Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak to Bill C-236 which was introduced to the House by my colleague from Fraser Valley East. Bill C-236 has a very simple bottom line. It would ban the importation of high level radioactive waste into Canada.
I will speak as a citizen of the province of Saskatchewan which has a nuclear industry. In fact one of Saskatchewan's major industries is the uranium mining industry. It has generated a lot of income. I am not an alarmist who gets fearful. My knees do not begin to shake when I hear about nuclear energy. When electricity was invented and was being developed, it had a dangerous component and a beneficial component. The automobile can be very useful; it can get us to Ottawa, it can get us around our ridings but it also has a potential for danger.
The problem with the nuclear industry is the waste material associated with it. Some may want to pretend it is not a serious
matter. Others may want to be alarmists and suggest that the whole industry should be immediately shut down. Both responses are very irresponsible.
It would be wrong to shut down electricity producing plants, whether for hydro or nuclear electricity, just because a person had been electrocuted. It would be wrong to ban automobiles because someone had been killed in a car accident. Those would be rather extreme reactions to very real problems.
In the agricultural sector which I am involved in, there is waste. The trick is learning how to deal with that waste. In Canada we have high level radioactive waste and we do not know how to deal with it. We are developing the technology but we are not there yet. My colleagues have outlined a number of these problems.
If we have problems here at home, why are we even considering the importation of high level radioactive waste into Canada? We should be developing the technology to handle and control radioactive waste. Once we have the technology down, once we know how to handle our own problems then perhaps rather than importing radioactive waste from outside Canada we should be selling that technology to other nations around the world so that they can effectively deal with their high level radioactive waste.
It is common sense. Reformers always talk common sense. I know, Mr. Speaker, you have been persuaded and I appreciate this very brief opportunity to make a very cogent point.