Mr. Speaker, let me first commend the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis on the wisdom of his comments today on Bill C-4, to amend the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.
I have had the pleasure and the honour of speaking on this bill for a total of 90 minutes. I have a little more to say. In light of the evidence presented by the government, there is a need to put more energy—not nuclear energy but something more common sense in nature—into this issue, and ask the government not to move any further into privatization by basically promoting private investment in the nuclear industry.
The fact that major financiers were not investing in the nuclear industry because they were indirectly liable for such a project shows that they knew it was risky. It is well known that financiers do not put their money into ventures that pose huge risks, the scope of which they do not know.
No one here can know the full impact of radioactive waste. During the previous session, we reviewed Bill C-27 on the management of nuclear fuel waste. We are well aware, because we examined the issue, that many countries have still not found the solution. I mentioned this yesterday in my speech. Some radioactive elements are present for periods as short as 550 years. That may seem very short in the history of a people or of humanity. However, other radioactive products remain present for 14 billion years, which is a much longer period.
As regards nuclear energy, we must question this form of energy, which is seen as a contributor to greenhouse gases. There is an inherent danger to the use of nuclear energy in terms of the world's safety, whether it is in the production of that energy, in the burial of radioactive waste, or even in the possibility that someone could get these products to make nuclear bombs.
I firmly believe that a debate should take place on whether or not to continue to develop nuclear energy. There are some rather striking examples. Take Germany, where 30% of the electrical energy was dependent on the nuclear sector. Germany is now announcing that it is dropping nuclear energy and that by the year 2050, it will have eliminated around 80% of its greenhouse gases. That country is ending the development of nuclear energy and, at the same time, it is able to commit to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by over 80% by the year 2050.
As we can see, these two objectives are not incompatible. This is what I am urging the government to do. It must go forward and begin a process to drop nuclear energy and its proliferation. This proliferation is being promoted by the bill, which tells major financiers “There is money to make in the short term in the nuclear energy sector, with no long term responsibilities anymore”.
We know full well that large multinationals, whose only objective is to make money, can easily invest in the nuclear energy sector. Should a catastrophic environmental disaster occur, they will just withdraw and their responsibility will be limited. They will not go any further. They will have made their money when it was easy. When there are responsibilities to be assumed, who will assume them? Who will have to clean up all these contaminated sites? Again, indirectly, it will be the public, because this situation will always occur.
In environmental matters, the government is always the one responsible for decontaminating, for reassuring the public and for ensuring that we have a healthy environment to live in. This is why it becomes more and more necessary not to involve the private sector in such important areas but to withdraw it from those sectors because it is not capable of assuming long-term responsibilities.
I think it is pretty clear that the government is not up to speed, particularly where alternate or renewable energy sources are concerned. It cannot therefore really want to invest in them.
Moreover, we are told that governments have invested over $15 billion in the nuclear sector. With opportunity costing, this represents indirectly over $161 billion invested in nuclear power.
Let us try to imagine the investments that could have been made in opportunity costs on renewable energies. There is nothing complicated about it: nuclear waste is with us just about forever, and is a risk to the entire population of the planet and the planet itself. There are, however, other important elements that are also equally eternal: the sun, the air, the water, the land. These are all elements with which we must work to obtain constantly renewable energy.
The Bloc Quebecois has raised this, has made predictions about the potential employment benefits of the wind energy industry. But to no avail, because the government wants to invest in nuclear energy.
This government has a fundamental problem when it comes to wind energy. There is, of course, always the exception that confirms the rule, and I again thank the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis for his speech. The government is still at the stage of wondering whether the windmills are turned by the wind, or create the wind. So if that is the stage they are at, there are a lot of serious questions to be asked.
I am therefore urging the House to put this bill on hold so that the public can have its say as to whether it wants nuclear energy or not. According to the latest surveys, the people of Canada and of Quebec are saying no to nuclear energy.