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

Nuclear Liability and compensation Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, once again it is my pleasure to appear before a full House to speak to Bill C-5. I notice my friend, the hon. member for Prince Albert, who knew I was speaking, decided to listen to my speech today, and I thank him for that.

First, I want to zero in on Bill C-5, speak a little about it and try to put it the context of what we are dealing with when we look at energy.

In an overview of Bill C-5, the Conservative government is taking what some would say a cavalier toward nuclear safety, and this recklessness is being supported by the other two opposition parties.

The bill will shortchange ordinary Canadians who get sick and die from a nuclear accident, or may lose all they own because of contamination or lose a family member who dies from cancer or radiation sickness.

The $650 million cap on compensation is not sufficient. The United States has a limit of $10 billion. Germany has an unlimited amount. Many countries are moving toward unlimited amounts. No private insurance is available, and it has been estimated that a nuclear accident would cost billions of dollars in damage, personal injury and death.

Let us look at nuclear safety. Despite assurances from the nuclear industry, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Windscale all show that the potential for a nuclear accident is real. Later on, if I have some time, I will once again give an account of some of the accidents that have happened in this industry.

The safety of nuclear installations must be paramount. We have already seen the government willing to put the lives and property of Canadians at risk to keep unsafe nuclear reactors running.

The nuclear industry is not really a green choice, as opposed to what some people might want us to believe. Nuclear waste remains deadly for thousands of years.

A few weeks ago I gave a brief statement on depleted uranium and the effects it had on those who used weapons containing depleted uranium, not only the soldiers of those armies who use these weapons, but civilian populations in countries such as Iraq.

Canada exports uranium to the United States with supposed assurances that it will never be used for weapons. However, experts say that some of it actually creeps into depleted uranium weapons, which then endangers the lives of people in those areas.

The last time I spoke with regard to depleted uranium, I mentioned a film which graphically illustrated the damaging effects. I have asked the government to ensure that we become a leader in banning and abolishing all the depleted uranium weapons in the world.

A person exposed to a used nuclear fuel bundle will be dead within an hour. There is no long term storage solution that has been found for the waste. The processing of fuel and waste has resulted in widespread contamination requiring expensive cleanups, and I cite the example of Fort Hope, Ontario and Rayrock Mine in the Northwest Territories.

Before moving on, I will mention that some people on this continent and in the world are tracking nuclear power reactors and the effects they have on surrounding populations. It would be very wise for our government to explore the possibility of doing a comprehensive study, at least in our country, and perhaps coordinating it with our neighbours to the south, to see what effects there are on the health of people who live in the surrounding areas of nuclear reactors.

Approximately a month ago I met with Dr. Leuren Moret from the United States. She has been quite heavily involved in the nuclear industry and is one of the leaders in the world exposing the danger of depleted uranium. She has been coordinating and looking at studies that link the effects on health with nuclear reactors. In addition to cancer, there is some evidence pointing to the correlation between high rates of diabetes and the proximity to nuclear reactors. Whether this is in fact the case, whether this is science, I am not sure, but these concerns warrant an investigation.

Our country should take the lead on this and say that we will challenge the world to investigate the fact that some people may suffer and die from the effects of living too close to nuclear reactors. As we move on in this debate, this is one of the things at which we could look.

The answer is not in building more nuclear reactors. In the budget the government has been investing in nuclear energy. It seems there is quite a lot of money for nuclear energy, but very little for green alternatives, such as solar power, wind power, wave generation, geothermal and all kinds of things that truly are green clean sources of energy, which have very little impact and leave a much smaller footprint on our planet. The government should be supporting more of these sources of energy in our country.

If the passage of the bill allows the expansion of nuclear power in our country, it will be a big step backward for us in our quest to have a greener and cleaner energy source in many ways. We need to ensure that it not only does not create greenhouse gases, which it does not in that respect, but we need to look at if for other things, such as the waste, the mining that takes place and the tragedy, human and otherwise, to which I just alluded, that it could inflict if there were to be an accident.

