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House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

As this is the first round of speaking, I will need to ask the House if there is unanimous consent to allow the member for Mississauga—Erindale to split his time. Is it agreed?

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to speak to the bill again. Bill C-5, the nuclear liability bill, is an important bill. It is a culmination of years of examination and review of the old bill and is a concise overhaul of the old bill.

I want to take this opportunity to echo what the parliamentary secretary said earlier. I want to thank members of the natural resources committee for their diligent work in reviewing the bill, for listening to various stakeholders and for offering constructive discussion throughout our hearings. I also want to thank the officials at Natural Resources Canada for their diligent work and for offering an insightful presentation of the bill.

This is an administrative bill that overhauls the 1970 act . It offers new and tighter definitions, clearer objectives, a new liability limit and defines financial security. It also proposes a new tribunal for claims.

We heard throughout our study that Bill C-5 was very much needed for the industry and for Canadians. Nuclear suppliers, host communities, independent professors and stakeholders offered our committee very comprehensive thoughts on the bill.

While there were many legitimate questions about what the limit should be, what type of financial security there should be and how the tribunal should be structured, the overall consensus was that the bill was needed. Host communities, industry and many Canadians are waiting for it. We will be supporting the bill as presented to the House.

However, I cannot miss the opportunity to speak about the nuclear energy situation in our country.

Earlier this year we witnessed a lot of issues with respect to Atomic Energy and the government's management of AECL. We had a national health crisis when the NRU reactor at Chalk River was shut down because of a licensing issue. As a result, we had a severe shortage of nuclear isotopes. Many Canadians, in fact many citizens around the world who depend on the supply of isotopes, were left scrambling for alternative medicine. Some people had their appointments or examinations delayed. I remember the minister at the time saying that many lives were at stake, and I agreed with his comments. Many lives were at stake.

That problem resulted from the Conservative government's mismanagement of the situation. The fiasco was blamed on the Canadian nuclear safety regulator who was doing her job. The government accused her of partisanship. It claimed to consult independent experts, who, by the way, happened to either be a Conservative or a former AECL employee. Rather than address the root cause of the problem, which was the shortage of isotopes, the government placed the blame exclusively on someone else and, in fact, ended up firing her without any justification.

It is important to raise this issue today because we were just reminded of this a week ago when the government again showed its incompetence by announcing that it would stop the MAPLE reactors, which were supposed to replace the old NRU reactor that produces isotopes, without providing Canadians with a plan on how the supply of isotopes will be supplemented.

In December of last year, Canadians witnessed what could happen if the NRU reactor were to go out of production: severe shortages that could potentially cost Canadian lives.

The minister, after hiding for a month and getting training from a media consultant, told Canadians that he had to fire the nuclear regulator because Canadian lives were at stake. Now he has the gall to say that the government will end the project of replacing the NRU reactor and that we should not worry about it because everything is under control. By the way, we do have a 30 year contract to supply isotopes but we will keep the 50-year-old reactor to produce those isotopes.

Any reasonable observer can be forgiven for not trusting the government's word on having any sense of reliability or competent management of the situation. If the government had presented a plan at the time of its announcement of shutting down the MAPLE project, it would have been excused for its decision. However, the fact that it has announced that it will no longer pursue the MAPLE reactor but has offered no real plan to supplement the production of isotopes, leaves those questions in the minds of many Canadians.

I would not be doing my job here today if I did not ask those questions and raise those points. My Conservative colleagues cannot disagree with me. At the time, supposedly they justified the firing because lives were at stake. Now they cannot claim that there is no risk involved here.

There is another issue here. The Conservatives are secretly considering the privatization of AECL but they are not sharing their plans with Canadians. They are not telling us what they are working on. Instead, they want to do the write-off of the MAPLE reactors on the backs of taxpayers so that if they want to privatize it, taxpayers will pay for that write-off.

