Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in the adjournment debate. A number of questions have already been raised on the issue, but I am going to try once again to make the Liberal government listen to reason and review the decision by the Minister of Natural Resources to stop providing $7.2 million in funding annually to the tokamak project of the Canadian Centre for Magnetic Fusion in Varennes.
I would first like point out that people were unanimous in condemning the minister's decision to make this cut. All those involved opposed her decision. Neither the minister nor her department consulted the public, the scientific community or even the financial partners in the project.
The absurdity of the decision is so obvious that even the federal Liberal organization in the riding of Verchères where the Centre is located was opposed and asked the minister to go back to the drawing board.
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration along with the minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec apparently even met representatives of the local Liberal association to express their grave concerns over the withdrawal of federal funding for the Varennes tokamak project.
Not only does the Liberal government not have any respect for its partners, it clearly shows a lack of vision for the future. The tokamak project of the Canadian Centre for Magnetic Fusion in Varennes is a future-oriented high-technology project since it concerns a new clean, abundant and job-creating form of energy. By withdrawing now from the international research effort in the area of fusion, we will deprive ourselves of the technology transfers associated with it and we will miss the boat when this new form of energy is finally implemented.
It must be noted that, once again, figures show a shameless waste of public funds: not only will 20 years of research and development work in the area of nuclear fusion be sacrificed, but $70 million in infrastructures will be wasted, including $11 million in equipment that has never been used. On top of that, the dismantling of these facilities will cost $20 million.
Besides these economic factors, we must consider the losses in terms of human resources. Without a job, these researchers, scientists and specialists will offer to other countries the expertise developed here with our taxpayers' money.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg because this is becoming a general problem. In terms of the share of total research and development funding invested by the federal government, Quebec is once again the big loser in this federation. The figures speak for themselves.
The minister tried to present figures in such way that it looked like Quebec was getting 25 per cent of the total research and development funding from her department. That is not the case at all. Not taking into account the regional concept invented by the minister and adding the expenditures correctly, we get a much different result.
In actual fact, Quebec's total share of the R and D spending of the Department of Natural Resources now stands at 17 per cent, and the total share that Quebec would receive without the tokamak project would drop to only 12 per cent. This does not include the AECL budgets, because when they are added, we drop from 8 per cent to 6 cent.
This withdrawal of the federal government is completely incomprehensible. Why cut the only long term energy research program, which is located in Quebec? What is the reason for this unjustifi-
able cut, the relevance of which is being questioned by all stakeholders?
While it is maintaining funding for the neutrino project in Sudbury, Ontario, while it is increasing by $15 million the funding for the TRIUMF project in British Columbia, the Liberal government has the gall to axe one of the most important energy research projects located in Quebec. It is quite simply scandalous.