It is not the green source of energy we should invest in so heavily. We should be thinking of much cleaner greener ways to go. I will outline a few points from our NDP plan for the environment in a few minutes.

Bill C-5 limits the total liability of a nuclear operator to $650 million, which is the bottom of the international average. This is not enough.

Before outlining some of the tragic instances of nuclear accidents that have happened, it is important for us to realize there is another way of conserving energy and making our planet much more conducive to the environment. One way is what our party has proposed, and that is a cap and trade system. This is a mechanism at the heart of the Kyoto protocol. In fact, both candidates for the president of the United States have embraced cap and trade, making it a key tool in the continental fight against climate change. Cap and trade has already been tested in Europe and the NDP's plan builds on the lessons learned there.

My colleague, the hon. member for Outremont. was at an OECD conference in Europe. He said that the Europeans were embracing cap and trade as the way to conserve energy and fight climate change. They were not holding on to the fallacy of trying to put a tax on carbon so ordinary people would suffer, as my colleague from Winnipeg Centre pointed out.

When we called on other parties to reject the Conservative's dead on arrival clean air act and work together to build better legislation, the resulting legislation was deemed a breakthrough bill by environmental groups. The centrepiece of the bill was a carbon pricing regime. However, that is not enough. In addition to this method, which works, we need to create jobs in the green environment sector.

We would propose a green collar jobs fund be established that would allocate $1 billion per year to train workers, displaced workers and new entrants to the job market, so they could be provided with the skills that would be necessary to power Canada into the new energy economy.

The green collar jobs fund would be used to leverage training apprenticeships and investment partnerships from provincial and territorial governments, from first nations, Métis and Inuit communities, and from the private sector. For my hon. Conservative friends I repeat, from the private sector.

High skills training would be needed for such areas as installing and maintaining energy efficient and renewable energy technology for alternative cars and fuels, manufacturing parts for wind turbines and other new energy technologies, and energy efficiency auditing expertise.

It is a shame that a Canadian solar power private enterprise has to go to Germany to set up business because there is not enough incentive available in our country. Parallel to this, tax breaks are being given to the big oil companies that are reaping billions of dollars in profits. Something in this equation is not right.

At the same time, as we see with this bill, we are limiting the amount of liability in a nuclear accident. As my hon. colleague who spoke before said, there is something wrong in this equation.

In the province of British Columbia, where I come from, we had BC Hydro in control of our public water and our power system. The current government in British Columbia is slowly dismantling the public trust of our waters and our energy and creating what it calls public-private companies to damn the creeks, create energy and sell it on the open market.

I want to emphasize the importance for senior levels of government to take the lead and the initiative. The time is gone when we could just sit back and say that we would let the market take over and let private enterprise run our energy system. It is up to each and every one of us to--

Nuclear Liability and compensation Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I hesitate to interrupt the hon. member for British Columbia Southern Interior, but it is time to move on to statements by members. I assure him he will have seven and a half minutes remaining in the time allotted for his remarks when debate on this subject is resumed.

Statements by members. The hon. member for Fleetwood—Port Kells.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this morning the Liberal leader revealed the details of his carbon tax on everything.

Besides their show of solidarity, many Liberal MPs are on record opposing a carbon tax. The member for Wascana previously said, “A carbon tax is not a part of our planning or our thinking”. The member for Kings—Hants said, “I am strongly against energy taxes”. The member for Vaughan said, “It is certainly not an option for me”. Only a few short months ago, the member for Ottawa South insisted his leader opposed a carbon tax. He said, “Our leader's position on carbon tax remains the same. He is not in favour of a carbon tax at this time”. The Liberal leader himself said, “There will be no carbon tax”.

Why did the Liberal leader and his followers mislead Canadians? Why do they want to bother seniors, fixed income Canadians, struggling small business owners, air travellers and all Canadians with a massive carbon tax on everything?

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this Saturday Canada will celebrate National Aboriginal Day.

National Aboriginal Day was first proclaimed by a Liberal government 12 years ago in recognition of the contributions first nations, Métis and Inuit have made to Canada.