It is important that the government, the Minister of Natural Resources and his parliamentary secretary tell us here today what their plans are for AECL. It is not just important for me. It is important for Canadians. It is important for the Ontario government, which is looking to hire AECL to build a nuclear reactor, but right now the Ontario government is skeptical about the future of AECL because the federal government has said nothing about it. There are jobs at stake and talent at risk. We need to know what the Conservative government plans to do with AECL.

I do not think anybody can attack me for asking these questions. This is my job. This is what Canadians are asking for and the Conservatives are failing Canadians. They are not explaining what they are doing. They are not assuring us that they are worried about nuclear safety. They are not telling us that they concerned about the supply of isotopes. In fact, they are not even telling us what their plan is for the future of nuclear energy.

We know that nuclear energy has a bright future, not just in Canada but around the world. We know that AECL has a wealth of talent, people with high degrees of experience and education that have been inventing and creating products unparalleled around the world and they deserve an honest answer from the government. They need to know what the future holds for them. They need to know what the government plans to do. The Conservatives need to do it transparently, apolitically and publicly. They cannot do it in secret.

I want to take this opportunity here today to urge the government to consult publicly and share with us its plans for AECL. Again, future projects depend on it, jobs depend on it and our nuclear energy future depends on it.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity to respond. It is good that the member used his time to ask us questions, but I do want to talk about AECL because we have been, as he said, transparent. We have been apolitical and we have been very public about what we are doing. I think he knows that. I think he is perhaps just trying to confuse people a bit.

Clearly, in budget 2008 we recognized that nuclear energy and specifically the Candu technology is an important component of the programs that we are developing internationally and domestically. The minister has been more than clear about the fact that he is committed to restoring prudent management of the nuclear energy file after years of neglect by the previous government. Everyone knows that.

He announced a full review of AECL last fall as part of that changeover to responsible management of the crown corporation. The review of AECL is ongoing and all options are on the table. No decision has been made on that yet. I think everyone is aware of that as well. His department is working closely with the other departments, the Department of Finance and with the full collaboration of AECL.

I should point out that everyone who has been following this file also understands that National Bank Financial has been hired as financial adviser to the government and is currently preparing its first report on the financial position of AECL. Therefore, there is a review ongoing. There has been a financial report that has been developed about AECL. Management has been updated. In the coming months the government is going to have the results of those reviews and will gladly release them. The member knows these things, but the Canadian public needs to understand that he has been well aware of them as well.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I must have touched a nerve with this member, but rightly so. He did not answer any of the questions. We know that the government fired the nuclear safety regulator but to this day we still do not know why. It has not been able to provide any reasonable justification for that decision.

We know that the government suspended the MAPLE project, but it did not tell us how it is going to secure the supply of isotopes for the next 30 years. We know that the National Bank Financial report is done because the minister told us that in committee, but the government has not shared that with Canadians. We know that the government is planning on some form of privatization, but it is not telling Canadians.

This hon. member, especially given the performance of the minister last December, needs to understand that we will continue to ask these questions. We have every right to doubt the government's ability, skill and competence in managing that file because it has proven that it is incompetent and incapable of managing nuclear safety.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Mississauga—Erindale on his remarks. I share his concerns about nuclear safety.

Today, we are discussing a bill on nuclear responsibility and, in my view, nuclear responsibility cannot be isolated and treated separately from safety. I am concerned, and I share his fears, as do many Quebeckers when we know that the reactor that produces isotopes at the Chalk River laboratory is now 50 years old and that we were counting on MAPLE reactors to produce a new generation.

The initial requirement for the MAPLE reactor project was $140 million. We still do not know how much Quebec and Canadian taxpayers have invested in this project, nor what results it produced because the project was cancelled

Now that the project has been cancelled, after swallowing millions of dollars, what steps will be taken to protect and produce medical isotopes?

Would the member tell us more about the concerns that his fellow citizens have been sharing with him on this subject?

