19, 2005, in Sellafield in the United Kingdom, there was a nuclear material leak. Twenty metric tonnes of uranium and 160 kilograms of plutonium, dissolved in 83,000 litres of nitric acid, leaked over several months from a cracked pipe into a stainless steel subchamber at the THORP nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. The partially processed spent fuel was drained into holding tanks outside the plant.

Most recently, on March 6, 2006, in Erwin, Tennessee, 35 litres of a highly enriched uranium solution leaked during transfer into a lab at the Nuclear Fuel Services Erwin plant. The incident caused a seven month shutdown and required a public hearing on the licensing of the plant.

What we are seeing is the nuclear industry is by no means 100% safe. The fact that even if there is the slightest accident, this can cause havoc on the environment. As I was trying to point out earlier in my speech, this can cause irreparable damage also to the health of individuals.

There is an alternative, and I started to outline this alternative in my speech just before being stopped. At that time, I was speaking about the fact that, in addition to establishing a cap and trade system, we could create green jobs and also continue to make sustainable consumer choices more affordable.

We need a national energy plan that would make a better building retrofit and energy efficient strategy, which would constitute a groundbreaking, historic construction project for Canada in every community, creating thousands of new local jobs, making Canada a world leader in building efficiency skills in technology.

I referred to the fact that a few months ago, a Canadian solar power company was forced to set up shop in Germany because Germany was providing the Canadian company with incentives to develop this industry, where there were no incentives in our country. This is really a shame on our future and on our country, that we are not able to promote clean, efficient energy in our country.

I would like to go further and say that there are now approximately 12.5 million homes in Canada. Green Communities, an environmental organization involved extensively in residential home audits and retrofits, estimates that home energy efficiency improvements can result in greenhouse gas savings of four tonnes a year per house.

What is our strategy? Our strategy is a new program for retrofitting low income homes to replace the program that was cancelled by the government. We also want to expand and revamp the co-energy programs by providing low interest loans and improved grants for energy efficient home and building retrofits, modelled on the city of Toronto's successful better building partnership using revolving funds.

We also feel that we should amend the Canadian building code to add energy conservation and efficiency to the criteria.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The legislation that we are currently debating today deals with nuclear liability not with energy efficiency, so I will challenge the hon. member to demonstrate relevance with his remarks as he is going on about the NDP energy efficiency plan.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for British Columbia Southern Interior only has about 35 seconds left in his time slot, but I will remind him that at third reading a member's speech is supposed to be confined to the actual legislative properties of the bill. In the last half minute that he has remaining, I would ask him to tie his remarks to the bill before the House. That would be appreciated by the House.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague for reminding me of that. I just got so involved and excited about this wonderful plan that we have that I just could not help but talk about it. With respect to Bill C-5, we have to be very careful. It is not advantageous for our country to adopt this bill the way it currently stands.