It is important to note that last week's apology to residential school survivors was made possible by many. They include: residential school survivor Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine; Willie Blackwater and other survivors like him who have the courage to speak out and pursue justice; former first nations member of Parliament Gary Merasty, whose motion calling on the government to apologize to survivors was unanimously adopted by members of Parliament in May 2007; my colleagues from LaSalle—Émard, Fredericton and Mount Royal; and former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan.

Their courage, commitment and dedication in seeing this apology through to fruition is something of which all Canadians should be proud.

On National Aboriginal Day we will celebrate these Canadians and thank them for their perseverance and their resolve.

Drummond Association for the Disabled
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1986, people with reduced mobility wanted to appear before the Drummondville city council to oppose a development project, but they had to turn back, because city hall was not accessible for them. This turn of events led to the creation of the Association des personnes handicapées de Drummond 20 years ago.

To mark this anniversary, the association is launching its website “Drummond accessible”, which lists some 3,000 businesses, buildings and public areas in Drummondville, and identifies each location's level of accessibility and any specific problems that might be encountered. Each location has been visited and the facilities assessed, providing an opportunity to speak directly with business owners about accessibility.

I would like to congratulate Daniel Mailhot, the association's director, as well as everyone who works to integrate persons with disabilities into all of society's spheres of activity.

Health
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada says an estimated 4.1 million Canadians aged 12 or older are without a family doctor. Almost 40,000 of them are in Hamilton.

Amazingly, Hamilton is not considered an underserviced area because McMaster University has a medical school. Incredibly, the provincial Liberals are using taxpayer dollars to pay graduates to move away from Hamilton.

This chronic shortage of doctors and nurses puts the health of seniors and hard-working families at risk.

The federal government has to step up to the plate and it has to do it now. After 13 years of Liberal neglect and cutbacks, both wait times and doctor shortages exploded.

Despite the Conservatives' election promise of a wait times guarantee, the shortage of health care professionals is continuing to worsen under the Conservative government. Ontarians probably will not be surprised by this. After all, the federal health minister was mentored by his former boss, Ontario premier Mike Harris, who fired hundreds of nurses and likened the profession to outdated hula hoops.

We need a serious federal contribution to recruit and retain health care professionals and to promote careers in the health sciences.

The health and well-being of hard-working families in Hamilton and right across Canada depend on it.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the Liberal leader is desperately trying to spin that his regressive carbon tax plan would be revenue neutral. This is completely unbelievable.

Environmentalists do not believe his tax trick would be revenue neutral. David Coon, policy director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, said, “This is not an emissions reducing tax. It's a revenue generating tax to finance objectives that are definitely not of the environmental kind”.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said, “We do not believe that carbon taxes can be truly revenue neutral. ...it will certainly not be revenue neutral for consumers.”

The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association executive director said, “Transportation costs would rise with increased fuel costs as a result of carbon taxes, prices of consumer goods and food would rise.... The bottom line is that adding taxes only adds to transportation costs which add to increased costs for consumers”.

Don Drummond, chief economist for the TD Bank, said after analyzing the plan, “It's never going to be revenue neutral”.

When will the leader--

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Fredericton.

Heroism
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to pay tribute to the bravery of three heroes from my riding: Evan Green, Nick Lannigan and Ryan Atwin.

Concerned after spotting smoke coming from the back of a building, these three teenagers rescued a 60-year-old gentleman after seeing him lie helplessly on the floor through a window. Their heroism continued when they alerted sleeping tenants of the danger and assisted in the evacuation of the building.

These three young men were recently honoured as heroes and given life-saving awards at the St. John Ambulance's annual awards ceremony.

I invite my fellow members to join with me in thanking these fine young citizens for their courage and inspiring their community.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will not be tricked by the Liberals' plan to tax an extra $15 billion with their new carbon tax and they surely will not be tricked by the Liberals' claim that this is going to somehow be revenue neutral. History is littered with attempts by previous governments to bring in taxes cloaking them as revenue neutral.

Canadians know better. They have seen this movie before. They remember the dawn of the gun registry and the GST. Canadians will not be tricked. Even the leader himself said this carbon tax was simply bad policy.