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for her question and also thank her for the excellent work that she does at committee.

This is a question that I have been focusing on and I would like to focus on more. Let us for the sake of argument assume that it was the right decision to suspend or cancel the MAPLE project. Let us for the sake of argument say that it was the right decision. However, what is of concern is that the government did not take the time to devise a plan B, to tell us how it is going to maintain the supply of isotopes for the next 30 years.

AECL has a contract for the next 30 years to supply isotopes. If the government plans to get out of that business, it should be honest and tell Canadians so they know not to expect isotopes from AECL. However, it is not telling us. All it is doing is cancelling the project.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Mississauga—Erindale. As a member of the committee and as the lead on this issue, his work has been quite stellar and inspirational to all members from all parties in terms of the depth of his knowledge and his ability to get to the point, and make those points objectively and incisively.

I was also very proud to be a member of the natural resources committee. When we worked through this process, it actually was quite positive. I believe our common goal to protect Canadians and enhance protection on this issue was really foremost in our minds and indeed the world. There is no doubt that when legislation is proposed on nuclear viability, many people are watching to see what our nation is going to do and how effective it will be. When there is a chance to make better legislation, we always hope that it is.

What happened during the course of this debate is probably quite strange to many of us because it seems that the government has been reluctant to provide the confidence needed to satisfy Canadians that our reactors are completely safe. I am hoping the reactor isotope scandal has not forced the government to cocoon or muzzle its members.

When the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca asked if the Canadian public can have the confidence that there is public safety oversight, so that plain and simply we know that our reactors are safe, I believe the response from the government should have been unequivocal, prompt and clear. I certainly believe that the mechanisms, structures and processes for safety are in place, and that the Canadian nuclear industry provides the highest standard of safety. Indeed, it is a selling point for us internationally.

I am hoping, as the viewing public watches this debate, that the isotope shortage scandal does not confuse the public in terms of the goals and objectives of this bill. Clearly, the industry needs and wants this. We went through a very long and comprehensive list of witnesses, scientific groups, citizen representatives, environmental organizations, people who understand the industry from many components, and communities which are affected directly. When we make legislation such as this, we want to make sure that people are consulted.

Indeed, on the question of the adequacy of limits, as someone who has a background in commercial insurance, it is always an interesting question about how much insurance could one really have. From a sales standpoint, many people would think that we are always encouraging people to buy more just for its own sake, but eventually we have to get to a point where we can set a limit and feel confident that in the very remotest possibility of an accident that the compensation level would be adequate and that people would be in the situation they were before the accident.

It was a fascinating debate when other components were added: offshore, water transportation, airborne contaminants, and transportation disruptions. My impression from those witnesses observing the legislation, as they compared our proposed legislation to other countries, was that this bill would come out very good compared to much of the rest of the planet where others have actually gone to the stage of providing such liability. After all the intensive questioning it seemed that as we tried to address this, it was to a large extent overshadowed by the isotope shortage issue.

We on the committee realized that it could have been averted. With proper planning and arrangements internationally with other countries, there would not have been the need for a knee-jerk reaction, which of course disturbs the entire country and everyone feels it was the industry that was at fault as opposed to the government. Was it handled incompetently? It is now pretty obvious. The vast majority of Canadians would agree with that.

Were there people making presentations who had a partisan bias? That of course clouded the issue to some extent. As it continues, we know that the isotope issue has to be addressed in a much more open and consultative process. Here we are close to June. We had the hearings in January and the report to Parliament has been delayed through some other work but also because of an extremely long process for a forestry report.

Parliament should have had the report on the isotope issue already. Hopefully there will be enough time to address that and table it in Parliament before the summer adjournment. Otherwise, it appears that the committee may be meeting during the humidity days of July. Can we get to that report in common cause for the common good? I truly hope that all members of the committee are on the same wavelength for that. I am speaking in good faith.

