Madam Speaker, on October 21 of this year in the House the Minister of National Defence stated:
Scientific studies to this point have not indicated that depleted uranium and illnesses including cancer are in fact related.
Is the minister aware of what the famous epidemiologist, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, has to say about depleted uranium? She says:
DU is highly toxic to humans, both chemically as a heavy metal and radiologically as an alpha particle emitter which is very dangerous when taken internally.
Upon impact, the DU bursts into flames. It produces a toxic and radioactive ceramic aerosol that is much lighter than uranium dust. It can travel in the air tens of kilometres from the point of release, or settle as dust suspended in the air waiting to be stirred up by human or animal movement.
It is very small and can be breathed by anyone from babies and pregnant women to the elderly and the sick. This radioactive and toxic ceramic can stay in the lungs for years, irradiating the surrounding tissue with powerful alpha particles. It can affect the lungs, gastrointestinal system, liver, kidneys, bones, other tissues and renal systems.
The A-10 Warthog is capable of firing 4,200 rounds of this abomination every minute. The U.S. government has suggested that almost one million rounds of this radioactive toxic casing were fired in Iraq during the Gulf War. Iraq has witnessed explosive rates of stillbirths, children born with defects, childhood leukemia and other cancers, in particular near the Basara region where these shells were fired.
Dr. Bertell states the following about DU:
It is most likely a major contributor to the Gulf War Syndrome experienced by the veterans and the people of Iraq.
NATO launched a potentially devastating environmental offensive in Kosovo. It bombed the largest medical factory in Yugoslavia when it bombed the Galenika pharmaceutical complex, releasing highly toxic fumes. NATO bombed the petrochemical complex in Pancevo, releasing huge amounts of chlorine, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride monomer. The same day it hit an ammonia supply company.
In his response to my question on this issue at an earlier date, the government representative even admitted “Some of our NATO allies are using this type of ammunition”.
That says it all. We are a part of NATO and thus we are responsible for NATO's actions. It is up to the government to do the right thing and say no to the use of this deadly toxin in any and all of NATO's actions.
Furthermore, the Minister of National Defence should commit to Canadians that he will do everything in his power to ensure that NATO fully complies with the UN Balkan environmental task force investigation into depleted uranium use in Kosovo.
This was the essence of my question to the minister. What were we doing to ensure that NATO complies with that investigation? Anything less than the minister doing this is simply deplorable.
But this crisis is not relegated only to foreign soil. It is despicable that our government some years back had been silently disposing of toxic and lethal nuclear waste by firing it into our coastal waters off Halifax and therefore into our food system.
I ask that this government produce a complete and public accounting of all DU stocks, including every instance that DU shells have been fired in Canadian territory or by Canadians abroad. I further call upon the government to follow up on any public health risks or concerns with respect to those Canadians who may have been exposed to depleted uranium while serving our country.
I would hope that the parliamentary secretary, in response, would give an update as to the UN Balkan environmental task force investigation and what the minister has done to ensure that NATO complies so that the health and safety of human beings in Kosovo is respected.