This plan for a carbon tax just reconfirms what we already knew about the Liberals. They never met a tax they did not like. They never met a tax they would not hike.

Sébastien Audy Summits Everest
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of my region are known for their eagerness to take up a challenge. Last month, a resident of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean proved it in spades.

Today, I am proud to congratulate Sébastien Audy, the first person from the Saguenay to make it to the roof of the world. Together with François-Guy Thivierge and two sherpas, he reached the summit at 5:55 a.m. on May 22, 2008, a feat that so many people around the world want to accomplish. Support from our community, Deloitte, the Chicoutimi CEGEP, and Promotion Saguenay helped make his adventure possible.

I congratulate Sébastien on rising to this physical and mental challenge. At 29, he is the pride not only of his parents, Denis Audy and Réjane Roy, but of everyone in the riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord and the entire Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Bravo, Sébastien.

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader promised he would not bring in a carbon tax. This is another broken promise. We now have a Liberal tax promise to pay for Liberal spending promises.

It is obvious to all Canadians that a carbon tax will increase the cost of gasoline, increase the cost of home heating fuels, increase the cost of electricity, and increase the cost of transporting goods and services to all Canadians. It is also obvious that the Liberal carbon tax is not revenue neutral and is not a tax shift.

Politicians impose taxes and raise taxes to raise money. The Liberal carbon tax, despite the green rhetoric, is just a way for Canadians to pay for $60 billion of Liberal spending promises. With soaring energy prices, Canadians want real solutions, not massive tax increases and phony promises wrapped in green rhetoric.

Canadians will not be fooled by this outrageous Liberal promise and will not fall for this crock of green shift.

Bashir Makhtal
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bashir Makhtal is a Canadian businessman who has been in an Ethiopian prison for more than a year. Mr. Makhtal was caught up in the violence in Somalia and took Ottawa's advice and went to Kenya. There he was arrested and, in spite of his Canadian passport, deported to Ethiopia.

Why does the minority Conservative government continue to turn its back on Canadians who find themselves in terrible circumstances while travelling abroad?

While I have the government's attention, I would like to know why it has not stepped up and taken on a leadership role to help end the violence in Somalia. When will the Conservatives start to take concrete steps toward a resolution to the conflict in Somalia, once and for all?

Carbon Tax Proposal
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, the president of the B.C. Cattlemen's Association is saying a carbon tax in B.C. will cost a 200 head cow-calf operator an additional $1,300 in expenses every year, far from revenue neutral.

Earlier today the Leader of the Opposition announced that in order to pay for his reckless spending promises he is proposing a carbon tax on everything. Today, the Liberal leader confirmed that his carbon tax trick is going to raise the cost of everything that my farmers purchase: fuel costs, up; feed costs, up; fertilizer costs, up; transportation costs, up. How much? I do not know. Maybe $3,000 a year, maybe $5,000, maybe even $10,000 a year.

B.C. farmers agree and Canadian farmers agree a hike in taxes for essential expenses is not revenue neutral. The Liberals' carbon tax trick is bad for Canadian agriculture.

War Resisters
Statements By Members

June 19th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, Corey Glass, a U.S. war resister, and a constituent of my riding of Parkdale--High Park, faces deportation from Canada on July 10.

At age 19, Corey joined the Indiana National Guard. He was told that he would only be in combat if the U.S. were invaded. He signed up to defend people and to do humanitarian work. Instead, in 2005, he was shipped off to fight in the Iraq war, a war based on false premise, false intelligence, and without UN approval or that of major allies like Canada.

Most Canadians were opposed to this illegal war and accordingly Canada did not support the invasion. Countless Americans such as Corey feel the same. Many of them and their families have made enormous personal sacrifices to withdraw their military participation. They came to Canada to seek refuge and to seek the protection of a government whose House of Commons has demanded that the war resisters and their families be allowed to stay in Canada.

In the U.S. they will face hardship and prosecution simply for doing what our whole country has done: refusing to participate in this war. It is the highest form of hypocrisy for this government to keep Canadians out of--