Rainy River, of course, is part of Thunder Bay—Rainy River. For those who may not be aware, my riding is seven and a half hours long over two time zones. Imagine driving to a community such as that over the Victoria Day weekend and hearing an announcement that there is going to be a shutdown of the program. I ask, as many people do who are tuned in to this, why would the government do it on the Victoria Day weekend? What confidence should I get from this? Is this not strange?

The media reaction, of course, was that it was very shocked. It undermines public faith. When we tell them we are striving to have the highest possible standards for an industry, it certainly gives fuel to critics who may have their own biases about the nuclear industry, so that we actually undermine confidence as opposed to some form of open media or press release at a time when people can respond to it. It is hard to imagine that something would happen at that time of day over that kind of weekend and people would not suspect a hidden agenda.

When Canadians want to know what lies in the future for the nuclear industry, we should be able to overcome unfair reaction. We should be able to debate the entire future of energy, energy supply, energy demand, and how Canadians will meet their needs in the future.

Where does nuclear fit in all of this? In my riding of Thunder Bay—Rainy River, there are two coal plants. I want to let people know that we want clean coal as an alternative energy. We want to be part of the program for energy where nuclear fits. This is where this bill helps. Do we need a national plan? I believe we do. It is only fair. Canadians need the reassurance. It is needed internationally for our sales of Candu products and it means that not only Canadians but the entire world has to feel confident in us.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, since we are on the topic of the nuclear industry, I want to ask my colleague across the aisle about the proposed build-out of new reactors in the province of Ontario.

A couple of months ago Ontario energy minister Gerry Phillips announced a request for proposal that would go to four firms, two American, one French and one Canadian, the Canadian one being AECL, to build-out the new reactors in Ontario.

My question to him is this. Does he feel it is essential that those contracts be awarded to AECL to ensure the vitality of the nuclear industry in Ontario or does he feel that they should be awarded to the best bidder? If he feels they should be awarded to AECL, what measures does he feel that the government or the provincial government should take to ensure that happens?

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, as someone who was fortunate to have a private member's motion pass for buy Canada content for public transit, my bias to supporting national industries is pretty much a public concern here. I understand that the provincial government has included a 25% buy Canada component but I do not know if it extends to the nuclear industry.

The question is an interesting one because even here in our nation's capital, its bid for light rail transit had no Canadian content requirements at all. I am not privy to the way the provincial government awarded those things, especially with my bias to clean coal, as I mentioned earlier in my speech, and my hope that the two coal plants would be--

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Brant.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the speech by the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, as I did the speech of his colleague, the member for Mississauga—Erindale, both of whom contribute magnificently to the natural resources committee, of which I am a member as well.

I am sure the Speaker will recall that a very professional woman, Linda Keen, had her reputation sullied and damaged. The background, very briefly, is that Ms. Keen had ordered AECL to effect certain repairs, so to speak, or certain measures to the reactor at Chalk River in August 2006. By November 2007, some 15 months later, it became apparent that the reactor had not yet been rectified in the fashion ordered by the regulator. In any event, the day before Ms. Keen was to appear at committee, she was fired.

I would like to ask the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River if he shares my concern and the concern of the distinguished member for Mississauga—Erindale that the government has not been as forthcoming about its plan--

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I will have to allow the hon. member for Thunder Bay--Rainy River a chance to respond.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe the policy of shooting the messenger as opposed to addressing the solution is probably not the right course. It undermines again the confidence in the nuclear industry, in particular, and in government processes in general.

As a member of the committee, when we see that first-hand, where a thoroughly professional person is meant to carry the burden and has to take the fall when clearly the leadership has to come from the government, it has to be the minister's responsibility.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The member for Beauharnois—Salaberry for a very quick question.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that in the last government budget, $100 million was set aside to continue with the development of the ACR reactor. We hope that this $100 million from taxpayers' pockets will finally do the trick because each time a budget is presented we have been told that this is the last time money will be invested in this project.

Does he truly believe, as a member from Ontario, that Atomic Energy Canada Limited will be able to provide a marketable reactor that will respond to the needs of this province in a timely fashion?

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can only hope that such will happen. If not, there are always the two clean coal plants in Thunder Bay and Atikokan that we could probably use to carry us through.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the debate at third reading of Bill C-5.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the committee for their excellent work. Knock wood, all the members in the Standing Committee on Natural Resources work earnestly, professionally and even passionately. We have just concluded a study on forestry during which we discovered the talents, passions and especially the skills of the members of our committee, which enriched our debates.

Unfortunately, in the debate on Bill C-5, we did not have any specialists in insurance or nuclear liability. We truly had to listen very carefully together to all the witnesses and all the legislative staff who advised us and explained certain things.

We also heard from mayors. Those were the testimonies that touched me the most. There is an association that consists of the mayors of all cities that have nuclear power plants, who have joined together to be represented. We heard from one mayor who told us she was truly pleased with the bill, but that she was surprised and even disappointed that the bill allowed for just $650 million in compensation.

Perhaps we should remind those watching us on television that the purpose of Bill C-5 is to modernize an existing law that has been obsolete and neglected for over 30 years. The bill is intended to meet international standards on nuclear liability. This bill explains the responsibility of operators regarding nuclear liability, sets compensation at a maximum of $650 million, and creates a tribunal to hear claims in the event of a nuclear incident.

After much debate, everyone agrees that $650 million is a clear improvement over the current provisions. With the resurgence of nuclear power, we all agree that $75 million was not enough. Nonetheless, some concerns remain. We are reassured by the fact that the minister or the government will be able, every five years, to increase the amount of compensation.

It was pure negligence. For 30 years and from government to government, whether Liberal or Conservative, this legislation and the compensation should have been updated but were completely neglected. It was only recently that they started paying attention on the heels of a recommendation from the Environmental Commissioner who told us in his 2005 report that we had a real problem in Canada because our nuclear liability was not up to the international standards and that it was really starting to be problematic. It was certainly a problem for our citizens and communities, as well as our companies and operators.

We will support Bill C-5 in order to ensure that our communities have better coverage and better tools to defend themselves in case of nuclear incidents.

We heard some pretty impressive witnesses and got sound advice from all the partners and expert stakeholders. A bill dealing with insurance is necessarily very technical and legalistic and we needed to hear some especially good witnesses.

The only nuclear power plant in Quebec is located near the town of Gentilly and there was an incident here recently that could have been serious, but fortunately was not. That leads me once again to say that if this incident had actually had repercussions, we would have had to rely on this old legislation providing the citizens of Gentilly with only $75 million in compensation.

We must understand that if there had been a very serious incident, there would have been consequences not just for Gentilly but the entire area, the cities and suburbs all around.

I want to emphasize that we in the Bloc Québécois are not satisfied with the $650 million amount, especially as the bill provides that the amounts will rise from $75 million to $650 million over four years. This will not happen at once and will take four years. To us and our citizens and communities, this may seem a long time, and quite rightly so. The operators also have some fears about the increase in their premiums over such a short time.

We worked very hard on this bill in committee and discussed the issues using all the procedures that the House provides us to really get a handle on it. We can be proud of what we accomplished. We worked in an atmosphere in which we all focused on the task at hand and the positive effects rather than partisan politics. There is still no doubt, though, that there are problems with the entire nuclear issue in Canada.

I made a short list of nuclear-related events that occurred in the past year and were of concern not only to the government but to all parliamentarians in this House. You may be surprised by this list.

First, as you know—and I believe the opposition members pointed it out—the isotope shortage and the mismanagement of this crisis by Atomic Energy Canada caused many problems and raised many questions. Although the government may not have said so outright, by initiating a study on what happened between Atomic Energy Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission it has, in fact, acknowledged that there were serious management and communication problems at play in this crisis.

What we learn from bad experiences helps us to avoid the next crisis. However, when looking at the chronology, it is surprising to note the extent to which Atomic Energy Canada was disorganized. There are questions to be asked.

During this crisis, Ms. Keen, the president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, was fired. There was also the matter of the current study of Atomic Energy Canada. When he appeared before our committee, the Minister of Natural Resources did not hesitate to say that the partial or full privatization of Atomic Energy Canada is among the solutions and recommendations that will very likely be retained. We had our suspicions. He was quite forthcoming, if I remember correctly, when he last appeared.

Furthermore, costs always increase by millions of dollars. As members and party critics for a given file, when analyzing the budgets of each department, we talk in terms of millions of dollars. I have been a member of Parliament for two and a half years. What I have seen, every time, is that millions of dollars are added to the nuclear file, for security, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or Atomic Energy Canada.

This year, we are talking about $300 million: $80 million to make Chalk River safer and $100 million to further develop the ACR-1000 reactor. We can certainly ask questions, because that is a lot of money. Furthermore, they say nuclear energy is clean energy—I do not agree—but very costly energy.

The Minister of Natural Resources often tells me that nuclear energy is a provincial option. He knows that I am an MP who keeps a close eye on federal and provincial areas of jurisdiction. There we agree. But nuclear safety and waste management are federal responsibilities. For a year, there has been a lot of spending and a lot of studies, but it is not very clear where the government is headed.

I am not a strong proponent of nuclear energy, and as a taxpayer, I find it very disturbing to see these millions of dollars going to institutions such as Atomic Energy Canada, even though we do not really know what direction the government wants to take, nor how much money will be needed to achieve the objectives of making Chalk River safer and developing the ACR-1000 reactor. It would be especially important to find out how much we need to invest to upgrade the reactor that produces medical isotopes in Chalk River. As an aside, this reactor is 50 years old and is at the end of its life span. We can modernize it and make all the upgrades we want, but it still has a finite life span.

What solution and plan does the government propose? We recently learned that the government was terminating the MAPLE reactor project. That in itself is not actually news, since it had already been announced on May 16.

We know that taxpayers provided an initial investment of $146 million in this project. Apart from that initial amount, no one really knows how much taxpayers have invested since 1996 in the MAPLE reactor research and development project. We do not know how much it all cost, in the end. We do know, however, that the project was abandoned because it was considered a money pit and it was believed that it could never be completed. We learned this officially on May 16, 2008.

I am personally involved in activities that often bring together major players in nuclear energy. Behind the scenes, everyone knew that MAPLE was doomed to fail and that, clearly, the government failed to realize this fact quickly and in a transparent manner. We are especially concerned about what will replace the reactor that has now reached the end of its existence.

To top it off, we learned from the front page of today's La Presse that, through access to information, a journalist was able to get a document produced by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. That document reveals that the commission is worried that it does not have sufficient financial and human resources to fulfill its role and ensure the security of Quebeckers and Canadians, in short, to carry out the mission that is its raison d'être.

This is somewhat surprising, while the current government touts nuclear energy as the solution to environmental problems and greenhouse gas emissions across Canada. In any case, we have a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission that admits that it does not have sufficient financial and human resources to carry out its mission and guarantee Quebeckers and Canadians that all operators and facilities comply with and meet international safety standards.

The document reveals one quite impressive fact, namely, that the commission has had to quadruple its security budget. Indeed, since the events of September 2001, security measures intended to protect the facilities against terrorist attacks—

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

I apologize for interrupting the hon. member for Beauharnois—Salaberry, but the House must continue with the items on the order paper.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

It being 5:40 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading of Bill C-55.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #116

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

I declare the motion carried. Consequently, this bill is referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House resumed from May 26 consideration of the motion that Bill C-445, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (tax credit for loss of retirement income), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-445 under private members' business.